It’s time to Break It Down!
The really big story today is last night’s Presidential Debate. The secondof three such tilts, last night’s contest was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, and moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley in town hall format. After a universally accepted unexpectedly effective performance by Governor Romneyin the first debate, two weeks ago, President Obama faced a great deal of pressure to stand and deliver in a manner to“stop the free fall” his campaign has experienced since the first encounter. The narrative of the earlier debate was framed not just by the Governor’sbreakout performance, but by what one analyst referred to as the President’s somnambulant effort.
While the debate is not the subject of this post, for those interested in the outcome…and I know most are. Judging by the results of CNN’s snap polls (taken immediately after the debate) of registered voters, divided roughly into thirds (Democrats, Republicans, & Independents), President Obama won the debate by a margin of 46% to 39%. The President also won among CNN’s in-studio audience of undecided voters. The numbers do not reflect anywhere near the knock-out blow administered by Governor Romney in the first debate. The format was different of course; but let there be no doubt, the President brought his A-game…and the results showed. A note of caution, however. Drilling down into the numbers found Governor Romney outpolled President Obama on several key metrics. While that may be offset by the fact the number of Republicans polled was estimated to be oversampled by 8%, iti could also represent a critical gap Team Obama must address effectively in the next 20 days.
Today’s topic is one that probably would have received more coverage, were it not for the election, and more specifically, yesterday’s debate. From time to time I point out, to the chagrin of those who adhere to the Ann Coulter school of thought that racism has been abolished in America, that there are still Americans, many of them influential, who see the world through a racially tinged lens. Pivot to Jason Thompson and one of the most recent cases.
You may be familiar with Mr. Thompson, a scion of Tommy Thompson, 42nd Governor of Wisconsin, former Secretary of the U.S. Health & Human Services, 2008 candidate for President, and currently the Republican nominee for Senate in Wisconsin. On Sunday, the younger Thompson, a Milwaukeeattorney was caught on tape saying, ‘We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago— or Kenya, We are taking donations for that Kenyatrip.”
One may be tempted to dismiss such a remark, as simply a cliché…”Tell President Obama, he of African heritage, to return from whence he came.” The problem with ignoring a comment such as this, especially one emanating from a gentleman of so vast a political heritage, and presumably refined political sensibilities, is it’s no secret, the President came from Honolulu! Remarks such as this have been standard fare from the political Right and Tea Party Movement for some time, where Birtherismis a confirmed right, and the Presidenthas been characterized as everything from a native Kenyan, to a Socialist, aMuslim, Hitleresque, and the Food Stamp President.
Mr. Thompson made the comments at a brunch hosted by the KenoshaCounty Republican Party. The function was attended by Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus, and Wisconsin Republican Party ChairmanBrad Courtney, both of whom also spoke. Mr. Priebus, Governor Thompson, local Party Chairman Nathan Conrad, and Michael Best & Friedrich, the younger Thompson’s law firm, have all issued statements indicating that Jason Thompson has apologized. The law firm, made a point to distance itself from Mr. Thompson’s comments, and Priebus,Courtney, and Conrad all disavowed the remarks.
There are less than three weeks until the election. While Mr. Thompson was ostensibly speaking at a GOP event in support of his father’s Senate campaign, he apparently felt compelled to weigh-in with his “sterling commentary” regarding the Presidential election, or perhaps, more pointedly, the President. While it may seem counterintuitive, based on my writing, I really am not perpetually engaged in an endeavor to seek out and expose the people whom casually and constantly make racist remarks about President Obama. The sad fact is, it is such a common occurrence that I find it challenging to avoid reading or hearing about such comments (and related gestures, pictures, and other depictions).
With only 20 days left before the election, I don’t expect there to be a sudden hiatus on this kind of commentary. Nor do I believe people whom harborsuch notions are likely to reinvent themselves, or simply forego their deeply entrenched beliefs. Having stipulatedthat, what I would truly appreciate is for the masses to simply get real…and accept the unmitigated truth. The truth of the matter is, until there is a hiatus on that type of commentary, and until the owners of such beliefs reinvent themselves and freely choose to forego this brand of “free speech”, we are still a society beset by issues of race, race consciousness, and yes Ms. Coulter, non-Liberal based racism.
In closing, just remember, when and if you ever want to “Send Him Back – To Kenya”…he’s from Honolulu; really!
I’m done; holla back!
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