Paul R. Lehman, Lamborn apologizes to Obama for tar baby reference

August 7, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, American Racism, Bigotry in America, Ethnicity in America | 2 Comments
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One would
think that people in responsible positions would choose their words carefully,
especially when they are being interviewed on radio. Unfortunately, that was
not the case with Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO.) While discussing President Barack
Obama and the problems involving the debt ceiling, Lamborn made the comment
that “Even if some people say, ‘Well the Republicans should have done this or
they should have done that,’ they will hold the President responsible. Now, I
don’t even want to have to be associated with him [the President]. It’s like
touching a tar baby and you get it, you’re stuck, and you’re a part of the
problem now and you can’t get away.”

Realizing
what he had done or being informed of it by someone, the Huffingtonpost.com
reported that Lamborn tried to correct his error:”On Monday, Lamborn sent a
personal letter to President Obama “apologizing for using a term some find
insensitive,” his office said in a press release. The congressman was “attempting
to tell a radio audience last week that the president’s policies have created
an economic quagmire for the nation and are responsible for the dismal economic
conditions our country faces.”

Lamborn’s
apology to President Obama was for his use of the term “tar baby.” The origin
of the term comes from an Uncle Remus Br’er Rabbit story based on African
folklore. However, other references to the term has been viewed as derogatory
and used to represent African Americans or dark skinned people. The report
continued the comments saying that “He [Lamborn] regrets that he chose the
phrase ‘tar baby,’ rather than the word ‘quagmire.’ The congressman is
confident that the president will accept his heartfelt apology.” Lamborn later
told the Denver Post “I absolutely
intended no offense, and if this is at all on his radar screen, I am sure that
he will not take offense and he’ll be happy to accept my apology because he is
a man of character.”

Lamborn
following the mantra of his party in trying to discredit and destroy President
Obama, initially was working towards his objective in blaming everything wrong
with Washington and the United State Government on President Obama. After his
party held the congress hostage by failing to cooperate in passing the debt
ceiling, Lamborn wants to place the blame at President Obama’s feet. To make
matters worse, Lamborn wants to distance himself from the President by creating
a picture of the President as a negative figure made of tar that when touched
sticks to you. So, he does not want to be in touching distance to the
President. In essence, he does not want to be associated with the problem if it
means being associated with the President. How can a Representative serving in
the Congress not be associated with the problem?

One might
suggest that the people who elected Lamborn to Congress give some thought to
the kind of person representing them. Here is a man who says he used one term ‘tar
baby’ but should have used another ‘quagmire,’ but continued to extend the
metaphor of the first to make his point. The point was that he did not want to
be associated with the government if it meant dealing with things like raising debt
ceilings and being associated with the President. To make matters worse, he
believes that if he offers the President an apology for referring to him using
a derogative term that the President will “be happy to accept my apology
because he is a man of character.” Is Lamborn serious? First, he wants nothing
to do with the President because he has ‘created an economic quagmire for the
nation,” and is responsible for all its ills. Now, he is sure the President
will be happy to get an apology from him because he is a man of character. Why
would anyone be happy to receive an insincere apology from someone who
seemingly does not know why he was sent to Washington in the first place?

Bigots will
employ anything and everything they can to avoid being identified as such. Recognizing
the bigot’s focus of attention is easy enough if one simply looks at who is
targeted for blame. What is really amazing is the idea that the behavior of the
target is seemingly predictable by the bigot who expects the target to play by the
rules. Meanwhile, the bigot ignores the rules or apologizes for ignoring them
when he is caught. And, of course, once an apology is offered, it must be
accepted or the target will not be seen as a good sport.

One would
think that at some point the slips of the tongue or the ill-chosen words that
give a glimpse of the biased mindset would become less frequent in public
discourse. That might be true if the people who make the slips and select the insensitive
words really cared about the effect of their actions. Today, elected officials
seem to believe that sensible protocol and adult behavior are no longer
appropriate because they refuse to accept the president as their leader. The
President must be the constant focus of some people who do not accept him as
our leader because no opportunity to discredit, denigrate, depict him in an unfavorable
way must not be missed. They assume that if this negative attention continues
constant and frequent, then other people might be persuaded to start looking unfavorably
at the President also.

What is interesting
is how the President is constantly blamed for his damming and dangerous policies
when in actuality the President makes no law; that is the job of the Congress.
All the President has to do is sign or veto a law. Please do not be surprised
if President Obama is blamed for the heat and drought that is affecting much of
the country—he is being blamed for everything else.

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2 Comments »

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  1. If the queen of England catches a cold, it will be blamed on Pesident Obama. Closer to home, if some fifth grader get a pain, the mother will say it is because Mrs. Obama wanted the cafeteria food to be healthier.
    Some of the president’s most persistent critics were among ones who helped bring this economic crisis.
    Sometimes this reminds me of an unusual situation I once knew about. Some school board members wanted to oust the superintendent and created quite a controversy. They couldn’t come up with “fireable” reasons, but fired him anyway because he was “controversial.”

  2. Thanks again for your excellent comments, please don’t stop! I believe Republicans are making what is called in the game of checkers as a double jump. They are using the fear of the loss of power and privileges granted to, if not claimed by European Americans (Whites) to also push back the middle class (the same European Americans). The middle class made a mistake. They believed in this Country and its constitution and dared to elect an American that did not look like them. In doing so they also went against, at least in part, Big Money (the System), and now they are paying. This kind of rhetoric is intended to send a message, a divisive message. Will it work? I pray it doesn’t, but that remains to be seen.


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