KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: Breaking news at this hour: Saying the inclination to racism in the country still exists, former President Jimmy Carter has tonight told NBC News that it has again bubbled up to the surface and that much of the most extreme animosity towards President Obama stems from the belief—again quoting Jimmy Carter, "that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country," unquote.
With a hilariously studied seriousness, , Keith Olbermann and Lawrence O'Donnell discussed (video here) Jimmy Carter's charges that racism was behind the opposition to Obama as though it was a brand new thought, rather than something both blabbers had been throwing against the wall and trying to make stick for weeks.
While this charge has been common on MSNBC since Chris Matthews and supposed conservative columnist Kathleen Parker tried 2 months ago to make ALASKAN Sarah Palin the pinup girl for Southern White Male Bigots, the new Party Line is that Congressman Joe Wilson is the chief of the New Confederacy.
In the most coordinated attack on the South since Grant and Sherman, Democrats and liberal pundits since this last weekend have fanned out across the media conducting a scorched earth offensive designed to contain the opposition to one quarter of the country.
It has now become clear that the same people who will scream bloody murder because CIA interrogators said mean things to mass murderers captured on the battlefield, are willing to lynch a quarter of the country on the basis of no evidence.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. The theory that at least those on the fringes of the kind of political road rage against the 44th president are there because of racism or latent racism or just racial fear may not move to the center of the nation's political discourse—in our fifth story tonight: This after remarks today by former President Jimmy Carter in an interview with Brian Williams for "NBC Nightly News."
The 39th president who watched his native Georgia grown from lynching and Jim Crow to comparative enlightenment, and in less than half of his lifetime, minced no words about what he sees behind the anger supposedly focused on the issue of health care.
"Comparative enlightenment"? Wow. Nothing condescending here… Compared to what, Keith—Manhattan? Check out Feel enlightened yet? Wait until you read Jimmah Cahtah's racist allegations.
JIMMY CARTER, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American. I live in the South, and I have seen the South come a long way and I have seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude towards minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans. And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people—not just in the South but around the country—that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.
Carter uses his status as a Southerner to give his statement weight. If only liberals would apply this logic to decide that Benjamin Netanyahu knows more about Palestinian terrorism than Jimmy Carter.
OLBERMANN: I'm joined now by our own Lawrence O'Donnell, contributor of the "Huffington Post" and, of course, of MSNBC. An overwhelmingly proportion of the intensely-demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact he's a black man. Is President Carter correct?
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we have to wonder especially when we saw Joe Wilson, congressman from South Carolina. I'm not from the South. I'm from the south side of Boston, when where I grew up, that was a very racist precinct to be from. And we reveal that when school bussing came to our city in 1975.
When you hear someone who grew up in the Deep South, as President Carter did, who worked his way into politics in the Deep South as President Carter did, you have to take this very seriously.
You know, the question has been out there about Joe Wilson. You know, was it really just they need a breathalyzer to allow people onto the House floor, or was there something more serious going on? This is—and I suggested that the apology he really now needs to make is to the people of South Carolina, many of whom have worked very, very hard to erase the stain of racism from that state to—starting with slavery and through segregation.
He was alive—he was born into segregation, born into a segregated South Carolina. And so for him to do this, for him to raise this question as he has done, requires at minimum that he apologize to the people of South Carolina who tried to put this behind them.
The "question" was "out there" because Democrat hacks like Lawrence O'Donnell and James Carville had spent the weekend and first part of the week proclaiming it to be fact.
OLBERMANN: Back to President Carter. It is one thing if I were to conclude this and I have suggested that this might be often true in the most virulent of cases, especially the more—the less rational, the surface argument seems to be, the more likely there is that there is another explanation and unfortunately, the natural one would—given our history—would be this one. It's one thing if you wrote about this or commented about this. What happens if it is a former president of the United States, any former president of the United States, but as you alluded to, particularly this one who gives voice to this?
Can somebody diagram the above sentences for me?
OLBERMANN: When it comes to the—to the town halls and the—just again, road rage may be in fact a pretty good term for it—when it comes to that and you hear people saying, "I want my America back," …When it's something like that, are there other explanations for it or does the idea that there is a—that there is a racist element of the country, a fear, is that—is that the only explanation or are there other explanations for this generalized, ill-defined anger?
O'DONNELL: I don't have another one when I look at the preceding model for this, which was Hillary Clinton's crusade in the same legislative arena. Now, Hillary Clinton was despised by that side of the world as a crazy lefty. They attacked her on policy grounds.
They were screaming about the employer mandate. They did not say we want the country back. Or they weren't saying these same things, those 15 years ago on exactly the same subject area. They were actually coming at the bill. Now, in a pretty crude way but they were talking about the bill.
