Left’s criticisms of Obama blunt charges of tea-party racism

President Obama will outline his (latest) plan to boost employment in a speech tonight to Congress, under pressure that comes not only from weeks of anticipation and dire economic data but from strained relations with his core supporters.

From labor unions to environmentalists to the Congressional Black Caucus, the political left is venting its frustration with Obama and his policies, or lack thereof. An unintended consequence may be the unraveling of the narrative that tea-party opposition to our first black president is rooted in racism.

It was always ludicrous to suggest that a movement as large as the tea party would be born from hatred for Obama’s skin color rather than disapproval of his policies. And the movement is large: Near-monthly polling by CBS News and the New York Times since April 2010 finds that, at any given time, between one-fifth and one-third of Americans say they support the tea party (see page 10 of the PDF at the link).

It would be foolish to say that not a single, solitary tea partyer anywhere in America is a bigot. In any discussion involving such large numbers, it’s almost impossible to say there’s zero of anything (besides net U.S. job creation in August, that is).

But it is just as foolish to believe that so many Americans not only would support a group that was fundamentally racist but would, in our politically correct era, admit as much to a stranger.

I doubt anyone but the most partisan Democrats believed the racism charge, given the results of last fall’s midterm elections, when tea partyers and independents combined to hand Democrats their worst showing in perhaps 116 years.

Just in case, the splintering of the Obama coalition might do the trick. If the left can slam Obama on principle alone, why not the right?

Labor unions are so frustrated by Obama’s failure to deliver their wish list that AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka is talking about skipping next year’s Democratic National Convention and building a new structure to disburse labor’s millions in political funds rather than giving the cash to the party.

Green groups skipped the blues and turned an angry red at Obama’s decision last week to delay new ozone rules which would have hampered job creation.

And black political leaders are turning up the heat on Obama as the unemployment rate for African-Americans, at 16.7 percent in August, remains well above the national average of 9.1 percent.

Speaking at a community college near Detroit last month, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters criticized Obama’s choice of stops during his bus tour of the Midwest:

“We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting,” the California Democrat said. “The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is. We don’t know why on this trip that he’s in the United States now, he’s not in any black community.”

Since then, Waters and others have taken anti-tea party rhetoric to new extremes.

Less than a week after her comments in Detroit, Waters told another crowd that “the tea party can go straight to hell.” A member of the Congressional Black Caucus leadership, Indiana Democrat Andre Carson, wildly claimed some tea-party members of Congress would like to see blacks “hanging on a tree.”

Maybe they’re aware — and afraid — that dinging Obama from the left undercuts their claims that criticisms from the right must be racist.

If they’re going to brand anyone who disagrees with them a bigot, why not include the president who hasn’t delivered their agenda? It makes just as much (or little) sense.

The great promise of the Obama presidency — from a conservative’s point of view, maybe the only promise — was that its historic significance would help bring an end to race-based politics. Sadly, we’ve been subjected to more ugliness first.

But when solid majorities of Americans tell pollsters they like Obama, just not his policies, maybe we should conclude that his skin color is not what’s objectionable about him.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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177 comments Add your comment

quick work break

September 8th, 2011
12:18 pm

I’ve never leveled the racism charge against the tea party. Jingoism, extremism, crackpotism–those stick better.

Don't Tread

September 8th, 2011
12:26 pm

The Left can’t refute the Tea Party’s positions on their merits, so they go back to doing what they do best: smear campaigns. (Phil Kent called it right.)

It’ll be fun to watch when they start the smear campaigns on each other.

Jimmy62

September 8th, 2011
12:29 pm

When righties do and say things, it’s with evil intent. When lefties do and say things, it’s always with selfless, wonderful, good intentions. I’m not sure how you got your journalism license without knowing those simple laws of reality.

Pat

September 8th, 2011
12:29 pm

I think it is funny how people label you racist if you do not agree with the president.

DJ Sniper

September 8th, 2011
12:31 pm

Phil Kent definitely fits the crackpot label. Once he started spouting off about the decline of white people in this country, that did it for me.

Hillbilly D

September 8th, 2011
12:37 pm

AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka is talking about skipping next year’s Democratic National Convention and building a new structure to disburse labor’s millions in political funds rather than giving the cash to the party.

I’m a firm believer in labor unions but the biggest mistake the unions ever made was getting involved in politics. I think Mr. Trumka should take all that money and use it to help the rank and file, which is where the money came from to begin with. Leave politics to the politicians and concentrate on looking out for the members

Choosing sides just leaves an opportunity for the side you didn’t choose, to demonize you and work against you, which has been happening for 30-40 years now. The side you do choose, is going to give you lip service and pretty much nothing else. They know that once you’ve made the choice, you can’t change it, realistically.

