Bill O'Reilly's opening "Talking Points Memo" last night was an almost crystalline exhibition of the reason the "post racial politics" now popular with American liberals -- including President Obama -- is an abject failure: because it utterly fails to take into account the intransigence and base irrationality of the American Right.
Naturally, when one of his guests -- Caroline Heldman of Occidental College -- had the audacity to point out the right's "racial fearmongering machine", he went ballistic on her in an overt attempt to deny the existence of the very tactics he was indulging.
See, according to BillO, President Obama is losing popularity with white Americans because they perceive his insistently non-racial economic-uplift program in insistently racial terms -- and he's popular with blacks because they do too.
He tried to describe this in terms that absolves whites of racializing the issues, and blames blacks and minorities for it instead:
Let's take the white situation first. According to the polls, most white Americans don't like the huge expansion of the federal government. They also oppose the big spending increases that the president has imposed. It's simple. White Americans fear government control. They don't want the feds telling them what to do, and they don't want a bankrupt nation.
... But black America has a totally different view. For decades, African-Americans have supported a bigger federal government so it can impose social justice. A vast majority of blacks want money spent to level the playing field, to redistribute income from the white establishment to their precincts, and to provide better education and health care at government expense. So the African-American voter generally loves what President Obama is doing.
As for Hispanic-Americans, 54 percent now support Mr. Obama, but that is down nine points since April. The social justice component is there as well.
There's no question that there are now two Americas. The minority community continues to believe that society is not completely fair to them, and they want a huge government apparatus to change that. And while the white community may sympathize with the minority situation, they apparently believe that more harm than good is being done to the country with the cost of social justice programs.
My own belief is that President Obama is well-intentioned, but if the wild spending continues, this country will be gravely damaged. As far as social justice is concerned, strict oversight on fair rules, but not the imposition of expensive entitlements, is the answer.
The USA is the strongest country on Earth because of self-reliance and the industry of honest, hardworking people who don't want to be told how to live. Independence and self-reliance is what has made this country great, powerful and generous.
O'Reilly tries to claim here that white Americans' rationale for turning against Obama is purely a policy-based one -- but it also hinges on a rationale that is almost purely racial, namely, that Obama's "social justice" programs such as health care reform, are perceived as handouts to minorities. Indeed, O'Reilly's rationale for the steady black support for Obama is that minorities must perceive them as that too.
Nevermind, of course, that health-care reform not only is utterly color-blind in nature, it also was designed not to cost taxpayers. Nevermind that the only "spending" programs Obama has embarked upon have been either bailouts for the financial and auto sectors or a stimulus package that likewise was specifically colorblind in nature.
Nonetheless, this is the self-serving racial narrative that the Right has constructed about Obama: He is secretly a black Marxist/Muslim radical whose every social initiative is dedicated to creating "social justice" handouts for minorities at the expense of white people -- but whites' resistance to his programs is purely a matter of their opposition to big government and taxes that pay for these handouts (to people who of course do not deserve it). If anybody's being racist, it's those parasitic black people who want the handouts to keep flowing out of white people's pockets.
What's clear is that even though Obama has explicitly eschewed pursuing race-conscious policies -- promoting, instead, the "universal uplift"/rising-tide-lifts-all-boats thinking popular with "post-racial" liberals -- those policies are regardless perceived in racial terms by white conservatives.
As Tim Wise puts it in has incredible new book, Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity:
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