Alvin Felzenberg calls Coakley's defeat a "vindication of the Cambridge cop":
It is an outright rejection of the "identity" politics [Obama] and his party have championed for more than a generation. A friend of mine put it best when he asked me when the Democratic party ceased voicing the concerns of ordinary Americans, working-class Americans, ethnic voters, and people trying not just to make ends meet, but to actually get ahead? I told him 1972. That was the year the Democrats nominated George McGovern. They treated themselves to one heck of a convention at which group after group championed its "rights" and voiced its "grievances."
Ackerman is aghast:
Felzenberg’s construction works under one condition and one condition only: you have to read “ordinary Americans” as excluding “black people” and “Hispanic people” and “Asian people” and ”gay people” and “actual working-class people.” The people in Felzenberg’s fairy tale get more “ordinary” the lighter they get. As Adam [Serwer] notes, Professor Gates gets treated as some kind of exotic bogeyman because he’s “reported to own more than one European-made luxury car.” How uppity of him.
Barack Obama has many flaws. But treating American politics as a zero-sum circumstance in which black people prosper at white people’s expense what Al calls “the identity’ politics he and his party have championed for more than a generation” is not one of them. This is the fiction created by racial anxiety. Felzenberg’s myths are animated by a white grievance that bears no relationship to the objective reality of what it means to be white in America in 2010. And yet he never spares a minute to diagnose himself as practicing “identity politics.” No, that stuff is what those people do.