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Why Obama can't give the speech we want him to.
December 1, 2014 3:08 AM

Ezra Klein's has a cogent column from last week about why President Obama is unable to lead on race the way he should:

Obama's supporters aren't asking for anything Obama can't do -- or even anything he hasn't done before. Obama was elected president because he seemed, alone among American politicians, to be able to bridge the deep divides in American politics.

The problem is the White House no longer believes Obama can bridge those divides. They believe -- with good reason -- that he widens them. They learned this early in his presidency, when Obama said that the police had "acted stupidly" when they arrested Harvard University professor Skip Gates on the porch of his own home. The backlash was fierce. To defuse it, Obama ended up inviting both Gates and his arresting officer for a "beer summit" at the White House.

The only problem with this argument, or excuse-making, is that he's the President of the United States and needs to lead, whether it's difficult or not. He's black. He can talk about race from a position that no other president in this country's history could.

He needs to step up to the plate. Alas...his time is running out.

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