Protests against Obama: race or policy?

September 16, 2009

Former President Jimmy Carter said out loud what Democrats had been whispering for a while, that the protests against the country’s first black president are tinged with racism.

USA-POLITICS/Carter’s forceful words threw the issue into the forefront of public debate.

“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, that he’s African American,” Carter said in an interview on NBC.

While others had raised the issue, it wasn’t until Carter’s blunt words that it reached a crescendo as loud as the protests.

Carter mentioned his southern roots in saying ”that racism inclination still exists” in the country and many white people believe African Americans are not qualified to be president.

Critics of Obama have protested at town hall meetings around the country, rallied in Washington, and even yelled out on the floor of the House of Representatives (Congressman Joe Wilson’s “you lie”).

Michael Steele, the first black chairman of the Republican National Committee, issued a statement that said: “President Carter is flat out wrong. This isn’t about race. It is about policy.” USA-POLITICS/REPUBLICANS

Steele accused Democrats of trying to shift attention away from the president’s unpopular healthcare plan.

“Characterizing Americans’ disapproval of President Obama’s policies as being based on race is an outrage and a troubling sign about the lengths Democrats will go to disparage all who disagree with them,” he said.

Obama did not respond to a shouted question by a reporter about Carter’s racism comments.

UPDATE: White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says that Obama doesn’t believe the criticism is racist. “The president does not believe that it’s based on the color of his skin.”

Is there an objective barometer for whether a protest is based on racism or policy?

What do you think? Are the protests about race or policy or both?

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer (Carter at 2008 Democratic National Convention), Reuters/Molly Riley (Steele after being elected RNC chairman in January)

65 comments

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In further news: Ex president Jimmy Carter wants Obama to take Hamas off the terror list.

Thats funny,most Americans would like Jimmy off the ex presidents list.

Posted by Winston | Report as abusive

Carter is from the “South”. He knows how white southerners speak when they speak disdainfully of Blacks. The southern “Gentleman” from South Carolina was simply demonstrating his southern “Charm”.

There’s no question that, for many, a well educated, well spoken, successful Black man being duly elected as the POTUS in “their” country is incompatible with their beliefs. Call them racists or white supremacists, whatever, in their minds, their world view is challenged and discredited.

Their bigoted heads are exploding all over the South.

Posted by thebob.bob | Report as abusive

A white man can’t be an a**hole when dealing with a black man without being termed a racist. It is hard to tell sometimes when they’re being a racist a**hole, or just merely an a**hole. I prefer to believe the latter.

Posted by eeterrific | Report as abusive

Racism in America , I’m stunned. All this venom over healthcare? When someone mentions Hitler the first thing that comes to mind is healthcare? People going to townhall meetings armed. There is something else going on here and I think we all know what it is.

Posted by Marvin Feinstein | Report as abusive

Carter must be smokin’ peanuts. Obama’s struggles as president has little to do with race and everything to do with FAR LEFT policy and inexperience.
Majority of americans do not trust him and have not liked what he has done so far and what he is planning on doing. He is not reaching across party lines at all. Dems are trying to cram in as much left policy as they can while they have control of congress before the 2010 elections when the tables will turn and they will no longer have a strong majority.

Posted by dave | Report as abusive

Carter was a sorry President, Joe Wilson is My Hero. President Obama is the one who is Racist, as well as his wife.

Posted by D. Potter | Report as abusive

There are many millions of Americans who dislike what is now happening to their country.

Last year, I was a strong Obama supporter and donated to his campaign many times. I deeply regret my support for our President, primarily because of his failed policies and his many “broken” promises.

Most people I know who have supported Obama are now protesting his policies. That is not racism to me.

I’m sure that some protesters today are racist; but I sincerely believe it’s a very small percentage.

Posted by obewon | Report as abusive

“Carter must be smokin’ peanuts. Obama’s struggles as president has little to do with race and everything to do with FAR LEFT policy and inexperience.”

These are exactly the sort of comments that lead me to believe that the criticism of Obama is racially motivated. Nothing that Obama has proposed is remotely “far left.” He is a complete middle-of-the-road centrist. His health care proposals? Less ambitious than those proposed by famous leftist Richard Nixon! If we accept that Obama is “‘far left,” then we must accept that Bill Clinton — who reformed welfare and support the globalization of capital — was a Marxist.

