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October 21, 2008

The Dunhams

Barack Profile  Madelyn And Stanley Dunham

Like Ta-Nehisi Coates, I too am struck by the resemblance between Barack Obama and his grandfather.  Look at the chin, the eyes, the big ears, the forehead and widows peak.  Also, it might be where that “cocked head” gesture comes from.

My sense is that the attention thrown on Obama’s relationship with his grandmother (which, as many BAGreaders remind, has been much closer to a maternal relationship) is actually a net positive for the campaign at this point.  Of course, one can only feel for Obama that this is happening at all, let alone now, especially when the potential loss of his grandmother would likely also bring home the loss of his actual mother.

On the political front, however, the gravity, authenticity and genuine feeling surrounding Obama’s family situation will likely cause McCain’s attacks, by contrast, to ring that much more hollow.

What I’m also wondering is whether the coverage surrounding the Dunham’s, and the focus on this part of Obama’s family history right now, might actually give Obama a boost with those late undecideds who might see the news stories and feel, through the emphasis on the family bonds and the family narrative (Kansas heartland; survived Depression; bomber assembly line; goes from secretary to bank V.P.; serves in Patton’s army) and, yes, the resemblance, that Obama is good people.  Further, I’m wondering if the emphasis on the white side of Obama’s family won’t also be reassuring to a subset of that undecided segment.

By the way, if you haven’t read it, Ta-Nehisi’s post is quite moving in discussing the courageousness of Obama’s grandparents in raising a biracial child.

Obama ad featuring Madelyn Dunham (Obama for President via YouTube)

(h/t: Sara)

(images: Barack Obama)

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