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September 14th, 2009
Freethought San Marcos: The mendacity and racism of Rep. Joe Wilson

Freethought San Marcos: A column
by LAMAR W. HANKINS

I had planned to write on a different topic this week, but the national discussion about Rep. Joe Wilson’s intemperate and rude outburst during President Obama’s health insurance reform speech to a joint session of Congress last Wednesday has been so tepid and lacking in context, I want to add my two cents’ worth.

My first point, and not necessarily the most important one, is that Mr. Wilson’s shout out–”You lie!”–was itself a lie. Mr. Wilson was accusing President Obama of lying when the President asserted that undocumented residents of the United States would not be covered by the health insurance reform he supported. No proposal now before the Congress would cover such people. Mr. Wilson was lying in accusing the President of lying. This has been verified by both PolitiFact.com and FactCheck.org, though some argue that, by not specifically excluding undocumented residents, one of the bills might allow some of them to get coverage through whatever system is passed by the Congress. This position is far from making the president a liar.

Mr. Wilson apologized for his emotional outburst– “I should not have disrespected the President during his speech.”  But the next day, Mr. Wilson posted an on-line video to raise money for his next congressional campaign, using the notoriety of his heckling of the President. In that video, he told another lie. He referred to the president’s vision of health insurance reform as a “government takeover of health care.”  Even if the President supported single-payer (which he does not), such a position would not be a takeover of the health care system. Canada has not taken over its health care system by being the one entity that pays doctors, hospitals, labs, etc. for their health care services delivered to Canadian citizens. All of those entities are private providers, not government employees or departments.

Of course, Mr. Wilson doesn’t oppose government-run health care for himself and his four sons, all of whom receive health care from a government that has taken over their health care systems via military health coverage. Mr. Wilson just doesn’t want the government helping those 47 million Americans who are without health care insurance. No caricature could capture the enormity of such hypocrisy.

The single-payer health care that Mr. Wilson’s family enjoys covers nearly 10 million people on active military duty, military retirees, and their dependents. Mr. Wilson, as a retiree, is eligible for lifetime coverage. He will never have to worry about paying for a medical appointment, whether for an eye exam, an MRI scan, open-heart surgery, or cancer treatment. He and others covered by the military’s socialized medical system have access not only to its over 133,000 uniformed health professionals, but cooperating private doctors as well, whose fees are paid by the government. Recent surveys about TRICARE, the military insurance system, find that it is among “the best health insurer(s) in the nation” based on customer satisfaction. But for Mr. Wilson, government-run health care is a problem.

Notwithstanding the government health care enjoyed by Mr. Wilson’s family, he has voted 11 times against health care for veterans in eight years, even though he supported the Iraq War.  He has repeatedly voted for budgets that cut funding for the Veterans Administration and TRICARE, and he has opposed bills that would have extended TRICARE coverage to all reservists and National Guard members, many of whom have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some of whom lost their civilian medical benefits when they did so. (Disclosure:  My granddaughter, who was born in a military hospital, has VA medical coverage. Her mother received excellent prenatal care from that system and used the services of a pediatric dermatologist specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville after she was born, so I have a personal interest in Mr. Wilson’s neglect of our veterans’ health care needs.)

My second point is that Mr. Wilson’s outburst indicates a disrespect for President Obama that can be explained fully only by acknowledging that it would not have happened if the President were not African-American. This is a difficult point to prove, but plenty of circumstantial evidence suggests that it is true. It is difficult to explain the hysteria coming from some quarters in any other way.

Few people today (except for skin heads and neo-Nazis) will admit publicly that they are racist. But the quantity of virulent racist jokes I receive via the internet, the birther movement, the gun-slinging white protesters outside presidential events (harkening back to the armed white vigilantes who have historically intimidated minorities), the ridiculous uproar over the President’s motivational education speech to school children last Tuesday, the dramatic increase in threats against the President’s life, the President’s mixed racial lineage, and the discomfort of many white people about the entire Obama family have led me to conclude that there is a deeply-ingrained racism underlying opposition to the President.

