The Obama factor (3)

City Journal’s Myron Magnet argues that President Obama has set back race relations in the United States by 50 years and accordingly deserves recognition as America’s worst president. Toward the end of his column Magnet observes:

True to form, Obama went into grievance-mongering mode on July 7, commenting on the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by cops in Louisiana and Minnesota. He noted that “all of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings, because these are not isolated incidents. They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.” And he went on to detail law enforcement’s racial disparities, as if there were not even more stark and troubling racial disparities in lawbreaking. His familiar conclusion: “If you add it all up, the African American and Hispanic population, who make up only 30 percent of the general population, make up more than half of the incarcerated population. Now, these are facts. And when incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same. And that hurts.”

Obama’s cause, as it turns out, is represented by the racial arsonists of the Black Lives Matters crowd. Obama therefore counsels the group and speaks on its behalf. Obama took time out in Spain on Saturday to render advice. The White House has posted the text of Obama’s statement and answers to questions; the Washington Examiner extracts relevant in its report:

“Whenever those of us who are concerned about failures of the criminal justice system attack police, you are doing a disservice to the cause,” Obama said in remarks to reporters in Spain, where he is traveling. “Any violence directed at police officers is a reprehensible crime and needs to be prosecuted,” he said.

Even rhetorically, if we paint police with a broad brush, or “say things that are stupid or imprudent,” it risks losing ground for the reform cause, Obama said.

“In a movement like Black Lives Matter, there are always going to be folks who say things that are stupid or imprudent or over-generalized or harsh,” Obama said. “And I don’t think that you can hold well-meaning activists who are doing the right thing, peacefully protesting, responsible for everything that is uttered at a protest site … I would just say that everybody who’s concerned about the issue of police shootings or racial bias in the criminal justice system, that maintaining a truthful and serious and respectful tone is going to help mobilize American society to bring about real change. And that is our ultimate objective.”

With his characteristically perfect timing, coincidentally, Obama declared, “You’re not seeing riots.” Later that day, however, we were seeing riots right here in St. Paul.

In his remarks in Spain Obama decried “the larger, persistent problem of African Americans and Latinos being treated differently in our criminal justice system.” Yet there is no disparate treatment; this is Obama’s big lie. It’s not just Obama’s, of course, but Obama has adopted it as his own and turned it to his own uses. It’s all about “fundamental transformation.”

Racial disparities permeate the criminal justice system. They do not derive from police misconduct or a broken criminal justice system. They derive from underlying behavioral disparities. Racial disparities in the criminal justice system reflect the underlying behavioral disparities. Obama’s “cause,” as he refers to it, is founded on a poisonous lie.

Obama and his Attorney General are responsible for the operation of the criminal justice system on the federal side. You’d have a hard time understanding that from Obama’s condemnation of the criminal justice system. Nevertheless, the racial disparities that Obama decries permeate the federal justice system as well as those of the states — and for the same reasons.

In her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee this past October, Heather Mac Donald made this elementary plea: “[L]et me say that the committee would provide an enormous public service if it could rebut the myth that the criminal justice system is racist.” The same point applies many times over to Obama, but he prefers to stand on the big lie for its many and varied uses.

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