The most egregious behavior of Right-wing Republicans concerns their total disrespect not only for the first African American President, but also for the Office of the Presidency, has reared its ugly head again. Jan Brewer, the Governor of Arizona, is one of the most recent Obama “hate mongers” to come forth, followed by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and Allen West, a Tea Party Congressional Republican from Florida. Each of these “government officials” represents the worst of right-wing hatred that continues to escalate to the highest pinnacle of fanaticism. It astonishes me how any member of the Republican Party who calls themselves an American can embrace such disrespect yet Congressman West received a standing ovation from his constituency for his vicious remarks about the President of the United States.
I believe that Governor Brewer’s blatant disrespect for our President is a disgrace to her office. She met President Obama on the tarmac as he got off Air Force One for a recent visit to Arizona. Brewer apparently became uptight when President Obama expressed his disapproval of her characterization of a meeting he had with her in 2010. So Brewer provided the ultimate disrespect to the President by pointing her finger in his face in a most hostile way. Although President Obama down-played Brewer’s public display of disrespect, she issued a letter explaining how she came to point her finger at the President during their encounter on the landing strip.
According to Brewer, when she met President Obama on the tarmac on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, she gave him a handwritten letter inviting him to lunch and to survey the border. Instead, he dressed her down about parts of her book, Scorpions for Breakfast, in which she described a previous encounter with the President in the Oval Office in which he was, in her words, “condescending, professorial, and patronizing.” Brewer added: “I felt a little bit threatened, if you will, in the attitude that he had, because I was there to welcome him,” she said.
Why on earth did Brewer feel threatened by the President? Was it because of the presence of the Secret Service agents as she stuck her finger in the president’s face, or was it because he is an African American and served as an unpleasant reminder of a stereotype that has plagued black men for ages: that no matter how gifted or composed they are, black men are “intimidating?” Brewer’s blatant disrespect for the President highlights the fact that she is a poor excuse for a sitting governor.
Reprehensible Republican behavior continued when RNC Chairman Reince Priebus compared President Obama to the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that ran aground off the coast of Tuscany earlier this month that resulted in the deaths of at least 17 people. On CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, January 29, 2012, Priebus said: “In the end, in a few months, this is all going to be ancient history and we’re going to talk about our own little Captain Schettino, which is President Obama who is abandoning the ship here in the United States,” Priebus said. “He’s more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president.” In the weeks since the accident, Francesco Schettino has been disgraced for his behavior both leading up to and during the crash, and has been charged with multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship in Italy. So in another example of a disrespect for the President, the Chairman of the Republican Party has the unmitigated gall to compare the President to that of a person with multiple manslaughter charges! Priebus was selected for the RNC Chairman position to replace Michael Steele because of Steele’s propensity to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, yet even Steele has criticized Priebus’ disgusting comments.
Congressman Allen West is a real “piece of work.” Over the weekend of January 28, 2012, West said at a Lincoln Day Dinner for the Palm Beach County GOP, “We need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and my dear friend the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain’t on the table.” He added, “Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.” After a round of applause, West added, “Yeah I said ‘hell.”
Bob Beckel on Fox News’ “The Five” said Monday, January 31, 2012, “In my 30 years of politics, I have never heard anything more disgraceful in my life. I think Allen West owes an apology to a lot of people.” West responded today on “Fox and Friends” by saying he thought Beckel owed him an apology. The good news for many is that West could face a difficult re-election in 2012, as his district becomes more Democratic under a redistricting plan approved by a state House panel.
Although the behavior of Brewer, Priebus and West is appalling, there is an unanticipated benefit being realized – these recent examples of blatant disrespect for President Obama has completely energized the minority community especially African Americans. Many in the African American community soften their support of President Obama because they believed he had not done enough to highlight issues of concern to African Americans. In fact, Cornel West and Tavis Smiley conducted a bus tour of America last year to point out the condition of Black America that were mostly critical of President Obama’s handling of the economy and on social issues including housing and homelessness in America. Although their attacks on the President drew some critics, many in the Black community applauded West and Smiley.
But this week when photographs of Governor Brewer’s pointed finger in the face of President Obama as well as the Priebus and West’s disgraceful comments began to circulate around the internet, the African American community was galvanized. Entertainers, church and political leaders are calling for an end to the disrespect shown to the first African American President of the United States. In addition to the infighting within the Republican Party, their extreme right-wing radical component continues to support the Democratic Party in achieving unprecedented success in November 2012 including a second-term for President Obama.
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