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Right Wing Attacks Collide: 'Racist' Obama Using Health Reform for Reparations

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In the swirling mass of news coverage and opinion-making on the issues of the day (Gates arrest, health care reform, birthers, etc.) we're seeing the convergence of various anti-Obama attack lines. In addition to the racial undertones of the birther movement, one theme gaining traction on the right in light of the Gates arrest is that Obama is racist:

Examples here, here, and here.

And most notably, here:

Another attack line is that the push to reform the health care system is some nefarious plot by Obama to promote socialism, to bankrupt the country, or other such nonsense.

On Fox Nation, in an astounding stretch of imagination paranoia, they've gone one step further and merged both anti-Obama talking points.

Details from Newshounds:

At their "fair and balanced" website purportedly devoted to "tolerance," and "civil discourse," Fox Nation is suggesting that Obama's health care bill is a back door bill for slavery reparations. And yep, they suggest that white people will die as a result. The short Fox Nation post states: "Still believe in post-racial politics? Read the health care bill. It's affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin color. President Obama is on the record as being officially opposed to reparations for slavery. But as with other issues, you have to sift through his eloquent rhetoric and go beyond the teleprompter to get at what he really means."

The original article linked to by Fox Nation is from IBD and concludes with this:

The racial grievance industry under health care reform could be calling the shots in the emergency room, the operating room, the medical room, even medical school. As Terence Jeffrey, editor at large of Human Events puts it, not only our wealth, but also our health will be redistributed.

Fox Nation is a well trafficked site and the article gets featured coverage, so this isn't some throwaway comment on a fringe blog.

It's tempting to dismiss this uprising of race-based anti-Obama rhetoric on the right as irrational and unhinged, but I'm not sure there isn't some damage being done here. Small, hateful groups can have an outsized influence on events and perceptions. [It doesn't help that in the online communications era, the media and online commentariat amplify and disseminate these types of attacks in a way that wasn't possible a generation ago.]

Race will always be a factor in an Obama presidency -- we're ages away from truly moving beyond it, if ever. As Obama's poll numbers drift downward, and as the health care debate grinds on, the political landscape is shifting and Republicans smell blood. Part of that shift is the escalation of unfettered attacks of the sort I described above.

In response to this piece by Eric Kleefeld, Zandar argues that the right is feeling unencumbered by an election season and is therefore ratcheting up the verbal assault on Obama:

They're going for broke on the racism stuff here. All that is back and more. There's no election to backfire in their faces now. They've got it free and clear, and no consequences from the Village as they're tired of Obama already too. Remember Obama Waffles? Remember "disrespectful?" Remember "uppity?" One of my very first posts was about The GOP Plan. Attack Obama by calling him a racist. That was back almost a year ago. Obama is in the White House now. The Plan remains the same. It hasn't just been going on for a few weeks. It has been going on for over a year now. It's all they have now.

Actually, they have more.

With the help of intransigent Blue Dogs, they have the possibility of sinking health care reform and dealing Democrats a harsh political blow -- and dealing a harsher one to ordinary Americans.