Pennsylvania governor: My state may be too racist to elect Obama

Reminiscent of Billy Shaheen bringing up Obama’s drug use before New Hampshire and then claiming he had to do it because the evil GOP would assuredly do it during the general. Rendell’s variation: Democrats must act now to neutralize racists in the general — by voting white in the primary. The last gasp of Hillary’s supposed electability advantage:

“You’ve got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate,” he said bluntly. Our eyes only met briefly, perhaps because the governor wanted to spare the only black guy in the room from feeling self-conscious for backing an obvious loser. “I believe, looking at the returns in my election, that had Lynn Swann [2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate] been the identical candidate that he was –well-spoken [note: Mr. Rendell did not call the brother “articulate”], charismatic, good-looking — but white instead of black, instead of winning by 22 points, I would have won by 17 or so.”

I know I have a habit of sometimes zoning out in these meetings, but it sounded to me like Mr. Rendell had unilaterally declared Pennsylvania to be Alabama circa 1963. Was he suggesting that Pennsylvanians are uniquely racist in ways that folks in the states Mr. Obama has won so far aren’t? By the way, Mr. Obama won Alabama on Super Tuesday, thank you very much!

Estrich, another Hillary supporter (I assume), made the same point yesterday so I’d say we have ourselves a full-blown meme. If the “Bradley effect” is going to torpedo him in the general, how come it hasn’t torpedoed him yet in the primary? Or is this just laying the groundwork for later, in case McCain beats him in the battlegrounds, to chalk the whole thing up to racism and delegitimize the Republican victor that way?

Update: Not to pile on our last best hope, but take five minutes to read the new Atlantic piece about Hillary’s disastrous crony ex-campaign manager and how she managed to blow through stacks of money to no great end. Here’s what the Glacier means when she talks about “experience”:

Rather than punish Solis Doyle or raise questions about her fitness to lead, Clinton chose her to manage the presidential campaign for reasons that should now be obvious: above all, Clinton prizes loyalty and discipline, and Solis Doyle demonstrated both traits, if little else. This suggests to me that for all the emphasis Clinton has placed on executive leadership in this campaign, her own approach is a lot closer to the current president’s than her supporters might like to admit.

Update: Ace makes a good point. To the extent that race explains why Obama’s exit polls don’t match his ballot totals, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he’s losing votes because of it. It may simply be that he’s gaining exit poll points. That is to say, people may prefer Hillary on the merits when they go in the booth but when approached by an exit pollster they may want to show their progressive bona fides by claiming they voted for the minority candidate.