I do not often agree with Chomsky, but he often has some good points to make, and on the Obama campaign he absolutely nails it. I remember being appalled both by the lack of specifics of the Obama rhetoric and the way that people would swoon in mass just with a few phrases like “Hope and Change”.
Fundamentally Obama got elected because he allowed the white masses to seek some kind of elusive subliminal sense of racial atonement and redemption by voting for a “black” man, but one who has enough white in him to be non threatening. The fact that a politician could some out of nowhere, with no record to speak of and enthrall the nation (and especially our elites) based on little more than a charming character, happy slogans and good speeches speaks to the depths of racial forgiveness that this campaign implicitly entailed. If Obama had been white he would not have gotten nearly so far. His perfect blend of palatable blackness was what made most people into adoring admirers. Obama also got the entire black vote. People like Oprah, who never showed any over political feelings, were suddenly campaigning by Obama´s side. Colin Power, a career Republican, switched sides to support Obama. Virtually every black person was in the Obama camp.
This phenomenon of adoring a nonthreatening black persons as a way to unconsciously show that white people are not racists, has happened many times before. Oprah, Bill Cosby, Colin Powell, and now Obama have all been elevated to lofty heights on the basis of some talent (to be sure), but then greatly boosted by white guilt, which expresses itself as adoration for certain black people. Colin Powell, who happened to be lucky enough to preside over a short, easy and successful war, was suddenly turned into a mega American hero, far out of step with his actual accomplishments.