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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 9/14/2009 7:57:37 AM EST
By Jonathan Martin
POLITICO
Updated: 09/14/2009 11:38:24 AM CDT

AUSTIN - Eight months into Barack Obama's presidency, as criticism of his administration seems to reach new levels of volume and intensity each week, the whispers among some of his allies are growing louder: That those who loathe the nation's first African-American president, and especially those who would deny his citizenship, are driven at least in part by racism.

It's felt acutely among Obama supporters who are themselves minorities. Conversations with Democrats at an otherwise upbeat Democratic National Committee fall gathering here, an event largely devoted to party housekeeping, reflected a growing anger at what many see as a troubling effort to delegitimize Obama's hold on the office.

"As far as African-Americans are concerned, we think most of it is," said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson D-Texas, when asked in an interview in between sessions how much of the more extreme anger at Obama is based upon his race. "And we think it's very unfortunate. We as African-American people of course are very sensitive to it."

Johnson is a somewhat-reserved, nine-term member of Congress, more gracious southern lady than racial bomb-thrower. She enjoyed a warm personal relationship with fellow Texan George W. Bush when he was in the White House and fondly recalled their ability to get along, divergent politics aside. But she said the disdain for this president, especially sharp in her home state, had reached a point where it had become necessary to speak out.

"It''s hurting the spirit of this country," Johnson said, citing concerns about what the rest of the world may think about a powerful nation where a significant segment of the population does not accept their elected leader as legitimate.
Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, agreed with his colleague that elements of the opposition can't accept the reality of a black president.

"There's a very angry, small group of folks that just didn't like the fact that Barack Obama won the presidency," Honda said, adding: "With some, I think it is (about race).

Said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., about the race factor: "There are some issues that have been swept under the rug and we're not witnessing them come out."

But it's still a sensitive enough issue that the party doesn't broach it directly. Virginia Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine used a speech Friday to single out those conservative critics whose hostility toward President Obama goes deeper than just opposing his policies — but without mentioning that which many in his party believe drives the anger.

"Republican leaders...rose up to say that he did not deserve honorary degrees from colleges that were giving him degrees last spring, members of Congress, Republican members of Congress, are spreading bogus rumors about where the president was born, and they whipped up opposition all across this country when President Obama wanted to give a speech to our nation's schoolchildren to tell them to take responsibility, study hard and stay in school," Kaine said here at the party's fall meeting.

He demurred when asked later whether this often-personal criticism is rooted in contempt for a president who happens to be black.

Other Democrats, not as constrained by the office they hold, are more outspoken about what they see as the racism aimed at Obama. "We think all of it is!" exclaimed Gwen Dawkins, a Democratic activist from Michigan and retired state employee when asked to what degree the fervent opposition to Obama was driven by his skin color. Dawkins also touched on a common, if mostly privately-held, frustration in the African-American community—that with exceptional difficulties at home and abroad, Obama is bearing a significantly heavier burden than most presidents and his naysayers would prefer him to founder so as to validate their fears about a black president.

"Black people have lived under white presidents since day one," Dawkins observed, "So would you give him a chance?"

Donna Brazile, a longtime Democratic strategist and a DNC vice-chair declined to, as she put it, "put all the president's opponents in a box," with regard to their motivation. But she said more and more average African-Americans are approaching her with grave worries about Obama. "They're worried sick about his safety," Brazile said. "When they see some of these statements, the guns at his rallies, some of the hate talk on TV and radio, there's a natural tendency because of the wounds that built up for centuries without being addressed to worry. It's a natural concern for them to worry."

Obama himself is cagey about the question of race-based opposition and, throughout his brief tenure, has gone to some lengths to downplay the consequences of his race. He and his advisers avoid screaming, or even whispering, racism for fear of how it will come off with those white voters who may be open-minded but also don't want a president in the Sharpton-Jackson mold.

The administration has been burned when Obama did step out of his usual post-racial posture to touch the nation's true third rail. When Obama declared at a nationally-televised news conference this summer that the Cambridge police officer who arrested Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates had acted "stupidly," polls showed many whites uneasy about that judgment. The conflagration, in part driven by a race-consumed news media, blazed for days, obscuring the president's healthcare reform push and dying out only after Obama brought together the cop and the professor for a détente at their much-ballyhooed beer summit.

"I don't think the president believes that people are upset because of the color of his skin," said White House Press Secretary and Obama confidante Robert Gibbs on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.

It's in both parties' interest to keep the race issue from consuming the debate. Democrats, already facing considerable opposition to their ambitious agenda, fear angering centrist white voters who may be turned off by open accusations of racism. And Republicans, trying to rebuild their party and discard the image of a white male club, surely don't want their own legitimate policy criticisms of the president to be obscured and degraded by those on the right whose contempt for Obama may indeed be fueled by race.

Republicans see an important distinction between Obama critics who are genuinely worried about his tax, spending and national security policies and those whose fears go beyond the president's liberalism.

But for some Democrats, it's difficult to make that distinction when conservative marchers take to Washington bearing images of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Obama that read, "He had a dream, we got a nightmare," and when a Southern congressman shouts at Obama while he addresses Congress in a demonstration of disrespect never seen when a white president spoke in that hallowed hall.

