PBS correspondent: Republican criticisms about Obama are based on closet racism

The Grand Rapids Press reports:

GRAND RAPIDS — Following an unpopular president, supporting a costly war, and now facing a financial crisis at home, Sen. John McCain’s race for the presidency should be in worse shape.

“What makes John McCain plausible is Barack Obama,” news anchor Ray Suarez told a local crowd Wednesday.

The “pseudo controversies” about Obama’s background are symbols for a “racial calculus” hard at work in U.S. politics.

Opinions about Obama’s inexperience, his childhood in Indonesia, and the persistent but untrue rumors of him being Muslim are stand-ins for something his detractors cannot admit, Suarez said.

Particularly, “religion has become a proxy for race,” he said.

Characterizing Obama as Muslim “is a way to confer otherness on him for those people who are uncomfortable saying they’re against him because he’s black.”

Suarez spoke at Fountain Street Church as part of the Diversity lecture series. He is the senior correspondent for PBS’s “News Hour with Jim Lehrer” and former host of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” program.

Suarez said Republicans are leaving it to vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin to “pile on the doubt” about Obama’s religion.

Newsbusters blogger Ken Shepherd notes:

Speaking of religion, Suarez’s venue was well-suited to be preaching to the left-wing choir. According to the church’s Web site, the goal of its “worship and proclamation” are ensuring that “[t]hemes of liberation and oppression such as sexism, racism, and homophobia are addressed.”

Ah. That explains things. 8-|

Just how much of our tax money goes to PBS, again?

Update: Heh.

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