National Public Radio's Morning Edition celebrated the end of 2008 on New Year’s Eve with black commentator (and Huffington Post contributor) John Ridley listing the top "non-troversies" of 2008, which he defined as "what seemed monumental then, in retrospect has all the significance of a Dennis Kucinich stump speech." Ridley’s top "non-troversy" was Reverend Wright’s sermon clips about America deserving 9/11 and the U.S. government inventing AIDS. Ridley claimed he was only saying what the Robertsons and Falwells did:
And the number non-troversy of 2008? Are you ready for this? How dare Jeremiah Wright say the bigoted, hurtful things in the privacy of a black church that men of God like Pat Robertson, John Hagee, and the late Jerry Falwell said in public? Barack Obama denounces Wright, comes across as a rational black man, then delivers a historic speech on race in America and ends up in the White House. I mean, the whole thing worked out so well, I have a feeling that somewhere Wright and Obama are secretly sharing a cigar, swapping one of those terrorist fist jabs Fox News warned us about, and saying to each other, ‘We got 'em, baby. We got 'em.’
Ain't this post-racial period great? Here we have one of the more famous members of the Black Congressional Caucus accusing Senate Democrats of threatening to act like Orville Faubus, George Wallace and perhaps the most iconic of segregationists, Bull Connor.
Bobby Rush, the former Black Panther who is now a congressman from Chicago, levelled his accusation on the CBS Early Show this morning in reaction to the letter signed by all 50 Senate Democrats declaring that they would not seat Roland Burris, the African-American that Gov. Rod Blagojevich yesterday named to take Barack Obama's Senate seat.
“The View” moderator Whoopi Goldberg is apparently still unaware that the Constitution explicitly forbids slavery. Appearing on the December 21 edition of “Reliable Sources” (video here), host Howard Kurtz played a clip of Whoopi Goldberg questioning John McCain, that is he were to appoint strict constructionist judges, if she should fear a return to slavery.
Unfazed, Whoopi replied “I thought that was reasonable.” After complaining many took her remarks out of context, the daytime star continued “if you were going to say you wanted strictly by the Constitution, it has to be a fluid thing, because we'd still -- I'd be working for somebody right now.” Goldberg, months after the interview, apparently still does not know that slavery was banned by the 13th Amendment, something a strict constructionist judge can very clearly understand.
Surely no one would view Rev. Jeremiah Wright as closer to the centerpoint of American politics than Pastor Rick Warren, right? Wrong. Here's Chris Matthews on this evening's Hardball.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: It seems like Barack Obama, as much as seems to inspire people, including me, has a problem with pastors. I don't know what it is. You get him hooked up with a pastor, whether it's Jeremiah Wright, or it's this guy Rick Warren. One's on the left, one's on the far right. Both are causing him trouble.
So Wright's merely "left," while Warren's "far-right." Do we really need to prove the obvious: that Warren is vastly more mainstream than Wright? It hardly seems worth the effort, but let's consider a few factoids:
I don't know. Maybe the Associated Press thinks that no one is aware that John McCain lost his race for the White House? Maybe the AP thinks no one is aware that his choice for VP, Governor Sarah Palin, lost right along with him? Maybe the AP thinks that hardly any American has gotten the word that Obama and slow Joe Biden won on November 4th? The AP sure acts as if they think people still need it pointed out that Governor Sarah Palin is "the failed Republican vice presidential candidate." At least if its current report on the latest doings in Alaska is concerned, anyway. After all, right in the middle of a report on Alaska state workers having sent around some race tinged joke emails, the AP helpfully reminds us that Palin is that aforementioned "failed Republican vice presidential candidate." I mean, who knew she lost?
The AP is reporting on some race-y emails that were reported to them by a state worker, using it to needlessly jab the governor. At one point the AP sternly tells us all that, "State officials were unaware of the e-mails until asked about them by the AP," as if something untoward was going on in the Administration itself. But, even the AP's own report seems to show that a mountain is being made of a mole hill.
Against the odds, GOP candidates in the state of Tennessee experienced a historic win. In addition to delivering the state to John McCain, Republicans won both chambers of the state legislature. And, as the Wall Street Journal reported, "Sen. Lamar Alexander became the first Republican to carry all but one county in his re-election win -- even taking a quarter of Tennessee's black votes."
On Sunday’s CBS Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer discussed the challenges President-elect Barack Obama will face with liberal authors: "Today we ask the authors of four of the year's most important books to assess the problems the new administration will face." Schieffer asked the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, author of ‘The War Within: A Secret White House History,’ about Obama picking Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Woodward replied: "It's an amazing national security team that Obama appears to have selected. It's kind of like 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears.' You've got too cool, which might be -- or at least appropriately cool, General Jones as the national security adviser; Gates is kind of just right, in the middle; and Hillary Clinton, hot."
