The former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Haley Barbour, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning and used a pocket full of dog whistles to double down on Rudy Giuliani’s comments about President Barack Obama. The show’s host, Chuck Todd, brought Barbour on the show to provide an opportunity for a top Republican to smooth things out after Rudy Giuliani said President Obama did not love America. Instead, he dug the Party in deeper.
Barbour is a former Mississippi governor and former Republican chairman. He once said that blacks in his home town in Mississippi were happy under Jim Crow. This is why Barbour was an odd choice to smooth thing out for the GOP on a racially charged issue like this.
Todd asked Barbour about Wisconsin governor Scott Walker who refused to answer a reporter’s question about the Giuliani incident. Specifically Walker was asked if he believed Obama was a Christian. Walker said he had no way of knowing. This is well-known dog whistle for “he’s a Muslim.”
Instead of affirming that Barack Obama is a Christian, Barbour brought out his own dog whistle. He said that “Many people say they are a Christian, but in their heart they are not.” What Obama-haters heard was “Obama is a not a Christian in his heart; he is a Muslim.” Because it was in dog whistle, Barbour will deny that was his intent. One can’t put toothpaste back in the tube, however, and the career politician knows that.
Not content to leave it there, Todd’s guest pulled out another dog whistle by bringing up Jeremiah Wright as further evidence that Obama does not love America. Wright was the pastor of the “Christian” church in Chicago that the Obama’s attended. Wright was speaking about racism in the United States and said “God damn America not God bless America.”
The Obama’s condemned Wright’s statement and left that church. That was not enough for Barbour and Republicans. They act as though Obama wrote the text of Wright’s sermon and is still a member. Yet, even though that was a Christian church and not a Mosque, Republicans still say the president is a Muslim. He must be bi-religious.
Giuliani was given opportunities on FOX News to walk his remarks back, but doubled down, explaining that Obama was not one of “us”. “He was not raised like you and I. He was raised as a communist”, Giuliani said. The failed has-been presidential candidate did not offer any proof for his accusation.
Obama was raised by his white mother and grandparents in Kansas. His grandfather was a veteran and there is no evidence whatsoever that they raised Barack as a communist. But, if a Republican says it, the opposite is usually true—especially if they say it on FOX.
Barbour refused to comment on whether Obama loved America saying only that his policies are bad and hurt America. Todd asked Barbour if Giuliani should apologize and he said that was up to Rudy.
Jeb Bush condemned the remarks but most Republicans refuse to. Instead, they praise what a great job Rudy did after 911, including on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. The more they talk, the deeper they dig. If one is not part of the solution, they, like Giuliani, are the problem. If they don’t condemn the remarks, they own the remarks.
What this episode points out is that Republicans have no proposals so they resort to character assassination. They say Obama’s policies are bad, yet, they offer none of their own. They rely on dog whistles to stir up hate against the president in hopes it will trickle down to all Democratic candidates.
Republicans vote to repeal Obamacare, but they will have no plan for a replacement. Republicans criticize Obama’s jobs bills, but have no proposals of their own. They blast the president for his efforts on immigration, but have refused to pass any immigration bill. Republicans are the Party of no, the Party of obstruction, the Party of government shutdowns, and apparently, the Party of vicious name calling by use of dog whistles.
If Republicans are not the Party of hate, then they need to stand up and publicly chastise Giuliani, Barbour, Walker and nearly everyone on FOX for their dog-whistled hate talk. If not, they own it.
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