A meme is taking hold on the left that opponents of President Obama can’t accept a black president. But that’s baloney that has turned moldy. President Obama is being treated just like every other president has been by his (or someday, her) political opponents–very roughly. Ask George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, good grief, ask George W. Bush!
Now Maureen Dowd has wielded the cudgel–making her ilk are the real race-baiter. From her column:
I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race. I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids — from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.
But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — [Me: Harry Reid called Bush a “liar” and proudly noted he had never apologized. Democrats booed him during a State of the Union speech.] convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.
Dowd is the racist if she thinks that just because Obama is half African-American, he should be treated with kid gloves. True, Wilson was rude. He apologized. Big deal. The president is tough. He can take it.
But the country can’t take being divided again down racial lines from the demagoguery of race baiters like Dowd–who seems to think that raising this charge and attacking Obama’s political opponents as racist will somehow help Obama’s poll ratings. But that is nuts. He won–to the applause of even those who voted against him–because of a deep yearning in this country for a truly post-racial society. Dismantle that crucial core of the Obama magic, and he’s really in political trouble.
I said this before, and it is growing more urgent because it is not just the Marxist radical fringe anymore, evidence Dowd: Obama should disavow all racial politics, most especially from his friends. It has the potential to both destroy his presidency and tear this country apart.
Update: Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has stated that the president doesn’t think that opposition to his policies is race based. From the story:
“I don’t think the president beleives that people are upset by the color of his skin,” Gibbs said. “It think people are upset because on Monday we celebrate the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse… and we had to do some extraordinary things.”
I’d use a different word than “extraordinary,” but never mind. Gibbs comment is a good, if mild, start, to slamming the door on liberal race-baiting. But the subject is so toxic the president’s own voice should be heard clearly on this. Indeed, the best thing would be for him to strongly condemn Dowd’s column, but I know that won’t happen.