The Democrat Party owes Barack Obama the presidential nomination for 2008.

The Democrat Party owes Barack Obama the presidential nomination for 2008.

And what gives a practicing conservative the right to weigh in on the Democrat's nominating process? Well, the way I see it, the mainstream media (well over 70 percent liberal Democrat) has spent most of the last eight years telling the Republicans that Sen. John McCain should be the Republican nominee. And so, it's turn about fair play. But not quite. Where the mainstream media was hypocritical, I intend to be straight forward and principled.

The primary reason that the media was so enamored of McCain was because he was the "anti-Bush." They could always count on McCain to be the "Republican naysayer" and thus give the patina of non-partisanship to what was obviously a partisan attack by the liberal dominated media.

McCain's primary "political base" was the media, not voting Republicans. He was never the "front runner" or the "presumptive nominee" of Republicans — just of the press. Oh yes, there was a time when McCain led in the polls for the nomination, but that was primarily because it was a) a poll of all persons, not just Republican voters, and/or b) a poll before there were serious announced alternative candidates.

But all of that came to an end when John McCain did what John McCain does best — run against the grain. While the mainstream media has been on a two-year campaign against the war on terrorism, McCain has stood fast. That upset the press who thought they owned McCain. Now McCain is no longer the "anti-Bush" for them and the press has pilloried him as "Bush's strongest supporter" and thus an "evil to avoid." The hypocrisy of the mainstream media has never been more evident than in its dealing with Sen. McCain.

But let's get back to the main point of this column. The Democrat Party owes Barack Obama the nomination for the 2008 presidential election.

The Democrat Party has basically three major constituencies: organized labor (increasingly dominated by the public employee unions), the African-American community (which votes consistently at over 90 percent for Democrats, particularly Democrat presidential candidates) and environmental groups.

Only the African-American community has proven to be consistently loyal to the Democrat party.

Elements of the organized labor (the Teamsters) deserted the Democrats in support of Richard Nixon and again when Ronald Reagan defeated first Jimmy Carter and then Michael Dukakis. The environmental groups regularly divide their support by toying with the Green Party and probably cost Al Gore the election in 2000.

But not the African-American community. They are loyal through thick and thin. They are so consistent in their support of Democrat candidates that the Democrats now take their support as a given. And their reward has been a few lower level cabinet positions when the Democrats are in power and an amused tolerance during presidential primary campaigns for a couple of race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

But this time it's different. This time we have Barack Obama. This is a serious man. Unlike Jackson and Sharpton he has proven that he can be elected and re-elected. He is well-educated with an Ivy-league pedigree — a must among the Democrat elites. But, unlike other recent Democrat aspirants like Al Gore and John Kerry, Obama actually excelled academically. He graduated magnum cum laude from Harvard Law School and was president of Harvard's law review.

Where Jackson and Sharpton were bombastic and professional alarmists, Obama is thoughtful and articulate. He has authored two best-selling books which pursue the liberal orthodoxy with a kinder, gentler face. Where Sharpton consistently pointed the finger at others, Obama demands respect and responsibility of all.

But most importantly, Obama is eminently electable. He does not possess high negatives in the polls like Hillary Clinton. He does not reek of ruthless ambition as does Sen. Clinton. And he is not viewed as a lightweight as is John Edwards. He has demonstrated a remarkable ability to raise campaign contributions from a large cross-section of the populace.

Make no mistake. I do not support Barak Obama because his political philosophy is at odds with mine. However, for those of the liberal persuasion, it is time to take Obama seriously and stop taking the African-American community for granted.

So then, who is my candidate? Well, for now, I'm backing Jack Bauer.

Larry Huss is a lawyer and former telecommunications executive and now serves as a political consultant. He has spent over 30 years in the political process in seven western states. He can be reached at LhussWilsonville@aol.com.