Barack Obama | Jimmy Carter | News

Towleroad Guide to the Tube #536: Jimmy Carter Racism Edition

At a town hall at Emory University last night, Jimmy Carter repeated assertions he made to Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News earlier this week, that the vitriol being spewed toward Obama by right-wing conservatives is race-related.

Said Carter in the Williams interview (above, left): "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American. I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans. And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply."

At Emory, Carter stood by his remarks (above, right).

Reactions from the right wing have come fast and hard:

RNC Chair Michael Steele: Carter "trying to color the debate."

LAURA INGRAHAM: Carter "a self-loathing Southerner".

GLENN BECK: Osama bin Laden supports Jimmy Carter's views.

NEWT GINGRICH: Carter a failed President.

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  1. Carter was right on target! These people can't stand having a black as president. Of course, the republicans are seizing the comment and twisting it to change the subject from health care, etc. The LA TIMES spun it as this: "Former President Jimmy Carter, who has a habit of stirring controversy, said this morning that "an overwhelming portion" of those opposing President Obama's policies are racist." Of course, Carter didn't say that... and it's obvious these people don't care
    what his policy agenda is, they just don't want a black president - so they will oppose EVERYTHING he does. We need to seize the debate, we are letting the wingnuts control it. If we don't, they win, we lose!

    Posted by: Mike | Sep 17, 2009 9:58:00 AM

  2. Lets see Carter successfully NEGOTIATED the release of Iranian Hostages (released on his last day in office). Reagan on the other hand had an out of control White House and Pentagon selling WEAPONS to IRAN to try to get them to release hostages ... I think Carter will be remembered quite well and in years to come all the things named for Reagan will have that name come off.

    Posted by: willie | Sep 17, 2009 10:01:41 AM

  3. I've always liked Jimmy Carter. He might be politically incorrect but he's right.

    Imagine if he had gotten a second term and we never ended up with Reagan.

    Posted by: Wes | Sep 17, 2009 10:04:34 AM

  4. The 4 individuals' reactions are inconsequential. None of them are qualified to judge what the Nobel laureate
    has to say as one would have to have a pulse and a conscience and intelligence in order to contribute in any way. The four Republican personalities (and that is all they are) possess none of the above mentioned qualities. Shooo go back to the holes you collectively crawled out of.

    Posted by: Nick | Sep 17, 2009 10:05:31 AM

  5. take a deep breath, exhale, relax. Now - accept that every word Carter said is true. you;ll feel better.

    Posted by: Ben | Sep 17, 2009 10:16:00 AM

  6. Much of the animosity is OBVIOUSLY race-related, and Carter is absolutely right.

    Just take a look at what the folks at wingnutdaily say about healthcare and illegal aliens:

    "The white-hating 50%-white, 42%-arab, 8%-African, race-baiting extraordinaire and racist in chief, Obama and his followers of mentally-ill self-hating white leftists and all white-hating non-whites (about 80 % of Afro-America (the other 20% are just plain old Americans), are going to give "free" health care -especially to the illegals mainly because they are not white.

    The name of this game is: "whitey's gonna pay" for everyone (i.e. from the mind of the massively ignorant: "whitey's gonna get enslaved for pay back- yo! and our man's gonna do it").

    Not only will "evil whitey" be forced to pay for 30 million "Afro-Americans" and all 20 million plus illegals who have flooded into the USA from south of the border - unhindered and by plan - but "evil whitey" will be helping to pay for health care of the rest of the non-white world - once the USA is divided and dispersed to the "one world government" -socialist utopia. (that's the bonus prize -"evil whitey" loses his/her nation)."

    And it's NOT about race???

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Sep 17, 2009 10:17:26 AM

  7. Newt Gingrich and Glen Beck lecturing Jimmy Carter on racism. I knew I shouldn't have followed that big rabbit into the hole.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Sep 17, 2009 10:17:44 AM

  8. I think anyone with more than a 4th grade education would have heard Carter's comments and said "Well...yeah, duh."

    And that's why the right doesn't get it.

