Racist Republicans imply that Obama is black!

When I read about Barack Obama's half brother living in poverty in a shanty area in Kenya, it occurred to me that the contrast between the two might become an issue in the campaign. After all, imagine what would happen if it were discovered that John McCain had a half brother living in squalor somewhere. As it is, the Obama team is tearing into McCain under the class war / Zero Sum theory that his wife's property ownership makes them somehow guilty of being rich at the expense of the poor, and he's even being savaged because his wife's sister was left out of her father's will:

Does anyone think if Mr. McCain had a sibling living in a trailer park making minimum wage (892 times more than Mr. Obama's half brother's yearly income) that the mainstream media and the Obama campaign wouldn't notice?

In fact, last week National Public Radio ran a piece titled, "Cindy McCain's Half Sister 'Angry' She's Hidden," highlighting that Mr. McCain's wife's half sister was left out of her father's will. The piece was duly filed under the publicly funded network's "conservative compassion deficit" media template.

So clearly, the McCains are held to be responsible for the circumstances of their relatives and they get no breaks. In politics, there's nothing new about this; back in the 60s, even the sacrosanct Kennedy clan faced criticism when it was discovered that Jackie's schizophrenic cousin and her mother lived in a decaying, animal-infested house which drew scrutiny from local health authorities. Jackie went in and helped clean up the place herself, and it's all detailed in the film Grey Gardens.

While I don't think it is fair to be held responsible for the circumstances of people beyond your control, such "responsibility" is part and parcel of the liberal philosophy, and for any presidential candidate to escape scrutiny resulting from the plight of an impoverished relative would be abnormal in American politics.

What's utterly new is the idea that such run-of-the-mill political criticism is to be considered "racist" -- at least if the candidate is Barack Obama.

It did not take long for this meme to be applied to discussions of Obama's impoverished brother:

...On the same day that the Obama campaign was sprucing up Michelle's values for popular consumption, the Texas Republican Party released an ad that showed Obama's nice home in Chicago and a picture of his half-brother in Kenya standing by a shanty. The explicit argument of the ad was that Obama says he wants to help American families but does nothing to help his own. The implicit message: he's BLACK and his brother is an AFRICAN. In the weeks ahead, the Obama camp may well face a blitz of negative attacks that could make the Swift Boat assault against John Kerry look like a day at the beach.

Can warm-and-fuzzy beat mean-and-nasty-and-racist?

Got that?

It is now mean and nasty and racist to point out that Obama's brother lives in squalor. That's because such criticism contains the "implicit message" that Obama is black.

Forgive me, but since when does the fact that Obama is black need to be implied? I'm a bit confused here. I know that there are racists in this country who think being black is bad and would not vote for Obama for that reason, but is that the sort of thing racists point out by implication? Can it be that David Corn is assuming that there are still racist voters in America who don't realize that a black man is running for president, but they'll be "awakened" to that fact by "implicit messages" involving an impoverished African brother?

I don't think so. Rather, I think this is evidence of a new standard that any criticism of Obama conveys the "implicit message" that he is black.

That's because your typical white person is implicitly mean, nasty and racist.

UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and a warm welcome to all.

Comments appreciated, agree or disagree.

posted by Eric on 08.26.08 at 10:54 AM


That's because Obama lost his mother and was raised by his typical white person Grandma in Hawaii. Never mind of course that Obama's mother died when he was like 34.

Letalis Maximus, Esq.   ·  August 26, 2008 5:41 PM

Holy crap! What's wrong with these people? I thought a huge part of Obama's appeal is that he IS black!

bewildered   ·  August 26, 2008 5:42 PM

Soon, showing any picture of Obama in any GOP ad will be 'racist', as it is meant to show voters that Obama is black.

Actually, he is only 50% black.

I remind everyone that Rev. Wright is just 30-40% black.

Tommy   ·  August 26, 2008 5:48 PM

"animal-infected house"

sorry to go all usage police on you but animals INFEST they don't INFECT, germs do that.

will   ·  August 26, 2008 5:49 PM

Soon, showing any picture of Obama in any GOP ad will be 'racist', as it is meant to show voters that Obama is black.

