Obama hints racism is to blame for low approval rating

President Barack Obama has a theory about his low approval rating, which averaged 45.8% in his fifth year in office.

No, it’s not the controversy over the NSA domestic surveillance programs or a still-struggling economy. It’s not the botched Obamacare rollout or insurance cancellations caused by his signature domestic achievement, either.

In an interview with The New Yorker, President Obama ostensibly said that racism is responsible for at least some of those who disapprove of his job performance(emphasis added):

Obama’s election was one of the great markers in the black freedom struggle. In the electoral realm, ironically, the country may be more racially divided than it has been in a generation. Obama lost among white voters in 2012 by a margin greater than any victor in American history. The popular opposition to the Administration comes largely from older whites who feel threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained in a globalized economy and in an increasingly diverse country. Obama’s drop in the polls in 2013 was especially grave among white voters. “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.” The latter group has been less in evidence of late.

Right. It couldn’t possibly be that Americans feel that President Obama just hasn’t lived up to his promises and rhetoric. It couldn’t been that, after a year of scandal and controversy, people are concerned about the direction of the country. Nope, it’s racism, because, after all, that’s the card that seemingly gets played when anyone opposes of disapproves of this President.

It didn’t end there, either. President Obama also intimated that the concept of federalism enshrined in the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution is, essentially, a dead letter (emphasis added, again):

“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on. “You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government—that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable—and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments. But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there. And so I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans. The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history, so that they understand if I am concerned about leaving it up to states to expand Medicaid that it may not simply be because I am this power-hungry guy in Washington who wants to crush states’ rights but, rather, because we are one country and I think it is going to be important for the entire country to make sure that poor folks in Mississippi and not just Massachusetts are healthy.”

President Obama isn’t the first to undermine state sovereignty. Presidents and Congresses have for decades passed laws that takeaway the role states were intended to play key roles in public policy based on the needs of their communities. That, despite the Constitution explicit limiting the powers of the federal government.

Now, the federal government’s role during to ensure that all Americans had the same civil rights was a valid exercise of power. A certain segment of the population was being treated as second-class citizens based solely on the color of their skin. But to tie race issues and the fight for civil rights that to Medicaid expansion, as President Obama did during this interview, is wholly absurd.

Setting aside for a moment that Medicaid is a poorly run federal program which doesn’t deliver better health outcomes and that President Obama himself has said needs to be reformed, the one-size-fits-all approach that it brings may work well for one state, but it may not work for another.

That’s why there have been proposals to block grant federal dollars to the states so that they can build a program that fits the needs of those who need government assistance. President Obama, of course, opposes these essential reforms.

It’s just unfortunate that race has to be brought into the discussion, whether it’s President Obama’s approval ratings or any of his policies. It’s even more unfortunate that President Obama himself would so openly float the idea, which is beneath the office, rather than take seriously the fact that Americans lack faith in his judgment and honesty, and for good reason.


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