Schieffer later turned to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, author of ‘The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals,’ and asked: "...your fascinating book, 'The Dark Side,' tells how the current vice president, Richard Cheney, amassed power unknown to any vice president in our history. I'd like to ask you first, how did he do that? And do you see Joe Biden having the kind of power?" Mayer replied: "it takes a president like Bush to have a vice president like Cheney. Obama, so far, seems to be so much more involved in the details and in kind of wanting to command the policies all the way up and down, really -- so I don't see it repeating." Mayer then went on to compare the Bush and Obama administrations:
Another difference that's very important is that both the president coming in and the vice president are lawyers, and one of the things that happened in the last administration was neither of them were. They were not constitutional scholars and they enacted policies that -- including legalizing torture for all purposes -- that really were not constitutional. And I don't think we're going to see that again. This is a -- this is a group of people who -- and the secretary of state is also a lawyer now. These people respect the law, I think.
The Associated Press is worried that Americans might accidentally imagine that the elevation of Barack Obama to the presidency could make people think that blacks in America really can get ahead. The AP is so worried that it sought out a race hustler to deny that blacks can make it here no matter what happened on November 4.
As the AP reports it, apparently young Kari Fulton "cringed" when Barack Obama won the past election. She "cringed" because she heard a white guy say that Obama's election put a dent in the charge of racism in America. And why did she "cringe"? Why, it's because "racism is still very much alive and well" she told the AP.
For years, little would upset liberals more than the suggestion they were less patriotic than other Americans. The crowd spewing "Bush-Hitler-Genghis-Khan-baby-killers-AmeriKKKa-Ho-Ho-Ho-Chi-Minh"? Great patriots, all. Bill Ayers trampling a flag? Dissent is patriotic, dude.
But now that Barack Obama has been elected, comes an admission, unintended as it may be. Yeah, maybe we weren't so much before, but it's cool to be patriotic. Now. Such can be seen in Derrick Z. Jackson's Boston Globe column of today, 'It's OK to be an American now." From Jackson's opening paragraph [emphasis added]:
Before Obama's victory speech in Chicago, the crowd of 125,000 people said the Pledge of Allegiance. In my 53 years I have never heard such a multicultural throng recite the pledge with such determined enunciation, expelling it from the heart in a treble soaring to the skies and a bass drumming through the soil to vibrate my feet.
ABC Channel 7 in Chicago aired a "Special Report" on Sunday night, November 16, in which they gushed that Michelle Obama was going to "break down barriers" for America's black women. Reporter Cheryl Burton waxed poetic, moon-eyed over the fact that a black woman was soon take her place as first lady of the United States, wife to the president. But, that's just it... wife to the president. Not to belittle the important role that a wife has in a marriage (or a husband has for that matter), and not to diminish the importance of traditional marriage, but a wife is not an elected position. It is not one with the sort of power to be "transformational." On top of that, the role of first lady should not be considered a role with power or one capable of transformation!
To be sure, we have to be honest about the triumphalism on Obama’s behalf and realize that it truly is expected, even healthy. Obama marks the final piece of the puzzle of repairing American race relations. Blacks really have gone from the lowest of chattel slavery to seeing one of their own elected to run the country and we should all marvel at and be grateful for that fact. No one should try to belittle this achievement. But, one must be careful not to make of it more than it is. Obama is not the first piece, but the last. We should not celebrate as if he’s the only good break blacks have ever gotten in the US. To do so belittles all the many examples of progress that came before him. And his wife has no formal part in it at all. She was not elected to first lady and she does not hold an office in government.
Frank Rich has apparently figured out that after January 20, it's not going to be as much fun for him. True, the Times columnist will surely disinter W as necessary to explain away Obama's missteps. But the buck for whatever post-inauguration problems the country faces will land ever more resoundingly on the new president's desk.
And so, like a vaudevillian tapping as fast as he can while anticipating the hook, Rich seems determined to spend these last few weeks of the Bush administration dancing on GOP graves and luxuriating in Republicans' perceived pain. You might say Frank is making hatred while the sun shines.
As we discussed last week in Have Fun For Now, Frank, Rich's immediate post-election column was one long poke in the Republican eye. The Timester is back at it again this morning, outdoing himself in sheer vitriol as he pour buckets of salt, generously seasoned with schadenfreude, into Republican wounds.
