The "you lie" slam against President Obama from a "milquetoast Republican backbencher" was clear and simple racism, writes Maureen Dowd in the New York Times. Dowd admits she has been "loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer had much to do with racism." But new "right-wing hero" Rep. Joe Wilson "clearly did not like being lectured and even rebuked by the brainy black president presiding over the majestic chamber," she writes.
"Wilson's shocking disrespect for the office of the president—no Democrat ever shouted 'liar' at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq—convinced me: Some people just can't believe a black man is president and will never accept it." Even if Obama and his advisers "don’t choose to openly acknowledge it, this president is the ultimate civil rights figure—a black man whose legitimacy is constantly challenged by a loco fringe," Dowd concludes.