For the last 3 years, the conservative/Republican/Tea Party right has been working diligently to frame Barack Obama as non-Christian (Muslim), non-American (African), not-too-American (Exotic Hawaiian), nuanced (gay?), Capitalism-killing (Communist) America-hater (terrorist). The brush is broad and thick with the paint of the entity that is "the other," a well known psychological and linguistic methodology to indirectly (and incessantly) show that a person or group is "not like you." And with only an occasional slip-up, they haven't driven directly into the "he's black" otherness. But that doesn't mean it's not there. C'mon. I guess solidly half of all criticism of President Obama is an indirect attack that we have an uppity negro in the White House.
But along with all the innuendo and linguistic manipulation, the right has been vehement in one relatively-united message: it's not about race; it's about policy or past or ...not race. Stop saying it's about race. Why would it be about race? God, so NOT race already. Okay. Done. GTFO.
This is three years of constant attacks from all sides for the president orchestrated by hundreds of politicians and pundits and parroted by a plethora of hunt-n-peck bloggers (mmm...alliteration). All the while even the racist-tinged verbal diarrhea gets the notsoracist wash.
Then, two days ago, one single report from the Politico raised the fact that Herman Cain was accused of harassment at one point in his past.
(Subsequently, it was revealed there were two issues of settlements and now a third woman has come forward.)
And ALL HELL breaks loose! Why? Because a strong black man who can represent conservative values and family values can't exist because of the hypocritical left and liberal bias and they will tear him down as an Uncle Tom. Why? RACISM! (Note implied significance: Obama is "other" in that he is not strong and stands for NO American values. Also probably not black enough.)
It's not about his complete lack of political experience, his inability to navigate DC, his being a shitty CEO of Godfather's, his intenable 999 plan, his lack of campaign credibility with lack of infrastructure, his ignorance of foreign policy, the drunk smoker guy, the weird Yellow Flowers cowboy ad, his shady ties, or the man's creepy smile. It has nothing to do with a viable "hey, this has been a problem with a recent president" research into the past of a supposed sexual harassment complaint. It's racism!
Even Sean Hannity on his radio show wants to have a serious conversation about race now and all the negative things people are saying about black Republicans (read: Herman Cain and one other dude) and I caught Sean today in that serious, focused discussion yelling at an African-American caller who said he didn't necessarily think all the quotes he heard were offensive. Hannity replied (paraphrase) "You don't find that offensive? You think it's okay to say "bad apple?" That's not offensive? Oreo?"
So the reference to "bad apple" was Harry Bellefonte calling Herman Cain that. Racist? Meh. And the "Oreo" comment? Well, that was a couple people from the Congressional Black Caucus referring to Cain and Allen West as such (black on the outside, white to the core).
Wait, though, I seem to remember another direct reference to skin color and a cookie that might fit in here:
Well, it — what it’s going to be here, it’s actually a biracial cookie. You’ve got three of the chocolate wafers, and then you’ve got the white vanilla cream — the cream — and then there’s a chocolate cream. So you’ve got, you’ve got three — the stuff, the thing that says Oreo on it, the wafer.
In the midst of all this talk of obesity. And, I mean, every time Michelle Obama goes out there and talks about healthful eating, the food industry responds with, "Oh, yeah? Take this." And Kraft comes up with the Or-Bam-eo, the triple double-dipper.
- Rush Limbaugh
Now, I know, I know, that's not admissible because it was a conservative - a figurative colleague of Sean's of all things - who said that.
Ooh, I know. Wasn't there that whole "Barack the Magic Negro" song controversy? Oh, sorry. Rush was running that one too.
What about "Our blacks are better than their blacks?" Damn. Ann Coulter.
So, Sean, I guess the message is that if you want to actually have a serious discussion about race and politics, cherry-picking the few somewhat-ambiguous things tossed at Herman Cain and Allen West isn't going to cut it. Ignoring the sheer volumes of overt racist antics that have been hurled at our president would be hurdle #1.
You see, we, the liberals - the other - have a pretty good nose for bullshit, and when you stop making diarrhea come out of our speakers we might actually listen.
UPDATE: Holy Snooki, Cain's smoking campaign manager is calling out the Perry campaign for the leaks which makes this even weirder.