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Intro: "Talking about race in American politics is uncomfortable and awkward. But it has to be said: There has been a racist undertone to many of the Republican attacks leveled against President Obama for the last three years, and in this dawning presidential campaign."

In a Fox news report, Gingrich said that poor kids don't know work unless it's crime. (photo: unknown)
In a Fox news report, Gingrich said that poor kids don't know work unless it's crime. (photo: unknown)

Republican Attacks Have Racist Undertones

By Andrew Rosenthal, The New York Times

06 January 12

Talking about race in American politics is uncomfortable and awkward. But it has to be said: There has been a racist undertone to many of the Republican attacks leveled against President Obama for the last three years, and in this dawning presidential campaign.

You can detect this undertone in the level of disrespect for this president that would be unthinkable were he not an African-American. Some earlier examples include: Rep. Joe Wilson shouting “you lie” at one of Mr. Obama’s first appearances before Congress, and House Speaker John Boehner rejecting Mr. Obama’s request to speak to a joint session of Congress—the first such denial in the history of our republic.

More recently, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, in a conversation overheard at Reagan National Airport in Washington, said of Michelle Obama: “She lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.” He offered a lame apology, but as Mary C. Curtis put it on the Washington Post’s new blog She the People: “Can you imagine how the incident would play out if an African American congressman made a crude remark about First Lady Laura Bush’s body? It certainly would have taken more than an insincere apology to wash that sin away.”

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+30 # pernsey 2012-01-06 10:29
They are prejudice and disrespectful. The republicans are so quick to jump to an offense and demand apologies when anyone said anything about that idiot Bush. Now they feel free to be rude and disrespectful without a second thought.

Most repubs are prejudice, thats why they get so much southern support. Its sad, because they are putting Obama under a microscope that Bush never had to suffer, and he should have, as stupid and idiotic as that man was as president. I dont think by any stretch of the imagination Obama is the greatest, but for the repubs to disrespect him to this extent is just their own ridiculousness and ignorance.
-4 # wsh 2012-01-07 11:35
Pernsey, I agree with what you said; most Reps. I know harbor at least some bigotry in them.

But the article by Rosenthal was poorly written, because most of his examples (besides the "birther" B.S. and size of his wife's ass) could have applied if Kucinich was President.

The "You lie" comment, and not convening a joint session of Congress would have been done to Dennis (or any other Liberal Dem. you choose to put in there).

And Newt would have said his racist crap WHOMEVER was President.

I'm glad Obama is rising above this and not playing the race speaks well of him.

I just hope the 99% finally see the Rep.s for what they are exposing themselves to be. If they're looking, it should be a Congressional landslide for the Dem.s this year.
+26 # maddave 2012-01-06 10:33
Undertone, overtone? What's the difference? Racism and rape are both subject to the same common law definition: "Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to consumate the offense."
+43 # eladams 2012-01-06 11:18
While I appreciate that someone has FINALLY said this, WHY DID IT TAKE THREE YEARS??? Let's face it, for most bigots, the election of our first African American President was a frightening prospect. Then, once it became fact, and there were no "chads" involved, the real feelings of these intellectual midgets were realized, and the ugliness began. Tom DeLay was overhead saying snarky things about not wanting to be part of an "OBAMA-NATION," legislation became an obstructionist tool to defeat even the most well-meaning legislation, states started PROPOSING CHANGES TO THEIR VOTING REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS - all in the hope of discouraging and PREVENTING minorities from voting in the future....the list goes on and on. THE BLATANT AND OPEN DISRESPECT SHOWN THIS PRESIDENT IS A DISGRACE...NATI ONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY .

It just shows that were are nowhere near being in a post-racial era. The tenor of this current campaign is obvious - let's take back "our country" from this [fill in the bigoted word of your choice], and ALL WILL BE RIGHT WITH OUR WORLD AGAIN. Well, riddle me this - you voted for people who looked exacatly like you before (and so did we), and they're the ones who got us into this mess. Why have these so-called elected officials wasted so much time trying to destroy one Presidency just because the man who won does'nt have a temporary tan that fades in winter????
-32 # 2012-01-06 12:08
Regarding Voter ID Laws, both Republicans and Democrats are propagating falsehoods.

