The furious conservative backlash against health care reform has little to do with health care, says New York Times columnist Frank Rich. The "unglued firestorm of homicidal rhetoric" — and worse — is a reaction by the "virtually all white" Tea Party to an ever-less-white America. The grassroots activists would have been angry at any major law our "black president and a female speaker of the House" enacted, Rich argues. Is he right — or is he misplaying the race card?
Rich is the one peddling discrimination: Conservatives oppose Obamacare because it will turn America into "yet another failed socialist utopia on the ash heap of history," says Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin's blog. Race has nothing to do with it. In fact, all the "idiotic and ignorant stereotypes" are coming from "Frank Rich and Friends" and aimed at Tea Partiers. The only thing "being forced to the back of the bus these days is the Constitution."
"Who’s perpetuating lies, stereotypes, and ignorance?"
Race is the best explanation: The "hate-mongering" by some elements of the Tea Party clearly has nothing to do with "a government take-over of health care," says Janet Shan in The Hinterland Gazette. How could it, when so many of these anti-government Tea Party activists are themselves recipients of Medicare, Social Security, and other forms of government largesse. No, the rage is clearly "all about race and gender."
"NY Times' Frank Rich says 'Tea Party outrage isn't about reform'..."
Blaming racism is a losing argument: The "virulent opposition to health care reform" does have a racist element, says Jim Sleeper at Talking Points Memo, but the bigger cause is economic insecurity. And focusing on racism is self-defeating, since it alienates working-class whites and distracts us all from the underlying loss of "hope and homes." President Obama is right: "Liberals and the left must know when to let race go."
"Obama to liberals: Learn when to let race go"
PREVIOUS OPINION BRIEFS ON THIS TOPIC:
• Repealing Health Care Reform: What are the odds?
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- The real lesson of Rick Perry's mug shot
- Why China thinks it could defeat the U.S. in battle
- Welcome to the age of ambivalent feminism
- What the 'death of the library' means for the future of books
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- What you need to know before you support the police in Ferguson
- 10 things you need to know today: August 20, 2014
- How Republicans could win back Silicon Valley
Subscribe to the Week