Silly season is over. Racist season is here.
Silly season is when nothing is going on in the presidential campaign and the debate focuses on trivialities. Racist season is when the campaign begins in earnest and President Barack Obama looks vulnerable. Then, liberal commentators pull out all the stops to deem practically any criticism of the president racist.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC led the charge with an on-set rant against Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. Criticizing the gutting of welfare reform? Racist. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s joke about no one ever asking for his birth certificate? Racist, too. Saying the president is inspired by a European welfare-state model? Obviously racist.
Priebus looked like he’d been buttonholed by a persistent drunk at a bar and didn’t know how to get away.
It’s only late August, and the campaign is tied. Wait until October, especially if Obama is trailing. In the imaginations of the president’s devotees, an America where he is behind by 2 or 3 points will be indistinguishable from an America where blacks are set on by dogs during civil-rights marches.
When Romney joked in Michigan that no one ever had to ask for his birth certificate, it was a banner day in the racist season. Michael Eric Dyson, who apparently earned an advanced degree in finding obscure ways to accuse people of bigotry, detected the telltale signs of “othering.”
“Other” used to be a perfectly fine word, then became jargon fit for use only by people with regular MSNBC gigs or endowed chairs in nonsense.
It’s not clear why the former Massachusetts governor would insist that Obama is an American during the Republican primaries only to lurch toward birtherism in the general election, with an unscripted joke he will never, ever repeat.
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