TPM's David Kurtz posted this today based on various letters he's been receiving of the Job Speech Spat. I'm quoting all of it because he himself was quoting and it deserves to be read completely.
While I agree with "JB" that Obama was smart not to make a fight out of the scheduling issue, I also believe that s/he is wrong in assessing the impact of Boehner's move as being one that only 100,000 people care about or that no one will think about it one iota.
It ignores a critical element of Obama's base that is particularly sensitive to slights Republicans give the President - the African-American community.
When Boehner does something like this (that no previous Speaker has done to any previous President), when he refuses to return the President's phone call during the debt ceiling crisis, when he skips state dinners, when he refuses to definitely say that he believes the President was born in the US or is a Christian, or when Boehner coddles a member of his caucus who shout "you lie" during a Presidential address, etc one certain thing happens - black Americans notice it.
African-Americans are especially sensitive to the unprecedented disrespect that white Republicans have afforded to the first black President. Every time it happens, it ripples across black radio, black newspapers, black websites, and in conversations in black communities. It helps cement the ties that Obama has with the black community, and helps overcome whatever doubts and disappoints some may have. It reminds people who have experienced overt racism in their own lives that the President is experiencing the same kind of dehumanizing disrespect. It will help drive strong African-American turnout and overwhelming numbers for Obama next year.
Political pundits may gossip about the rift between Boehner and Obama, but millions of black Americans see something much more sinister when this happens.
I don't usually even attempt to deliver a post that claims to present "the Black View" on things. I frankly don't have a lot of direct serious interaction with other Black people where we can discuss the issues of the day in any depth, except that is for my 70 year-old mother who lived through the Civil Rights Era first hand as an adult, while I was just a toddler. She sees what this letter writer sees, and she doesn't like it. NOT ONE BIT.
It's been a long time since Dr. King, and many things have changed - most notably not only has Racism gone Covert, so has the resistance to Racism. It has to be played Smart.
Now I don't think that the Republican Reactions to Obama are purely because he's Black, they do have their bevy of Racism Shields in place - from Herman Cain, to Allen West and Alan Keyes (who if you all recall they Carpetbagged into Illinois to run against Obama for U.S. Senate).
No, what they're reacting to and treating him like is a Black Democrat.
Bill Clinton, who was called by
Mya Angelou Toni Morrison "America's First Black President" (mostly because she never expected that they would ever elect an Actual Black President) got a lot of this treatment too, but it was mostly on the fringes. The Clinton Chronicles. pushed by Jerry Falwell alleged that Bill Clinton was a drug-dealing murderer who was the true villain behind Iran-Contra. That he had killed Vince Foster either to cover up how they lost money on Whitewater, or to get back at Vince for having an affair with Hillary.
It was all ridiculous BULLSHIT, I know - but it was believed by many on the Far Right.
Then it slowly crept into Congress itself.
They shutdown the Government. Twice. They claimed while Clinton was trying to Kill Bin Laden that he was just doing it to Wag the Dog! They Impeached Him.
So for Clinton it wasn't about him being Black, he was Black Adjacent. He was too sympathetic to Black People and their struggles. He was "Too Liberal". Similarly they see Obama in the same way, and then some. It's not so much about his skin-tone or ancestry is it's about him being perceived (by them) as a "Liberal", and the Right sees all Liberals as a proxy for Blacks, Latinos, Muslims and Gays. Or from their perspective the "Lazy Mooching America-Haters, Invaders, Terrorists and Family Destroying Fornicators." Liberals are seen as aiders and abetters to all the non-white minority people who want to "Take Over" the nation from Good White Christians and Destroy it, with their "Health Care" and "War Crimes" Opposition.
They only dislike Black people who basically act like Black people until they of course, choose to give up their "Blackness", and totally and completely "assiimilate" into the White Culture without a trace of a black-accent, or any of the Hip-Hop/Rap nonsense, stop putting those ridiculous rims on their cars and of course swear fealty to Conservatism.
Y'know - like good ole' Allen West.
If Obama was a proper Right Wing Christian (War Criminal) Black Man like Allen West, they wouldn't have a problem with him - so see, they aren't being Racist when they attack Obama. They're just consolidating their bigotry into a political statement, instead of a racial one. It's about Ideology, not skin tone - as if bigotry over politics is any less dangerous or damaging than bigotry over ancestry or faith.
