On Wednesday, the Commerce Department announced that durable goods orders dropped 3.6 percent, worse than economists’ expectations for a 2.2 percent fall. They also announced that driven by the lack of buyers, the price of new homes continued to deflate. Thursday, it was announced that weekly first-time unemployment claims rose to 424,000 (in February that number was 375,000 — lower, but still very high).
If you believe Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC), corporations stopped buying durable goods, home buyers put their plans on hold, and people quit their jobs on purpose — all to make the president look bad. Why would they want to do that?
Racism of course.
Clyburn didn’t say it directly, but he certainly implied as much in this interview with McClatchy Newspapers. The House minority whip declared the cause of President Obama’s problems is racism.
“You know, I’m 70 years old,” he said. “And I can tell you; people don’t like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is, the president’s problems are in large measure because of the color of his skin.”
Clyburn noted that he himself got hate mail, racist phone calls and offensive faxes on a regular basis. Asked how that relates to the president, Clyburn retorted: “We have the same skin color; that’s how it relates to him.”
Clyburn suggested that the “birther” movement of Americans who say Obama wasn’t born in the United States is fueled by racism.
“I don’t know why anybody didn’t ask for John McCain’s” birth certificate,” Clyburn said. “He wasn’t even born in this country.”
Clyburn is one of those political conspiracy theorists who brand every negative comment against President Obama or any other African-American in power as intended to demean people of color. And this isn’t the first time Clyburn has inserted race into a discussion. During the stimulus debate, Clyburn had some strong comments for governors who opposed the plan.
“The governor of Louisiana expressed opposition. Has the highest African-American population in the country. Governor of Mississippi expressed opposition. The governor of Texas, and the governor of South Carolina. These four governor’s represent states that are in the black belt. I was insulted by that,” Clyburn said. “All of this was a slap in the face of African-Americans. It had nothing to do with Governor Sanford.”
During the campaign for the 2008 South Carolina primary, former President Clinton made a gaffe while campaigning for his wife. He called candidate Obama
…a boy, a kid, living in a dream land. I don’t think he deserves the title of being a friend or being the first black president.
Clinton’s statement started a “racial divide” between the Clinton and Obama campaigns. But who did Congressman Clyburn blame?
During an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough, Clyburn blamed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for injecting race into the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary:
“I don’t want to sound disingenuous here but we were doing well with this whole issue coming out of New Hampshire,” Clyburn said, noting that Obama had the support of Reps. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) and Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), who are both white.
“It was not until Huckabee sort of brought the Confederate battle flag into this thing,” Clyburn said. “Nobody’s been talking about that. And I guarantee you people recoiled when he did. You remember not only did he talk about the flag in a disparaging way but he talked about what the people of Arkansas would do with the pole of the flag….That’s the kind of stuff that brought this back into [the Democratic presidential] campaign and it was not here until he did that.”
It was a staffer of Rep. Clyburn who first made the claim that Tea Party members protesting the final Obamacare vote called the Civil Rights hero Congressman John Lewis a ni**er, a claim that has been disproved by all of the video evidence.
The fact that the claim was a hoax didn’t stop Clyburn from trying to exploit it to discredit the Tea Party.
“It was absolutely shocking to me,” Clyburn said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post. “Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday… I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins…. And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus.”
Clyburn’s fake racism charges are part of a larger progressive strategy. It builds on the existing liberal meme of the intolerant conservative. Its nefarious purpose is to end discussion by intimidating people not to criticize progressive policy, and as in the case with the McClatchy interview, it remains unchallenged by the mainstream media who distribute these false claims.