"White America does not like having a black president."
Thus pronounced Michael Moore in an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher." And Maher agreed, "That is the truth."
"The statistics don't lie," Moore plowed ahead. "I'm not talking about polls. I'm talking about that the young people in '08 was the only -- do you know this? -- it's the only demographic -- white demographic -- that Obama won, 18- to 29-year-olds. Every other demographic, over 29, Obama lost the white vote. Every single one."
Crime solved. Case closed. Book 'em, Danno. Except for one minor detail: No Democratic presidential candidate has won the "white vote" since 1964.
Add Obama's name to a long list of white Democrats who lost that demographic: Humphrey in 1968; McGovern in 1972; Carter in 1976 and 1980; Mondale in 1984; Dukakis in 1988; Clinton in 1992 and 1996; Gore in 2000.
In fact, white voters (SET ITAL) preferred (END ITAL) Obama to Sen. John Kerry -- who lost the white vote by 17 points in 2004, while Obama lost it in 2008 by "only" 12 points. Obama improved on Kerry's share of the white vote in every age demographic, including the 18- to 29-year-olds (which Kerry lost).
Did "white America" temporarily forget Obama's skin color, only to remember just in time for the midterm elections? This, perhaps, explains why Obama's approval rating, postelection, shot up to over 70 percent before coming down.
Obama's approval rating now stands at the low- to mid-40s. So, presumably, "white America" reverted back to its historical racism. But how does Moore explain whites like Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with an approval rating at less than 30 percent, and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at 25 percent?
If "white America" dislikes having a black president, why does "white America" -- in the South, no less -- tolerate a black congressperson?
Allen West, a black Republican former lieutenant colonel, won Florida's 22nd Congressional District. Its racial demographics are 82.3 percent white, 3.8 percent black, 1.7 percent Asian, 10.7 percent Hispanic, 0.1 percent Native American and 0.2 percent other.
Tim Scott, a black Republican candidate, won South Carolina's 1st Congressional District. Its racial demographics are 74.8 percent white, 21.1 percent black, 1.3 percent Asian, 2.5 percent Hispanic, 0.4 percent Native American and 0.2 percent other.
Worse, Scott was backed by what the NAACP calls the "racist" tea party! The civil rights organization commissioned a study that purported to unmask the tea party's racism. But NAACP CEO Ben Jealous encountered unexpected skepticism when he appeared on Anderson Cooper's CNN show.
Cooper asked why the NAACP selected a "clearly left-wing group -- which is opposed to the tea party" -- to conduct the study. He said the report "does seem to use a lot of innuendo and a lot of guilt by association." Cooper played a montage of video clips showing prominent Democrats -- from the President on down -- campaigning with the mantra that it's time to "take our country back!" "Why is it when Democrats say 'take our country back,'" said Cooper, "no one says that's extreme nationalism, but when tea party supporters say it, it's ominous and racism in disguise?" Jealous stammered, stumbled and fumbled. Painful to watch.
Actor/producer/director Rob Reiner says the Tim Scott-supporting tea party is not merely racist. It is also fascist. In an appearance on Bill Maher's show, Reiner worried whether a Hitler-like charismatic leader might emerge to lead the party:
Reiner: You never get into a political discussion unless you bring the word Hitler in. You have to have Hitler, so let's put Hitler out there. Here's Hitler, OK? You have bad economic times, right? Hitler, by the way, never got more than 33 percent of the vote ever in Germany. You have bad economic times--
Maher: Well, he only had that one election, let's be honest. ... There was no 1937 election.
Reiner: He wasn't a majority guy, but he was charismatic and they were having bad economic times, just like we are now. People were out of work. They needed jobs, and a guy came along and rallied the troops. My fear is that the tea party gets a charismatic leader, because all they're selling is fear and anger, and that's all Hitler sold."
Not a "majority guy"? President Bill Clinton not only twice lost the white vote but also, like Hitler, never won the majority of the electorate -- 43 percent in 1992 and 49 percent in 1996. And the point is? Well, there is no point -- at least none one might call coherent.
A 2008 Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll asked likely voters whether they would refuse to vote for a black presidential candidate. Only 4 percent said yes -- a smaller number than would refuse to vote for a woman or a Mormon.
It's not about race. The reality is simple, if less comforting to Mr. Moore. "White America" does not even like voting for a white president -- if he is a Democrat.
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