- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Desperate Democrats and their co-conspirators in the media are busy trying to whip up a race war.

“The health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse,” Frank Rich wrote in a recent New York Times column. Their line is that all those opposed to the president’s radical agenda are racists who resent having a black man as president. It is a moldy, old smear, but as approval ratings for Mr. Obama sink below 50 percent, it is being revisited with increasing fervor.

According to the latest Gallup weekly data, only 38 percent of whites approve of Mr. Obama’s performance, down from 63 percent when he took office. Of course, if these people were racists, they never would have given Mr. Obama their support to begin with, but the liberal howls of “white flight” are resistant to elementary logic.

Critics focus on racial data because they want to make race the center of the argument. This is a way to avoid the inconvenient truth that vast segments of the electorate are becoming disenchanted with Mr. Obama’s broken promises. The American middle class is deserting him in droves.

According to Gallup, Mr. Obama is losing ground among people earning between $24,000 and $60,000 per year (currently at 50 percent approval - even lower at higher income levels); college graduates (48 percent approval); political independents (43 percent approval); older Americans, especially senior citizens (40 percent approval); and married couples (40 percent approval). These are the bedrock middle-class demographics, and represent people who increasingly recognize the existential threat Mr. Obama poses to their pocketbooks and to American core values.

Among people who attend church weekly, Mr. Obama’s support has dropped from a high of 60 percent in January 2009 to 41 percent, and affinity for Mr. Obama has fallen in double digits among religious denominations across the board. An exception is the “None/Atheist/Agnostic” category, in which Mr. Obama enjoys 67 percent support. He is also highly supported by those with graduate degrees, young people, single people, poor people and blacks.

Perhaps Mr. Obama’s defenders believe, as many liberals do, that the United States is a fundamentally racist nation. As Mr. Obama said during the 2008 campaign trail, “It’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” This contemptuous assessment of the American middle class accurately reflects the liberal worldview. When they say “red state,” they mean “redneck.”

Race plays a much stronger role in the liberal mindset than for most of America. Mr. Obama and many liberals of his generation grew up being taught that America is at root a deeply flawed country, and it is their mission to “fix” it. Those pushing the “racism” argument to explain the strong opposition to Mr. Obama’s policies do so because they can’t escape looking at issues through a racial prism. As America has become post-racial, they are intellectually and emotionally stuck in the 1960s. So they recycle images half-a-century old and wait, forlornly, for a random lynching to justify their worldview.

There is much to dislike about Mr. Obama’s America: high unemployment, monstrous record debt, economic sluggishness, a terrible health care law, higher taxes, a rigged census, fast-tracking illegal aliens to the franchise, growing government at home and increasing weakness abroad. It is not mean-spirited racism to take a stand against the daily destruction of the American dream; it is simple common sense.