He’s In Over His (Black) Head

First, look at this image, which I found on the Rush Limbaugh website the day after the first presidential debate:

See that determined white guy whippin’ that black man’s ass? That is the image that Obama-hating conservatives, particularly Obama-hating quasi-racists like Rush Limbaugh, have been begging for from their suspicious paleface champion, Mittens “The Truth” Romney.

The jubilance over Romney’s debate performance, for some on the right, is rooted in the fact that somebody finally put the Uppity Negro in his place.

Limbaugh explained on Thursday why the President lost the debate:

The guy’s a community organizer, an agitator.  He had no experience. He wasn’t prepared for this job ever.  He’s not prepared for this job now…Obama hasn’t been prepared ever for this job.  He’s not qualified.  It’s above his pay grade.  He is in over his head. 

I will translate the above: That trouble-making Negro is too dumb to be president.

Romney, who has never found it in him to criticize anything Limbaugh has said or done, has offered a version of the same thing several times:

…we’ve learned who Barack Obama is, what he’s capable of doing, that he’s over his head and he swimming in the wrong direction.

He too thinks the Negro is too dumb to be president. If you doubt me, read the context: “we’ve learned who Barack Obama is…”

John Sununu, the co-chair of Romney’s presidential campaign, a man who, if there is a hell, will have an entire ego-roasting chamber to himself, had this exchange on Thursday with Andrea Mitchell:

SUNUNU: What people saw last night, I think, was a president that revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is…

MITCHELL: Governor, I want to give you a chance to maybe take it back. Did you really mean to call Barack Obama, the President of the United States, lazy?

SUNUNU: Yes. I think you saw him admit it the night before when he delivered the pizzas. He said, “You know they’re making me do this work.” He didn’t want to prepare for this debate. He’s lazy and disengaged.

So, President Obama is not only a dumb and incompetent Negro, he is a lazy and dumb and incompetent Negro, a charge Sununu has made before.

Thus it is that our president, a man who graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School—and another prominent if cartoonish Romney supporter, Donald Trump, has also openly questioned Mr. Obama’s education credentials—a man who was the first African-American to head Harvard’s Law Review, a man who taught constitutional law as a professor at the University of Chicago, a man who got into politics at the bottom and worked his way up to become the most powerful leader in the world, is really just an incarnation of all the stereotypes that racists harbor about black folks: they aren’t very bright, they don’t want to work hard, and they want to make life more difficult for whites.

And Romney’s loudest supporters have openly appealed to the angst behind those stereotypes without so much as a peep from him. And as his “over his head” comment suggests, that may be because Romney needs to use that appeal to racial angst to get whites to vote for him in historic proportions. Otherwise he has little chance to win.

As Ron Brownstein wrote:

Romney’s camp is focused intently on capturing at least 61 percent of white voters. That would provide him a slim national majority—so long as whites constitute at least 74 percent of the vote, as they did last time, and Obama doesn’t improve on his 80 percent showing with minorities.

That 61% “would equal the best performance ever for a Republican presidential challenger with that group of voters,” Brownstein says, which is why Romney can’t afford to alienate one single white voter, not to mention a buffoon like Limbaugh, who is a spokesman for white cultural angst.

But as sad as that reality is, there is coming a new one, albeit one that will be forced on the GOP:

Republican strategists clearly feel the weight of trying to assemble a national majority with so little support among minorities that they must win three in five whites. “This is the last time anyone will try to do this,” one said. A GOP coalition that relies almost entirely on whites could squeeze out one more narrow victory in November. But if Republicans can’t find more effective ways to bridge the priorities of their conservative core and the diversifying Next America, that weight will grow more daunting every year. 

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  1. The angry old racist white guys are all in on this one. Rush is bleeding support and has to back the GOP “winner” — Romney loses? – GOP loses the House? – GOP fails to pick up the Senate? – Rush is on his way to being Glenn Beck. Hannity and rest of the Fox Gnus will be facing new media (Newscorp) scrutiny after the election. The current tea-bagging conservative movement is a house of cards, teetering on the brink of collapse. This is their last chance. They will play any card and tell any lie because losing control is tantamount to oblivion with ethnically diverse, younger voters. THIS is the watershed election.


    • And it will be a remarkably close election, given the things that Romney and the right-wing have advanced. The problem with a close election (that Romney loses) is that it will generate a meme that paints Romney as a bad messenger, a faulty representative of the conservative message. Thus conservatives will learn nothing from it and will continue to dominate the Republican Party.

      The only thing that will give the more moderate voices with the GOP (and I use the term “moderate” rather generously) more clout is a substantial victory by Obama and the Democrats in Congress. An Obama victory by, say, 53-47, and a Democratic majority in the Senate will give those relative moderates some leverage as things go forward, especially given the ever-changing demographics of the country. An unlikely Democratic takeover of the House will really shake things up.

      But much more likely is a 51-49 Obama victory, with a 51 or 52 Democratic majority in the Senate and a modest Democratic gain in the House. That will keep the Limbaugh’s singing their tune and controlling the interests of the party. And will set them up for a Hillary Clinton trouncing in 2016!



