But that is not how he has governed. As president, he has repeatedly—and often prematurely—taken sides in local police matters involving black suspects.
He has supported college-admissions policies that favor black applicants over their white and Asian peers. He has dispatched his attorney general to accuse advocates of voter ID laws of trying to disenfranchise blacks and Hispanics. He has pressured wealthy suburbs to change zoning laws and build low-income housing so that he can shoehorn minorities into neighborhoods where they otherwise can’t afford to live. He has leaned on local school districts to discipline students differently based on their race and ethnicity rather than solely on their misbehavior. He has appeared before activists at the NAACP to denounce the criminal-justice system as racially skewed.
When Mr. Obama first ran for president, he went to such lengths to distance himself from professional agitators such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson that “Saturday Night Live” ran a cartoon parody that featured then-Sen. Obama sending Messrs. Sharpton and Jackson off to places like Botswana and Paraguay so that they couldn’t interfere with the campaign.
These days, Mr. Obama has the reverend on speed dial. Mr. Sharpton is a frequent White House visitor and the president’s point man on civil-rights issues. Given that the president is keeping company with someone who monetizes racial conflict for a living, is it any wonder that so many people believe race relations have regressed?