By Emily Theroux
When aggrieved conservatives — those harboring “white resentment” over perceived preferential treatment of minorities — denounce African-Americans as “racists,” they are generally not referring to any actual assertions of “anti-white” sentiment by their targets. The predominantly older group of white Republicans who hate Barack Obama’s race, while insisting they only hate his policies, are, not surprisingly, the same folks who rail about affirmative action and government handouts. Having grown weary of being branded racists, they’ve resolved, as blogger Imani Gandy of “Angry Black Lady Chronicles” explains in exasperation, “to define racism as ‘including race in the consideration of anything’ — and therefore that means all liberals are racists. ‘We win,’” they jeer. ‘What are you going to do about it?’”
Just dare to mention the words “white people” in passing, and the right’s favorite bullies will track you down with hysterical rhetoric designed to sabotage your career by mounting a coordinated campaign of zero-sum character assassination. The white rage complex can annihilate black pundits with words alone, as former Politico reporter Joe Williams recently learned the hard way.
What Williams calls “the Right-Wing Noise Machine” will not stand down, in fact, if anyone on the left brings up this demographic, not without unleashing the full force of their collective virtual artillery — a week-long barrage of hate tweets, blog bombs, and unmanned drone texts.
‘Politico didn’t hesitate to cave to right-wing pressure’
Breitbart.com, The Daily Caller, and FishbowlDC.com tag-teamed Joe Williams’ “white folks” quote — distorting what he said about presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney being “comfortable around people like him” into Romney being “uncomfortable around black people.” To further muddy the waters, the bloggers produced a detailed study of the reporter’s Twitter feed, in which he made questionable (supposedly private) remarks about his employer and retweeted a snarky penis gag a friend made after Romney’s wife, Ann, joked about her husband’s “stiff” demeanor: “I guess we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out.” The bloggers, of course, the ones who could demagogue in their sleep, said Williams had written the tweet.
After the wingnut blogosphere succeeded in making a fine fricassee of Joe Williams’ professional credibility, Politico suspended him almost without blinking. “Politico didn’t hesitate to give in to right-wing pressure and call into question this man’s stellar journalistic career,” observed Nida Khan at The Huffington Post.
Over the past few weeks, Williams has begun appearing almost nightly on the Current TV cable show of a fellow “outcast,” former N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer. After the New Unzipped Mitt’s controversial speech before the NAACP convention, where black leaders lustily booed the candidate’s testy “Obamacare” slurs, Mitt jetted off to a Montana fundraiser to boast about the reaction he had gone there to provoke. “If they want more stuff from the government,” he told his upscale audience (emphasis mine), “tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget, nothing is really free.”
“Politico’s Joe Williams was fired for saying that Romney couldn’t relate to black people. If he’d said that tonight, he might still be employed,”Andrew Sullivan summed up in a post titled “Can I Have My Job Back Now?”
‘Mittmobile’ detours into murky ‘foreign’ terrain
Believe it if you dare, but Mythological Mitt tried to deflect the Bain barrage (and persuade members of his own party to back off the drip, drip, drip of tax-return demands), by resurrecting Barack the Magic Muslim’s “Back-to-Birtherland bio” — without Donald Trump’s help this time. (Mitt still lost the round; he actually consulted instead with Senor “Oxycontin Rush” — a genuine pharmacological phenomenon, BTW — for advice on dirty-tricks strategery.) Mitt may rue the day he embraced El Rushbo’s proffered “Tall, Dark, Shiftless ‘Furriner’ Who Never Worked a Day in his Life” routine. Wimpy Willard was too “chickenhawk” to deliver on Limbaugh’s bully-boy script himself, so he got Big John “The White Rhino” Sununu (please note the silent “h”; they pronounce it “RINO”) to reenact Rush’s hard-boiled role instead.
Sununu badly flubbed his cameo, calling out Obama’s imaginary cluelessness about “how the American system works,” placing him in the firmament of the “political-slash-felon environment” of Chicago, and declaring that the president needed to “learn how to be an American” (a charge he later retracted, apologizing for questioning the president’s patriotism).
Meanwhile, Meandering Mitt took a risky detour onto the “extraordinarily foreign course” he claims Obama is following. Limbaugh chimed in, stating unequivocally that, “It can now be stated without equivocation — without equivocation — that This Man HATES This Country.” Sununu and his birther retinue soon crawled back under their customary rock and managed to stay there, at least for now. (A comment on Breitbart.com read, “Sununu and Romney, both young men during the Vietnam war, found a way to escape serving their country. Now they are lecturing others on how to be American? Shame on you pathetic losers!”)
