Racist hate groups aren't mobilizing against Obama

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During Jesse Jackson's 1988 presidential campaign, after all, [David] Duke said Jackson's election "would be the greatest tragedy ever to befall this country." Warning that "the white majority in this country are losing their rights," Duke announced his own counter-candidacy, one whose main purpose seemed to be hounding Jackson.

Yet, far from railing at Obama's rise, Duke seems almost nonchalant about it. Self-described white nationalists like himself, he explained cordially, "don't see much difference in Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton--or, for that matter, John McCain." ...

After Obama won the Iowa caucuses last month, Mark Potok, a researcher at the Southern Poverty Law Center, decided to survey the latest writings of the major right-wing hate groups he regularly monitors. How would America's vilest race-mongers respond to a black candidate's victory in a white Midwestern state? Again, the response was counterintuitive. "It was extremely weak," Potok says. "You could find people saying nasty words about Obama, but it wasn't red-hot at all."

That has remained the case even as Obama has become the front-runner. On several websites, forums, and online journals that promote the view of white superiority over blacks--the types of outlets that rejoiced over Hurricane Katrina and the destruction of the Lower Ninth Ward--there is precious little discussion of Obama's campaign. The day after Obama's blowout win in Wisconsin, for instance, the home page of the poisonous Vanguard News Network featured stories on Serbian nationalism, home schooling, Holocaust-denial, and Pat Buchanan--yet nothing about Obama. It turns out that, although the white right certainly has no love for Obama, its hatred of him is muted--and directed less at Obama himself than at other nefarious forces behind him.

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