Obama and racism: Dionne’s analysis provokes a firestorm of reaction

May 28, 2013
Barack Obama
President Obama (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

E.J. Dionne Jr.’s column Monday analyzed Barack Obama, his presidency and his ideology, and it stoked a partisan and occasionally unseemly battle among our Readers Who Comment. Many of them focused on Dionne’s statement that, “[a]s the first African American in the White House, he has won an unprecedented level of support among black Americans and the goodwill of enough white Americans to build a national majority. Yet it’s undeniable that racism lurks beneath so many of the preposterously false charges against him.”

A number of the comments can be described only as racist, while others reflected partisan political positions on the subjects that occupy much American thought these days.

We’ll start with GME, who said, “Liberals don’t understand this: nobody ‘hates’ Obama, it’s just that he’s a terrible president. See ‘US economy,’ black unemployment rates, number of people on food stamps, spying on the press, targeting his ‘enemies list’ via the IRS, failed foreign policy (gee, Iran is about to go nuclear), the Obamacare debacle, federal budget deficit, Benghazi lies, etc., etc. ad nauseum if you have any questions.”

Nokidding Barb asked, “Have you ever seen such a shielded, protected president? Obama can do no wrong. America is in denial, still, and I agree with Dionne that the tone of the right and particularly Tea Partiers is like a growing roar of a lynch mob. They need to make that sound go away. It’s not necessary. The truth is being revealed and we need to let this process of government checks do its job without all this hyperbole and emotional rhetoric. But I disagree that underlying all this negative Obama spin is racism.”

JRMW offered, “Barak [sic] Obama is many things, but he is most definitely ideological. he adheres to a strict neoliberal economic dogma. This is of course Center Right economic policy championed by Robert Rubin and first enacted by Bill Clinton. Ever wonder why the Republicans laud Bill Clinton these days? Well it’s in part because neoliberal economic theory is a right of center ideology, not far from Reaganomics. It brought us NAFTA and other free trade agreements among other things.”

Wilde said, “Hey–like most liberal Americans, Obama lived in his walled off ideological world which was highly unbipartisan. He had no idea how other people thought, just a biased view through other people’s opinionated prisms. He was never going to bridge any divide because he’d never visited the other side of the divide.”

RarePost stated that “The only time race becomes part of the credible discussion is when the left raises it as a defense to accusations not made – agree with conservatives or not, to simply dismiss their opinions as racist is naive and has been nurtured by point-of-view media outlets. You have a president who, 3-weeks into his term, went shopping on our credit card. You may agree with that, but to say he wasn’t given a chance ignores the obvious. You have a president that, when unemployment was over 10%, declared healthcare his 1 agenda item. When the housing crisis was decimating lives, he ordained Green Energy as the chosen investment child. To say that the only reason people are against Obama is because he is black is a convenient excuse. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, to suggest that opponants to Obama are racits is short-sided.”

Lucretius said, “Conservatism depends on racism, ignorance and fear. It’s not enough to merely defeat the Republicans.  The Republican Party must be destroyed. They have abandoned the American Way.  They no longer believe in justice, truth or honor.”

To which arriba65 replied, “Hold on there Lucretius. Republicans are Americans. Republicans in Congress were democratically elected. We are all Americans, and we all have a voice in our government. Something Obama understands, and people like Cruz who only want to hear their own voices do not.

Oraukwu said, “Majority of people who have melanin in their skin (Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc) understand what our president, is going through. We empathize with him because we have been through what he is going through. Just as he is judged harshly and criticized for anything he does, we also have been in the same situation. Just as he was called ‘not smart’ and ‘lazy’ at Fox news cable, majority of us have been called such names by those who feel that we are second class citizens because of our skin color. It is really hard being Obama, but we understand where he is coming from.”

We’ll close with attaturk30, who wrote, “Well EJ you brought out the zealots on both sides of the issue. I suppose that means you wrote an excellent column. It isn’t surprising that the President’s poll numbers have risen. The vast majority of us in the middle read some of these comments and wonder what planet these folks are from and are they really that many crazies in the country. … [W]hen you can fire up the crazies on both sides you know you’re on to something.”

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