    Posted by: another matt | Sep 17, 2009 10:18:55 AM

  9. Carter's attempt to cut-off all debate about Obama's policies is going to fall flat. "A conspiracy so vast!" is not a good argument, particularly when the press dutifully reports poll numbers showing a lack of consensus, not to mention Democratic members of the house and senate that aren't going alone. They're all racists now? The only way to prove you're not a racist is to support Obama's policies? This argument is DOA.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 17, 2009 10:36:31 AM

  10. So it is no surprise that I am not a fan of either Carter or Obama. However, having spent my life in the South, Atlanta specifically, Carter was not wrong with this assessment of race. I do think Obama has faced an enormous amount of criticism that is deeply based upon the fact that he is a black man. I find that sad and wrong.

    I disagree with Obama's economic policies, his support of unions, big government and taxes and that has nothing to do with his race. While I was excited to see a black man break that glass ceiling I was and continue to be concerned by the policies of this black man.

    In regards to Carter, I still say he was one of the worst presidents we have ever had but in this case he wasn't wrong!

    Posted by: RB | Sep 17, 2009 10:45:00 AM

  11. Yup! Former President Carter nailed a lot of this on the head. "oh my god, white folks done lost their powers." bs that these gonzos are going on with as the real fear for the behavior at the town halls and protests. I keep remembering these were the same folks who vilified me for being against the war in Iraq because I didn't support the President and I should support the President no matter what. Yeah, shoe, other foot. Hypocrites, thy name is GOP.

    Posted by: Darren | Sep 17, 2009 10:47:22 AM

  12. President Jimmy Carter never fails to impress me with his honesty and thoughtfulness. Rather than be PC or blunt for sheer media exposure, his comments seek to expose the elephant in the rooms. He doesn't pull any punches and his "controversial" comments are attempts to bring honesty to situations so that we can have frank discussions and hopefully resolution. Too bad being truthful is generally met with scourge and dishonesty in this bullsh*t world.

    Posted by: ED2 | Sep 17, 2009 10:58:58 AM

  13. Jimmy Carter is NOT helping Obama even if what the former president is saying is true.

    Obama is going to be on "Meet the Press" this Sunday as well as several other Sunday news shows. Instead of being asked about Health Care Reform, Obama is going to be bombarded with questions about what Carter said.

    Posted by: elg | Sep 17, 2009 11:10:54 AM

  14. Accusing people who have policy differences with Obama of racism for their opposition to his policies is not doing the Progressive side any favors. While there are certainly aspects of the Tea Party crowd who are racist, I highly doubt that the majority of people who are opposed to the current proposed reforms do so for the reason of racism.

    Support for Obama's/the Democrats policy proposals are falling in all categories from the polling I have seen for various reasons, including opposition due to the lack of a public option. Frankly the racism accusations reek of desperation on the part of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. The new focus of racist accusations against Obama's opponents is idiotic and counterproductive to the efforts of Progressives. Who really thinks that conservatives and libertarians would be not be just as likely to oppose these measures if the President was Joe Biden, a crusty old white guy. The constant shouts of racism are making it appear that the Progressives have lost the "intellectual" argument to Republican framing of the issue. Most of the charges of racism are just ad hominems and more and more people are realizing it. Opposing some policy of Obama's is not racist any more than opposing some policy of Reagan would have been ageist.

    I am a libertarian therefore I do not support any of Obama's current policy proposals as relates to healthcare. I am opposed to the current corporatist healthcare proposals such as the original HR3200 and I am opposed to socialized healthcare whether "single-payer" or outright nationalization of the healthcare industry. I do not oppose Obama because he is of a mixed racial heritage or is perceived to be black. In fact I am glad that America elected a member of a minority who has a "foreign-sounding" name. His election was a watershed moment in American history. If you don't believe me ask an older black person who had to live through Jim Crow laws, segregation, and the often painful process of integration. While I oppose Obama, as I would oppose all others who support policies I do not support, it is because we differ starkly on political philosophy and ideology and not due to some innate characteristic he possesses.

    Posted by: Jason Young | Sep 17, 2009 11:10:59 AM

  15. "Never argue with a fool... they will drag you down to their level and beat you up with their experience there..." While I'm paraphrasing, the Right is so wrong on this point!

