Blogger Paul Waldman: If Conservatives Don’t Want to Be Called Racist, They Should Stop Lionizing Race-Baiters

American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman sympathizes with conservatives who are “unfairly accused of racism,” but added in a Friday post that overall he doesn’t feel all that sorry for them given that right-wingers routinely condone actual bigotry from their leaders.

Addressing his conservative readers, Waldman admitted that sometimes “liberals are too quick to see racist intent in a comment that may be innocuous or at worst unintentionally provocative. But you make heroes out of people like [Rudy] Giuliani, [Rush] Limbaugh, and [Erick] Erickson…and when other people occasionally notice the caustic hairballs of bile they spit onto waiting microphones, the most you can say is, ‘Well, I wouldn't go that far.’ So you have nothing to complain about.”

Waldman finds most right-wing commentaries on President Obama literally fantastic (in other words, based on fantasy): “As a general rule, whenever you hear a conservative pundit start a sentence with ‘Barack Obama believes…’ you're about to hear something that not only bears no plausible relationship to reality but is also meant to play on the worst instincts of his or her audience.”

From Waldman’s post, headlined “The Poison in Which Conservatives Marinate” (bolding added):

If you look at poll results saying that most Republicans think Barack Obama is a Kenyan Muslim enacting a secret plan to destroy America and think, "What the hell is wrong with these people?", you have to understand that it gets reinforced day after day after day by media sources they believe to be lonely islands of truth amid a sea of lies…[A] river of political sewage…flows into their ears each and every day.

To wit, here's Republican uber-pundit Erick Erickson, filling in for Rush Limbaugh and telling his millions of listeners what they want to hear:

"Barack Obama believes that for the world to be more safe the United States must be less safe...[E]verything Barack Obama does domestically and in foreign policy is designed to humble the arrogant crackers who have always run the United States."

Yes, that's right, "arrogant crackers." How on earth anyone could get the idea that the attacks on Obama by people like Erickson are meant to stoke their audience's racial resentments, I have no idea.

As a general rule, whenever you hear a conservative pundit start a sentence with "Barack Obama believes…" you're about to hear something that not only bears no plausible relationship to reality but is also meant to play on the worst instincts of his or her audience. And it is simply impossible to overstate the ubiquity of this particular theme in conservative media: Barack Obama hates not just America but white people in general, and all of his policies are meant to exact racial vengeance upon them. This is the rancid stew of fantasy, hatred, and yes, racism in which millions upon millions of conservatives have spent the last six years marinating.

To my conservative friends: I know that you are obsessed with the idea that conservatives are constantly being unfairly accused of racism. And there are certainly times when some liberals are too quick to see racist intent in a comment that may be innocuous or at worst unintentionally provocative. But you make heroes out of people like [Rudy] Giuliani, Limbaugh, and Erickson. You applaud them, honor them, extol them, and when other people occasionally notice the caustic hairballs of bile they spit onto waiting microphones, the most you can say is, "Well, I wouldn't go that far." So you have nothing to complain about.

Conservatives & Republicans Race Issues Racism American Prospect Erick Erickson Paul Waldman Barack Obama Rudy Giuliani Rush Limbaugh


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