Before the Alabama New South Coalition gave its support today to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Perry County commissioner Albert Turner urged the group to support Sen Hillary Clinton for a reason that would have to be described as blunt, at the very least.

An African-American lobbyist and former assistant director of the Alabama Department of Community and Economic Affairs, Turner told the membership that despite his admiration for Obama, “The question you have to put forth to yourself is that whether or not in this racist country a black man named Obama — when we are shooting at Osama — can win the presidency of the United States?” Turner said Clinton is the Democrat most likely to win in November “because of her husband and because of some other things, mainly because she’s white.”

People who’ve sensed Bubba sentiments among the electorate don’t usually put it this way. The last time I heard anything remotely like this was from a Manhattan- based columnist during the Toronto Film Festival. “Go outside the big cities,” he said, and America “is a nation of rubes and crackers. As fair-minded and issue-driven as these voters like to portray themselves with pollsters, the bottom line is that some of them are constitutionally incapable of voting a black man into the White House.

“As far as these voters and Barack Obama are concerned, the columnist suggested, the ’08 race is a kind of a dry-run, getting-used-to-the-idea exercise that may allow for attitudes and conditions in 2012 or 2016 in which a black man (Obama or someone else) might stand a chance….maybe.”

Most of the readership dismissed this when I quoted the columnist in this space two and half months ago. The same pooh-poohers are now obliged to dismiss Albert Turner’s opinion as well. You know who you are. The forum is yours.