I have several significant policy and political differences with President Obama. I have written about some of them–his failure to embrace the health care reform he promised during his campaign, his escalation of the War in Afghanistan, his use of some of the Bush administration’s defenses to law suits on various national security grounds, many of his appointments to cabinet and staff positions, his continuation of extraordinary rendition, his acceptance of millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the health care industry, his retention of secret prisons around the world, his failure to stop the torture of prisoners, his unwillingness to move quickly to close Guantanamo, his failure to respond decisively to the coup in Honduras, his support for mountaintop coal removal, the Wall Street bailout that focused on financial institutions rather than average Americans, among other differences. What I have not done ever is to make my opposition to the President about his ancestry.

I have seen the White House-Black House joke, the opposition to aspirin because it is white and effective joke, the watermelon in the White House garden joke, the wife as First Hoer joke, etc. None of them are funny (and I have a good sense of humor). They are racist.

Mr. Wilson comes from a long personal and political tradition of racism. He worked as an aide for arch-segregationist Strom Thurmond, who had sexual relations with a black woman, but only if she entered his house through the back door. Mr. Wilson reveres the late Sen. Thurmond, so much so that he denounced the true story as a lie when it was revealed that Thurmond had had a daughter by this black woman. He called it a “smear.”  I know it is hard for Mr. Wilson to accept that Sen. Thurmond would have engaged in miscegenation after he said:  “I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there’s not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.”  But Sen. Thurmond did have sexual relations with that woman.

Mr. Wilson reveres Sen. Thurmond to this day. He learned his politics at the coattails of this stalwart among American racists and racial hypocrites. He was among the staunchest defenders of flying the Confederate battle flag over the state capitol in South Carolina because he considers it part of his sacred heritage. When his position was likened to Naziism, he said, “That’s offensive to me that they would take my heritage and make it into a Holocaust era type description. I find that very offensive, and it’s not true. The Southern heritage, the Confederate heritage, is very honorable.”

Mr. Wilson is a proud member of “The Sons of Confederate Veterans.”  It’s a racist group, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center. For the last ten years, the organization has been run by radical neo-Confederates who favor secession and defend slavery as a benign institution. Mr. Wilson is a racist, but I can’t prove it. I can only infer it by all that I know about him and his ilk.

© Freethought San Marcos, Lamar W. Hankins

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32 thoughts on “Freethought San Marcos: The mendacity and racism of Rep. Joe Wilson

  1. Very sharp article!

    Keep up the good work, right on point. Congressman Wilson seems to be afraid of illegal immigrants and what they mean for him and his state – he seems equally afraid of having a strong black man leading the country.

    Fear never creates, it seems to only destroy.

    What is Mr. Wilson’s creative alternative? Do nothing leaving 30-million people uninsured as a burden to the current public health system? What is he proposing to do about my health insurance coverage which has doubled over the past 5 years, and I’m unable to switch to lower priced coverage because of fears of being denied due to pre-existing conditions (my wife has Multiple Sclerosis).

    We need President Obama’s desired health care reform package now!

    Thank you.

  2. Thank you for this piece. It is refreshing to find an opinion page that is both supportive of the president and takes him to task.

    I thought the only journalists left were binary thinkers, bent on 100% approval or 100% disapproval. Thank you for noticing that the world we live in more complex than that.

  3. Right off the bat let’s get one thing straight, President Obama is bi-racial. That means that any “racism” is pointed at blacks as well as whites. The argument is old and not germane.

    Now to your daughter and granddaughter’s care from the VA. The VA does not have a pre-natal program nor anything have to do with pediatrics in its medial centers. Both must be on the CHAMPVA system, which is the VA’s insurance provider for dependents. You left out that there is a deductible and it pays 75% of allowed charges. Also, you have to find a doctor that will take CHAMPVA.

    Your have a right to say whatever you want, just as anyone else does under the 1st Amendment.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    “The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the Congress from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion”, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, infringing the freedom of speech, infringing the freedom of the press, limiting the right to peaceably assemble, or limiting the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    “Although the First Amendment only explicitly applies to the Congress, the Supreme Court has interpreted it as applying to the executive and judicial branches. Additionally, in the 20th century, the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the limitations of the First Amendment to each state, including any local government within a state.”

