Doug Lamborn (R-Co): Tar Baby? Really?

Perfunctory Outrage

THis is one of those posts that I’m jotting off quickly simply because not writing it means I’ve become immune to the racist bullshit being spewed hither and yon.  

I meant to write about this nonsense 5 hours ago, but I couldn’t muster up the energy.  So I went to a bar run by a couple of French chaps and had some damn fine fajitas, and now, I’m fortified with beer.  So here goes:

Doug Lamborn (R-CO) is opposed to Obama and everything he does.  Lamborn wants to stay as far away from Obama as possible.  Lamborn doesn’t even want to touch Obama because Obama is like a tar baby, and if Lamborn touches Obama, Lamborn will get stuck or get cooties or some horrifying combination of the two:

““Even if some people say, ‘Well, the Republicans should’ve done this, or they should’ve done that,’ they will hold the president responsible. Now I don’t want to even have to be associated with him. It’s like touching a, a tar baby and you, you get it, you know you’re stuck and you’re 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 sowed the blame, because his policies for four years will have failed the American people.”

Shock! Outrage! Perfidy! Word Salad!


Here’s Ta-Nehisi Coates on the term “tar baby”:

Is tar baby a racist term? Like most elements of language, that depends on context. Calling the Big Dig a tar baby is a lot different than calling a person one. But sensitivity is not unwarranted. Among etymologists, a slur’s validity hangs heavily on history. The concept of tar baby goes way back, according to Words@Random from Random House: “The tar baby is a form of a character widespread in African folklore. In various folktales, gum, wax or other sticky material is used to trap a person.” The term itself was popularized by the 19th-century Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris, in which the character Br’er Fox makes a doll out of tar to ensnare his nemesis Br’er Rabbit. The Oxford American Dictionary defines tar baby much like Romney used it, “a difficult problem, that is only aggravated by attempts to solve it.” But the term also has had racial implications. In his book Coup, John Updike says of a white woman who prefers the company of black men, “some questing chromosome within holds her sexually fast to the tar baby.” The Oxford English Dictionary (but not the print version of its American counterpart) says that tar baby is a derogatory term used for “a black or a Maori.”

Is Lamborn “a racist.”

Who cares.

Should he jump up his own ass and reside there?


[via Think Progress]

[cross-posted at ABLC]

[Wow, there really are a ridiculous number of new categories. Might as well add one of my own! -Imani ABLxx]

132 replies
  1. 1
    BruinKid says:

    Wrote about this over at the GOS. Some people still hadn’t ever heard of the term.

    I did ask an African-American history professor if he felt this was racist. He very much did, no ifs, ands, or buts.

  2. 2
    Linda says:

    “Should he jump up his own ass and reside there?”

    Why repeat himself?

  3. 3
    Bago says:

    Oddly enough, my first introduction to the term was the file name of an art asset in quake.

  4. 4
    Dennis G. says:

    My o my. I was almost finished with my own post on the subject (and I had selected the very same image). Here is the post that will now exist as only a comment:

    For the win…
    No surprise here at all:
    Rep. Doug Lamborn likened compromising with Obama to “touching a tar baby” on talk radio today…

    When they say it is about something other than race, you can be pretty certain that it is ALL about race. Once you understand that, then the Tea Party/Wingnut/Modern Conservatve movement and their motivations are clear as well cleaned glass.
    And while most try to stick with “plausible deniability” when it comes to the root of their problem with Barck Obama, every now and then one of them will let it all hang out. Today it was Doug Lamborn of Colorado. Tomorrow it will be somebody new, but whomever it is, we can be certain that the racist bile animating their movement will always find its way to the surface. It is all they have.

    This is known.

    And with that broad based swipe at all fucking teatards everywhere, how about an open thread.


    Well done (as always) ABL

  5. 5
    danimal says:

    I just hope that someday soon the racist dog-whistles will lose effectiveness. Until then: the banality of assholery.

  6. 6
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I hope I never make the acquaintance of Mr. Lamborn, because I might develop a case of Stupid White Trash Piece of Shit just by being in the same room with him.

  7. 7
    General Stuck says:

    I think he’s from the Colorado Springs area, or Haggardland, and the rest of the religious whackjobs that populate the place. They just can’t control it always, and the racist garbage leaks out from time to time, poorly coded as was this idiots ravings.

  8. 8
    Earl Butz says:

    What is this, 1859?

    Oh, BTW – yes, it was racist and he sure as hell meant it to be.

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Seriously, in 2011, tar baby? Why don’t they just come out and use the word they really want to use?

  10. 10
    Violet says:

    As Tweety suggested in his program tonight, how about we look into Rep. Lamborn’s district (or any Republican’s district) and see if there are any bridges rated sub-par for safety. And then ask him if his family or friends drive over those bridges. And then ask him why he doesn’t budget the money to repair and upgrade those bridges if he loves his family and friends.

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    The sad part is not that he said it. The sad part is he will get re-elected. Easily.

  12. 12
    Cacti says:

    Sometimes I think the 2012 GOP nomination really is up for grabs for the first one to publicly call the President a nigger.

  13. 13
    Martin says:

    According to actual Republicans, real racists would call Obama a nigger and burn a cross on the South Lawn of the WH, so ‘tar baby’ is just libtards being overly PC and trying to unfairly portray all tea partiers as racists.

  14. 14
    delurking for a minute says:

    WTF?!?!?! Are we honestly going to have a debate on this site over whether calling the first black president of the US a “tar baby” is racist or not? As my name says, I’m just a lurker here, but really??

    Honestly, I could barely read the whole post. I am astoundingly disappointed in Obama in any number of ways, but “tar baby”? Seriously? What the hell?

  15. 15

    According to the fReichtard Playbook, you’re the REAL racist for daring to mention this.

  16. 16
    Dollared says:

    What I love is it’s a dog whistle for very old dogs. Being that freakin’ racist is so long out of fashion that they have to reintroduce bigotry into the language.

