Topics: Barack Obama

Race helps Obama slide out of scandal over Nelson Mandela memorial 'selfie'

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Opinion,Gregory Kane,Columnists,Barack Obama,Analysis,Nelson Mandela,Africa,Race and Diversity,South Africa

Once again, President Obama is getting a free pass because he's black.

Contrary to what his most ardent myrmidons believe, Obama’s race has worked for, not against him, since he decided to make a run for the presidency back in 2007.

Obamaphiles won’t have it that way, of course. In their worldview, anyone not genuflecting whenever their demigod’s name is mentioned is an ardent, hardcore, bonafide racist.

I’ll reiterate, for the umpteenth time, who the real racists were during the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012.

The real racists were those who voted for Obama for no other reason than that he was black. In fact, that was the only reason they could have voted for Obama in 2008. It certainly wasn’t because of the exceptional qualifications for president that Obama brought to the table.

And after Obama’s off-camera (or so he probably thought) antics at former South African President Nelson Mandela’s commemoration ceremony, we see how Obama’s race is working for the man.

Video cameras and a still photo showed Obama shamelessly mugging and cheesing while he, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt took “selfies” of themselves on their cell phones.

Our president looked like some high school sophomore cutting the fool at an assembly. Way to represent us at an occasion where solemnity and dignity were supposed to be the order of the day, Mr. President.

So far most media outlets in this country have had a “What’s the big deal?” reaction to Obama’s inappropriate selfie. As usual, it’s left to the rest of us to remind them of what the big deal is.

As I previously stated, a commemoration ceremony for a deceased head of state is supposed to be a solemn, dignified affair. I’m sure our president is old enough to have heard the adage, “There’s a time and place for everything.”

Too bad he’s not wise enough to know when the adage applies.

I'm sure media types would have a much easier time seeing what the big deal is if it were former President George W. Bush, or former President George H.W. Bush, who was caught taking a selfie at Mandela's commemoration ceremony.

Every on-air personality at MSNBC would have his or her nose out of joint. Liberal print media outlets would inundate us with their self-righteous screeds about race and racism.

We’d have heard from the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Black pundits like Michael Eric Dyson and Tavis Smiley would have gone on one of their rants about how racist Republicans and conservatives are.

Pundit Cornel West might even have weighed in, his notion that Obama is some kind of slave master on a plantation notwithstanding.

Rep. Charles Rangel of New York might have gone into “I told you so” mode, elaborating on and repeating his contention that George W. Bush is a 21st-century Eugene “Bull” Connor.

And, as the piece de resistance, Kanye West might have offered us another of his “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” gems.

There would have been all manner of over-the-top reactions if a member of the Bush family had done what Obama did. There would even be some justified outrage.

But in Obama’s case, there’s been nary any outrage at all.

Few are questioning the appropriateness of Obama’s selfie; even fewer are daring to ask if we should believe everything that Obama said about Mandela in the hours after the South African died.

Had Obama meant what he said, then taking a selfie at the memorial service would have been the last thing on his mind. Now thinking Americans will be forced to suspect that everything Obama said about Mandela was nothing but that stuff called “b.s.”

We shouldn’t be surprised. Wasn’t it Obama’s propensity for “b.s.” that helped get him elected president in the first place?

GREGORY KANE, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.
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Gregory Kane

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The Washington Examiner