...there was a mythical black president who held court with his white wife. They lorded over the land, until he was impeached and she bolted for the world's greatest deliberative body.
Today, the mythical first black president is trying to help his white wife beat a man who could be the actual first black president.
The white wife launched the first racial salvo, when she suggested that all Martin Luther King, Jr. did for civil rights was to "make speeches." To reinforce the point, she said, "It took a president (Lyndon Johnson) to get it done." Meaning: it was swell that King made some speeches and stuff, but it took the white guy in power to make it happen.
The mythical first black president then disrupted his welcome in Black Presidentville with a cranky tantrum: the campaign of the actual black man in the race was "the biggest fairy tale" he'd ever seen. And he's seen a lot of them, so there.
Blacks around the country took offense that their mythical leader would dismiss the actual black candidate as a fantasy, so the mythical black president took to the airwaves to try to clarify: he meant that the black candidate's position on Iraq was a "fairy tale," not his candidacy. Black audiences weren't buying what the mythical black president was selling this time.
Meanwhile, the white wife claimed that while the black candidate was an "inspirational speaker" (shorthand for a great preacher), he hadn't "put in the spade work to be president."
The Rev. Al Sharpton must be too busy admiring his "Destroying Don Imus Award" to notice.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," the white wife claimed that this campaign shouldn't be "about race." Which is why she didn't mention race, right?
New polls show that black voters support the actual black candidate by a 50 point margin over the white wife of the mythical black president. Among white voters, the white wife has a much more vulnerable 14 point lead.
Black voters in South Carolina and beyond might say to the New Hampshire women who carried her over the finish line, "We're glad you're proud to have a woman in the race. But we've got a black man in the race, and we're proud of him, too." The pendulum, in other words, is about to shift again.
Race was irrelevant before the mythical black president and his white wife injected it into this campaign. Nobody much cared about the color of the black candidate's skin. They just cared that he was smart and dynamic and talented and they worried that he may not have had enough experience. But the white wife's campaign was seeing these polls before any of us did. She knew that she'd have to make it about race to scare up racial fears and get her base---white voters---to the polls. It's the dirtiest of dirty tricks.
Here's another rich but sad irony: the mythical first black president and his white wife claim to embrace minorities, to work for their advancement, to help them achieve equality, and to work toward racial unity. And yet here they are, stoking the flames of racism, dismissing a black man of undeniable ability as a "fairy tale," and dividing by race.
For two people who claim to admire Dr. King, the mythical black president and his white wife have turned his most powerful adage upside down: they are asking us to judge the black candidate by the color of his skin, NOT by the content of his character.
Then again, would you expect anything different from two people whose own characters are empty and malignant?