Are there any implications for race? It’s easy–and safe–to say no. There are clear philosophical differences between the Republicans and the Democrats. Obama’s “tax and spend” policies are simply too liberal. People of color have leadership positions in the GOP, like Michael Steele and Bobby [not his real name] Jindal. Corporate bailouts amount to Socialism and are antithetical to our Capitalist foundations. Blah, blah, blah. We’ve heard it all.
But need I remind you that Rush “OxyContin” Limbaugh was clamoring for the downfall of President Obama on January 21st, before he signed a single act into law (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,481484,00.html). Now Republicans are coming out of the woodworks to parrot Rush and solicit President Obama’s failure. And this is where I have to go to my Chris Rock playbook… Let’s see… Ah yes, I have found the racism!
See, you’d have to be one of those people who believe that the best way to deal with racism is to never talk about or acknowledge it (because avoidance is the best way to solve any problem, right?) to not believe that there is a sizeable contingent of Americans who can’t stand the fact that a Black guy is the 44th U.S. President. Claiming to attack his policies–even before he officially had any, good job Rush–allows them to reserve their feelings about his race for the people and private places they’ve always been confined to. Following the Limbaugh line of, “I want his liberal policies to fail”, offers a “Get Your Racism Out Free” card, which is now playable by those same people who told CNN reporters during the election that they would not vote for Barack Obama because he was Black, or a Black Muslim, or married to a Black Revolutionary.
It’s there in Morse Code. Though Obama has been about as centrist as one could be, and has drawn the ire of many from his own party for failing to be more “radical”, this is simply not enough for some Republicans. They don’t want the man in office! They narrowly believe that somehow, Obama is an affirmative action hire, who simply got the job because of his color–as if it’s no longer true that to be Black and successful means you will have to work twice as hard and be twice as good as your White competitors. Just ask McCain, who graduated near the bottom of his class, was the son of privilege, and represents the very deregulatory, “trickle down” fiscal agenda responsible for our current predicament, if Obama deserves to be in office. I bet you he’ll say no, and if he says yes, it will be after he wrinkles his face and frowns.
I’m not saying that a White Democratic President would go unscathed by those on the Right, but I am unapologetically saying that the degree and amount of criticism Obama has received is far greater because of his Blackness. There. I said it.