Posted by Charity on April 27th, 2009

They Hate Him Because He Is “Black,” reads the headline of a post from Daily Kos, reprinted on the blog Green Mountain Daily.

I was about to dismiss it entirely, as I think is the proper response at this point to the accusations of racism that follow every single criticism of President Obama by anyone on the right, and even some that come from the left.

I mean, how seriously can we take the prized argument of such intellectual giants as Janeane Garofalo, especially when there is no attempt at an actual discussion of said criticism?

But then, it occurred to me that there is more to this post than intellectual laziness.  The left really does not get what’s gotten everyone on the right so worked up about Barack Obama.

Let’s take the post I mentioned above as an example.

They hate him not because of policy or politics. They hate him because of who he is. Not like them. By the color of his skin. It’s time to stop pretending or excusing or evading the obvious. They hate him because he is black!

I am not even sure where to begin with that.  Has there been no criticism on Pres. Obama’s policies or politics?  I read thoughtful, reasonable criticisms of his policy every day.

So, how did this insightful blogger arrive at this conclusion, that there can be no other reason, except for race, to explain this outrage?

The right did not respond this way to President Clinton.  Yes, really, that’s the entire argument.

First the full quote, then I’ll break it down.

They hated President Clinton, and tried to destroy him. But one of their elected governors didn’t talk secession. They didn’t talk revolution. They didn’t attempt (and miserably fail) to launch nationwide protests against him. Bill Clinton was a lot of things. He was not black.

President Obama is no crazy liberal. He is increasing defense spending. Even Alan Greenspan is suggesting economic solutions more akin to “socialism.” Gun lovers have nothing to fear. On policy grounds, we crazy liberals have been criticizing him from day one. The radical right have been lambasting him. With the nation fighting two wars and an economic meltdown, they openly hope he fails. But they are not about policy. They are about hatred. And they hate Obama as they have never hated any president. It’s not complicated.

Rather than succumb to this poor application of Occam’s Razor, let’s look a little deeper at other possible reasons for why this behavior is happening under President Obama, but did not happen under President Clinton.

They hope he fails. This widely misinterpreted Rush Limbaugh quote actually referred to any socialist policies Obama would enact.  A point Rush has clarified repeatedly, explaining the ideology that he believes Obama comes from and the policies emanating therefrom that would be ultimately bad for America.  To that end, Rush hopes he fails – fails to destroy America.

But this isn’t about policy is it?

Gun lovers have nothing to fear. That is not a unanimous opinion.  Most “gun lovers” do think there is much to fear.  Gun sales have skyrocketed since Obama was elected.  Most people who follow gun control legislation suspect that Obama will enact gun control measures as soon as it is politically viable, that is, after he deals with energy and health care.

Secession.  Revolution.  Mass protest.

Why are these things coming up now, but not then?

Then, we did not see an increase of government spending of this magnitude.  Then, we did not have a national debt of $11 trillion, and growing.  Then, we did not have a pork-laden spendulus stimulus bill, passed before anyone could even read it.  Then, we did not see the government fire the CEO of a major corporation.

But most importantly, then we had a Republican Party that was able to organize an opposition, formulate a platform that reflected the conservative ideology, and take control of both chambers Congress a mere two years after Clinton was elected.

Does anyone think the GOP can do that now?  Does anyone think the GOP has any credibility whatsoever with conservatives?

This spending orgy started with a Republican president.  The last Republican presidential candidate’s big moment in the debate with Obama was that he – the Republican – wanted the government to bail out people who couldn’t afford their mortgages.

Conservatives have nowhere to go. There is no leader of the conservative movement.  There is no political party that embodies conservative principles.  There is no one who can even articulate – on a national level – what the tea party protests were about to the media, for crying out loud.

What are conservatives supposed to do, if not speak out for themselves, talk about revolution, try to organize some sort of protest to let Washington know their views?

And why wouldn’t we want to leave a country that has abandoned its roots of personal freedom and limited government?

This is about policy.  It is all about policy.

But, it is true that it is being expressed in an unproductive way, many times as hatred.

And for that, my dear left-wingers, you have yourselves to blame.

You know hatred, boy, do you ever.  You have hated for the past 8 years.  Some of you even forgot how not to hate and are still spewing hate on a daily basis toward anyone who dares disagree with you.

