The Democrats, led by certain members of Congress and former President Jimmy Carter, have developed a new tactic to dismiss growing displeasure with President Obama's policies.
As his approval ratings continue to drop, hesitancy over health care has snarled the plan's progress, and tens of thousands marched on Washington a week ago, the left has decided the entire opposition can be dismissed by the obfuscating charge of racism.
Just this past week, former President Carter told "NBC Nightly News:" "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."
No one wants to fall in with racists, to heed racially motivated comments, or to be lumped in with their kind, so, to President Carter's thinking, what choice do we have but to ignore the discontent of any American and praise the administration blindly?
This sort of mindset is not only ignorant, but actually dangerous. A former president of the United States has equated opposition to nationalized health care, government bailouts, and out-of-control spending, to racist motives solely because the sitting president is black. Is that the sort of progress we need in this country? Progress where we can no longer have a national debate because of skin color? That's not the sort of progress President Obama has advocated.
President Carter has failed to account for the fact that millions of Americans are simply fed up with the big government policies coming out of Washington -- the same policies they denounced under President Clinton, at times under Republican Presidents Bush, and certainly from a certain President Carter. Perhaps Carter could take the time to recall conservative frustration when Republican President George W. Bush's administration spent too much for their liking, or liberal frustration on social issues. Were those concerns racist? Of course not!
In that same interview, Carter also chastened us that, "No matter who he is or how much we disagree with his policies, the president should be treated with respect."
It seems to me that the ones forgetting that creed have not been the millions who fear government interference in their insurance plans, children's education, and small businesses. No, the one who seems to forget that is none other than President Carter himself.
After all, let's remember now who it was who called President George W. Bush's sitting administration the "worst in history." Or do you recall the claim that President Bush had inspired an "overt reversal of America's basic values" and that his "arrogance" and "fundamentalism" were taking the country in the wrong direction?
Could it be ... Jimmy Carter?
Of course we should treat our sitting President with respect, and I will be the first to stand against those who do not treat President Obama as the duly elected leader of this country, and you had better believe that I will oppose any racially-motivated attacks against President Obama, or any other leader or individual in this nation.
But in a democracy, in this great and free country, we retain the right of dissent, the right of free speech, the right to oppose government policies and the direction of our leadership, and the right to speak that disagreement publicly. If we lose that freedom, if we allow it to be suppressed by claims of racism, then, what sort of free society are we?
Moreover, with his comments, President Carter is in essence telling independent voters across the country, including those who may have voted for Obama in 2008, that if they disagree with the president on any issue, their disagreement must stem from racist motives rather than clear thinking. Now that is not smart politics, and it's something Democrats should stand up and oppose as well.
These latest comments by Carter cannot help but remind me how fortunate we were as a nation that my father's election removed him from office.
Mike Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is chairman and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. E-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.