You can’t shame the Republicans

The Republicans and Al Qaeda say President Barack Obama doesn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. A former Peace Prize winner says he does.

“In less than a year, with his inspiring messages of humility, dialogue and peace, President Obama has significantly lessened the tensions in the world, in the Middle East (University of Cairo speech), in relations with Russia, Iran, Venezuela,” Jose Ramos-Horta recently wrote on the Huffington PostInternet website. “President Obama’s conciliatory approach, the depth of his intellect and vision of peace, have won over many millions of people.”

Ramos-Horta is president of East Timor. He received his peace prize in 1996.

“By giving hope to the millions of disfranchised, the poor and the angry in Middle East, Asia and Africa, President Obama has begun to drain the swamp in which Al Qaeda and other extremist groups operate and recruit,” he added. “One should not underestimate the power of President Obama’s oratory and conciliatory approach; it has had the effect of, at least, rescuing many young and angry from sliding further into extremism.”

Maybe that’s why Al Qaeda denounced the awarding of this year’s Peace Prize to Obama. The Republicans and Rush Limbaugh, the de facto GOP head, piled on, claiming the honor is a fraud and an embarrassment.

The Democrats shot back, pointing out that the Taliban and Hamas also were in high dudgeon over the prize going to Obama. “The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists…,” said a statement from Brad Woodhouse, Democratic National Committee communications director. “Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize — an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride — unless of course you are the Republican Party.”

Woodhousereloaded and fired again: “The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It’s no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore – it’s an embarrassing label to claim.”

It’s not embarrassing to Limbaugh and his soul-mates who rule the Republican roost. You can’t shame them.

They operate by two simple rules. First, if Obama’s for it, they’re against it, and vice versa. Second, never, ever, give the president credit for anything, even if it means agreeing with America’s mortal enemies.

Remember Sen. Jim Demint’s perhaps too candid comment on health care reform? “If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo,” the South Carolina Republican gleefully predicted. “It will break him.”

Handing Obama a world of Waterloos is the Limbaughite Republican M.O.

But the Limbaughites are scared stiff they met their Waterloo last November. They worry Obama is the future and they are the past.

Limbaugh bloviates. His “tea bagger” buddies whoop and holler. It’s just bluster.

The tea parties are more than Obama trash fests. They are group hug sessions for angst-ridden “birthers,” “deathers,” gun nuts, neo-Confederates, homophobes, religious bigots, union-bashers, loopy libertarians and assorted other right-wing crazies that make up much of the GOP’s base these days.

Of course, consequential presidents are always controversial. They excite strong passions. It was hard for the body politic to get too worked up over, say, Millard Fillmore or Chester A. Arthur.

It’s the great presidents who generate great fervor. Most Americans loved two of our greatest: Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

But those who hated them hated them viscerally. “I should relish his groans and agonies if I could see him put to torture in hell or anywhere else,” a pro-slavery Kentuckian said of Lincoln. “He has chosen to become the representative of the Republican Party and as such I should like to hang him.”

Father Charles Coughlin, the anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi father of hate radio and Limbaugh’s spiritual forebear, loathed FDR. Coughlin accused the president of “leaning toward international socialism or sovietism.” I could retire if I had a dime for every time I’ve heard Limbaugh and his sidekicks call Obama a “socialist.”

It’s way too early to say Obama’s another Lincoln or a Roosevelt. But his election was consequential.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep saying it as long as the Limbaughites – almost all of them white folks — keep denying it: they hate this president mainly because he’s not a white guy.

Nearly every one of the tea party goers is white. That’s not a coincidence.

The Limbaughites just can’t accept the fact that America elected an African American president. In desperation, they have tried to de-legitimize his presidency by claiming he’s not really an American. It’s a convenient way to slam him without overtly playing the race card. Of course, they say he was born in Africa.

Anyway, we history teachers are prone to use the past to help explain the present. The Limbaughites remind me of slave state whites in 1860. The election of President Abraham Lincoln that year signaled a big change was coming, a change the white supremacists despised: slavery was on the way out.

The white folks in 11 slave states seceded from the Union because they were sure that Lincoln and the “Black Republicans” were about to free the slaves. They lost the Civil War.

The Obama haters fear they are losing, too. They wait in mortal dread for other shoes to drop: Obama gets a health care bill. The economy perks up. The Democrats win big next November. Obama wins another term in 2012.

Berry Craig is the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo.

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About Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a native Kentuckian, a professor of history at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah and a freelance journalist. He is a member of the American Federation of Teachers and the Kentucky Education Association/National Education Association. He is the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo, which he describes as “a strictly non-partisan chronicle of our political past from Gov. Isaac Shelby to Gov. Ruby Laffoon.”

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3 Responses to You can’t shame the Republicans

  1. db says:

    Mr. Craig,

    We will have to disagree on the causes of the Civil War. President Lincoln did not have the authority to end slavery and withoug Congressional majorities her simply didn’t have; could not have ended slavery. There had to be other causes. But we can discuss this at another time

    Do you really think the Republican attacks on President Obama are significantly worse than those attacks on either Presidents Clinton or Carter? Given now there is a Fox “News” and RW radio to trumpet the attacks and run them 24/7; but the substance of the attacks are no worse than have been used in the past. Remember they accused President Clinton of being a murderer. So it isn’t as much as issue of President Obama being Black, though there certainly is an aspect to it. Rather President Obama is a Democrat and that is what the Republicans can’t abide.

  2. Paul says:

    The NFL decides who becomes an owner not the other way around.

    All this blowhard (Rush Hudson Limbaugh A.KA. Jeff Christie) has to offer is his money and his opinions, (which in my opinion are on the fringes of racism, one mans opinion). There are many more groups biding for the Rams, not just his group. Lets face it there are more men with money (Marshall Faulk) that will gladly fill the slot and the Rams will win or lose depending on how well they work as a team and not on whether or not Rush is an owner.

    As for Vick, well he is a player (he has talent not like you, Rush or I, unless you are a NFL player?) and he served his time and the NFL decided we live in the land of second chances, so why not (I personally don’t like it but, oh well). Life has never been fair (NEWS FLASH!)

    Now as to the “Free Speech” argument, I guess many of you like myself heard Rush on Thursday “Almost in tears”, priceless. But the last couple of days he now is in his normal ranting and will continue until someone surpasses him, “Free Speech” continues, so what is being stifled, it simply is not true, of course, you may not have a radio, so you might want to get one.

    PS – I am sure someone is working to put the tapes together maybe all you subscribers can help, since you are all about getting to the truth?

    PPS- Beauty Pageant Judge – Now I understand why he lost the weight, to find a new wife, creepy.

  3. 2under says:


    That was one of the worst articles I have ever read. It had no coherent theme, was completely devoid of any fact, and only filled with your personal vitriol for Republicans and Rush Limbaugh.

    Please elevate your discourse. This is the type of partisanship that is killing this country, and you are only making it worse.