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In Face of Racist Attacks, Virginia Blue Dog US Senators Shrink from Responsibility to Defend Obama


Last week I lamented that Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) chose to distance himself from the President of his own party.  Warner had claimed false equivalence between the campaign of division and racist hate being waged by the GOP and the campaign on the facts, record, and differences between platforms waged by the Democratic Party and President Obama.  And Warner tried to feign superiority to a president, who as a matter of fact has stuck to the issues, facts, AND the record of one Mitt Romney, job destroyer and debt creator.  That is a matter of fact (see ElaineinRoanoke’s diary on the subject of debt creation yesterday).

I can’t emphasize enough how gutless it was to do such a thing when any US Senator, with a safe seat and who is not up for re-election this time (Warner),  or one who is about to retire (Webb), should have had the President’s back.  Were folks like Warner, Webb and others to stand up as a TEAM against such hate, only the most unhinged would dare utter the kind of garbage that run-of-the-mill Republicans are now doing.  Now they can get away with saying with utter impunity what previously only the worst racists in America would say.  What was merely implied (not that that is acceptable either) is stated outright. The kind of racism which defeated Harvey Gant in his campaign to unseat the uber racist Jesse helms, has become “mainstream GOP.”  

Now attacks upon the President for his being of a different race, the pretense that he is not a citizen and the suggestion of “otherness” (statements that he is “not one of us,” “doesn’t understand what it means to be an American,” or even claims he is “unAmerican”) is skillfully used by a GOP on hate-based “steroids.”  Though there are more whites on welfare, the myth of African Americans as the main welfare recipients persists and is easily fed. Every speech is crafted to present to the American people lies about Obama’s welfare-to-work efforts, which actually move MORE, not fewer, people to work.  The lies are right out of the Ronald Reagan Southern Strategy playbook. Every effort at building the “otherness” myth is designed to elicit voter racism.

Additionally, with most Republicans, including Romney playing the Birther game, they unbelievably  pretend that the President’s place of birth has not been firmly established. They cannot win fair and square, so they resort to this (and vote suppression). Romney can try to walk it back, but he played the race card and we will not forget. Meanwhile Senator Warner pretends it’s all even-Steven. No, Senator, it is not. And it is damn time you got off your self-appointed pedestal and back up this President. The GOP is waging the most hate-based campaign in more than half a Century. Yet you stand by in silence.  

And Senator Webb,  I never figured you for sitting out a time when you are so needed.  Your record for courage in times past, notwithstanding, you shrink from what is required of any ethical person of any party now.  Where are you?  For the first three or four years of your one and only term I thought you were really going to be a great Senator.  And then, apparently, you tired of the hard fight.

There Webb is is on the sidelines when Dems have the fight of their lives. Meanwhile, GOPhers throw peanuts at an African American CNN cameraperson and refer to her as an animal.  Another delegate lodges an outrageous racist complaint against one whom he presumed a “Mexican,” who was merely working at the American exhibit at Epcot Center, but whom the delegate thought was an outsider. The slurs against the President go on.  And racial hatred gets further inflated because those in a position to help deflect and diminish such things won’t stand up.

And the email anti-Obama hate spam sent by GOP partisans and the horrendous racist attacks continue on discussion boards.  It is the most disgusting thing I have seen in my nearly five decades of voting.  

  • IBelieveInHenryHowell

    Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking for a while now. What will it take before our “leaders” stand up to all this? What are they so afraid of?

  • KathyinBlacksburg

    happened in their quiet.  For the most part, the mass media is seeming to pretend that Dems “played the race card.

    They haven’t.  But that does not matter. Anyone who has studied the manipulation of the vote by ads remembers the totally made up story of the “welfare queen” by Ronald Reagan, the Willie Horton ad by George HW Bush, the Jesse Helms ad scapegoating people of color for the job plight of white workers, and now the fabricated story of a welfare check without work by Mitt Romney. The facts are:

    1. Romney lied about Obama and welfare.

    2. He did it to evoke a well-tried Southern Strategy racist response by his otherwise dwindling constituency.

    3. He did it because he is desperate because he is the master of debt, not jobs.  And all he has left is lies, racism and suppress the vote.

  • Teddy Goodson

    Warner has a long record as a DINO; after seeing him in action and up close at various functions, my conclusion is that he’s a phoney consumed by over-weening ambition. His eye is on the main chance, he is already running for a future office, and has no concern for anybody else (or for his own nominal party—- depending on how things turn out, I can see him calling himself an “Independent” if it might be helpful).

    Webb had more populist credentials, which we saw in his work on the GI bill and in his work on the unbelievable American incarceration mess. But, where was he on the banksters’ greed and mismanagement? Where was he on supporting the President over-all? That was clearly not in his own view of his job description. Senators are notoriously independent anyway. On the other hand, a lot of us over the past 4 years were furious with Obama ourselves at different times for different reasons; but, now the chips are down, and it’s time to step up and fight like h*ll, Mr. Born Fighting. Haul a*s and take the point, lieutenant.

  • K in VA

    Well, actually, it’s Virginia. But the same notion — what can you expect? — carries over.

    Webb and Warner have been a terrible disappointment. Every day I remind myself how much worse Virginia could do (George Allen again?), and that almost makes them bearable. Almost …