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Bennet Kelley's Journal
Posted by Bennet Kelley in Editorials & Other Articles
Thu Nov 20th 2008, 06:38 PM
A few brief words to put this column in context as it was published in the Santa Monica Daily Press in response to two columns the SMDP published last week (Nov. 12 and 13th). One of the columns spread right wing talking points on the bogus Berg v. Obama, with the author boasting of his devilish grin brought on by his delusions over the suit's potential success.

Bigotry, Lies and the Obama Wars

Bennet Kelley



REELING FROM THEIR SECOND STRAIGHT drubbing at the polls, the right is relying on a tried and true method to try to redefine the political debate to their advantage — make stuff up. For example, Rush Limbaugh got the conservative based fired up claiming President Obama would “eliminate free speech” and make 401K accounts part of Social Security. While this is red meat for conservatives, it has no basis in fact.

In the Clinton years, this disinformation was coupled with conspiracy delusions and utter disdain for President Clinton and led to what is known as the “Clinton Wars.” Nobody embodied this “Triple D” campaign better than Dan Burton who openly called Clinton a “scumbag” and became so obsessed with Vince Foster’s death that he conducted his own investigation despite multiple law enforcement and independent findings that Foster committed suicide.

The Clinton Wars’ front line may have been Capitol Hill but its supply chain came from right wing media outlets such as Limbaugh or Gordon Liddy who bragged about using drawings of President and Mrs. Clintons for target practice. The Clinton Wars not only led to the senseless impeachment of the president, but it fueled virulent anti-government sentiments that ultimately found their expression through Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City.

Last week the right wing disinformation campaign found its way to this very page through columns by Greg Vargas and Steve Breen. Vargas cried foul over African-American bigotry citing exit polls that 95 percent of black voters chose Obama because of his race. The New York Times exit poll he cites, however, merely found that 95 percent of black voters supported Obama — not that they supported him because of race (in fact only 2 percent of voters cast their vote solely on the basis of race).

While 95 percent certainly is a very high percentage, Democrats have consistently won over 80 percent of the black vote with Lyndon Johnson winning 94 percent the last time the Democrats trounced an Arizona senator. If African Americans voted solely on the basis of race, why then did Sen. Clinton lead Obama among blacks throughout 2007 or black Republicans running against white candidates for Senate in Maryland and Governor in Ohio and Pennsylvania in 2006 receive only 13-20 percent of the their vote?

With Obama getting the endorsement of 287 newspapers representing approximately 70 percent of print readership (including many in markets with few African Americans, such as the Anchorage Daily News ), it is clear that Obama had made a compelling case for his candidacy that had little to do with race. Yet Vargas apparently believes that black voters were incapable of making such a
determination and instead reflexively chose Obama “for one reason — because he is black.”

Nonetheless, Vargas deserves credit for shedding light on bigotry which has no place in today’s society — even if it is his own

A day earlier, Steve Breen (who has complained about “black liberation Obamaholism”) joined giants of jurisprudence such as Sean Hannity in promoting the Triple D warriors’ new grand conspiracy — Berg v. Obama . Philip Berg is a Pennsylvania lawyer who has been fined over $10,000 for filing frivolous lawsuits, twice sued President Bush for conspiracy in connection with 9/11, and recently filed a lawsuit seeking to disqualify Obama as a candidate on the grounds that he is not a natural born U.S. citizen. A Pennsylvania federal judge denied Berg’s request for a temporary restraining order and dismissed his complaint as “frivolous and not worthy of discussion.” A copycat suit has been filed in California by political gadfly Alan Keyes.

Breen evokes a grand media conspiracy to conceal this case, even though it has been reported in the Washington Post, ridiculed by conservative Forbes Magazine and dismissed by the independent FactCheck.org (which has inspected his birth certificate). Breen also claims “Justice Souter found merit in the case;” when in reality GHW Bush-appointee Souter denied Berg’s request for a pre-election injunction.

Despite this, Breen has the audacity to claim that we have been “kept in the dark and fed nothing but crap” by the mainstream media when it appears that he could benefit from watching something other than the Fecal News Channel.

Vargas, Breen and Limbaugh have put us on notice that a mere week after his election,the Obama Wars have begun. The Triple D Warriors are in for a surprise, however, since the vast right wing is no longer vast as the Republican share of the electorate has fallen to pre-Reagan levels and smearing Obama when two-thirds of adult Americans take pride in his election will only hasten their decline.
Americans, after all, do not see ignorance and bigotry as something to grin about.
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Providence, RI, USA
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