A reminder from the mainstream, tax-supported media: if you oppose ObamaCare, that may be because you are a white racist who hates our black president.
That's the gist of Shankar Vedantam's story this morning on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, which reports on a new study published by Michael Tesler in the American Journal of Political Science.
Tesler presents data "that suggest that the racial attitudes of ordinary Americans have shaped both how they feel about the health care overhaul, and how intense those feelings are."
Tesler finds that blacks have become increasingly supportive of health care under Obama's watch. Among whites, Tesler finds a sharp divide between whites who have a liberal outlook on racial issues compared with those who have a conservative outlook on racial issues.
Yet correlation does not imply causation, and the key to understanding the divisions over ObamaCare is not race but politics.
As UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose notes in Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind, the most important factor in political conflict in the United States is ideology--the liberal versus conservative divide.
So the key is not whether people have a liberal or conservative "outlook on racial issues," but whether they have a liberal or conservative outlook, period.
And the key factor in growing political divisions is not that Barack Obama is a black president, but that he is a particularly divisive one--far more so than his last Democratic predecessor--passing ObamaCare with no Republican votes and distorting the parliamentary rules of the Senate to do so.
That reality does not stop NPR from using Tesler's research to tout race as playing a "powerful role" in debates over ObamaCare--just in time for the second anniversary of the law's passage, and the start of Supreme Court arguments about whether it is constitutional.
In 2010, the media did their best to tarnish opposition to ObamaCare with false accusations of racism, and lies about the "N-word" being hurled by Tea Party demonstrators at black legislators on Capitol Hill.
There they go again...