- - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The race card has been played so often over the five years of the Obama administration that it’s fraying at the edges. We haven’t seen and heard it played quite so often lately as Obamacare crashed and burned. Everyone feels the same pain. But Oprah Winfrey, the billionaire black diva from Chicago, is trying to preserve it. She explained to an interviewer for the BBC the other day how she thinks the opposition to the president’s radical politics works. “There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs,” Miss Winfrey said, “and that occurs, in some cases, and maybe even many cases, because he’s African-American.”

False patriotism, Samuel Johnson reminded us, is the last refuge of scoundrels, and in the Obama era, the false accusation of racism is the first refuge of liberals. To suggest that opposition to Mr. Obama and his policies is racist presupposes that his critics wouldn’t oppose similar bad stuff if it were proposed by a President Joe Biden, who could scarcely be any whiter, or by a President Hillary Clinton. In that case the scoundrels baying after Joe would be chasing after Hillary. Sexism is only the second-greatest sin.

“I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic,” Hillary once said. She was a mere senator then, speaking at a Democratic Party fundraiser in 2003, urging Americans to “stand up and say, ‘We are Americans, and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.’”

Dancing around issues of race has limited a robust discussion of the administration’s economic policies, and how they have failed blacks, perhaps more so than whites. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri Democrat, once conceded that his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus “probably would be marching on the White House” to protest the president’s performance if that president were not Barack Obama.

“Dislike for [the president and first lady] has nothing to do with the color of their skin,” wrote Mychal Massie, a black conservative talk-show host, in a withering blog post earlier this month. “It has everything to do with their behavior, attitudes and policies. And I have open scorn for their constantly playing the race card.”

The economy lies in tatters and the national debt just topped $17.2 trillion. America’s foreign policy is incoherent, the nation’s health care is at risk, and civil liberties and privacy are on the run, all good reasons for wishing for somebody besides Mr. Obama to be in charge. None of those reasons are about the president’s race.

When Mr. Obama was elected, nearly all Americans, including those who voted for someone else, fervently hoped that his election signaled the beginning of the end of racism and that he would be a unifier to bring all races together. His policies have instead driven the races farther apart. It’s another broken promise.

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