Monday, August 1, 2011

Republicans' disrepect for Obama is palpable

By DeWayne Wickham

What should be clear to the whole world watching the debt-ceiling battle is that the Republicans are far more intent on taking the president's scalp than balancing the nation's books. They had ample opportunities to do the latter during the eight years of George W. Bush.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader with the greatest cunning and sharpest knife, signaled his party's true purpose last year when he proclaimed: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." It was not to undo the health care legislation Obama signed into law, or to block another debt limit increase. Even then, two years out from the next presidential election, the Alabama-born senator said the top goal of GOP lawmakers to oust Obama.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has been especially relentless in the debt-ceiling fight. He attacked this first African-American president with a palpable disrespect not only for Obama personally, but also for his esteemed office.

Following what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called Cantor's "childish" display during a meeting with Obama, the House majority leader complained that the president had cut short the meeting and stormed out of the room. "He shoved back and said, 'I'll see you tomorrow' and walked out," Cantor snidely told reporters— as though the president needs his permission to end a White House gathering.

That encounter might have reminded Obama of the open letter Frederick Douglass, a runaway slave and abolitionist who became one of this nation's first black diplomats, wrote to his slave master.
It would be "a privilege" to show you "how mankind ought to treat each other," Douglass told the man who had badly mistreated him. "I am your fellow man, but not your slave."

Douglass' words might have prompted another reflection when, during a critical point in the debt negotiations, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, contemptuously waited more than half a day to return a call from the president.

Or, Obama might have heard Douglass' words ringing in his ears after acting House Speaker Steve LaTourette of Ohio had to warn his GOP colleagues during a heated debt-reduction debate on the House floor to stop making disparaging remarks about Obama.

This total lack of respect is downright contemptible — if not unpatriotic. Such contempt, I'm convinced, is rooted in something other than political differences. In their actions you might not see the overt actions of 1960s racist southern governors Ross Barnett or George Wallace. But the presence of Jim Crow, Jr. — a more subtle form of racism — is there.

Douglass viewed such behavior as "an outrage upon the soul." In this present case it is the soul of our nation, which still struggles to get beyond the awful ripple effects of its haunting history of human bondage.

McConnell, Boehner and Cantor are the vanguard of a political force of a dying era — one that looks more like the nation's past than its future.

Obama is the second president of this millennium, but the first chief executive of the America of new possibilities — a multiracial, multicultural nation whose emergence the old order is working mightily to forestall in its desperate attack on his presidency.


Jackie Jones said...

Disrespecting the office of the president - not just Obama - is bound to come back and bite the Republicans. The same scrutiny and disrespect will be acceptable when they get their next turn at the White House, whether it's 2012 or beyond. And if there is anyone who believes there is any priority other than taking Obama down,(s)he hasn't been paying attention.

Art Good said...

I find it absurd that you would accuse the GOP of being racist because they desire to oust President Obama from office in 2012 and make him a one-term President. That would be like accusing me of wanting the Washington Redskins to lose on any given Sunday because I am hateful of Native Americans, when the reality it I'm just a Dallas Cowboys fan.

On the issue of respect, I would contend that a healthy dose given from both sides would be welcome.

jarober said...

Oh please, get over yourself. Go back to the Bush years and read anything that Bush's political opponents said about him. It was at least as nasty (and often nastier) than anything that's being said about Obama.

Do the country a favor - put the race card away, and act like an actual adult. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

chrishaynesusa said...

how many race cards are in the race card deck. I would have thought they had run out by now.

notastepford said...

Wickham - Please do your homework next time before rallying to 0bama's defense.

Black People & Their Place In World History
ISBN: 0-9715920-0-4

By: Dr. Leroy Vaughn, MD, MBA

A Dynamic, Honest and Powerful View of Black History


The Five Black Presidents of The United States Of America

0bama is not even from slave blacks. His people were the Arab slave traders.

Wickham - you are still being a slave. He is using you good.

John said...


Liberals see things through a lens or race, gender and class. Clearly, Mr. Wickham falls into this camp.

So if someone disagrees with President Obama, he must be a racist?

Conservatives would love to see 100 Condelezza Rices' or Clarence Thomas's in the US Senate rather than 100 liberal white males.

It is about values- not race.

Anonymous said...

I well remember the enormous respect the Liberals showed President Bush even when they disagreed with him.

drew said...

Same old tune. Criticize a black and you are a racist. I believe this attitude is not a positive one for the black race. By using this approach it would appear that the blacks need the race card to perform. Should we give you 4 strikes instead of 3? Where is the positive in this for black people? It is a sign of weakness.

President Obama was what I would call a blank slate candidate. We knew some of his past but he didn't have a past like McCain (30 years of votes and opinions). I think as time has passed people are getting a better gauge on his leadership skills and his priorities and I frankly don't like either. I see him as under qualified to lead this country and he is a great orator but a poor leader. All style no substance. I voted for Obama in 2008. My opinions have nothing to do with his race. He reminds me a great deal of President Carter and I didn't like him either and he was white..

AngieE said...

Drew,... Excuse me but your statement about "the blacks" clearly shows your lack of respect for African Americans as well as our President. One thing all of you have failed to realize is that the amount of disrespect the president is receiving from Congress (and the media)is far beyond any abuse allotted to a man in his position. Former President Bush was never publicly tormented in this fashion, nor was he addressed as Mr. Bush during his years in office. The race cards have been pulled and hurled at the GOP and what changes have been made of it???

Notastepford, what difference does it make if President Obama had slave ancestors??? If he doesn't, does that mean he should not defend the American citizens that do?.... Read your history pal- I'm sure you are a product of a slave somewhere down the line, and if not would that make you better than those who are???

Bottom line: GOP/Tea Party have one main priority and that's to stop President Obama from seeing a second term. No other political party has made that their goal, not even the Democrats who watched President Bush cheat his votes in his presidential election. What other reason would a party want so bad to see the president fail before he implements his plans to fix the country??? I ask this question without pulling the race card with hope for an educated unbiased answer...