It’s utter insanity, and there are only a few possible explanations. The first is that the entire right wing has become simpleminded, and now consists entirely of people who had trouble getting a GED and have never even seen the inside of a political science class. The other possibility? That these screams and shouts of “leftist” are just code for “He’s too dark to be my president.”

Posted by Ken | Report as abusive

The issue is about RESPECT. Respect for the most powerful position in the WORLD – the president of the United States of America. Those that are “expressing their beliefs” are doing it in a disrespectful manner. Whether this disrespect comes out of racism or otherwise is somewhat irrelevant, for we know it comes out of anger anger and hatred…..

Posted by antonio | Report as abusive

Let’s see,
8 years of ill thought out republican led policies that have driven this country into shambles. A president whose not even in office a year trying to fix the mess. So it\’s obvious, blame the new president whose left to fix the mess.

A healthcare system with over 40 cents on the dollar to administrative over head. Americans, of which 60% are overweight and 30% obese, whining about their health care coverage; but unwilling to lift a finger to improve their own health. Blame the new President.

A Congressman from South Carolina, where the confederate flag still flies, disrespects the President of the United States in public. Would he have done the same if the President were white? Oh heck, blame the President

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

What is sad about this is that the Fringe far right DOES have racist tendencies…it is just unfortunate that the normal, logical, republican arguments from those in the middle are vastly overshadowed but the racist tirades of the Far right! I am an Independent who wants honest, fact based, debate over healthcare…it is just too bad neither side is offering the President plausible solutions to our countries mounting problem.

President Obama is an accomplished speaker, writer, scholar and politician–not to mention President of the United States. Claiming opposition is mere racism cheapens his whole presidency. Mr. Carter, do you hear his ideas or do you just see a black man? Presiden Obama is intelligent enough to know that grown-ups do agree on policy. Republicans have always opposed cap and trade and universal health care and people like Al Gore, the Clintons, the Kennedys, and Obama. All we have learned is that now, apparently, you don’t even have to be black to get a lot of press and attention for crying racism. The United States that Jimmy Carter grew up in no longer exists. Let it die.

Posted by Linda | Report as abusive

This is a very sensitive issue in America currently. I have no doubt a very small group of Americans still use race as a reason for something. The fact is America is still struggling with their tainted history with slavery. Still dealing with the social aftermath of its human subjection trade.
Obama has made some questionable comments about common issues facing many Americans. I.e Gates vs. Cambridge police. Whether or not the Cambridge police acted stupidly was not his call to make. It’s not the first time an American president or official has made dubious comments. Bush using the word “Paki” during a speech. Is Bush a racist? Or Senator Wilson, the first to break from a very long American tradition of listening during a presidential speech. When Bush opened lied about war Wilson sat quietly. Is Wilson a racist?
If racism is defined by what someone says a lot of us would be branded racist. It’s our actions that tell our true feelings and motives.
I hope we would move on from the race issue quickly. The more we duel in it the longer it will take us to move on and tackle more serious social issues.
Most Americans know racial discrimination is wrong, discrimination of any kind is wrong. Hopefully with time America will get over it.
Unfortunately there still some in America coming to grips with the fact they have a black president. They will get over it eventually. But as their leaders sometimes do, they’ll put their foot in their mouths a few times first. In a few years those people will be horrified and embarrassed by their words. Or they should be, even now.
Calling Obama a racist goes in the face of every American, that through a democratic process voted for him. I’m sure that it’s a fairly mixed group of people as well.
We need to get over this primitive issue.
I’m thankful for being born in Canada where race is non issue in everyday life and politics. I hope future generations in America will enjoy what I had growing up. Society free of prejudice.

Posted by Dutch | Report as abusive

Take a look at President Bush’s 2005 State of the Union Address and tell me that when people (including those in congress) are disrespectful to the President that it’s simply because of race.

Funny how when liberals express their opinions against a president it is considered “freedom of speech” and when conservatives do so it is considered “hate speech”.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

To Antonio ~ Trust is something that must be earned…the same with Respect. He is failing to earn either. I respect the office, I am loyal to my country, but I do not respect a man who has no regard for the office…or loyalty to our country. He offered Hope, but has brought nothing but Headaches…this, my friend, is why the vast majority of Americans are upset with him: Policies, not Racism. They’re just throwing out the race card to rile everyone up. So much for striving to bring the races…or parties…together.