Even how they call everything "Democrat" instead of "Democratic" is directly intended as a slur. It's an attempt to diminish and demean. It's practically the NEW N-word. They're calling ALL OF US "BOY" right to our face with that "Democrat Party" Crap everyday and getting away with it.
So, it's fair to say what they're doing to Obama isn't new, they would pretty much do it to any Democratic President but then again - the African-American Community has also been through this type of thing for the last few decades and they recognize it for what it is.
This is how modern Racism Functions. It doesn't come at you directly. They bounce it off the nearest wall and hit you on the back of your neck. When you turn around they slap you upside the head while you're not looking anymore. They play games with your head. They attack in ways that allow them to Plausibly (and sometimes not so plausibly) Deny their Racist intent, then turn around and Dare You to Call it "Racist".
I've seen it over and over and over again, both personally and in the general public.
They don't say the obvious, like directly call you the N-word, or Boy - they just constantly peck at you. Tearing you apart little by little. These small, petty little demeaning gestures on relatively irrelevant issues gradually build up over time. And when you call them out for it, they then turn around and say - You're the Racist for bringing it up!
Didn't we see exactly this when the NAACP went after the Tea Party for it's bigoted signs? Isn't that what got Mark Williams kicked out of Tea Party Express?
Don't we repeatedly see exactly this from the likes of Andrew Breitbart as he smeared Sherry Sherrod?
Didn't we see exactly this when Dr. Laura said the N-Word a dozen times to a black woman who called into her show, claiming "Black people say it all the time" and then Dr. Laura called HER the Racist for complaining about it - and naturally, just like she defended Breitbart and Williams, their Great White Savior Saint Sarah Palin Defended Dr. Laura.
They can't set the hoses on us anymore, but they can force us to jump through extra hoops to get to a voting booth. They can require you to be extra and ridiculously over qualified academically, intellectually, financially as Barack Obama had done before he even ran for the Presidency - and yet STILL they can call you an Affirmative Action Baby the way the Limbaugh has done, and the way the Donald Trump did.
Black People hear these Dog-Whistles. They know what they mean.
And they also know that all of these little attacks are intended to Goad them. To make them lose their cool, to make them lose their temper, to make them look irrational and angry.
The Irrational, Paranoid, Screaming Angry Black Man.
It's maddening. But getting mad is just what they want you to do.
That's what they want to turn Obama into. The Angry Black President.
They want him to start Complaining and Whining about the Republicans not treating him nicely. They want him to start "Playing the Race" Card, just so that they throw it right back at him.
"See! See! He's the Real Bigot, He's the Real Racist. Not me. NOT US!"
When he got mad during his Prime Time Address over the Debt Debate the Washington Post called him "Petulant".
Isn't that what you call a child? "Petulant"?
And that's also why he resists. It may be infuriating. It may be crazy making. But this is the double-bind that many Black people have had to face all the time when these slights and broadsides come at them with racial undertones, but few clear or logical overtones.
It's designed to make them doubt themselves. "Is it really, me?" It makes them question their own reality sometimes. "Did I just hear, what I thought I heard --- did that guy just say that to me? Maybe he meant something else, it couldn't have been what it sounded like." It makes some of us become obsessive over-achievers just to prove how "worthy" we are, while it makes others see the futility of it all and just say "FUCK IT!"
How many Black kids don't graduate from High School? I think they said "FUCK IT".
What's the Black Unemployment Rate right now? A lot of them are just going "FUCK IT".
And then you have the attackers call you a whiner. A quitter.
"Why don't you pull yourself up from your bootstraps?"
"Why don't you Believe in America?"
At which point that "Fuck it", quickly turns into a FUCK YOU!.
I've lived with that internal, mental battle my entire life - and I very nearly have reached the "Fuck IT/FUCK YOU!" point more than once. Generally speaking, it didn't help much.
That's not the road Obama intends or needs to go down, sorry.
People like Cenk have derided Obama for lack of "Guts". I think he's missing it. There's a lot more going on here under the covers, and Obama has to not just to play this tough...
He's got to play this Smart.
Let's hope he does.