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10 reasons I don’t give Santorum the benefit of the doubt about saying the n-word

By Megan Carpentier
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 12:22 EDT
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Did Rick Santorum drop the n-bomb on Obama in Janesville, Wisconsin?
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Last week, former Senator and current presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA) was forced to deny he called Obama the n-word after video emerged in which he said, “We know the candidate Barack Obama, what he was like – the anti-war government nih… America was a source for division around the world, that what we were doing was wrong.” And then the debates began.

But while I expected conservative sites to slam us for pointing it out, I didn’t expect liberals to suggest that Santorum be given the benefit of the doubt for a “flub,” as I saw from a variety of liberal Twitterers and pundits. Nor did I expect the mainstream media to ignore it almost entirely — though, when the party line is that he didn’t really mean or intend to say it, I suppose I’m not surprised.

I could point out the fact that “anti-war government” is clearly grammatically intended to modify a noun, or that the nouns that begin with an “n” and a short “i” sound — other than the slur in question — are few and far-between (nipple and nitipicker notwithstanding). I could say that I grew up in a town in the same geographic region and of the same blue-collar nature as Santorum, albeit a few years later, and most certainly heard that word tossed around despite the fact that some people believe overt racism is limited to this country’s Southern states. Or I could point out that this is the same guy who once told a reporter with an audio recorder that legalizing same sex marriage would be akin to legalizing pedophilia and “man on dog” and still tries to deny it.

Or I could just say that no longer have one iota of patience or forbearance for any Republican who uses any sort of vaguely racist slur after covering the following instances.

1. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) called Obama the “food stamp president” earlier in this campaign.
2. Donald Trump (R) said he has “a great relationship with the blacks” earlier in this campaign.
3. Trey Walker, an adviser to S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster (R), referred to an escaped gorilla as one of Michelle Obama’s ancestors.
4. Montana’s U.S. District Chief Judge Richard Cebull, appointed by then-President George W. Bush, sent an email out from his courthouse account that “jokingly” accused Obama’s mother of having sex with dogs.
5. Chip Saltsman, a candidate for chair of the Republican National Committee in 2008, sent RNC committee members a CD containing the song “Barack The Magic Negro.”
6. Orange County Republican Party central committee member Marilyn Davenport widely circulated an email which offered that the reason Obama supposedly couldn’t produce a birth certificate was related to the attached picture that pasted his head on a chimpanzee’s body.
7. Dr. David McKalip, a tea partier and anti-”Obamacare” activist, sent an entire listserve of tea partiers an email that depicts Obama as a Papua New Guinean tribesman, complete with a bone in his nose and a feathered headdress.
8. Sherri Goforth, the executive assistant for state Sen. Diane Black (R-TN), sent around to other staffers an email that depicts Obama as just a pair of white eyes on a pitch-black background. (She reportedly kept her job.)
9. Diane Fedele, the president of the Republican women’s club in San Bernardino County, sent around as part of the official newsletter a carton depicted food stamps as “Obama bucks” with a picture of Obama surrounded by watermelon, fried chicken, ribs and Kool-Aid. She denied it was racist.
10. Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) referred to Obama as “boy.”

So, to recap: Republican officials have spent the last 4 years openly calling or using imagery that refers to Obama as “Negro,” “boy,” “monkey,” “spook,” “savage” and “gorilla,” referring to him as a “food stamp president,” using stereotypes about how African-Americans have an affinity for fried chicken and watermelon, referring to African-Americans as “the blacks” and accusing his mother of having sex with dogs because she fathered a child with a black man… and yet I am supposed think Santorum wouldn’t use the n-word?

BONUS: Remember how Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) said in 2002 that this country would have been spared “all these problems” if it had elected then-Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) president in 1948, when he ran on a segregationist ticket? Santorum probably does: he was in the Senate then.

Megan Carpentier
Megan Carpentier is the executive editor of Raw Story. She previously served as an associate editor at Talking Points Memo; the editor of news and politics at Air America; an editor at Jezebel.com; and an associate editor at Wonkette. Her published works include pieces for the Washington Post, the Washington Independent, Ms Magazine, RH Reality Check, the Women's Media Center, On the Issues, the New York Press, Bitch and Women's eNews.
 
 
 
 
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