Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) minced no words at a town hall over the weekend, telling constituents that the only reason President Obama was elected in 2008 was because “he’s our first African-American president.”
Speaking at a town hall in Wheeling, Illinois on Sunday, Walsh gave his view on how to win the upcoming presidential election before launching into his take on the previous one. The House Republican said the country only voted for Obama because “he was a historic figure… our first African-American president.” Walsh noted that other factors helped, including McCain’s age, but argued that Obama “never would have gotten there without his historic nature.”
WALSH: He was a historic figure. He’s our first African-American president. The country voted for him because of that. It made us feel good about [our]self. I’ve said it before, it helped that John McCain was about 142 years old. It helped that the economy was tanking. A lot of these things helped. But he never would have gotten there without his historic nature.
To say that a black man named Barack Hussein Obama benefited from latent prejudices is absurd.
Yet Walsh is using this view to undermine the president’s legitimacy and argue that he was elected not on his merits, but because of his race. Earlier in the town hall, Walsh criticized Obama for not being able to “understand this stuff” (speaking about government spending) because “he was an accidental president.”
Still, Walsh isn’t the only one to espouse this worldview. A recent survey found that “white Americans feel they are more discriminated against than blacks.”