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Melissa Harris-Perry: No, Obama supporters don't feel 'racial guilt'

Santorum.Or George, perhaps it's that Mr. Romney chose a running mate who advocated transforming Medicare into a voucher system.
Melissa Harris-Perry
by Melissa Harris-Perry

On Saturday's edition of her msnbc show, Melissa Harris-Perry read an open letter to Washington Post George Will, whose October 1 column posited that President Obama's good fortune in the polls to this point was due less to white guilt over giving up on America's first black president.

Every now and then, I like to push back from the big panel and give some people individualized attention. And sometimes the best way to make your point is with a personalized touch, like a letter. So George Will, this one's for you.

Dear George. It's me ... Melissa.

On Monday, your column made a case for rejecting President Barack Obama's re-election bid. It was based on our tough economic realities and questioned whether Mitt Romney could turn this contest around.

Now, let's be clear, I disagree with your assessment of the Obama administration, but the first part of your argument in reasonable. It is based in empirical realities.  You convincingly demonstrate that Americans have had a tough time fiscally in the past four years. I might disagree with you about the causal relationships between the economic factors you cite and the Obama administration but I don't argue with your data.

Which means I hope you won't quibble with the new data released yesterday showing unemployment fell to 7.8 percent, and also offering upward revisions of job growth, and an additional 114 thousand jobs created last month. But after a reasonable start you went off the rails a bit by writing this,

"Obama's administration is in shambles, yet he is prospering politically. This may not, however, entirely be evidence of the irrationality of the electorate. Something more benign may be at work."

Interesting word choice, benign. Because what you really mean is something sinister. You suspect something is amiss when, even after the President's meager performance in Wednesday's debate ... he still enjoys a 46 percent to 44 percent lead over challenger Mitt Romney.

See, George, I don't think it's all that paradoxical. It could it be that Democrats have effectively linked Romney with candidates, elected officials, and policies that represent the extreme anti-reproductive rights initiatives in the Republican party. That big gender gap could be because of transvaginal McDonnell, "Legitimate Rape " [Todd] Akin, and no-pills [Rick] Santorum.

Or George, perhaps it's that Mr. Romney chose a running mate who advocated transforming Medicare into a voucher system. That just might have caused some reliably conservative seniors to reconsider their willingness to support the president.

And George -  it could be that until Wednesday night Mitt Romney had run a breathtakingly uninspiring campaign pockmarked with gaffes, inconsistencies, and evasion.

No, George, you took none of this into account. Instead you wrote the President's lead is solid because- and I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed this- it's because the president is *black.* You say:

"... the nation, which is generally reluctant to declare a president a failure - thereby admitting that it made a mistake in choosing him - seems reluctant to give up on the first African American president."

Right, George -- because we all know that black men hold an unfair advantage in the labor market. You can see evidence of it all around you!

After decades of racial good will shown to black workers as a result of the unfairly imposed guilt trip by radical race-card playing media types like me, black workers now have an unemployment rate of 13 point 4 percent.

Yeah, racial guilt. That's it.

Whew, well, I hereby give you permission to set down the white man's burden. If you don't want to vote for the president ... don't. Plenty of other voters seems to have found actual reasons to support him.