  2. Well it seems to me that partially we are seeing a pivot in Romney strategy from: ‘he’s so radical he’ll destroy America’ to ‘he’s so incompetent he’ll destroy America’. This maybe because an ideology based campaign has been appealing to the GOP base, but not to the broader electorate. This campaign line was used unsuccessfully against George W. Bush also.

    That said, I think the President is also vulnerable to this line of attack as having little ‘executive’ experience moving in about a decade from academics to legislative politics (state and then national) straight to the White House, with no stops as say even a department chairman, let alone corporate executive, mayor or governor. The new Bob Woodward book seems to suggest that the President may have not used his office successfully to get legislative results, perhaps for the same reason. I don’t think you have to a racist to have these concerns, though I don’t dispute that Limbaugh is most certainly a racist. By the way what is your definition of a quasi racist?

    Any thoughts on the best response to this line of reasoning, or concern??


    • Since I have already tried to answer your inquiry about “quasi-racist,” I will confine myself to your other comments.

      Romney’s pivoting reminds me of a point guard who is trapped at mid-court without anyone to pass to. He keeps moving around hoping for some daylight. He has tried just about everything and the only thing that has helped him has been a poor performance by the President during that first debate.

      I will not argue that some executive experience can be helpful in the job as president, but that value is mostly limited to government executive experience. But I submit, though, that even that is less helpful than one might imagine. The presidency is unlike any job in any industry or any other level of government. The real skills needed for the job aren’t an MBA (George W. Bush had one!) or experience as a Bain Capital CEO (the government runs nothing like a business) or even governor of a state.

      Business executives tend to be parochial in their vision, mostly limited to seeing the company’s bottom line and how to improve it. Governors are looking out for the interests of their states. The president has to be open to a wider vision, one that encompasses all the competing interests in the country and one that protects the interests of America abroad while living up to our values as a country. I don’t see how any localized executive experience helps one that much in that regard.

      The only possible advantage that government executive experience (but not private sector CEO experience) could give a president, would be in terms of having to deal with a hostile Congress. But isn’t that simply interpersonal relationship skills, when it comes down to it? If Obama, as Woodward suggests, neglected this duty, we will never know because, contrary to Woodward’s thesis, he never, and I mean never, had a willing party to work with. The debt-ceiling fiasco was not a failure on Obama’s part, as Woodward unbelievably suggests. It was a failure of Republicans to put forth a reasonable negotiating position, after holding the country hostage. Obama went much further than he should have to make a deal with them. He should have blasted them with both barrels in front of the public instead of negotiating with a gun at his head.



  3. King Beauregard

     /  October 5, 2012

    “which is why Romney can’t afford to alienate one single white voter”

    I’m pleased to say he’s alienated this white voter but good, and thanks to Ohio’s early voting, I have already cast my ballot for Obama.


    • I envy you for being able to express yourself so early. Here in Missouri, unless we have an acceptable reason to request an absentee ballot, we have to wait until November 6 to kick sand in Romney’s face. Congratulations!


      • King Beauregard

         /  October 8, 2012

        Early voting really is a treat. Besides being able to kick sand as early as possible, there is the small matter of being able to research issues or candidates.

        This time around there were three candidates on the ballot for State Board of Education, and I hadn’t heard of any of them. Doing a little bit of Googling, though, I was able to discover that one was a Teabagger whose main interest is teaching very patriotic history, one was a plutocrat who feels teachers must compete against each other to prove they deserve their salary, and the third was an educator who simply wants teachers to be able to get back to teaching. Suddenly it wasn’t a difficult choice at all.


        • You are lucky that you can find information on those less glamorous, but still important, state offices. Sometimes, as here in Missouri regarding the retention of judges, you know next to nothing about them. Sometimes you know exactly nothing about them.


  4. Lily

     /  October 9, 2012

    So a picture of Romney punching Obama means he’s a racist? Not just that, but your whole blog is racist! What you’re saying is that anyone who doesn’t like Obama is a racist. Most stupid article I’ve ever read! You’re the racist here, not Romney!


    • Lily, Lily, Lily,

      Obviously you only looked at the picture and didn’t actually read the piece, or you didn’t read it very carefully. (And I wear your judgment that this was the “most stupid article” you’ve ever read as a badge of honor.)

      Not everyone who criticizes Obama is a racist, and I certainly did not call Romney a racist, now did I? Your proclivities are showing. This post was mostly about Romney supporters, folks who flirt with racial angst in order to, as is commonly known, to get a higher percentage of palefaces to vote for Mittens.

      If you don’t think Rush Limbaugh is one of those racial flirters, then I submit you haven’t been paying attention. I listened to the guy for almost 20 years, most of that time as a fan, as a “dittohead,” and I can tell you that he, with the possible exception of Pat Buchanan, is the greatest champion of white cultural angst in America.

      As for your charging me with racism because I point out that folks on your side exploit racial angst, that is an old Limbaugh trick. Won’t work here.



