Some Biden gaffes easily get papered over by the media. Others, like yesterday's racially insensitive remarks, are too big to ignore. And that's precisely when the dutiful Obama/Biden acolytes at MSNBC go into full spin mode, defending the indefensible.
Take Ed Schultz. Following Biden’s controversial crack before a largely African-American gathering that Mitt Romney will unchain Wall Street and put "you all back in chains," Schultz brought on Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson to accuse the GOP of being the real racists in the 2012 election. [Video coming soon. MP3 audio here.]
The entire segment consisted of Dyson, himself an occasional substitute MSNBC host, excusing Biden’s comments and viciously attacking Romney and the Republican Party. He starts out is rant by claiming that:
How can a Republican Party that has played dog whistle politics and whose expertise is in racial codes calling President Obama a monkey, an ape, an un-American, a Kenyon, somebody who was not born in America, a communist, and on and on and on. He doesn't share the anglo-saxon heritage from Mitt Romney's own campaign.
Dyson went on to say that:
But to call President Obama a man full of -- who is angry and who has hate is not only ridiculous but it appeals to, again, those racial politics that says any African-American person who expresses himself with vigor automatically must be angry, which is quite ridiculous when it comes to President Obama.
Professor Dyson and Ed Schultz are known for accusing the GOP of being a dog-whistle party throughout the Republican primary so such comments should not surprise anyone familiar with the network. But Dyson took his incendiary rhetoric a step further when he accused Romney himself of using racial codes when he told President Obama to take his, “campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.”
Obama is proud of his adopted home city of Chicago, a long-time Democratic Party stronghold known for corrupt, cutthroat party-boss politics, but somehow Dyson translates the line into one freighted with anti-black undertones, which is patently ridiculous for a city that has had only one African-American mayor and who is most infamous for the Irish-American Daley machine.
Dyson, who MSNBC considers an expert on race in America, continues to be exposed as a partisan who will do anything to defend President Obama rather than being an objective educator that he and Ed Schultz pretend he is.
See relevant transcript below.
The Ed Show
8:55 p.m. EDT
ED SCHULTZ: And in tonight's big finish, Republicans must be desperate. They're now accusing Vice President Joe Biden of using racist code to attack Mitt Romney today.
JOE BIDEN: Unchain Wall Street. They're going to put you all back in chains.
SCHULTZ: The Romney campaign is actually calling Biden's comment a new low in the campaign. And Romney surrogate John Sununu told Andrea Mitchell he's outraged.
JOHN SUNUNU: There’s going to be folks across the country who are going to try to take that as some kind of a code word that is going to suggest that the Republicans are trying to be racial in their programs. That's ridiculous.
SCHULTZ: But hold the phone. That there was no Republican outrage when former presidential candidate Rick Santorum used the same code almost one year ago today.
RICK SANTORUM: Because they will put you in chains called Obamacare and you will be dependent upon government and you will never break away.
SCHULTZ: So it's okay for the Republicans to talk about President Obama's policies enslaving Americans but it's not okay for the democrats to say the word chains? Joining me tonight, MSNBC political analyst and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson. Michael before I ask you a question, i want to go to this. Campaigning in Ohio tonight, the candidate, Mitt Romney, said the following in a response to Joe Biden's comments. Here it is.
MITT ROMNEY: So Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reunited America.
SCHULTZ: So now Mitt Romney is accusing President Obama of running a campaign of hate. What is your response and where does it take the campaign?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: It's utterly ridiculous Ed just like the overresponse, the exaggerated response to the chains. We already saw that Vice President Biden said, look, they’ve got you chained up here in terms of Wall Street. Let's unchain you. So it was a metaphor that was linked directly to what his statement before that had been. So if anybody was listening, they would see chained by Wall Street, unchain. And they're going to put you back in chains. Secondly, how can a Republican Party that has played dog whistle politics and whose expertise is in racial codes calling President Obama a monkey, an ape, an un-American, a Kenyon, somebody who was not born in America, a communist, and on and on and on. He doesn't share the anglo-saxon heritage from Mitt Romney's own campaign. So thirdly, I think, what is important here is for us to understand this is the politics of distraction. The Republican Party, especially with Mitt Romney's leadership, has done nothing to not only reach out to African-American people and other people of color, but its policies have been detrimental in both in theory and in practice to the very strength and stability of these people. But to call President Obama a man full of -- who is angry and who has hate is not only ridiculous but it appeals to, again, those racial politics that says any African-American person who expresses himself with vigor automatically must be angry, which is quite ridiculous when it comes to President Obama.
SCHULTZ: Well Senator Rob Portman was on the platform tonight so was Governor John Kasich. And to characterize President Obama’s campaign saying take your anger and your campaign of hate back to Chicago, does this elevate the rhetoric in the campaign, and where does it end? Where is the civility in all of this?
DYSON: It is escalating the racial rhetoric here. You go from accusing the Obama campaign of itself racial manipulation through Vice President Biden's remarks, but then you up the ante of what you think is a racialized remark. And you say take your campaign of hate back to Chicago. That has a lot of meanings. Chicago, a city that features prominently African-American middle class leaders and other prominent spokes people like Reverend Jesse Jackson and the like. They're suffering from extraordinary economic but also social devastation right now with high rates of murder and the like. It rings in a nasty way and it suggests that the escalation of the rhetoric is going to get quite nasty and that Mitt Romney, unlike john McCain four years ago, is willing to do whatever he has to do in order to win. That means even stirring up the pot of racial animus in code words.
SCHULTZ: Well it certainly is stirring the pot and it's also having the candidate himself by the end of this kind of rhetoric with a low rent accusation no doubt about it.