Racial Politics in Three Acts


Yesterday I happened upon Lou Dobbs’ radio show (I didn’t know he had a radio show; I thought God had called him to heaven.). His guest at the time was a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist—that award is obviously not what it used to be—Michael Goodwin, of Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.

Dobbs had been upset that Obama had not offered an official acknowledgement of Good Friday or Easter. “Surely this must not be an accident,” he said. That “story” was first noted by Fox “News,” which put it this way:

President Obama failed to release a statement or a proclamation recognizing the national observance of Easter Sunday, Christianity’s most sacred holiday.

By comparison, the White House has released statements recognizing the observance of major Muslim holidays and released statements in 2010 on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha.

Just in case a Foxer didn’t get the message, the story added this:

By contrast, former President Bush traditionally included Scripture passages in his Easter messages and made a point to explain what Easter is about.

How nice of Mr. Bush to do that for all the Christian folks out there who may not know what “Christianity’s most sacred holiday” means.

Dobbs mentioned to columnist Michael Goodwin that his callers had been demonstrating that they didn’t just disagree with Obama’s policies, they actually believe he is actively working against our national interests. To which the Pulitzer-blessed Goodwin responded that such a sentiment was “fairly common.”

What did Goodwin offer as evidence for that assessment? Emails. He has received lots of emails from folks who think Obama is purposely trying to screw up the country. I guess that seals it.

Dobbs asked Goodwin, “What’s the point of offending Christian Americans?” Goodwin replied:

It’s almost at times, Lou, like he wants to show how different he is…that he alone is the redeemer of America’s morality.

It’s unimaginable to me that if Barack Obama were white, with a name like William Jones, such talk, between a former CNN television host and a Pulitzer prize-winning columnist, would take place on national radio.



The latest journalist-victim of Donald Trump’s mythical run for president is CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

I watched part of his Trump segment last night, which involved Trump talking over Cooper on the racially-pregnant birther issue, and it was, well, let’s just say that it wasn’t Cooper’s finest hour.

But he deserves embarrassment for having Trump, who at this point would give an interview to Sam Drucker at the Hooterville World Guardian, on his show to merely repeat what he has said a thousand times to anyone who is foolish enough to to seek his opinion.

It’s three years past the point now that honest people can, with their heads held high, ask a legitimate question about the birthplace of Mr. Obama. We are in racially-tinged territory these days, as there remains no legitimate reason for people to continue questioning whether our president is an American citizen.

There simply is nothing left to the issue but race, despite claims to the contrary. If our president were white, named William Jones, and born under the same circumstances, there would be no so-called “controversy.”

There would be no Anderson Cooper interviewing a lying or confused or stupid Donald Trump about a “missing” birth certificate, or the Associated Press interviewing him about how a “bad student” like Obama managed to get into an Ivy League school.

And it’s pretty much the same with the “Is he a Christian?” issue.



Enter the Reverend Franklin Graham.

Obama has said repeatedly that he is a believer in Jesus Christ, that Jesus is his savior, and all that stuff. Yet there persists a profound disbelief among folks who themselves claim they are Christians that Obama is a Muslim, a Muslim sympathizer, or a phony Christian.

The latest, of course, was evangelical middleman, Franklin Graham, son of God’s favorite Republican evangelist, Billy Graham. I watched his appearance on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell last night, which was really an attempt to undo the damage Graham did to himself on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.

Here’s part of the transcript from This Week:

AMANPOUR: Does it bother you that people like Donald Trump for instance right now, are making another huge big deal about birth certificates and whether he’s a Muslim or a Christian and where he was born?

GRAHAM: Well, the president, I know, has some issues to deal with here. He can solve this whole birth certificate issue pretty quickly. I don’t — I was born in a hospital in Ashville, North Carolina, and I know that my records are there. You can probably even go and find out what room my mother was in when I was born.

I don’t know why he can’t produce that. So, I’m not — I don’t know, but it’s an issue that looks like he could answer pretty quickly.

Sound familiar? That echoes exactly the repeatedly discredited claims of one Donald Trump, the Ugly American, who, by the way, Graham came close to endorsing on Sunday:

AMANPOUR: Well, there are people in right now. Would you support Mitt Romney, would you support —

GRAHAM: I’ve met —

AMANPOUR: — Donald Trump?

