Writes David Limbaugh — saying something a lot of people have been saying.
My question is: Did Barack Obama tout himself as a post-racial President? Or did starry-eyed voters imagine that's what they'd get?
Seriously, quote me some quotes: What did he say? Or did he just stand back and allow white people to spin out their fantasies of conquering race once and for all? Was there a point when he should have spoken up and said, it's not going to work that way? Is he guilty of deception or are those who voted based on the post-racial dream guilty of self-deception? Do you blame a political candidate for not correcting people who have formed an excessively idealized picture of him?
Remember when Bill Clinton said "This whole thing is the biggest fairytale I’ve ever seen"? People didn't want to hear that, and Bill himself hustled to deny that he was referring to the way people were fantasizing about the significance of electing a black President. It wasn't to be talked about.
I think this idea that electing a black President would redeem us from all things racial was something that developed as a shared and mostly unspoken delusion. Obama presented himself as another candidate, running on issues, and throwing out high-level abstract platitudes. Those who voted for him because they believed his election would make us post-racial — and I'm not one of them, though I voted for him — need to take responsibility for their own distorted, exaggerated thoughts.
Now, David Limbaugh did not vote for Obama. He's keeping the old delusion alive to use it as leverage to argue what he's probably always argued, that we should shift, right now, to a race-blind way of life. "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," as the Chief Justice famously wrote.
And speaking of Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh was always utterly clear and emphatic, throughout the 2008 campaign, that the election of a black President would not begin an era of post-racialism. The racial politics would continue (and increase) and you're a fool to think otherwise.
So who thought it? Who said it? Who touted it? Was it Obama? I don't think so.