  17. 17
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    ABL – On behalf of the state I love, I apologize profusely for the existence of this asshat. I’m from Denver, and we’ve known for sometime that the Colorado Springs folks just ain’t right. I loath having to drive through that piece of shit city.

  18. 18
    Rathskeller says:

    I grew up in the south in the 1960s, and read the Br’er Rabbit stories as a little boy. I’ve always thought “tar baby” was a useful metaphor, and grieved a little that it couldn’t be used more frequently because of the connotations. (I’m a word nerd like that).

    But it honestly never occurred to me until today that someone would be such an unthinking racist jackass that he would use “tar baby” to refer to an actual black man. You simply cannot plumb the depths of these people’s sense of privilege.

  19. 19
    Bob L says:

    Yutsano @

    The sad part is not that he said it. The sad part is he will get re-elected. Easily.

    No, truly sad is when he is primared for being a squishy who is to soft on Obama.

  20. 20
    Lojasmo says:

    I love those stories.

    Niggerniggerniggerniggernigger also, too.

  21. 21
    Delia says:


    What I love is it’s a dog whistle for very old dogs.

    And kids these days–how many of them have read their Uncle Remus stories? Not unless they have some good and proper home-schoolin’.

  22. 22
    Arclite says:

    Can I just say? TNC is great fucking writer.

  23. 23
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    and if Lamborn touches Obama, Lamborn will get stuck or get cooties or some horrifying combination of the two:

    I imagine he’s afraid of catching Teh Blackness. It’s a constant worry in the wingnut mind.

  24. 24
    aliasofwestgate says:


    I’m not that old, as i’ve read the story msyelf. i don’t think i read any of the other Uncle Remus stories but i do remember going over it at least once. I’m only 33.

    The fact that he got away with his crap is unbelievable. Ye gods.

  25. 25
    Violet says:

    I agree. I like the image of the tar baby as a metaphor. The racism makes it off limits, though. I wish there were a substitute metaphor that worked as well. Maybe a high fructose corn syrup baby? Pine sap baby?

  26. 26
    Martin says:


    TNC is great fucking writer.

    Indeed he is, and more deserving of a top gig than some of the asshats drawing wingnut welfare.

  27. 27

    This post will do well enough for my swan song. I’ll miss the intelligent comments…

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:

    I really don’t understand these people who can’t seem to grasp that a phrase that’s okay to apply to an inanimate object is offensive when applied to a human being.

    Calling the bill a “tar baby”? Possibly a little sketchy given the context, but certainly defensible.

    Calling an actual person a “tar baby”? Particularly a black man? Not cool, dude. Not cool.

  29. 29
    p mac says:

    Tar baby is an established part of the language meaning sticky problem that is tempting to touch.
    (Anyone who thinks uncle remus stories are racist needs to actually read them. They are a classic both in humor and ethnography.)

    That said, I have never heard it applied to an individual before. I guess its like cooties. For black people

  30. 30
    Stillwater says:

    @Chuck Butcher: What? Can you elaborate on that?

  31. 31

    Feel free to follow the link done correctly below. I’m a dumbass

  32. 32
    joel hanes says:

    I wish there were a substitute metaphor that worked as well.

    Lamborn didn’t even use the metaphor correctly.
    What about Obama is
    “so sticky that once you touch it, you can’t get free” ?
    I’m not seeing it.

    Possible non-racist substitutes, none very good :

    Quagmire (as in Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan)

    Spider’s web

    Grabbing live wire (can’t let go)

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chuck Butcher: The link went to a website suggestions page. At least, it did for me.

  34. 34

    swan song done correctly

    I may follow this thread, but that will be it

  35. 35
    hamletta says:

    @Chuck Butcher: What link? It’s jacked up.

  36. 36
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Cheers, then. Your point of view, with which I did not always agree, was a valuable addition to the discussion in the blogosphere. You will be missed.

  37. 37
    Stillwater says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I may follow this thread, but that will be it

    Leaving the party after 40 years. That’s a long time. You must’ve been thinking about this for a while, right? It’s not a sudden decision?

  38. 38
    Martin says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Take care Chuck. We’ll miss ya. And you can always swing by if only to post pictures of your lunch. That’s cool too.

  39. 39

    Fifty years counting tooooo young to vote, I’ve given it a lot of thought over the last few years, and yes pre-Obama thought. It’s hard to walk away from all that time, energy, and money – but I’ve had enough gratuitous aggravation.

  40. 40
    Bill Cole says:


    I did ask an African-American history professor if he felt this was racist. He very much did, no ifs, ands, or buts

    Not exactly an unbiased authority.
    TNC has this dead on. It is pretty unlikely that Lamborn has much exposure to the OED’s references or Updike or anything other than the Uncle Remus stuff, and while that’s very much in the grey zone as a whole, the Tar Baby is not a particularly racist story. It’s a 19th-century southern white writer’s rendition of an African folk story processed through American slavery, but it isn’t about race. Lamborn is an Oklahoma GOPer so the odds that he isn’t a racist are extremely low and the odds that he isn’t a waste of organic chemicals even lower, but *THIS* bit of rhetoric isn’t really racist. It’s just southern. If southern folk references are decreed as always racist, I think we’re done, and not in a good way.

  41. 41
    Stillwater says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Well good luck to you. I know you’ve been very active in the party and politics generally. It’s a bit of a loss, for everyone, really. So few people do that work.

    And, well, you can always come back if being single doesn’t work out.

  42. 42

    A few will miss me, a lot sure won’t…

  43. 43
    joel hanes says:

    If you grew up in the North, or have seen “A Christmas Story”, touching your tongue to a frigid flagpole is kinda similar.

