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Would Barack Obama Have Won In 2008 If He Was African American?

November 24, 2012

Does anyone else find it rather sad that African Americans celebrate having “one of their own” in the White House for no other reason than their understandable emotional reaction to the color of his skin?  The United States may well have elected its first “Black” President, but I’m afraid I agree with Morgan Freeman in suggesting that we are still waiting to elect our first “African-American”.  The unfortunate truth is that, until someone better comes along, it is no secret that sharing a skin tone was enough to motivate most African-Americans to vote for a man who, according to (soon to be ex-) Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emmanuel Cleaver, would have been run out of office long ago had he been white.

As well-known conservative Walter Williams noted in 2008:

The son of an African immigrant, Obama does not share the legacy of slavery and oppression in this country with most Americans who happen to be black.  His forefathers never picked cotton in the brutal South, and his grandmother never had to sit on the back of the bus.  He writes of feeling outcast from the circle of black elites he encountered in Ivy League and other elite institutions. Though he shared their skin color, he could not quite share their struggle.  In order to fit in, he went the extra mile. He joined a radical black church in Chicago afte r law school and became, literally, a born-again Negro……

Interestingly, at that point in time, Dr. Williams also seems to have been swept away in the same national wave of enthusiasm which swept Barack Obama into his first term of office.  Black or white, conservative or liberal, the appeal of electing a black contender to the nation’s highest office was undeniable.  Presidential candidate Obama seemingly promised a post-racial society while campaigning on a platform of promises and platitudes masterfully designed to allow each voter to fill in the blanks in a way suggesting agreement .

I highly respect Dr.Williams and his perspectives and thus what follows shows how brilliantly conceived and executed was that first Presidential campaign.

By eschewing the usual high-powered law firm job in favor of community organizing, Obama further solidified his street credentials.  But ultimately, this was not enough.  When asked to take the final, incorrigible step of damning America, he refused to drink the kool-aid.

And Dr. Williams goes on to say:

Obama’s perspective is that strengthening family values and upholding morality may be the one thing within the black community’s control that can actually reduce their marginalization.  How refreshing it is for once to hear a plan for victory rather than a loser’s excuses coming from liberal politician.

I really mean no harm to Dr. Williams in anyway, but aside from his assertions that the President may be Black, but he doesn’t share the same experiences as most African American, the article also provides some excellent insight into why the President was elected in the first place.  As the reader can see from the quotes in this article, and further supported by reading the Dr. Williams’ article in its’ entirety,  the Obama who ran in 2008 took great pains to appeal to the independent and conservative voter.  Compare the post-racial and post-partisan narrative of President Obama’s first Presidential campaign with the more recent campaign of 2012, not to mention his rhetoric and style of governance.

In the next section I will delve a little more deeply into the President’s early life with a particular emphasis on why and how his early experiences may have affected his outlook in ways you may not have considered.

Thank you.

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