If only it were just about the color of his skin.
With all due respect to Jimmy Carter, the racist component of Obama-hatred has been undeniable since the summer of 2008, when Sarah Palin rallied all-white mobs to the defense of the “real America.” Joe Wilson may or may not be in that camp, but, either way, that’s not the news. As we watched and rewatched the South Carolina congressman’s star turn, what grabbed us was the act itself.
Beck frequently strikes the pose of an apocalyptic prophet, even insisting that he predicted 9/11. This summer he also started warning of domestic terrorism in the form of a new Timothy McVeigh. On this, one fears he knows whereof he speaks. For all our nation’s unfinished business on race, racism is not Obama’s biggest challenge during our unfinished Great Recession. He — and our political system — are being seriously tested by a rage that is no less real for being shouted by a demagogue from Fox and a backbencher from South Carolina.