    I’ll bet more of today’s young people are familiar with that image than they are with Uncle Remus (although one does continue to see pleas “not to throw me in that briar patch”)

  44. 44
  45. 45
    Brachiator says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I was finally able to get the link to your post. I have always been an Independent, though hardly strictly in the middle. But I agree with everything you lay out in your blog post.

    And on this tar baby thing, some Republicans, like Dr Strangelove, just can’t help themselves. They always reveal who they are.

  46. 46
    Brachiator says:

    @Bill Cole:

    It’s just southern. If southern folk references are decreed as always racist, I think we’re done, and not in a good way.

    ha ha ha ha ha. That’s a good one, “southern, not racist.”

  47. 47
    Carolinus says:

    In a similar vein, the latest from MSNBC’s “crazy uncle” Pat Buchanan:

    Mocked by The Wall Street Journal and Sen. John McCain as the little people of the “Lord of the Rings” books, the Tea Party “Hobbits” are indeed returning to Middle Earth — to nail the coonskin to the wall.

  48. 48
    Martin says:

    @Bill Cole:

    If southern folk references are decreed as always racist, I think we’re done, and not in a good way.

    I’m in my 40s and learned by age 10 that ‘tar baby’ belonged in the same category of terms as ‘spear chucker’ and ‘jungle bunny’. I’ll accept it as a ‘southern folk reference’ when I hear southern blacks use it the same context. I’ve never once heard that. Ever.

    Face it, it’s a southern white thing. ‘Boy’ isn’t a racist term, until it’s absolutely clear that it is. And when the fuck did Colorado join the antebellum south?

  49. 49

    I’ve severed the last of my ties to the DPO and my County Party. I’ve deleted all the “favorites” links that are political in nature. I’m leaving this place, which was about the last blog I paid attention to.

    I won’t pretend to pay attention to and care about politics and not be involved – so I won’t pay attention and I’ll learn to not give a damn. I strongly doubt anybody will get hurt by this and if they do, oh well. The only real effect will be on my peace of mind. A couple friends’ feelings will be hurt – they’ll get over it, they’ve got lots on their plates considering politics today.

  50. 50
    Martin says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    A few will miss me, a lot sure won’t…

    Oh, a lot more will miss you than you realize. And those that don’t can jump up their own ass too.

  51. 51

    I’m pretty addicted to this place, whether I commented or not I read virtually every thread to the end – and sometimes that was a hell of a long ways.

    I can’t stick around here and get any distance from politics. I’ll miss smart funny writing and a lot of the personalities and personas. I don’t get away free, but I get away.

  52. 52
    dead existentialist says:

    As a white male raised during the turbulence of the Civil Rights Movement, I have to have Dougie’s back. He’s been vilified all his sorry life for shit he had nothing to do with and accused of shit he never got to enjoy the benefits of. He is the victim of racism AT ITS WORST!!! (Whoever stepped off the sidewalk at his approach, hhhmmm??)

    See, the dude probably had to go to school with a few coloreds and probably was taught to understand them as his equals (or even superiors) if they were so identified by such rubrics as test scores, grades, athletic accomplishments,etc. Being a sub-par student and athlete, he was treated, well, as the new nigger. He was discriminated against because of his talent, not his skin color. He wasn’t given any help or afforded any encouragement because he was a dumb-ass and a klutz.

    Being a dumb-ass or a klutz should not be a barrier to rising to the highest levels of society. (See e.g. Cantor y Boehner.)

    This new racism against the individual person must STOP, or we all risk getting stuck to tar babies of post modern deconstructivtuity!!!

    Ron Paul 2012?

  53. 53
    Yutsano says:

    @Chuck Butcher: You’re a part of the tapestry here Chuck, for the good, the bad, and the worse. Please do feel free to visit for the Tunch pictures if nothing else. The light’s on for ya.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bill Cole:

    As I said above, there are plenty of terms that you can apply to inanimate objects that are offensive when you apply them to people. There’s a huge difference between calling the bill a “tar baby” and calling the president a “tar baby.” It’s dehumanizing, and it’s offensive.

  55. 55
    Martin says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I can appreciate that. You take good care of yourself.

  56. 56

    Gotta make a clean break, you know. If you want to get in touch, you know how.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    You gotta do what you gotta do for your own sanity. I’ve noticed some regulars have had to sequester themselves to the non-political threads to get by, but if you have to go cold turkey, that’s how it is.

  58. 58
    Walker says:



  59. 59
    Walker says:

    I agree with Rathskeller. Rhemus provides many useful metaphors, but you have to be very careful when you use them.

  60. 60

    Political news, MSNBC is playing in the background – this is it for all of it including plain news. I join the great unwashed ignoramouses in selfish pursuit of my ends. MSNBC tonight is for the reaffirmation of the decision to say fuck it.

    I don’t suggest my tack to anyone, I only make an issue of it because I have presented myself as involved and informed and capable of analysis.

  61. 61


    Gotta love Wrex, I & II

    Grunt (II)

  62. 62
    Stillwater says:

    @Martin: And when the fuck did Colorado join the antebellum south?

    It’s not all of Colorado, brother. Just Haggardland.

  63. 63
    Yutsano says:

    @Stillwater: It’s a little pocket of Jeebusland crazy surrounded by cattle ranchers and Mormons, really. No wonder they feel so persecuted.

  64. 64
    No one of Importance says:

    @Bill Cole:
    “Not exactly an unbiased authority.”

    And you, as a white man, are so very objective on matters pertaining to racial issues, aren’t you?

    Why does every goddamn post by ABL contain an apparently obligatory blast of ignorance from a white guy tutoring black people about their experiences and understanding of racism? Could it possibly be that white men really do think that black people aren’t as smart as them and have to be led by the hand down the righteous path of enlightment?

    Off topic, but the reply button fix broke Cleek’s pie filter. I’d rather have to manually link back to someone’s comment than read the blatherings of the usual morons on these posts.

  65. 65
    Mister Papercut says:

    @Bill Cole:

    but THIS bit of rhetoric isn’t really racist. It’s just southern.

