According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, which showed him falling to 50 percent approval, whites, by 54 percent to 27 percent, felt Obama behaved "stupidly" in the Sgt. Crowley-professor Gates dustup.
Fifteen straight months of job losses by non-Hispanics explains the anger, but columnist Lowell Ponte raises an issue that may explain who is protesting health-care reform and why.
Under the civil rights legal doctrine of disparate impact, used in the New Haven firefighters case, if tests for hirings and promotions consistently produce results disadvantageous to minorities, the tests are, de facto, suspect as inherently discriminatory, and the results are tossed out. New Haven canceled the promotions for firefighters when all but one of the firemen who passed the test were white, and not a single African-American made the cut.
The city argued that New Haven was acting true to the letter of the Civil Rights Act, which says that tests that consistently produce a disparate and unfavorable impact on African-Americans must go.
Ponte applies the disparate impact doctrine to the trillion-dollar health-care reform.
Who are the principal beneficiaries? The 47 million uninsured who will be covered. Who are the principal losers? The elderly sick who, in the name of controlling costs, are going to lose benefits, be denied care at the end of their lives and have their lives shortened. For half of all health-care costs are in the last six months of life, and cost control is priority No. 1.
Here is where the disparate impact hits. Among those who benefit most -- the uninsured -- African-Americans, Hispanics and immigrants are overrepresented. Among the biggest losers -- seniors and the elderly sick -- well over 80 percent are white. Ponte quotes Fox News' Dick Morris:
"The principal impact of the Obama health-care program will be to reduce sharply the medical services the elderly can use. No longer will their every medical need be met, their every medication prescribed, their every need to improve their quality of life answered."
Under Obamacare, adds Morris, "the elderly will go from being the group with the most access to free medical care to the one with the least access."
America is already divided ideologically and politically on health-care reform. And with seniors having to sacrifice care, while the young are all insured, a generational divide is opening.
Now Nobel prize-winner and New York Times pundit Paul Krugman writes in his "The Town Hall Mobs" column that, as did Richard Nixon's men, "cynical political operators are ... appealing to the racial fears of working-class whites."
Pulitzer prize-winning black columnist Cynthia Tucker says 45 percent to 65 percent of all vocal opponents of Obamacare are motivated by racial hostility to a black president.
We are headed for interesting times.
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