The Banal Truth

So I'm reading more of Steve Sailer on Barack Obama and I notice that he, like a lot of other pundits -- David Ehrenstein and Peter Beinart for example -- assumes that the essence of the reason white people like Barack Obama has some important relationship to views about race relations. You can see some evidence of this in things like this Richard Cohen column, but even Cohen emphasizes that:

But mostly I want Obama to run because he would come into the race with no baggage on Iraq. Not from him would we hear excuses about how he was misled by the Bush administration into thinking there were weapons of mass destruction there. Obama not only was against the war when he ran for the Senate but he can claim -- as could the 21 Democratic senators who voted against the war resolution -- that it was possible to accept the "facts" at the time and still see that the war was unnecessary, if not downright stupid.



Right. This strikes me as the essential problem with most Obama-related theorizing. Pundits are basically using made-up stories about the roots of Obama's political appeal as hooks for their own writing about race. If you look, however, at Obama's base of support the phenomenon looks pretty banal. Obama is popular among the intersecting groups of black people, young people, and people for whom Iraq is a high priority issue. This, of course, is not very hard to explain. Obama is black, relatively young, and has a consistent record of opposition to the Iraq War. And, obviously, he's good at giving speeches to large crowds.