    Posted by: keith | Sep 17, 2009 11:16:36 AM

  16. With signs at the Sept 12 rally comparing Obama to Hitler and saying things like "Keep your black hands off my white body," I'd say Carter's statements are pretty dead on.

    Posted by: Jim | Sep 17, 2009 11:18:26 AM

  17. One conservative even had the gall to dismiss minorities as "ungrateful cretins" for refusing to embracing "civilization."

    That's quite a lot of audacity from folks who have been stealing from everyone else for centuries. Why do you think all the loot of Asia, Africa, and the Americas are locked away in the museums of Washington, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, and Rome?

    The Egyptian Pharaohs and Chinese Emperors were having a special yard sale?

    Not to mention the natural resources enjoyed by the West that were - and still are - mined from the land using forced labor (diamonds from South Africa, oil from the Middle East, rubber from Southeast Asia, agricultural goods from Central America, and so forth).

    These are just two examples of why the wingnuts have their blinders on. I'm sure we could easily list numerous others.

    Posted by: John | Sep 17, 2009 11:27:47 AM

  18. Carter's comments are on the money, and the proof is apoplectic idiots like Glenn Beck.

    But Carter's honesty is probably the last thing the Obama administration wants or needs in the middle of the health care reform process. The right loves to accuse the left of using accusations of racism to distract people from Obama's policies but actually the reverse is true--the right adores the race stuff because it muddies the policy waters and takes the focus off Obama's attempts to actually accomplish things.

    Any smart progressive would realize that the right--empty of concrete policy proposals at the moment--benefits from fueling the racial fires, not the left. Carter's political skills are, alas, dimmer than his insights.

    Posted by: Ernie | Sep 17, 2009 11:51:09 AM

  19. Let's get real, even Democrats rebut Jimmy Carter's lastest rant..add to the list of those who publicly oppose the remarks the following Democrats: Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), to name a few

    this is another tactic to subvert honest debate. Personally attack the person, to ignore the ideas. It only divides Americans rather than uniting us to find solutions to challenges facing our nation.

    Voicing opposition to the president’s policy proposals is not being a racist. It is being an American.

    Posted by: BEACHMAN | Sep 17, 2009 11:58:56 AM

  20. Jim, and don't forget: Obama's Plan: White Slavery

    No, never about race.

    @Jason: there may be a few who object to Obama's policies for ideological reasons, but the right wing sites I read all reek with racism. I grew up in New Orleans, and I know it when I see it.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Sep 17, 2009 12:13:09 PM

  21. This is of course what HRC supporters had to hear during the primaries.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 17, 2009 12:24:18 PM

  22. the ugly gay republican voices on Towleroad are heard from again .... typical urban monied scum

    Posted by: willie | Sep 17, 2009 12:29:45 PM

  23. I also agree with most here and Carter that it's about race. But I also think it's about culture and class (yes, both kinds). Obama is African American, cultured and classy. So I think it also comes back to the elitism charge that was so bizarrely, but successfully handled by G W (I went to Yale) Bush. They want a yuk, yuk (yuck) president who's just like (white) them.

    Posted by: David R. | Sep 17, 2009 12:55:23 PM

  24. (((fear & smear)))

    to: All Shills & Trolls
    from: AIPAC Neocon Megaphone
    re: Demonization of President Carter

    Ventura Sheehan Perot Paul Nader McKinney Kucinich Kaptur Gravel Gonzalez Clemente Choate Carter Baldwin Anderson

    Israel-first dual-nationals of AIPAC
    Willful major media disinformation
    Federal Reserve scam
    Anthrax intimidation
    9/11 sham

    Posted by: nader paul kucinich gravel | Sep 17, 2009 1:10:07 PM

  25. The irony here is that two of the videos are by two political failures...Gingrich and Steele, and the other two are never-elected blabber mouths who represent no one but themselves and their "audience". And they think they're even qualified to discuss race in this country, esp Beck who is clearly a race-baiter and seeks to incite a race war. Irony much?

    Posted by: B-rod | Sep 17, 2009 1:29:46 PM

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