By Matt Patterson
Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages. How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world’s largest economy, direct the world’s most powerful military, execute the world’s most consequential job?
Imagine a future historian examining Obama’s pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League, despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a “community organizer;” a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, less often did he vote “present”); and finally an unaccomplished single term in the United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions.
He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as a legislator. And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama’s “spiritual mentor;” a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama’s colleague and political sponsor. It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?
Not content to wait for history, the incomparable Norman Podhoretz addressed the question recently in the Wall Street Journal:
“To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers, would have lasted a single day. But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberal Dom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were ‘a bit’ extreme, he was given a pass.”
Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass – held to a lower standard – because of the color of his skin.
“And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also so articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said) “non-threatening,” all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?”
Podhoretz puts his finger, I think, on the animating pulse of the Obama phenomenon – affirmative action. Not in the legal sense, of course. But certainly in the motivating sentiment behind all affirmative action laws and regulations, which are designed primarily to make white people, and especially white liberals, feel good about themselves.
Unfortunately, minorities often suffer so that whites can pat themselves on the back. Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor performance and high drop-out rates which follow. Liberals don’t care if these minority students fail; liberals aren’t around to witness the emotional devastation and deflated self-esteem resulting from the racist policy that is affirmative action. Yes,racist. Holding someone to a separate standard merely because of the color of his skin – that’s affirmative action in a nutshell, and if that isn’t racism, then nothing is.