Funky President (People It's Tolerable)


Michael Crowley has an interesting, enterprising story about the extreme right, white pride movement's reaction to Barack Obama. He talks to David Duke, who considers Obama no worse than the white candidates left in the race. He scours the Stormfront-y corners of the web, where there's less fear of a black president than conspiracymongering about ZOG.

After Obama won the Iowa caucuses last month, Mark Potok, a researcher at the Southern Poverty Law Center, decided to survey the latest writings of the major right-wing hate groups he regularly monitors. How would America's vilest race-mongers respond to a black candidate's victory in a white Midwestern state? Again, the response was counterintuitive. "It was extremely weak," Potok says. "You could find people saying nasty words about Obama, but it wasn't red-hot at all."

That has remained the case even as Obama has become the front-runner. On several websites, forums, and online journals that promote the view of white superiority over blacks–the types of outlets that rejoiced over Hurricane Katrina and the destruction of the Lower Ninth Ward–there is precious little discussion of Obama's campaign. The day after Obama's blowout win in Wisconsin, for instance, the home page of the poisonous Vanguard News Network featured stories on Serbian nationalism, home schooling, Holocaust-denial, and Pat Buchanan–yet nothing about Obama. It turns out that, although the white right certainly has no love for Obama, its hatred of him is muted–and directed less at Obama himself than at other nefarious forces behind him.

This seems like a good time to revisit the "Bradley effect," the theory that Obama was losing votes on election day from scared whites who told pollsters, uh, sure, they'd vote for the black guy… and then voted for Clinton or Edwards. While there have definitely been odd pockets precincts and counties where Obama bottomed out, or there was a huge John Edwards protest vote (anyone want to explain how he broke 13 percent in southern Oklahoma a week after quitting the race?), we have not seen another situation like New Hampshire, where Obama underperformed his polls. Check out Virginia, where the final SurveyUSA poll showed Obama beating Clinton 60-38 and getting 47 percent of the white vote to her 49 percent. On election day Obama won by 28 points and won the white vote 52-47. He won the white vote again in Wisconsin, winning by 17 points a state where polls had him up by 5 or 6.

The Pew Research center has been testing this out with every primary and come to different conclusions, and I haven't done as much research as them, but outside of the deep South there doesn't seem to be the lying and polarization among scaredy-cat whites that we were told existed after New Hampshire.