Obama's Presidency "Marred by Racist Backlash"; Distressed by the Whiteness of Obama's Opponents

Vol. 26, No. 17

Obama’s Presidency “Marred by Racist Backlash”


“President Barack Obama will lead the civil rights pioneers of today and two of his presidential predecessors Wednesday in a celebrative but solemn commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech of yesteryear....When Obama took office in January 2009, he had broken through barriers that many before him could only approach. But his presidency has been marred by racist backlash and his administration has found itself still taking on battles thought won, such as ensuring equal access to the voting booth.”
— Associated Press correspondent Suzanne Gamboa in an August 28 dispatch.

“I interviewed Taylor Branch, the civil rights historian, for part of our series on the March on Washington yesterday, and one of the things he said was that you are a victim of partisan racial gridlock. That’s the way he put it. And you talked a moment ago about that a little bit. I wonder whether you think that’s true and, if so, what, if anything, the first African American President can do to break through that kind of motivated gridlock?”
— PBS’s Gwen Ifill to President Obama in an interview shown on NewsHour, August 28.


Distressed by the Whiteness of Obama’s Opponents

“House Republicans Set to Defy Obama Are Mostly White Men”
“The core group of Republicans who are pushing the House toward a showdown with the White House over the debt ceiling and government spending is made up of 41 members — all white men except for two.”
— Headline and first paragraph of an August 1 Bloomberg News story by Greg Giroux.


Seeing “Resentment and Fear” in Opposition to Obama


“We’ve talked over the years, and you told me about a year and a half ago, in your view, a lot of people can’t get comfortable with the idea of an African American President, even though what a testament to the progress and the dream that Dr. King had. And you even said during your speech yesterday, ‘There are forces, there are people who want to take us back.’ What specifically are you talking about?...Do you see some of the same trappings of resentment and fear in our modern-day politics? Is that what you’re warning of when you see some of those forces coming back?”
— Host David Gregory to Democratic Congressman John Lewis on Meet the Press, August 25.


Not “Honest” Enough to Admit Their Racism


“At least back in 1939, when Marian Anderson had to sing here, ‘My Country ’Tis of Thee’ rather than at the Constitution Hall, because — they said the reason was she was black. At least they were honest back then....[Today] you’ve got people talking about nullification of the law of the land [ObamaCare]. You got people talking impeachment like [Senator Tom] Coburn. You got Ted Cruz out there. They never say their problem with Obama is that he’s black, but look at the pattern....At least the Daughters of the American Revolution knew what they were saying and they said it out loud: ‘He’s black, she’s black, she can’t sing here.’ These guys today use all the techniques of nullification and talking about illegitimacy and accusing the President of being a crook, basically, for even being president, because he’s here illegally. And then they talk about impeaching him on grounds they can’t even come up with. At least in the old days they were honest about it. Today, they’re not.”
— Chris Matthews during MSNBC live coverage of the 50th anniversary of the March on
Washington, August 28.


Cokie Sees “Evil” Backsliding on Voting Rights


“You know, having grown up in the Deep South in the era of Jim Crow, the difference is dramatic. And the fact that Andy Young was Mayor of Atlanta and John Lewis is a member of Congress from Georgia, is a great testament to the fact that when you do something like pass a voting rights bill, that it makes a difference. Which is why, at the moment, what’s going on about voting rights is downright evil, because it is something that really needs to keep going forward, not backward.”
— ABC’s Cokie Roberts on This Week, August 25.


Republicans = Today’s “Villain” “Conspiring” Against Black Voters


“Fifty years ago, the March on Washington focused on ending Jim Crow, a disgusting villain that hid behind the law to deprive people of their votes, and sometimes their lives. Fifty years later, we have no Jim Crow and without a villain to focus on, it’s hard to get people fired up. Congratulations, Republicans. You have taken the place of Jim Crow. You are now the people conspiring to keep folks from voting.”
— Co-host Krystal Ball wrapping up MSNBC’s The Cycle, August 27.


Jazzed by Obama’s Takedown of “the Greed-Mongers”


Anchor Scott Pelley: “As we embark on the next 50 years, what will this day mean to us?”
Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley:
“Well, I think it’s one of the great speeches that Barack Obama’s ever delivered. It had a theme of ‘the coalition of the conscience,’ he put it, about moral and economic justice. So, in President Obama’s history, it’s a seminal moment. But I think, most importantly, it’s saying the struggle continues, and that we have to fight against, as the President said, the greed-mongers. It gets back to that 99-to-1 notion that he ran on in his campaign, that we’ve got to pull together — and he started talking about everyday people that make a difference by lending a helping hand. Very beautifully written.”
— Exchange during CBS News live coverage of the 50th anniversary of the March on
Washington, August 28.


