The hurricane of hatred that greeted Obama's election and the tsunami of slander since that has questioned his religion, his birthplace and his legitimacy show that, 150 years after the Civil War's end, many Americans fail to live up to Lincoln's noble aspirations. The scale of sublimated race hatred that underpins the birther movement and the numbers who consider the president to be alien or foreign betray widespread racial prejudice. Conservatives have demonized all successful liberal leaders, starting with Franklin Roosevelt and reaching fever pitch with Bill Clinton. But the visceral venom and dog-whistle racism directed toward Obama is even more intense. And directed toward a wider group of Americans.
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