I keep seeing headlines all over the place to the effect that Republican Senators will be afraid to vote against the first proposed Hispanic justice. This may certainly be true for Senators, who are a weaselly, unprincipled bunch, I suspect, though, that for many voters Obama himself is causing the bloom to depart the identity politics rose.
I believe that many voters rushed to the polls to vote for Obama because they were caught up in the rapture of a historic first: “The first black President.” These moments are exciting. Heck, I desperately wanted Michael Phelps to be the first person to get 10 gold medals in one Olympics. I’d never heard of Phelps a few months before and suddenly, there I was, screaming hysterically in front of my TV.
In the political arena, the November rapture is now over, and the first black President is proving to be something of a problem. In national security ways, he’s following the path of the last white president (and, for that, I am grateful). In other ways, he’s proving to be indecisive, ineffectual, and suspiciously corrupt. In other words, not withstanding his exciting skin color, he’s just your usual unprepared, inexperienced, Leftist, Chicago-style political hack.
Obama, therefore, is an object lesson in the superficiality of identity politics. The fact that someone is the right color for the job doesn’t mean that he’s the right person for the job. Voters — including Hispanic voters who trend conservative on social issues — may finally be willing to look at the candidate and not the color.
UPDATE: The Anchoress has a good post on the reality of how that race/identity card works.