Fluffing Obama’s Pillow: You’ve “Helped the Country in Many Ways


“You did tie Dr. King’s vision to your own agenda, and you’ve been able to do — help the country in many ways: We didn’t go into the economic abyss after the financial collapse; Wall Street’s booming; corporations are making great profits. But as you pointed out today, average wages — the gap between wealthy and those who are not wealthy has never been bigger than it is today. The wages, especially of African Americans, haven’t improved. Mr. President, how much does it weigh on you that your policies haven’t made more of a difference in those areas?”
— Judy Woodruff to President Obama in interview shown on PBS’s NewsHour, August 28.


Kids and Dog More Important than IRS Scandal or Benghazi?


Anchor Chris Cuomo: “Of course, we get his first comments on his new dog, Sunny.”
Co-anchor Kate Bolduan:
“Which everyone wants to hear.”
“It’s true. That will be the highest interest....”
— Exchange at the start of CNN’s New Day, August 23, previewing Cuomo’s interview with President Obama.

“What is more daunting to you: The prospects of protecting the free world, or dealing with a teenager and a near teen? What gives you more pause for concern?”
Cuomo to Obama in a clip shown later on the same show. Cuomo failed to ask the President a single question about the ongoing IRS scandal or the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the U.S. ambassador nearly one year ago.


One Shrill Democratic Partisan Praises Another


Fill-in co-host Chris Matthews: “Congresswoman, I want to congratulate you on one thing that nobody ever gives you credit for, which is uniting the Democratic Party as it’s never been united. I grew up with a Democratic Party that was never united, and you are united.”
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
“Thank you. We’re very proud of that.”
“And that’s something the Republicans are going to envy you for. Thank you very much, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.”
— Wrapping up an interview on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, August 19.


Disturbing Orgy of Lefty Self-Congratulation


MSNBC’s Ed Schultz: “There’s no doubt that Reverend [Al] Sharpton is the contemporary civil rights leader of our time....”
MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson:
“Today, Reverend Sharpton emerged as the preeminent leader of his generation, bar none!”
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry:
“I think that’s clear. Reverend Sharpton, for me, walks away from this moment peerless.”
— During MSNBC’s live coverage of the Sharpton-organized 50th anniversary of the March on
Washington, August 24.


ObamaCare Threatened by “Zealots” and “Jackasses”


“There’s news tonight that some on the American right are plotting the global explosion of a default on the U.S. national debt this fall...Do the leaders of the Republican Party really intend to go this far? Do they really dare to sabotage the American economy and much of the world economy in order to defund a program, the Affordable Care Act, that is the law of the land?  And will they go to this drastic extreme to intimidate the U.S. Congress or the President or both? And if so, is this the extreme case where ideological zealotry trumps even the most minimal loyalty to the common national interests? Where anything goes? Where the ends justify whatever means there are to be had, no matter how menacing to the country or the world?”
— Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, August 20.

Correspondent John King: “You know, the Republicans in 2014 are trying to make opposition to ObamaCare, the implementation of this law, their huge rallying cry, their huge turnout. This is big government gone bad. If it starts costing Americans more money, the Republicans will try to benefit politically without a doubt....”
Co-anchor Chris Cuomo:
“It brings to mind a old political phrase: ‘Any jackass can kick down a barn. But it takes a good man or woman to build one.’”
— CNN’s New Day, August 15.


Ignore Republican Lies: ObamaCare Is Best Thing in 50 Years


“[Republicans] have spent their summer running around the country at town halls lying about ObamaCare. I’m not going to let them off the hook....Make no mistake. ObamaCare saves lives and it is good for America. You know, so much of what we see in the news is negative. But you know what? It’s not negative. This is the most positive thing that this country has done since the civil rights legislation that was passed back in the ’60s. And, of course, we know they’re trying to go after that, too.”
— Ed Schultz on MSNBC’s The Ed Show, August 26.


We May Look Biased, But We’re Really Not

“I can see how the intensity of coverage on certain issues may, to some people, seem to reflect a liberal point of view. But I actually don’t think it does.”
New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson talking about her newspaper’s political slant in an interview with the New Republic’s Michael Kinsley, August 20


Racist All Along, But Now “True Colors” Are Showing


Host Piers Morgan: “Lee, do you think that America is a more or less racist country since Barack Obama became President?”
Butler director Lee Daniels: “Wow, that’s a powerful question. I think that people are angry that he’s President, and I think that they’re showing their true colors.”
— CNN’s Piers Morgan Live, August 19.


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