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A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama And Why He Can't Win

Thursday January 2008


Shelby Steele Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

Barack Obama is running an historic presidential campaign.

In a thought-provoking talk, Shelby Steele will contend that America’s attraction to Barak Obama is inspired by the hope that voters and candidates can go beyond race. Obama appears in this light as a new kind of black leader—one who contrasts sharply with an older black leadership rooted in the politics of the 1960s civil rights movement with which people of all races have grown exhausted.

Yet at the same time, Steele will argue, Obama is caught between the conflicting aspirations of black and white Americans—a place where every gesture to appeal to the mainstream might jeopardize support from African-Americans, making a presidential election victory improbable.