It's become a cliche to say that "racist" has been redefined to mean "anyone winning an argument with a liberal," but sometimes words are overused for a reason. Jonathan Chait attempts to racialize the "you didn't build that" controversy, identifying what the thinks is the real reason the attack against Barack Obama works well:
The key thing is that Obama is angry, and he’s talking not in his normal voice but in a “black dialect.” This strikes at the core of Obama’s entire political identity: a soft-spoken, reasonable African-American with a Kansas accent. From the moment he stepped onto the national stage, Obama’s deepest political fear was being seen as a “traditional” black politician, one who was demanding redistribution from white America on behalf of his fellow African-Americans.
We've heard all this before, from Harry Reid saying that Obama spoke "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one" to liberals complaining that issues like welfare, crime, and taxes are really just racial code words. (The term "dog whistle" is generally preferred today.) No chance that people might actually be concerned about welfare, crime or taxes, natch.
I'm not naive about the impact of race on American politics. But some of the most effective attacks on Obama's statism prior to this flap have concerned his giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry through Obamacare and money being shoveled to corporate cronies at Solyndra. Neither group is disproportionately black.
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