Obama's slam on Clarence Thomas at Saturday's Saddleback Presidential Forum hosted by Rick Warren is analyzed by the Wall Street Journal.
Obama on Clarence Thomas
August 18, 2008
Barack Obama likes to portray himself as a centrist politician who wants to unite the country, but occasionally his postpartisan mask slips. That was the case at Saturday night's Saddleback Church forum, when Mr. Obama chose to demean Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Pastor Rick Warren asked each Presidential candidate which Justices he would not have nominated. Mr. McCain said, "with all due respect" the four most liberal sitting Justices because of his different judicial philosophy.
Mr. Obama took a lower road, replying first that "that's a good one," and then adding that "I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don't think that he, I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation. Setting aside the fact that I profoundly disagree with his interpretation of a lot of the Constitution." The Democrat added that he also wouldn't have appointed Antonin Scalia, and perhaps not John Roberts, though he assured the audience that at least they were smart enough for the job.
So let's see. By the time he was nominated, Clarence Thomas had worked in the Missouri Attorney General's office, served as an Assistant Secretary of Education, run the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and sat for a year on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation's second most prominent court. Since his "elevation" to the High Court in 1991, he has also shown himself to be a principled and scholarly jurist.
Meanwhile, as he bids to be America's Commander in Chief, Mr. Obama isn't yet four years out of the Illinois state Senate, has never held a hearing of note of his U.S. Senate subcommittee, and had an unremarkable record as both a "community organizer" and law school lecturer. Justice Thomas's judicial credentials compare favorably to Mr. Obama's Presidential résumé by any measure. And when it comes to rising from difficult circumstances, Justice Thomas's rural Georgian upbringing makes Mr. Obama's story look like easy street.
Even more troubling is what the Illinois Democrat's answer betrays about his political habits of mind. Asked a question he didn't expect at a rare unscripted event, the rookie candidate didn't merely say he disagreed with Justice Thomas. Instead, he instinctively reverted to the leftwing cliché that the Court's black conservative isn't up to the job while his white conservative colleagues are.
So much for civility in politics and bringing people together. And no wonder Mr. Obama's advisers have refused invitations for more such open forums, preferring to keep him in front of a teleprompter, where he won't let slip what he really believes.
BTW, you may recall that many Dems (including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid - see here and here) are apparently racist when it comes to assessing Justice Thomas. I mean, they rarely heap the scorn on Roberts, Scalia, or even Alito when it comes to their judicial reasoning - no, they keep their biting remarks for the only African-American on the court, despite his excellent credentials and thoughtfully written opinions.
Perhaps they think that their Democrat base instinctively has low expectations for and an underlying racism against African-Americans? It certainly was a common theme in the Dem primaries...
Which takes me to the current polling and the numerous questions about why Obama "isn't doing better."
Many have said that it's because American voters are racist.
If they really want to make that assertion, they're actually calling the average Democrat voter racist. Why?
Because your average conservative voter isn't opposing Obama because of his race.
They're already opposing him because he is the exact polar opposite on the issues, regardless of his race.
However, your average Democrat voter (who ostensibly agrees with Obama on the issues) who fails to support Obama by definition is racist.
They normally would vote for him because they like his policies, but they're not sure they're ready to vote for the black guy.
There... I said it. How long before the tools in the MSM recognize that they're calling the Democratic voter racist?
ARC: St Wendeler