Today NPR blamed racism for Obama’s sinking approval numbers.
It’s a fact of American life that a good share of the electorate is disappointed, disapproving and even disdainful of President Obama. What’s less certain are the reasons why.
For some Democrats, the explanation is simple: race. In recent weeks, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist have all said racism is the driving force behind Republican resistance to the president.
Republicans, unsurprisingly, say their disdain for Obama is based not on the color of his skin, but on the content of his policies.
“If any white Democrat had pushed through a billion-dollar stimulus plan and a takeover of the health care industry, he would have been equally detested by conservatives and Republicans,” says Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster and consultant.
There’s no question we’re living in a time of divisive politics, when roughly half the country is likely to hate the president, no matter whom he or she might be.
But race has been a factor in American politics since the very beginning. It’s certainly part of the mix in terms of responses to Obama.
His status as the nation’s first African-American president exacerbates the concerns of those who feel the country is changing rapidly in ways that are not always comfortable.