Politics Week in Review

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  • There’s an old saying among tellers of tall tales: Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

    It appears that has become the mantra of the Republican Party, as well as its strategy in its efforts to defeat President Obama’s bid for re-election.

    Whether it is continuing to question if the president actually was born in the U.S., whether he secretly is Muslim or contending that the president has raised taxes since taking office, it seems that the truth has little bearing for the Obama haters.

    In fact, the creators of more blatantly racist ads and memorabilia have emerged early in the campaign, feeling supported, no doubt, by a GOP that turns a blind eye at patently false accusations against the president.

    Stickatude.com is doing steady business with a $3 bumper sticker that reads:  "Don't Re-Nig in 2012."

    The chief federal judge in Montana admitted he had forwarded an email from his official courthouse email address that contained a joke comparing black Americans to dogs and implied Obama’s mother had sex with animals.

    Judge Richard Cebull said he sent the email not because he was racist, but because he just didn’t like Obama’s policies.
    And Mitt Romney hasn’t exactly been a choirboy either.

    “The thing that Romney does that (George W.) Bush didn’t do is that Romney continually lies,” said David Bositis, a senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a black think-tank based in Washington, D.C.

    While Bush sometimes played loose with the facts or dodged issues, “outside of WMDs (weapons of mass destruction), Bush didn’t outright lie, but Mitt Romney comes out and says outrageous things,” Bositis told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

    “Romney has said that Obama has raised taxes, when without question Obama has cut taxes. He said Obama has apologized for America, which he’s never done. A whole lot of things on health care he has said which aren’t true.

     “…They’re basically going to keep doing things to attack Obama until they find a tactic they think will work,” Bositis said. “They don’t care if it’s true; they don’t care if it is racist or disrespectful. That’s irrelevant.”

    Arsalan Iftikhar, author of “Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era,” and founder of the blog TheMuslimGuy.com, said he sees an especially nasty campaign ahead as President Obama’s opponents try to take him down.

    During the 2008 campaign, Iftikhar said right-wing conservatives were reluctant to say outright they believed Obama shouldn’t be president simply because he was black, so they tried to create an image of the candidate as an outsider, an “other” who didn’t fit with traditional American values.

    In other words, Muslim became the new euphemism for the N-word and, Iftikhar told BlackAmericaWeb.com, it likely will be used again in 2012.

    “Since many primary candidates within the Republican field were pandering to anti-Muslim sentiment during their campaigns, I do see these whisper campaigns of President Obama being crypto-Muslim manchurian candidate being resurrected during the 2012 presidential elections,” Iftikhar said.

    “I think many right-wingers out there have tried to 'other-ize' President Obama whether by the Muslim or birther smears. I think some people will try to capitalize on this phenomenon moving forward. “

    Iftikhar said the strategy “may not be the critical factor, but I do believe that certain Republican surrogates will use this other-ization to try and garner a few cheap political points."

    But is any of this likely to stop Obama from being re-elected?

    It’s unlikely to kill Obama’s likability rating, which remains significantly higher among all Americans than for Romney. It will be something far more concrete that poses the most significant challenge to Obama.

    “What I have been telling people all along is that the metric that matters to me…is the number of new jobs created,” Bositis said.

    “If the number of new jobs created is about 150,000-175,000 (per month) for the months until the election, he’s going to win. However, if it’s less than that the circumstances definitely will be tougher.”
     

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