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Friday, October 16, 2009

Roger Finally Answers Your Question, Gordon

Gordon, the near twin, asks:

Here's a question that might lead to some, well, potentially awkward and uncomfortable conversation:

With all of the "criticism" around President Obama winning the Peace Prize, how much of it do you feel is legitimate (i.e., it's too soon to tell) and how much may be racially motivated.

Part of the reason why I ask is that several of my friends, after being moderate/liberal for years, are now suddenly becoming hard-core conservatives, and claiming that they "never trusted" Obama. Although the record's still out for me, to be fair - he's only been in office ten months, and he has some extremely formidable tasks ahead of him...

(I'm still annoyingly moderate, leaning towards liberal)

I'm willing to suggest that lots of people are legitimately in the "too soon to tell" camp, including myself. That said, I too have been fascinated about quickly people have turned with racial vitriol on Obama in general. I may have used the example of a close relative of my buddy Steve Bissette who had voted for Obama less than a year ago and now thinks that we need to "get the n****** out of there."

I think that the black President may have more goodwill with, say blacks - polls suggest that - but perhaps less with others. I'm not saying he didn't waste some of his political capital here and there, but that doesn't explain the racial ugliness that seems to underlie much of it.

Part of it is the VRWC. Even if you've never watched Glenn Beck - I never have - one inevitably has heard that "Obama hates white people" on someone's blog, and that he's "playing the race card", when most of the time, he studiously avoids even talking about it. (And when he does, you end up with a "beer summit.") Add to that the birthers and the like, and suddenly a talk the POTUS wants to give to schoolkids is Communist socialist Nazi propaganda.

You know the old saying, "Where there's smoke, there's fire." Surely SOME of it must be true, right, RIGHT? And if that guy with the funny name hates white people (like his mother and grandparents) and we don't REALLY know anything about him (his TWO autobiographies notwithstanding), then maybe if one thinks he DOES hate white people, I can only imagine that they would not be so kindly disposed toward him.

Take the Chicago Olympics bid. You know I'm with you on not thinking a Chicago Olympics was such a swell idea for reasons you talked about. Still, I believe he HAD to go to Copenhagen to try. Imagine the narrative otherwise. Leaders from Brazil, Japan, and Spain go, but he doesn't. The Games are awarded elsewhere. Obama is blamed; "If he had only gone to the IOC, the Olympics would have come to America. Obama must hate America." It's your basic damned if you do...scenario.

As for the Nobel Prize itself: if he were nominated two weeks after becoming President, he was in the running based on a then-pervasive sense that by electing - dare I say the cliche again? - a "historic" candidate for President, that his Nobel nomination and selection was based on a hope that the United States was taking an important step in becoming a post-racial society. Which it ain't reached yet.

Now, you've gotten me to wondering: if Hillary Clinton, or for that matter, Bill Richardson, had been elected President, might one of them been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize based on THAT historic breakthrough?

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