Political scientists and pollsters knew from day one that Obama’s race would be a factor in his success or failure as president; it’s just that nobody really knew how much of a factor it would play. Would the nation’s challenges; the recession, mid-east wars and healthcare be enough for prejudiced whites in Congress and D.C. to look past race and do what’s best for the country? Which would be a bigger challenge, Obama’s relative inexperience in Washington or entrenched racial attitudes and D.C politicking? It didn’t take that long to find out.
Obama has made a slew of “rookie” mistakes in his presidency, like his messaging on health care, poor negotiating on the debate ceiling and disturbing double speak on civil liberties. However the reactions to his mistakes and his very presidency from Republicans have always been above and beyond anything his behavior has warranted. From screaming Joe Wilson to birthers to fringe Tea Party groups, there always seems to be a racial undercurrent to Obama’s opposition in Washington.
In Obama’s first term this could be chalked up to Republicans trying to make sure Obama didn’t get re-elected, and Democrats nervous about a replay of the 2010 mid-terms. But now, just a few months after the 2012 elections, we’ve reached a tipping point where it’s clear nothing of substance from the Obama agenda will get passed. Despite support in the polls in the wake of the Sandy Hook and Aurora mass shootings, Obama couldn’t get the Senate to even debate gun control.