As for deflecting attention from Mitt’s Jumbo the Elephant-sized tax impasse, the mission’s histrionics merited a resounding FAIL. A total of 15 conservatives are now clamoring for the Blue-Blooded Blunderbuss to release his tax returns without further incident or delay.
Multimillionaire Mitt keeps his eye on the prize
The freedom of opportunity that Mitt extols (primarily for “wellborn,” patrician white guys like him) to scale the lofty peaks of achievement, success, and entrepreneurialism is not really an option for the underprivileged, the way he’s always looked at it. Mitt shouldn’t be forced to divulge whatever advantages and hypocrisies and moral shortcuts inhabit his tax returns, offshore tax havens, and Swiss bank account — not to mention the mystery gazillion-dollar IRA that would have taken a “working stiff” 73,000 years to amass (its grand total jealously guarded by the Trust Fund Manager from Hell, who hasn’t imparted one iota of info about them to poor, bullied Mitt in 25 years!).
So Romney wants America’s “huddled masses” — including Barack H. Obama — to just back off and allow him the huge head start he is accustomed to, so he can add the bauble of the U.S. presidency to the priceless collection of mansions, boats, dressage horses, and other hidden pleasures that he and his immediate family enjoy. Don’t pass “GO”, don’t collect $200; just keep your eye on the prize, Mitt, and exclude all the unworthy riffraff you possibly can — especially the “Halfrican” (Rush’s word, not mine), Kenyan, Indonesian Muslim who’s been blocking Mitt’s path to glory since early 2007, when both of them announced their candidacies — the privileged, entitled white man and the genial, pragmatic black man who saw his own opportunity flicker in the 21st-century political groundswell and seized it, before the flimsiest outside chance in American history could flame out just as abruptly as it had appeared.
‘But the God I don’t believe in is a merciful God’
What would Jesus do? Don’t even ask — but I’m sure it would have a lot more to do with camels wedging their massive humps through the eyes of size 8 embroidery needles than rich guys breezing past the Pearly Gates, brandishing their “Get Out of Jail Free” cards. Mitt’s birthright, indeed, includes the precious liberty once afforded to France’s last “absolute monarch,” Louis XVI, an ineffectual ruler who tried but failed to remedy widespread hunger among the disgruntled masses, as well as make a stab at repaying a soaring national debt brought on by inadequate tax revenues and the enormous costs of foreign wars (Aux armes, citoyens!) — in the brief decade before the impatient rabble rose up and chopped Louie’s entitled freaking head off.
Mitt, on the other hand, believes he’s earned the cherished freedom he so covets from being “shamed” by lesser mortals’ envy or unAmerican sniping or Marxist denigration (Glenn, take a bow!) into sharing one thin dime of his stupefying fortune with anyone — except for an obligatory pittance to the Mormon high mucky-mucks whose sole utility to Mitt is to make sure he squeezes through the eye of that needle with all of his secret lucre intact.
(And how about Joe Williams — what would he think? Sadly, I haven’t been able to ask him, since he closed his Twitter feed when the Politico controversy began, and nobody new — that would be me — can follow him.)
In Joseph Heller’s magnum opus Catch-22, Yossarian asked Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s wife what the hell she was so upset about when, as he reminded her, “‘I thought you didn’t believe in God.’ ‘I don’t,’ she sobbed, bursting violently into tears. ‘But the God I don’t believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He’s not the mean and stupid God you make Him out to be.’ Yossarian laughed and turned her arms loose.’“Let’s have a little more religious freedom between us,’ he proposed obligingly. ‘You don’t believe in the God you want to, and I won’t believe in the God I want to. Is that a deal?’”
Deal — if only the God I don’t believe in would find a new job for Joe Williams, working for reasonable people, as soon as possible, and keep Mitt’s greedy fingers from getting a good grip on the brass ring. After all, he’s greased his palms with so many other people’s accumulated misery. I think just a little dab of heavenly Brylcreem would do him, like the jingle said — and if we’re lucky, do in his ill-advised campaign for good.
Keeping the White House white, withholding new ingredients from America’s historic melting pot — no matter who’s been scheming to restore the tradition and for whatever nefarious reason — was a really rotten idea in the first place.