It ain’t just that he’s Black, explains Alan Greenblatt at NPR:
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.
“It’s more than just about race,” says Christopher Parker, a political scientist at the University of Washington. “He represents the changing demographic nature of America, the browning of America.”
Race Is Not The Whole Story
Obama has had to put up with indignities no white president has endured, including a protester waving a Confederate flag outside the White House gates last fall and a South Carolina congressman, Republican Joe Wilson, yelling “You lie!” at him during a 2009 address to Congress…
[continues at at NPR]