Source : Wallace Ford blog
One of the notable aspects of the presidency of Barack Obama has been the blatant disrespect that the right wing of the right wing has been directed towards him, his administration, his policies and anything and everything that is associated with him. There can be no doubt that the spigot that has spewed this sewage has racism contaminating its source. The question now stands as Election Day arrives on November 6th – do Americans have the ability to overcome America’s original sin and vote rationally and in their own best interest?
It is true that the presidency of the United States has been a bull’s-eye for horrible insults and horrific personal attacks. George Washington was termed an idiot, Abraham Lincoln was likened to an ape and Franklin Roosevelt was rumored to be part of a global Zionist cabal. And certainly, the freedom of speech that is one of the foundations of democracy does result in personal attacks. Anyone who steps into the political ring should certainly wear their Big Boy or Big Girl Pants.
Nevertheless, an honest and thoughtful analysis of the sludge storm directed at President Obama will discern a difference from historical patterns of political attacks and criticism. The so-called “birther” controversy can serve as Exhibit A because it has meant so much more than a search for a birth certificate. It has been a concerted and focused effort to delegitimize the first black president of the United States.
Mitt Romney has “joked” about having no need to show his birth certificate (even though his own father was born in Mexico) sending out the same, tired, dog whistle – “Barack Obama is not one of us…..he’s black”. Rather than taking the high road, Mitt Romney has to wallow in the racially-tinged mud that has been tossed around by the birthers ever before President Obama was elected.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, Teapublicans and media outlets have managed to give a patina of respectability to the really awful behavior of Donald Trump with regards to President Obama. It is bad enough that he refueled the flagging birther crusade a year ago, his latest demand for the school transcripts of Barack Obama was insulting, disrespectful and stupid. But somewhere under that fake hair Donald Trump’s mind was working overtime to rebroadcast the dog whistle message – “Barack Obama is not one of us…he’s black and he could not possibly have honestly and legitimately attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School”.
Not to be outdone, Tagg Romney, the self-satisfied, pampered and entitled son of Mitt Romney was quoted as saying that he “wanted to take a swing” at President Obama. And while the Secret Service probably realized that Romney the Younger probably never threw a punch in his life, the disrespect offered by Tagg Romney was not followed by an apology from Tagg Romney, his father, the Teapublican Party or supporters of Mitt Romney. The dog whistle plays the tune – “Barack Obama is not one of us and I don’t care if he is president of the United States, he is black and is not worthy of even basic respect in our white right wing universe”.
Bringing up the rear, Sarah Palin and John Sununu seem to be in some kind of demented contest to come up with the most racially charged epithet to hurl at President Obama. John Sununu called the president “lazy” and claimed that he needed to learn how to “act like an American”. The Grizzly Mom decided to accuse President Obama of “shucking and jiving” when it came to Libya. The racist and racial implications of these statements and thousands more are clear and sad.
What is truly sad is that there are millions of white Americans who are prepared to vote against their own personal and family interest because their judgment has been clouded by the dog whistle politics practiced by Mitt Romney and the Teapublicans. Millions of white Americans are part of the 47% that Mitt Romney has derided and charged with lacking personal responsibility. Millions of white Americans are uninsured or underinsured and will suffer greatly if Obamacare is repealed.
And millions of white women will be given a real time history lesson of what life was like before reproductive rights were established. That life will be absent of choice, contraception services and not only will pregnancies from rape be the “will of God”, the outcome of any pregnancy will not be a woman’s choice.
It is sad that millions of white Americans might allow appeals to racism overcome their own instincts for survival and self-preservation. This election is not about race it is about the choice between competing visions for this country. Those who have chosen to make this election about race are the ones who have sought to cloud and blur their real message until they are able to seize power.
We can only hope that every American who votes does so with his/her eyes open and that we all can ignore the dog whistles.
