Republicans hated Clinton too, but you never saw this level of contempt. And good for Wolffe for pointing out what's been obvious since January 20, 2009 -- that this country elected a black president and there are a sizable number of people, some of them Federal legislators, who simply can't deal with that.
The image I posted yesterday captured from Limbaugh's site embodies this perfectly -- a subordinate, supplicating black man, seemingly pleading with a white man, with Rush Limbaugh there with a megaphone shouting "NO!" Is there any image we've seen over the last nearly three years that more fully encapsulates the dynamic we've seen with this president's relations with the right? So good for Wolffe for going there.
Chauncey de Vega over at Alternet puts the disturbing dynamic of the whole jobs speech fracas -- a foofarah that is ultimately trivial in content but emblematic of the entirety of the Obama years so far, into historical perspective:
Where blacks had since slave days been expected to step off the sidewalk to allow white persons to pass unimpeded-failure to do so could result in being murdered-some communities with the new century began to require blacks to keep off the sidewalks altogether when any white children were occupying any part of them. Much the same held for the roadway, where blacks could expect to be stopped by police if they dared pass a white driver. So offensive to white sensibilities was a black driving an expensive car that even well-to-do African-Americans kept to older models so as not to give the dangerous impression of being above themselves…
One requirement was to sometimes illogically cede the right-of-way to a white driver-or even to a black driver who was chauffeuring white passengers. At many four-way-stop intersections in the South, the right-of-way was determined not by who reached the intersection first, but rather by the race of the drivers. When confronting a white driver who was female, a black male driver in the South could and sometimes did face a life-or-death decision. Compounding the difficulty facing African-Americans was the lack of universality of any of these conventions. In some places whites did maintain normal driving rules. But in others, Jim Crow was more important than highway safety.
Boehner just pulled a "boy you best get off the sidewalk and let a white man pass moment"; in his demand that the President reschedule his jobs speech scheduled for next week before Congress. If President Obama is not careful the Right may get him for “reckless eyeballing.”
Of course and once more, the Tea Party GOP are behaving like spoiled children.
Here MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe is spot on: to casual observers the spat over the time of the President’s speech on the economy, and how it “conflicts” with the Republican debate, seems mighty petty. This obstructionism on all things is the dominant political strategy by the GOP in the Age of Obama, and it is fueled by a deep hostility to Obama’s legitimacy as President.
As I have suggested many times, the idea that a Black person could be in the White House is too much for the White Conservative Soul and the white racial frame to handle. The symbolism is anathema to their conception of America.
When the Birthers, the Graders and Donald Trump led a witch hunt and demanded to see the transcripts of the President, a Harvard grad and University of Chicago professor, because he could not possibly have earned his bonafides (and they remain curiously silent about Rick Perry’s abysmal college career as a “Gentlemen D” student).
In sum, these are moments where black Americans as a community have been collectively slapped in the face and denied their dignity simply because of the color of our skin, and the ways that race works to locate people in a hierarchy of “naturalized” relationships. America no longer has laws demanding that blacks get off the sidewalk when whites pass, or that African Americans cannot try on clothes or hats at a store without buying them first.
But, the intangibles of full and equal respect from whites towards non-whites cannot be legislated: history’s weight is too great and private thoughts and attitudes are often immune from legal precedent. In the United States, one of white supremacy’s most damning and difficult legacies is that for centuries the lowest, most ignorant, stupid, lazy trashy White was elevated above the most educated, refined, literate, and hard working black person.
The Tea Party GOP and their foot soldiers are drunk on that legacy. They may claim to respect the Office of the President, but they most certainly don’t respect the man. And no small part of that is because he is Black.