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Denouncing conservatives as racists whenever they’re effective arguing the right side of an issue has been a staple tactic on the left for decades. We expect the left to trot out the ghost of Bull Conner (a life-long Democrat by the way) and other prominent bigots who played a role in fighting civil rights during the 60’s whenever conservative ideas take root among the populace. Yet, while we know from painful experience that the leftist rank and file, their financial backers and their allies in the old media, will play the race card at the drop of a hat, it’s reasonable to expect that the President of the United States of America and his cabinet will remain above such tawdry tactics. Sadly, this week provides further evidence that Barack Obama and his key advisors won’t hesitate to hide behind the politics of race if they believe they can make the issue work to their advantage.
A little over two years ago, the election of Barack Obama was hailed as a milestone in American history. Obama was our first “post-racial” president – proof that all Americans of every color had gotten beyond pigmentation and were finally focused on policies and principles. We celebrated that moment. The candidate who lost the election, a hero of the Vietnam war who was the object of unimaginable abuse by the new president’s supporters, nonetheless took the time to recognize the significance of this election and to congratulate the new president in the warmest possible terms. For a brief moment, left and right agreed about something: race was no longer a significant factor in American politics.
The left was able to put racial politics in the rear-view mirror for less than a year, which corresponds to the length of time that it took for the electorate’s honeymoon with President Obama to end. After that, the left decided that anybody who objected to the president’s policies was really upset about the color of skin, no matter how articulate their arguments might seem. New evidence suggests that Barack Obama himself, and Attorney General Eric Holder, agree with that assessment.
USA Today writer Kenneth T. Walsh’s recently released book, Family of Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House, is a study of the influence that African Americans have had in the Executive Branch throughout our history. His observations regarding the Obama administration are particularly revealing:
“In May 2010, he (President Obama) told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent “Tea Party” movement that was then surging across the country. Many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn’t helping them nearly enough, he said.
A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to “take back” their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn’t dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a “subterranean agenda” in the anti-Obama movement—a racially biased one—that was unfortunate. But he sadly conceded that there was little he could do about it.”
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