Posted in Point of View Columns | Tagged Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, current-events, dog whistle, Donald Trump, first black president, Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington, John Sununu, Mitt Romney, politics, Sarah Palin, Tagg Romney, Teapublicans | 1 Comment »
News flash – the RomneyRyan strategy is to get all the Neanderthal votes in America. That can be the only explanation for Mitt Romney refusing to totally disavow miscreants like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. Meanwhile it would appear that critics of the Obama Administration’s handling of the Benghazi tragedy believe that action movies are true. Finally, speaking on behalf of Mitt Romney, John Sununu said that Colin Powell is supporting President Obama (again) because he is black. Someone please find him a white hood, robe and burning cross.
The Cave Man Strategy
Todd Akin, who is already a Teapublican member of the House of Representatives, is running for the office of senator in Missouri. He has referred to his opponent, incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, as “unladylike”. He has more famously stated that in cases of “actual rape” women’s bodies “shut that thing down” so that they don’t get pregnant.
Richard Mourdock, who is the Teapublican nominee for senator in Indiana, has stated that while rape is a horrible thing, a pregnancy resulting from rape is the “will of God”. That this idiot can presume to know the “will of God” is proof of his idiocy. That this idiot might have a role in determining the fate of women’s reproductive choices is a tragedy in waiting.
Meanwhile vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is unapologetically “pro-life”. He is so absolute on this subject that he has co-sponsored and co-conspired with Todd Akin to introduce legislation that would virtually eliminate legal abortion in the United States. When asked about exceptions in the instance of rape, Mr. Ryan has replied that circumstances of conception are not relevant.
Mitt Romney has said that in his mythical presidency he would happily sign a bill that outlawed abortion without exceptions. The arrogance and presumption of such a flawed perspective is stunning.
In seeking to drag women back to the Stone Age can only mean that Teapublican pollsters have discovered that there is a huge, but hidden Neanderthal vote that can propel the RomneyRyan ticket to victory. Clearly they believe that there are enough women-hating men and enough women who are willing to give up their reproductive choices to the will of these men to insure that victory.
We shall see.
Libya – The Movie
There has been a lot of Teapublican criticism of the Obama Administration’s handling of the storming of the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It seems that there is a prevailing view that foreign policy crises resemble the plot from some kind of action movie.
The fact that murderous riots and raging mobs don’t create neat and clean scenarios seems to have escaped the Teapublicans. Also, it seems that these neo-conmen also want us to believe that there are squads of Jack Bauers and James Bonds who can solve every crisis within the time it takes to watch one episode of “24” or one James Bond movie.
Of course the real world is very different. Someone should tell Mitt Romney.
October White Sale
This week former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Obama for the second time. In the process of conveying his very important endorsement Secretary Powell was clear in pointing out the very flawed nature of Mitt Romney’s candidacy as part of his reason for supporting the Democratic Party candidate even though he is a registered Republican.
Never missing an opportunity to sound stupid and racist at the same time, Romney surrogate John Sununu contended that Colin Powell’s endorsement was based on one black man supporting another black man. Mr. Sununu was so wrong and so racist that some people have vainly hoped that Mr. Romney might distance himself from such a degrading and insulting remark……..no chance of that.
Mr. Sununu has already referred to President Obama as “lazy” and now calls Secretary Powell a mindless black sheep. One has to wonder when we will find him shopping for a white hood and robe to go with the racist rhetoric that he spews.
Have a great weekend!
If all you had listened to is the Teapublican narrative for the past three years, you would not have a very high opinion of President Obama. After the first debate supporters of Barack Obama were wondering what happened to their leader. But President Obama has used the last two debates to introduce himself to the American people all over again. In the most recent and last debate the biggest question was who made Mr. Romney look worse – President Obama or Mitt Romney himself?
Here are just a few examples from the Boca Beat Down –
• President Obama noted that Mr. Romney didn’t know how to assess the strength of the American military, reminding him that it no longer uses “bayonets and horses” and does use aircraft carriers and submarines.
