Was former president Jimmy Carter identifying the elephant in the room or seeing a phantom when he charged that much of the opposition to President Obama’s health-care reform is motivated by racism? Whatever the wisdom of Carter’s comments, Obama himself has refused to be drawn into the debate. Obama said he’d prefer to think that the election of a black man as president is the true measure of where the country stands on race.
Besides, Obama said, any president’s effort to make significant political changes, especially during an economic crisis, will spark strenuous resistance. Franklin Roosevelt, for example, was labeled a communist when he introduced his New Deal legislation.