On All in with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Morgan State University professor Jason Johnson and conservative talk radio host Charlie Sykes preview President Donald Trump’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress.
Comedy Central launched a new sketch comedy show this spring called “Key and Peele”. The show’s two hosts, both bi-racial black men, focused a lot of the program’s sketches on pop culture, racism and politics to varying degrees of funniness. Key and Peele’s most famous sketch is “Luther the Anger Translator” which pokes fun at President Obama’s seemingly unflappable calmness in the face of ridiculous criticism and hate from Congress on down to knucklehead reporters:
In order to let America know that he truly does get angry, Obama (played by Jordan Key) hires Luther to be his “Anger Translator” and tell America what he really feels behind the calm measured words he usually says in public. Here’s an example:
Obama: “On the domestic front I want to say to my critics, I hear your voices and I’m aware of your concerns.”
Anger Translator Luther: “…Maybe if you could chill the hell out for like a second then maybe I can FOCUS on some s**t!”
If Obama had actually hired Luther in reality he would be having a much better week and no one in America would know the name Neil Munro.
Munro is a reporter (and I use that term generously) for the conservative site Daily Caller and he interrupted the president with a ‘question’ while Obama was explaining his new immigration policy last Friday at the White House. The ‘question’ from Munro was “Why do your favor foreigners over Americans” in the middle of Obama explaining why he is using an executive order to offer amnesty to illegal immigrations who were brought to the U.S. as children by their parents.
Needless to say most reporters found this to be a pretty extreme breach of protocol (didn’t Munro learn that you don’t interrupt people while they’re talking, especially the President) at the same time he got an answer and won the weekly “Shameful Irony” award.
Munro, who chastised the president for initiating a policy that would hurt American workers, claims that he is an Irish immigrant himself who used to work in the British press. Hey: doesn’t that mean he stole that Daily Caller job from some hard working American?
Of course the real story here is the silly Rorschach test that comes from these types of political dust-ups during the slow summer months of campaign season. Republican sites blew up after the kerfuffle claiming that Obama “Snapped” at a heckler and lost his “Cool”.
But, this isn’t news – Republicans have been pushing that meme for years: that Obama is this crazy Black man on the edge, always a millisecond away from flipping out and beating down Whitey in broad daylight. Every exchange he has with a reporter is supposedly the burning a fuse on the cannonball bomb that is Obama’s untapped violent Kenyan emotions.
The truth is probably a lot less sexy and a bit more racist. If you consider that the three most obnoxious examples of public conduct towards Obama this story makes a bit more sense. You have Congressman Joe Wilson, Governor Jan Brewer and now Neil Munro – what binds these folks in their incredible inability to use their inside voice? In each instance the president was talking about immigration. And maybe for some folks listening to this Black President talk about Brown people is just too much to bear.
You can disagree, but something a little extra is going on for these folks to be so disagreeable.
In the end, Munro will become a new conservative pin-up boy for being rude under the guise of asking tough questions and speaking truth to power. And Barack Obama will go back to the non-angry so-cool-that-ice-won’t-melt-in-his-mouth-kind-of-president that some people love and others have never been able to get with. The truth is most of this could be solved if he just hired Luther. I can only imagine his translation of the president’s words last Friday.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.
Republican nomination campaigns used to be so fun and predictable.
The nominees would trot out and share some plans (Flax Tax, Enterprise Zones, etc.). Democrats would sneer and the whole campaign would be a fairly humdrum affair.
Until the South Carolina primary.
South Carolina has, until this year always been the third rail of Republican politics during an election season. The blood red conservative state is home to some of the most conservative evangelical Christians and Republicans in the country and candidates who thought they had a good chance in the general election always knew that the kind of reactionary right wing rhetoric that they’d have to spout in South Carolina would come back to haunt them in a general election. Nowhere was this phenomenon more on display than how Republicans would deal with Bob Jones University – that is until the election of 2012.
Bob Jones is a conservative Christian University in South Carolina known for its incredibly doctrinaire interpretations of the Bible. For much of its history the school taught that Catholicism and Mormonism were cults, in addition to its very explicit ban on interracial dating. Despite these increasingly anachronistic policies, Republicans would climb all over each other to speak at the college and beef up their conservative credentials in the most important constituent state in the Republican nomination process. Ronald Reagan spoke there in 1980 (despite the school endorsing one of his South Carolina primary opponents) Alan Keyes spoke there (which is ironic given that he is in an interracial marriage) and as recently as the 2000 presidential election then Texas governor George W. Bush spoke there. John McCain (who wasn’t invited) criticized Bush for speaking at a school with a written policy of anti-integration but failing to mention it during his speech. By the time the 2008 presidential election came along Bob Jones University had more or less gotten out of its 40-plus years of political king making on the Republican side, so much so that this year Mitt Romney, the GOP frontrunner who still has some weaknesses with the conservative base, didn’t even bother to stop by.
This speaks volumes about where the Republican Party is today as well as what we might expect to unfold at the South Carolina primary. The conservative base of the Republican Party has always had serious problems with Democratic presidents and especially the Black one serving in the White House today. At the same time however, the kinds of openly symbolic attacks on race and diversity in America are less necessary today when that hostility can be expressed by an unmitigated drive to remove Obama from the White House along with any and everything he’s ever done since getting there.
Speeches at Bob Jones University have been replaced by calls for the eradication of anything that has been passed under this administration, cries of “You Lie” during a State of the Union address and a host of other thinly veiled slights that are more about the color of the man than the content of his policies. One can only wonder if the fading of Bob Jones University into the political background is a sign of progressive change in the GOP or just the subsuming of racial animus directly at the president instead.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.