• Mr. Romney’s quote that he would not “move heaven and earth” to find Osama bin Laden was skillfully recalled by President Obama as he recounted the closure and comfort that the death of bin Laden provided for the victims of 9/11.
• After saying that he would not go into Pakistan to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, Mr. Romney clearly stated at the debate that it was “o.k.” to go into Pakistan and the he totally supported the use of drones.
• In contending that the foreign policy of the Obama Administration had not totally settled and solved the problems of the world, Mr. Romney seemed to think that foreign policy worked like a made-for-TV.-movie where the story concludes neatly in a sixty minute package. His seeming to yearn for simple solutions for a complex world was, in a word, pathetic.
• President Obama reminded Mr. Romney several times that he was trying to “airbrush history” by trying to claim positions that were new and different from the ones that he espoused while lurching rightward in his campaign for the Teapublican nomination – replaying Mr. Romney’s support for letting the auto industry go into bankruptcy and then watching him say that he favored government support during that process when he had not was almost painful to watch.
• It was interesting to note that Mr. Romney stated that promoting gender equality around the world should be a hallmark of American foreign policy. It is also interesting to note that Mr. Romney does not favor the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in the United States.
It is interesting to note that Mr. Romney plans to defund Planned Parenthood, an important source of healthcare services for women and girls in the United States. And, it is important to note that Mr. Romney does not support full access to contraception and reproductive choices for women and girls in the United States. Perhaps if American women moved overseas he would treat them better.
As the third and final presidential debate concluded, it would seem that one of Mr. Romney’s strategies had been to try to blur the very clear choice between the candidates.
Certainly if the policies offered by the Teapublican Party platform were presented to most Americans, they would be rejected along with the RomneyRyan ticket. Somehow, Mr. Romney has been trying to convince the American people that he was for the platform until he was against it.
And, for those of you keeping score at home, the Teapublican Tampa Platform included an absolute ban on abortion, an absolute prohibition of gun control and the endorsement of the Ryan budget that would eviscerate American’s social safety net. The Ryan budget, by the way, in addition to privatizing Social Security and turning Medicare into a voucher program, would virtually eliminate so-called discretionary spending in programs ranging from the National Endowment for the Arts to Head Start to the Environmental Protection Administration.
These policies and choices define the RomneyRyan ticket. And these policies and choices are what Mitt Romney only wishes to speak about in small rooms behind closed doors. It now remains to be seen whether Mr. Romney’s “air brush” strategy can work.
Certainly, during the past two debates President Obama has painted a very different picture in describing his own vision as well as the competing vision of Mr. Romney.
The really good news about this past week’s debate is that Obama is back…still don’t know who that guy was in Denver a couple of weeks ago. Meanwhile, amid news that the so-called gender gap between President Obama and Mr. Romney is closing the question must be asked – who are these women? And finally, Paul (Lyin’) Ryan got busted doing fake good deeds. Why are we not surprised?
The best thing about the most recent presidential debate is that the Barack Obama who inspired a nation and electrified the world showed up. Mitt Romney returned with more salvos of bluster and sketchy math, and he has shown a remarkable ability to lie with confidence– an indispensable talent for a confidence man.
When questioned about his unwavering support for the National Rifle Association’s positions on gun control – namely as little as possible – he actually said that he didn’t see a need for more regulation, even in the instance of assault weapons before going on off on an illogical riff about how single parent families are a significant causal factor when it comes to gun violence.
Unlike the first debate, President Obama did not let Mr. Romney cakewalk his way through his tax cut song and dance. Ultimately Mr. Romney’s message to the American people was that the math for his budget plan would work because he said so.
In running for the nomination of the Teapublican party, Mr. Romney pitched so far to the right that he now his trying to walk back from his draconian positions on issues like contraception and abortion. He did maintain his draconian positions on immigration and we will have to see how that plays out with American voters who are immigrants or the children of immigrants.