In the wake of the election of the Historic Obama, as reporters are pressed by their editors to perhaps consider that large 47.3 percent of the electorate that didn’t vote for History, out comes the idea of conservatives gripped by white-man panic, with stories soaked in sociologists tagging gun owners with a "deep-seated fear of the armed black man," exacting "retribution for the very deep-seated legacy of slavery."
My friend Cam Edwards tipped me to this story in Wednesday's Chicago Tribune, headlined "Obama win triggers run on guns: Buyers said to fear crackdown on their rights, civil unrest." Reporting from Houston, deep in red-state rage, Howard Witt wrote the election if causing a run on gun stores for guns and ammo:
Some say they are worried that the incoming Obama administration will attempt to reimpose the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004. Others fear the loss of their right to own handguns. A few say they are preparing to protect themselves in the event of a race war.
On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, a report by CNN correspondent Joe Johns, along with a subsequent interview by anchor Rick Sanchez, raised the implication that anti-illegal immigration rhetoric, particularly from conservatives, might be partially to blame for a spike in so-called hate crimes against Latinos. During a clip in Johns’ report, which was about the recent murder of an immigrant from Ecuador by teenagers, columnist Ruben Navarrette speculated that "[w]hen people go out on the airwaves or in print or at the stump as a politician, and they beat that drum, they shouldn’t be surprised. At the end of the day, many people out there, and particularly young people, who are very impressionable, think, ‘Hey, you know what? This is one group we can do this to.’" At the end of his report, Johns added that "[t]he question that’s already being raised by activist groups in the newspapers is whether anti-immigrant rhetoric has created a climate for this kind of thing."
After the report, Sanchez interviewed Mark Potok of the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, who added that "really, racist conspiracy theories and false propaganda....have made their way out into the larger anti-immigration movement -- the Minutemen groups and so on. And before you know it, they are on talk radio, they are on some cable news talk shows." Strangely, the CNN anchor then went on a bit of a tangent by bringing how Newsweek recently reported that "the Secret Service has now confirmed that threats against Barack Obama spiked when Sarah Palin began impugning his patriotism."
You might not be thrilled by the election of Barack Obama, but look on the bright side: it's made life a lot easier for Maya Angelou when she hangs out with her European friends. Asked by Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC's 1 PM hour what was going through her mind as the results rolled in, the poet mentioned, among other things:
I realized, almost within the minute, I don't have to apologize for my country when I'm abroad. I can say: "I belong to a great country." And the Europeans who say: aren't you glad to be here in France where we don't have the racism you live under? Aren't you glad you're here in Britain, where we don't have -- I mean, I've been on the defensive so long. This time I can say: "I am an American: look at us, look at what we've just achieved."
At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, an emotional Harry Smith declared: "I don't know how else to say this -- I grew up in a household that was not racially neutral. I grew up in a household where racial epithets were used commonly and with vigor. To see the difference in this country, in a country that I grew up in, so many people have said this is not something they thought they would ever see in their lifetime, and I wept tears of joy last night." Co-host Julie Chen observed: "You have tears in your eyes right now, Harry." [audio available here]
Prior to that admission, Smith interviewed poet Maya Angelou and asked: "Who were you thinking about last night as you watched the coverage?" Angelou replied: "All of us. All of those who went before, who paid dearly. And all of us today, all of us. I'm so proud, I'm filled -- I can hardly talk without weeping -- I'm so filled with pride for my country. What do you say? We are growing up." Angelou later added: "And he is inclusive, as opposed to exclusive. I know that he knows he is the president of every black person, every white person, he's the president of the bigots and he must remember that." Smith added: "He said in his acceptance speech, ‘for those of you who voted against me, I hear you too.’" Angelou replied: "Yes, exactly. That's what I mean...We will be together. This is what he dreams, he envisions it."
Three of "The View" co-hosts are comedians by profession, but they unintentionally provided some comedy to the November 5 edition of "The View." After two segments of basking over Barack Obama’s victory, and the historic nature of the first African-American president, Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg hammered away the need for more affirmative action. [audio excerpt here]
The panel’s two rich black women, whose children do not need a head start over poor white children, expressed disappointment that Nebraska voters approved a ballot initiative banning affirmative action. Sherri Shepherd felt that "there are some people who just need a leg up." Whoopi Goldberg, who just moments before celebrated Obama’s historic victory, opined that "if we lived in the country that we always pray that we’re going to wake up in where everything works and everybody is equal, you wouldn’t need affirmative action."
Earlier in the segment, Joy Behar, giddy over Obama’s victory, proclaimed it as "a triumph over negative campaigning." Did Joy forget the Obama ad mocking McCain’s age and war wounds?
