Obama Plays Race Card on Falling Poll Numbers While New Yorker's Remnick Tries to Rewrite History

Much will be written, and should be, about President Barack Obama's whining that racism partially explains the year-long plunge in his popularity since his reelection in 2012. What's also worth noting about the ponderous and painfully long (18 web pages) January 27 writeup in The New Yorker ("Going the Distance; On and off the road with Barack Obama") is David Remnick's apparent obsessions with rewriting history and recasting reality.

But first, here's the paragraph where Obama, apparently feeling that the "it's Bush's fault I inherited all these messes" card may finally have worn itself out, goes for the race card (bolds and numbered tags are mine):


Obama’s election was one of the great markers in the black freedom struggle. In the electoral realm, ironically, the country may be more racially divided than it has been in a generation. Obama lost among white voters in 2012 by a margin greater than any victor in American history. [1] The popular opposition to the Administration comes largely from older whites who feel threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained in a globalized economy and in an increasingly diverse country. [2] Obama’s drop in the polls in 2013 was especially grave among white voters. “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. [3] “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President." [4] The latter group has been less in evidence of late.


[1] – Only someone who has spent over three decades in hermetically sealed leftist echo chambers (10 years with the Washington Post and over 20 at the New Yorker) would find "irony" in this. This is not "ironic" at all, David. It's the fully predictable result of Obama's administration and his presidential campaigns, especially the 2012 reelection effort, stoking the racial divide in so many ways. There's enough proof of that in the actions, inactions, and statements of Attorney General Eric Holder alone, but there is of course much, much more.

[2] – Let's revise this: "Opposition to Obama comes largely from all kinds of people who are actually threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained." Sorry, David. You don't drop a dozen or so points in the polls without a quite diverse group of people turning on you. Gallup's January 6-12 polling results show 39%, 39%, and 36% approval among the 30-49, 50-64, and 65-plus age groups, respectively. In other words, David, Obama's getting weak approval across the board from Americans over 30. Your "largely from older whites" claim is horse manure. There's plenty of disapproval to go around.

[3] – Of course, we have to point out that Obama is not really "black," as in "African-American." But more to the point in popular perception, what matters far more than Obama's race, which is the same as it was 14 months ago, are his broken "if you like your plan-doctor-medical provider-drug regimen, you can keep them" guarantees and the disastrous, still security-compromised rollout of HealthCare.gov and many of the state exchanges.

[4] – Obama's support among blacks is still in the high 80s. There's a lot of "the benefit of the doubt" in what remains of Obama's approval level.

Now let's get to just a few (trust me — I could go on and on and on) of David Remnick's acts of historical revisionism:

The congressional Republicans quashed nearly all legislation as a matter of principle and shut down the government for sixteen days, before relenting out of sheer tactical confusion and embarrassment—and yet it was the President’s miseries that dominated the year-end summations.

It's inarguable that Republicans in the House passed quite a few measures in 2012, and that it was the Senate which did the "quashing."

His biggest early disappointment as President was being forced to recognize that his romantic vision of a post-partisan era, in which there are no red states or blue states, only the United States, was, in practical terms, a fantasy. It was a difficult fantasy to relinquish.

Few outside the Beltway who follows the news seriously believe that this "romantic vision" was ever a legitimate desire on Obama's part.

The dream of bipartisan cooperation glimmered again after Obama won reëlection against Mitt Romney with fifty-one per cent of the popular vote. ... reëlection, he thought, had “liberated” Obama. The second Inaugural Address was the most liberal since the nineteen-sixties.

In other words, once liberated, he thought he could turn into the ultimate partisan, and that the opposition would be intimidated into rolling over. That is, his reelection had nothing to do with reviving "bipartisan cooperation."

One of the enduring mysteries of the Obama years is that so many members of the hyper-deluxe economy—corporate C.E.O.s and Wall Street bankers—have abandoned him. The Dow is more than twice what it was when Obama took office, in 2009 ...

Uh, David, maybe that's because they understand the implications of $6 trillion-plus in additonal debt added by this administration (a large percentage of it bought by a Federal Reserve creating money out of thin air), as well as its nonchalant attitude towards running $500 billion-plus annual deficits as far as the eye can see. Too bad you don't.

Even in front of West Coast liberals, he is always careful to disavow liberalism—the word, anyway. “I’m not a particularly ideological person,” Obama told Jon Shirley and his guests. “There’s things, some values I feel passionately about.” He said that these included making sure that everybody is “being treated with dignity or respect regardless of what they look like or what their last name is or who they love,” providing a strong defense, and “leaving a planet that is as spectacular as the one we inherited from our parents and our grandparents.”

Really, I've got nothing for this. The horse manure is so deep I need thigh-high boots.

Although Obama has infuriated the right with relatively modest executive orders on gun control and some stronger ones on climate change, he has issued the fewest of any modern President, except George H. W. Bush.

Yes, but he has three more years to go, David. His EO total of 167 puts him on track to likely catch Bush 43 (291) and JFK (214). Also, keep in mind that EO-crazy Bill Clinton issued 54 EOs in his last 20 days in office. Who doesn't believe that Obama, especially if a Republican wins in 2016, won't go at least as EO-crazy as Clinton did? If so, Obama's EO total could well pass Carter (320), LBJ (325), and Nixon (346).

The politician sensitive to winds and currents was visible in Obama’s coy talk of his “evolving” position on gay marriage. Obama conceded in one of our later conversations only that it’s “fair to say that I may have come to that realization slightly before I actually made the announcement” favoring gay marriage, in May of 2012.

Definition of "slightly before": 16 years, i.e., 1996 (something Remnick acknowledged without trying to explain how or even if Obama ever really moved away from that position).

When I asked Obama about another area of shifting public opinion—the legalization of marijuana—he seemed even less eager to evolve with any dispatch and get in front of the issue. “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

For a guy with what is supposedly an "enormous brain" who has been "bored to death his whole life" because what ordinary people do just isn't that challenging, this is really a dumb statement. As a friend asked me earlier today, in essence, "How many kids are going to become aware of this and decide that pot isn't so bad — after all, this guy become president!"

Great point.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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