    Just did the squeaky-squeaky cartoon-style rubbing of my eyes to make sure I read that right.

    OTOH, now that I think about it, you’re actually fairly correct. Being casually, reflexively racist in one’s speech, and then denying up and down that it’s racist due to being so steeped in one’s own privilege? That’s very southern, indeed.

  66. 66
    JGabriel says:

    Linda says what I’m thinking, to the letter.


  67. 67
    Yutsano says:

    @No one of Importance:

    I’d rather have to manually link back to someone’s comment than read the blatherings of the usual morons on these posts.

    Not sure if I would bother. Never seen the asshole before so I’d bet money he’s a one-and-doner.

  68. 68
    Dr. Loveless says:

    I’ve known about the overtones of “tar baby” ever since I was old enough to watch SNL.

  69. 69

    I’m a fucking yankee and I was raised with Uncle Remus and I’ve never thought that tarbaby as applied to a person was anything other than a racist denigration.

  70. 70
    No one of Importance says:


    “Never seen the asshole before so I’d bet money he’s a one-and-doner.”

    Very likely, but there’s plenty more where he came from – and some of them are regulars. (Do I have to mention a certain ‘Uncle’?)

  71. 71
    Cain says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Fifty years counting tooooo young to vote, I’ve given it a lot of thought over the last few years, and yes pre-Obama thought. It’s hard to walk away from all that time, energy, and money – but I’ve had enough gratuitous aggravation.

    You are a good one, Chuck. I’m sorry to see you retire from this. You have spent a lot of time on Democratic politics and at this blog. You are/is a welcome voice here. You’ve shared some of your personal life with us, and you’ve helped those who were in pain here as well. Thank you for all that.

  72. 72
    burnspbesq says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    With all due respect, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Have appreciated your contributions, but won’t miss you.

  73. 73
    BruinKid says:

    I think for anyone who says it’s not racist, then I challenge them to go into a black neighborhood, stand in the middle of a public area, and start shouting “tar baby” at the top of their lungs, and see what happens to them. :-)

    And yes, I’m envisioning that scene from Mississippi Burning where the FBI guys take the Klan member and drop him off in the middle of the black neighborhood.

  74. 74
    Derek says:

    And on this date (yesterday I guess), August 1st, Colorado Day, he made all of us Coloradans oh so proud.


  75. 75


    if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem

    Since the apparent solution is to be the GOP of the decade or less before – you’re welcome to it. I’ll get dragged along with everybody else, true, but with considerable less aggravation in the meantime. Hell, I’ll even work up to missing you, if I put some effort into it.

    Hell, I figured all along to die in a nail apron, fast car, or on a bike so the rest of it is a deal for somebody else who seems to care a shitload less than I did.

  76. 76
    Yutsano says:

    @No one of Importance: On that point I agree, you should spare yourself the aggravation. I think the fix is you have to re-load the filter, but I’ll let cleek clarify that on his own.

    @Chuck Butcher: On that point I completely agree. The man (and I use the term loosely) is a disgusting individual for suggesting this. And I was also raised on the Uncle Remus tales.

  77. 77
    Cain says:


    With all due respect, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Have appreciated your contributions, but won’t miss you.

    That’s not really fair. He put in 40 years of his life in politics and ran for office. I’ve put in hmm.. let’s see 5 years.

    People can leave especially if it is affecting their mental health. There will be new folks to add in. (which is what we should be doing)

  78. 78
    opie jeanne says:

    @BruinKid: They never read any of the Uncle Remus/Brer Rabbit stories? This was the first one I remember reading as a child, and one of the first books I owned.

  79. 79
    cbear says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I have always respected your voice, Chuck, and can only respect your decision.
    Best of luck.

  80. 80
    Thymezone says:

    I haven’t read the thread, because I am lazy, and don’t care, but ….

    I think Obama gets reelected next year, and not in small part because to some extent presidents get seen in comparison to their opposition. I am old enough to remember the adults in my house talking about Truman. About Eisenhower. I attended the convention that nominated Kennedy. And I remember the way people talked about those presidents. In a word, shitty. People say shitty things about a president.

    Ugly comments like Tar Baby … let’s put it this way. It’s the comment that will stick to this jackass. Not the president or his cooties.

    Obama will win because he is a better governor (in the verb sense, not the noun sense) than anybody the GOP can put, he is more likeable than any of them, and he is more human than any of them. And all of them have to peddle a GOP line of bullshit that isn’t worth a damn, even as a contrast in tough times. And he can let this Tar Baby thing, and all the other racist or reactionary crap, just bounce off him.

  81. 81
    Thymezone says:

    Special to Chuck Butcher: Man, you are an institution here. I hope you come back, I think you will after some vacation from the fray. I totally understand frustration with politics and the verbal wars.

    Enjoy your time off and come back when you can. Cheers!

  82. 82

    I wrote a parody song about what it might feel like to be a progressive Dem today. You might get a kick out of it Chuck. [Click my name for complete song]

    Came back home to the Dem infirmary
    And Nancy said son if it was up to me
    Went down to see the President man
    He said son, don’t you understand

    I had a friend who was a congressman
    Fighting off a Tea Party con man
    The con’s now here, and my friend’s long gone

    Down in the shadow of the damn congress
    Listening to gasbags of the beltway press
    I’m ten years burning down this road
    Nowhere to run aint got nowhere to go

    Democrat in the U.S. House, I’m just a Democrat in the U.S. House.
    Democrat in the U.S. House, I’m just a losing vote in the U.S. House.
    Democrat in the U.S. House, I have a vote in the U.S. House
    Just another battered spouse in the U.S. House.

  83. 83
    ABL says:

    @Dennis G.: thanks, dennis. not sure if you got the image from the website selling the soap. dude complains about “white guilt ridden crusaders” making it such that he can’t use paypal or sell his crap on ebay.




