“EVEN WHITE SUPREMACISTS DON’T HATE OBAMA”,FROM NEWREPUBLIC MAGAZINE

by

from newrepublic.com

Even White Supremacists Don’t Hate Obama
by Michael Crowley
David Duke: “I don’t think Obama will be any worse than Hillary or John McCain”

The New Republic

Post-racial
by Michael Crowley
Even white supremacists don’t hate Obama.

David Duke was on the phone, talking about Barack Obama. Yes, that David Duke: After a query lodged at his website, the infamous ex-Klansman had responded via a mysterious e-mail address–he appeared in my inbox as “info45.” (Duke regularly changes address to combat hate mail–the kind he doesn’t like, that is.) Duke said he was traveling in Europe, where he often meets with fellow Holocaustdeniers, and agreed to discuss the possibility that the United States might soon elect a black president.

Bloody Flag

Putting it mildly, one would not expect Duke to applaud this development. During Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign, after all, Duke said Jackson’s election “would be the greatest tragedy ever to befall this country.” Warning that “the white majority in this country are losing their rights,” Duke announced his own counter-candidacy, one whose main purpose seemed to be hounding Jackson.

Yet, far from railing at Obama’s rise, Duke seems almost nonchalant about it. Self-described white nationalists like himself, he explained cordially, “don’t see much difference in Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton–or, for that matter, John McCain.” Sure, Duke considers Obama “a racist individual,” citing his Afrocentric Chicago church. But soon the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of White People was critiquing Obama as overhyped and insubstantial in terms you might hear from, say, Clinton strategist Mark Penn. “They say he’s for change. What change? He’s become almost a cult figure. I don’t see any shining light around Obama’s head. I don’t see any halos,” Duke said.

Sure, we may not see David Duke strolling around with The Audacity of Hope under his arm any time soon. But his mild tone is still a curious reaction to what white supremacists have long considered a sign of racial apocalypse. “Does Race Still Matter?” asks the latest issue of US News & World Report, which features Obama on its cover. Undoubtedly, it does. But, thus far, Obama is largely delivering on his promise as a post-racial candidate–and hilariously confounding the worldview of white supremacists at the same time.

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