As I’ve said before, the so-called “post racial” president is actually the most racial president. He sees the world essentially through a racial lens, and is very quick to ascribe racist motives to his critics, either because he believes such charges to be true, or because wielding them gives him a political advantage. This piece in US News is a case in point.
In May 2010, he told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent “Tea Party” movement that was then surging across the country. Many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn’t helping them nearly enough, he said.
There was, of course, no evidence at all that the Tea Parties had any racial motive whatsoever, and there still isn’t. None. They’re not motivated by race, but by policy. They consider Obama’s policies to be dangerous and destructive, and they’re right on both counts.
But this president, and the people he hires (think Eric “nation of cowards,” “my people” Holder, Van Jones, etc) can’t seem to abide opposition based on policy. Either that, or they’re using race cynically as a way to freeze the shallower thinkers around them and try to put legitimate critics out into the political outer darkness. Charges of racism do both quite nicely.
Update: Over on the home page, Roger beat me to the punch in posting about all this. I would say that nostalgia for the civil rights era past, sincerely held belief and cynicism are all playing a role in this smear of the Tea Parties, as well as this administration’s other more divisive actions and policies. Obama, in his unguarded moments, says some of the most radical and divisive things any president has ever said — this bit about the Tea Partiers, his “bitter clingers” remarks during the campaign. He says and does these things because that’s who he is. Despite what most Americans continue to think about him, he is simply not a nice man and he doesn’t have a positive view of most of his countrymen. He’ll take their votes and then shut them out of the deliberative process, while calling them racists behind their backs.
Update: How could I forget that “punish our enemies” remark Obama tossed to Hispanics last year? Those aren’t the words of a nice man.