  84. 84
    Sly says:

    You think that shit’s outrageous?

    A news report about a drive-by shooting that aired on Chicago’s CBS 2 (WBBM-TV) included a reaction from a (black) 4-year-old that was edited to make the tyke appear to be headed for a life of crime.
    The interview as shown on TV ends with the boy telling a reporter that, rather than stay away from guns when he gets older, he’s “going to have me a gun.” In the unedited interview, the kid goes on to say that he plans on becoming a police officer — but CBS 2 News chose to leave that part out.

  85. 85

    @gocart mozart:
    Something in your name is broken, won’t link and I have no prob with others.

    I liked what is here. Well, didn’t like it in the reality sense…

  86. 86

    Cheese and crackers, that sucks.

  87. 87
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Count me among the few then. :) I’ve sadly watched your change over the years and honestly can’t blame you for feeling disappointed after all of the hard work you have put into your local politics and beliefs.

    Do drop in and say HI once in a while, ok? Best wishes to you Chuck.

  88. 88
    Elie says:

    @Chuck Butcher:


    I hope that you will still vote.

    I dunno if I understand why you are doing this. What if we all walked away? Somehow, I don’t think that would make things better.

    I can understand walking away a while… I have. But STAY AWAY?

    Sorry. You were in politics because you care. I don’t think that the care will stop and I don’t think you are the type of person to avoid hard fights and long slogs.

    Man, its just life. You leave this down here and its just something else. Watch.

    Don’t give up your core. Ok to stop being a Democrat, whatever that is, but don’t stop caring and acting to help us in this poor mucked up country. don quit on us.

  89. 89

    It should work now Chuck.

  90. 90
    bonkers says:

    Hey Chuck: Don’t know who you are, but perhaps you’d like to hear a few words from a famous “incrementalist” like Susan B. Anthony…

    “Before retiring, Anthony was asked if all women in the United states would ever be given the vote. She replied by stating, “it will come, but I shall not see it…It is inevitable. We can no more deny forever the right of self-government to one-half our people than we could keep the Negro forever in bondage. It will not be wrought by the same disrupting forces that freed the slave, but come it will, and I believe within a generation.”[26] “Failure is impossible” were the words she left with her “girls” to encourage them on in the long discouraging struggle ahead.[27] Fourteen years after Anthony’s death, following assiduous campaigning, women were given the right vote on August 26, 1920, by the nineteenth amendment to the constitution”

    Then of course, there was incrementalist Frederick Douglass who also fought for Justice to his last days. And MLK, and on and on. See, they didn’t give up despite never seeing what they fought for come to fruition.

    It’s so funny about supposed “progressives” or whatever they call themselves, that right when we have this historic President who has clearly stopped the rightward swing of the pendulum and has even started moving it back to the Left on so many issues, y’all bail in a huff. I now question the true motives of any “Liberal” who looks at this list of tremendous accomplishments, in the face of a much more hostile Congress and numbers than LBJ or FDR faced, and then gets discouraged:
    (what’s extra funny is that the list is in serious need of updating)

    Any Liberal should be more excited than at any point since the 1960s by what’s been accomplished in the last few years. That’s a fact.

    I worked a lot throughout Asia and Europe when Republicans decided to invade Afghan and Iraq. It was literally dangerous to say you were American in a lot of areas. Now, largely because of President Barack Hussein Obama, it’s actually a point of pride….just a handful of years later. Much of the Middle East, including now Israel ferchrissakes, is rising up to levels unseen in generations, and perhaps the most ever, against the oppression of the fascists. Many in these areas attribute President Barack Hussein Obama as one catalyst to this. Change is coming to the world in a big way right now, and Stanley Ann’s son is clearly a big part of this.

    I first started getting frustrated with “true progressives” before President Obama even took Office. They would ignore LITERALLY every positive thing he was doing and every positive effect of someone of his melanin-level becoming President. It was just weird at the time, and now a couple years later I see what’s really happening. It’s been sad for me, really.

    So best of luck to you as you leave the DemocratIC Party. We’ll take it from here, and we appreciate whatever work you’ve done or anyone else who has worked for various Liberal issues to get us to this point. You can go work with some 3rd Party or drop out altogether, and we’ll all be more happy and more effective because of it. I don’t mean that to sound snide or whatever, it’s just a simple truth.

    It’s not about you, champ.

  91. 91


    but don’t stop caring and acting to help us in this poor mucked up country. don quit on us.

    I do a good job when I can get work, I do the best I can for may friends and family. That’s a hell of a lot smaller clan than a nation, but shit, there I make a difference I can believe in. This other … hell, it is everything I’ve worked against and virtually nothing I’ve worked for.

    I don’t blame any particular politician and I don’t scoff at all of them for the situation that we’ve reached. But it is what it is and what I think I’ve done is make it easier for one bunch to fuck us over almost as much and a bit slower than the other. I don’t see how it is healthy for me to think and believe one thing and enable something nothing like it. I’m not religious, but there are a lot of things in those books about how to take care of each other and live in a society … I can’t take the effort to care about how, say, ABL’s quality of life is when that gets all tangled up in some contrived political bullshit. (not her contrivance) I’m tired, it’s somebody else’s turn to play at this and try to believe in the face of reason and outcomes.

    I’ve stuck with this tonight to try to explain myself to you all and to make sure it fits together for me. It is almost like when I kicked alcohol and drugs, an addiction I’m fond of that has to go for things to make sense. I’m tired of either preaching to the choir or facing stupid reason and fact deprived rebuttals.

    I’ve spent the last month trying not to get really seriously pissed off as all signals pointed me in one direction and finally this last tore it. I don’t like miscues, but when your own Party takes a ballbat to the economy to satisfy the wrecking crew, that’s enough. The entire OR House delegation voted for this shit, including my dumbass (R) Walden. What the hell am I supposed to do with that? Help them? Fuck them before I’ll lie for them.