    —-Wikipedia

  4. You are correct to say that no provision in the healthcare bill would provide coverage for illegals.
    Your hyprocisy is amazing. At the time he sounded of with “the famous “You lie” words. the bill contained no verbage on illegals. Basically unchecked would allow illegals. And since Republicans in congress specifically offered a bill required proof of citizenship was immediately shot down. And since the famous you lie, Democrats have quickly changed the verbiage in their bill.

    so please handle all the truths and not make false statements on your website spewing out these untruths.

    so get it right, we will see all these socialists in November 2010.

    So go ahead and help lie to the Amercian public. I have a single vote and it will be to remove these idiots from opffice. Either Republicabs and Democrads will get removed from their nest they have created. None of these lifelong politicans need to stay any longer 8 years is enough.

  5. When none of your arguments hold water you can always turn to the race card. What a pathetic discussion. Obama IS A LIAR!

  6. I am totally amazed this article was/is allowed to go to print.
    You go back and bring fact after fact to the table to attack Mr Wilson then in own words say it was related to race but you base that off pure “speculation”.
    You are quick to point out the lack of respect and quality of Mr Wilson yet you are right there with him.
    Easy to see flaws in others when you wear yours the same way.
    I do not support in any way the “You Lie” comment, or the way it was presented so my viewpoint is based on outsider looking in.
    My conclusion;
    You are a sad excuse for a journalist and for the editor to allow this to go to print is even more of a crime.

  7. Disagreeing with Obama, who was lying, does not constitute racism. Neither does being a Southerner/Carolinian.

    The evidence that BHO was, in fact, lying comes from Democrats in the Congress, who rushed the next day to add legislation barring illegal aliens from medical care in the various bills being discussed, after having voted down *twice* proposals from Republicans to add it prior to Mr Wilson’s outburst.

    It seems to me that the liberal wing of America is playing the race card a little too early and a little too often — are you running out of valid arguments that quickly, that you have to turn to ad hominem attacks as your first option?

  8. Wow! I’m surprised your not calling yourself a racist. You don’t support Obama on everything, you have guts to admit that. I love how any opposition to Obama and your a racist. No wonder you work for such a high powered news organization, that’s why all the news organizations are claiming the samething you are. Great report. oh by the way i’m being sarcastic or maybe i’m racist according to you. Weak!

  9. What in the world are you smoking??? This group was established by former Confederate veterans in 1898. How is it “neo” Confederate?
    You are brainless.

    Mr. Wilson is a proud member of “The Sons of Confederate Veterans.” It’s a racist group, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center. For the last ten years, the organization has been run by radical neo-Confederates who favor secession and defend slavery as a benign institution. Mr. Wilson is a racist, but I can’t prove it. I can only infer it by all that I know about him and his ilk.

  10. Dude. This is pretty far fetched. Its not always about racism. Look at how people made fun of Bush. They must have all been racists. Just because we are white does not mean we want to appress you. Now you guys cant call us racist because we have a black president ha. Grow up. I would appreciate if you would address me as a european american when you respond to this. If you call me by the color of my skin I will be offended.

  11. You are a racist if you think disagreeing with a president of color makes you racist. Just because Obama is of mixed race does not mean we must go along with every program he suggests, that is communism. The dems have adamently refused to sign any legislature that makes proving you are here legally, which means Obama lied when he said no illegals will be allowed into the healthcare plan.

  12. Right on- this is a clear and truthful column. I appreciate your even-handed assessment of President Obama’s record.

    But what can we do to muzzle Wilson who says he will not be muzzled? Wilson is certainly a proud follower of all the recent and longer-ago producers of shame for that state- and deservedly so.

    I marvel to think we almost moved to Charleston 5 years ago to work at the medical center! I was turned off by the houses with slave quarters (publicized as such) and the backwardness of the society- no culture except for the Spoleto Festival for a few weeks per year.

  13. It is so passe to engage in political party politics anymore. If we have learned one thing, it’s that the entire system is full of liars and nutballs who support them on either side. Bush/Cheney were liars, but so were the Dems who voted for war based on their lies. All this bickering only keeps the people divided and criminals leaching off our paychecks. The right claims the left is socialist. The left claims the right is neo-Nazi. Blah, blah, blah. Do you all really think in these terms on the job, at church, or out in the community? People are people! They are somebody’s mom or uncle, or grandpa/grandma. Only morons continue to repeat the same thing over and over and over again. Being a journalist is the toughest job in the country right now. No matter who you are or what you have to say, you’re going to be jammed by party hacks as the anti-Christ or corporate whore. I’m thinking these pushers are worse than heroin addicts.

