“Is it racial?”
“Are the protesters, tea-partiers, birthers, deathers, doomsayers and hecklers motivated, at least in part, by a distinct discomfort with the country’s first black president?
Or is that a smear against disgruntled Americans who have every right to express their dissent?”
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
“There is no definitive answer, of course, since we are talking about millions of people, from Joe Wilson, the disrespectful congressman who’s now raised $700,000 for his “you lie” outburst, to the woman who told Arlen Specter that Obama is trying to transform the US of A “into Russia, into a socialist country.”
Tranlslation: “There’s a definitive answer, but we’re going to pretend there isn’t.”
“But I began to suspect that race was a factor for at least some critics when I heard them shouting about “the Constitution” and “taking our country back.” Maybe Obama’s health-care plan is an awful idea and his budget is way too big, but how exactly is any of this unconstitutional? Clearly, for some folks, there’s a deeper rage at the man occupying the White House.”
And for some other “folks” —
“I do think we all need to be careful about tarring the critics with a broad brush. Dissent is an essential element of America’s DNA. Civil rights protesters transformed the country. Protesters helped turn the country against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. The majority of those digging in against Obama’s policies sincerely believe that he is moving the country in the wrong direction.
Still, there is an ugly undercurrent out there. Yes, some on the right tried to delegitimize Bill Clinton as well — remember the garbage linking him to drug trafficking and murder? “
And we remember you saying absolutely nothing about it.
“– but this is dark and personal in a much more unsettling way. What other president — with a Hawaii birth certificate, no less — would be subjected to conspiratorial doubts about whether he was born in this country? “
Have we had any other black presidents?
“There was a hopeful moment after Obama’s election when the country — even many of those who had voted against him — seemed proud of itself for having broken a racial barrier. Maybe we were all being naive. Maybe prejudice is not so easily drained from the swamp.”
“The subject got a major boost in visibility from Maureen Dowd, who began with the shout-out from the South Carolina congressman who was a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans:
“Fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!”
“I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race. . . .
“But 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. . . .
“For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the feds. In Obama, they have both.”
Well, not the entire South. Bill Clinton is a southerner. Then again, he supported a white candidate against Obama, didn’t he?”
SHE WAS HIS WIFE !!!!!!!!!!!!
“Salon Editor Joan Walsh takes the argument a step further:
“I started thinking opponents were blackening Obama back in July, after the racial drama of the Sotomayor hearings, when poor oppressed Caucasians like Sens. Jeff Sessions, Tom Coburn and Lindsey Graham made it sound like it was open season on white guys. Then came the racial morality play of the Gates arrest — Did race or class matter most? Should Obama have stayed out of it? — which gave way to the screaming of the Birthers, the angry gun-toting town-hall haters, the shrieking of Palinites over ‘death panels.’
“I wrote about the role race played in these ginned-up controversies at the time: Birthers and Deathers (who tended to be the same people) were focused on marginalizing Obama as scary, ‘the other.’ Race was central to their fears, from the Birthers’ obsession with Obama’s literal origins as the product of miscegenation; to the Deathers and the Town Hellers’ insistence that healthcare reform was, in Glenn Beck’s idiotic formulation, Obama’s idea of ‘reparations’ for slavery. The cries of ‘socialism’ were just another way to mark him as ‘other,’ scary and foreign. Watching scenes of shrieking, sobbing people pleading to ‘take our country back,’ it was hard not to ask, From who? The president who got a larger share of the vote than Ronald Reagan in 1980 or George Bush in 2000? What exactly is it that makes this particular commander in chief an interloper?
“Finally, when Republicans began objecting to Obama’s speaking to schoolkids last week, you couldn’t ignore the racism: Listening to some parents’ expressing actual fear of having Obama beamed into their kids’ classrooms, it was hard to imagine such hysteria being inspired by a white president. It would never happen.”
And what’s especially striking is that Obama goes out of his way to come across as a calm and conciliatory figure.”
Very Sidney Poitier
“By the way, when I referred Monday to efforts to cash in on his presidency by Obama’s “native country,” I obviously meant that Kenya was his ancestral homeland. Sorry for the sloppy choice of words.”
“Los Angeles, Ca.: Hey Howie, in your column today you say that Kenya is Obama’s “native country.” Are you a “Birther” now?
Howard Kurtz: Oy. I obviously meant the country of his father. He wrote a book about it. “
As for the Republican party, in whose employ you so faithfully endeavor to produce suitable PR, a few words about Michael Steele.
And now Howie, Eddie Cantor will serenade the Mrs.