This was the question asked to me by my son a few weeks ago. And as much as I wanted to throw a “power to the people” fist in the air and say “hells yeah”, I couldn’t. Even though it’s not far from what I believe as truth. I did attempt to explain to my son the nature of politics and this week we discussed the government shutdown and Ted Cruz.  I don’t think my son believed me when I said the reason the GOP couldn’t get their shit together had nothing to do with the president being black. But some people believe that to be true.

Never has there been an upsurgence of Tea Party activity until Barack Obama occupied the White House. Hell, I can’t remember hearing about the Tea Party during any Bush or Clinton term. I’m sure they existed, but quietly of course.

In a recent post, Joan Walsh, the editor at large for Salon, waxed quite poetically about the 50 years of race-baiting and how it’s the real story behind the government shutdown:

Over and over, that’s how things got worse: Republicans who know better, who probably aren’t “racist” in the old-fashioned sense of believing in black inferiority and opposing the equality and integration of the races, nonetheless pander to those who are, for electoral gain. And when the election of our first black president riled up the racists and launched the Tea Party – supposed deficit hawks who tolerated skyrocketing government spending under George W. Bush — too many Republicans went along.

Today, the entire government has been taken hostage by leaders elected by this crazed minority, who see in the face of Barack Obama everything they’ve been taught to fear for 50 years. Start with miscegenation: He’s not just black, he’s the product of a black father and a white mother. (That helps explain an unconscious motive for birtherism: They can’t get their minds off the circumstances of his conception and birth.) With his Ivy League degrees, they are sure he must be the elitist beneficiary of affirmative action. Steeped in Chicago politics, he’s the representative of corrupt urban machines controlled by Democrats – machines that ironically originated with the Irish and once kept African-Americans down, but which are now synonymous with corrupt black power. In Michele Bachmann’s words, Obama is a product of Chicago’s scary “gangster government,” or did she say “gangsta”?

Leading Republicans who know better have demeaned the president with a long list of racially coded slurs. Obama is “the food stamp president,” Newt Gingrich told us. He wants to help “black people” (or was it “blah people”?) “by giving them somebody else’s money,” Rick Santorum said.  Even his so-called GOP “friend” Sen. Tom Coburn insists Obama is spreading “dependency” on government because “it worked so well for him as an African-American male.”

Well needless to say, the right-wing came after her.

Walsh’s assertions weren’t too off base, and in a follow up column, she wrote how GOP’ers get angry when you accuse them of race-baiting.

I also apologize for not being able to reply to the hundreds of critics who came at me on Twitter. I only have time for a few. Well, maybe one. Crazy Nick Searcy, an “actor” who specializes in Twitter brawls, went kind of crazier than usual. Like a lot of right-wing racist nut jobs, he says he has an adopted black son. Honestly: I hear that a lot. I’m going to trust Searcy on that one, but really: If every right-wing racist nut job who claimed to have an adopted black child, or a black in-law – his son’s wife, or sister’s husband, whatever – then every single black person in America would have a right-wing racist nut job for a parent or an in-law. I can’t speak for black people, but I don’t think that’s actually true.


Finally, I was clear in the story that not all Republicans are racist, not even most. The problem is that too many are sadly addicted to the politics of racial resentment that’s powered the party since the ’60s. They can’t quit it. They don’t have the spine to tell the truth to the racist fringe. They’re too busy cashing their checks, and deferring to them at town hall meetings lest one of the wingnuts primaries them. House Speaker John Boehner has let roughly 30 wingnut Tea Partyers from overwhelmingly white districts shut down the government. He’s complicit in their racially driven obstructionism, even if he isn’t racist himself. He ought to shut them down. But maybe he’s afraid of being compared to a Snoop Dogg, or Snoop Lion, or something.

Maybe next time my son asks about race playing a role in the GOP’s treatment of any policy related to the president, I’ll just tell him, “No, I’m sure it doesn’t. I’m sure at least one GOP’er has a black friend”.

Clutchettes, what do you think? Do you think the GOP would treat the president differently if he was white?

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  • jay cee

    Does the president’s race play a role in the government shutdown? Well, let’s see how deep this racism thing goes. I am a 75-year old African American lady. I was getting ready to open the door of a restaurant to enter.The restaurant has a front door, medium size foyer, and a second door which leads into the restaurant proper. At the same moment that I was going to enter, a well-built young white man about 6’6″ tall was getting ready to push the door to exit the restaurant. He saw me, backed up and turned pretending to look at a poster that had been there for months and months rather than open the door for me. He exited as soon as I went through the second door. It was so obvious. How deep is that?

    • Anthony

      I know what you are talking.about. I will never forget the time my mother and l were put out of a Oreck vacuum cleaner in Lexington, SC because I insisted that the proprietor call my mother Mrs instead of her first name. That was just 1995.

