A Modern Timeline of Liberals Claiming That Opposition to Obama = Racism


08/23/08: Jacob Weisberg, Slate: "Racism is the only reason Obama might lose."

08/07/09: Paul Krugman, New York Times: "[T]he driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that's behind the 'birther' movement, which denies Mr. Obama's citizenship."

09/13/09: Jimmy Carter, MSNBC: "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[.]"

01/19/10: Keith Olbermann, MSNBC: "[T]he Tea Party movement [is] perhaps the saddest collection of people who don't want to admit why they really hate since the racists of the South in the sixties insisted they were really just concerned about states' rights….[I]n Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees."

03/27/10: Frank Rich, New York Times: "How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn't recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht….The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play."

10/19/10: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: "Tea Party ranks [are] permeated with concerns about race and national identity….Tea Party organizations have given platforms to anti-Semites, racists, and bigots. Further, hard-core white nationalists have been attracted to these protests, looking for potential recruits and hoping to push these (white) protesters towards a more self-conscious and ideological white supremacy."

01/25/11: State Rep. Jim Moran (D-Virgina), Al-Hurra: "[GOP success in mid-term elections] happened for the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States. It happened because the Southern states, the slaveholding states, didn't want to see a president who was opposed to slavery.  In this case, I believe, a lot of people in the United States don't want to be governed by an African-American, particularly one who is liberal, who wants to spend money and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society."

08/22/11: Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indiana): "Some of these folks in Congress would love to see us as second-class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me…hanging on a tree."

03/27/12: Dahlia Lithwick, Slate: "And now we know the [Supreme] court is worried about freedom: the freedom to live like it's 1804."

06/04/12: Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Washington Post: "By attacking labor unions, flooding Wisconsin with outside cash and trying to cleanse the electorate of people who don't look, earn or think like him, [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker has taken aim at more than a single campaign cycle or a series of policies; his real targets are the pillars of American progressivism itself."

06/08/12: Cassandra Jackson, Huffington Post: "[T]he war on affordable health care is a war on Blacks and Latinos."

And now, full circle, comes today's other installment, from our old friend Charles P. Pierce in Esquire magazine:

In so many ways, the path [Barack Obama] has to walk to re-election is similar to the path he has had to walk through his life. It was hard not to notice the subtext present in all those earnest warnings about hurting the fee-fees of our financial titans. The president was stepping out of his place. The president was being uppity again.

This is also the case with what is perhaps the most noxious idea out there: that Barack Obama "failed" in his promise to "bring the country together," and that he is now — Glorioski! — campaigning like he wants to be president all over again. He is engaging in politics. Mother of mercy, I swear David Brooks is just going to break down and go all to pieces on PBS some evening over the president's betrayal of his role as the country's anodyne black man and, of course, his upcoming role as black martyr to incivility and discord. It is his duty, dammit, to be all the things that people like Brooks wanted him to be so that he could lose, nobly, and then the country could go back to its rightful owners.

Still no convincing explanation for how the racist Teabagging Republicans could have fallen so hard for Herman Cain, but I think the most salient point is one noted by (gasp!) David Brooks: Barack Obama is consistently much more popular than his policies. Mitt Romney has been consistently less popular than his. That's a mighty odd way for a country to express its racism.

Two bits from me from the racially contentious late summer of 2009: "The Race War That Isn't," and "Are Tea Parties Racist?"