Actually, he is only 50% black.

I remind everyone that Rev. Wright is just 30-40% black.

Tommy   ·  August 26, 2008 5:50 PM

Wait, you mean that Obama is black and has relatives in Africa?? Stop the presses! Why did nobody mention this before now?? Boy, nothing gets by David Corn!

PapayaSF   ·  August 26, 2008 5:50 PM

Barry's BLACK?!? That does is!!! I'm switching my vote to "None of the above"!!!

Richard Blaine   ·  August 26, 2008 6:11 PM

He says "The sheriff is a near!"

Strike up the band, Johnson!

Techie   ·  August 26, 2008 6:48 PM

For more on Perpetuating The Big Race Lie, see Jacob Weisberg @ Slate.

Tip o’ the hat went to Jay Nordlinger at The Corner for referencing the piece at Slate.com entitled: “If Obama Loses” and subtitled “Racism is the only reason McCain might beat him.”

We’ve heard it before; we’re sure to hear it again. If McCain wins, racism is the only explanation and the Decline of America is confirmed.

What a nasty Lie.

If the black nominee this year were a Republican, we wouldn’t be hearing a peep about Racism-As-Reason. The liberal media would blithely loathe the Republican nominee, notwithstanding his blackness. As Nordlinger points out:

The nominee would be just another Republican who needed to be defeated, like Lynn Swann, Michael Steele, or Ken Blackwell. When Doug Wilder ran for governor of Virginia, everyone said, for months, “He would be the first black governor since Reconstruction.” It was also asserted, constantly, that the election was a test of Virginians’ racial maturity.

But earlier, the Republicans had a black nominee in my home state, Michigan – his name was Bill Lucas. No one said he would be the first black governor since Reconstruction. No one talked about the racial maturity of Michigan voters. Lucas was just another conservative politician who needed to be defeated.

And he was, by a garden-variety white liberal (Jim Blanchard).

I am sick of watching re-runs of the Whitey Hates The Black Man mini-series. I am sick of accusations of Racism in America every time some person of color does not get what they want when they want it. And I am sick to death of the over-simplification of issues and pseudo-polarization of our population via all Identity Politics.

If Obama loses this fall, it will be because he didn’t convince enough Americans that his governing skills and policies were better than McCain’s. Period.

E!!   ·  August 26, 2008 7:04 PM

Call me "racist" all summer and into the fall -- I still a'int gonna vote for you.

Typical White Woman   ·  August 26, 2008 7:09 PM

Did I hear somewhere that Obama is in fact only 1/8 black and 1/2 white? The other 3/8 being Arab?

I admit it could be one of those "smears" going around without any truth. Wikipedia didn't clarify this for me.

equitus   ·  August 26, 2008 7:54 PM

White Americans are actually the only group that does tolerate African Americans.

Hispanics and Asians don't have any admiration for African Americans. They routinely condemn African American cultural traits.

Blacks in Africa and the Caribbean also dislike African Americans.

Whites are actually the only group that treats African Americans relatively well.

Jemima   ·  August 26, 2008 8:56 PM

"I remind everyone that Rev. Wright is just 30-40% black."

Are you implying that the 60-70% white part is what makes Wright a nut? I must infer, sir, reverse racism!

Uncle Ralph   ·  August 26, 2008 9:02 PM

Obama is _black_? My understanding is that he is 50% white, 48% arab, and 2% african ... so maybe not so black as light brown. Nevertheless he _could_ be the victim of racism for his skin color. In the current "post-historical" age I think white, hetereosexual males might be the most victimized group in identity politics.

But, as a representative American I think identity politics, and affirmative action, are stupid, and serve only to maintain inequality (and the lucrative businesses benefiting from that inequality). The path to equality is to treat people equally. As a technology manager I have a team consisting of a black Jamaican woman (US citizen), a male from Taipei (also a US citizen), an older woman, a Dominican male, a couple of immigrants (green card) of both sexes from India, and a couple of white males. Pretty diverse, but none were chosen to enhance our team's diversity ... they all were selected on their merits.