  • Anthony

    The shutdown politics are racial at multiple levels. All you have to do is look at the long list of conservatives from the old Confederacy who have led the charge against Obama to see that this situation has a racial component very close to the surface.
    Just today, the New York Times reports that 68% of poor black people will not be eligible for Obamacare because Arkansas is the only state in the Deep South to approve the Medicaid expansion needed to subsidize the program.
    The Republicans also are fully aware that Federal workers are significantly more black than the general addition to being more unionized and Democrats. They know that workers with modest or no savings will begin to pressure the Democrats if they go to long without pay. The Republicans quickly funded the military, which has more conservatives than the rest of the government.

    • Keepingitreal

      Anthony, I’m feeling the same way. Some Republicans talk like those 47 percent are persona non grata and therefore let the 47% eat cake during a shutdown.

  • I am not going to say that there aren’t racist elements in the republican party, or that they haven’t used racist strategies to get votes. There are racist elements in the democratic party too, but those tend to take the form of “oh black people you’re so deficient, that the only way you can hope to have a happy life is through a multitude of government programs.”

    But in the case of the shutdown, I think you only need look at the shutdown with white Bill Clinton to show that maybe, just maybe, it is because of ideological reasons. Or the fact that there have been something like 12 government shutdowns in the past 30 years or so–not everything that doesn’t go Obama’s way is because he’s black.

    Let the thumbing down commence.

    • Sepiastar

      There are more than racist “elements” in the Republican party, there are “die hard” RACISTs in the Republican party. I can agree that racists exists in both parties but we’re all aware (such as the author so eloquently explained) that Republicans continuously use Barry Goldwater’s Southern Strategy to ensure many working class whites voting habits and positions are more aligned with race than class. They have crafted a “message” of being fiscally conservative, anti-government, and family oriented and promote an imaginary fallacy that white solidarity is the only option for “working and middle class whites” because the Democrats agenda is solely to support lazy, dependent African Americans (which is extremely ignorant).

      I won’t say that race is NOT playing a role in the reason for the shutdown because many of their convictions, beliefs, doctrines, and paradigms manifest from racist ideologies. The Affordable Care Act will benefit many low-wage workers in need of health care insurance, insurers must cover pre-existing conditions and cannot cap benefits. Yet, many of the opposed don’t even know the difference between Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act. ABC/Washington Post, Kaiser, Fox News, UConn/ Hartford Courant, and CNBC have all conducted polls measuring the public’s views of Obamacare vs. Affordable Care Act. In every poll, they support and like the provisions of the Affordable Care Act but are vehemently opposed to Obamacare.

      Now, here’s the kicker:
      The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is BETTER KNOWN as “Obamacare”. So, as soon as the law is associated with President Obama, it’s suddenly un-American, unpatriotic, impedes individual liberty, and a threat to our current health care system. Are we going to attribute this to ignorance or preconceived beliefs that the Socialist president is pushing “government dependence” at the expense of hard-working whites. Are we so naive’ that we believe that the Republican constituency have not exhibited this type of mentality about “Obamacare” in their town hall meetings and the Republican politicians are not exploiting the beliefs?

      Now, your statement that the “shutdown can be attributed to ideological reasons” because of the shutdown during Clinton’s era is still inadequate. What ideology? The Republicans KNEW there was no endpoint, in other words, what was their objective? I KNOW they were aware that President Obama was not going to postpone the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (the major legislation of his presidency) to appease the Republicans, why would he? What would his administration or the American people gain from the delay? It was approved by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court, and obviously the majority of citizens were not against defunding the law because he was re-elected for a 2nd term and the ACA was a key criteria that was discussed during the last presidential election. They have shown the shutdown was ill conceived and more aligned with political posturing at the expense of US instead of standing for their beliefs and principles. If they’re so principled and conscientious, where’s the alternative? What options have they proposed to provide health care coverage for millions of uninsured citizens?

  • Anthony

    Your argument is shaky because there are no programs that only benefit black people, and whites benefit from government in numerous ways that are not generally available to most black like securing government contracts, and picking up tax cuts for all sorts of businesses that we don’t own.

    • I don’t understand. When Republicans try to cut social programs they are accused of being racist because those programs affect a disproportionate number of black people. But when Democrats try to expand those same programs, race is completely out of the equation and they’re not doing it to “help” those same poor, downtrodden, black people?

    • Cocochanel31


    • My bad. I thought Anthony was referencing my comment, not the author’s comment. That’s what I get for thinking the world revolves around me :p

    • My bad. I thought he was responding to me, not the original post. And there’s no delete button either. This is what I get for thinking the world revolves around me :p

  • Deal-n-Truth

    My sister and I just had this conversation and we all know that his race plays a huge part in all of this. My sister said that the time is now to have the conversation that this country truly needs on the race issue in America because this is ridiculous. The T-publicans are punishing the American people for voting for Obama, not once, but twice and their unwillingness to work with the president shows it big time because they have to appease their racist and lunatic fringe constituents.

    • The Comment

      Yes Lawd…aint’ that the truth.