Joining a party that started over at Ezra Klein's blog, Hilzoy riffs on the counter-Kripkean implications of Geraldine Ferraro's Obama gaffe: "[I]f I were a black man and had wheels, I would be the first black male trolleycar ever, not to mention the first being ever to be both a public transit vehicle and a mammal."
This is all very witty, of course. Then again, it's also all a bit too easy. After all, look at the fun that could have been had with Michelle Obama's "for the first time I'm proud of America" thoughts. It seems to me that if you actually wanted to be fair about construing Ferraro's woefully inartful remarks, you'd probably wind up with something like this:
If a white candidate ran a campaign in all it's accidental properties identical to Obama's, it wouldn't be nearly as thrilling as Obama's candidacy is to his supporters, whose intensity would be unimaginable without the historical dimension of Obama's candidacy. And of course arguably, that historical dimension is due to the fact that Obama is black.
Not nearly as fun as mean-spirited, derisive snark; but much more in keeping with a Politics of Hope.
(Via Mark Kleiman.)
UPDATE: On the other hand...
UPDATE II: And one more thing. Everyone's made Ferraro out to be an idiot for claiming that it's an advantage to be black in America. But that (even on the least charitable honest reading possible) isn't the claim. The claim is that it is an advantage to be a black male candidate in the Democratic party. Now, I suspect that this claim is false. But it's not obviously false. As one commenter put it over at Brad DeLong's blog, "By supporting a black man with an unusual name we elevate ourselves; by actually electing him we elevate our country." I quite agree, and if that sentiment is anything like the norm among those in the Democratic party, then (all other things being equal) being black is at least arguably an advantage for a Democratic candidate.