Obama A Racist? WaPo Calls Him Out

Discussion in 'Politics' started by JamesL, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. JamesL


    Obama’s ‘not one of us’ attack on Romney echoes racial code
    By Karen Tumulty, Updated: Monday, October 22, 9:32 AM

    “Mitt Romney. Not one of us.”

    That’s the tag line to a tough new ad the Obama campaign is airing in Ohio. But it is one that, ironically, echoes a slogan that has been used as a racial code over the last half century or more.

    The context of the ad is very different from the one in which the phrase “one of us” was used to divide the country along racial lines, but Conservative commentators quickly seized on it.

    Obama’s critics said the fact that he would use such loaded language in the hard-fought race to win Ohio shows how much he has changed from the politician whose famous “one America” speech at the 2004 Democratic convention denounced “those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.”

    Charles C.W. Cooke wrote in National Review’s The Corner blog that Obama was “moving a long way from the famous — if vacuous — ‘no red states or blue states’ speech.”

    “Had Romney pulled this on him, we’d need a special two-hour episode of ‘Hardball’ to deal with the dog-whistle implications,” added Rick Moran on the American Thinker blog.

    President Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod dismissed the criticism. He noted in an interview that the ad focuses on Romney’s opposition to the bailout of the auto industry.

    “This goes to something fundamental—first of all, the issue itself is a fundamental issue for Ohio, where one in eight jobs is related to the auto industry. This has to do with a sense of identification with working-class families.”

    He added: “There’s no subtlety about what the spot is about. This is about the economic survival of the auto industry.”

    Obama, the nation’s first black president, has himself been the target of insinuations of otherness—including false but widely circulated suggestions that he was not born in this country, and that he is a Muslim.

    And during this presidential campaign, his allies say they have seen racial coding in accusations that Obama is a “food stamp president” and in popular tea party slogans such as “take back our country.”

    Romney also has faced mistrust and prejudice regarding his Mormon faith.

    The slogan “he’s one of us” goes at least as far back as the late 1950s, when segregationist Jimmie Davis employed it in his successful campaign for Louisiana governor.

    In the decades that followed, other southern white politicians also would find it effective.

    A conservative radio commentator named Jesse Helms (R) was an underdog in his 1972 Senate race against North Carolina Rep. Nick Galifianakis (D). But he won, in part, because of his campaign pitch: “Jesse Helms: He’s one of us.”

    The slogan was widely recognized as a dig at his opponent’s foreign-sounding last name.

    “I think the idea was, ‘His name sounds different enough. He’s not like us,’” the congressman’s nephew, actor Zach Galifianakis, told Greekreporter.com in August. Galifianakis and fellow actor Will Farrell parodied that rough style of southern politics in their summer movie “The Candidate.”

    In 1982, white Republican Webb Franklin won in a court-drawn Mississippi congressional district that had a 48 percent voting-age African-American population.

    One of Franklin’s television ads featured video of confederate monuments and warned: “We cannot forget a heritage that has been sacred through our generations.” Franklin also ran with the appeal: “He’s one of us.”

    A three-judge federal court panel in 1984 pointed to that slogan when it wrote: “This inducement to racially polarized voting operated to further diminish the already unrealistic chance for blacks to be elected in majority white voting population districts.”

    The district lines were redrawn again in 1986, by the U.S. Department of Justice. In that year’s election, Franklin was defeated by assistant state attorney general Mike Espy, who became the first African-American congressman elected to represent Mississippi since reconstruction.

    Yet “one of us” has retained its currency, even into the 21st century.

    “Regrettably, this is not a thing of the past,” Robert McDuff, a Jackson, Miss., civil rights attorney wrote in the Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice, which is published by the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law.

    In his article, McDuff noted that the slogan reappeared as recently as 2004, when white candidate Samac Richardson used it in his advertising against incumbent James Graves, the only African-American on the Mississippi Supreme Court.

    Graves won, after Richardson forced him into a runoff.

  2. I disagree with the claim that "not one of us" was a racil code phrase. For example, in the Helms-Galifinakis race, Helms was a traditional southern conservative with deep roots in NC. His opponent was a northern liberal whose policies were viewed with deep suspicion by many voters. The phrase had nothing to do with the greek surname and everything to do with the man who possessed it.

    Liberals are the biggest whiners around when they lose any election. Any campaign ad, no matter how benign, is loaded with objectional baggage to them. Then they turn around and run an ad with a Paul Ryan look-alike pushing an elderly lady in a wheelchair off a cliff. Or run an ad crudely accusing Romney of causing a woman's death. Those are Ok, though because they vilify evil conservatives.

    You'd think Obama would be the last person to use the "not one of us" line, in view of his mysterious background, long associations with extreme radicals and even terrorists like Bill Ayers. Of course, when you have a failed presidency, you have two choices: lose gracefully or try to start Civil War II.