These people have not been talking about what's in the bill. I have never seen that before in opposition to legislation. You oppose legislation by talking about what's in it. They're not talking about that. So, what is that motivation?
Perhaps the Clinton tax increase raising the top rate by a few percent did not generate the same reaction as taking over 2 of the Big 3 American car companies, bailing out Wall Street with a trillion dollars, proposing an energy tax that will cost at LEAST another trillion dollars, spending a trillion dollars on an ill-defined "stimulus package" that mostly seems to create government jobs, creating a "pay czar" in which the government can set private companies' compensation, and a President who thinks he has the authority to fire the president of GM?
Perhaps that is not the America people grew up in? Perhaps that debt is not the legacy they want to pass on to their children? No, you're obviously right, Keith and Larry, this is all about race!
O'DONNELL: … I've been bothered by some very quick dismissals, for example, at the notion that—oh, no, no, the Joe Wilson thing was not a racial incident in any way. There were no racial overtones to that as all.
And there are some columnists, like Maureen Dowd, who have come out and connected those dots and they get sort of criticized as being kind of loony, imaginary, you know, imaging things…
Umm, yeah, she imagined that Joe Wilson yelled, "You lie, boy," which tells us more about Maureen Dowd than it does about Joe Wilson.
O'DONNELL:…No, I think there's something very legitimate to consider and I think it's incumbent on Joe Wilson to come out and somehow prove to us—prove to us that this son of South Carolina, born into segregation, grew up in it, that—no, no, no, he's completely clean on this. I mean, let him come to the podium now. Let him explain to Brian Williams, explain to you, explain to us how we can really be sure that that had nothing to do with that moment and why he might believe that it has nothing to do with the big protest moment we saw—the big protests we've seen out there against President Obama.
What? No white man of a certain age from the South can oppose President Obama without trying to prove a negative—that he's not a racist?
Okay, now I'm saying it. If this is the standard—I WANT MY AMERICA BACK.
As if things weren't crazy enough in this segment, Olbermann then went to that constitutional scholar and great American historian, Markos Moulitsas, founder of the website Daily Kos, who made up the following factoid:
MOULITSAS: But ultimately, there is a kernel of a truth and I think it has to be addressed. There's a reason that these tea baggers, these conservatives are blaming that Obama was born in Kenya and not American. He's not legitimate in their eyes, he's not a real American.
And poll after poll had shown that two-thirds of Republicans—two-thirds—do not believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States or are not sure. They think it's open to debate.
So, clearly this is not an issue of policy differences. They are really angry that there's a black man in charge of this country and they're lashing out in ways such as the "You lie!"
I'd sure like to see a legitimate poll that says that. It wasn't that long ago that two thirds of Republican voters did not even express a negative opinion of Obama.
Then Keith and Kos inadvertently reveals that he and like "minds" have been just waiting to unveil this line of attack. Ooops!
OLBERMANN: …Did anybody foresee this as an issue of governance or an issue that would actually be even if it—with 10-foot poles exploited by the opposing party? In governance?
MOULITSAS: Yes. Clearly, we knew this was going to happen. Anybody who has any inkling of what the conservative movement is about and what it is capable of knew that they were going to latch on this sort of thing as a tool to try to rally their own base and try to drive Obama's favorabilities into the ground. I mean, you saw what they did to Bill Clinton, who was a white president, [not according to Tony Morrison…] obviously, but they accused him of murdering people—all sorts of horrible, horrible things.
So, this is not beyond them. So, it was clear when Obama became president, and as you had the Republican Party taken over by the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks and Bill O'Reillys, you knew this was sort of what was going to happen. It was almost inevitable. And I think what is important now is to see how we as a nation react to those baseless and hideous attacks.
OLBERMANN: As if we needed an underscoring, you mentioned Bill O'Reilly's name. At this hour, as we speak, the segment he is doing is about ACORN, as if Barack Obama were its founder, president, and made million dollars a year or a week off of it. It underscores it perfectly.
At last, Keith Olerman mentions ACORN! Maybe after this nutty converstion about a peanut farmer's ranting, the topic followed just so naturally that it just slipped out.
By the way, Keith Olbermann was not the only person to recommend America listen to Jimmy Carter on this day. A new book critic has given Jimmah a rave review:
"...Read what your former president, Carter, wrote regarding Israeli racism against our people in Palestine..."
Think they will blurb that on the paperback?
It's not like he's a southern white male, so why not?
Editor's Note: See the Previous Installments of Forsmark's Blockbuster "Meltdown with Keith Olbermann" Series: