Eugene Rivers asks: How to manage Black America's expectations if Obama loses?

DENVER-- Monday morning, the 16th Avenue Mall. I was intending to grab a coffee and jump on the free mall shuttle, but I spotted former US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota walking toward the Colorado Convention Center, with a small entourage. I caught up at the 15th Ave. light and he graciously allowed me to impose a couple of quick questions about the VP selection process, which he had been closely involved with. Daschle says that responses to the Biden selection have been extremely positive; he also agrees that, along with other foreign-policy credentials, it could be very helpful that "Joe has been a stalwart proponent of our protection and friendship with Israel." (Note that Biden's past softness on Iran is being circulated against him by the Republicans  -- including Mitt Romney at his Tuesday press conference -- which could be interpreted as an ongoing part of the fight for the Jewish/Zionist vote.)

After taking leave of the Senator, I realized that I was across the street from the Tex-Mex diner/restaurant/bar where MSNBC is taping Morning Joe at ungodly hours all this week. (Taping starts at 4:00am Denver time.) I popped in to see them mid-segment: host Joe Scarborough, sidekick Mika Brzezinski,'s ubiquitous Joan Walsh, and Reverend Eugene Rivers of Dorchester.

I stuck around to catch Rivers, and chatted with a former state senator from North Carolina enjoying the taping of one of her favorite shows -- she loves the MSNBC hosts, and in particular Boston's own Mike Barnicle, who subs often on the network. "I just love him -- he's very populist, man-on-the-street. He's just genuine."

Rivers came down and was eager, as usual, to bend my ear about what Boston's leaders are doing wrong on the crime and violence issue. When I asked for his thoughts on the convention, he expressed an interesting (and typically pessimistic) concern: the aftermath should Obama lose.

"How do we politically manage the expectations, here and globally -- the perceptions and concerns of 40 million black people who were told that he was the Messiah?" he asked. A bit hyperbolic, to be sure, but the deflation of black hopes domestically would be bitter, and the worldwide perception of America could be seriously harmed -- although perhaps no worse than when America re-elected George W. Bush.

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