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Eugene Robinson: What's Behind the Tea Party's Ire?

Excerpt:

So who stole the government? What makes some people feel more disenfranchised now than they were, say, during the presidency of George W. Bush? After all, it was Bush who inherited a budget surplus and left behind a suffocating deficit — I'm not being tendentious, just stating the facts. It was Bush who launched two wars without making any provision in the budget to pay for them, who proposed and won an expensive new prescription-drug entitlement without paying for it, who bailed out irresponsible Wall Street firms with the $700 billion TARP program. Bush was vilified by critics while he was in office but not with the suggestion that somehow the government had been seized or usurped — that it had fallen into hands that were not those of "the American people." Yet this is the Tea Party suggestion about Obama. I have to wonder what it is about Obama that provokes and sustains all this Tea Party ire. I wonder how he can be seen as "elitist" when he grew up in modest circumstances — his mother was on food stamps for a time — and paid for his fancy-pants education with student loans. I wonder how people who genuinely cherish the American dream can look at a man who lived that dream and feel no connection, no empathy. I ask myself what's so different about Obama, and the answer is pretty obvious: He's black.

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Read Robinson's article in its entirety at The Washington Post.

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