Another great discussion with one of my smart and liberal friends.
Running Time: 1:04:00
(Apologies for the sound quality, I pulled a rookie mistake. I’ve heard worse though. :)
Jay Smooth on Up With Chris in response to Romney’s birther moment:
“He was cleaning his dog whistle and it just went off!”
Sums up the Romney line very concisely.
Melissa Harris-Perry wrote a very thoughtful piece exploring the reasons why President Obama, with his many successes in the face of great opposition, is struggling in the polls with white liberals. It is something I’ve been frustrated with since before the President was sworn in — when people on the left began attacking him about his appointments to various cabinet positions.
At first, I didn’t want to believe that race was a large part of that equation and chalked a lot of it up to “bitterness” left over from the contentious primary fight with Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and the others. But as his presidency progressed and more evidence continued to pile up, I, as a white liberal, began to see that the source of a lot of that disrespect and vitriol clearly was coming from an elitist and superior attitude, much of it rooted in race.
If you haven’t been following the story, I recommend you read Joy Reid’s piece at The Reid Report. She gives some background on the reaction to some on the left to Harris-Perry’s powerful post.
My first instinct whenever I come across something that is clearly over-the-top rhetoric is to attempt to find out the source of that vitriol. Strong opinions don’t usually materialize out of thin air, they come from somewhere and I like to find out where. Using the Google machine, I decided to go back and read some previous writing by Gene Lyons as it relates to race and particularly, President Obama. What I found was quite shocking, in my opinion. You decide for yourself.
On matters of race, I’ve learned as a white, 49 year old male to listen and defer to those who have a closer connection to the effects of racism. What the hell do I know about suffering from racism, other than what I can learn from those who have suffered through it. It’s impossible for me to completely understand what it is like without having experienced it. I’ve accepted that fact and when a person of color speaks about it, I listen and try to internalize it.
One person that I listen to very intently is Melissa Harris-Perry, a very wise and thoughtful person who always makes sense to me whenever I hear her speak or read her words.
The level of disrespect being shown towards President Obama is unprecedented and has to stop. It comes in both blatant and subtle ways and there are many reasons for it. Anyone who is honest with themselves knows that a lot of it stems from the color of his skin. Not all of it, for sure, but a whole hell of a lot of it. We all remember the signs from the Tea Party asking for their country back…back from what, you motherfuckers, the man won a clear victory in a democratic election with a wide electoral margin. President Obama IS the leader or OUR country, all of us, even you racist assholes…whether you like it or not.
One of the latest examples of this disrespect was covered very well by Joy Reid at The Reid Report. I’ll let her explain it…
Republicans derive a benefit from their base by disrespecting the president.
The GOP base wants its leadership to not just oppose Barack Obama, but to go out of its way to obstruct, block, and if at all possible, show open contempt and disrespect for him. Republicans understand that their base will punish them for any hint of respectful, or worse, accommodating behavior toward Obama, and that they will be rewarded by their base for elevating the level of negative attention they give the president.
Today’s Republicans, who have been overrun by a hardcore tea party faction in addition to the resurgent religious right, have made the calculation that there is literally no bottom — and no level of disrespect so great that they will pay a price with white independents.
Case in point: before House Speaker Boehner took the unprecedented step of publicly brushing back the president’s request to address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, he was being egged on to do just that by none other than Rush Limbaugh. That Boehner decided to puff out his chest on this one is telling.
Of course, that is just one example of the clear disrespect shown towards our President. And the Republicans are playing it out to the full extent, with some legislators openly saying they won’t attend the jobs speech and don’t even want to hear what the President has to say. The adult equivalent of holding your hands over your ears and saying, na na na na, I cant’ hear you! I hope all those people without jobs are paying attention to the “Party of No New Jobs”.
But if that isn’t enough, apparently the hater of everyone, Matt Taibbi, doesn’t want to hear it either. The more I read about Taibbi, the more I realize that he just says whatever the hell comes to his hateful mind. I found this piece where Taibbi predicted a McCain presidency…showing his willingness to just say stupid shit with no basis in reality. But I digress.
The duo who loves to go on Morning Joe and feed Joe the beast with insider political gossip are all the rage these days with their new book Game Change. It looks like many in the media are eating it up and spitting it back out. Liz Cheney is appauled at Harry Reid using the word Negro, I’m sure it comes from her deep seated hatred of racism in general, it has to be. I’m not really surprised by what is attributed to Harry Reid, doesn’t surprise me at all. Of course President Obama is going to forgive him for his insensitive comments, that’s our president’s style after all. What fascinates me the most about this particular issue is the reaction from Republicans, it raises that question I think needs to be applied to many issues the media trumpets, “so what?” I wonder what is behind their pushing of this story, is it to show that democrats are racist too, so it’s OK for republicans to be racist?
There are many other comments by others including Bill Clinton that will get a lot of traction too, specifically racially tinged comments when talking to Ted Kennedy. The media is going to pound these stories to death, I just know it. But I want someone to ask “so what?” They will put this all out there to linger, but won’t ever tell us why it is important that we know it. I think all sides of the issues need to stop and think about why they are pushing the story, what difference does it make, why should we care? I guess for those who think we’ve transcended race, it will be a reminder that we haven’t and for those who are racist, they can take comfort in knowing they aren’t the only ones…..see, those liberals are racist too.
Let the republican hypocrisy begin. There is already pushback against the book, which sounds more like a gossip rag than an actual book. Check out these posts on the subject.