I’ve been following Melissa Harris-Lacewell’s work ever since I heard her debate Gloria Steinem on Democracy Now a couple of months ago on race, gender, and Presidential politics. I’ve since purchased and started reading her book Barbershops, Bibles, & BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought and encourage anyone else to do the same.

An Obama supporter/campaigner, the following is an article by Harris-Lacewell about how Obama should manage the mounting attacks that the Clinton campaign has levied against him.


Melissa Harris-Lacewell

Redemption Along the High Road by Melissa Harris-Lacewell
March 5, 2008

The high road is a hard road.

Barack Obama is often compared to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because of his soaring rhetoric and charismatic grace. But on Tuesday I night I realized that Obama is more like King in another way: He is leading a 21st Century non-violent, political campaign.

Over the past week the kitchen sink came flying at Obama, the political equivalent of Selma tear gas and vicious Birmingham dogs. The Clinton campaign tried painting Obama with the “scary Muslim” label by releasing a photo of him in Somali dress. Hillary whined that she was being treated unfairly during the debates, even as she piled on in a ruthless and unwarranted exchange that floated the suggestion that Barack was an anti-Semite.

She ignored her decades of political entanglements with dozens of indicted and convicted felons while charging Obama with having secret negotiations with Canada to assuage fears about his stance on NAFTA. She declared that because she was a woman, her presidency would represent change, even though her current fighting tactics and those she would resort to in a battle against McCain are recycled tricks from her eight years of living in the White House.