Naturally, Limbaugh said so after referring to the president as “Barack ‘Choom Gang’ Obama” and repeatedly reminding his listeners that although the president doesn’t have a son, “if he did, his son would have looked like Trayvon Martin.”
One outraged Fox News pundit accused the president of race-baiting. “He always goes right to the race piece out of the gate,” said Andrea Tantaros of The Five. “Always goes there.”
And Republican strategist Alice Stewart told CNN’s Don Lemon that Obama “refuses to acknowledge” the racial progress this country has made.
The cognitive dissonance is mind-numbing.
President Obama’s broader point seemed lost on the race-obsessed crowd.
“Now, the flip side of it is,” Obama said, “there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.”
Though he acknowledged that his blackness might affect how some Americans perceive his presidency, this second-term president clearly recognizes that racism is hardly an insurmountable barrier to his achievements and success. Obama even evoked Abraham Lincoln when providing a broader context to his time in the White House.
“Despite being the greatest president, in my mind, in our history,” Obama said of Lincoln, “it took another 150 years before African Americans had anything approaching formal equality, much less real equality.” He added, “That doesn’t diminish Lincoln’s achievements, but it acknowledges that at the end of the day we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.”
Given such a balanced and reasonable perspective presented on the matter, it is curious how Republicans—who vehemently deride the president both politically and personally—can blindly ignore the fact that race and racism influences some, if not all, of their biases. And only willful ignorance could blind one to the fact that race has served as a deliberate and divisive tool by mainstream and far-right Republicans alike.
Perhaps they need a reminder.