Victim in Chief

What if racism really is what’s ruining Obama’s presidency?

James Taranto
The Wall Street Journal
8/3/2011

Barack Obama’s difficulties are the result of racism: It has been a frequently recurring theme ever since he emerged as a serious presidential candidate. Obama himself has raised it occasionally, though not often, but his supporters fall back on it all the time–including now.

Here’s DeWayne Wickham in yesterday’s USA Today: “This total lack of respect is downright contemptible–if not unpatriotic. Such contempt, I’m convinced, is rooted in something other than political differences. . . . The presence of Jim Crow, Jr.–a more subtle form of racism–is there.”

What prompts these accusations of racism? In Wickham’s words, Speaker John Boehner “contemptuously waited more than half a day to return a call from the president,” and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor complained to reporters that Obama cut short a meeting, “as though the president needs his permission to end a White House gathering.” In reference to the Cantor spat, Wickham writes:

That encounter might have reminded Obama of the open letter Frederick Douglass, a runaway slave and abolitionist who became one of this nation’s first black diplomats, wrote to his slave master.

It would be “a privilege” to show you “how mankind ought to treat each other,” Douglass told the man who had badly mistreated him. “I am your fellow man, but not your slave.”

This is overwrought to the point of absurdity. Neither Obama nor Cantor is in a position remotely comparable to that of a slave, but Obama is the higher-status of the two. Perhaps Cantor failed to show due respect for the president’s authority, but that is very different from insulting an underling’s basic humanity. As for Boehner, he is the head of a coequal branch of government, yet Wickham faults him for not deferring to Obama as if he were the boss…

…For the purpose of argument, let’s stipulate that the assertion is true: that racism is the reason Barack Obama is unable to govern effectively. What are the implications?…

The complete article is at The Wall Street Journal.

Also by James Taranto, European Lefties: Obama’s One of Us  ”Remember when Chris Matthews ludicrously accused Mitt Romney of ‘racism’ for describing Obama’s policies as ‘European’? These German lefties are describing a truth that their American counterparts are desperate to conceal.”

Update: Obama: I’m not even halfway done ”…’When I said “change we can believe in” I didn’t say “change we could believe in tomorrow.” Not change we can believe in next week. We knew this was going to take time because we’ve got this big, messy, tough democracy,’ President Obama said at a campaign fundraiser in Chicago on Wednesday night.” [emphasis CAJ]

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