Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Or As Steve Colbert Says, "I Don't See Race"

Governor Bobby Jindal suffers from: a) hypocrisy; b) naivete; or c) both.

The surprise answer is (b), naivete.

In a piece in Politico, the Louisiana Republican, a second generation Indian-American (I hope that description doesn't offend him) argues

Yet we still place far too much emphasis on our “separateness,” our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc. We live in the age of hyphenated Americans: Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Indian-Americans, and Native Americans, to name just a few.

As Republicans and Democrats; gay and straight; Protestants, Catholics, Jews and, increasingly, Muslims and individuals of other religious faiths, we are a diverse and sometimes wonderfully motley mixture of people. Formed into a mosaic, we are at our best.

While the above italicized comment summarizes Jindal's article, he adds a particularly noxious remark, claiming

America’s younger generation pays less attention to skin color than the generations that preceded them. (By the way, I noticed recently that the president of the United States, a man with whom I disagree with on almost everything, seems to have darker skin than most Americans. He hasn’t had a problem getting elected.)

Well, uh, yes, he did have a problem getting elected, wherein in early October, 2008, his ticket was a decided underdog to a duo including a political unknown who couldn't come up with the name of a daily newspaper when pressed.  In Obama's bid to be re-elected, his opponent, Mitt Romney, had a spectacular demonstration planned to celebrate the victory his team expected, as described in The Boston Globe:

Mitt Romney had planned to celebrate his election as the nation’s 45th president with an eight-minute fireworks display over Boston Harbor.

The same company that does some of the illuminations for Boston’s Fourth of July celebration was poised to ignite fireworks within view of Romney’s party at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center to celebrate a win over President Obama.

A permit filed with the City of Boston said the detonation could occur any time between 7 p.m. Tuesday, just after the first polls closed, and 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, which ended up being just before Romney conceded the race.

And that victory by the man who "seems to have darker skin than most Americans" came from the support of less than 40% of white people.  It's reasonable that 59% of voters selected Mitt Romney for what was undoubtedly a variety of reasons.   But Jindal's implication that we all came together, regardless of ethnic background, to vote to re-elect the black man is extraordinarily naive.   And if the election/re-election demonstrated our glorious imperviousness to the nefarious pull of ethnicity, a reasonable question or two arises: did Jindal vote for Obama? If not, did his vote against Obama prove that he is racist?  (probably not and no).

Enough Americans did vote for Barack Obama for him to be re-elected.   And now, less than a year afterward, how have members of Jindal's own party (though not he himself) reacted?

On August 19, according to Buzzfeed, Michigan Republican Representative Kerry Bentivolo stated would be a “dream come true” to submit a bill to impeach President Obama. Bentivolio also said he had meetings with lawyers asking them to “tell me how I can impeach” the president of the United States. Bentivolio was speaking at the August 2013 Birmingham Bloomfield Republican Club Meeting.

“If I could write that bill and submit it, it would be a dream come true,” Bentivolio said. “I stood 12 feet away from the guy and listened to him. I couldn’t stand being there, but because he is president I have to respect the office. That’s my job, as a congressman, I respect the office.”

“I went back to my office and I’ve had lawyers come in,” the congressman continued. “These are lawyers, PhDs in history, and I said, ‘Tell me how I can impeach the president of the United States.’”

Three days later, answering a constituent's question about impeachment, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn maintained "I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to high crimes and misdemeanor, but I think they’re getting perilously close.”   Back in January- little more than two months after the vote which allegedly proved that the nation bears no ill will toward blacks- Texas Representative Steve Stockman threatened to pursue impeachment of the President if he introduced gun control measures by executive order.

None of the GOP members of Congress with dreams of impeaching the President of the United States has laid out, to satisfy requirements of the U.S. Constitution, the "high crimes and misdemeanors" Obama has committed.  (And Jindal himself opposes impeachment.) Still, impeachment has to be considered... for some reason.

At least, Bill Clinton had to lie to a grand jury, albeit about nothing pertaining to the job he was elected to perform (performance not having been among Clinton's problems).   In President Obama's case, he- oh, come to your own conclusions.

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