  92. 92

    @gocart mozart:
    Love it (all the while hating it)

  93. 93
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Chuck, I think that I may know a bit more about your history with the Democratic party than many commenters here. Turn away from TV news, spend plenty of Summertime with your Harley, relax, and spend as much time away from the hurlyburly as you see fit. You’ve done a lot more work for the Dems than any keyboard kommando who would question your decision.

  94. 94
    Lysana says:

    (If anyone cares, the link on my name is to a new attempt at blogging on my part. Issues with occasional silliness. I have a draft waiting on casting a movie based on John Brunner’s “Shockwave Rider” and an opening post on Coors selling frou-frou flavored beer to women in the UK.)

    Y’know, I walked away from a 20-year online friendship today. She was emoprogging her overly sincere assets off and wouldn’t listen to reason. It was all a failure! Obama’s fault! Caver! Liar! Still moving us to the right! Rev. Warren! Yeah, no shit, she’s still pissed about that. Throw in the fact she’s a self-described anarcho-sockalist who supports Republican terrorists in Ulster (not the IRA, they’re too prone to compromise with the Loyalists), and you’ve got one hell of a soup.

    So I see ABL talking about Lamborn making a semantic ass out of himself and I knew she’d make the case well for it. Of course, I also expected and found the whitesplaining in progress. And I am oddly comforted. The bozos are with us, and they always will be. The fact nobody let this guy win the discussion is what really made me feel better.

    BTW, Chuck? Bonkers speaks for me. Peace.

  95. 95
    bago says:

    @Walker: Needs a period.

  96. 96
    Lysana says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Ok, I take that partially back. The reason you’re better off and we are as well is burnout is NOT pretty. Pushing yourself past the point of no return will do more damage than walking away and leaving a gap to be filled. Care for yourself. Those with the strength left to continue will and will find newer and fresher minds and hearts.

  97. 97
  98. 98


    It’s not about you, champ.

    Oh yeah, now it is.

    You’re free to view the last six years, two decades, or three years any way that pleases you. Funny thing about that melanin content, I must’ve missed it while I was registering voters, writing articles, speaking, ginning up donations, and generally making myself a pain in the ass on his behalf with Clinton supporters. I didn’t mention the Prez, I didn’t specify anybody but you sure went there. I don’t now and never have worn blinders for any fucking body. I’ve kept going by thinking that incremental changes would add up, I was right – just the wrong “team.”

  99. 99
    Ruckus says:

    What a load of crap.

    It’s a great excuse not to give a shit about anyone who doesn’t agree with you 100% but it’s a rubbish slogan.
    There are many problems and there are many solutions to them. Not everyone has to be as committed as everyone else. Or as you.
    This is a person who has invested decades in politics which I’d bet is more than most here. He has put himself way farther out there and deserves to be done with it if that’s his wish/need.

  100. 100

    I didn’t want Cole and some others to think I was pissed and left in a huff, nor to think that maybe the Harley had gotten me.

    Other than a handful of trolls, I’ve enjoyed damn near everybody here, even in disagreements. My blog reading had dropped to almost nothing other than this site – I like a monkey house, just built that way I guess.

    It isn’t as safe to ride a big bike as to drive a car – but a car can’t do what the bike can and it can’t give you what the bike can and I take that trade. This place is like that, high performance wild ride.

    burnsp… is right for himself, he thinks he sees something and I don’t see it – and that’s a solution. I don’t see such a thing even proposed much less driven at.

  101. 101
    Ruckus says:

    @Chuck Butcher:
    I think you get from it what you put in. If you go all in it can be just like a big bike(Yam 1000 here) the ride can get pretty wild. I have a huge bookmark list separated into politics and personal political blogs but only read a few regularly. If I didn’t I’d be wearing a white coat with really long arms. Maybe it’s my age (almost medicare!) but I like to sit back, read the posts, comment once in a while if I feel I have something to add or something strikes me as funny. But every once in a while I have to walk away even if it’s just for a day because I get burned out pretty easily myself.
    Drop by once in a while (can’t help myself-sorry) order a club soda and chat.

  102. 102
    MaxxLange says:

    I actually do not think that this is necessarily a racist reference, but I’m not surprised at all if a racist tried to use it as a dog whistle

    Let me explain, as a school child in the South, in the ’70’s, the stories of Joel Chandler Harris were presented to us like he was a modern day Aesop. We went on field trips to the “Wren’s Nest”, his old house in Atlanta.

    Stories like the “tar baby” and all that trapped rabbit going “oooh please, whatever you do,kind Sir, don’t throw me in that briar patch”…..were used to teach moral lessons, along with “the boy who cried wolf” etc.

    This is a pretty weak defense. It’s asking you to consider that the dude is basically stupid, not evil. Like saying “every Christmas day, I remember my Daddy would bring a turkey around to the poor Jews who had to eat at the Chinese restaurant, and he would tell them about the Gospel while he gave them that turkey” and being PROUD of that

  103. 103
    Ruckus says:

    The funny thing about racist sayings are that they are all derogatory to the people on the receiving end. And they are all meant to be derogatory by the person speaking. And it’s easy to tell if they are derogatory. Switch the speaker and the recipient around. What is the reaction of the original speaker? Is he pissed to have the term applied to him? You can’t do it in the case of a racist term because the original speaker will complain that the term doesn’t apply to him. Not that it is derogatory but that it doesn’t apply.

  104. 104
    roshan says:

    I think nigg*r is the preferred terminology. This is another example where Mr.Lamborn was constrained by the pc police and had to resort to drawing from his extensive vocabulary for an accurate description of President Obama.

  105. 105
    brantl says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I’ll miss you.

  106. 106
    Bondo says:

    Wow, 105 comments and not one mention of the fact that John Kerry used the same exact term a few years back. Oh, sure, he used it toward an object rather than a person, but he used it with the same meaning.