GRAHAM: I’ve met Mitt Romney. No question he is a — he’s a very capable person, he’s proven himself. Donald Trump, when I first saw that he was getting in, I thought, well, this has got to be a joke. But the more you listen to him, the more you say to yourself, you know? Maybe the guy’s right. So, there’s a —

AMANPOUR: So, he might be your candidate of choice?

GRAHAM: Sure, yes, sure.

Sure. Yes. Sure.

On The Last Word Graham tried to clean up his mess, but he failed:

O’DONNELL: Joining me now, possible Trump endorser, the Reverend Franklin Graham. Thank you for joining us tonight, Reverend.

GRAHAM: Lawrence, it’s good to be with you. And first, I want people to know that I am a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want people everywhere to know, not about Donald Trump, but I want them to know of God’s son, who came to this earth to take our sins and died on a cross and rose again. I want you to know that and every viewer to know that God loves them.


GRAHAM: …first of all, if he was vetted, and if he’s a nomination [sic]for the party, I certainly would be interested in him. There’s a long way to go, and I haven’t endorsed him, and I’m not going to endorse any candidate, but I find that he’s got some interesting things to say, and you have to say to yourself, sometimes, you know, maybe a guy like this is right for our country…

Here we have a “man of God,” who supposedly believes in family values and the Bible—including Jesus’ general condemnation of divorce—essentially blessing an F-bomb dropping political candidate who is working on his third marriage, owns casinos, and has made egotism an art form.

And most egregiously, this evangelical minister—who admitted to O’Donnell that he has never—never—voted for a Democrat for president—raises doubts about the citizenship and Christianity of the President of the United States, who has but one wife, who is responsibly raising his two daughters, and who has admitted to the world that he believes in the gospel that Graham so proudly peddles across America.

There is absolutely no chance that a white man, named William Jones, who has lived the kind of conservative family life that Barack Obama has lived, who has been as public about expressing his trust in Jesus as his Savior as Barack Obama has been, would be treated as a virtual alien, both in terms of his Americanism and his religion.




  1. It’s seems worth noting that it’s hard not to think there have likely been many US Presidents (and other politicians) who proclaim faith that may be not held passionately or even sincerely, but we haven’t generally spent so much ink on exploring that lack of sincere belief. Which is your point I guesse.


    • Bruce,

      Yes, that is part of my point. There are so many things associated with the criticism of Barack Obama—from the accusations that he’s not a citizen, not smart enough to get into Ivy League schools, secretly hates America, is acting out his father’s anti-colonialism, is a closet Marxist, is a closet Muslim, is helping the terrorists—that can’t be explained in any other way except by acknowledging that we have had a history of racial problems in this country, and some attitudes, though submerged, tend toward interpreting Obama in terms of his ethnicity or skin color or however you want to describe it.

      As I have said plenty of times, there is plenty of room to say nasty things about Barack Obama’s policies, if you’re on the right or the left, but the other stuff, especially the idea that he is a foreigner, an alien, an outsider, an “other,” that criticism is unlike any other criticism of a president in our history, to my knowledge. Interestingly, Obama himself would be appalled at any suggestion that his race plays that big a role in the criticism he receives, but it explains so much of it that it would be silly to ignore it.



  2. I watched Graham on O’Donnell’s show last night.

    It was painful.


    • Jim,

      Painful, indeed. O’Donnell’s show last night was a lot of fun, from the Graham interview to Ezra Klein to the “rewrite” of Rush Limbaugh and Jesus. Good stuff.



  3. Angelfire

     /  April 27, 2011

    Trump is no Republican.

    He is doing an excellent job demonstrating loudly how silly the Republicans are and basically “tanking” them — exposing their craziness in technicolor on big screens across America. One by one the Republicans seem to be taking the “crazy bait” Trump is holding out to them.

    He gave Rahm Emanual $50,000 a few months ago for his run in Chicago according to Mark Levin.

    He’s no Republican.


  4. I don’t think Donal Trump is devoted to much of anything, including a political perspective right or left, unless he thinks he can use it to his advantage.

    I think he’s decided he can use the right to his advantage. I don’t think he’s intentionally trying to re-elect Obama. It may ultimately have that effect though.


  5. Duane,

    Just so you know, I do try to listen Rachel Maddow on my XM radio driving home sometimes. This was a result of your recommendation. I don’t always agree with her, but I think she’s worth a listen.


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