Republicans are justly worried about the many documented cases of voter fraud (e.g., some precincts reporting more votes than there are voters) but none of the cases of voter fraud they cite would have been avoided had Voter ID Laws been in effect.

Democrats frequently claim that voter fraud doesn't exist (which flies in the face of the actual evidence), but more often they claim that Voter ID is designed to suppress minority voting. This is untrue as shown in the Milyo study of elections in Indiana before and after Voter ID Laws were enacted. In fact, minority voting increased after enactment of Voter ID Laws.

We should argue against Voter ID Laws, not because they are racist but because they are useless in preventing fraud and they merely create a hassle for poll workers and voters on election day.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+11 # maddave 2012-01-07 01:38
W R O N G ! On all counts, Lee! You simply didn't do your homework!
i. U S DOJ records show "scant" traces of voter fraud. One example is that between 2001 and 2002 there were 38 voter fraud cases prosecuted in the entire USA 14 of which were thrown out of court. (24 convictions out of, maybe, 150 million voters: you figure the percentage!)

2. From NY Times, Aug 2007: "Richard L. Hasen, an expert in election law at the Loyola Law School, agreed, saying: “If they found a single case of a conspiracy to affect the outcome of a (single) Congressional election or a statewide election, that would be significant. But what we see is isolated, small-scale activities that often have NOT shown any kind of criminal intent.”

3. Your "Milyo study" does not "google" on my Apple, but Indians's minority population is significantly lower than the national average; consequently, laws designed to restrict or impede voting by minorities will have less effect there than in, say, Florida, Mississippi, etc.

This column is a place for facts, not propaganda and emotions.
+8 # AndreM5 2012-01-07 14:02
Ronnie Raygun's DOJ spent $20M searching for the very type of voter fraud you claim is rampant. They found fewer than 24 cases as I recall, most of which were former felons who had moved to states that deny voting rights to all felons. Not all states do. These claims of voter fraud are an ancient Repub tactic admittedly designed to achieve only one thing: to suppress the vote of those most likely to vote Demo.
+8 # AndreM5 2012-01-06 12:09
"...just because the man who won does'nt have a temporary tan that fades in winter.."

Or a sprayed-on orange-hued tan either.
+6 # maddave 2012-01-07 01:44
That was sooo bad, Andre! When the Speaker reads your snide slur, he's going to cry.
+6 # X Dane 2012-01-07 18:13
eladams, you are right. journalists do not have the guts to say it out loud.
The republicans couldn't stand that a part black man would live in THEIR WHITE HOUSE. They hate it when the president is a democrat!! but DEMOCRAT AND BLACK?
that obviously can't be tolerated.

They NEVER intended to cooperate in any way. And their only goal was to get Obama out of the White House as fast as possible. And to make him look as bad and incompetent as possible.

They REALLY hated that he showed courage and smarts to get Bin Laden, something the cowboy couldn't do.
They are despicable.
+22 # GeeRob 2012-01-06 11:44
I know I'm being redundant here but the Republican Party represents racists, homophobes and misogynists. The few Republicans who don't fit those descriptions are referred to as RINOs by the other Klan members.
+17 # Lolanne 2012-01-06 11:45
Of course there's racism in these unfounded and ridiculous attacks on President and Mrs. Obama. One cannot expect anything else from the REPIGS who apparently now control the Republican party. There are plenty of legitimate gripes one can make about Obama, but the fact remains that most of the Repig attacks are racist in nature, and it's not even very well camouflaged. They should be called on it -- loudly and insistently.
It is also fact that Obama is so far above any other possible presidential candidate there isn't even any comparison.

