In the past few days, there has been a lot of discussion about the role race plays in the rising tide of birther/tenther/teabagger opposition to President Obama, mostly because of the column I wrote the other day here at TAP about the topic. (Ha!
Citizens protest against taxation and government spending at a "Tea Party" rally. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Back when Barack Obama began his extraordinary quest for the presidency, lots of conservatives -- particularly those prone to wake screaming in the night from visions of Madam President Hillary Clinton -- just couldn't say enough nice things about him. What attracted them most was not his intellect or political skill: It was the way he handled race. Right-wing stalwart William Bennett may have best summed up the feeling when he gushed that Obama "never brings race into it. He never plays the race card. Talk about the black community -- he has taught the black community you don't have to act like Jesse Jackson; you don't have to act like Al Sharpton."
Barack Obama with Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Not long after the general presidential election began last year, some momentary fluctuation in the polls led to a fevered round of hand-wringing on the left. Our nominee is letting it slip away! people cried. He ought to shift his strategy, change this, alter that! Then a photo of Barack Obama at his convention speech began to circulate through e-mails and blogs, showing the candidate looking strong and resolute. "Everyone chill the f*** out," the caption read in bold letters. "I GOT THIS." And he did.
A colleague points me to this, from a WaPo chat with The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle:
Anonymous: You said that medical innovation will be wiped out if we have a type of national health care, because European drug companies get 80% of their revenue from Americans. Where did you get this statistic?
Megan McArdle: It wasn't a statistic--it was a hypothetical.
However, whenever I have been able to find pharma financial statements that break down their profits by region, the lion's share always comes from the US.
H.L. Mencken famously observed that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Were he alive today and watching our debate over health-care reform, he would nod his head knowingly and say, "See? I told you so." And he would no doubt have more than a few things to say about those whose seeds of deception have found such fruitful soil in the fears and prejudices of so many of our fellow citizens.