Republican Representative Calls Obama a “Tar-Baby.” Naaaaa…. Republicans Aren’t Racists.

by Ben Hoffman

Congressman Doug Lamborn, U.S. Representative for Colorado, was recently on the 630 KHOW Capils and Silverman radio show discussing President Obama, the President’s economic policies, and the debt ceiling deals being debated. Lamborn used a controversial phrase to describe working with the President:

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. 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.

I don’t want that to happen to us, but if it does or not, he’ll still get, properly so, the blame because his policies for four years will have failed the American people.

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3 Comments to “Republican Representative Calls Obama a “Tar-Baby.” Naaaaa…. Republicans Aren’t Racists.”

  1. Actually, that’s a nearly correct use of the “tar baby” story, isn’t it? It’s wrong — Obama’s troubles are not of his own making. But as used, the phrase has nothing to do with the color of Mr. Obama’s skin.

    I think the phrase is easily misunderstood in such cases and should be avoided therefore — but racist? Not per se, unless there are other facts in evidence.

  2. The term has derogatory connotations – used only to describe African Americans – therefore, it is racist. Granted, it has another meaning, that being “a sticky situation.” However, intelligent, sensitive humans should know better and mind their words carefully. It doesn’t take a genius to be sensitive nor to understand the history of words and choose better ones.

  3. As much as I’m suspicious of Republicans and their motives (i.e., I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Grover Norquist or the Republican Congressional Committee in one of their daily talking points faxes (“propaganda for the day”) had urged Members of Congress to refer to “tar baby” in anything dealing with President Obama, with malice aforethough), I’m be willing to cut the guy some slack. When a reporter hears something like that, she should always say, “Congressman, would you like to rephrase that?”

    If they don’t rephrase, pound ’em.

    My grandfather often urged that we be specific in talk. “Call a spade a spade, and a shovel a shovel,” he’d say. Most people shorten that phrase to just the first part. It’s common talk among farmers, and in the west. But one day Jesse Jackson said something that irritated Republicans, especially in the West, and a Utah radio interviewer talked to Utah’s then Sen. Jake Garn about it. “We need to call a spade a spade,” Garn said at the beginning of his answer. Given a moment to be reminded of the double meaning in that context, I’m sure he would have rephrased.

    We have serious policy trouble. Let’s not get irritated over unintentional double entendres, especially if it doesn’t promote solutions to the trouble.

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