That Scary Black Man in the White House

The Right Wing has its panties in a bunch again. According to the usual suspects, President Obama issued a National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order that gives him “unprecedented new powers to appropriate national resources.”

And what does Snopes have to say about this latest evidence of Obama’s usurpation of power and disregard of the law of the land?

The Executive Order itself is nothing more than a restatement of policy that has been in place for decades and grants no authority to the President or the Cabinet that they don’t already have under existing law.

It has become fashionable to attribute the constant hysteria over anything and everything that Obama does to the same hyper-partisanship that prompted “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” And certainly, partisanship bears some blame.

But let’s get real.

I detested George W. Bush. I disagreed with his naive “faith based initiative.” I was appalled when he took the U.S. into the Iraq War. A list of Bush policies that pushed me out of the Republican party would fill pages of text.

But here’s the thing: these were actual policies. When the man was first elected, I found him likable enough–I certainly didn’t detest him before he even took office. And most of the people I knew who came to dislike him intensely (and were probably unfairly critical from time to time) were also reacting to things the man actually did.

Obama hadn’t even taken office when the ugly emails and the out-and-out lies began. The racism that fuels talk radio and “birthers” and insane accusations is too thick and too widespread and too obvious to ignore. The absolute unwillingness of the Republicans in Congress to work with this President–even to implement programs that they originally proposed–has brought this country to a virtual standstill.

One result of this behavior is ironic: those of us who are repelled by what we see as unhinged, vicous and consistently unfair attacks from people who simply cannot come to terms with the fact that we have a black President find ourselves defending Obama even when he is implementing or continuing policies we would otherwise criticize. As I wrote to a good friend,  there’s plenty to legitimately criticize. I’m no fan of the NSA, drone strikes and several other policies this administration has pursued. But calling Obama lawless and a communist, making hysterical accusations about things that previous presidents–including the sainted Reagan– did routinely with absolutely no pushback is so manifestly unjust, people who are fair-minded get protective.

A Facebook post from a (very Republican) friend of mine is a good example of what I’m talking about:

Ok, let me get this straight: Ted Nugent–who during the 2012 campaign declared that if Obama was reelected he (Nugent) would either be dead or in jail within a year (a not-so-veiled threat against the President of the United States)–last month called President Obama a “communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel.” And now, the GOP front runner for the Texas governorship not only welcomes Nugent on his campaign but calls this unhinged racist hater “a fighter for freedom.” What’s wrong with this picture?  The Lone Star GOP needs to find a candidate with the basic decency of Gov. George W. Bush. (I didn’t like him as a president but he was no racist hater. I wonder if the same could be said about Greg Abbott. A man is judged by the company he keeps.)

Allowing buffoons and bigots to become the face of the GOP just pushes moderate folks who might otherwise be inclined to vote Republican into the D column.

Defending racist rants as if they were legitimate criticisms, vowing to block this President at every turn (and damn the common good), repels people of good will who would consider — and perhaps be persuaded by–valid and thoughtful critiques.

There aren’t enough angry old white guys to elect a President. Get over it.


  1. This is the new GOP pattern. I left the GOP when they did the same types of things when Bill Clinton was elected – remember Whitewater & the $200 haircut? Good grief! Give the man a chance! Of course, Obama’s obvious ‘other’ appearance and name only hit the racist button in addition to the slander and slam ANY Democratic President tactic used in 1992. I also am not sold on all President Obama does but I cannot fathom why Republicans seem to put hatred of Democrats above national interest. And Democrats who would return the favor by slandering any Republican President are equally guilty of lowering our national discourse to the lowest possible level. But the GOP takes the cake (or cow pie, as the case may be.)

  2. Yes, this hatred ofthe scary black man is very real. I have received some amazing email from folks I went to school with. I pointed out to one of them how his email was nothing but hatred of the scary black man. He was stunned. He (and others) are often in complete denial of the nature of their reaction to Pres Obama. They tell me that it is not racism but real policy issues. I even had one reply…”But I even had a black guy at my wedding..”
    Chris Mathews made a good point on TV last night.
    “So far NONE of the birther haters have lost an election. ”
    NOT a good sign for our democracy.
    There seems to be no penalty for this crazy behavior

  3. President Obama sent a hand-written apology to an Arts History professor after she felt insulted due to his “off-the-cuff remarks” when referring to the jobs market. His statement that students “…can make more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an Arts History degree…” So now he has been pushed to apologizing for telling the truth. He even stated after this remark that he hoped he didn’t begin getting messages about this comment..but of course this was viewed as another reason to speak against this man who was TWICE elected POTUS. I enjoy art but know little about art history; I am also a high school dropout with a GED who is well aware that there is a better chance to get a job if you have skilled manufacturing knowledge and experience or a job history in a trade. My “trade” was in clerical/secretarial work; an Art History degree would not have gotten me a job anywhere in the City of Indianapolis where I worked for 20 years – under Republican administration. I began as a clerk-typist in IPD (1972) and was Records Secretary for the Metropolitan Development Commission (the most powerful Board in the state) when I left city employment while working in Department of Metropolitan Development (1994).

