We talked last night about whether Liberals should be mad at Obama for not doing more to fulfill their agenda. This has been a hot topic for a while now and will be with us as long as he is.
This short blog post conforms with my view, and later I’ll link to a few more. The obstacle of needing 60 votes in the senate just changes everything. and waters down everything, and stalls everything. Our system was not designed for the parliamentary-style, hyper-disciplined opposition party that the Republican Party has become. This was true even before the GOP started to filibuster and oppose every single action of Congress the day Obama took his hand off the Bible (I’m sorry–the Koran), a strategy that literally is unprecedented in all of American history. Citizens who don’t obsessively follow this stuff tend to just blame the president because that’s the guy they think runs the government.
I’ll have more on this later, but for now I’ll just say that Lace’s point that Obama is being held to an unreasonably high standard because of his race should not be dismissed out of hand. I think, clearly, that many Liberals assumed that BO was very, very liberal even though (as Lace and I pointed out) he never campaigned as one and never pledged to be one
So, why did so many Liberals believe otherwise and why do they still as the evidence keeps mounting that they are wrong? Well, I always chalked it up to (1) wishful. thinking after 8 years of extreme conservative government; and (2) the Republicans spent a year relentlessly shouting that BO was some kind of Maoist, terroroist-loving, European-worshipping hippie radical, which stuck a little even to Liberals.
But, Lace’s idea that people just naturally assume that an African-American politician has to be a leftist is very interesting. What evidence supports this? Well, think back to last year. Why do you think that the GOP based its entire campaign on persuading the public that BO was a radical, dangerous Leftist? Why not go back to the tried and true he’s-an-effete-flip-flopping-wine-swilling-elitist meme, like they did to Dukasis or Clinton or Gore or Kerry–you know, every other Democratic presidential candidate ofthe last 20 years? Because they knew it would resonate, that’s why, in large part because the man is Black, I say
Next week Jim will talk about how so much of political speech is designed to activate unconscious neural networks, to associate one’s opponent with ideas or images that our brains already file under “bad.” Jim is reading a great book on this topic thagt I loaned him.
Update: Lace did not make another point explicitely, but it bears examination regardless. Are white Americans quicker to judge harshly a black president because they either (1) have latent hostility towards him because he’s black (even if they are unaware of it); or (2) stereotype him as being less competent, as many whites often do to African-Americans? Since he’s our first Black president, we can’t know for sure, I suppose. But given all that’s known about very common White racial stereotyping, how much of a stretch is it, really?