    Lamborn is my representative, he’s an idiot, but this whole thing is unfair. Just because something could be racist doesn’t mean it is racist. This is the racism equivalent of crying wolf.

  107. 107
    Bill Cole says:

    @Bill Cole:

    Lamborn is an Oklahoma GOPer

    Dunno why that was in my head. The fact that he’s not a southerner dismantles my argument completely.

  108. 108
    Ash Can says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I’ll miss you too.

  109. 109
  110. 110
    phoebesmother says:

    Sure hope Mr. Roshan is a one-and-doner. Or was that sarcasm that missed its target? (It’s “an accurate description” that’s confusing me.)

    Yup, my mother read us the Uncle Remus stories — in the edition based on Song of the South (Disney movie). As I vaguely recall, it played on the teevee in the 1950s (Disney again prolly).

    So when the words “tar baby” jumped off the page at me, my mouth fell open. A racist reference? You betcha. Or at least one of those pesky image-word associations that pop out of a white person-of-dubious-attitudes-on-race’s mouth.

  111. 111
    WereBear says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I’ll miss your insightful (and inciteful) commentary, but needs must. You’ve certainly contributed and I thank you for it.

    As far as the remark, there’s a reason so many racist things sound Southern.

  112. 112
    Ash Can says:

    @Bondo: And your bona fides for being able to tell us what’s racist and what isn’t are…?

  113. 113
    Jinxtigr says:

    Being associated with Obama is touching a tar baby?

    …the fuck.

    You know it’s not going to be super hard to convince Americans, including ‘moderately conservative’ ones, that the Republicans are unreconstructed Confederate loonies who have no clue how to operate in the 21st century…

    It’s just not going to be THAT BIG a stretch… it’s going to be, shall we say, plausible…

  114. 114
    brantl says:

    @bonkers: You do mean it to sound snide, or you’re a complete idiot. WHat a jerk.

  115. 115
    Damned at Random says:

    I was taught the concept of the tar baby as the concept of sin in a (northern) Catholic elementary school – you touch the tar baby – commit a sin- and it sticks to you in spite of your efforts to conceal it. It was many years later that I learned it had a racist element. Unfortunate, because it is a useful idea and easily understood by a young child.

  116. 116
    Robert says:

    I have never heard the phrase “tar baby” used about a person without there being a racist intent. Forget the context of the stories, racism is the practical usage when you call a black person a “tar baby.” This isn’t a gray area at all when it comes to calling a black man a “tar baby.” It’s racism. Period.

  117. 117
    quaker in a basement says:


    This morning, the local Denver Clear Channel radio station reports that Lamborn meant to say “quagmire,” not “tar baby.”

    I’m sure that’s happened to all of us at some point. Well, all of us who have Tourette’s.

  118. 118
    FR says:

    @bonkers: Moving the country left? A hero in the Middle East? Your comment is satire, right?
    Smart decision, Mr.Butcher. I supported McGovern in 1972 and have voted for every Democratic presidential candidate since (the two most difficult were Clinton in ’96 on the heels of NAFTA and Gore in 2000 with the execrable Lieberman on the ticket), but 2008 will be my last time for the foreseeable future.

  119. 119
    henqiguai says:

    For all you ahistorical apologists on Lamborn’s racist usage of “tarbaby”, even he is now admitting a bit of an oopsie…
    Rep. Lamborn Sends Obama An Apology Letter For Equating Him With A ‘Tar Baby’

  120. 120
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    Well, you know, the Representative has to wink and throw his followers a bone now and them. It is definitely a “racist” term. I’m old enough to have heard people use it, and believe me, it wasn’t in a fun-loving, jovial way. It was meant as an insult. And just to prove what a classy old gal I am, let me say that this guy may be from Colorado, but he is a race-baiting red neck….I mean that in the most jovial, fun-loving way, though.

  121. 121
    Admiral_Komack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Don’t worry.
    It will happen.

  122. 122


    No, no, no. The real racists are the ones who complain about Republicans being racist when they’re only trying to speak freely about the worst president ever (who’s also a Muslim nazi atheist soçialist communist Chicago-style gangster criminal terrorist). The real racists are Jesse Jackson, ABL and all the other welfare cheats and poverty pimps who just want to keep the hard-working, victimized blacks down so they can trick them into voting Democratic, while at the same time raising the lazy-ass blacks up upon the broken remnants of the formerly great white race, who have been ground into the dirt by affirmative action!

    Get your facts straight, damn it. It isn’t that hard to keep up here…

  123. 123
    Brachiator says:


    It’s asking you to consider that the dude is basically stupid, not evil.

    Two of the most consistent, and pointless excuses for racism: “it’s not racist, it’s just stupid;” and “you can’t call someone a racist unless you know what was in his or her heart.”

    Oh yeah, and “Well, a Democrat (or liberal) said something maybe sorta kinda vaguely similar so BOTH SIDES DO IT, bygones.”

    Like saying “every Christmas day, I remember my Daddy would bring a turkey around to the poor Jews who had to eat at the Chinese restaurant, and he would tell them about the Gospel while he gave them that turkey” and being PROUD of that.

    This is wrong on some many levels, not the least of which is that it wraps up both stupidity and religious bigotry in one nice little Christmas package.

  124. 124


    Thank you.

    I know many will see this as a cop-out, or a way of “excusing” Obama and the Democratic Party for their failures, but I’ll say it anyway. We have 30 or 40 years of hard work by the radical conservatives to overcome. They’ve worked at changing Americans’ beliefs about what government is, what it isn’t, what it should do and what it shouldn’t, awfully hard through that time. They’ve cowed the press into behaving like a whipped dog. They’ve utterly taken over the Republican Party.

