Maureen Dowd perhaps owes Barack Obama an apology for referring to him as "Obambi" during the election season last year. I get what she was trying to point out, and God knows the man has elevated turning the other cheek to an art form. But I have to wonder just what she thought she was doing buying into the right-wing meme that only the tough talk of a pencil-dick like George W. Bush constitutes real manhood, let alone dubbing Obama with a nickname that not only conjures up the epitome of lack of toughness, but sounds even more African than his actual name.
The connection between right-wing hysteria over Obama and race is there, whether anyone wants to admit it or not. We all know how this manifests, and those of us who blog are regularly plagued with wingnuts who, unwilling to admit their own primal racial terror, come into the comments and say "The only people talking about race are liberals like you." Perhaps they hate that we draw the curtain aside from what they really mean. Perhaps they themselves don't even understand what it is they're feeling. How else to describe the tearful woman-in-the-street on CNN the other day (parodied brilliantly here
), crying with utter pee-in-your-pants terror about what the Negro-in-chief (sic)
was going to say to her poor, innocent, peaches-and-cream children. Is there any more primal fear among white America than having the fruit of their wombs stolen by Evil Criminal Black Men? In a way it's a shame that it became unacceptable for people to express their racism in so many words. Now they have to swaddle it in code and dogwhistles, thus leaving the door open for wingnut blog trolls to turn it around and say that WE're the ones who are racist for merely pointing it out.
Today MoDo attempts to perhaps atone for her own role in creating this metastasizing monster
that is the lunatic right and call out Joe Wilson for what he is -- a racist:
Surrounded by middle-aged white guys — a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club — Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” at a president who didn’t.
But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!
The outburst was unexpected from a milquetoast Republican backbencher from South Carolina who had attracted little media attention. Now it has made him an overnight right-wing hero, inspiring “You lie!” bumper stickers and T-shirts.
The congressman, we learned, belonged to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, led a 2000 campaign to keep the Confederate flag waving above South Carolina’s state Capitol and denounced as a “smear” the true claim of a black woman that she was the daughter of Strom Thurmond, the ’48 segregationist candidate for president. Wilson clearly did not like being lectured and even rebuked by the brainy black president presiding over the majestic chamber.
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.
I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids — from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.
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.
And there it is.
It's not about health care, or fears of socialism from this appallingly corporatist Democratic president. Anyone who hasn't gone completely around the bend would realize that what we got in Barack Obama was exactly what we got -- a very cautious, centrist, don't-rock-the-boat black man who has spent his life walking on eggshells in front of people like Joe Wilson. And if he scares you that much for things he's not doing (as opposed to the things he IS doing, like planting a big wet kiss on the cheek of UnitedHealth), perhaps you need to take a look at why.
Before one of our trolls steps in and calls MoDo on saying that no Democrat ever shouted "Liar" at W, yes, it's true that many Democrats like me actually DID call W a liar -- because he was a liar, and his lies have now been demonstrated and proven. But I am not a public servant, I am not a Congresswoman, and I never shouted liar at him on the floor of Congress while offering no case that he even IS lying. It's one thing to be a private citizen (like the OTHER Joe Wilson, who was in the news a few years ago for telling the truth about yellowcake in Niger
) and point out that what the president is saying is not true, and then offering evidence to demonstrate your point, and quite another to be a Confederate sympathizer screaming "YOU LIE!" at a black President on the floor of the House of Representatives in the Capitol. And anyone who can't see that is beyond the scope of reason.Richard Blair has more
Labels: racism, Republicans, wingnuttia