Cokie Roberts & NPR: Jerks

Okay. When I first heard about Cokie Roberts’ assertions about Obama and Hawaii, I thought it was some off the cuff remark. But apparently there are some talking points being spread around, and Ms. Roberts AND NPR are more than willing to shovel it out.

NPR: Now Obama is spending the week on vacation in Hawaii. He’s taking a vacation he says because it’s good for his family, but is it a good point in the presidential campaign?

ROBERTS: It’s a little rough to be doing it at this point, although I think he’s feeling somewhat secure, um… but… Hawaii is also somewhat an odd place to be doing it. I know that he’s from Hawaii, he grew up there, his grandmother lives there. But he has made such a point about how he is from Kansas and… um… y’know… the boy from Kansas – Kenya… and… um… and makes him seem a little more exotic than perhaps he would want to come across as at this stage of the presidential campaign.

The really weird thing is not only Roberts’ statement, but the question that was asked by NPR. Why does NPR think that the Obama vacation to Hawaii could be damaging to Obama? And how is it that they ask Roberts a question that softly leads her into the same message she delivered on ABC? I get the feeling that somebody really wants Obama’s Hawaii vacation to become some kind of scandal, painting Obama as foreign and unpatriotic.

What NPR and Roberts are talking about is Obama’s color. The only reason Roberts thinks it’s a bad idea for him to go to Hawaii is because it makes him look “exotic”, code for foreign, code for “too black”. And as several blogs have pointed out, Obama has no defense against a racist dog whistle campaign. Some have even argued that it’s Obama’s fault he’s in this position, because he allegedly smeared Clinton using the “race card”. Because if Obama hadn’t used the race card against Hillary, then of course he would retain a moral high ground and would be able to hit back without McCain being able to flip it and accuse HIM of using the race card. Or so the logic goes. Whatever.

The Valerie Plame scandal showed how it really works in Washington when it comes to politicians getting their message out. They simply find a reporter that is willing to deliver their message to the public. In this case the reporter is Cokie Roberts and the message is: “Barack Obama is an unpatriotic foreigner that can’t be trusted”. But they not only found a friend in Roberts, they found a friend at NPR as well.

If Obama can’t call his opponents out now for using the “race card” how about simply calling them out for being jerks.


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