I have to write approvingly of President Obama again.
I've been really irritated by all of the people - Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert, Former President Carter for example - who have stated that the reason health care reform is being attacked is that the attackers are racists who don't want a black president to get what he wants. I was indifferent to President Obama's race during the campaign but I wouldn't have been if I'd realized that it was going to be made into a club to beat dissenters with.
But here's this article in the NY Times: Obama Rejects Race as Lead Cause of Criticism
WASHINGTON — President Obama said Friday that he did not believe his race was the cause of fierce criticism aimed at his administration in the contentious national debate over health care, but rather that the cause was a sense of suspicion and distrust many Americans have in their government.
“Now there are some who are, setting aside the issue of race, actually I think are more passionate about the idea of whether government can do anything right,” he told ABC News. “And I think that that’s probably the biggest driver of some of the vitriol.”
“Look, I said during the campaign there’s some people who still think through a prism of race when it comes to evaluating me and my candidacy. Absolutely,” Mr. Obama told NBC News. “Sometimes they vote for me for that reason; sometimes they vote against me for that reason.”
But he said that the matter was really “an argument that’s gone on for the history of this republic. And that is, what’s the right role of government?”
The president said the contentious health care debate, which came on the heels of extraordinary government involvement in bailing out banks and automobile companies, had led to a broader discussion about the role of government in society.
“I think that what’s driving passions right now is that health care has become a proxy for a broader set of issues about how much government should be involved in our economy,” Mr. Obama told CBS News. “Even though we’re having a passionate disagreement here, we can be civil to each other, and we can try to express ourselves acknowledging that we’re all patriots, we’re all Americans and not assume the absolute worst in people’s motives.”
I agree with all of this. As I said earlier, it's crucial that we have disagreements about the way things are done, because there's no in-depth conversation, no investigation, no oversight, if there is no skepticism or dissent.