Kaine, like his close friend the president, a post-baby boomer who has thought considerably about race but is politically smart enough to downplay the issue, largely avoided the question after his speech here Friday. "There's anxiety and I assume that there's a lot of reasons for it," Kaine said initially, trying to avoid a news-making declaration while also not denying what many of his party brethren believe is plain on its face. He settled on this: "Something is going on there. I can't figure it all out. I'm not a psychologist. But my goal is to beat it and to continue to put the facts on the table and count on the American public (who) when you make it plain, I think they understand what's right and they go with you."

Brazile said there was little upside in Obama's administration weighing in on the racial debate. "You cannot have a conversation when the elephant in the room begins to dance," Brazile said. "For the White House to exhaust their political capital to make this a teachable moment - as they did with Gates and (Sergeant James) Crowley — would be hugely distracting. The president should continue to focus on jobs and healthcare."

She added: "Everything in his in-box is already marked urgent."

Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:00:26 AM EST
It couldn't be his policies, no surely not. When all else fails play the race card.
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:01:00 AM EST

"As far as African-Americans are concerned, we think most of it is," said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson D-Texas, when asked in an interview in between sessions how much of the more extreme anger at Obama is based upon his race.




Jesus Christ... these people sound like a piano with one key.
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:01:04 AM EST
I would be willing to bet, there will a dozen articles a day about racism in the near future.
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:03:45 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:05:45 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/14/2009 8:07:41 AM EST by MarkNH]
I have no problem with the black color of his skin, I have a problem with the red color of his politics.





Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:07:34 AM EST
"There's a very angry, small group of folks that just didn't like the fact that Barack Obama won the presidency," Honda said, adding: "With some, I think it is (about race).


..and there is a very large percentage of people who voted for Obama solely because of his race. But I guess that is ok.
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:07:45 AM EST
Yeah, he's really bringing this country together.

Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:09:20 AM EST

Originally Posted By ar10er:
I would be willing to bet, there will a dozen articles a day about racism in the near future.

An optimist, eh?
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:13:34 AM EST
So what do you call the voters that voted for him because of his skin color.......
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:22:14 AM EST
I didn't think any of Obama's critics were colored.

Wait, did I read the topic wrong?
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:32:45 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/14/2009 8:33:51 AM EST by 951bulldog]
"where a significant segment of the population does not accept their elected leader as legitimate."

That isn't true. The only people who do not accept him as legit are the birthers and they are a small, fringe minority who nobody listens to because, well, you know. The outrage about Obama has nothing to do w/ his race for 99.99% of the population. Obviously there are going to be a few people who are going to hate him based on race alone, but that is a tiny minority. Most people simply despise the what he is trying to do to our country.

Besides, this is no different than what the left did to Bush for the last 8 years. They were just as rabid and vitiolic as the worst of the right is now, but they were considered patriotic and were seen as simply expressing their opinions and excercising their 1st amendment rights. However, when we do it it is racism.

I do think that most of the country, right and left (except the extreme left) is sick and tired of the PC bullshit and the race card being played every 2 seconds. There are instances of racism that happen and they should be dealt with, but when you scream racism every time somebody disagrees w/ you, you are doing a disservice to those people who really are affected by racism. Now, if you really were discriminated against the tendancy for most people is just to blow you off because the race hustlers and professional blacks have cried wolf so many times. I think people are tired of it though and that if the left continues to demonize anybody who opposes or disagrees w/ Obama as a racist it is going to seriously backfire and blow up in their faces.
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:35:41 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/14/2009 8:41:09 AM EST by MTUSA]
If Hussein was 100% white he would have been done after the Iowa Caucus
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:40:08 AM EST

Blacks have turned into their own slavemasters.
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 8:41:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/14/2009 8:41:56 AM EST by MTUSA]
Originally Posted By C-4:

Blacks have turned into their own slavemasters.


after 100's of years, still going strong in the motherland
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 9:21:01 AM EST
To me race is meaningless. This ass clown's policies are what boils my blood.
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 9:24:22 AM EST
Originally Posted By runcible:

"As far as African-Americans are concerned, we think most of it is," said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson D-Texas, when asked in an interview in between sessions how much of the more extreme anger at Obama is based upon his race.




Jesus Christ... these people sound like a piano with one key.


Irony to this extreme should be painful.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 3:33:00 AM EST
Originally Posted By Markbb:
So what do you call the voters that voted for him because of his skin color.......


this. The only reason that tool got in there was because it was "making history".
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 3:41:46 AM EST
I'm outraged at being called a racist merely because I disagree with someone...that nonsense has gone way too far...the only thing I find comforting is that when the clowns on the left have nothing to resort to but race, then they have no legitimate ground left to stand upon...and they know it...
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 3:44:14 AM EST
none.... YOU CALL A SPADE A SPADE!
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 3:45:22 AM EST
I wouldn't feel any better if Joe Biden had been elected President.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 3:50:22 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 3:50:33 AM EST by wgjhsafT]
You know they've lost the argument when they are back to the ole race card.

Kind of like throwing Nazi and Hitler around; it means they've lost.

And now racist is the new Nazi.
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