On the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, conservative pundit Shelby Steele lays out the argument that Barack Obama’s blackness is a unique asset that makes him difficult to beat in 2012. The argument–which, on some level, is worth taking seriously–is that “his presidency flatters America to a degree that no white Republican can hope to compete with. He literally validates the American democratic experiment, if not the broader Enlightenment that gave birth to it.”
You can see how this might be true for a segment of the American population–I wrote in 2007 about pundits who made such arguments–but it’s unclear how this phenomenon might fare against widespread paranoia on the right about Obama’s birthplace, religion, rejection of “American exceptionalism” and so on.
There is a way a Republican can win in 2012, Shelby argues–so long as the candidate can “break through the barrier of political correctness.” The fact that he cites Donald Trump as serious example of how to do this is puzzling.
The bio at the bottom of the piece reads:
Mr. Steele is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Among his books is White Guilt (Harper/Collins, 2007).
White Guilt actually came out in May 2006. Steele did have a book that came out in 2007, but I can see why the Journal wouldn’t want to draw attention to A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win.
Perhaps he meant that Obama wouldn’t get re-elected.