Thursday, October 24, 2013

Where some see a pebble, others see the Rock of Gilbraltar

Have you noticed since the U.S. elected its first black President that it's the political left which is most hung up on the racial aspect? What I mean is any right wing criticism of President Obama's politics or how he conducts himself is often dismissed as racist sentiments. As my friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg often asks lefties "If a conservative orders a pizza in the woods and no one hears it, is he/she still spouting racist rhetoric?"

About 2-1/2 months before the 2012 Presidential election, Michelle Malkin put together a "Condensed Liberal Handbook of Racial Code Words." In essence, there were certain phrases uttered by right wingers that letfy pundits interpreted as containing racial subtext. 

Looks like Michelle may have to add "Nigerian Email Scammers" to the list. 

At a rally in Houston on Monday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was pointing out the disaster that has been the Obamacare rollout. With the website being woefully slow (if accessible at all) and Americans suffering "sticker shock" at higher than expected premiums, Cruz made the following quip:

"Have you all noticed, you know the Nigerian email scammers? They've been a lot less active lately, because they've all been hired to run the Obamacare websites."

I don't know about you, but I immediately ascertained the reference. In the past, I have received some unsolicited emails claiming to originate from Nigeria. Basically I was informed that there was unclaimed money awaiting me. All I had to do was pass along my banking information and they would wire the funds posthaste. Of course I never fell for it. However, the perpetrators of this scam only needed a few people out of the thousands they contacted in order to make this a lucrative venture. As such, the FBI issued a warning about this particular scam.

Nigerian letter frauds combine the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter mailed from Nigeria offers the recipient the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the author—a self-proclaimed government official—is trying to transfer illegally out of Nigeria. The recipient is encouraged to send information to the author, such as blank letterhead stationery, bank name and account numbers, and other identifying information using a fax number provided in the letter. Some of these letters have also been received via e-mail through the Internet. The scheme relies on convincing a willing victim, who has demonstrated a “propensity for larceny” by responding to the invitation, to send money to the author of the letter in Nigeria in several installments of increasing amounts for a variety of reasons.

Ah, but lest we forget, Cruz is a conservative Republican. Therefore, his joke has to contain some sort of racial connotation. Leave it to uber lefty editor Joan Walsh to unearth whatever "racial code words" were being conveyed by Cruz (emphasis mine).

Declaring that our first black president’s signature policy achievement is being run by “Nigerian email scammers” is GOP dog-whistle politics at its finest. Of course, Cruz wasn’t just going for cheap laughs at the expense of the Affordable Care Act. He knows it’s a short hop from Nigeria to Kenya for his Obama-hating Houston audience. Polls show up to two-thirds of self-described Republicans still harbor doubts that the president was born here, and even mainstream GOP leaders indulge rather than dispel those doubts. Cruz enjoys them. (Remember, his father told an audience that only “political correctness” keeps Republicans from telling Americans that Obama is Muslim.)

So, a reference to Africans? Check. A stereotype about people who either work for or use government services, like “scammer”? A reference to “email” that’s a stand-in for “something about the Internet these people probably don’t understand anyway”? Check. It took Newt Gingrich several tries to communicate to his audience that Obama suffers from “a Kenyan anti-colonial mind-set” and is “the food stamp president.” Cruz did it with one dumb joke.

It appears Ms. Walsh fancies herself as clairvoyant, since she claims to know without a shadow of a doubt Cruz's true feelings. I also surmise that she has incredibly strong legs due to all the giant leaps of logic she makes in her post (BTW, is my reference to Walsh's legs some sort of misogynistic dog whistle?).

The fact of the matter is the Obamacare rollout has been a quagmire, something that has even been pointed out by such conservative stooges as Jon Stewart and the folks at Think Progress. But even when the web site glitches get fixed, premiums will still be high and healthcare will not be as readily available. To combat that, people like Walsh take that proverbial dog whistle and hold it near a lamp and attempt to create a shiny distraction. It won't work, as the American people will be too preoccupied with trying to alleviate financial hardships while still having no guarantee of adequate healthcare.


1 comment:

Mr. D said...

As always, it's worth pointing out to Ms. Walsh that if you're the only one to hear the dog whistle, you might want to check to see if your collar's on too tight.