A Politico reporter has suggested that racism was behind Neil Munro's questioning of President Obama at the White House yesterday. Saying "it's very, very difficult to place race outside of this context," the Politico's Joe Williams claimed racially-motivated direspect of PBO is part of a pattern among conservatives, citing Rep. Joe Wilson, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and the Tea Party.
Williams made his remarks in the course of responding to a question from Michael Eric Dyson, subbing for Ed Schultz on MSNBC last night. View the video after the jump.
Watch Joe Williams being only too happy to side with Dyson's suggestion that the various episodes cited were motivated by the fact that "this is the nation's first African-American president."
After commenting on the Munro exchange with the President Obama, Schultz sub Michael Eric Dyson suggested there was a pattern.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: The "you lie" incident by Wilson, Brewer with her finger-wagging. This seems to be part of a larger issue. And I gotta ask the question here: does it have anything to do with the fact that this is the nation's first black president and the level of disrespect is alarming and stunning?
JOE WILLIAMS: It's very, very difficult to place race outside of this context. Mostly because a lot of the interruptions, a lot of the disrespect has been unprecedented. We haven't seen anything like this before. A lot of people will suggest it's because the Republican party has moved so far to the right that they're willing to do things that were unthinkable. But certainly in my experience, it's hard to divorce that because this president doesn't look like the others. And not only do we have a lot of these sort of interruptions, a lot of disrespect towards the office, in more than my view, I mean, a lot of people in the tourist field and practicing journalists were agog, were aghast at what had happened. But you also have the promotions of the Tea Party, where they're using racially-tinged imagery, and racially-tinged sort of statements to get their point across. You have a lot of Members of Congress on the Republican side who feel like they can do whatever or talk about whatever. I mean, have you ever heard of a president being talked about in the way that this congress has talked about him, where you say our job is to make sure this guy serves one term, as opposed to our job is to see that the best interests of the country are served. So given all that evidence, it's hard to divorce that. A lot of people will defend it as saying other presidents were disrespected, but in my view none so publicly.