Public attitudes about race relations have drastically worsened since Americans elected the first black president, according to a new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, and talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh has an explanation for the disturbing trend.
According to the survey, only 52 percent of whites and 38 percent of blacks now have a favorable opinion of race relations in the U.S.
In just four-and-a-half years, since the election of President Obama, those numbers have dropped sharply. In the month of Obama’s inauguration, January 2009, 79 percent of whites and 63 percent of blacks held a favorable view of race relations. The data show a decline of 27 points for whites and 25 points for blacks today.
Limbaugh weighed in on the news, telling his listeners Thursday that while many expected the election of a half-black president would ease racial strife in American, it is worse than ever now.
“You know what’s kind of stunning about this to me?” he asked. “You would think – and I hope all of you white people that voted for Obama hoping it was gonna end racism, that 63 percent, why isn’t that higher? I mean, it was truly historic – electing the first African-American to the highest office in the land.
“I mean, it was a historic thing, and yet only 63 percent of blacks held a favorable view of American race relations at the time of the president’s immaculation. Shouldn’t that have been in the eighties? But it wasn’t. …
“The black unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently 13.7 percent, six points higher than the national rate, which stands at 7.6 percent. So everything is worse. Everything is worse, including the one thing Obama might have actually fixed, or been able to fix. Everything regarding race is worse in this country.”
Limbaugh noted that he correctly predicted in 2008 that race relations would suffer under Obama, warning that “civil rights squabbles” would intensify.
Five years ago, Limbaugh predicted, “[Obama's election] might even exacerbate them. … You know that the race industry can’t wait for this. Any criticism of Obama, the first black president, is going to be met with charges of racism by the likes of the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton. It will make their race business all that much more prominent.”
On his Thursday show, Limbaugh said many white voters elected Obama with the hope that it would ameliorate race problems.
“It would not eliminate them. It would not remove from this country the tag of racism and slavery and racism and prejudice; it would exacerbate it, because no criticism of Obama would be permitted,” he explained. ”Any criticism of Obama would be called racism, and I predicted it would probably get worse.
“I knew, and everybody else knew, there were a bunch of white voters that were gonna vote Obama strictly hoping that doing so would end racial strife. The theory was that the election of the first black president would signal that this country’s race problems had been put to bed, and that’s why I was warning, ‘Ain’t no way, Jose.’”
Limbaugh accused the left of preferring to exacerbate race problems rather than solve them.
“Too many people make money off of racial strife, and therefore they’re always going to promote it,” he said. “So the election of Obama as the first black president was a gold mine for people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.”
Meanwhile, negative views of race relations have increased substantially since Obama’s election. According to the poll, 45 percent of whites and 58 percent of blacks consider race relations to be very or fairly bad. By comparison, in 2009 only 20 percent of whites and 30 percent of blacks had a negative view of them.
In April 2012, Limbaugh accused Obama and officials in his administration of intentionally stoking racial chaos in America in connection with the Trayvon Martin case.
“There’s no question that the White House wants this kind of chaos and unrest in the culture,” he said at the time.
Limbaugh called the situation “a powder keg waiting to go off,” and said, “Nobody that I see is doing anything to try to make sure that powder keg doesn’t explode.”
He added: “If in the White House they wanted to cool this down, which they should do, they could do it. All it would take … would be Obama addressing the nation to calm this down, and then speaking about it in genuine American terms, not racial terms. If they wanted to do that, they could. Other presidents have. It’s not happening here.”
In March 2012, Obama had weighed in on the death of Martin, saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
After the acquittal of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Martin’s death, Obama declared, “Trayvon could have been me 35 years ago.”
Around the same time, reports revealed Obama’s Justice Department sent a unit to Sanford, Fla., to help with protests calling for Zimmerman’s prosecution in 2012, including one headlined by Al Sharpton.
Jerome R. Corsi, author of “What Went Wrong: The Inside Story of the GOP Debacle of 2012 … and How It Can Be Avoided Next Time,” said Democratic operatives who ran Obama’s 2012 presidential case were “whipping up the Democratic base into a frenzy over race.”
Corsi argued that Obama’s goal is not just to win elections but to destroy the Republican Party by silencing the conservative movement. One means of accomplishing that goal is to characterize as “a racist” anyone who dares criticize Obama on political grounds.
The Martin case was not the first time Obama injected himself into a public incident and insisted motives were racially based. In 2009, the president blasted police in Cambridge, Mass., saying they “acted stupidly” when they arrested black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. after a confrontation at his home.
“I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played,” Obama said during a White House news conference. “But I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, No. 3 … that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”
The case, Obama said, shows “how race remains a factor in this society.”
As WND reported, immediately following Obama’s comments, several blogs picked up on unanswered questions surrounding the event and speculated that the White House may have planted a question leading to the president’s statement.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs only fueled the bloggers’ speculation by refusing to deny the question was coordinated with the Obama administration.
WND reported that Obama heaped praise on Derrick Bell, the leading proponent of Critical Race Theory, during a party at Harvard.
Also, for some 20 years, Obama was a member of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s black liberation theology United Christ Church of Christ in Chicago. In the 2008 campaign, Obama was forced to distance himself from Wright after videos of some of the pastor’s sermons were exposed in which he expressed racist and anti-American sentiments, including his famous declaration “not God bless America, but God damn America.”
On his Thursday show, Limbaugh noted that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which supports Obama, didn’t help the issue when it distributed pro-Obama election pamphlets in 2012 featuring lynching and Ku Klux Klan photos.