Posted by Lady | Report as abusive

Obewan ~ you are Not alone

Posted by Lady | Report as abusive

Funny, “the bob.bob”, everyone I’ve met in the South (I’m a northerner) thought he would make a great Prez…prove that they’re not racist anymore…and they loved the fact he mentioned “God” a few times in speeches. They just can’t figure out why he never attends church and quotes the Quran as often as the Bible. The problem we have here, is people are starting to really pay attention, and they’re not likin’ what they see.

Posted by Lady | Report as abusive

“They that govern most make least noise.” -English Proverb

According to our opinion, Mr. Obama has not only enough abilities to be a US President, but also afflicted with paranoia.

We think that the best US President who has abilities and the will would be Ms. Hillary Clinton.

Huy Tử, S&FR,…

Policy plain and simple. Race is only played to anger people up for more support. Its sad week tactic.

Posted by Landry | Report as abusive

Stop attacking people CARTER because you do not like the color of their skin. Skin color is not a choice and it is wrong for you to attack people based on their skin color.

Wilson was talking about a specific issue and Carter hatefully attacked him because of the color of Wilson’s skin and started making up rumors telling people that he is a racist attacking Wilson’s skin color because Carter doesn’t agree with his stance on an issue. That is disgusting. That is as bad as Carter making up rumors and calling Wilson a rapist and telling people that Wilson raped him because he doesn’t agree with Wilson in a political conversation. That is hateful, mean-spirited and people with that behavior can not be tolerated in a free world.

YOU are very mean-spirited toward other people Carter and it is very hateful. As I said above, what YOU are doing in discriminating against people because of the color of their skin is wrong!

Protests are about policy. Nothing to do with Obama being black and all to do with him being a socialist/fascist/communist/globalist. I’m getting tired of hearing racism when someone doesn’t agree with a black man. Give it a rest. And it’s now time to realize and lay to rest the notion that only white politicians screw people.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

Sadly, I often (even today) hear someone speak less than kindly about blacks including Obama simply because they are black. I sincerely wish this wasn’t an issue, but it is. I’m a white person who voted for Obama.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

And why do we care what Jimmy Carter has to say? He was one of the worst and most presidents in American history. Some are speculating that Obama’s presidency will just be a Carter rerun.

The American people are protesting against Obama because of his destructive and far-out policies. Calling this racist is like calling black-americans who didn’t support McCain racist.

Posted by Jordan | Report as abusive

The protest are about policy. The hatred and insults are obviously race related. Most people of a sound mind can see that the only people defending these racist nuts are racist nuts and people out for personal gain like Steele.

Not all people who are against the President are racist. The nuts out there with guns and racist signs (the Glenn Beck followers) are racist.

Posted by Morris | Report as abusive

Scott, right on!
re: “Funny how when liberals express their opinions against a president it is considered “freedom of speech” and when conservatives do so it is considered “hate speech”. – Posted by Scott “

Posted by shemuses | Report as abusive

Respect is owed to the position—most definitely. But many who are now whining about the lack of respect to Obama seem to have amnesia about the extreme, vile comments against President Bush. Think back won’t you?

Posted by malcat | Report as abusive

I spent some time working in the US Army’s 1970′s Race Relations program to reduce overt prejudice, and I know prejudice when I smell it. A smarmy disdain, accompanied by protestations of impartialty; that is the clue. A set of code words and emphatics identifies one like bigot to another without triggering legal or social consequences. But it gives them away to everyone.

Posted by Cort | Report as abusive

Congressmen made a big mistake- they left the Land of Oz and met with their voters. It has nothing to do with race — it is about the cost of unnecessary wide ranging programs. And no one in the administration has answered the points raised. Oh sure, they are going to pay for 50-70% of the cost via ‘savings’ – well show us the savings with your other big health care programs and maybe some of us will believe. Stick to the issue – answer the voters’ questions. A liar is a liar, regardless of skin color.

Posted by dennis kay | Report as abusive

President Carter is absolutely right, he’s from the South and he knows the real deal here. There are hate crimes–whites attacking blacks and are enraged because we finally have a black president and they can’t take it. Get over it! These protests are not about policies and healthcare reform and they know this. Minorities, stand up for yourselves.

