The Great Race Hoax
When Barack Obama rose to national prominence following his 2004 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, his African-American heritage was a footnote to the fawning reception he received from the media and from most Americans.
While the speech was not a case study in brilliant oratory, Illinois State Senator Barack Obama exuded charisma and eloquently discussed an appealing if not particularly original theme of unity and bipartisanship.
Fast forward to today. President Obama's race is no longer a footnote. It is central to his presidency. It is arguably his defining characteristic. Unity and bipartisanship are nowhere to be found.
Who is responsible for this? The blame rests squarely with the American Left, and specifically, with the racialists.
Though it's hard to pinpoint the precise point when President Obama ceased being a post-racial president, I suspect the transition from post-racial to racial accelerated in late spring of 2009, when his approval ratings started to drop from his all-time highs.
It was around that time that the far left began to baselessly speculate that maybe it was the president's race that was causing people to lose confidence in him.
By the time the tea party became a national movement in the summer of 2009, accusations of racism were rampant. Left-wing activists and the media pointed to a handful of offensive (not even necessary racist, just tasteless or crass) signs out of thousands to dishonestly paint the entire movement as racist.
The "birther" fringe gave the Left additional fodder to levy the racism charge.
Soon, the racism charge was leveled not just against the decidedly non-racial and non-racist tea party (many of whose leaders are black), but against all of Obama's political enemies.
Of the scores of pundits in media who routinely vilify and slander their political opponents as racists, many are either employed by or regularly appear on MSNBC, a non-news network which even the left-wing The New Yorker mocked for its complete lack of balance, refusal to air conservative voices, and unequivocal commitment to Obama and his agenda.
If MSNBC is the premier hub for left-wing hatemongering, then Chris Matthews is the hub's supreme commander.
Ever since it became mainstream in far left circles to denounce Obama's conservative detractors as racist, Matthews has been fanatically committed to ensuring that no one outracializes him.
His race baiting often reaches levels previously thought unreachable, such as when he argued that Mitt Romney's reference to "Chicago" was racist. Why? Because Chicago is an urban city with many black inhabitants.
But who is the real racist? When someone mentions "food stamps," Matthews thinks of black people. After one Obama speech, Matthews declared that he "forgot [Obama is] black." Another way of saying that is that Matthews remembers that Obama is black all the time.
Let's face it, if the first thing that Chris Matthews thinks of when he hears "food stamp" is black people, then that's a far better reason to accuse him of being a racist than any reason he has invoked to slander conservatives.
It wasn't a surprise then when Chris Matthews used the occasion of Nelson Mandela's death to compare Obama to Mandela and GOP to apartheid-era racists.
So much for MSNBC and their far left-wing guests. If the charge of racism was confined to the rubber rooms at MSNBC and the small number of Americans who watch that unwatchable network, then it would have no further implications.
But alas, the race conspiracy has gone mainstream. The examples abound.
When David Gregory - of the supposedly mainstream NBC news network -- interviewed Rep. John Lewis during a Meet the Press special commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, John Lewis perverted the "take back our country" slogan by deliberately misinterpreting it to mean that conservatives want to go back to the segregation era!
David Gregory made no response. By saying nothing, he legitimized it. Of course, conservatives sometimes use the "take back our country" slogan to convey that Obama's policies are antithetical to the American tradition of limited government, akin to Michael Moore's book Dude, Where's My Country? which was meant to convey Moore's particular disagreements with the Bush Administration. Funny, no one accused Michael Moore of being an anti-white bigot.
(Not to be outdone, Chris Matthews also unleashed an attack on decency and sanity as a way to commemorate the famous speech.)
The charge of racism is unequivocally absurd and ought not to be brought up in polite company. Obama's high personal favorability ratings, which have exceeded his job approval ratings throughout his presidency, and which have only now started to fall due to the ObamaCare fiasco, belie the myth of race-based opposition. After all, if you disapprove of Obama's policies because he is black, then why would you like him and trust him?
So why has the Left racialized Barack Obama and his presidency? Is it intellectual laziness? An unquenchable desire to smear the hated conservatives? To some extent, it's both. But there's another, more sinister and consequential motive behind the Left's vile attacks on Barack Obama's political enemies.
A central tenet of the racialists' political philosophy is the belief that the United States is an inherently racist country, where racism and so-called "white privilege" trump liberty, individualism, and all other American values.
The proponents of this theory use every case of injustice against a black person -- whether the case is real, fabricated, or anomalous -- to showcase America's deeply racist roots. They are, like Chris Matthews, obsessed with race, and unable to ascribe a nonracial motive to (white) human action.
The election and reelection of President Obama should have been a devastating blow to the racialists: how could a racist country where white privilege reigned supreme elect and then reelect a black president? The short answer is that a racist country could not -- the racialists' theory is bogus.
But leftists do not lay down their arms just because the truth shatters their worldview. As the opposition to Obama grew, the racialists saw their opening: Obama may have been elected and reelected, but the white ruling class, an amorphous cabal of racists, is working tirelessly to ensure Obama's failure by daring to oppose his clearly brilliant policies. It made no difference that conservatives have always staunchly opposed liberal presidents and liberal policies. No, race was the paramount reason for conservative opposition.
The injection of race into the political debate serves two fundamental purposes that go beyond merely smearing political opponents. First, it perpetuates the myths of white privilege and rampant institutional racism. And second, it lays the foundation for rewriting history to conform to the racialists' agenda.
How do the racialists want history to judge President Obama's term in office? Do they want to see it primarily as an epic collision between progressivism and conservatism or do they want to see it as a collision between an African-American president and the racist ruling elite?
Make no mistake about it: the far left intends to write the history of Obama's presidency with the racial theme as the centerpiece. Whether it will work is unknown. One must also differentiate between short-term and long-term history. Historical revisionism that treats the president's race as the dominant aspect of his term might pervade pop-history in the short term, but it might be soundly rejected by historians and popular culture 50-100 years from now.
Nevertheless, historical revisionism is the intent of the racialists. If Obamacare collapses in two years, they will point to the president's race. If he leaves office an unpopular president who failed to achieve anything of substance, they will blame race.
By legitimizing the race debate, the mainstream media has in effect enabled this forthcoming perversion of history. It will happen. The only question is whether the racial theme will be absorbed into the historical record or whether history will expose it for what it is: the great race hoax.
Follow Eugene's angry rants @eslaven