Robinson: Carter Did Us a Favor - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Robinson: Carter Did Us a Favor

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson argues that Jimmy Carter did us all a favor by injecting race into the national debate, though he’s a bit more reserved in his perspective:

Jimmy Carter was right in essence, but wrong in degree. It seems clear to me that some — but not “an overwhelming portion,” as Carter claimed — of the “intensely demonstrated animosity” toward Obama is indeed “based on the fact that he is a black man.”

Robinson goes on to mention people who question the legitimacy of Obama, the “birthers,” those holding up signs with offensive caricatures at rallies, and perhaps Joe Wilson.

His insinuation about Wlson is a non sequitur (after all, Wilson shouted “You lie!” rather than some racial epithet). But beyond that, by narrowing the argument to “some,” of course, it makes it easy to point to some people who are in fact racists. However, there’s really no evidence that the criticism Obama is being subjected to is more severe than any other modern president. There were loons on the right during the Clinton years who believed Vince Foster was murdered and on the left during the Bush years who thought he orchestrated 9/11. So, you can always point to nut jobs. Since there are some racists in this country, it naturally follows that some people who oppose Obama also happen to be racists, but I don’t think that’s really news.

Americans elected Obama by a comfortable margin and he came into office with sky high approval ratings. The drop off in his approval ratings and increase in his disapproval ratings was not caused because people suddenly discovered that Obama was a black man. (“Oh, damn, I kind of liked this Obama guy during the election, but then somebody told me he was black, and now I can’t stand him!”) Nor was his slide caused by any major racial controversy. The problem for Obama is that the economy is still weak, unemployment is still climbing, and many people who wanted to give him a chance are losing faith in his policies and ability to turn this thing around. Will the Robinsons of the world always be able to find racists out there if they go looking for them? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean that every time some bigot holds up an offensive and juvenile sign at a rally, we need to have a national conversation about race.

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