Tuesday, September 15, 2009

President Carter: racism to blame for anti-Obama anger

President Carter today said that despite a lot of progress in the South and elsewhere, he believes that much of the backlash against President Obama's initiatives can be traced to racism.

(Video link)

Maureen Dowd made the same point in a recent op-ed piece in which she specifically addressed Congressman Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst:

I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.

I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids — from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.

But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.

Gail Collins has also had a couple of good columns on the "You lie!" controversy here and here.

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