Worse yet, after so skillfully avoiding the potential pitfall over the course of his long campaign, the crisis forced Obama into making race the central motif of his candidacy. Goodbye subtlety. Goodbye quiet undertone. Goodbye plausible deniability. This development makes his run exponentially more challenging.
Again, why did he do it? Again, he had no choice. He was desperate. Only a wider and more majestic discussion of race could temporarily insulate him from the growing firestorm.
Putting race at the forefront, of course, has been the Clinton campaign's strategy since Barack Obama became a contender. Hillary is aware many voters find her repulsive so her only recourse is to appeal to the party core, which is not the coastal elite who read the New York Times; Democrats because there is no viable Socialist party in America. The elite (by definition) are vastly outnumbered by a much larger demographic: white, middle-class populists who also lean to the left economically but lean to the right (although most would never admit it in public or to a pollster) on race. When the populist core watches those e-mailed YouTubes of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright shrieking "Hillary ain't never been called a nigger," they will nod their heads in agreement, say to themselves, "Damn right she ain't" and cast their votes for her in the upcoming primaries.