"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
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- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
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- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
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- How to survive a spaceship disaster
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- Don't argue about politics this Thanksgiving. Just don't.
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