But President Obama saved the best for last, nailing Mitt Romney on his infamous 47% soliloquy – when Mr. Romney final comments included his tinny love song to the 100% of Americans, Barack Obama reminded everyone of what he said behind closed doors.
Who Are These Women?
This has been one of the other worldly presidential campaigns in memory, so it shouldn’t really be surprising to get the counterintuitive news that more women voters are now favoring Mitt Romney over President Obama. Could it be that these women do not know the
• Mitt Romney has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, a source of primary healthcare for millions of women and girls
• Mitt Romney and Teapublican Party have sworn to limit access to contraception and abortion services – he is also committed to appointing Supreme Court justices who will vote to repeal Roe v. Wade
• Mitt Romney has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act which currently provides specific coverage for women’s health issues.
• Mitt Romney has refused to support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which was passed to address the FACT that women earn 73% of the wages paid to men for the same work.
All of these facts are well known and the Romney-Ryan team has clearly stated their positions on all of these issues. So the question is…..who are these women?
Lyin’ Ryan Strikes Again
Last week vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s team set up a photo op for him to visit a homeless shelter in Ohio. The press was treated to pictures of Mr. Ryan diligently scrubbing pots and pans in the shelter presumably to portray the softer, gentler side of the man who has crafted a budget plan that will absolutely shred the American social safety net.
The only problem was that the pots and pans were clean before Mr. Ryan arrived. He also engaged in only perfunctory conversation with homeless individuals who were at the shelter. And…………..the management of the shelter was furious that their site was being used for political purposes without their permission.
Just another day in the Life of Ryan.
Have a great weekend!
Mitt Romney’s campaign is starting to resemble the three legged pig in that old joke – the pig that was too good to be eaten all at once. Clearly Mitt Romney and his advisors believe that he is serving up just enough of his porkload of a campaign to get elected. And that’s why it is high time to look at the other three legs of Romney’s pig.
Leg One: it is now twenty two days before the election and Mitt Romney continues to stonewall the American people and his own party when it comes to the issue of his tax returns. The fact that even his own father released his tax returns when he ran for president has not been enough to dissuade him from his adamant position on the subject.
We already know that Mitt Romney pays taxes at a lesser rate than a secretary or a gas station attendant. We already know that he has assets in Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Ireland and Luxembourg. The full release of his tax returns should just be an anticlimactic verification that he is a very rich man who is taking advantage of every tax loophole in the Internal Revenue Code.
Mitt Romney prides himself as a businessman. His rich guy supporters like Jack Welch and Donald Trump and wannabe rich guys like Rudy Giuliani all point to his business experience as a key reason why he should replace Barack Obama as president.
Yet all the rich guys like Welch, Trump, Adelson and Giuliani would never hire a key executive for any company in which they had a financial interest without a thorough background check – and that would include finances. And if a candidate for employment had offshore accounts that would have to be fully vetted and explained.
Nevertheless Mitt Romney continues to stonewall on the issue of his tax returns.
Leg Two: The recent Teapublican primary campaign featured some of the most extreme and Neanderthal positions with respect to women’s issues in over one hundred years. Somewhere Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Nation are spinning in their graves.
And during this entire primary campaign Mitt Romney never let any of his opponents get to the right of him on these issues. He vowed to defund Planned Parenthood. He swore that he would eliminate federal funding for contraception. He promised that he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would be committed to overturning Roe v. Wade. He virtually took an oath to limit women’s reproductive choices to instances involving rape or incest.
With the election a little over three weeks away Mr. Romney is now serving up his pig in with a different recipe. Mitt Romney does not speak about his promised crusade against Planned Parenthood, perhaps because someone told him that millions of (voting) women depend upon Planned Parenthood for basic healthcare services.
He doesn’t speak about his jihad against contraception since, as a good businessman, he knows it will not sell. So he puts this particular item on a back shelf but it is still in his inventory.