  14. author says:”Few people today (except for skin heads and neo-Nazis) will admit publicly that they are racist. But the quantity of virulent racist jokes I receive via the internet, the birther movement, the gun-slinging white protesters outside presidential events (harkening back to the armed white vigilantes who have historically intimidated minorities), the ridiculous uproar over the President’s motivational education speech to school children last Tuesday, the dramatic increase in threats against the President’s life, the President’s mixed racial lineage, and the discomfort of many white people about the entire Obama family have led me to conclude that there is a deeply-ingrained racism underlying opposition to the President.”

    ….well, see here, I am the author (OK, not really – I just hear him saying this, like a 1930’s gangster movie) and I am pretty sure he’s a racist, cause see, he’s not something other than some white raaahhsist male and he is clearly one of them conservative minded folks, no good, see, thats just how it is, I’m pretty sure of that, you know, well, uh I think, probably, right? you agree with me don’t you??? …. but i’m not a racist, I’m pretty sure, no, no, I am positive of that, ‘cuse I said he was first, see, thats how it works around here….and me and my boys here in the media we are, uh, ushering in a new era, see, so you can forget about voicing any opinions of opposition, see, a new era…we’ll tell you what the truth is and that’ll be it, its not about freedom anymore, see, its about power, and information, and news cycle, and disinformation – see, and were in the game, sure, were in the game for sure now, its us against them, and we can be bought and extorted and bullied, see, if we can just keep the power position with our guy, thats how its boys… its not about integrity, its about perception boys…

    People can disagree. It can be sincere. It doesn’t have to be about race. The article misquotes.

  15. Here is a news story that is an appropriate addition to what I had to say in my column:

    Published on Monday, September 14, 2009 by McClatchy Newspapers

    A Retired General Wants to Know What’s Wrong with Our Country
    by Bud Kennedy

    A retired Air National Guard general called Thursday with three worries.

    “Something bad’s gone wrong in this country,” said retired Brig. Gen. Tom Daniels, 62, of Fort Worth.

    “Something’s wrong in Arlington. Something’s wrong in Austin. And something’s wrong in America.”

    He flew missions in Vietnam. In the Pentagon, he served proudly under President George H.W. Bush – “whom I loved,” he added.

    “Now our country chooses a black man as president – and suddenly, the governor is talking about secession? And Arlington is boycotting the president? They won’t even let children see him in school?”

    Eight years removed from 9-11, Daniels feels a chill.

    “Look how united we were!” he said in his booming command voice. “Now – look how we’ve squandered it!”

    He didn’t even have to mention U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson:

    “We’re hollering at each other now,” Daniels said. “We hate each other.”

    And he sees that as dividing our heroes in uniform.

    “I talk to military guys all over the world – white, black, brown,” he said. “They’re asking, ‘If it was unpatriotic to talk this way about the last president, isn’t this unpatriotic?’ They’re concerned. This is nothing but open, unabated racism. Nobody’s saying that.”

    I know what some of you are going to say. It’s political, not racial.

    But I also can’t imagine people acting this way over, say, a President Harry Reid or even President Al Gore.

    “All I know is, the black guy wins, and suddenly these nuts are out there on TV and radio preaching to long-haul truck drivers all over the country,” Daniels said.

    “Somebody needs to start talking back. Where are the moderates in the Republican Party? Where are the people like George [H.W.] Bush who made sense? They’re letting the nuts lead them around by the nose.”

    He is particularly steamed that Arlington schools still refuse to replay Obama’s address to schoolchildren yet will bus fifth-graders to hear George W. Bush on Sept. 21 at a Super Bowl event at Cowboys Stadium. “I’ve always called Arlington a true all-American city,” he said. “I love the parks. I love how they stuck their neck out to get baseball and football.”

    He lives near the Arlington border and shops in the city.

    “But now they’re one of the few cities in America boycotting the president’s speech? That’s wrong.”

    Daniels reserved special vitriol for Gov. Rick Perry.

    “He’s Air Force. He should be ashamed,” Daniels said. “I’m ashamed of him.” Perry “should know better” than to float talk about Texas leaving the U.S., Daniels said.

