Friday, November 19, 2010

Surely, No One Should Be Surprised that Palin Plays the Race Card



Earl Ofari Hutchinson


The advance PR flacks for HarperCollins knew exactly what they were doing when they calculatedly leaked a provocative passage from Sara Palin’s newest ego stroke book, America by Heart. The passage incited race. This time the target is not President Obama, at least not directly. It is First Lady Michelle Obama. Palin dredged up the worn, tired, and patently false charge claiming that Michelle sullied America when she allegedly said at a stop during the 2008 campaign she was not proud of America until Obama became a viable presidential candidate.

The quote was deliberately hacked up out of context. The oft, well-documented cite of the full quote, its context, and Michelle’s expansive clarification mean nothing to Palin. In her twist and bend of Michelle’s words, it becomes a statement of fact to show that Obama as she put it learned to hate white folks listening to the racial “rants” of their former pastor Jeremiah Wright. Palin’s silly, and ignorant distortion makes perfectly good sense when you consider her and the political calculus she’s using.

First there’s her. Palin’s track record in acknowledging, let alone promoting diversity during her short tenure as Alaska governor was abominable. She’s on record with only a terse utterance on hate crimes legislation and on cultural diversity. According to the 2000 Census figures, blacks made up officially about 4 percent of the state population. But those who self-identify as at least part African-American bump up the percentage much higher. When American Indians, Aleuts, Eskimos, and Asians are taken together, minorities make up about one quarter of Alaska’s population. This makes the state one of the most ethnically diverse in the nation. Palin didn’t even bother to pay the customary lip service to hiring and promoting a diverse staff. She had no problem making that clear in a heated and contentious meeting with black leaders in Alaska, including prominent ministers, NAACP officials, and community activists. They met with Palin to voice their complaint over minority hiring and job opportunities. During the meeting she allegedly said that she didn’t have to hire any blacks. Even more damning, she purportedly said that she didn’t intend to hire any. Her press secretary disputed the charge, but revealingly added that Palin did not hire staff persons based on color, but solely on talent and skill.

But even if Palin had taken a stab at diversity it wouldn’t alter her political calculus one bit. Race is and has been the sometimes sneaky and coded, and other times open hammer that packs of bloggers, websites, talk radio jocks, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and gaffe prone GOP operatives have used to fan their institutionalized Obama hatred. They know that a racial tweak here and there will always touch a raw among many bigots who have made it amply plain that they loathe Obama’s policies and by extension him and will stop at nothing to get him out of the White House.
Michelle fits into the Palin plan to use her as a racial foil to smear the president. Michelle is gracious, charming, photogenic, smart, and most importantly from a political view, popular. That makes her a ripe target to go after. By playing race and trying to discredit her Palin does two things in addition to taking a backdoor swipe at the president. She tears down someone who can actually pose as a counterweight to the ugliness and mountainous negatives that polls show that Palin has piles of. Her other devious motive in going after the First Lady for her mythical sin is that is it serves as a convenient reminder that Michelle and Obama ala Bill and Hillary Clinton are a tandem team and that the alleged failing or missteps of the president can just as easily be attributed to Michelle as well. That’s why Palin picked on Wright to remind her cheerleading crowd that Obama ad Michelle as she put it “spent two decades in the pews of Wright.”

Palin double downed on the race beat by rapping Attorney General Eric Holder for his quip that Americans are cowards for not talking about race. Palin of course, conveniently neglects to mention that Obama quickly disassociated himself from the Holder knock, and nothing more was heard about that from Holder or Obama. It was the same though tactic as with Michelle; dredge up and distort an old off the cuff quote on race and stand it on its head to make a grand case that Obama, his wife, and his administration are closet bigots and America loathers.

Race as always is the tried and true vehicle that the GOP hit team repeatedly uses to make that dumb case. Palin in her crude, ignorant, but calculating way, has jumped on that too. Considering the source, surely, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts nationally broadcast political affairs radio talk shows on Pacifica and KTYM Radio Los Angeles.
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

As always you are on point. The frustration for me is, save this blog, that the Dems and many African Americans don't speak up enough. This is also because of the racist motifs that have blatantly reared their heads since Obama's election. We don't want to make "them" too mad at us or we won't be included in society. Let's face it, Jeremiah Wright is now on their hit list for HIS sermon being taken out of context.

And I quote from a Catholic Priest, "A true patriot maintains a constant lover's quarrel with his country."

This infuriating drivel conservatives and tea partiers spew that you can't disagree with their idea of America, makes me want to wretch everytime I hear it!

PS Keep the good work!

Baxter County Arkansas watch said...

Baxter County Arkansas Captain Jeff Lewis calls President Obama a "spineless wonder" in social network.

Captain Jeff Lewis is the Chief Deputy at the Baxter County Sheriff's office in Mountain Home, Arkansas.

Captain Lewis posted these disrespectful comments on the social network policelink.com about President Barak Obama....

"Send Obama to the front line and let him personally lead the unarmed officers. It would only take about 2 seconds for that spineless wonder to make a bee line back to the rose garden."

http://policelink.monster.com/news/articles/151358-obama-keep-us-agents-disarmed-in-mexico?comment_page=5

This is his profile page on policelink.com

http://policelink.monster.com/member/Baxter2

Sarge said...

Shane Whitehead, under the profile name Coshane220, a Sergeant with the Boone County, Illinois Sheriff's office posted these comments about blacks and females in the policelink.com website

"In my area, being a black man or a woman (black or white) is an added benefit. It's very hard to get hired on at the bigger departments around here if you are a white male! I'm not bitter, (I don't have to be) thats just the reality. Heck, the department heads will evencome out and say it if they are in the right mood!"

http://policelink.monster.com/topics/84281-is-it-hard-for-women-to-get-a-job/posts?page=1

jennifer Uy said...

I see. America by Heart , interesting book. I hope their still copy on it.

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