Doug Thompson

I was called a bigot because I don’t love Barack Obama.
I took the complaint seriously. Looking his points over showed me that my few pro-Obama columns appeared in The Morning News, while the ones really taking him to task were in the Free Weekly. As far as I can tell, it just broke that way. If you only read my stuff in the Free Weekly, though, it looks like I never give the guy a break.
I’ll let my own quotes from my Morning News columns speak about this. For instance, this was published Oct. 18:
“Daddy, is it true that most people won’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black?” my youngest asked me Saturday.
“No, son. That’s not true. Who said that?”
“A lady on TV.”
“No, son. Every poll there is shows that most people will vote for him. A lot of people won’t vote for him, but they have different reasons.
“It’s true some of those would never vote for a black man. Racism is a big problem. You know that. But I don’t believe most people would vote against somebody just because he or she is black. Not anymore.”
The column concluded:
“I believe in America, a place where anybody with the talent can grow up and be president. I don’t believe America exists yet, but I believe in the idea of America, as I heard somebody say years ago. The man who said that never saw it. I may never see it. My kids might yet.”
Two weeks before that, I wrote that Obama would win. Long, long before that, on April 25, I put in the paper: “I admit bigotry is a major factor in this race, but it crosses all class lines. I also think there may be enough wiseguys like me to counteract the racists. I’d love to take the blood pressure of some guys I know on the night a black man is elected president. I’d have to wear safety goggles.”
The specific column that prompted the complaint pointed out that Obama sells magazines and was far more critical of the media making a buck off of this election than it was of the president-elect. It’s not his fault that his image sells. I encourage anybody who thinks I’m being unfair to read Howard Kurtz “Media Notes” column in Monday’s Washington Post.
I was less than thrilled about Obama as a candidate because the senator’s resume is ridiculously thin. The fact that he was black and able to break the glass ceiling was one of the few tangible reasons to vote for him. He was also a huge risk. Frankly, I don’t know if he would have won if the economy hadn’t collapsed and landed on his opponent.
To Obama’s credit, he kept his nerve during the financial meltdown. That calmness in a crisis reminded me about what a disgruntled Democrat once wrote about President Ronald Reagan. He said Reagan’s only talent was to walk away from disaster with a smile and a wave. The writer had a point, but I remember thinking that that particular ability was a useful one to have as president. Obama was calm but didn’t smile or wave. He was grave and sober. He told his supporters that many of the programs he had promised them were going to be put on an indefinite hold. That was impressive. I think anyone can see that in the election results.
On the topic, I’m proud that Washington County was one of the few clear spots on a state map stained red in the New York Times now famous “red streak” map. That’s the one that showed which counties voted more Democratic or more Republican than in 2004. Benton County was clear, too, but it can’t possibly vote more Republican than it does already.
Looking ahead, I’d like to propose something to the incoming president regarding any bailout of automakers.
Pass a fuel tax to pay for it. Detroit carmakers keeps talking about how they’ve learned their lesson and want to be competitive with efficient cars. Well then, they won’t mind a fuel tax, will they?

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