Carter Country

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As mentioned this morning, Jimmy Carter has strongly endorsed the Racial Anxiety Hypothesis for explaining this summer's townhall/Tea Party protests. Carter's quote:

I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man[.]

The 39th president thus joins a long list that includes Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, and plenty of non-New York Times columnists, too. Some more recent co-signatories:

The Palm Beach Post editorial board:

WTF?

What does not matter is the sentiment of the people who gathered Saturday in Washington to protest … just about everything, from the national debt to President Obama's push to improve America's health care system. There always is a slice of America that is fearful on its best day and paranoid on its worst day. Add the worst economy in decades, and you have a part of the population ripe for exploitation – in this case by demagogic talk-show hosts and organizations such as FreedomWorks that were opposed to the president anyway.

Those at Saturday's rally lost whatever credibility they might have had by depicting Mr. Obama in protest art flavored with racism.

Susan Jacoby:

What we are seeing is the rage of a minority–we don't know exactly how large, but we do know that it is almost entirely white and concentrated in the South and Southwest–at an African-American president who is considered not only wrong in his policies but illegitimate as the leader of our nation. […]

Many Americans spent a good deal of time last November patting themselves on the back for having elected an African-American president. What we are seeing now is the bitterness of an unreconciled minority that will never accept the legitimacy of that election. But of course, none of this has anything to do with race. How could it, in our enlightened society?

Baynard Woods:

[T]he demonstration this weekend and the rhetoric that surround it look and sound much more like the Beer Hall Putsch than the Boston Tea Party.

And Lorenzo Carcaterra:

It won't stop until he is stopped.

What won't stop is the growing hatred toward a young President based on his beliefs and the color of his skin.

It won't stop until he is stopped. That is the goal of the right.

They've done it before.

In the summer months of 1963, the voices of the right were tossing hate bombs at another young President. This time over concerns he was too liberal and his religion was one that frightened a fair number of them, primarily those who lived in the South. There were no Becks, Rushs or Hannitys back then, so the John Birch Society filled the void. They tossed out messages of hate, threats and warnings.

One such warning was for President John F. Kennedy to stay out of Texas.

To stay out of Dallas.

You think what is going on today is harmless? You think it's just people protesting as is their right? You think all the angry talk and the hate speech are just words?

If they're right, I'm even more afraid of Americans than David Bowie is. I don't think they're right.

Meanwhile, this column about the media's racism double-standards from John McCain's cranky co-author and alter ego, Mark Salter, is worth pondering:

Turn that frown upside-down!

I'm more than a little familiar with that calumny, having been charged along with other senior members of the McCain campaign and our candidate with the same offense. We were somehow complicit with every intemperate jerk who shouted something obnoxious at any of our campaign events. Our ads about Democratic support for Fannie Mae were racist. Calling candidate Obama a "celebrity" was racist. Shouts of "murderer" or "warmonger" by Obama supporters or our opponent's accusation that Senator McCain was anti immigrant or trying to steal grandma's Medicare went largely unnoticed. And yet it was our candidate who often and publicly denounced crude or outrageous attacks on our opponent. The courtesy was seldom returned. McCain would have fired any staffer who said something or acted in a way that could fairly be described as racist. For his troubles, he was likened by a leading civil rights figure and Obama supporter to the murderers who killed three little African American girls. There was barely a murmur of protest by the press about that injustice.