Hannity Plays the Race Card

Before he died, Andrew Breitbart told the audience at CPAC that he had videos of Barack Obama that would blow the lid off his reputation. Obama, said Breitbart, would finally be vetted in a way that he wasn’t in 2008. Like a true loyal conservative, Sean Hannity played one of these videos on his show Wednesday night with commentary from two “reporters” from breitbart.com.

The video seems harmless enough. Obama, then a Harvard Law student, is seen introducing (and paying tribute to) Derrick Bell, a professor concerned, dare I say obsessed with faculty diversity.  So at first glance, nothing to see here, move along.

Now, conservatives are the first to cry foul when liberals play that “race card”. In fact, even the suggestion that racism exists prompts a charge of racism from conservatives. So the last thing you would expect is for Sean Hannity to go there. What is the problem with Obama asking his fellow students to open their hearts and minds to Derrick Bell? Bell is a proponent of Critical Race Theory (CRT) which states, among other things, that whites will only help blacks achieve equality when it is in their self-interest. I’m no expert on CRT but supposedly the self-interest slant is particularly applied to Jews. Hence there are some who label CRT antisemitic. On a more humorous note, Bell also authored a science fiction story in which white people sell blacks to space aliens in order to eliminate the deficit. Sounds to me like a mixture of Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich ideology. But I digress.

Using the old guilt by association tactic, Hannity is telling you that Obama hates white people. We’ve been down this road before with Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Only this time, with the economy in a mess and international tensions running high you would think that conservatives would focus their attack on Obama via economics and foreign affairs. But those subjects are oh so dry and boring to the average voter. Isn’t it much sexier to play the race card and tell everyone that Obama hates white people?

Supposedly there are more videos to come. Hannity is already stoking the conspiracy theorists because the video published by BuzzFeed didn’t include Obama hugging Bell. Oh yes, after those words of praise, that hug is the cherry on the sundae! When Obama was a young man, he hugged a radical. Our nation is in grave danger! Hannity also showed video of Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree saying that Obama’s tenuous connection with Bell was kept on the down low during the 2008 election season. Good heavens, more evidence that this white hating radical was implanted in the White House under the bogus cover of hope and change.

Hopefully, people will see through this race-baiting by Hannity. At this point, there is no evidence that Obama was a proponent of Critical Race Theory. All we know is that Obama was supporting Bell’s protest for faculty diversity at Harvard. When you’re not confident enough to go after the President on what matters in 2012, you reach back to 1990 and try to scare people.

My conservative friends, you can update your list of race hustlers now. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and … Sean Hannity.


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I Think Therefore I am Not

I’ve noticed an odd trend in conservative circles revolving around self-identification. Some folks at the conservative end of the spectrum seem to have a clear idea of what they are NOT. Unfortunately, this self perception is delusional. Two cases in point:

I spent the better part of last week confined to a hospital suffering from flu-induced pneumonia. To the hospital’s credit, they had a cable line up that could rival that of the finest hotel. Unfortunately, my liberal leanings were short circuited by the absence of MSNBC. I knew if I watched too much CNN I would only extend my hospital stay. So I did what any other political junkie in my position would have done …. I watched Fox News Channel. Whether I watched “The Five” or Neil Cavuto or Hannity, one consistent meme I heard repeated was their derogatory references to “the main stream media”. The more I heard this, the funnier it seemed. Fox News Channel consistently beats CNN and MSNBC in ratings. While I hate to admit it, they are the kings of 24 hour news coverage. More folks watch them than their competitors. So could someone please tell me how FNC is not the mainstream media? These are the outsiders? These are the underdogs? Give me a break. Of course, claiming not to be mainstream pumps up their aggrieved victim status and clearly if conservative politics has become anything of late it has become the politics of aggrievement. Still I found this self-delusion of being outside the mainstream pretty amusing.

The other example involves the GOP Presidential contenders themselves. If you left your brain in your bottom desk drawer, you would believe that these are four brave Washington outsiders. These are men who rail at big government. They are the ones who will change everything. Yet even a cursory examination reveals that three of the four are Washington institutions. Newt Gingrich, the infamous Speaker of the House from the 1990’s has since his ouster profited from Washington connections for the past 20 years. Ron Paul has been a House Representative since 1976 with about a 12 year hiatus in the late 80’s/early 90’s. For all his rhetoric and a good 30 years of Washington experience, he hasn’t moved the needle one inch toward a less intrusive Washington.

And then there is former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum has been a Washington fixture since 1991 and qualifies as an outsider now only because he lost his Senate seat in 2006. Unlike veteran Ron Paul, Santorum doesn’t even try to hide his “Washington disease”. He speaks in legislative mumbo jumbo. He talks about the bills he has championed. He talks about having to vote against conscience “to take one for the team.” He sounds like anything but a Washington outsider.