    “Even for a campaign, it’s the wrong thing to talk about,” he said. “That’s not our Texas. We love our country. We’re not going anywhere. We don’t believe in secession.”

    He had one final question.

    “When is somebody in Arlington or Austin going to stand up to these people?”

    It’s his mission.

  16. I think this an exceptionally good article. Nice job! The level of vitriol being spewed at Obama is unlike anything my 88 year old father has ever seen before in his lifetime he said. The number of death threats are unreal and wrong. It is irrational. And like this writer and Maureen Dowd, puzzling. As Dowd said, there are many people who just cannot accept that there is a black man in the White House. How sad. I think he is a great role model for black America. We both fear there will be an execution attempt on President Obama. If that happens, there could be terrible riots and who knows what else. Do you think the guy is really that bad? He didn’t start an unjust war, torture people or spy on Americans. Where was the outrage then?

  17. Brad, good article. I don’t think everyone who opposes Obama does so based on race, but it’s naïve to think there aren’t those who do. I’ve also seen some of the “jokes” that have been sent around, they are clearly race-driven and racist. Is that everyone who opposes him, no, but is it some, probably. What strikes me is that a lot of people on the far right just plain hate anyone and everyone who isn’t in agreement with them, no matter what color they are. The intensity of the hatred pouring out of the Republican party is pretty shocking. In my opinion the more outlandish and unhinged opposition and hatred for Obama stems from the exaggerations by a lot of the right-wing media and talk hosts getting people all worked up over distortions, deceptions, even lies. They vilify and dehumanize those liberals, those Democrats. The hatred is downright palpable when you read or listen to them. Moderate Republicans have to be wondering what happened to their party. Gone are the days of reasonable people being able to disagree reasonably.

    Having said all that, based on what I know and have read over the past few days about Joe Wilson, I do think there is a racist aspect to it. I don’t think that’s true of everyone, but I suspect it’s true of him. I don’t look at the Sons of Confederacy and the association with Strom Thurmond as meaningless, rather, they tell something about the man and his views. On a related note, I find this quote amusing – “the Southern heritage, the Confederate heritage, is very honorable”. Accepting that at face value, he behaved in a way that would have offended one of those “Southern gentlemen”, in fact I think they would have found it pretty dishonorable. What his supporters don’t get about that is it has do with respect, this was the floor of the House or Representatives and he’s an elected official, how about some civility, decorum, maturity. Are people in the military told to only respect their commander-in-chief or their CO if they agree with him, or always, because it’s their commander-in-chief or CO. Do you only respect the flag if your party is in office, or always. Do you only respect the Office of the President when your party holds it, or always. Wilson embarrassed his state and the country. When Bush, Reagan, even Clinton addressed Congress no one ever did what Wilson did, it’s never happened before. If it had happened to one of the Republicans, I can only imagine the uproar and outrage.

  18. Please forward this to everyone, including the media like CNN and Larry King and on Twitter.

    The media is very quick to put controversial blips on TV but they don’t probe further and actually give people any facts about it or anything that quells a mob mentality. They just put fuel on the fire and then leave.

    Articles and news like this is what more people need to hear and see. Thank you and I hope to forward this myself so more people get to read it.

  19. Rep. Wilson, being an elected official, owes an apology to the entire population of the USA for publically disrespecting the office of POTUSA. Repeat, the OFFICE of the POTUSA.

  20. Mr. Hankins,
    As usual, your piece is self-contradictory. Things are so divisive because mutual respect is absent; however, you and yours exacerbate the problem by accusing those with valid concerns of being racist in an attempt to marginalize their ideas. Then the marginzlized shout louder. Nobody would shout if others would listen.
    Cries of racism are a sign that the left can’t persuade the public and now hopes for sympathy. Obama now hides behind his race and a history of oppresion that he himself has rarely suffered. From Harvard to the University of Chicago to the halls of Congress to the White House — oh to be oppressed. Along his way he never fought the fights of black leaders who paved the way for him, he never lived in the squalor of poverty that is racisms living legacy. But now he will use other’s suffering and other’s sorrow as a shield to hide from valid criticism and public engagement. Shame on you for giving such lies shelter.

  21. Apology comming from a TRUE STATEMENT?? WHY?? We have herd from ACORN.. and the overspending thiefs that lack integrety, common sense, and reading skills togo on a bankrupt our country.. Generations to come will have to pay dearly.. Why do we have to say I am sorry for being a man with integrity in a house of corruption??

