Obama Targets Blacks, Felons

The candidate who once said, to support from even surprising quarters, that

There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America

is now targeting voters from black America.

Hillary Clinton got into a heap of trouble when she said, quoting an Associated Press article, that

Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.

I wonder if the Los Angeles Times’s Peter Wallsten will get in similar trouble for reporting that “Obama campaign targets black voters — carefully.” And not only black voters, but also felons.

Experts say felons are disproportionately black and, if they can be found, more likely to be Obama backers. This provides a huge potential; about 1.1 million felons in Florida were ineligible to vote in 2004, according to a 2006 book by sociologists Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen. Here too the potential for gains has risk: It could open a door for Republicans to portray Democrats as soft on crime.

The push for new and nontraditional voters is so targeted and aggressive that an NAACP official in Ohio said her organization plans to pursue individuals who are incarcerated but who have not yet been tried or sentenced and, therefore, under state law, remain eligible to vote.

The group is also tracking felons who often don’t realize that, in Ohio, they are eligible to vote as soon as they leave prison.

Ex-offenders are “just everywhere,” said Jocelyn Travis, who heads the Ohio NAACP’s voter outreach program. “People who have a felony or criminal background are throughout our community, and they don’t realize that they have the right to vote.”

Given the preemptive response by Obama and his academic acolytes like Drew Westen to just about any criticism of him as racist and bigoted, what will they make of the Los Angeles Time pointing out that his campaign is targeting black voters, albeit “carefully,” and convicted felons, because so many of them are black?

Say What?