To quote the always entertaining Dennis Green at his now infamous postgame press conference, they are who we thought they were.
The Internet was abuzz all day yesterday about a video that had surfaced of President Barack Obama from back in 2007. Matt Drudge, well-known Right-wing blogger, announced with much bravado that he was going to release this video that he just knew would cause controversy, and racial inflammation on both sides of the aisle.
From the headlines the Right was putting out about this speech, one would think that Obama had somehow removed the shroud of his safe, docile, “Magic Negro” status. “THE ACCENT… THE ANGER… THE ACCUSATIONS… THE SERMON… THE SHOUT OUT TO REV. WRIGHT, WHO IS IN THE AUDIENCE…” the line on the Drudge Report read. The Daily Caller today has this as the lead on its website: “OBAMA’S OTHER RACE SPEECH.”
Upon careful review of this video, which features the future President rightly railing against the Bush administration for what really was their “colorblind incompetence” in dealing with New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and speaking with a forcefulness that many progressives and liberals in this country have wished he would have employed earlier in his term, there is nothing shocking, or anything remotely out-of-touch that was said. The recurring theme of not “taking the bullet out”—acknowledging the existence of problems in impoverished areas of this nation but never working towards lasting, sustainable change of the situations, culture or causes—was memorable, and highly indicative of what this man would do as President of this nation.
And so it was, that on October 2, 2012, the Right has now fully revealed itself as the bigoted, paranoid, racist entity we all know them to be. President Obama’s biggest crime, as revealed in this video, was “talking Black.”
This is no surprise, as it has been proven multiple times these last four years that the one thing that infuriates this cadre of the Right more than anything else is, as Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic put it so eloquently in his epic, Fear of a Black President, the power of the executive branch of federal government resting in Black hands:
The idea that blacks should hold no place of consequence in the American political future has affected every sector of American society, transforming whiteness itself into a monopoly on American possibilities. White people like [late West Virginia Sen. Robert] Byrd and [National Review founder William F.] Buckley were raised in a time when, by law, they were assured of never having to compete with black people for the best of anything. Blacks used inferior public pools and inferior washrooms, attended inferior schools. The nicest restaurants turned them away. In large swaths of the country, blacks paid taxes but could neither attend the best universities nor exercise the right to vote. The best jobs, the richest neighborhoods, were giant set-asides for whites—universal affirmative action, with no pretense of restitution.
The forceful, direct, impassioned excoriation of the previous administration found in this video now has conservatives building a narrative of righteous, justified resistance against the Angry Black Man who threatens their privilege, deeply entrenched by centuries of slavery, segregation, and poverty.
What is ironic is that the message then-Senator Obama hammered home was one of coming together, especially when compared to what the Republican candidate seeking the office of the President said much more recently. The Right, desperate to use something, anything to discredit or defeat Obama, had to go back five years to find this video; all anyone of either political persuasion has to do in the case of Mitt Romney is go back a scant five months to see how he truly feels about them. The future President, sounding nothing like the Muslim imam so many of the Right just know he is, endorsed personal responsibility and faith in God as answers to poverty; Mitt Romney, in disrespecting half the country, declared that “I’ll never be able to convince them to take responsibility and care for their lives”, identifying the entire middle class as entitled, shiftless moochers as he stood in the company of tax cut gluttons and offshore money mavens.
Yet somehow, we are asked to put our future in the hands of this man; to rush to the safety of the arms of two well-coifed white men, despite their arrogance, lies, and hateful dismissal of anyone not making eight-figure salaries.
As Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post said yesterday, “For the so-called October Surprise to be effective, it has to be, well, a surprise; it has to fit a preexisting narrative about the candidate; it has to penetrate the public’s consciousness and it has to come before Election Day.” This video, which was re-released this year after being released and discussed back in 2008, does not do any of these things, except confirm the narrative that the GOP is an embittered, racist, petulant and out-of-touch political entity.
And down the stretch they come…