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN, and don't vote to split the democratic vote, either.
+18 # reiverpacific 2012-01-06 11:47
Whaddya mean "Undertones"?????
The whole attack-dog, obstructionist, openly hostile and as this article only hints at, dismissive attitude has been the basis of the Repug' opposition since inauguration day (Bobby Jindle's pathetic pop-up appearances notwithstanding ) has been blatantly targeted to unseat O'b from the beginning, as if he were anything but clearly right-of-center ideologically.
I only have to drop into any blue collar bar where I live to hear the on-the-ground manifestation and unfortunately, successful adoption of these attitudes and tactics.
So lets call it openly and for ever what it is and always has been.
And look how Michael Steel was treated by his thuggish party when he became a bit of an embarrassment (and has subsequently emerged as fairly smart and articulate).
Funny, never heard much of this directed at Condoleeza Rice PhD -a pretty arrogant and needlessly defensive manifestation of her high post right out of the box as if she was saying "Just doubt or question me and you are in deep doo-doo!" And you bet y'r booty that the Bush-shites would have pulled out the "racist" card as a heavy trump if she'd been challenged about why she went along with the transparently false pro-war propaganda and all the other subsequently-pr oven national and international destruction, grief and long-term baggage it has brought in it's wake!
-46 # 2012-01-06 11:53
The criticisms I hear about Obama from the right are all policy-based:

Too much growth in the national debt.

Too much effort put into raising taxes on those who invest to create jobs.

An imperial approach imposing presidential will by bypassing Congress with czar-doms and interim appointments which extend Presidential power beyond what George Bush ever did.

Imposition of a health care bill that will not reduce health care costs, that was done over right wing objections and without negotiation with opponents, that is unpopular with citizens.

Lack of transparency.

Crony capitalism giving out subsidies to favored companies.

Etc., etc.

While racism certainly exists in this world, it is not at the core of right wing complaints. And the right wing's brief embrace of Herman Cain or their more enduring embraces of Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Alan West, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Nicki Haley and other people of color makes clear to me that their problem is not Obama's race but his policies.

If Obama fails to be respected, it is because his policies are not respectable to right wingers.

Only the blind would fail to see this core and proceed to smear the opposition with largely ill-founded damnations.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+17 # reiverpacific 2012-01-06 15:10
The criticisms I hear about Obama from the right are all policy-based:

If Obama fails to be respected, it is because his policies are not respectable to right wingers.

Only the blind would fail to see this core and proceed to smear the opposition with largely ill-founded damnations.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts

The Right-wing "opposition" as you call it, has blocked every attempt of O's to accomplish ANYTHING, that's all, as even a minimal study of recent history will show.
You must have rose (sorry Blue) -tinted glasses if you missed the point here.
+25 # wrodwell 2012-01-06 15:14
1. "Policy based criticisms...." Like, You lie?
2. "Too much growth in National Debt....." Not a word from debt-conscious Republicans or Democrats as the Bushies plundered the debt surplus using it as a downpayment to finance their war in Iraq.
3. "Too much effort into raising taxes on job creators....." What about the Bush tax cuts? Please tell us how many jobs that gift to the super-rich created.
4. "An imperial approach to governing...bey ond what Bush did...creating Czardoms....." Do you consider money-gobbling Homeland Security one of those "czardoms"? Not to mention a plethora of new security bureaucracies that not even Congress knows how they're funded?
5. "Imposition of a Health Care Bill......" Imposition? The bill was passed when Dems had the majority in both houses of Congress, as Republicans fiercely resisted because they're bought and paid for by Big Insurance.
6." Lack of transparency... ...." Guilty, because President Obama kept the mission to assassinate Bin Laden secret.
6. "Crony capitalism..... ." Looks like you overlooked former Halliburton CEO DIck Cheney funneling billions to his former firm and punishing whistle-blowers who uncovered corruption. And let's not overlook his sanctioning of torture for the first time in American history.
7. "Etc., etc......" If you think Obama is so bad, you might consider reading books by Greg Palast and Jane Mayer about the darker side of the Bush Administration' s outrages. Etc., etc., etc.
+12 # Billy Bob 2012-01-06 19:55
Incredible reply! Thanks for taking the trouble to point out some of the more obvious hypocricies in her statement. It's tiring but well worth it. Thank you for wording it so perfectly.
+1 # X Dane 2012-01-07 18:24
Wow I thought Lee was a guy?? Sure sounds like a guy.
+8 # maddave 2012-01-07 02:14
Wrodwell: Bravo. I wish I'd said that!