In the 8:30AM half hour of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez led live coverage of Barack Obama voting in Chicago and asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer: "Bob, how must he be feeling right now?" A choked up Schieffer replied: "Well, I mean, this is a -- this is a remarkable moment in American history. Stop and think about this, 150 years ago there were 31 million people who lived in this country, 4 million of those people were slaves, 4 million people. And, today, here you have an African-American who may be elected president of this country. This is not -- people keep talking about the American people may be ready to turn a page, but it's not just a political page, this is a page of American history." Rodriguez agreed: "Absolutely."
Co-host Harry Smith joined the coverage and actually wondered if Obama was voting for himself: "I'm wondering, I would love to ask him afterwards whether or not he voted for himself...Because having voted in school elections and stuff like that, we were taught as kids sometimes you vote for the other guy because that's how -- that's how -- it's an honorable thing to say that 'I honor your presence here. This was a battle well fought.' And I would be very interested to know whether or not he voted for himself." A realistic Schieffer replied: "I'm betting he did." Smith responded: "Yeah, I'm betting he did. I'm just bringing up a question."
Pat Buchanan just snatched the security blanket from conservatives and stomped on it. Contemplating the prospect of an electoral loss, some conservatives are consoling themselves by imagining that the political pendulum will soon start swinging back their way.
Buchanan doesn't think so, and his very first words on the matter this morning explain why: "demography is destiny." Buchanan offered his analysis during the opening segment of today's Morning Joe.
Yet another writer from a lefty paper is here to tell us all that McCain and all his followers are racists. You see, if McCain wins, Steve Kraske imagines in his latest column that all blacks will feel that Jim Crow is back and the rest of the Democratic Party will be "angry at the world." So, a McCain win will be the return of Jim Crow? Isn't that an awfully irresponsible lie to promulgate, Mr. Kraske?
Kraske ruminates about how horrible it will be if McCain beats The One at the polls on Tuesday. But, he gets quite a lot of his analysis wrong, not surprisingly.
On Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, New York Times columnist Frank Rich charged that it looks "morally bad" and "idiotic" that Republicans have not elected a black candidate to federal office in six years. The Republican party also seemed to remind Rich of South Africa’s racist Apartheid policy of the past: "The fact is, this isn`t South Africa 25 years ago, this is a major political party that is essentially all white. And the hierarchy of it is definitely white. There hasn`t been a new black Republican elected to federal office, I think, in six years. And so, what does that tell us about the party? And how does that look to voters? I think it looks like it`s the party of the last century. It looks bad. Not only is it morally bad, but politically. I think it`s idiotic because it`s against the whole demographics of this country and where they’re going."
In a damage control piece Thursday, Associated Press writer Kimberly Helfing attempted to portray Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha's last-minute use of high-profile advisor Tony Podesta as "shoring up" his support, characterized accusations directed at residents of his district as only targeting "some" of them, and failed to mention Murtha's opponent until the fifth paragraph.
The facts are that Murtha is not clearly ahead in the polls (ahead by not much here, behind by more here), that he may very well be behind in reality against challenger William Russell, and that Murtha directed his "racist" characterization at 12th District residents in general, not just "some" of them.
Here are the key paragraphs from Helfing's report:
In the Chicago Sun-Times on October 29, Andrew Greeley said that Barack Obama simply cannot beat racism to become president of the United States. He's consumed by all the talk of racism during this campaign and he sees it everywhere he turns. Of course, Greeley is right. There is a lot of talk of racism. But he isn't right about where it's coming from. You see, Greeley is claiming that racism is the sole reason that anyone wouldn't support Obama and he worries that racist talk is coming in torrents from Obama's opponents. The truth is, though, that the only people talking about racism is Obama and his most earnest supporters. People like Greeley.
Greeley and Obama's other supporters claim that anyone that opposes Obama is a racist. But the reality is that Obama's opponents are not talking much of or worried about the fact that Barack Obama is a black man. Obama's supporters, however, are acting just like the worst example of a McCarthyite in the respect that they see "racists" under their bed at night, around every corner, and in every dark closet. Greeley and his ilk see racists lurking everywhere... whether they exist or not.
In fact, in his fevered imagination, Greeley thinks that racists fill both parties and that they had marked Obama for destruction at the very outset saying that, "his rivals perceived that they had to destroy him." He marks the early battleground as the "haters on the Internet" and then claims that the Democrat Party itself took up the anti-Obama bigotry.
