Author Gore Vidal’s death yesterday has given occasion for Americans, especially those who share his liberal political leanings, to remember and appreciate his writing and remarks on cultural, political, and literary issues. Here’s one remark that may prove instructive to people who assume that disappointment with President Obama is motivated by racism.

“I was delighted when Obama appeared on the scene,” Vidal told The Atlantic in October 2009. “But now it seems as though our original objection to him – that experience mattered – was well-founded.” He also said that Hillary Clinton “would have been a wonderful president.”

MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry suggested earlier this year that racism was causing Obama to struggle among the white voters who backed him in 2008.

“[Obama] now has a specific record of governing,” she said in April. “A record that, I contend, because of his race will be held to a much higher standard than it would have been for a white incumbent. Those white voters who found what they were looking for in 2008 will not necessarily be so enthusiastic in 2012.”

Is that Harris Perry’s explanation for Vidal’s apostasy? And, if not, then why apply it to those other former Obama supporters?