Jonathan Chait reacts as liberals always do when conservative arguments prove effective. Why is Obama’s “You Didn’t Build That” Roanoke speech hurting Obama? Racism!
The entire key to the rise of the Republican Party from the mid-sixties through the nineties was that white Americans came to see the Democrats as taking money from the hard-working white middle class and giving it to a lazy black underclass. Reactivating that frame is still the most mortal threat to the Democrats and to Obama. That is why Obama is reacting so urgently to reestablish himself.
In essence, people like Chait believe their own views to be so morally obligatory that you cannot prefer personal responsibility to redistribution and hand outs without thereby manifesting a negative attitude to certain groups stereotypically on the receiving end of the same.
What Chait is really saying is “If you don’t like welfare, you hate Negroes.” Which, really, if you think about it, is a perspective less than complimentary to African Americans. Who then really is the racist, Mr. Chait?