    Look at what Obama has had to deal with: For 150 years, since the end of the Civil War, presidents have dealt with opposition parties that, while they were often shortsighted and wrongheaded about all kinds of things, really did want what was best for the country, at least as they saw it. Not since 1861 has a president had to deal with an opposition that was willing to flush the whole country down the toilet if it didn’t get its way. Obama has had to do everything he’s done without any help from the Republicans, and with a beaten-down, brain-dead press whining all the time about how he’s “condescending” or “unwilling to compromise”. I’ll take what he’s done so far. It’s something to build on. We aren’t done yet, not by a long sight, but we should take a page from our foes, the seditious creeps on the right: They never gave up and went home when they didn’t get everything they wanted from this president or that president; they kept at it.

  125. 125
    M McBride says:

    While I can’t see into Lamborn’s mind and judge what he was thinking when he made his remarks, he certainly showed mind-boggling stupidity in his choice of words. There is some irony in the fact that many of the comments here, aimed at decrying bigotry, reveal bigotry and vitriol themselves. Included are the ignorant characterization of the home-school community (#21), blanket condemnation of a whole city’s population (#7), and use of demeaning language toward anyone with whom one disagrees (#118–I would think that one could be well to the left or right of Sen. Lieberman without feeling compelled to describe him as “execrable.” When commentators allow their underlying hatreds and prejudices to erupt into excessive rhetoric and gross generalizations they are not contributing to public discourse or advancing the cause of civility and reason.

  126. 126
    Robert says:

    @henqiguai: That apology is a total non-apology. “I’m sorry you misunderstood my racist use of a potentially racist term to be racist. I’m sure the president understands.”

  127. 127

    In the context, I think it is nasty, but I didn’t agree that it’s racist.

    But then I saw his response. He’s sorry he used a term some find offensive.

    See, it wasn’t insensitive to refer to America’s first black President as a tarbaby. But *some* would find it so.

    In fact, I imagine *he* is due an apology because his perfectly innocent, perfectly okay words offended *some* people and made a fuss break out. And he shouldn’t have to deal with a fuss.

    The incredible immaturity on display here sickens me. Look, everyone can screw up. I have; I’ve said stupid, and insensitive, things. But I’ve learned to be an adult… to take responsibility. “Yeah, I screwed up; I’m sorry.”

    And you want privilege? Here’s a fine example of privilege:

    The Congressman is confident that the uppity that the *President* will accept his apology. Because, after all, if he doesn’t, what’s he going to do? Act offended about a racially charged term being thrown his way? That’ll just prove that he’s nursing racial grievances and that *he* is the real racist.

    If he’s sincere, and really feels bad that he screwed up, well, I’d feel bad for him, because what he’s said here is spot on what I’d expect a racist dog-whistler to say. And, alas, if you don’t want to be lumped in with the racist dog whistlers, you should act like a mature adult.

  128. 128

    Two of the most consistent, and pointless excuses for racism: “it’s not racist, it’s just stupid;” and “you can’t call someone a racist unless you know what was in his or her heart.”

    Here’s the other thing to think about.

    If you do something stupid and hurtful, how are you going to learn to do better, if people don’t treat you like you were being deliberately hurtful?

    If you have a child doing something stupid and hurtful, you might let the child go the first time – but if it happens again, you do something. Maybe it’s punishment, maybe it’s “well, if you haven’t learned to play without shoving, you can’t play until you’re sure you can play more gently.” But you don’t just ignore it because it’s stupid. You make it a meaningful event, so that the child learns better.

    “Well, *maybe* he was stupid!” says, to me, that “then let’s make that stupidity an event so he can learn from it.” And I mean, it’s not like someone is saying to splash a little water in his face, something that clearly isn’t even *torture*. They’re saying to let him learn that it’s a really shitty thing to do, so he’s really careful not to let it happen again.

  129. 129
    bonkers says:

    @Too Many Jimpersons (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.):

    Couldn’t agree more. It’s been so weird to me to watch all these incredible achievements, and yet have to constantly defend President Barack Hussein Obama among my “true progressive” friends (which started even before he was inaugurated, mind you). How can someone who claims to be Liberal look at this list, which needs several additions already, and conclude NOW, now is the time to give up?!?

    It’s become so engrained in the discourse, even among Liberals, that Stanley Ann’s son isn’t doing that great, but we’ll just have to “hold our noses” and vote for him since that’s what we got to work with. This is completely wrong in my opinion. If people would actually pay attention to what’s being accomplished, and not fall under the spell of the MegaMedia-created false storylines designed to bring down any Democrat, any Liberal should be as excited as any point in their lifetimes with what’s being accomplished under the leadership of President Obama.

    Of course, most people who aren’t melanin-challenged understand just how amazing it is that he’s even in that office at all, and appreciate this fact everyday. The way he conducts himself in that Office, and how little kids of all genetic backgrounds can see that and aspire to that without being bogged down (as much) by the racial baggage of the past, will pay incredible dividends for the future. This is not to be dismissed easily, as so many “true progressives” do.

    President Obama’s first fundraising period was absolutely staggering and obliterated any other fundraising record for this time period, and 98% of it was from people donating less than $200, so we’re not alone, Too Many Jimpersons, even though it seems like it sometimes at some “Liberal” blogs. Not quite sure why these “true progressives” just don’t go start their own blogs and organize and strategize together, rather than make the exact same arguments for years about how President Obama is letting them down at sites that are supposedly pro-DemocratIC. They, and mindless Obamatrons like me would all be much better off. Makes ya wonder…

  130. 130
    bonkers says:


    I bow to your greatness.

  131. 131
    Matt says:

    A good rule of thumb for future racially-tone-deaf Republicans: if Chevy Chase said it in the last half of this sketch, it’s probably NOT a good idea to use it when referring to the President. ;)

  132. 132
    NowPower says:

    Congressman Doug Lamborn – Lamebrain ! Congressman Lamborn opened his lame*ss mouth and well…, here’s the t-shirt warning him – Honey Badger Does Care – Big Time.

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