Posted by Alexandra | Report as abusive

If all these Tea Party protests were really about policy these people would have been in the streets a few years ago. Obama’s only real contribution to the state of the US is the “Stimulus Package” and trying to create some kind of Health Care reform. The Patriot Act, the creation of the TSA, the bank and car company bail outs etc., etc., were initiated on another’s watch.

Posted by pcld | Report as abusive

This is over policy! I wish that people would quit playing the race card! It’s just a tactic.

We need health care reform, but this a serious issue that is going to cost a huge amount of tax dollars and effect us all well into the future. As I understand it this is still a democratic country, therefore we all have the right to debate the issues!

Posted by Shelley | Report as abusive

Pres. Carter needs to let us know where he is getting the information that backs up his assumptions. Has he actually spoken to white people that claim to be agaist big goverment spending and power but really it is as simple as racism. The truth is the eliiest are out of logical debate for big government so they use the race card.

Posted by MS | Report as abusive

There are two things at play here. #1 – the fact that a Dem won the vote. #2 – the fact that he is black. The thrid reason does not exsist (policy) – as – Pres O did not create the mess – he inherited it – follow a line of reasoning and tell me what “policy” to which you refer??

Posted by Elly | Report as abusive

I was overseas while the protests happen. Some of the placards in the protests depicting President Obama were extremely distasteful and had nothing to do with policy. They looked racist to me.

Posted by Sekar | Report as abusive

You need to take a political science course, Jason. One can’t simultaneously be a fascist and a socialist. Those positions are diametrically opposed. One is an extreme left-wing position and the other is extreme right wing. I’d be willing to bet the average angry conservative, such as yourself, that listens to talk radio or watches Fox News couldn’t define those terms. There’s a reason Rush Limbaugh’s fans are called dittoheads.

I think it’s accurate to say some people, traditional conservatives, are against Obama’s “liberal” policies and some people are closet (or even not so closet) racists, but they are not necessarily the same group of people. In the case of Wilson’s outburst, it’s hard to say which it is. I also think liberalism is partially tied up with race and class in that Democratic government programs are often designed to help those less fortunate economically (and if you don’t think race and social class still don’t go together, you’re not paying attention) and that there are fewer minorities in the Republican party. Let’s face it: Michael Steele aside, the GOP is mostly white people.

Posted by Brian Stephens | Report as abusive

As usual, cloud the issue with conflict. Anti-this, anti-that, it’s usually something to distract the average media-sucking individual into a controversy that distracts from the real issues. Whether it be health care reform or a tarrif on tires, the real issue is rebuilding America after being sold out by several previous administrations. What we need here is a manufacturing base, one that is not run by large, profit seeking, American run corporations. The past administrations have catered to their greed and lined their own pockets by side-stepping rules that were put into place to be exactly that, side-stepped. NAFTA and similar trade pacts are sold to the public knowing good and well that what is sold is not what is to be realized. Washington… please educate the public as to how things really work, then take the initiative to correct what is in our best future. Rebuild our manufacturing structure in such a way that we can sell goods to them.

Posted by Rick Osborn | Report as abusive

Carter speaks the truth, and has guts for doing so. This country is still full of racism, whether or not we admit it.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

I can’t believe this comment from the least liked president of this age. Carter needs to go back to the peanut farm and talk to his plants. It is more at his level of intelligence. When we criticized Bush what was it?
Racism? Policies are the issue. You add the ongoing bizarre viewpoints of the czars and the ones who wrote the stimulus (SEIU)and the continuous corruption that gets exposed in DC no wonder we want answers. The lies coming from the administration warrants a full blown investigation of what is really going on. This country is doomed without truthful accountability.

Posted by 2discern | Report as abusive

I think it’s certainly possible that a certain amount of the heat being generated that panders to the illiterate is racially based. The whole illiegal immigrant issue may be tinged in the same way. I’m sorry to write this; I thought maybe we made some social progress in the last 50 years.

Posted by Andrew Franks | Report as abusive

The fact that Obama is bankrupting the country is the issue.

