As public outrage in some parts of the country against President Obama seems to grow louder by the week, some Democrats believe that his sharpest critics are driven by racism. At a fall gathering of the Democratic National Committee in Austin, several Democrats expressed dismay with the anger exploding mostly from white Americans, such as the tens of thousands who marched on the nation's capital Saturday. African-American lawmakers like Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson say the tone of the president's critics increasingly suggests what is motivating their vitriol.
"It's hurting the spirit of this country," Johnson said, expressing worry about what outsiders might think of large portions of the country behaving as if the president of the United States were illegitimate. "As far as African-Americans are concerned, we think most of it is [racism]." Politico
notes that Johnson had a "warm personal relationship" with George W. Bush and is known for her ability to set aside partisan differences.
At a "tea party" in Washington on Sept. 12, many conservative protesters made clear that their anger was with "big government" and not exclusively with Obama. Most said they had come to protest a government that has been encroaching on their freedoms long before Obama took office, though many mixed their political angst with strong personal animosity toward the president.
Throughout the conference in Austin, attendees hinted that racism is fueling protesters' anger, though many avoided saying so directly. In a speech, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine singled out conservative critics whose hostility toward the president goes deeper than politics, though he stopped short of calling them racist. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, phrased it with similar delicacy: ""There's a very angry, small group of folks that just didn't like the fact that Barack Obama won the presidency," Honda said. "With some, I think it is [about race]."
Democrats Imply Race Factor for Barack Obama Foes