AnAverageAmerican   ·  August 26, 2008 10:11 PM

I remember the 1982 governor's race in California for governor between Tom Bradley and George Deukmejian. One poll included questions of "Will you vote for a black candidate" vs. "Will you vote for an Armenian candidate" for balance.

The true irritation was during the post-election interview with the loser, Tom Bradley, when he said that the reason he lost was that California was not ready for a black governor. I didn't vote for him because he was a SoCal liberal Democrat mayor, not for the color of his skin, and to this day I have no respect for that attitude.

Californian   ·  August 27, 2008 1:21 AM

Blacks in Africa and the Caribbean also dislike African Americans.

My friend is an organizer of the Carribean Day festival in Boston. She wants to ban non Carribean blacks from taking part in the parade.

bandit   ·  August 27, 2008 8:55 AM

Who's side is Joe on anyway? If you think you know the answer make sure you see this video.

Joe Biden on Barack Obama
News Droppings: Joe Biden on Barack Obama

Newsmonkey   ·  August 27, 2008 10:12 AM

Ah, yes, the old "Bradley Effect". The possibility that Obama's poll numbers are being artifically inflated by the Bradly Effect is probably scaring the bejeezus out of his supporters. The problem is, the media and the Obama campaign completely misunderstands the cause of the Bradley Effect and, in so doing, engage in tactics that increase, rather than decrease the likelihood that it will occur.

Contra the CW, the Bradley Effect is NOT caused by racists who tell pollsters they'll vote for "the black candidate" so they won't feel racist. Those who won't vote for Obama because he's (1/2 or 1/4 or 48/ 113 or whatever) black will describe a non-racist reason for not supporting him. The Bradley Effect is caused by well meaning but easily guilted whites who tell pollsters they are supporting the black candidate even if they don't or are undecided for fear of appearing to be racist. And the more the Obama camp and the media play on the "Opposing Obama = racism" meme the more pronounced the Bradley Effect will be.

Sean P   ·  August 27, 2008 1:41 PM

What is really disturbing about this is that these "If you don't vote for Obama or you are against Obama or you criticize Obama you are racist" commentaries are quickly becoming mainstream. David Corn is a pretty well respected journalist for the "Nation" and Jacob Weisberg was writing for Slate.com, also a well-respected journalistic site. I think that we need to have some prominent journalists and public figures (McCain) speaking out VERY forcefully against baseless charges of racism. I was falsely accused of racism by a Hispanic subordinate while I was in the military and had to endure a guilty-until-proven-innocent investigation to get my name cleared. (The guy was angry because with his evaluation and could not believe there was any reason for a bad grade than that I was racist) I can assure you that as someone who prides themself on trying to treat all people in a fair and decent manner this was a very, very, painful time for me. It is the first and only time in my life that I understood the origin of the expression "sick with worry". I personally look on false accusations of racism as on a par with actual acts of racism and I think we need to fight back with that sort of attitude in mind. The idea that Obama supporters can just willy-nilly accuse people of racism should not be laughed at, but rather called out and condemned. To this day I still have not told some of my Naval Academy friends who were Black or Phillippino that I was accused of racism during my career because I worry that, no matter how well they knew me, the story itself might plant a seed of doubt in their minds about me. False accusations of racism are an abomination!

kdeb   ·  August 27, 2008 5:45 PM

An Open Letter to Senator John McCain and the Republican National Committee:

September 2, 2008

Dear Senator McCain and Mike Duncan, Chairman, Republican National Committee:

"Dear" is all you will get from me. By now you all should be in Minneapolis for your shindig that you call a “convention.”

I am an African-American, and I cannot hold back my anger any longer. It is a documented fact that the Republican Party before and during the Civil War supported and benefited from slavery. As a matter of fact, the Republican Party was started for the express purpose of defending slavery and holding down black people.

It is also a matter of record that the Ku Klux Klan was started by Republicans after the Civil War to terrorize and murder black and white Democrats in the South. Republicans hated the fact that many ex-slaves were serving in state and federal government. They also hated the fact that everyone of the ex-slaves were all members of the Democratic Party. All the white Democrats, before and after the Civil War, were sympathetic to the cause of abolition of slavery and of civil rights for blacks, therefore racist Republicans had no use for them.

