Charges of race-baiting came fast and furiously, particularly from left-leaning pundits, at Romney campaign co-chair John Henry Sununu after on Thursday he said in an interview on CNN with Piers Morgan: “Frankly, when you take a look at [Gen.] Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.” When pressed by Morgan on what he meant, he replied, “Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”
Following President Barack Obama’s uninspiring first debate performance, Sununu said on MSNBC to Andrea Mitchell: “Andrea, what people saw last night I think was a president who revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is and how he has absolutely no idea how serious the economic problems of the country are and how he has failed to even begin to address them.”
Mitchell, wanting to be fair and get clarity said, “Governor, I want to give you a chance to maybe take it back. Did you really mean to call Barack Obama, the President of the United States, lazy?” she asked. “Yes! I think you saw him admit it the night before when he delivered the pizzas! He said, you know they’re making me do this work. He didn’t want to prepare for this debate! He’s lazy and disengaged!,” Sununu doubled down.
The Progressive punditry’s response to Sununu’s strange fruit ranged from “he was blowing a dog whistle,” to “he’s race baiting,” to charges of “coarse racism.”
What I heard and likely what Obama and Powell heard is Sununu accusing them of brushing their kids’ teeth with their dogs’ toothbrushes.
That’s sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Of course it does. Who would take seriously such a charge? Similarly, I believe, race baiting, at this level of national political discourse, is only effective if one takes the bait – or should I say over-reacts to it?
Sununu sounded so silly to me – both on MSNBC and CNN – that it put a smile on my face, after I tried to bring myself to wince.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs/Secretary of State Powell is per se down with brother Barack, for the sake of black solidarity?
Former Harvard Law Review Editor and current Commander-in-Chief Obama is a head-scratching, foot-shuffling, not-looking-the-white-man-in-the eye, lazy White House stand-in for Stepin Fetchit?
Both assertions are utter nonsense. Sununu doesn’t sound powerful, he sounds certifiable.
And these men, I believe, would not take the bait and dignify those characterizations of them.
Should Sununu be called on his words? Sure. But no one who is undecided will likely cast a vote, nor will anyone who has decided likely change their voter preference based on his racial gibberish.
I am not naïve and most of us could possibly benefit from some kind of psychotherapy on the “race” issue – entirely a social, not a scientific construct, which the president has largely avoided and which I fully expect him to address, if he gets a second term, along with poverty, environmental plunder, crime, parenting, AIDS, teen pregnancy and educational underachievement in urban areas.
Sununu’s subterfuge presents an easy target – allowing us to shift our focus from the bigger picture in America and perhaps blur the focus on his candidate.
In many ways, we’ve already fought the fight that some say Sununu is trying to drag us back into. And I don’t mean to suggest that racial discrimination is nonexistent in America. But in January 2013, a Mormon or an African-American will be the President of the United States – go figure that momentum.
There are much bigger fish to fry with regard to the black community and assaults upon it and spawned within it in 2012, Sununu notwithstanding. I mentioned a few of those issues above. That’s the hard stuff. Sununu’s smack talking is a piece of cake.
Sununu has had a very distinguished career. He served as the 75th Governor of New Hampshire and later White House Chief of Staff under President George H. W. Bush. Though he is likely being a little crazy like a fox with his Obama-campaign-related rhetoric, his remarks just seem kooky to me – sort of like an always-drunk, loud-mouthed, pain-in-the-backside old uncle, who is in from out of town at a family Bar-B-Q.
Unc’s words have no real meaningful impact on the occasion. The kids laugh at him behind his back. The elders scoff at him or ignore him completely. Soon, he’ll nod off before he’s stuffed back into a car and taken home. And all try to remember him for his better days. No one takes him seriously – no matter what he says,
Sununu is still quite vigorous and his remarks are admittedly newsworthy, because of from whence they came. But some of us may be giving old Uncle John Henry too much power and the American people too little credit.