    Ted Nugent has been clasped to the bosom of the Republican party as a person whose word is to be accepted as gospel and, I assume, they consider him an artist in the music world. I ignore his rants and, being deaf, cannot speak to his musical talent. There have been complaints about President Obama wearing swim trunks while on a beach in Hawaii during a vacation, wearing out of fashion jeans while playing basketball with friends, being disloyal to the United States by ordering foreign (Dejon) mustard in a restaurant. Our First Lady was ostracized for wearing too-short shorts (2 inches above her knee) and Limbaugh of all people, complained that she has a large backside. Why do supposedly intelligent people (elected officials) listen to and pass along these useless bits of misinformation in attempts to give basis for their refusal to support him on vital – often life-saving – issues in this country? Do I agree with every decision/action he has taken – or not taken – during his administation? No; but I continue my 100% support of this man because of his beliefs, his strengths, his dignity and most of all for his loyalty to His country!

    Sheila; I found this blog difficult to read because it is a reminder of what this man faces 24/7 because of the color of his skin. It isn’t even due to his politial party as much as it is due his pigmentation. We also need to remember that he and millions of other minorities have lived with this situation their entire lives in this country; President Obama’s detractors have magnified this racism (covertly) because he is President of the United States – duly elected TWICE. I believe this fact deserves being mentioned twice in my comments.

  4. You nailed it, Sheila. These types of Republican remarks may work for another decade or so, but soon there are going to be more “thems” than “us.” And I’m not just talking about the color of one’s skin, but their beliefs about God and science (i.e. climate change) to name just a few. It will be very interesting to see how this all goes in the coming years. Hopefully better than the last few…

  5. While working the polls in November 2008, I was asked by a conservative neighbor what the total voter count was. I told her it was very high — record-setting for our precinct. She shook her head in dismay, then leaned in and whispered, “This is the last free election our country will ever have!”

  6. Thankfully our younger generation is much more accepting of racial and other minorities.
    My daughter and son-in-law couldn’t understand what the ‘birther’ thing was all about until I explained that it was racist code. During my young years, white families would sometimes comment that African American high school basketball teams were older and taller than white high schoolers. But they reasoned that African Americans were able to get past IHSAA rules because they didn’t have birth certificates to document age. That just had to be the case since surely African American kids of the same age couldn’t defeat white kids.

    Ted Nugent’s comments are less thinly veiled and more overtly hateful. Since they harken back to a Jim Crow era, perhaps a solution from that era is also appropriate — wash his mouth out with soap.

  7. I actually watched the interview Ted Nugent gave when he said – Nugent was recorded stating, “I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America”

    Ted Nugent born in 1948 received a series of deferments and avoided the draft and the possibility of being sent to Vietnam. Now he portrays himself as mister Macho-Man.

    The sickening part of this, is a significant piece of the Republican Party is all on board, Birthers, Bible Thumpers, etc.

    As a person from the Socialist Left, I find Obama to be a huge failure.

  8. A friend’s forwarded email mentioned the presidential rankings, and after a little research, I saw that folks are beginning to (already) rank Obama around 15th. However things turn out, the fact that he was the first black president is both good and bad. Being first, he had to break the ice which is the role of all people going first, and that levies an incredible personal toll (e.g. Jackie Robinson and baseball). Once historians are able to put racism in its proper place, I think he will be recognized as having done pretty well, considering the circumstances, and the haters will not be remembered well. Some things come back to bite us. If you were G.W. Bush, how would you like carrying the albatross that you were one of the worst presidents?

  9. Hello, all! We can all remember the bulging veins in Jon Boehner’s neck and forehead and the angry expression on his face when he stood at the microphone and said that he/they would stand against everything this president tried to do. Barack Obama has withstood more withering blows than we will ever know. It boils down to Boehner’s bulging veins: President Obama is still black and still the President of the United States. It’s impossible for some to handle. And how come Ted Nugent is still out there running loose and spewing that foul stuff? It’s gone ‘way past free speech, IMNSHO!

  10. Hello Shelia, I just discovered your blog via “Dispatches from the Culture Wars” (Ed Brayton’s wonderful blog) and thought I’d respond. I remember back during 2007-08 when Obama started running, there were several offensive and dishonest pictures and emails sent by family and co-workers. In fact it got so bad that several people I work with wouldn’t talk with me because I defended and supported Obama. It left a bitter taste in my mouth and I tire of all the attacks, motivated by hate, NOT political discourse regarding the policies of the president.

    Does Teddy understand when you casually call someone, of a different race, a “subhuman mongrel” that’s exactly the language the Nazi’s used to describe Jews and Slavic peoples they imprisoned and killed?! I just tire so much of the ultra-right wing comments and hatred, nothing surprises me any more.

  11. Chris, your statement that the comments were ultra-right wing is right on. I think it is past due for us to stop referring to this kind of stuff as “conservative”. Doing that is much too generous and just plain inaccurate. Time to start referring to Nugent’s comments as Fascist, Nazi and other more accurate terms. Just plain hateful and racist. These people are no more “conservative” than I am a door knob. I think it is time for responsible and thoughtful conservatives to take back the term. Let’s hope there are some responsible and thoughtful conservatives around.

  12. I am sorry. I do not agree with tbe birthier argument but the notion that it is “racist code” is not supported
    by a shred of evidence. As William points out albeit not intentionally is tha y the Republicans on President of has absolutely nothing to do with race as they also attacked Clinton in exactly the same manner. Last time I checked Clinton is white.

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