This is very deep, very cynical hypocrisy.
Speaking of fiction, an inconvenient videotape resurfaced the day before the debate. It was from 2007 in Virginia: Senator Barack Obama, presidential stars in his eyes, speaking to a largely black audience of religious leaders and inciting racial animus.
To be generous, Obama’s performance is disgusting. Cynically adopting the black dialect of the American South, a dialect utterly alien to him, he demagogues against Washington’s supposedly selective waivers of the Stafford Act — legislation that requires communities hit by disasters to match 10 percent of federal aid.
They waived it for 9/11, he tells the crowd, and they waived it when Hurricane Andrew hit Florida: Those communities were allowed to keep their one dollar for every ten federal dollars. But when he comes to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the largely African-American population of New Orleans, Obama implies that Congress refused the waiver:
“What’s happenin’ down in New O’leans? Where’s yo’ dollar? Where’s yo’ Stafford Act money? . . . Tells me that somehow the people down in New O’leans they don’t care about as much.”
In fact, ten days before Obama gave that speech, Congress had waived the Stafford Act requirement for Katrina. He was well aware of that fact, too. After all, he was one of only 14 senators to vote against the waiver.
He lied about what happened in order to foment racial resentment — an atmosphere that he calculated would help his presidential bid.