I was astonished to see an interview on Yahoo this morning in which George W. Bush seemed – well – reasonable. He is not one of my favorite people (I’m sure this makes him so sad). My assessment of him is that he stole the presidency of the United States, tricked the country into a cancerous war and exploited his position as head of state to enrich his friends and financial allies.
When I watch him on TV, insincerity usually shines from every pore on his countenance. But not today. Perhaps now that he’s almost out of there, he can relax and be human.
He was asked whether he was sorry for Hillary Clinton, and he replied sympathetically. The Democratic nomination campaign has been long and grueling, and he can imagine how exhausted both candidates must be, he said.
But that’s not what hit home with me.
It was his response to the next question: Did he think the general election would spark an ugly contest based on race?
Only if the press wants it to, he said (or words to that effect – I don’t recall the exact quote).
He went on to say American voters would choose the next president on the basis of their concept of what would be best for the country.
Coming on the heels of that woeful trouncing that Hillary handed Barack Obama in West Virginia, those were surprisingly insightful comments. While the pundits (and Hillary herself) emphasized the racial aspects of the West Virginia Primary, Bush was perceptive enough to see that race really had little to do with the results.
I believe he is right when he says Americans have come too far to regress to race baiting.
Sure, the West Virginian electorate is 95 percent white, and (according to the all-knowing media) they are mostly “working class,” whatever that is. I suppose they belong to a class that has to work for a living, unlike the media pundits who are paid a gazillion dollars to talk nonsense.
And the nonsense they are talking right now is about race. That’s dangerous nonsense. It could open a Pandora’s Box that none of us wants opened.
West Virginians didn’t vote for Obama for a lot of different reasons. First and foremost, they know the Clintons, and they like what they know of them. They don’t know this sweet-talking city slicker with his glib promise of change. Barack is an unfamiliar and exotic figure to the folks in those parts. What’s all this about his crazy pastor, anyway? Where in the world is Indonesia? And why would anybody grow up in a place where they eat dogs?
Besides, wasn’t his mother some kind of Hippie? And didn’t she marry a man from some place in Africa? What was that all about? Folks in West Virginia marry their own kind — often their own kin.
Sure, some West Virginians probably voted against Barack because he is “black,” but I bet they are in the minority. I think the majority voted against him because he is unfamiliar, and they are the kind of people who would “rather be safe than sorry.”
In several other states, where voters are less timid, Barack was favored by people of all skin shades and ethnic backgrounds. I don’t think he has anything to fear from the vast majority of “white” Americans (“working class” or otherwise) in the year 2008. America has progressed in the 44 years since President Johnson signed the civil rights act into law. As Barack says, we have yet to perfect the Union, but we’re getting there.
And the media do the working people of this nation (white and black) a great disservice by branding them as racists.