UGA 1999

September 8th, 2011
12:39 pm

Pat….I dont think anyone agrees with the President.

Pat

September 8th, 2011
12:41 pm

@UGA 1999, I guess I should have thought before I type. Thanks for clearing that up :-)

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

September 8th, 2011
12:47 pm

“But when solid majorities of Americans tell pollsters they like Obama, just not his policies, maybe we should conclude that his skin color is not what’s objectionable about him.”

Yes, Kyle, but your comment is the result of objective analysis, not the knee-jerk attack dogma of the left.

John

September 8th, 2011
12:47 pm

“It was always ludicrous to suggest that a movement as large as the tea party would be born from hatred for Obama’s skin color rather than disapproval of his policies.”

Kyle, what does calling him Osama, Keyan, Muslim, etc. have to do with his policies?

Rafe Hollister

September 8th, 2011
12:49 pm

Let them call us whatever they wish, it is absurd and most of America knows that they are just desperate. If racism is the focus, then why did the TP go after Harry Reid so agressively. Tell Mike Castle that the TP only opposses black democrats. Ask that lady in MA that lost to Scott Brown, why she lost; don’t think she will blame racism.

What a load of crappola that the Dems spin to justify their ineptness. Their followers are just gullible to most anything they are told by Reid, Pelosi, and Obama.

That is probably why the Dems boast that they “believe in science”; they believe whatever they are told to believe by one of their “leaders”.

Rafe Hollister

September 8th, 2011
12:51 pm

John

What did calling George W. Bush, Hitler,Shrub or Bushie have to do with his policies?

on patroll

September 8th, 2011
12:55 pm

Wait! How is the tea-party against Obama’s policies when you say there is a ‘lack thereof’. He either has policies or he doesn’t. Which one is it Kyle?

John

September 8th, 2011
12:56 pm

Rafe

Who has been using Hitler and others for years? Remember Chambliss’ TV ad featuring the likenesses of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein?

meno

September 8th, 2011
1:01 pm

I guess none of you righties would think that the criticism from the left shows that maybe it was the teaparty people who were wrong in thinking that Obama is some extreme liberal threat to civilization.

JKL2

September 8th, 2011
1:01 pm

I liken this to the old “hooker as a witness” defense. Even if I was a racist, it wouldn’t change the fact that obama has zero leadership ability and is totally inept as a president.

Kyle Wingfield

September 8th, 2011
1:01 pm

on patroll: Well, first of all, there is more than one issue facing the country today. So both can be true.

Second, the right is mad at Obama for what he’s done (policies — Obamacare, stimulus, etc.) while the left is mad for both what he hasn’t done (lack thereof — card check, cap and trade, close Gitmo, etc.) and what he has (delay new ozone rules, “give in” to GOP on debt ceiling, etc.).

meno

September 8th, 2011
1:14 pm

Well obviously, Kyle, the right is wrong to be as mad as they have been since, by your reckoning, not even leftists think his policies are worth celebrating.

Kyle Wingfield

September 8th, 2011
1:15 pm

meno: You discount the possibility that they’re not celebrating because they’re super-extreme.

meno

September 8th, 2011
1:17 pm

As opposed to the right being mad because they are super-impediments to any progress?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

September 8th, 2011
1:20 pm

“Kyle, what does calling him Osama, Keyan, Muslim, etc. have to do with his policies?”

Nothing. Nor do they have anything to do with his skin color.

UGA 1999

September 8th, 2011
1:30 pm

Kyle….you forgot about him suing Arizona….

saywhat?

September 8th, 2011
1:30 pm

I have always believed the Teapartiers’ main objection to Obama was his policies, mostly his policy of being black.

jconservative

September 8th, 2011
1:31 pm

“It was always ludicrous to suggest that a movement as large as the tea party would be born from hatred for Obama’s skin color rather than disapproval of his policies.”

I agree. But……………….

I screamed when Reagan tripled the national debt. Most did not care.

I screamed when Reagan expanded Medicare. Most did not care.

I screamed when Bush 43 gave us our first entitlement in 38 years. Most did not care.

I screamed when Bush 43 doubled the national debt. Most did not care.

Both Reagan and Bush were rewarded for their sins with re-election. And I screamed about that.

I am thrilled that most now care. Or at least, say they care.

And if it took Obama in the White House to get most to care, then thanks to those voters who put him in the White House.

