Friday, September 18, 2009

Olbermann: 37 racist incidents prove Carter is right


Says of Rush Limbaugh, “The nation‘s asshole would know about the nation‘s hemorrhoid”

Former President Jimmy Carter’s suggestion that much of the “intensely demonstrated animosity” against President Obama is an expression of racism has been widely disputed by Republicans and some media commentators.

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, however, came to Carter’s defense on Wednesday. “Jimmy Carter tells the truth about some, not all, but some of the rabid rage against President Obama,” Olbermann stated, “and is thus the recipient of the automatic blowback from those whose livelihoods depend on enabling the ragers to tell themselves it is not racism that they feel.”

In introducing the segment, Olbermann claimed that he could offer “at least 37″ cases that he believes “prove President Carter to be correct.” He also noted that Rush Limbaugh had attacked Carter’s statements by saying “Jimmy Carter is the nation‘s hemorrhoid” — and retorted, “”Well, I got to defer to him here, the nation‘s asshole would know about the nation‘s hemorrhoid.”

Some of Olbermann’s examples seem fairly indisputable, like a poster used at tea party demonstrations that depicts Obama as an Africa witch doctor, or Limbaugh’s claim that Obama has made it okay for black kids to beat up a white kid on a school bus.

Others, however, appear more strained. For example, Olbermann pointed to the use of “isolated cases of abuse to portray ACORN as a collection of criminally minded African-Americans, with the president as ACORN‘s poster child.” However, Republican attacks on ACORN go back at least to the 2004 election and have always been tied more to calculations of electoral advantage than to clear-cut racism.

Similarly, attempts by Obama’s political opponents to link him to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers appear less like an expression of racial animosity than like the standard Republican tactic of painting all Democrats as radicals.

Olbermann also pointed to an upsurge in hate crimes since Obama’s election, but here he himself appeared to be verging on guilt by association.

“It is sickening, but it is just a sampling,” Olbermann commented after noting several recent incidents. “And it shares the same obvious under-current. Just as the brandishing of the Confederate Flag during the campaign is mirrored by the Confederate Flag at the recent 9/12 protests. Just as the South Shall Rise Again sentiment associated with states‘ rights finds its way to flirtations with succession, as in Texas, with Rick Perry as governor.”

“Set against that,” Olbermann concluded, “are we to believe that the birther movement can be separated from racism? That the wild fear mongering of the deathers does not play on racist fears of a black man‘s otherness, and his stereotype proclivity to violence? … And yet Mr. Wilson‘s defenders wonder why anyone might think his outburst was even slightly racially motivated.”

This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Sept. 16, 2009.

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