Barack Obama’s cult of victimhood

ST reader GWR made a good point in an earlier thread about the idea that Barack Obama might have actually welcomed the controversial New Yorker cover, because it helped him play the victim card and in turn made him an even more sympathetic character to his supporters and undecideds than he had previously appeared.   I’d like to add some additional comments to GWR’s point.

Now we all know Obama is notorious for playing that card just about anytime he’s criticized, whether it be tasteless criticism or legit criticism – it’s a tried and true tactic that has resulted in some people being reluctant to criticize The Chosen One for fear of being painted as an evil racist/bigot/Rethuglican/etc), but it did not hit me until today the high degree of victim card playing he’s engaged in, and how it’s aided him in gaining support from people who hate to see “the nice guy” (aka: him) get “picked on” (aka: justifiably criticized). 

Think about it: Not only has he played the victim card against conservative criticism – hell, we expected that, right? But he’s also done it against liberal criticism as well: think Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and now Jesse Jackson (just to name a few).   And keep in mind, that New Yorker cover wasn’t even meant to be critical – it was meant to be satirical.  But o’ course, Obama used it to paint himself as a poor lil ol’ guy who was just walking to the corner Rite-Aid to pick up a soda and a magazine and all of a sudden his name is up in lights and a caricature of him has been painted of him that he feels is grossly unfair.

Now, of course Jackson’s criticism is no doubt repulsive but even at that it still gave Barry Oh! yet another opportunity to say/imply, “Look, in additon to my conservative critics, even some staunch liberals are against me! I’m running against the wind! They don’t want me to win because I represent The New Way!  We must fight against The Old Way!”

In some respects he’s doing exactly what Kerry did in 2004.  Those heartless Swift Boaters relentlessly questioned his ‘nam military record and his post ‘nam anti-war activities, and as a result Kerry and his surrogates routinely whined all the way up til November (and beyond) that he was the victim of cruel, coordinated, baseless smear attacks by the GOP.  But with Obama, he’s got a card he can play that Kerry never will have: the race card, which we saw both him and his campaign use starting in January prior to the SC Dem primary.  Obama and his campaign continued to play the race card well beyond South Carolina.

This is a card he knows he can get away with playing, because so many in white America (including way too many white Republicans) are fearful of false accusations/implications of racism, accusations/implications that can stick with you for the rest of your life, even when there’s no evidence of racism in what you’ve said/done.  So instead of questioning Obama – especially on racial issues – there are people who just stay silent or even in some cases, bizarrely agree with Obama even when there’s no basis for it. 

Obama’s been praised by many, including me, for his calls for responsiblity in the black community.  Much has been written and/or said about how this whole Jesse Jackson controversy allegedly exemplifies a point Obama made in his race speech when he talked about the older generation of black people who were stuck in the 60s (like his “former” pastor Rev. Wright) versus younger black people like him who supposedly want to move beyond the divisiveness of such people. 

But if you think about it, the Revs Jackson and Sharpton, among other black liberal “leaders”, have been playing the victim card for years, and have advanced the political careers of other Democrats (both white and black) by demagoguing their Republican opposition as nothing but racists.  What we’re seeing this election year is that The New Guy In Town Obama doesn’t need the Revs Jackson and Sharpton to do the dirty work for him that they’ve done for themselves and others Democrats over the years.  He can do it all by himself by making himself out to be a victim.  In this regard, he is even more clever than his race-card playing predecessors.  He just does it in a the “nice guy” way that makes a certain segment of white America feel sorry for him and what he has to “put up with” from his evil critics, some of whom simply must be racists by daring to question and/or criticize him.

For someone who supposedly wanted an “open dialogue” with the American people, and to move beyond the divisive race-baiting politics of the past, Barack Obama’s sure got a lousy way of showing it.

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