So we’re not through with the racists slurs being hurled at our first black president. There’s always another coming out of the woodwork – a racist, that is. The Christian Science Monitor asks a good question: “What were two Republicans thinking, calling Obama ‘tar baby’ and ‘boy’?”
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Co last week called President Obama “tar baby” on a Denver radio talk show, and Pat Buchanan, fresh off defending the motives of right-wing Christian terrorist Anders Breivik, who called President Obama, “boy.”
We’re past the point where the pretense of having “misspoke” or “I was misquoted” has any value; we’re past believing in excuses that it was “satire”, or, indeed, in any other excuse. You don’t call anyone “tar baby” or “boy” by accident. We control the words that come out of our mouths and these “lapses” occur with far too great a regularity to be anything but an accurate reflection of the thought-patterns of the speaker.
As the Christian Science Monitor points out, the incidents “gave new fuel to speculation on the left that, underneath much of the criticism of the president and his policies, lurks the shadow of racism.” Gosh, ya think?
Let’s look at what Sanborn said first:
“Even if some people say, ‘Well the Republicans should have done this or they should have done that,’ they will hold the president responsible. Now, I don’t even want to have to be associated with him. It’s like touching a tar baby and you get it, you’re stuck, and you’re a part of the problem now and you can’t get away.”
You all remember the Uncle Remus stories, don’t you? B’rer Fox uses a doll made of tar and turpentine to trap Br’er Rabbit. Because fighting the Tar-Baby only gets Br’er Rabbit more entangled, the term has come to mean a situation that is aggravated by additional contact. The problem for Rep. Lamborn is that he used the term to refer to our first black president – not the debt ceiling crisis or any particular policy debate – as was the case with previous uses by Mitt Romney (2006) and John McCain (2008) – but the president – “him.”
Pat Buchanan on Tuesday night was debating with Rev. Al Sharpton and referred to Obama as “your boy.” To which Sharpton responded, “My what? My president, Barack Obama? What did you say?”
Buchanan’s excuse was that he was using a boxing analogy, as in, “your boy in the ring.”
“Some folks took what I said as some kind of a slur,” Buchanan said on Wednesday. “None was meant, none was intended, none was delivered.”
So what was Lamborn’s excuse?
Lamborn posted on his government website that he apologized to the president in a letter.
Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) today sent a personal letter to President Barack Obama apologizing for using a term some find insensitive. Lamborn was attempting to tell a radio audience last week that the President’s policies have created an economic quagmire for the nation and are responsible for the dismal economic conditions our country faces. He regrets that he chose the phrase “tar baby,” rather than the word “quagmire.” The Congressman is confident that the President will accept his heartfelt apology.
Because when you touch a quagmire, you stick to it, right? And we always refer to people as quagmires. Yeah, not so much.
Republicans and their supporters like to claim that much of the fuss is a result of Democrats lacking a sense of humor, of being too sensitive and of not understanding satire. As you can see from the photos throughout this article, that is not at all an explanation. Only racism explains these images and these words. Republicans have not and will not forgive Barack Obama for daring to be a black man sitting in the White House.
But let’s pretend they honestly believed all these excuses to be true and valid (and I don’t for an instant think they do) surely even Republicans know how sensitive an audience can be at this point. Why use racist language and images when other words or images can be used that will cause no controversy at all? It would be a far more honest appraisal to identify liberals not as “over-sensitive” but conservatives as completely incapable of rational thought – as in evidencing no thought – at all.