But is the caring sincere? If it is we will proceed to reduce the size of government. We will re-examine what the role of government. We will re-examine to role of the US in international affairs.
We will re-examine the role of the US military.

So far I see none of this happening.

pat

September 8th, 2011
1:36 pm

I know a couple of yellow dog democrats who hate obama…I almost fell out…

Rafe Hollister

September 8th, 2011
1:41 pm

saywhat

The Tea Party’s main objection to Oblamer is his incompetence. Incompetence knows no race.

UGA 1999

September 8th, 2011
1:42 pm

Rafe….amen.

saywhat?

September 8th, 2011
1:49 pm

^^^^^two more “policy” haters both thrilled, I am sure, by the appointment of fellow “policy” hater, Phil Kent.

TruthBe

September 8th, 2011
1:49 pm

I think Obama and the rest of the liberal communists that support their evil agenda are destroying America. And the liberal communists and Obama are doing it on purpose. so that they can “Transform this County”. As for the race issue Blacks are showing their true color by supporting this President only because of his skin color. Isn’t that so Colin Powell.

UGA 1999

September 8th, 2011
1:51 pm

Can someone please tell me what point obama is going to run on this time around? The Hope and Change and Yes We Can garbage is not going tow work this time.

the red herring

September 8th, 2011
1:52 pm

call me independent, tea party, republican –whatever—i do not believe in operating on a deficit. it has caught up to us and one day soon we will face austerity as greece, spain, etc are facing. our social security is absolutely a ponzi scheme and is set to go broke —the disability portion of it is going broke rather quickly. like it or not democrats morphed over the years into the party of the freebies, handouts, illegals, prisoners, and unions—they take their votes where ever they can buy them. i have personally seen companies in my area pack up their jobs and move them to mexico—not so much because of the cheap labor (that was a small part of it) but mainly because the union kept trying to get their foot in the door (and hands in the pocketbooks). every year it was a battle —the fact the majority of the workers didn’t want the union didn’t stop them from continuing to harass the company and the employees that voted against them. so the company finally had enough and nearly 700 people lost their jobs in a mid-size ga. town. now the union and it’s president are stopping thousands in S.C. from starting their jobs—what a travesty of justice but we don’t have a justice dept. anymore either—the voting rights act only protects blacks (and that’s not racist??) — shame we can’t just have elected officials that want to do what is best for the folks paying the taxes. obama could be green and purple for all i care—his policies have taken george bush’s car so much further in the ditch we may never get it back on the highway. i would never vote for a socialist to begin with –white/black/ or otherwise. I’m not a racist but i am a believer in free enterprise and people earning what they get. i would vote for herman cain in a heartbeat.

help me understand

September 8th, 2011
2:02 pm

So all this mayham just happened all of a sudden…all from one president…Kyle believe it or not skin color is still a big issue in this country

retired early

September 8th, 2011
2:04 pm

If the tea party is not racist, then why are they mostly from the deep south and why did they not have a problem with Bush doubling the nations debt. They use the reason of deficit spending even though Obama added the cost of the wars for the first time to the deficit numbers while having to bail out the banks and state budgets to avoid a full blown depression caused by the Bush policies of lack of bank regulations. If not racist, then they are terribly ill informed…especially in recent American history.
People in the GOP know they have no valid defense of the disastrous Bush reign, where they did NOTHING to stem the tide of rising healthcare cost on their watch only to talk that “socialist” crap when Obama tries to do something about it. They even give Mitt the OK for his healthcare plan because he now says it was a mistake. If there is a bigger fraud than the GOP’s desire to “Get America back on it’s feet” BS, it’s the tea party members who only became an organized force once a Black man became president.

Joe the Plutocrat

September 8th, 2011
2:04 pm

there are racists in the GOP, there are racists in the Democratic Party, there are racists in the Libertarian Party, and there are most certainly racists in the Tea Party. as one who embraces no political party I think the issue “the left” has with the “tea party” is not the fact that some members are racists, but rather in its quest for the almighty “political power” it covertly presents racist “code word” messages, lest the more racists members of the flock feel left out. again folks, even really intelligent tea party rank and file are pretty limited in the intellect department. heck, most aren’t smart enough to be racists, because a racist actually considers information and forms an idea. most tea party wags are more like dogs; they hear their masters whistle, snap fingers or bark a command and they ’sit, roll over, play dead, or heel’ as directed.

Jefferson

September 8th, 2011
2:06 pm

The t-reps are nothing but mad reps that get nothing done.

