With the folks at MSNBC, it always seems to come back to race. Network host Ed Schultz failed to disappoint this morning when he appeared on Thomas Roberts's 11 a.m. Eastern MSNBC Live and suggested that racism was partly to blame for President Obama's weak performance in the debate (video follows page break):
Look, I certainly am not going to bail out on the effort of the progressive movement in this country. This just makes it a little heavier lift than it is right now. It was just very frustrating to watch a guy lie to the American people and not be counter-punched because we're afraid he's going to be called an angry black man. When I see the president, I don't see a black man. I see a president who has inherited an untenable position and turned it around to a great positive to where we are right now. He has brought it down to 8 percent unemployment without any help from the Republicans.
The very next hour, on MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner, panelist Michael Eric Dyson similarly suggested that fear of being seen as an "angry black man" held Obama back from forcefully debating and possibly winning last night's contest.
"Obama has just been subject to the Fox News treatment of Angry Black Man, again," Dyson told his fellow panelists:
Lest we forget this, lest we pretend that that doesn't make a difference, the specter hanging over his neck that, "I can't come off as too vigorous because then it looks like I'm being an angry black man."
And because of the angry black man phenomenon, Mitt Romney is able to be a vigorously engaged man who's able to play to his strength.
Here's the reality: Obama doesn't have the latitude that white guys who speak with vigor do. Now, I'm not suggesting he can't have passion. I'm not suggesting his stylistic approach -- which he's been noted for as Gov. Rendell has indicated -- but I tell you all of that Fox News, "you're a black, angry man" plays on him like [unintelligible, drowned out by cross-talk]