  5. Lily

     /  October 9, 2012

    Duane, Duane, Duane,

    And YOU know they’re thinking “racist”. Right. You must be very brilliant to get into someone else’s head and tell everyone else what conservatives are REALLY thinking. No, you didn’t call Romney a racist, but you imply it and imply that conservatives all think the same way. And I would NOT call Obama an “Uppity Negro”, I would call him an uppity MAN. I would also call him “lazy” – not because he’s a Negro, but because he’s just damn lazy. There are also lazy white people and uppity white people. I guess I am stupid conservative white trash, because I have no clue what your point is. Maybe just using a microscope to find whatever you can to label white conservatives in a negative way, since that’s the only argument you seem to be able to come up with. Haven’t listened to Rush in years; if he’s a “racial flirter”, then so be it because I doubt anyone could change him. And Rush’s quote above could have been about anybody; yes, even a white person running for president.


    • Lily³:

      Modesty prevents me from accurately assessing my brilliance for you, but I can help with your baseless claims, to wit:

      ♦ “No, you didn’t call Romney a racist, but you imply it and imply that conservatives all think the same way.”

      I didn’t imply Romney was a racist, but I did flat out say that his surrogates are using racial angst to win more white votes. If you think that makes him a racist, that is your judgment.

      And I don’t think and didn’t imply that “conservatives all think the same way,” as this line makes clear (emphasis mine):

      The jubilance over Romney’s debate performance, for some on the right, is rooted in the fact that somebody finally put the Uppity Negro in his place.

      As a former conservative, I know very well that most conservatives don’t oppose Obama because he’s black. But many on the right don’t mind using white angst as a way to motivate as many white voters as possible, even white racists or quasi-racists, to get to the polls and vote against him.

      ♦ “And I would NOT call Obama an “Uppity Negro”, I would call him an uppity MAN. I would also call him “lazy” – not because he’s a Negro, but because he’s just damn lazyThere are also lazy white people and uppity white people. I guess I am stupid conservative white trash, because I have no clue what your point is.

      No, if you were “stupid conservative white trash,” you would know exactly what I’m talking about.

      First, the term “uppity” has historically been used by racist folks to label blacks who don’t know “their proper place.” Linguistically, it’s sort of like the term “boy.” The terms obviously have separate and legitimate usage. But referring to a black man as a “boy” is considered racist because of the historical use of the word. Likewise, referring to President Obama as “uppity” has racial connotations. It may be that you are not personally aware of those connotations, but they are real and there are lots of people who use them purposely.

      You said Obama is “damn lazy.” I don’t know how you measure his laziness. Is it his family time? Is it his golf? Is it his vacation time? George W. Bush had a family; he played lots of golf; he took many more vacations than President Obama. Yet, I never heard anyone, anyone, ever refer to Bush as “lazy.” You know why, Lily? Because he ain’t black. And you can’t tell me you don’t know that “lazy nigger” is a crude stereotype of black people, can you?

      Finally, about Rush Limbaugh, whom you claim not to have listened to in years. Good for you. I meet a lot of people who sound a lot like Rush Limbaugh but claim they never listen to him. I don’t know how he can brag about such large audiences if there are so few people who will admit to listening to him, but so be it. I actually believe you don’t listen to him, but I want you to know that if you have any doubts about his tendency to exploit race, there is a place you can go to dispel those doubts. It is to Rush’s own website and read the transcript from a show he did in July of 2010, including this:

      This is payback. O.J. Simpson was payback. How does it feel?” That word “payback” is not mine. It was J. Christian Adams quoting some people in the Department of Justice. It is exactly how I think Obama looks at the country: It’s payback time. I think that he’s been raised, educated, and believes on his own that this country has been (as you know) immoral and unjust. It has stolen. It’s unfairly large; it’s an unjustifiable superpower. We have become as large as we are not because of any uniqueness or exceptionalism or greatness but because we’ve simply discriminated against the real people that made the country work, all the minorities. People around the world, we’ve stolen their resources, and now it’s payback time. That’s what we’re getting. J. Christian Adams had somebody in Obama’s DOJ who said that regarding the dropping of charges against the New Black Panther Party in the voter intimidation case in Philadelphia. So don’t doubt me. There’s no question that payback is what this administration is all about, presiding over the decline of the United States of America, and doing so happily.

      That, Lily, is why I point out what is happening to the Republican Party, which will either change in the future or die as a national political party. The country, as Pat Buchanan points out, is turning browner as we speak. And appeals to white angst will one day not only be ineffective, but will spell doom for those on your side. Your side may, as the Republican strategist quoted in my piece said, win one more election with these tactics, but it may be your last.



  6. Anonymous

     /  January 24, 2013

    Same people…same horrible, horrible hearts! It amazes me that the racists can not even see themselves. Black people did not create the “race card”. It was created by racist people who use it regularly, but don’t want to be called on it. When their mouths convey the contents of their racists hearts, and they are called on it; they point the finger and say you are playing the race card. Doesn’t matter that their conduct or comments just identified them as such! Sad…..so very, very sad.


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