There are so many metaphors to use to frame the discussion of the treatment of Barack Obama’s pre- and post-inauguration performance. To a parent, everything their kids do is cute, creative, or beautiful. In the case of President Obama, to the mainstream media everything he does is beautiful. How else can we explain the reaction to a decidedly mundane inauguration speech, not to mention the rest of his campaign. His lofty rhetoric sounds impressive, but – is it?
In a particularly insightful piece, Juan Williams describes how Americans should “judge Obama on Performance Alone”. What a concept, eh? Too often during the last year or so the press has displayed a collective man-crush on Obama, seemingly oblivious to the oft-lackluster nature of his performance. Those of us on the right who have taken the “red pill” have seen that he has hardly received an unbiased assessment of his performance.
Obama’s accomplishment is not so much a victory against racism as an indicator that racism is no longer a limiting factor for blacks in America. The fact that he won a decisive (not landslide, but decisive) victory over McCain indicates that the country has determined that race is not a hinderance to leadership. However, race apparently still serves as an inhibitor for honesty. The press, as well as many others, appears to be terrified to criticize our second black President. One could blame this on the leftward lean of the press – and I do – but the failure to criticize be more deeply-rooted.
In Williams piece, he gets to the crux of the matter:
If his presidency is to represent the full power of the idea that black Americans are just like everyone else — fully human and fully capable of intellect, courage and patriotism — then Barack Obama has to be subject to the same rough and tumble of political criticism experienced by his predecessors. To treat the first black president as if he is a fragile flower is certain to hobble him. It is also to waste a tremendous opportunity for improving race relations by doing away with stereotypes and seeing the potential in all Americans.
Yet there is fear, especially among black people, that criticism of him or any of his failures might be twisted into evidence that people of color cannot effectively lead. That amounts to wasting time and energy reacting to hateful stereotypes. It also leads to treating all criticism of Mr. Obama, whether legitimate, wrong-headed or even mean-spirited, as racist.
Did we not mention that syndrome early and often during the campaign?
The fear that criticism could be “twisted” is ironic, considering how the election of Obama has been identified as the beginning of the end, if not THE end, of racism in America. But would a false protection of Obama from critique not exacerbate racism rather than preventing it?
This is patronizing. Worse, it carries an implicit presumption of inferiority. Every American president must be held to the highest standard. No president of any color should be given a free pass for screw-ups, lies or failure to keep a promise.
It seems that Williams agrees. This behavior carries a presumption of inferiority – racism.
What is the ramification of this “soft bigotry of inflated expectations”, to borrow from former President Bush?
There is a dangerous trap being set here. The same media people invested in boosting a black man to the White House as a matter of history have set very high expectations for him. When he disappoints, as presidents and other human beings inevitably do, the backlash may be extreme.
Yes. The backlash may result in even more racism than the black community and press was trying to avoid (or as some cynics would say, “foster”) in the first place.
The press is, without a doubt, guilty of fawning, slobbering worship of Obama. They have steadfastly refused to do due diligence in investigating Obama’s background and qualifications and have declined to even mildly critique his performance. By their blatantly biased reporting and protection of Obama from criticism, they make themselves look foolish and set him up for an eventual fall when his missteps are so patently stupid that they can’t help but point it out. (Note: some would say that this has already happened)
Thanks to Juan Williams for pointing out the obvious (to some, at least) and putting the issue on the table.