Editor: Is Obama in the position of Jackie Robinson, needing only tolerance from bigoted whites in order for his genius to prevail? Such was the implication, intended or not, of a Dan Haley column in the Denver Post 8/26, with which I sharply disagreed. Below, my colleague Ken Davenport deflates a far more blatant version of the same fallacy, this one from Jacob Weisberg. Of related interest is John Dendahl's post earlier this week (scroll down on our home page) flagging an important National Review piece about the darkly race-colored glasses with which the "real" Barack Obama views America and the world, according to his own autobiography.
Ken Davenport writes:
The Wall Street Journal highlights in its editorial today a quote I've read often over the past few days. It's from a piece by Jacob Weisberg that appears in the current Newsweek -- that supposed "mainstream" newsmagazine. Weisberg says this about the possibility that Obama might lose the election against John McCain:
Only some "crazy irrationality over race" could prevent Mr. Obama from winning the White House. If he does win, America will have reached post-prejudice Nirvana. "If Obama loses, our children will grow up thinking of equal opportunity as a myth," Mr. Weisberg continued. "To the rest of the world, a rejection of the promise he represents wouldn't just be an odd choice by the United States. It would be taken for what it would be: sign and symptom of a nation's historical decline." Wow. Vote for Barack, or America is as irredeemable as many foreigners believe.
Wow is right. According to this narrative, a common one among Obama supporters, the sole reason that Obama might lose is because he's black -- and the fact that he's black should be a primary reason to vote for him in the first place. It makes little logical sense, of course -- to say on the one hand that he's the victim of prejudice and then to say that prejudice is a perfectly good -- even necessary -- justification to elect him. But so goes the emotion-powered politics of the left.
We know, of course, that racism is being practiced in this campaign -- but it isn't white racism. Its black racism, aided and abetted by a core of guilt-ridden whites like Jacob Weisberg. Blacks voted for Barack Obama 90:10 over Hillary Clinton in the primaries not because they had analyzed the Obama platform and policies and preferred them over those of Hillary Clinton, but because of the color of his skin. Period.
Obama is, in fact, largely where he is today because he is black, not in spite of it -- though as Geraldine Ferraro found out, you can't say that out loud even in today's America. So sensitive are we to even the suggestion of race that we simply can't be honest about it. And neither can Jacob Weisberg -- who suggests that America is so backward still that if Obama loses, it will be a sign of our nation's "historical decline". Oh, please.
I believe that white racism in this country is largely a myth. Yes, I admit that it still exists in the deep south to some extent, but not to the degree that the left says it does. As the Journal points out:
Virginia elected a black Governor two decades ago, and Illinois has had two black Senators. America has had two black Secretaries of State, and major corporations are run by black CEOs. No other Western democracy has done as well at opening up political, business and other arenas to minorities.
The truth is that white racism is part of an Obama narrative that is designed both to mobilize whites into casting "guilt votes" to prove our "progressiveness" as a culture, and to inculcate Obama from criticisms of all kinds and on all issues. Part of the lasting bitterness of the Hillary Clinton supporters is that every time Clinton tried to hammer Obama on policy, his supporters subtly trotted out the race card to blunt her attacks. Now that McCain is attacking Obama on taxes, energy policy and national security, you can bet that they will again be trotting out the "racism" charge against McCain in an effort to intimidate him.
It won't work, because McCain -- like an increasing number of Americans -- understands that the stakes are simply too high in this election to avoid a serious evaluation of Barack Obama on the merits. McCain knows he hasn't a racist bone in his body, and he will not be falsely bullied into changing his campaign to one of softballs and cream puffs, though the left will try and force him into just such a move. He will persist in hammering Obama on the issues and on his (lack of) experience, and will be justly rewarded for it -- because Americans instinctively know that this country is not "racist to the core". A racist nation would hardly nominate a black man for the nomination of the Democrat Party, would it?
Perhaps Jacob Weisberg should take off his own shroud of guilt and consider this: Is it not possible that if Obama loses in November it will be because he is simply not qualified to be President of the United States?