  22. It continually strikes a nerve with me when I read and see all of these teabaggers, town hall meeting disruptors and all the fear mongering about socialized medicine. The nerve it strikes is my nerve of racism. Having grown up in a racist environment and now being an old white guy I cannot help but hear in all of this the racist comments from my youth… “they are going to steal all of our property” (ie, socialized medicine, taking away our benefits or pulling the plug on grandma, rationing of health care) and “they are going to rape our women” (irrational fear of Obama).
    The southern whites had this racist fear that the large number of black slaves would some day realize the power that they could have if they would just take action. The civil rights movement stirred up this fear. Now the Obama election has dug deep into the racist hearts of the South (refust to call it the old South because the old South is actually the current South) and exposed all the fears and hatred of generations of southern white racists. The northeast and west coast US citizens do not understand this and cannot understand this. Those of us who have grown up in this southern racism know this and understand this. There are a few of us to work to expose the racism.

  23. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is NOT a hate group. Even the far left and biased SPLC has not said that. You have referenced an old story, thye have corrected since then. Obviously your bigotry is showing.

  24. Good job Mr. Hawkins. We were just talking about how journalism has turned from being about telling the story to pushing a story. I understand this column is dominantly editorializing and it is nice to see facts becoming important again in this venue. Given many of the responses, I feel fortunate that I can distinguish between the two parts of your story. That’s why I read the editorials though, I like a story that makes me think for myself, that invites me to ask more questions, stay interested and motivated to learn. Unfortunately, deductive and inductive reasoning does not dominate the news any longer…unless you throw some interpretational opinion in. Thanks, Lynny

  25. Ok, here we go again. If you oppose a President who happens to be black, you are a racist. What if you honestly believe his policies will lead us down the wrong road? What if you know that by not excluding illegal aliens from the national health care system you allow them to take advantage of it? It was a breach of decorum for him to yell “You lie” at the President, but he was only yelling what many Americans also were thinking at the moment.

    When it comes to the subject of the Presidential address to school children, it was not the speech itself that caused the uproar. The uproar was caused by the study guidelines the Dept. of Education sent out, suggesting how teachers use the speech. Asking children to write essays about “How can I help the President?” is not a teaching moment, it is an indoctrination moment. The teacher’s union is notoriously liberal, and parents were rightly worried that those liberal teachers would share their one-sided opinions with impressionable young children.

    I oppose almost everything that this President stands for, and I am not a racist. I believe that his policies are not what this country needs to turn itself around. I thought George Bush did a horrible job as President, but this administration can’t do better.

    We need to destroy our current political system, as it has proven that it doesn’t work.

  26. Nia, in South Carolina, for decades an individual of Pres. Obama’s racial mixture was legally considered a Negro, as such he would have been denied access to schools, hotels, and the voting booth. So his current “biracial” status does not come to bear. Second, the care Mr.Rollins family received, or did not recieve, from the VA has nothing to do with the fact tha Rep. Wilson’s entire family receives VA medical care. Third, the First Amendment has nothing what so ever to do with Mr. Rollin’s feature here, unless you’re attempting to use it to justify Rep. Wilson’s remark, which he has admitted was out of line, and which Sen. McCain took him to task for.

  27. Let’s take this to a different level. How would LBJ have handled Rep. Wilson? I would suggest first, a darn good chance Rep. Wilson would have been called out on the spot. An action I had hoped Pres. Obama would take. Second, and this almost a certainty, Rep. Wilson would have had an unpleasant chat with LBJ during which Rep. Wilson would have been informed the name of his Congressional District had been changed to Mud because it had seen the last Federal cent.

  28. Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 6:44 PM by Mark Murray

    From NBC’s Mark Murray

    In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, former Democratic President Jimmy Carter attributed much of the conservative opposition that President Obama is receiving to the issue of race.

    “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,” Carter said. “I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that share the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans.”