The only racist issue that most whites care about is the racist policies of the Government that give special privileges (e.g. contract set-asides, hiring rules with bonus points) to everyone except white males under age 40. Our country was supposed to be the place where everyone has equal rights – as in all the rules are the same, not as in everyone will have exactly the same results regardless of their talent or effort.

Posted by Neil | Report as abusive

The issues are largely economic and political. Take an independent measure of economics, say, the price of gold, which increases in proportion to the decreasing value of the dollar. Evidence: look at the price of gold historically or, if not, then the purchasing power of the dollar, say, against real estate. As for politics, what was that business about equating conservatives with terrorists? Pulling the race card to defend bad political and economic policies (Bush and Obama now share the opprobrium) is a cowardly apology.

Posted by Alan | Report as abusive

I’m a native NA,live in Canada and support public health care. It’s cost effective and everyone is treated the same.

But I disagree with former President Carter. Although I disagree with the protesters point of view I believe they are about policy not race.

To retain his dignity Carter should keep quite rather than stirring up trouble again. His tired ego is getting in the way and he is not being helpful. Racism is usually about hate and I don’t think the protests are about hate.

Posted by Buffalojump | Report as abusive

Scott you would be right in a perfect world…which America is far from…we are so racist in our thought process that it has to be some genetic cause/drift…President Carter is right and he doesn’t need any facts…racism unfortunately and scientifically can’t be proved with consistency….it’s usually opinion and individual based…it supposedly learned behavior…most people especially Americans are the most adept at hiding or masking their beliefs..what is most discerning is the fact that after all of the many years of progression..regression is still required to make further progression….many people still like to be in bondage…to racism..

Posted by martimal | Report as abusive

Chile please. President Carter is fo’ sho’ nuff speaking the truth. What else could it be but racism when a white American feels that it is acceptable to to heckle the President of the United States (Who happens to be Black) in public? No matter how unpopular previous Presidents’ policies have been, it was never a public act to heckle them. Where has civility gone? How low have we, as a nation, stooped when we bring The Jerry Springer Show to our halls of government? Our dirty laundry is displayed for the universe to see. And its a shame. It’s embarrassing.

Posted by Wawawandaful | Report as abusive

If it’s now racist to criticize the president, then I guess I was racist when I criticized Bush and I guess I’m racist now when I criticize Obama.

Maybe ‘racist’ should become the new ‘queer’ and have the air taken out of it. It’s getting to the point where we are all racists now.

Everyone on the planet is prejudiced so maybe it will be a good thing to kill off that word and get people talking about prejudice instead.

Posted by JB | Report as abusive

The concern I have with what I see in the US at the moment is that those who say they differ on policy are doing so during the debate in order to determine the policy. I cannot see how it can be against policy, they are disagreeing because of something else, what it is, I do not know, but race would most certainly be an issue.

It could also be a sense of retaliation against the loss of power by Republican’s. They will be against anything from the Democrats. As Hilary Clinton said, they are acting just like spoilt children.

Posted by Pieter | Report as abusive

Great, so calling the president a liar is now racism.

Next it will be that any attempt to attack the president or his policy will be considered racism.

I wonder if democrats really believe this, or are they just willing to be two-faced in their attempts to smother any opposition.

At any rate, their president and policies will only go downhill from here. If they can’t deal with critisism, then they need to change their attitude and quick.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

as a crime victim I can attest that the conduct of the United States Department of Justice under Obama is worse than under George W. Bush and his allowances of controll of the timing issue to political insiders at the cost of a US Families Security in a Whitecollar Criminal FIASCO is a disgrace to the country Black or White.

I do not think it is race, I know it isn’t race on my part but I can’t stand whet the man is doing to ur country.He is not a leader. He is in over his head and he is surrounging himself with bad people and he is trying to take from me, a worker, and give it to those that are too lazy to work.

Posted by D. R. Smith | Report as abusive

I think its racism at its worst. The racists are hiding behind another agenda to make themselves seem legit. They are cowards and racists of the worst type.

Posted by B.R. | Report as abusive

I think that President Carter is spot on. What is worse is that we as this Super Power think we should be beyond this race issue, but we aren’t. And just like many other unpopular social issues, we in America don’t deal with them, we stifle them until they boil over. I think that the fury Mr. Carter’s statement has shown, is that many in this country have a very short memory. He said that the “overwhelming portion”, not all of it. And what this blog fails to point out as well as all of the other articles I have read, is that is that Mr. Carters actual comments also included, “it is an abomination”.

