Monday, August 11, 2008

ABC's Cokie Roberts criticizes Obama for vacationing in "exotic" Hawaii

On the August 10 edition of ABC News' This Week, ABC News political analyst Cokie Roberts criticized Sen. Barack Obama for taking a vacation this week to "foreign, exotic" Hawaii. Apparently Cokie couldn't figure out why Obama would go to Hawaii, other than admitting that Hawaii was a state, Obama was born in Hawaii, and Obama's grandmother lives there--it "does not make any sense whatsoever." Media Matters has the story, and YouTube has the video:

What is more, Cokie repeated her criticism of Obama vacationing in "foreign, exotic" Hawaii on NPR's Morning Edition today. From Media Matters:

Of course, Cokie then recommends that Obama should try vacationing at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I guess real Americans vacation at Myrtle Beach.

I'm just wondering how many brain cells are left in Cokie's head after saying something this stupid--twice! What is worst is that Cokie admits that Obama was born in Hawaii, that his grandmother still lives in Hawaii, and she still questions why Obama should take a week's vacation to Hawaii. Hawaii is the 50th state in the Union. It is a major tourism state, with 580,862 visitors in June, and an estimated 7.2 million visiting Hawaii for 2008. I should also say that Americans have certainly shed blood in Hawaii--remember Pearl Harbor? Does any of this register into Cokie's brain?

Maybe there is more here to this story. I found this June 16, 2008 Media Matters story, where MSNBC's conservative columnist Patrick Buchanan called Barack Obama "exotic." From Media Matters:

And here is the transcript:

From the June 12 edition of MSNBC's Verdict with Dan Abrams:

ABRAMS: Pat, should John McCain have come out and been more aggressive in saying, look, I -- he was the one who was saying before, "We're not going to go negative," et cetera. And now he's saying, "Well, you know, what do you want me to do? I can't control everything." I mean, he is backing off a little bit, isn't he?

BUCHANAN: Sure. Well, Dan, I've told you all along, the only way the Republicans can win this when the whole country wants to throw the Republicans out, is raise questions, raise doubts about the alternative -- just like the Democrats did with Reagan in 1980. And they're going to do it. And they're going to use his associations. And they're going to use his statements, his elitism. They're going to use the fact he's exotic. I mean, that's what's going to happen. And McCain --

Buchanan's statement that the Republicans will use this "fact" that Obama is "exotic" almost comes close to a racist statement. Exotic is defined as "of foreign origin or character; not native." When I think of exotic locations, I think of Tahiti, or countries in Africa (Kenya?), China, Japan, and other Southeast Asian countries. These are places where the native people are of a different ethnicities, different languages, and different cultures. What is more, the native people in these exotic locations would probably also have a different skin color. In other words, "exotic" may have become another code word for racism against Obama, that the Republican Party is using. Of course, Buchanan denies that exotic is a code word for black, saying it is a code word for an outsider. But consider that Barack Obama is running as the first credible African-American candidate for president--It will be either Obama or John McCain that will take the White House. The previous 43 presidents who have held the Oval Office have been white. That may be just too much for the right-wing radicals, or even southern conservatives, to have an African-American as president. McCain's unofficial political adviser, Karl Rove, and the Rovian team that is running McCain's campaign, certainly know this and have been painting Obama as an outsider, someone who is not really American enough. What is a better term to use to convey that Obama is such an outsider and un-American, than to call Obama an "exotic?" Finally, we have the supposed mainstream media talking pundits like Pat Buchanan and Cokie Roberts that are more than happy to regurgitate this GOP crap.

Expect to see even more dirty and racist code words coming from the Republicans as the election heats up.

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