This recent comment by “Snackeater” (fine moniker, by the way) brought up an interesting angle on Obama and his supporters:
I’ve always thought that subconsciously, Liberals are racists. Not that they hate people of other races – quite the contrary – they truly love them. But they do think that people of other races are inferior and therefore unable to make it on their own. So they do whatever they can to help them (with other people’s money, of course). The War on Poverty is a perfect example. So is affirmative action. And 0bama is another.
So the T-P media falls all over themselves trying to help him. They cover for him, attack his enemies, whatever it takes. They project their racism onto their opponents. And the more inferior they think the person is, the more they try to compensate. Hence the completely in-the-tank attitude over 0bama.
Whether condescension and paternalism towards people of other races is “love,” exactly, I’ll leave for you to decide. And of course we already know that this “love” is limited to those minority members on the liberal or left side of the fence. Fortunately for liberals, that would include the vast, vast majority of minorities such as blacks.
Ever since Obama’s candidacy was first declared during the 2008 campaign, I’ve noticed that one of the most common types of article about him is what I’d call the advice column. There is no dearth of liberal and/or leftist pundits, or even ones who call themselves neutral as well as certain softies on the supposed right (David Brooks, Peggy Noonan), trying to tell Obama what he should do to be even more successful.
Maybe now that he’s triumphed by being elected to a second term they’ll stop and figure out what they should have figured out long ago, which is that, in the sense of political strategy, this man (or his advisers) knows exactly what he’s doing. And in the policy sense, Obama’s agenda is probably not quite what they think it is, unless they’re already in with the in-crowd.
Plus, Obama isn’t going to take their advice. He’s not scouring the papers for helpful hints on how to govern. If he wants any help on that score, he’s got Valerie Jarrett.
I’ve long wondered why all the helpful columns. Yes, I know the media is liberal and/or leftist, and they’re on his side. But still, I just don’t remember all this help offered another president on left or right (and of course the “help” offered those on the right is always of the “he should give in more to the other side” variety, which is nothing remotely like what’s suggested to Obama).
So why more than any other president does Obama draw out this advice mode in the blogosphere and MSM? Did he seem needier in some way? I assumed it was because he was young and inexperienced, but maybe “Snackeater” is onto something (besides Fritos). Is all that helpfulness due to an assumption that he’s racially challenged?
Well, probably some portion of it. When I really think about it, I believe that the impulse that motivates them was/is actually racial anxiety (can he play in the big leagues?) combined with an intense, a truly extreme, desire for him to do well because of his race and his status as the first black president. In a sense, he’s Too Big (and Too important) To Fail.
Their wish for him to succeed is multiply-determined. It’s not just his race; his liberalism or leftism (take your pick; I’ll take the leftism) taps into theirs, except for Noonan and (arguably) Brooks, who may not be conservatives but who could not be described as liberals or leftists. These latter two might be the purest example, therefore, of the need to have Obama do well because of his race.
It would have been fascinating, wouldn’t it, to have seen what pundits on the left would have said if the first black president had been a conservative or even just a garden-variety Republican. Would the left have been just as helpful with their hints with a President Condoleezza Rice, for example (who, after all, is not just black, but a black woman)? It takes no time at all to realize the answer is “no, no, a thousand times no.” Rice (like other black conservatives or Republicans) became an Honorary Old White Guy long long ago—or worse, a Traitor to Her Race, good only for ridicule of the vilest (and most racist) sort.
So, as with many things, it’s complicated. Obama is not just the white liberals’ perfect dream of a black president, he’s the white liberals’ perfect dream of a black liberal president. And as such, he must be defended no matter what he does.
And you can bet your life that Obama knows that, and acts accordingly.
[NOTE: The only time Obama ever ran up against a situation in a national election where he couldn’t take advantage of this was during his run for Congress against Bobby Rush in 2000, when he made the egregious error of running against another black liberal, a popular guy with far more impressive street creds, including a history in the civil rights movement, in a district made up mostly of working class blacks. Rush made the most of the contrast, saying about Obama:
He went to Harvard and became an educated fool…Barack is a person who read about the civil-rights protests and thinks he knows all about it.
Ouch! But could anyone else have said something similar about Obama and gotten away with it? Only people with the same profile as Rush—and Obama never ran into one again. As Rush later said about that 2000 race:
He [Obama] was blinded by his ambition. Obama has never suffered from a lack of believing that he can accomplish whatever it is he decides to try. Obama believes in Obama. And, frankly, that has its good side but it also has its negative side.
Rush didn’t have the handicap of idealizing Obama because of Obama’s race, nor did his voters. But although the next opponent Obama faced in a national election was also black, it was a very different proposition. Not only was this a statewide Illinois election for national office, and therefore had a much higher percentage of white voters than his 2000 campaign against Rush had featured, but his opponent in the 2004 Senate race—after Republican nominee Jack Ryan was suspiciously sidelined by a scandal late in the campaign—was the hastily-appointed Alan Keyes, who could be said to be at least as educated and intellectual as Obama, and a black conservative to boot (making him eligible for Honorary Old White Man status and worse), as well as an unpopular newcomer to Illinois. It was no contest; Obama won by tsunami margins.]