UGA 1999

September 8th, 2011
2:11 pm

Help me understand….skin color? Does that make you sleep better at night thinking that? Actually no it has taken over two years.

TruthBe

September 8th, 2011
2:17 pm

Barrack Hussein Obama, Eric Holder, Maxime Waters, Kasim Reed, Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, Colin Powell, NAACP. SPLC, Urban League, ACLU, GLAAD,Jeromah Wright, Black Panthers old and new, KKK,John Lewis, Stacey Adrams, Cynthia Tucker,most of the manistreet media, and the CBC are RACIST. Racism is prejudice based on ones skin color, culture,belief in ones race over anothers.

UGA 1999

September 8th, 2011
2:19 pm

TruthBe…..AMEN!!!

Road Scholar

September 8th, 2011
2:21 pm

Best line of the repub debate: First we’ll get rid of Obamcare, and then we’ll sit down and see what we need.

Lil' Barry Bailout

September 8th, 2011
2:21 pm

Don’t go telling the Obozo receptacles and other libtards that they can’t play the race card. Their heads will explode.

Democrats: Haters.

Rafe Hollister

September 8th, 2011
2:21 pm

Joe, you are smarter than that, what blather. Tea Party people dumb? When did you do the IQ tests? Everytime I see someone tackle that issue, the results all say the same, the Reps have the more educated/smarter voters. How can anyone with an objectivity look at a bunch of union thugs and democrats at a rally and think these are smart educated people. I don’t even like going into this, but you smeared all the Tea Party people.

And give me some code words that the Tea Party uses to rally the knuckledraggers?

WAW

September 8th, 2011
2:23 pm

“You is kind, you is smart, you is important”

UGA 1999

September 8th, 2011
2:24 pm

Road….And? Your point?

Politi Cal

September 8th, 2011
2:30 pm

Whether it is true or not, Mr. Obama appears to be incompetent, and that will hurt him deeply in November 2012. He needs to get his “think tank” together and do SOMETHING successfully. His core supporters don’t even give him credit for snagging bin Laden, as many of the didn’t want him snagged. Too much like “Islampophobia” I guess.

Tea Party Hobbit

September 8th, 2011
2:31 pm

retired early – as someone who identifies himself with this movement, let me state a few things:
- the Tea Party is not mostly southern. Most TP Congress members came from northern states
- social conservatism is already strongly rooted in the south, so TP had harder time here actually, trying to get rid of the corrupt good ol’ boys
- these voters existed before, but not as a cohesive block. they would have been mostly independent conservatives. they would have voted GOP or perhaps responsible Democrats
- they stayed home in 2006 and 2008 to punish and teach the GOP a lesson
- they organized in 2010 because the Democrats did not show any hope of being more responsible
- they will abandon the GOP again if (and when honestly) the GOP fails to be fiscally responsible
- they are NOT going away!

UGA 1999

September 8th, 2011
2:32 pm

I lean more to the right and I will give Obama credit for bin laden. Great job.

carlosgvv

September 8th, 2011
2:32 pm

Guess what Kyle? The Tea Party can be against Obama’s policies AND also be fundamentally racist.

BW

September 8th, 2011
2:33 pm

No Kyle…this is a purely cynical column. Of course there will be shared economic criticisms from the left and the right on the economy. But there are people who are genuinely against this president on some basis because he is black. It is easy to mask those feelings behind the prevaling arguments that you discuss above. Let’s not pretend that these issues do not exist at all.

BoiseStateFan

September 8th, 2011
2:33 pm

To uga1999 – worry about your sorry*** football team, sucker. Where was all of this teabagparty hatred when Bush destroyed the country. Eight freaking years of destroying the country and nothing was said. Obama inherited a mess that Bush Jr left. The private sector is sitting billions of dollars but refuse to hire people, you know how I know. I’m a corporate recruiter. $60billion lost because of fraud and mismanagement in two wars that your boy started, are we still looking for WMD’s, the vp can shoot someone in the face while drunk and not go to jail. Obama killed osama in 2 years, but tried for 8. Don’t worry, even on Obama’s worst day, he can beat any if the village idiots from the gop that’s running again him. I can see Russia from college park(()()). Now you have another idiot from texas running for office, did he say he wanted texas to secede from the United States 2 years ago. You know what happen last time rural individuals had that thought in mine, the North had to put them in place. Don’t you have a civil war battle to re-enacted, oh that’s right. You lost that battle tooo…….. Plus georgia sucks!!!!!! in football and has sucked for 31 years……….from BoiseState Fan for life

UGA 1999

September 8th, 2011
2:35 pm

carlos…..is the NAACP racist?