At the start of the year, I expressed the worry that, against Barack Obama, the Republicans will "lock up the racist (and racially uneasy) vote by calling attention to the Church to which Senator Obama belongs in Chicago." Last month, as U.S. readers will know, videos of the colorful and scathing pastor of Obama's Church were all over the airwaves in the US--here's a sample. (And here's how the right-wing slime-and-smear machine is going to use this material and here is a sample of Republican gloating about it. And here's what a so-called "reputable" journalist [i.e., one who is less obviously a right-wing shill] is doing with this material.) I am actually now more keen on Senator Obama--whose mealy-mouthed rhetoric I find tiresome--now that I've heard his pastor, but some reasonable person might worry that I am not the average American voter. But I confess I am also beginning to share the Clintons' suspicion that Obama is going to get cut to pieces by the Republicans. Here's yet another example of what the right-wing slime-and-smear machine has in store for Senator Obama. The unknown is whether this kind of stuff has any effect on anyone who is not already a member of the crypto-fascist right. Senator Obama has the Reagan gift of demeanor and delivery that is reassuring and tranquilizing, and so he may well just sail on through the choppy seas. And at some point one expects the "mushy middle" of the electorate will realize that Senator McCain is the candidate of perpetual war, and that fact, together with the latest economic downturn, will insure Republican defeat, even if Senator Obama picks Congressman Kucinich as his running-mate (one can dream, can't one?). Then President-elect Obama can name Prof. Dohrn Attorney General and Rev. Wright Secretary of State, and then there really will be "change" in Washington!