Wade on Birmingham

Vote 2008: The Obama Effect in Alabama


Barack Obama

A few closing thoughts on President-elect Obama and Alabama:

Wade on Birmingham - Vote 2008Condi’s congratulations: Secretary of State and Birmingham native Condoleeza Rice offered her congratulations to the winner.

“I want to note that President-elect Obama was inspirational and I’m certain he will continue to be. As an African-American, I’m especially proud, because this is a country that’s been through a long journey, in terms of overcoming wounds and making race (less of a factor in life). That work is not done, but (this) was obviously an extraordinary step forward.” [AP: “Rice congratulates Obama”]

Wallace, the next generation: Peggy Wallace Kennedy, whose parents were Governors George and Lurleen Wallace, wrote a stirring essay on how her family overcame its bitter political and racial legacy:

“Today, Barack Obama is hope for a better tomorrow for all Americans. He stands on the shoulders of all those people who have incessantly prayed for a day when ‘justice will run down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream’ (Amos 5:24). Perhaps one day, my two sons and I will have the opportunity to meet Barack Obama in person to express our gratitude to him for bringing our family full circle.” [CNN: “Commentary: My father, George Wallace, and Barack Obama”]

Smashing the Southern strategy: It started with Nixon, cynically stirring up Southern white voters on racial issues. And while most heavily white counties across Alabama turned out for Republican nominee John McCain, 2008 may mark the end of this strategy as a national tactic.

“Race continues to play a major role in the state,” said Glenn Feldman, a historian at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. “Alabama, unfortunately, continues to remain shackled to the bonds of yesterday.”

David Bositis, senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, pointed out that the 18 percent share of whites that voted for Senator John Kerry in 2004 was almost cut in half for Mr. Obama.

“There’s no other explanation than race,” he said.

[New York Times: “For South, a Waning Hold on National Politics”]

Leave a Yip

Subscribe without commenting