Why has President Obama’s popularity declined so much? He thinks part of the problem is that he is an African American. At least, he claims to think that.
From the New Yorker:
Obama’s election was one of the great markers in the black freedom struggle. In the electoral realm, ironically, the country may be more racially divided than it has been in a generation. Obama lost among white voters in 2012 by a margin greater than any victor in American history. The popular opposition to the Administration comes largely from older whites who feel threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained in a globalized economy and in an increasingly diverse country. Obama’s drop in the polls in 2013 was especially grave among white voters. “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.” The latter group has been less in evidence of late.
“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on. “You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government—that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable—and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments. But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there. And so I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans. The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history, so that they understand if I am concerned about leaving it up to states to expand Medicaid that it may not simply be because I am this power-hungry guy in Washington who wants to crush states’ rights but, rather, because we are one country and I think it is going to be important for the entire country to make sure that poor folks in Mississippi and not just Massachusetts are healthy.”
If the President would think about this more carefully, he might realize that the pretension that he can “make sure that” anyone is “healthy” is an irrational superstition, not political science.
He is making us all sick by his means of making sure we are healthy. How can he not see that?
But on the race issue, it is fine to point to race differences in the election results in order to ask if they are motivated by an aversion to having an African American in the White House. But what makes no sense at all is claiming that the shift in his popularity numbers is due to racism. People voted for President Obama. Then they saw how he ruled and what he did, and they came to disapprove of him. How can that have anything to do with racial issues?
If Obama was originally a white man who mutated into a black man, and that magical transformation was followed by a dip in the polls, then his reasoning would make sense. But his race didn’t change. Rather his promises came due and he massively failed to fulfill them. In fact, he is inflicting damage on people who trusted him to make their lives better.
It’s not about your race, Mr. President; it is about your actions.
In fact, measured objectively, given how much the Obama economy is hurting African Americans, their loyalty to him demonstrates that they are far more likely to only be considering Obama’s race, rather than his actual record.
Which brings us to the insane claim that the New Yorker treats as being indisputable: “Obama’s election was one of the great markers in the black freedom struggle.” No. It didn’t do a thing for “black freedom” nor did it result from any improvement in “black freedom.” It is tokenism to pretend otherwise.