http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/386abhgm.asp Barack Obama's Lost Years The senator's tenure as a state legislator reveals him to be an old-fashioned, big government, race-conscious liberal. by Stanley Kurtz 08/11/2008, EXCERPT THE CENTRALITY OF RACE Any rounded treatment of Obama's early political career has got to give prominence to the issue of race. Obama has recently made efforts to preemptively blunt discussion of the race issue, warning that his critics will highlight the fact that he is African American. Yet the question of race plays so large a role in Obama's own thought and action that it is all but impossible to discuss his political trajectory without acknowledging the extent to which it engrosses him. SNIP Biographical treatments of Obama tend to stress the tenuous nature of his black identity-his upbringing by whites, his elite education, his home in Chicago's highly integrated Hyde Park, personal tensions with black legislators, and questions about whether Obama is "black enough" to represent African Americans. These concerns over Obama's racial identity are overblown. On race-related issues Obama has stood shoulder to shoulder with Chicago's African-American politicians for years.