As for Mr. Steele’s comments about policy, well lets be real, has anyone read the proposed bills? People are getting upset at rhetoric, not facts. The republican base is great at that, and they also know that many American’s still have a race issue. It is a combination for a molotov cocktail.

It is a shame that many cannot see what Mr. Carter has done, he has spoke the truth, and with as difficult as it may be to swallow, it is time to determine what is motivating you, rhetoric, race, or facts?

Posted by anamericancynic | Report as abusive

I disagree with the Obama policies and it’s not because of his race no more than it’s racist for me to disagree with Pelosi and Reid and Frank and all the others who think they know what is best for us and we should just keep our mouths shut and accept it. To the contrary, I think most of us gave him a chance because he was black and we wanted him to succeed. His abilities were way overblown by the press and even our party just to get a Dem elected. They may already wish they had told the truth. Carter desperately wants Obama to succeed as a great president because he has been compared to Carter, not in a complimentary way I should add. Great president is not going to be one of the adjectives describing Obama…inexperienced, incompetent, darling of the east coast media…yes…. great president no.

Posted by lezah2 | Report as abusive

I do agree that this is true.
We have chance to change something after 8 years living in the darkness. I am white but hate any intolerance.
I do know the filling – was part of discriminated minority ethnic group in eastern Europe.
God bless our president and the country.

Piotr

Posted by Piotr | Report as abusive

Osama B on several occasions recommends Americans listen to Jimmy Carter because JC provides aid and comfort for his cause. This latest outburst is no exception. Those here supporting JCs rant reveal their own bigotry. No president is above criticism of the people regardless of the color of their skin and every president to date has had to face this.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

C’mon people! Racism?? Really? It is convenient for Obama supporters to say “racism” when the question should really be “Was Obama deliberately stating something untrue regarding illegal aliens (or undocumented visitors, or whatever politically correct term you would like to use so I don’t get labeled racist)and the healthcare bill?”

Let’s see: Until today, we only had HR3200 to go on. In the section for excise fines for not having healthcare, monitored by the IRS, undocumented persons are specifically excepted from the fines. Why? Because most DO NOT file their 1040s. So in effect, American taxpayers who choose not to buy a plan forced on them through this healthcare bill pay a fine (excise tax)to help cover the ones who should not be entitled to it. But illegals can come here and still get “free” healthcare.

And that is why Wilson said “you Lie!”. Obama fully intends that the Americans who pay taxes are going to be compelled to cover the costs of those who deliberately don’t pay income taxes because of their illegal status.

Posted by Ellen | Report as abusive

[...] election process, that Mr. Obama was not given a chance at the outset of his campaign due to his race and even now as our president. But there were/are too many who side with him out of perceived white [...]

It’s simple … anyone who disagrees with Obama is racist and anyone who is not a liberal should not be allowed to voice an opinion. Gee, and I used to think that part of being Liberal, was ACCEPTING other’s views.

Posted by pm | Report as abusive

If you think race isn’t an issue in the right’s rabid reaction to the outcome of the 2008 presidential election, just have a look at some video of Glenn Beck’s “9-12 Project” gathering in Washington D.C. last weekend.

There was a lot more to it than just standard-issue anti-Obama sentiments being aired in the streets. Layered beneath the whole scene was a hard vein of bitter racism the participants didn’t even try to hide.

Packs of “tea party patriots” shuffled down Pennsylvania Avenue proudly waving signs. “The Long Legged Mack Daddy,” “Where’s the Birth Certificate?,” “Mississippi Freedom Riders,” “Whoa Boys, I’ll Take it from Here” (Obama waving to black and Islamic militants). Many defiantly waved Confederate flags and the Texas state flag (the current separatist movement emblem). Meanwhile, South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, Republican Congresspersons Mike Pence, Phil Gingrey and Marsha Blackburn, and organizer mouthpiece scandal-plagued former House majority leader Dick Armey profusely swore that the march had nothing to do with race, politics, or even President Obama. The racist flags, symbols and signs, though, gave big lie to their profuse denials. Racism was on full and ugly display on the Capitol Mall. No attempt was made to mask it. Some protesters seemed quite proud to openly send a message about race and Obama.

