Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, agreed with his colleague that elements of the opposition can’t accept the reality of a black president.
“There’s a very angry, small group of folks that just didn’t like the fact that Barack Obama won the presidency,” Honda said, adding: “With some, I think it is [about race].
Said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) about the race factor: “There are some issues that have been swept under the rug and we’re not witnessing them come out.”
But it's still a sensitive enough issue that the party doesn’t broach it directly.
Virginia Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine used a speech Friday to single out those conservative critics whose hostility toward President Obama goes deeper than just opposing his policies — but without mentioning that which many in his party believe drives the anger.
Here's a bit of the now infamous Maureen Dowd column.
I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.
I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids — from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.
But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.
Now, all of these folks suddenly using the race card against their opponents must have very short memories. That's because they have quickly forgotten how they and their allies and friends treated the former president, George W. Bush. Bush was compared to Hitler, called a liar, a war criminal, an idiot, a meglomaniac, a zealot, and evil. This happened for much of the previous eight years. Yet, no one was accused of being a racist. That's politics. Opponents often don't merely oppose but rather they get nasty about it. That's what happened to President Bush and we merely called partisanship and politics.
Now, the same thing is happening to President Obama and immediately we call it racist. Bush can be called a war criminal and no one is called a racist. Obama is called a socialist and some say it's code for race. Is anyone surprised that as soon as there was enough criticism of President Obama, someone immediately played the race card? Some surmise that there are those that don't consider President Obama to be a legitimate president. That's true. There are those that think that. Some of those folks immediately insinuate that this is because people are racist. Are they serious? How many Democrats don't consider that Bush won in 2000 legitimately? Did we call them racist? So, what's the difference exactly?
In fact, President Obama hasn't been criticized or mocked nearly as much President Bush was. President Bush was called all sorts of nasty things by his opponents. Many of the were over the line and inappropriate. Yet, no one ever played the race card when it was President Bush that was criticized. Now, suddenly, President Obama is criticized and immediately people call it racist. Like I said, the chutzpah is stunning.