    Carter continued, “And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”

  29. I’ve never heard Obama himself claim to be a victim of racism, he’s actually avoided that kind of remark, haven’t you ever heard him say instead that he’s an example of the American dream and talk about all the opportunity he’s had and that it could have only happened here in this country? When does he claim he’s a victim of racism? But others out there may have the opinion that racism is a factor for many people in their dislike of Obama. That’s based on what they’ve seen and experienced, and while I don’t think all the opposition is racist by any means, I do think race is a factor for some people. So why are you right and they are wrong? I get why it can make people made, I also dislike when people see racism in anything and everything, I think it can be destructive and non-productive at times and can actually hurt the situation if it seems like a knee-jerk reaction without any reasonable basis for it. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t racism in this country, and to say there isn’t seems like a naive view to me. I’ve met racist people and I lived in places where it has surprised me when someone feels comfortable to express that kind of thing.

  30. For the person that said the problem with him addressing schoolchildren was that the guidelines were not a teaching moment, but an indoctrination moment, I disagree. That’s your reading of it and interpretation and in my view a distortion by the right wing media. Indoctrination itself is a loaded word, you throw that out there like there is nothing wrong with that and no question about it. What he is indoctrinating them in, to work hard, study hard, take responsibility for themselves and their future? This is the overreaction by the right wing, a calculated overreaction. If you had read his book for instance, which no one on the right would do, in fact he talks about how people should be responsible for themselves, their kids, don’t expect a handout, the government can’t do everything for you and you need to do your part. Turn off the TV, read with your kids, study, etc. This guy didn’t get to where he’s at by cruising and having things handed to him, he worked his butt off. He credits his mom and grandparents for helping to keep him on track and not taking any crap when he tried to get by with something. Does that sound like someone who wants everyone else to take care of him? He’s repeated this theme many times, but it doesn’t get any play on right wing shows I’m sure.

    It was reported that another President, and I’m sorry I don’t remember which one, Bush? Nixon? had the same language in something they did, that schoolchildren were asked to write about how they could help the President. In Obama’s case, it was supposed to be about how they would work hard to stay in school and focus on their future. What exactly is indoctrinating about that? Indoctrinating to what, something we all want our kids to do, be good students and responsible citizens? Did you even listen to the actual speech to the kids? Probably most Republicans didn’t even do that. We all heard about how Bush gave a speech about staying off drugs to kids, but the one Reagan gave absolutely had his political themes in it. Would that be okay with you today? My guess is the right wing wouldn’t mind that speech even now, no matter how political it was, but they get upset about Obama just talking about staying in school. I don’t say this to be snide, but don’t you see that Obama can be an example, an inspiration to kids who maybe are not growing up in the best of circumstances or who have been knocked down in life and don’t even think they can do more? He worked hard and studied and look where he ended up, how is he not a success story. That is the kind of thing that can give a kid on the edge some hope, a feeling that they can make it too. No, that isn’t his main role as President, but President’s do all sorts of things, address all sorts of people. Remember Bush was reading a book to kindergarteners at one point. Obama is in a unique position to serve as a role model, and yes, an inspiration to many people. Can you imagine for a minute what that must have been like if you’re black, and if you have kids, to see him elected, wow. To think that that barrier is removed for your kids now, that this country has come that far, finally. Whether you agree with his politics or not, you have to recognize the meaning of that moment. So yes, he’s an inspiration to a lot of people, a lot of kids. He’s their president too, and yet many of you don’t think he even has a right to talk to schoolkids. No one even once said Bush or Reagan or Clinton didn’t have that right, but people thought Obama didn’t have that right. That’s pretty offensive really. If Obama can give a speech to schoolchildren and serve as an example and some kids might take that to heart and believe they too could go on to college and they are only limited by their own efforts, what’s wrong with that. People are entitled to their politics, I just wish they had more humanity about it, and not always jump to or buy into the worst possible scenario, the worst beliefs. Just give some reasonable thought to the situation, then decide. Things aren’t so black and white, no pun intended. Anyhow, that’s my 1000 cents worth I suppose.

  31. I stopped reading your article after you sited Factcheck.org as one of our sources. You should take a closer look at your sources to see if they have an agenda. But then again, if you share the same agenda, why bother.

  32. To Shane Scribner:

    You must not like non-partisanship. FactCheck’s purpose is clearly laid out in its Mission statement. Be sure to read who they DO NOT accept funds from in the last paragraph:

    Our Mission

    We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

    FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994 to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.

    The APPC accepts NO funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. It is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation.

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