One final point from maddave: You addressed Lee Nason's statement: "Too much effort into raising taxes on job creators.....". The ONLY possible reply to this obtuse statement is that the Fat Cats & Corporate Americans have HAD their frigging tax cuts for eight years . . . So where are the jobs that the GOP promised that these cuts would generate? In reality, the Bush tax cuts - like Reagan's before him - subsidized the super rich and financed further movement of American jobs overseas!

Fact: When Reagan was elected, 1% of the population owned 19% of America's total wealth. Today that percentage is 48%.
+11 # Billy Bob 2012-01-06 15:20
The death threats against the current President of the United States of America began well before he ever took office. I don't think it's a coincidence that a 1/2 black President has had to deal with more death threats than any other President in U.S. history -especially when you factor in the facts that many of them occurred as soon as he announced his candidacy and that they haven't slowed down in spite of the fact that he caves in to the repug party at every chance he gets.
+3 # X Dane 2012-01-07 18:51
Billy I admire him for getting out among peple as much as he does. i think that shows courage. REAL courage
+7 # Cambridgemac 2012-01-06 20:01
Well, the right wingers in my family are quite open with their racist remarks about Obama. And how bout those posters showing Obama as a monkey? Or the dozens of posts I've read by rightwingers that call him a nigger - and I rarely go to either the newspaper website comments sections or the rightwing blogs because of this. Are you saying this is NEWS to you?
+17 # walt 2012-01-06 12:31
Well, duh! After three and a half years, we are suspecting racism?

Are we finally admitting that racism may be at the heart of the GOP's commitment to make Obama a "one term President," as bigot McConnell clearly stated?

The entire Tea Party seems to have emerged from the left-over KKK of old. Just remember them spitting on a black congressman outside the Capitol in 2010 as Michelle Bachmann cheered from the wings. Might that be a hint? What about the GOP blocking everything that Mr. Obama has tried to do since taking office? Or how about the big Tea Party rally in Nevada where supporters were told to bring their guns? Or how about South Carolina's Tea Party Congressman Joe Wilson yelling out during the State of the Union address "You lie" to President Obama? Getting closer or do we need to see a cross of flames on the White House lawn?

Never in my life have I seen such antagonism toward a U.S. President as I have witnessed with the GOP toward Mr. Obama. I am personally convinced that race is the reason!
+8 # jwb110 2012-01-06 12:31
when you take into consideration that the Tea Party is made up of mostly Ol' Confederate States or a Compromise State like MIssouri or areas with high concentrations of re-settled Dust Bowlers from the previous Depression the inherent racial prejudice looks like the Ol' South. In fact , the prejudice of anything "other" becomes pretty clear as to why stands front and center in the GOP/TP.
It makes no sense unless it is informed by mis-belief that they are MORE FREE by making someone else LESS FREE. Talk about Entitlement!
+13 # Tee 2012-01-06 13:06
I was not going to vote for Obama based on his basically not keeping his promises, invasion of Libya,and allowing Israel to run amok.

But when Gingrich says Blacks should demand jobs not food stamps, and the failed former congressman from Pennsylvania sayT Obama shouldn't ask for a transfer of income to themselves; finally Ron Paul saying that %95 of Washington DC blacks are criminals, is just too much.

Nothing much appear to have changed in America in terms of race. This bunch of Republicans make Archie Bunker look enlightened. At least Bunker was honest and upfront.
+13 # Billy Bob 2012-01-06 15:22
If you watched All in the Family, you'd also note that Archie Bunker evolved over time. These people won't.
+13 # Feral Dogz 2012-01-06 13:58
The right wing hold on white,working class voters is founded on racism. Those who can be easily identified as the "other" by skin color or national origin may then be cast in the role of the enemy whom "we", the good, white, Christian, hard working Americans must hate and struggle against in our Darwinian contest for a share of what crumbs our wealthy "benefactors" have allowed to fall to the floor. Stupid white people!
+13 # RMDC 2012-01-06 14:39
The NY Times is too timid to be worth much more than fish wrapping. Didn't the Times make note of Santorum's slip of the tongue when he referred to blacks being dependent on government welfare programs. This is what Reagan said and all the republican candidates are the "sons of Reagan." The republican party is the party of southern racism. Period. That's what it became after democrats passed civil rights legislation in 1964 and 65.

