A Bad Idea, and a Squandered Opportunity

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Mar 24, 2008 11:54 AM
Apparently in disagreement with much of the conventional wisdom, my Townhall column argues that Barack Obama made a huge (though understandable) strategic mistake trying to shift the national conversation from Wright to race.  

And that's not all -- having made the decision to speak on race, he squandered a marvelous opportunity to say something that would actually have been new and hopeful; his supposedly "groundbreaking" speech was anything but.  There's a way he can regain his footing, as I note, but it won't be easy.

What's interesting is that, although many voters are giving the speech good reviews, they seem to have lost confidence in Barack's ability to unify the country, as this CBS poll makes clear:

Sixty-nine percent of voters who have heard or read about Obama’s speech say he did a good job addressing the issue of race relations, and 63 percent of voters following the events say they agree with Obama's views on race relations. Seventy-one percent say he did a good job explaining his relationship with Wright. 

When registered voters were asked if Obama would unite the country, however, 52 percent said yes - down from 67 percent last month.

Could it be that, like me, many voters were in reality less impressed with the speech than they knew they were "supposed" to be?