White House Beers a Way to Change Topic

Calvin Woodward, AP, July 31, 2009

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The White House said in advance that the moment would no doubt be “poignant,” a sure sign everything was being managed to achieve poignancy.

“Sure it’s a gimmick,” said damage-control specialist Eric Dezenhall, “but Obama’s gift is making gimmicks look visionary.

“In fact, the whole post-racial routine is a gimmick,” he went on. Dezenhall compared it to the “Mission Accomplished” banner that symbolized a premature Iraq war victory celebration for President George W. Bush.

“Only it works better, largely because people want it to work; they like the whole theater of healing.”

A striking 80 percent of respondents were aware of Obama’s comments about the Gates-Crowley dispute in a Pew Research Center poll out Thursday.

The president’s approval ratings, down overall, slipped markedly among whites in the days after Obama weighed in on the dispute: to 46 percent from 53 percent before he spoke on the matter.

In the same period, his approval went up among racial minorities and Hispanics after his comments–to 74 percent from 63 percent before he talked about it.

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Absent hard evidence on both sides, did whites reflexively support the sergeant because he’s white? Did blacks cry foul because of a hair-trigger sensitivity about racism?

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