The Republicans historically have been bitter opponents of the following Democratic initiatives:

• The 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in 1865
• The 1866 Civil Rights Act
• The First Reconstruction Act of 1867
• The 14th Amendment in 1868 that made all persons born in the U.S., including former slaves, U.S. citizens.
• The 15th Amendment in 1870 that give every citizen the right to vote
• The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 which was to stop Republican Klansmen to terrorized white and black Democrats
• The 1875 Civil Rights Act
• The 1957 Civil Rights Act
• The 1964 Civil Rights Act
• The 1965 Voters Rights Act

In every case, the white Republicans in the Senate, especially Senator Everett Dirksen, and in the House of Representatives fought passage of these laws in every turn as well as being compelled to give up their slaves after the Civil War. The Democratic leadership, especially Senator Robert Byrd who has always despised the Ku Klux Klan and who discouraged white Americans from joining that gang, fought very hard to have those laws passed. Democratic Senator Al Gore Sr., not only voted for the Civil Rights Act in 1964, but he, along side of Senator Byrd, fought a 74-day filibuster by Republicans to defeat the legislation. The Congressional Quarterly of June 26, 1964 recorded that, in the Senate, only 69% of Republicans (46 for, 21 against) voted for the Civil Rights Act as compared to 82% of Democrats (27 for, 6 against) the Civil Rights Act. In the House of Representatives, 61% of Republicans (152 for, 96 against) voted for the Civil Rights Act and. 80% of Democrats, (138 for, 34 against) voted for it.

The Republicans have also opposed every Democratic anti-lynching bill to their shame. The Democrats have always been opposed to lynchings for decades.

For these reason, we black people deserve an apology from the Republican Party for the following:

• support of slavery, on record in their platforms
• support of the Dred Scott decision
• support of segregation and Jim Crow prejudice
• opposition to anti-lynching laws
• attempts to destroy black schools and colleges, and the burning of black churches
• efforts to defeat the Reparation Bill of 1866
• efforts to defeat every piece of Civil Rights legislation from 1863 to 1964
• efforts to have the 1875 Civil Rights Act declared unconstitutional
• support of the Ku Klux Klan, composed of entirely Republicans, and its vile and violent racist agenda:
• Republican participation in the lynchings of thousands of blacks.

History will also show the following:
• Eugene “Bull” Conner (the poster boy of American racism) was a Republican.
• The poll tax was a Republican institution.
• Black codes and Jim Crow laws were instituted by Republicans.

Africans Americans are even due reparations from the Republican Party since it supported and benefited from slavery as well as supporting KKK terror, racism, etc. The Civil Rights movement started because of the majority white racist Republican power structure in the South.

The Democratic Party, of course, has had its problems racially here and there, unfortunately, but it does not have the consistent racist legacy for decades and decades, stretching back to the early 1800’s as the Republican Party has had. The Democratic Party, in general, has always been supportive of and open and honest with African Americans throughout its history.

You Republicans have been very slick in ignoring and even hiding your racist past from black people. It is time for the Republican Party to come clean, tell the truth, and settle the debt.


Brother X

Brother X   ·  September 4, 2008 5:54 PM

Brother X, I think you've reversed the roles of the parties just a bit. If that is in fact who you are; the "comment" above appears verbatim at this site:


It's certainly amusing, though. So wrong that you could almost take the word "Republican" and substitute "Democrat."

A minor historical point; the Republican Party did not exist in the early 1800s, but was started to oppose slavery later in the century:


Founded in 1854 by anti-slavery expansion activists and modernizers, the Republican Party quickly surpassed the Whig Party as the principal opposition to the Democratic Party.

Moreover, the Ku Klux Klan was "a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party," and the "terrorist arm of the Democratic Party."