Yet each of these men would have you believe they oppose the very government that has employed them for decades. Are they fooling themselves or just trying to pull something over on the rest of us?

When you dig under the outsider rhetoric of Fox News Channel and the GOP contenders, you come to a disheartening conclusion. They’re all playing for the same team as those currently in power and real meaningful change is highly unlikely in the near future.


Image: smokedsalmon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Who the Hell is Saul Alinsky (and Rachel Maddow Jumps the Shark)

Who the Hell is Saul Alinsky?

Last week, I had two choices for blog topics in my head. One was a pros and cons of Barack Obama and the other was asking who the hell is Saul Alinsky. I chose the former. Then the following Friday night, not one but two left-leaning TV personalities asked essentially “who the hell is Saul Alinsky?” I chuckled to my wife that something must be in the air. What’s putting this Keyser Söze of politics into everyone’s head are the ramblings of GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich who drops Alinsky’s name with the frequency of a thirteen year old girl citing Justin Bieber. According to Gingrich, President Barack Obama is a slave to “Saul Alinsky” and we all must be afraid, be very afraid of “Saul Alinsky liberalism”. These warnings are usually greeted with whoops and hollers from Gingrich’s adoring fans, an ignorant lot who have no better idea of who Saul Alinsky is than I did, but will clap for anything anti-Obama.

So who is this Saul Alinsky? Bill Maher’s summary biography states that Alinsky liked black people, and hence is an enemy of current day Republicans. Of course that greatly oversimplifies things. Alinsky identified with the disenfranchised of all races. He essentially invented community organizing. Of course, Obama having been a community organizer must have inherited all of Saul’s evil traits. To make matters worse, about a year before he died, Alinsky wrote a book called Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. Alinsky believed that you had to do (or threaten to do) outrageous things to get the attention of the establishment. According to the Wiki article on him, he planned to stage at various times in his career, a fart-in and a piss-in. In the former, a mass of baked bean-filled protesters would disperse themselves among a concert audience and unleash a torrent of offensive odor and sound. In the latter, well dressed black men would occupy public urinals and simply refuse to leave until demands were met. Just the mere threat of these shenanigans got the attention of the powerful.

What I don’t get from the little I’ve read about Alinsky is any sense of violence. The dude saw what he thought were disadvantaged people and rejoiced in pissing off their perceived oppressors. He was clearly an enemy of the status quo when the status quo put its heavy foot on the throat of a powerless minority. This, by the way, extended to Richard Nixon’s “silent majority”. He was just as concerned about disenfranchised whites and their vulnerability to wrong-headed leaders who would offer them the politics of hate disguised as hope.

In the context of Newt Gingrich, as Bill Maher ably points out, Alinsky is just another boogeyman designed to make you fear, distrust or outright hate Barack Obama. Nothing more, nothing less.

Rachel Maddow Jumps the Shark

Let me state two things up front. First, I like Rachel Maddow. Second I do believe in dog whistles. With that out of the way, my friend Ms. Maddow took a leap too far last night in her coverage of the Florida primary. During Newt Gingrich’s “concession speech” (Newt never actually concedes) in Florida last night, he suggested that Barack Obama stop singing, stop being the “entertainer-in-chief” and actually do his job. Out of any context, the comment would seem at least nonsensical and at worst some veiled reference to the stereotypical  “singing dancing black man” so adored (and simultaneously ridiculed)  in our pop culture. But, as always, context is everything.

A couple of weeks ago during a fund-raiser, President Obama sang the first line of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”. I got a major kick out of it. I thought it greatly humanized him particularly when he so often comes across as remote. But let’s be honest here. When you let your guard down and show a frivolous side to America, your opponents will exploit it. Just go back to 1968 and Richard Nixon’s brief appearance on “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in” where he said “sock it to me?” It was funny. But Nixon haters certainly like to use it in their “laugh at Nixon reel.”  The fact of the matter is Obama DID sing. So for Gingrich to tell him to stop singing and do his job was at worst evidence of Newt having no sense of humor or appreciation for a human moment. It was NOT some example of racism. It did not conjure up images of the minstrel show (as Maddow put it) in any but the most racially paranoid minds.

Former Gingrich spokesperson and current leader of the “not coordinated with Gingrich” Super PAC, Rick Tyler, bless his soul, did battle with Maddow and Al Sharpton last night. To my surprise, Tyler who once wrote the immortal words “But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich”, ably defended his candidate and made Maddow and Sharpton look pretty pathetic.

You know something? As a black man, every now and then I get a little tired of white folks defending black folks … because sometimes they just don’t know when to quit while they’re ahead.


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