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Of course, if you let such a consideration determine whether you cross a street, buy a house or send your kid to a school, these very same people would have another name for it: “unreformed racism.”

This galling hypocrisy came into particularly sharp focus as we learned the unfortunate news that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour would not run for president. Few people would have offered a sharper contrast to our current president than Mr. Barbour.

For you racists here in Washington, we are not talking about their skin color, their accents or the textures of their hair. We are talking about their diametrically opposed views about the proper role of the federal government in our lives. President Obama sides with the federal government while Mr. Barbour sides with individual freedom.

Here in Washington, many Republicans could be heard sighing in relief that the next election won’t “relive the old race battles of the civil rights era.”

As if the rest of America is stuck in same racist time warp that still grips this crowd.

But then again, by the time these hucksters got done polling, strategizing, defining and running a race between Mr. Obama and Mr. Barbour, they probably would have reduced it to little more than a racial beatdown worthy of a McDonald’s bathroom.

Charles Hurt’s column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached at charleshurt@live.com.