After Obama was elected, I read time after time on conservative blogs how we had to resist doing what the left did for the past 8 years.  The hate.  The screeching.  The inability to formulate coherent sentences.

Unfortunately, some of us can’t resist emulating what has become the standard in political thought.

So, if anyone on the left wonders why the level of discourse is so base, so visceral, compared to the past, it’s not because he’s black (with or without scare quotes), it’s because you lowered the bar.

9 Responses to “It’s Not Because He’s Black”

  1. Just so I’m clear. Your thesis is yeah, some Conservatives are being hateful towards Obama, but its not their fault – liberals made them do it – these conservatives are just victims of society.

    Am I missing anything?

  2. Yeah, that’s what I said.

    As a side note, you might want to work on your reading comprehension.

    I did not say it was not their fault. I did not say they were victims of society. People are responsible for their own actions. I am not excusing anything.

    My point was that liberals have a lot of nerve screeching about “HATE!!11!!” after their pathetic behavior over the past 8 years.

  3. Charity,

    This is very good. I wish there were more real conservatives like you–you’d make a good Conservative Socialist (The Conservative Socialist Party–oh Boy!).

    It is true that what is called the Left now does not take kindly to critical thought. When I write something making fun of liberal hypocrisies, the ‘peanut gallery’ goes batshit, much like the ‘wingnuts’ on the right whom they supposedly deplore. (That reminds me; time to post a zinger on Daily Kos)

    Obama is stuck with having to be FDR with no dynamic from the Democratic Party to back him up. They’re watching, not working. With this economic catastrophe you have to use the federal government as the power plant that generates recovery (FDR); you have to spend big to keep the juices flowing. Big corporations and the wealthy need to do their share too–it’s called Patriotism. After all, we’re at War last I heard.

    Now, the thing is, Bill Clinton left office with three consecutive budget surpluses behind him and a fiscal policy to pay off the entire national debt (then, less than a 1/2 billion) by 2012. (ain’t gonna happen now) He didn’t have economic chaos to deal with because his administration was fiscally responsible. Obama has to deal with a disaster, and that calls for a big spending transfusion to stabilize the patient’s vital signs–tightening up will come once the emergency is dealt with. (Now notice, I didn’t mention what or WHO was responsible for the national debt increasing by 10 billion big ones) Something has to be done–and BIG TIME.

    I don’t like the Tea Party message about Socialism–the people sound regressive, just in the economic sense. When they make noises about Gays, Blacks, Welfare Mothers, The Poor, etc., then they are being flat-out asinine. This country will never be the country it once was or could be unless we break out from the beachhead and move to the higher ground. (War again, doncha know)

    So…tax breaks for the working class and working poor; tax increases for those who can afford to support the economic war effort; and victory in that war and in the one in our heads and hearts. And then, no more war period.

    And I will go to the next Tea Party to see and hear what’s afoot.

  4. “Gun lovers have nothing to fear. That is not a unanimous opinion. Most ‘gun lovers’ do think there is much to fear.”

    And you use those fear-filled, self-proclaimed “gun nuts” over at Alphecca as evidence of what?? They weren’t happy under GWB, and they’ll never be happy…ever…because the number one thing that they thrive on is fear, period end of story.

    “Then, we did not have a national debt of $11 trillion, and growing.”

    No, we only had national debt of $6-7 trillion or so (and holding pretty steady) in 1990s…followed by a $7-10 trillion dollars federal debt (and growing) under GWB. The Party that caused that overblown debt can’t be expected to come up with rational ways of fixing the situation that we are in now. We’ve tried it “their way” for 8 years, and it simply didn’t work.

    “Then, we did not have a pork-laden spendulus stimulus bill”

    …which had, of course, the least total amount of so-called “pork” spending & “pork” projects in it in many, many years.

    “Then, we did not see the government fire the CEO of a major corporation”

    …who did a horrible job running said corporation.

    “Does anyone think the GOP has any credibility whatsoever with conservatives?”

    Or virtually anyone else right now?? That’s what a lot of the whine from the Right-wing is really about IMO…desperation…no one is listening to them & with good reason.

    “What are conservatives supposed to do, if not speak out for themselves, talk about revolution, try to organize some sort of protest to let Washington know their views?”