As to the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, you've got it backwards:

In the Senate, then-Minority Leader Everett Dirksen had little trouble rounding up the votes of most Republicans, and former presidential candidate Richard Nixon also lobbied hard for the bill. Then-Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and Sen. Hubert Humphrey led the Democratic drive for passage, while the chief opponents were Democratic Sens. Sam Ervin, of later Watergate fame, Albert Gore Sr. and Robert Byrd. Mr. Byrd, a former Klansman whom Democrats still call "the conscience of the Senate," filibustered against the civil rights bill for 14 straight hours before the final vote. The House passed the bill by 289-126, a vote in which 79 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats voted yes. The Senate vote was 73-27, with 21 Democrats and only six Republicans voting no. Johnson signed the new Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964.



So many of the parties' actual roles are reversed that I'm wondering whether the last comment is some sort of prank.

Oddly enough, it's being taken seriously in a few places:


Oh, and of course Bull Connor was a Democrat. But I think you knew that....

Eric Scheie   ·  September 4, 2008 7:24 PM

Eric Scheie-thank you for bringing "brother x" up to historical speed. (Is plagiarism rampant amongst democrats? LOL) You might also give some education to him that his own kind kept and traded in slavery. Here is an interesting excerpt about blacks trading in slavery:
"Ancient slavery, e.g. under the Roman empire, would not discriminate: slaves were both white and black (so were Emperors and Popes). In the middle ages, all European countries outlawed slavery (of course, they retained countless "civilized" ways to enslave their citizens, but that's another story), whereas the African kingdoms happily continued in their trade. Therefore, only colored people could be slaves, and that is how the stereotype for African-American slavery was born. It was not based on an ancestral hatred of blacks by whites, but simply on the fact that blacks were the only ones selling slaves, and they were selling their own kins."
I am not entirely sure that all blacks have delved into the slavery issue and probably are not even aware that slavery of blacks was originated and perpetuated by blacks themselves. To think that "whitey" owes reparation would have been wrong way back in the 1800s, so imagine how wrong it is to have slavery held against whites in the 21st century. Newsflash to blacks is we don't 'owe' you and entitlement is what also needs to be abolished. Lincoln was not your hero, either. He only freed slaves because he needed more men to fight the war and realized that keeping men in slavery was a waste of good manpower.

Lorelei   ·  September 6, 2008 11:34 PM

YOU ARE misinformed! DO YOU THAT THE MOST CIVILATIONS HAD EITHER SLAVERY OR FORM OF IT. HAVE YOU READ ABOUT THE ROMAN EMPIRE! READ YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS HISTORY AND FIND OUT ABOUTTHE BLACKS WHO WERE HUNG JUST BECAUSE THEY TRIED TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND RUN THEIR BUSINESS? ASK WHY MY GRANDFATHER WAS ALMOST KILLED BECAUSE HE HAD TOO MANY ACRES OF LAND AND THE WHITE MAN DID NOT LIKE TO SEE A BLACK MAN PROSPER! YES YOU OWE US! YOU REFUSED US JOBS, WEALTH, AND EVEN HAPPINESS! YOU NEED TO TAKE A IN DEPTH HISTORY CLASS ON THE RACIST LAWS THAT WERE PASSED IN CONGRESS EVEN AFTER POST SLAVERY, YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT JIM CROW AND THE LIMITED RIGHTS THAT BLACKS HAD. WE WERENT EVEN ALLOWED TO SHARE IN THE WEALTH THAT WHITES WERE MORE HAPPY TO OBTAIN WITHOUT BEING HUNG ON A TREE! YOU NEED TO APOLOGIZE FOR YOUR ONE SIDED VIEWS! It took having to have people like MLK die and several other thousand for you whites to give us our naturally born human rights! read about slavery in the roman empire, china, Greece, and most countries in the world! you seem to lack common knowledge in world history since you want to bring up slavery! even whites had slavery! Give yourself a break and learn how blacks were killed if they even looked a white man in the eye! learn how congress passed laws to keep people from china out of the country because they were scared that the Chinese would prosper and surpass the white mans dominate place within our society! I love how you told a one sided story! Good job!

READ A HISTPRY BOOK   ·  September 8, 2008 8:23 PM


Are you leaving out the 360,000 Unionists who died in the Civil War who were for the most part anti-slavery?

You might want to look at the lyrics for "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic". You can read the Lyrics Here:I


M. Simon   ·  September 9, 2008 2:48 AM

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