And what about Pat Buchanan's new book? Is that not racist?
+12 # Billy Bob 2012-01-06 15:13
The modern repug party was invented by nixon before he even entered office as President, as a response to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

That single event cost the Democratic Party the South for the past 46 years. That's the "Southern strategy". The repug party could not exist in its current form without that dynamic or the conservative response to the women's liberation movement.

Without racism & sexism, the current repug party could not exist. Any discussion about policy, foreign or domestic, is completely informed by the racial prejudices of repugs.


Why do we need to invade Iran? Not to get the oil we stole from Iraq to the Indian Ocean! CERTAINLY NOT!! That's only what the politicians want. How do we sell it to "joe bear belly"? We don't need to sell it. He already knows Iran is full of brown people who don't think Jesus is divine.

Why should abortion be illegal? "Right to life"? Not really. More like, "let the bitch pay for being a slut".

Why shouldn't I have to pay taxes? "Milton Friedmann and markets solving everything"? Not really. More like, "make the n***er in the black Cadillac get back to work!"

Dog whistle politics is a lot more convincing and effective than pretending to care about liberal ideals while selling out to the banking industry. That's why the repug party still exists at all.
+13 # pernsey 2012-01-06 18:38
Bush lied for 8 years, the repugs never called out any of his stupidity. They said hes our president and we should show him respect. Like it or lump it. Now the respect is down the toilet and its all fair game, because its an African American president that is a democrat. Obama is under a microscope while Bush got a free pass. The media, TV and Paper never blamed that stupid SOB for anything and he was doing the worst stuff possible.

Bush in his 8 years ruined this country more then any other president in history and now that Obama has to clean that idiots mess up, they want to block him at ever turn and blame him for everything. Its the most ridiculous thing. They act like the 8 years of a stupid moron as president never happened. I only wish it never happened, but we cant forget that it did.

Why in Gods name would we give any republican a whack at being president they would take this country down to nothing and blame Obama and Clinton. The republican party is full of people that have total memory loss, amnesia, and care more about the rich people then the good of the common man. I find the repubs disgusting. How can you blame 8 years of Bush on Obama? I dont know but apparently they have and they are getting away with it. This country was so damaged before Obama was president and Repubs block everything the man tries to do. Grow UP GOP and face it, you ruined our country and Obama is your scape goat!
+9 # Lolanne 2012-01-06 19:41
Amen to that, pernsey. I'd give you TWO thumbs up if I could. I cannot understand at all how the Repigs across the country could either fail to see or fail to remember the catastrophe that was bushco in the White House. You're absolutely right: he ruined our country. It will take many years before we'll be able to be the America I used to be proud of again, if ever. Very painful and very sad what has become of the country.
+1 # Willman 2012-01-06 22:37
The ruination of "big" government is a basic tenet of the repubs.

On this point Bush Cheney et al scored well. Some in the south to this day haven't gotten the fact that they LOST!
+5 # p4136bl 2012-01-07 02:28
it seems like ALL Repugnicant in Congress are complete, liars, psychotic hypocrites and COMPLETELY RACIST - Mitch McConnell might as well wear his sheet and pointy hat to work - to think that he's said over and over again his #1 job is to defeat Obama at EVERY turn - C'MON, MAN...
The President has spent his first 3 years in power to try to work with these morons and I believe Americans have seen him try to the point of absurdity. I can't wait until he's a 2nd term president - he will get done what he's promised while wiping the floor with the wing nuts in Congress
+3 # ABen 2012-01-11 11:21
Although many white Americans seem just to be waking to the clear, pervasive, and relentless racism aimed at this president, Americans of any color other than white have been aware of this since the day after he took office. As a white American male in my 60's, I find this quite disturbing.

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