    Real talk of revolution or secession is really out of line IMO…no matter who uses that kind of talk (Left or Right). We fought an entire War over whether or not states could legally secede on their own. We don’t need to go through that again.

    “So, if anyone on the left wonders why the level of discourse is so base, so visceral, compared to the past, it’s not because he’s black (with or without scare quotes), it’s because you lowered the bar.”

    I disagree on who “lowered the bar” first. Newt did it first IMO in the late 1980s & early 1990s, and that style of “bomb throwing” politics has hurt this country ever since.

  5. Where were all these tea partiers when Dubya was ripping through the “three consecutive budget surpluses behind him and a fiscal policy to pay off the entire national debt (then, less than a 1/2 billion) by 2012,” as Peter said in his post above? It is only when Obama comes faces the mess that Dubya left behind that the tea partiers come out.

  6. To conservatives, and other rational people, throwing good money after bad bailing out banks, auto makers, insurance companies, home buyers, and so on, and spending money on the Democrats’ pet projects under the guise of stimulating the economy, is not comparable to spending money on war and on keeping America safe from another terrorist attack. It’s comparing apples to oranges.

    There was plenty of criticism from the right about Bush’s other spending and people on the right were outraged at the bailouts that he started. I talked about this in, Final Thoughts on the Tea Parties”

  7. “is not comparable to spending money on war and on keeping America safe from another terrorist attack.”

    How is invading a country that had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or 9/11 & that had no WMDs (where Saddam wasn’t even a threat to two-thirds of his own people) “keeping America safe from another terrorist attack”??

    I’ll agree on the “not comparable” part though, since doing one of those things costs a LOT more than the vast majority of what the Tea Parties were complaining about.

  8. Refusing A Frontal LObamatomy
    April 30th, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Dear Charity,

    It’s interesting to consider this new thesis coming from the left that Mr. Obama is hated by the right because of his skin color. It’s interesting because it was the left who argued — during the campaign cycle — that Mr. Obama was not genuinely black. Even AFTER the election it was left-leaning black commentators who noted that Mr. Obama is NOT black, but bi-racial. Major black leaders and academics were critical of Mr. Obama’s lack of black bona-fides ever since he hit the national stage. And the critics were all leftists.

    The leftists hate Condoleezza Rice, Michael Steele, Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Alan Keyes, Clarence Thomas. Obviously the leftists hate these people because they are black.

    One of the saddest revisions in American history is that the Democratic Party is NOT the racist party. It IS the racist party, with a deep history of phobia and bigotry towards African Americans.

    Shame.

  9. Hi Charity,

    I enjoyed your post. I had just read the post at GMD you referred to in your post, and left GMD shaking my head.

    I don’t agree with you that one side or the other has the moral high ground on the tone in Washington. I don’t recall much graciousness toward Clinton, so I don’t think it started with Bush 2.

    But I think your points about conservative policy differences with Obama, frustration with the GOP, and changes in the economic landscape ring true. Yes, racism exists. But I don’t think racism explains opposition to Obama.

    I would also note that many conservatives and Republicans have been very gracious about Obama as a person and seem genuinely proud of the historic significance of his election as a milestone in overcoming racism in our country. I’ve appreciated that.

    I didn’t vote for Obama because I consider him a hypocrite on civil rights since he does not fully support recognition of marriage equality for same-sex couples.

    His tortured position on marriage equality is cynical and politically expedient. He says marriage should be reserved for people in committed relationships with someone of a different gender only, but same-sex couples should be granted federal civil unions, and Congress should repeal the federal defense of marriage act.

    So yes, I have a policy difference with him and I consider him morally flawed. I still want him to succeed. I enjoy his intelligence and abilities. And I still feel really good about how I know he makes many people of color feel inside.

    I was at the statehouse when the votes on marriage equality took place, and I can’t capture in words what it means to me that I now live in a state that does not discriminate against me under the law. It was very powerful to see four gay house members stand up and talk about their lives during the floor debates. A place at the table is important to us all. I’m glad that people who relate to Obama based on his racial heritage can see and feel that they are making progress in gaining an equal place at the American table.

    Obama is just a person, and he will have a very hard time living up to the hype. But I love that he makes many people who too often feel left out feel a little more hopeful and included.

    Let’s appreciate him AND hold him accountable!

    Thanks for the great post Charity!