Profile in Gutless Pandering

At a rally in Florida the other day, a disgruntled bigot drew enthusiastic applause from a crowd of likeminded Republican tools when she claimed that Obama is “an avowed Muslim… who has no legal right to be calling himself president.” Standing silently at the podium, Rick Santorum tacitly condoned her slanderous bullshit before responding with asinine remarks of his own that simply affirmed her more paranoid assertions.

Whatever else his faults, when confronted with a similar situation back in 2008, John McCain at least had the essential decency to school some of his more fearful, addlebrained supporters.

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8 Comments

Filed under 2012 U.S. Election, Republican Party, Right-Wing Haters

8 responses to “Profile in Gutless Pandering

  1. philosoraptor

    What the hell? This is getting bizarre now. I’m not a scholar of American political history, but can someone tell me if there has ever been a period where political polarization was so intense that it was acceptable to claim that the sitting president for four years “has no legal right to call himself President”? Even if we ignore the asinine ‘avowed Muslim’ comment, has this level of nonsense ever happened in the past? Please, someone tell me I’m just too young to remember it.

  2. It’s tempting to think the lack of respect and civility is unprecedented, but it’s always been this way:

  3. philosoraptor

    Well thanks Red. I was hoping I didn’t have to despair for my times; indeed I should just despair for my species.

    As I finished writing the initial comment, I was immediately reminded even of the Bush v. Gore situation, following which a great number of people considered Bush illegitimate as well. I suppose the difference was the statistical dead heat in the BvG situation was not replicated in Obama v. McCain, Obama having won a clear majority.

    In fact that was the part of the deranged woman’s rant for which I was not aware of historical precedent: the illegitimacy of the president, at the end of his first term, with such a solid majority. While I am only mildly surprised that attack ads existed in the 1800s (and more than mildly amused by their wording), I still wonder how often in history a sitting president with the same proportion of votes as Obama has been called illegitimate. My perception of Americans is that they generally stood behind the president once elected. Indeed I thought questioning legitimacy was a relatively new phenomenon.

  4. philosoraptor

    On a side note: I’m not sure what deranged lady even means when she says that Obama has no “legal right” to be president. Is that because he’s supposedly a Muslim? Or are we listening to a birther? Where does the issue of legality come from?

  5. I suspect her grievance regarding Obama’s “legal right” to be president probably stems from the belief that he isn’t a natural born citizen.

    That however shouldn’t be confused with the reaction many felt (arguably with reasonable cause) that George W. Bush was illegitimate by virtue of having “stolen” the 2000 election. Similar questions about the integrity of the voting system in critical swing-states like Ohio also arose in 2004, causing some to think that election may also have been fiddled.

    Such debates aren’t exactly new. It’s pretty well documented that there were a lot of voting “irregularities” involved with Kennedy’s election in 1960.

    That said, there does seem to be a fundamental difference in the way that many Republicans regard Obama as being somehow unworthy of their respect, let alone co-operation. Maybe for some it’s a latent racist thing, I dunno… Whatever the case, if you look at the record of obstructionism and reflexive opposition on every level over the past three years, it is unprecedented. Never have more filibusters and cloture motions been made in the Senate. The Republicans have used that artifice to block just about everything that came out of the House when the Dems controlled it. They endlessly stall routine appointments, seemingly just for the hell of it. And when policies are put forward by Obama (even ones they previously advocated), they’re summarily rejected out of hand.

  6. Peter

    Challenging a president’s loyalty isn’t unheard of in the States, although this is one of the more egregious examples. But it is indeed extremely irresponsible and dangerous for a candiate to pander to it.

    Tim Pawlenty, who would have been a very solid candidate if the GOP hadn’t decided to take a vacation in Wonderland showed both character and wit when he diffused a similar challenge at a GOP rally by saying “I actually believe President Obama is a loyal American who was born in this country, although when I look at his policies, I sometimes wonder whether he wasn’t born on another planet.” He got an ovation.

  7. Pawlenty should have been the “non-Romney” in this race but he just wasn’t sufficiently ANGRY, BIGOTED and RELIGIOUSLY NUTTY to satisfy the Republican base.

  8. Rotterdam

    What is wrong with being a Muslim?

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