Just Waiting for the Great White Hope

President Obama. Image from http://www.frumforum.com/obama-regrets-debt-ceiling-vote

You know about the Great White Hope, don’t you? You know about the Great White Hope, don’t you?

At the turn of the 20th Century, Jack Johnson, an African American, won the boxing heavyweight championship of the world. He beat a white man. During the era of Jim Crow in the South and racial condescension in the rest of the country, it was unthinkable that a black man could ever best a white. And so the wishin’ and hopin’ and prayin’ began in earnest for a white boxer to appear who would best Johnson and effectively put paid to the fluke that a black man could ever beat anyone white.

Funny enough, at the Berlin Olympics of 1936, America went color-blind for a moment, to rally behind athletes Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe, the future Congressman and co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, in opposition to an event which was presented as the Germans’ example of Aryan superiority in all things.

Two decades later, Jackie Robinson was “allowed” to integrate professional baseball. Less than half a century after pivotal civil rights’ legislation, our country elected the first African American President. Morally superior Europe looked at us in awe, because morally superior Europe brushed its own racial problems under its collective carpet, but in the week before Barack Obama’s historic achievement, the British historian Simon Schama told a transatlantic audience that a Barack Obama would never happen in the United Kingdom – not in the next decade and not in the next five decades.

This was America’s moment to put aside an element of racism which had long pervaded and defined a lot of American life. Of course, it didn’t. We knew it wouldn’t. And it was easy to surmise that most of the objection and the delegitimization of this Presidency would come from the Right and from the South. I mean, that’s where all the racists are, aren’t they?

As the United States teeters toward defaulting on its massive debt, more and more we’ve seen, especially this year, that it isn’t just the Southern Republicans who have a problem with a black man in the White House. Many on the Left seem to have a problem dealing with a very competent and very intelligent black man who’s pretty much smarter than a lot of what you see on our side of the aisle on Capitol Hill, and who’s made it patently clear that while he’s in the White House, he’s there to work for the best interests of “the American People” and not just to kowtow to those who deem themselves to be his Progressive masters – whether they be in Congress, in the media or in the blogosphere.

There are some on the Left who call themselves pundits, who really have no idea of how politics really works, much less how government is supposed to work. Some of these people opining on what the President SHOULD say, what he SHOULD do and how he SHOULD act, almost to the point of ordering him about, have no real connection to the political world at all; but, for whatever reason, they’ve got a pulpit and a television camera, and since 2009, instead of lauding this man his achievements on our behalf, instead of encouraging us in our support for a President from our side of the political spectrum, they’ve refined nitpicking to a polished art and incessantly criticize the President as much, if not more, than Fox News.

During the healthcare debate, rife with lies and misinformation during the summer of 2009, instead of aiding the Democrats in their message about what exactly healthcare for all was supposed to achieve, MSNBC gave unbridled coverage to Tea Party assemblies. Various male pundits and comedians-cum-pundits were fascinated by Sarah Palin and now turn that fascination to Michele Bachmann.

Constant throughout this Administration has been the cry now and again for Progressives to unite with the Tea Party. Arianna Huffington started this meme, the same year she wanted Joe Biden to resign and “rebel” against the White House. Jane Hamsher openly sides now with conservative commentators and Republicans, deeming any Obama supporter the “dumbest motherfucker.” And even wannabe mean girl Joan Walsh, wallowing in the Puma-iest self-pity that the Democratic Party would deign to choose a black man over a “qualified white woman,” now suggests that the Democrats on the Hill combine forces with the GOP in a game of terminal chicken against the President.

These people stopped listening to the President ages ago, and along with the likes of John Boehner, Eric Cantor and various members of the White House press corps (some of whom ascended from the ranks of rank bloggers, themselves), treat him with open disrespect – reckoning him naive, incapable, incompetent, spineless and shallow, when he affects calm in a stressful situation, and stoking that well-known fear of “the angry black man” when he shows passion and frustration. Some of these people, like Joan, even exhort the sheeple of Cyberland not to pay any attention to the President; instead, listen to them.

Well, just look at the number of talking heads who, in former lives not too long ago, were card-carrying Republicans. Some still are and are screwing the lowest common denominator of the Left: – Arianna Huffington, Cenk Uygur, and Ed Schultz (puts a whole new complexion on his exhortation to Progressives not to vote in the midterms, doesn’t it?)

Others, like Michael Moore, Katrina vanden Heuvel and Bill Maher trolled the country and the airwaves in 2000, telling anyone who would listen that Bush and Gore were the same, and it was so much better and more important to vote for Ralph Nader. Consider this trio of false prophets enablers of the phenomenon that was George W Bush.

We all know that the GOP is searching frantically for its White Knight. We know that they’ll probably move heaven and earth to ensure that said Knight is not Michele Bachmann. After all, it was the Rightwing who broke the story about her incapacitating migraines.

That’s fine. We expect them to do that. They’re the opposition.

But it seems that the Left has never left off looking for their own special brand of a white political Jesus, as we constantly hear blips and grips about wanting to find someone, anyone willing to step up and primary the President. No surprise that all the names mentioned have been white. Faux Progressive Hamsher is even offering “re-education” classes for African Americans, intent on telling them what SHE thinks Obama is really about. If that isn’t condescending racism, I don’t know what is.

With all the spin, supposition and fear-mongering innuendo the usual hacks in the media have managed to ratchet up regarding what they want the public to believe about the President’s perceived dismantling of Social Security and Medicare, it seems a lot of people are investing their hopes in Bernie Sanders.

I have great respect for Senator Sanders. I like him. But he comes from a primarily white state which is also a primarily prosperous state. His filibuster against extending the Bush tax cuts last December would have been admirable had that compromise not included vital legislation benefiting the unemployed, the poor, the working poor and students from working class backgrounds. The fact that he readily appropriated himself of the help offered by that noted Congressional “Progressive” (not) Mary Landrieu, who certainly represents a state with a huge number of poor and disadvantaged people, was rankly cynical.

There’s a sad irony in all of this that Democrats and people who purport to be from the Left would think about repudiating the nation’s first African American President. It’s supremely hypocritical, and actually, it’s just what the Right wants to see; because it proves to them and to any independent observer from another country, that the so-called Left is not really any different than their blood brothers on the Right.

So let them proceed with their primary fantasies. Maybe there will be someone brave or stupid enough to step forward and commit political suicide, both for themselves and for the Democratic Party as a whole. Because in primarying this sitting President, they’ll attain their great white hope, although it may not be the one for whom the Left is hoping, and it might just lead to an unbroken hegemony of great white Right-wing hopes that will last a generation and firmly close the Overton window forever.