These teabag parties represent the newly disenfranchised white, rural voter – the backbone of the Republican Party and its Southern Strategy.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Getplaning this racist chant is being used to often, people are expecting it crop up when the Democrats have their backs against the ropes.It is good now that independents are getting maligned as well,because it causes ordinary people to stop and reflect on these groundless accusations,and after a reexamination they become sceptical about all the other exaggerations you guys are trying to get people to swallow,like the single payer system will be cost free.Keep up the good work you guys, Obama,s polls numbers are tanking all the time.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

What about …. the many whites who VOTED for Obama and now are totally against his ‘agenda’ and what he is trying to do. I guess this means they were not racist when they voted for him, but are NOW racist that they don’t like what he is doing. Everyone who disagrees is now a ‘redneck’, which, by the way IS a REVERSE racial derogatory comment.

Posted by pm | Report as abusive

Be clear. Carter didn’t say that the protests were motivated by racism. He was careful with his words, attributing racist motives only to “an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward Barack Obama.” This is an apt description of protesters exhibiting the most extreme vehemence and vitriol at the person, not his policies.

Posted by matty b | Report as abusive

brian, you keep saying that Obama’s poll numbers are tanking. While they had fallen in previous weeks, they are rising slightly now.

But there is something you have avoided- Poll numbers for the conservative opposition have remained where they are.

Way, way down, and not rising at all. Keep waving those signs.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Kudos to President Obama for getting in front of the argument over whether or not the heated debates and disagreements are related to race.

See:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/19/health  /policy/19obama.html?_r=1&hp

and

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articl es/2009/09/19/obama_says_government_role _in_health_care_is_the_issue_not_race/

Thank you, Mr. President.

Posted by Mark Boabaca | Report as abusive

Getplaning, today friday Gallup poll, people who think Obama will achieve his goals in the health debate 30%,people who think he will not 60%get your head out of the sand you ostrich!anyway, grudgingly enjoy your weekend.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Jimmy Carter has become a Disgrace.

I voted for him, and I did not blame him for a helicopter crashing into a plane during a dust storm. I also was not sure he was responsible for Stag-Flation and long Gas lines in the late 70’s [economies go in cycles and presidents don’t always have much immediate control over them – they have often been compared to Quarterbacks: to much credit for a Win, and too much blame for a Loss].

However: ……………

He Revealed the ‘Stealth Program’ (Highly Classified, & Never mentioned by the Media) years before it should have been revealed, because he was sliding in the polls against Reagan (I could never really find a way to justify his actions on that one), –he Lost the election !!

His constant Talking about His ‘Carter Center’ came across as Shameless Advertising (like someone with a new Business or Product finding themselves on TV for the first time,) and an attempt to Resurrect his “Legacy”.

He Blames the Israelis 100% for the problems with the palestinians (one sided & Absolute to a fault).

He has an On-Going FUDE with the Clintons (Why I thought Liberals were ForGiving, and not Grudgey).

Now he lays down a Broad Brush Stereotype about ‘most’ Southerners & anyone dis-agreeing with O’bum. (why I thought Liberals were too Open-Minded & Compassionate to Stereotype people). It is not possible in his mind that people think a HUGE Governmental Medical Program could introduce major new “Glitches & Inefficiencies” that could ‘Mire’ the whole system for 10-20 years (if they could ever be worked out) and ‘Balloon the Budget’ (far beyond anything Bush did) to an Un-Retrievable point…………Why NO, these concerns could “not possibly” explain Most of the opposition.

As I said:…. Jimmy Carter has become a Disgrace.

Posted by Da Truth | Report as abusive

Opposition to Obamacare is about FINES, PENALTIES, ‘CONTRIBUTIONS’, new TAXES. The majority will likely end up losing their TAX-FREE employer-provided med/dent benefits as one of many unintended consequences.

Opposition to Obamaspend is about trillions in new federal DEBT.

Opposition to Obama’s Russian appeasement viz a viz Eastern European missile defense retooling is about the fact that the Russians would twist Iranian arms only if the Iranians posed a threat to THEM.

And opposition to Obama’s ‘war of necessity’ is about the fact that the toppling of the Taliban gov’t back in late 2001 was as good as it gets for us and the Afghans.

Posted by dom youngross | Report as abusive