Did Obama help or hurt himself in his bid to avoid being labeled the African American candidate? I think he did fairly well. There was an enormous disparity in black and white voting patterns but his level of support among white voters did not fall as low as one poll predicted. It was low but I think he makes up for that a bit by the large margin of his victory.
Still, the Clintons don't seem to have abandoned the strategy of attempting to isolate Obama as a candidate with mostly black support as demonstrated by Bill's reference to Jesse Jackson's wins in South Carolina. On balance, I'd say that Saturday was a "B" day for Obama. He gets a big win and the publicity that goes with it, but the numbers still reflect a racial dynamic that, unless he breaks it, means that he can't win the nomination.
People assume that this racialization of the campaign will continue if Obama wins the nomination. Maybe not.
I still think that it is problematic for Obama that he remains undefined. Caroline Kennedy endorses him because .... why exactly? Because he's young and good looking like her father was when he was elected? Because he's cool? Went to Harvard ? (Believe me, its overrated)?
For almost 45 years, people have made JFK into whatever they want him to be except the one thing that he undeniably was - a fierce cold warrior. They have been able to do this because, tragically, he was killed before he became whatever he would be as President.
But Obama is going to have to be something. We know what people who chant "we want change" at a victory celebration during a primary campaign want. They tend to be partisans who want the other guys out.
But they aren't the people who will decide the election. For them, change must be defined in nonpartisan terms - at least symbolically if not substantively. Obama, so far, has doubled down on the symbolism without connecting it to anything substantive. One of the reason that has worked as well as it has is that Hillary is limited in her ability to redefine him. The thing about running against someone who agrees with you on almost everything (as Hillary does) is that she can't really challenge your theme by suggesting that it represents something undesireable. So the Clintons are reduced to haranguing about experience and, if not exactly race, the exent of Obama's racial appeal. It may work, but, right now, I'd say it's touch and go.
If Obama is nominated, that ends. He no longer gets to talk exclusively about hope and change and his personal story. He will remain the inexperienced one, but he will also become the one associated with policies that Americans have pretty uniformly rejected in presidential elections as long as I have been old enough to follow them. Maybe that changes in '08, but I don't think it'll be as easy as a lot of my Democratic friends think.