The Lucky Guy

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is a lucky guy, and human nature makes lucky people very attractive to the rest of us. Before the end of March, just six weeks after formally announcing his bid for the presidency, Obama has won the hugely significant endorsement of Jesse Jackson — a veritable Good Housekeeping seal of approval to many African Americans watching the ’08 race.

Following media reports about his seeming lack of legitimate credentials among black voters and his inability to galvanize a voting bloc Hillary Clinton was supposed to have under lock and key, Obama took to Selma, Ala., several weeks ago on the anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” crossing of the Edmund Pettus bridge to turn things around. Sure, Clinton followed him there; having stepped on his announcement week she sure wasn’t going to let Obama’s rock-star appearance at Bloody Sunday pass without the Big Foot. Obama’s presence generated bursting crowds as he thundered from the pulpit in a newfound southern accent about how the event 42 years ago had basically birthed him, having inspired a black man and white woman to become the parents of Barack Obama. Too bad everyone quickly remembered that he was born three years before Bloody Sunday. When called on it, Obama said he meant that the whole civil rights movement produced him — or something like that.

On balance the Selma trip was potent, with news reports that both House Whip James Clyburn (D-N.C.) and legendary civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) are itching to endorse him but just haven’t found the nerve. It makes it harder when the Clintons keep calling. A poll soon after showed Obama eating into Clinton’s support among black voters. It freaked the Rev. Al Sharpton out so much he started spewing aggressive criticism at Obama on the record.

Then this week reports surfaced that Obama’s memoir has him reading Life magazine in Indonesia as a child and seeing a story about a man trying to dye his skin lighter to reject his blackness, but the story never appeared in Life or any other magazine. Lucky for him Jackson decided to give him the nod and to do so early, right after the Life magazine stuff. Remember that Jackson counseled Bill Clinton in his darkest post-Monica hours and he has been closely allied with Bill/Hill before and after impeachment. But now he has rewritten the narrative and endorsed Obama — that lucky guy.