President Barack Obama and his administration have been on the receiving end of a great deal of leftist criticism recently for its "lack of diversity" (to be clear, I find that entire discussion tiresome, as it would be more productive to spend time on problems like John Kerry's anti-American history, Jack Lew's bankrupting budgetary intransigence, and Eric Holder's unprecedented obsession with suing states exercising their sovereign rights).
With that backdrop, it's incredibly convenient that Colin Powell "just so happened" to appear today on NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory, the Washington elitist disguised as a journalist who on Friday escaped prosecution for violating District of Columbia gun and ammunition law three weeks ago, to accuse the Republican Party -- the party whose members ended slavery, provided the margins by which landmark civil-rights legislation passed in the 1950s and 1960s, and whose ranks rarely if ever included members of the Ku Klux Klan while southern Democrats were infested with such members for nearly a century -- of having "a dark vein of intolerance."
The Politico's Ginger Gibson wrote that Powell "pointed to a number of statements that were directed at Obama as evidence that there is still racism within the party." The "number" of examples Gibson cited is actually two. A review of the show transcript indicates that there are only two. Both are absurd:
There’s also a dark-- a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the Party. What I do mean by that? I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor say that the president is shuckin’ and jivin’, that’s a racial era slave term. When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well, says that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well, he said he was lazy. Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans but to those of us who are African-Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with it.
Really, this is all Powell has.
"Shuckin' and jivin'"? The person about whom Powell was speaking without having the integrity to say her name is former Alaska Governor and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. As Palin clearly explained three months ago -- an explanation covered by Kevin Cirilli in the Politico -- those are not words whose use is has been limited to African-Americans (link was in original):
“I would have used the exact same expression if I had been writing about President Carter, whose foreign policy rivaled Obama’s in its ineptitude, or about the Nixon administration, which was also famously rocked by a cover-up,” Palin wrote on Facebook on Wednesday night.
Palin said that Chris Matthews, White House Press Secretary (Jay Carney) and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had all also used the phrase previously.
"I’ve been known to use the phrase most often when chastising my daughter Piper to stop procrastinating and do her homework. As she is part Yup’ik Eskimo, I’m not sure if this term would be deemed offensive when it’s directed at her or if it would be considered benign as in the case of Chris Matthews’ use of it in reference to Rachel Maddow,” Palin wrote. “Just to be careful, from now on I’ll avoid using it with Piper, and I would appreciate it if the media refrained from using words and phrases like igloo, Eskimo Pie, and “when hell freezes over,” as they might be considered offensive by my extended Alaska Native family.”
It will surprise no one that the "Meet the Press" transcript has no Powell references to Cuomo, Carney, or Matthews. My math says that this demonstrates, according to the Colin Powell "shuckin' and jivin'" doctrine, that the "dark vein of racism" is at least three times as prevalent in the Democratic Party.
"Lazy"? Really, Gen. Powell? In Colin Powell's world, one can't use that adjective to describe any African-American's work ethic or thought processes, even if true.
Press reports before the second presidential debate clearly indicated that Obama hadn't been working hard on preparation before the first (i.e., that he had in essence been lazy), writing of Obama's "side-trips, golf (and) similar distractions." We can debate how wise it was for Sununu to say what he said, but the truth of what he said was the agreed-upon press excuse for Obama's poor first debate performance.
Powell also wanted to classify the "birther movement" as a third example of GOP racism. Though Gibson also quoted it, that contention is utterly without merit. The questions birthers are raising either do or don't have merit, and their ultimate resolution has nothing to do with Obama's race. In any event, the GOP establishment has deliberately distanced itself miles away from any association with that movement. Readers should also recall that the birther movement began when a Pennsylvania Democrat and former deputy attorney general filed a lawsuit several months before the 2008 presidential election.
One final note: Powell said today that "until I voted for Mister Obama twice, I had voted for seven straight Republican presidents." His list would therefore have to include Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. Yet Powell told Gregory today that "there’s been a significant shift to the right (in the Republican Party) and we have seen what that shift has produced, two losing presidential campaigns." So Mitt Romney and John McCain were to the right of Ronald Reagan, and that's why they lost. Please.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.