"Jimmy Carter was right in essence," said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post, although the former president went a bit too far by saying that an "overwhelming portion" of the most intense animosity toward President Obama is because he's black. (watch NBC's report on Carter's racism comments) "Of course it's possible to reject Obama's policies and philosophy without being racist," but the nastiest vitriol comes from people who deny Obama's very legitimacy as president, and there's no explanation for that other than race.
There's no shock in saying that there are racists who oppose Obama, said Jonah Goldberg in National Review. But "no significant conservative politician, pundit, or intellectual has said that they object to Obama’s agenda because he’s black"—they oppose his policies for "precisely the same reasons they oppose Nancy Pelosi’s and Harry Reid’s and Barney Frank’s agendas." It's Democrats who seem hung up on race.
Conservatives who deny the racial element of Obamaphobia, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial, "are just as obtuse as liberals who dismiss all of Obama's detractors as racists." It's not "just 'socialized medicine' and bank bailouts that enrage some Obamaphobes. They're also upset by the seismic social change symbolized by an African-American president who, for good measure, bears the middle name Hussein."
Race isn't behind the popular backlash to President Obama, said David Brooks in The New York Times. "It’s another type of conflict, equally deep and old." Obama leads an administration "of the highly educated," and one that has fused Washington's power with that of Wall Street, the auto industry, and other sources of American power. "Given all of this, it was guaranteed that he would spark a populist backlash, regardless of his skin color."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
- Paul Ryan's anti-poverty plan is another sign of life in the GOP
Subscribe to the Week