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman used a test designed by a liberal professor to interrogate the supposedly unconscious racist views of a group of undecided voters. After taking the complicated quiz, which involved linking words with colors, Shipman grilled the men and women about whether negative advertising had changed their view of Senator Barack Obama. "Anyone here have a sense that he is arrogant," she challenged." Shipman followed up, "Anybody think he's uppity?"
The ABC correspondent, who once cooed over the "fluid poetry" of Obama, wasn't dissuaded by the instance that none of voters thought of the Democrat that way. She solemnly intoned, "But in fact, although 'ready' and 'calm' were in the top five [test results], 'uppity,' that classic southern expression drenched in racial overtones, was the number one word subconsciously associated with Barack Obama." And at no point did Shipman mention that Professor Drew Weston of Emory University, the co-designer of this test, is a liberal who bashed Senator John McCain and asserted the Republican's only chance to victory was "the low road."
Bob Shrum has made an addition to the growing list of things you can't say about Obama, because it's racist: don't you dare suggest Obama's never done anything hard.
Dem Shrum issued his diktat while debating Ed Rogers, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses, on today's Hardball. Shrum seized on and distorted Rogers' statement, manifestly made in the political sense, that Obama had "never done one hard thing," to play the race card.
B.C. and A.D? Get with it, old man. History is henceforth divided into the eras of B.B. and A.B.—Before and After Barack. And George W. might have been "misunderestimated" as he engaged in "strategery." But that's so, like, yesterday. Barack Obama is "pre-deortained." By whom? Spike Lee stopped short of saying God's hand is at work. But he was clearly speaking in quasi-religious terms in discussing The One on today's Morning Joe.
There's a new potential excuse out there for Obama backers fearing a racial tinge to the election results next Tuesday.
As NewsBuster's Tim Graham noted, Newsweek has been proactive enough to suggest that only racism can launch McCain into the White House at this point.
The Hartford Courant offers a different rationale, however (As if there is anything rational about calling someone who doesn't vote for your candidate, a racist).
Yes, the new terminology offered by the Hartford Courant is ‘unconscious racism.' Meaning if you pull the lever for McCain on Election Day, you are not only a racist, but you're too stupid to realize it.
But he also has some insight into the source of the audio and some choice words for a media elite that has spent nearly two years failing to do even the most basic digging into the Democratic candidate's background and associations.
Here's what Whittle reveals, and most of his related comments:
Wendi C. Thomas, a black journalist that has written for such media outlets as the Charlotte Observer, the Indianapolis Star and the Nashville Tennessean, was recently asked by what she called a "white man in Memphis" if blacks would riot if Barack Obama should lose the upcoming general election. The question made her angry, and I can't blame her for that anger. But, after a brief flash of sanity, Thomas turned the tables and went on to decide that it will be whites, rather, that will riot if Obama wins, not blacks if he loses.
At first Thomas had the absolute right answer for that "white man from Memphis." She wrote at TheRoot.com that ascribing to "blacks" the actions of rioting from some blacks is not a logical exercise. Even if some blacks rioted after an Obama loss, it is illegitimate to decide that all 40 million blacks in America would agree with that lawlessness. Who could disagree with this sensible comment?
In an October 22 article, Los Angeles Times staffer Jessica Garrison found "Black clergy both for and against gay marriage speak[ing] out" on the matter of California Proposition 8. The ballot initiative would enshrine in the Golden State's constitution the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
By the close of her article, Garrison found space not only to suggest that black Christians voting for Prop 8 were intolerant of homosexuals, but to hint that their views on homosexuality do a disservice to African-Americans by engendering a stereotype that they are more "homophobic" than Americans at-large (emphasis mine):
African American voters could play a crucial role in the fight over same-sex marriage. Though they make up only about 6% of the electorate in California, they are expected to vote in record numbers this election because of Barack Obama's presence on the ballot.
Surprisingly, the October 21 "View" mentioned Congressman John Murtha’s "my constituents are racist" comments. Though Joy Behar called it a "stupid thing to say," they were much gentler on Murtha than on Michele Bachmann, who stated that Obama has associated with anti-American individuals.
Joy Behar labeled Bachmann a "red baiter" and alluded to the McCarthy era. Whoopi Goldberg asked "it okay for someone to start attacking your beliefs in your country because you don’t agree with their views?" Sherri Shepherd, who has confused historic time lines, recalls growing up in the McCarthy era before other co-hosts reminded her she was not yet born. Even the token Republican, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, would not defend Congresswoman Bachmann.
Is this a case of labeling one anti-American for a simple disagreement? A transcript of a recent "Hardball" interview demonstrates that she clearly alluded to Obama’s associations, William Ayers and Reverend Wright, who are indeed anti-American.