Could President Obama have been elected without Bush's incompetence? I'd like to think so, but realistically, I doubt it. I think it took TWO events to get Obama elected: His overwhelming competence, and Bush's overwhelming incompetence.
Racism is so widespread in America that I never thought Obama had a chance. He was clearly one of the most intelligent, articulate, well educated and accomplished candidates I've ever heard, a true inspiration. Yet, having lived in New Orleans, and spent considerable time visiting relatives in the farm country of Texas, I was skeptical. Even here in Southern California, the first house I bought in San Diego County had "CC&R's" ("covenants, conditions and restrictions") on the property that prohibited any Blacks or Jews from purchasing a home in my neighborhood (this clause had long since been declared illegal and unenforceable by the US Supreme Court, but the peculiarities of the law prevent the CC&R's from being removed from the property's deed, and in fact my neighbors were Jewish). The neighborhoods in the East part of our county are still a notorious hotspot of the Ku Klux Klan even today.
George W. Bush's legacy is horrifying: 150,000 civilians killed by American bombs in Iraq, hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, the world economy in a shambles, the United States' reputation as a moral and political leader completely in the toilet, domestic spying on law-abiding journalists ... the list is appallingly long.
Barack Obama was unquestionably qualified to lead this country, and I can't tell you how inspired I am by him. But I thought Americans were too racist to elect an African American president under normal circumstances. It took the utter chaos created by George W. Bush to make Americans angry enough to forget their racism.
I hope that now that the last barrier has been broken, we can put this racist nonsense behind. Won't it be a great day when candidates are judged purely by their qualifications?