He has tried every possible contortion to get out of his anti-abortion oath. He has harked back to his days as a governor of Massachusetts when he was a moderate on such issues. But, as the late Ted Kennedy said of Mitt Romney, “he isn’t pro-choice, he’s multiple choice”. For Mitt Romney it just depends on what he is trying to sell and to whom.
Leg Three: By selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate Mitt Romney wedded the Ryan budget which has already been passed by the Teapublican wing of the House of Representatives two years in a row. Taken to its logical conclusion, the RomneyRyan budget will result in the decimation of almost every federal program that is not in the categories of defense, Medicare and Social Security.
The Romney team is smart enough to know that explaining that Pell Grant Programs, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and scores of other federal initiatives would be reduced to bureaucratic skeletons would be disastrous the campaign simply refuses to give details. Former President Bill Clinton suggested that American voters “do the math” to figure out how taxes will be decreased with an accompanying decrease in the deficit. There is only one way – cut spending on programs that matter to Americans.
Mitt Romney will spend the next three weeks leading his three legged pig of a campaign around the country firmly believing that Americans won’t ask what he is really serving. I would guess he would call it his “November Surprise”.
After Joe Biden’s tour de force dismantling of Paul Ryan during the vice presidential debate many supporters are calling for President Obama to be more like Joe Biden during his next debate with Mitt Romney. Actually, Barack Obama just needs to be Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Donald Trump, Jack Welch and the Teapublicans refuse to accept any good news if it benefits President Obama….there’s a pattern here. And finally, for all of his tough talk about trade battles with China, Bain Capital will be moving about 500 jobs from Michigan to China right after the election.
Let Obama be Obama
During the 1980’s pumped up conservatives would proclaim “Let Reagan be Reagan” convinced that the unedited version of the leader of the right wing brave new world was at his best when he was himself. There is a lesson to be learned there.
We may someday learn the reason for the desultory and distracted performance turned in by Barack Obama during his first debate with Mitt Romney. While there will be time for retrospective, what is important right now is that all of the White House handlers, advisors and media specialists “Let Obama be Obama”.
It is pretty clear that the path the victory in November will require President Obama to remind the electorate that he is still the same person who inspired a country and electrified the planet less than four years ago. When he is being himself, Barack Obama is both compelling and convincing.
There isn’t any time for rehearsed smiles and self-enforced silences. “Let Obama be Obama”.
Facts do Matter
Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate in this country had gone from 8.1% to 7.8%. While this news should not prompt a chorus of “Happy Days are Here Again”, it certainly qualifies as good news, especially for the thousands of Americans who didn’t have a job and now do.
So it is puzzling, although not surprising, that right wing of the right wing zealots like Donald Trump and former G.E. CEO Jack Welch led the Teapublican shouts and murmurs of some kind of “fix” being attached to the numbers. Somehow, their reasoning goes, the Obama Administration seized control of an independent and non-partisan element of the federal government to advance the Obama political agenda.
Even in the midst of an overheated and highly partisan campaign, one would hope that both sides would welcome good news in this country. But the Trump/Welch reaction is typical of the last four years of Teapublican wishes that President Obama will fail regardless of the damage that this would do to the country.
During his campaign Mitt Romney has huffed and puffed and bellowed about how tough he would be on China with respect to trade issues. He has accused the Chinese of “cheating” and promised to crack down on “cheaters”.
So last week’s news reports were particularly interesting when it turned out that a company in the Bain Capital portfolio is planning to move 500 jobs from Michigan to China soon after the election. And while Mr. Romney is no longer a member of the Bain management team it is impossible to believe that he is without influence and might ask his former firm to reconsider its plans in light of the hardship that will be visited on over 500 Michigan families.
So far, the only word from Mitt Romney is that he can’t interfere in a private business decision.
Consider this an indication of what to expect during a Romney presidency and be very afraid.
Have a great weekend!