Obama Backlash Isn't About Race
The real, centuries-old conflict is between urban elites and small towners
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2009 1:25 AM CDT
A woman holds a sign that reads "Don't tax me bro! " during the Atlanta Tea Party tax protest earlier this year in Atlanta.    (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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(Newser) – It's a mistake to see the growing backlash against President Obama through the prism of race, David Brooks writes in the New York Times. The anti-Obama movement springs not from racism, but from the long American tradition of popular distrust of the urban elite, argues Brooks. He notes mostly white anti-government protesters happily mingled with people from an African-American event in the capital last weekend.

The same kind of conflict could be seen as far back as the clash between Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians, Brooks writes, with those in favor of greater federal power pitted against  those with "small town values" opposed to the redistribution of the fruits of hard work.  Populist movements like today's have come from both the left and right, Brooks writes. They always tend to be "ill-mannered, conspiratorial and over the top," he notes. "It's not about race," he concludes. "It's another type of conflict, equally deep and old."