Here’s another chorus of the liberals’ racism refrain, this time bleated by Jacob Weisberg of SLATE. “If Obama loses,” he wails, “racism is the only reason….” If Obama loses, he repeats, he will do so “for a simple reason: the color of his skin.”
Refuting this myopia by pointing to all the reasons millions of people, of all hues, will vote against Obama that have nothing to do with “the color of his skin” would be about as fruitful as pointing out the various hues in a vista of brilliant Fall foliage to a blind man.
But I do think one point is worth making. This liberal excuse for what might be simply the latest example of the Democrats snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is already so widespread that it may have an unintended but wholly beneficial effect on the outcome of the election. (Have you noticed that liberals often engage in behavior that has unintended but wholly predictable consequences?)
The argument that white (and Asian? Hispanic?) racism is the only reason Obama can lose amounts to saying that the only way to show you are not a racist is to vote for Obama. Some voters will no doubt be cowed by this threat into voting for Obama (or more likely, simply telling pollsters that they’re voting for Obama), but I suspect that it will send many more to the polls to vote against him simply as a way of expressing their justified resentment of this smug, supercilious, elitist attack on their intelligence and character.
UPDATE [25 August]
Maybe I better rethink the argument presented here. After all, how could it be right if virtually the same argument has appeared in a New York Times OpEd?
… there’s plenty of reason to think that Mr. Obama’s race is not the insurmountable detriment to his candidacy that a lot of anxious observers believe it is….
…. While it’s entirely possible that Mr. Obama’s race is costing him some support, it’s also true that the electorate that voted in the last two presidential elections was almost symmetrically divided between the two parties. It would defy the laws of politics if, at this early stage of the campaign, moderate Republicans and conservative independents were to reject Mr. McCain (a candidate many of them preferred back in 2000) simply because they don’t like George W. Bush.
Second, Mr. Obama faces genuine obstacles that are more salient than skin color….
Ever since 2000, a lot of so-called progressives have proudly displayed a healthy contempt for less-educated white voters who cast ballots in defiance of their “economic self-interest,” as Thomas Frank argued in “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” (The widespread acceptance of Mr. Frank’s thesis is how John Kerry largely escaped the scorn that is ritually visited upon losing Democratic presidential nominees; the members of his party directed their exasperation at the voters instead.) [I noted that Obama’s bitter/clinging put-down of small town American was pure Frank here.] But surely caricaturing a large subset of voters as ignorant has made those voters even less inclined to pull the lever for the Democrats this time around. All this talk about racism isn’t likely to help.
No, it isn’t. Calling voters racist if they don’t agree with you is not likely to earn their affection, or votes.