Thank You John Sununu

Just a quick follow up to Imani’s post.

Today John Sununu called the President “lazy” — and on being pressed, doubled down and said it again.

Just to be clear:  the word Sununu was looking for is “shiftless.”  And BTW, I disagree with Imani just this far:  Sununu wasn’t really blowing a dog whistle.  He just about stood on top of the bar and trumpeted the noun we all can hear lurking right behind the adjective.

Here we see again what’s been apparent for some time:  the Romney campaign has clearly set itself the goal of out-George Wallace-ing the entire GOP primary field as it looks for ways to remind the electorate that the 44th president of the United States is, you know, an African-American man.

For which I offer my sincere thanks to Mr. Sununu…

…best remembered as the toxic-moocher George H. W. Bush fired in an ultimately bootless attempt to avoid re-election crash-and-burn.

Why such gratitude?  Not just because every time something like this makes headlines the toxic foulness of your current GOP becomes yet more obvious (to the point where even such an MSM Village stalwart as Andrea Mitchell seemed to wince, as you can see in the video at the TPM link).

But also because once again Sununu himself and the Romney campaign — a hopelessly undisciplined, tactics-before-strategy, book-a-separate-seat-on-the-plane-for-each-ego kind of operation — have managed to step on their collective genitals, muddying the story of Romney’s debate prowess that they hoped would dominate the day.

I don’t know what universe Sununu inhabits, but in the one in which you must persuade a very small number of folks who voted for Barack Obama last time but might not this time, it just isn’t that great an idea to race-bait in the hopes that no one but your targets will notice.  They will. We do.

Ta-Nehisi Coates linked above as well as here, is dead right on this one.  I don’t know or care if John Sununu is a racist in his daily interactions.  What matters is that he’s a race-hustler.  Here’s TNC on that pathology:

We imagine the American past as filled with rabid bigots. But there have always been at least as many people who have some sense that bigotry is wrong, though they may say nothing.  And then there are a select few who are fairly clear on right and wrong, but simply see more upside in being wrong.

The difference now is that we actually have a black President.  And despite the delusions and deceit of the Sununus of the world, an awful lot of the electorate  seems to have its collective head screwed on pretty good.  They — we — get that the Obama Michael Lewis describes is a much better representation of the actual person than any fantasy put out in a haze of power lust by John Sununu or Mitt Romney.  And thus, despite that ever closer tiptoeing to the plain-text Ni-CLANG! moment Imani describes, Sununu’s hateful speech is the howler monkey’s last fling of faeces against the bars of his cage.  Satisfying to the simian involved, no doubt, but hardly a persuasive exercise.

Put simply:  for all the storm and chaos on the right, most Americans wish this and any President well — out of self interest, if nothing else.  When you trumpet the crazy beyond the walls of the asylum, you make even those who might be receptive to calmer argument just a bit nervous.  Folks start to cross the street when they see you coming.  You get my drift?

One more thing:  Sununu, not content to insult every American who believes that the Presidency deserves minimal respect, added this gem  on Fox News.  Asked if Obama would do better next round, he replied “When you’re not that bright, you can’t get better prepared.”

Oh frabjous day.

John — can I call you John? — it’s less descriptive, but trips off the tongue more easily than “pustule” — please, oh please continue enjoying the carnal knowledge of that fine pullet.  I sincerely hope that your view reflects the Romney campaign’s perception of their opponent.

That is all.

Image Otto Marseus van Schreick, Blue Breeze, Toad and Insects, 1660.

106 replies
  1. 1
    Kadzimiel says:


    President Obama’s campaign set a monthly record for the 2012 cycle in September, hauling in $150 million, according to the Wall Street Journal:

    The September total far surpasses the $114 million raised in August, when the Obama team snapped a three-month streak in which it was outraised by Republican challenger Mitt Romney. At the time, the $114 million was the most the Obama campaign had collected in any one month in the 2012 election season. The most the Romney campaign has collected so far was $111 million in August.

    Looks to me like people are perfectly happy with the president – and are going to donate to and vote for him at 2008 levels. As for the KamaSutra Candidate’s Miracle of Mitt Mendacity, who cares? I doubt that he changed any minds whatsoever.

  2. 2
    sharl says:

    Hears TNC on that pathology:

    First werd needs afixin’.

    And yep, ol’ Johnnie is great to have around, as long as he’s working for the other guy.

  3. 3
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “Put simply: for all the storm and chaos on the right, most Americans wish the President well—for very good reasons of self interest, if nothing else.”

    Exactly. Only in Wingnuttia is the President hated not only for what he does but for who he is. In the Rightwing echo chamber, somehow President Obama is the embodiment of evil. Wonder if Romneybot’s effortless lying last night will help his favorability ratings.

  4. 4
    Lottirose says:

    And that is all – says it all. These people are shameless but that sort of thing is not going to carry the day – at least not with anyone that I know – just forty seven percenters perhaps – but each of us with one precious vote.

  5. 5

    “The carnal knowledge of that fine pullet” — win.

    (damn you autocorrect wanted to change pullet to pulley. Carnal knowledge of pulleys just doesn’t cut it. DYAC — like Sununu — can’t help itself and doesn’t know what it’s doing.)

  6. 6
    legion says:

    He may be lazy, but at least he’s articulate!

  7. 7
    Matthew Reid Krell says:

    I was sorely tempted to inform an incompetent opposing lawyer today that they should “keep fornicating that Gallus gallus domesticus.” Thank you, Tom, for giving me yet another alternative.

  8. 8
    trollhattan says:

    continue enjoying the carnal knowledge of that fine pullet

    Caught me for a second with that turn.

    Yup, with “friends” like Sununu the Elder, who needs enemas?

    Also, too, the Archie Bunker version would be “Cardinal knowledge,” which has all sorts of applicability these days.

  9. 9
    Matthew Reid Krell says:

    @legion: And clean!

  10. 10
    eric says:

    I am wondering when Huntsman comes out and torpedos Mitt by calling him out for lying. There is soooooooooooo much hate there, that I gotta think that guy is just waiting for the right minute to lay the mormon-gop wood to romney. And i mean that in the non-gayest sense possible, not there would be anything wrong with gay mormon-gop wood, except for the fact that would never be out in public

  11. 11
    Joel says:

    I’m already over the debate, but hope Obama isn’t.

  12. 12
    Joel says:

    I’m already over the debate, but hope Obama isn’t.

  13. 13
    Joel says:

    I’m already over the debate, but hope Obama isn’t.

  14. 14
    cckids says:

    From the Wonkette link, referencing the wailing & weeping from the left about the debates: “We’re sorry B. Barry Bamz was a little boring last night, but for sweet Jesus’s sake, he wasn’t that bad. You are all acting like a Dem parody with your defeat-snatching and your waaah. Now buck the fuck up, you tedious shitstains, and get a little love in your heart”.
    Says it all, doesn’t it?

    And Sununu is a rotting, pus-fulled, syphilitic sore on the prolapsed pig rectum of the world. Lazy? his pic is by the word in Websters.

  15. 15
    one two seven says:

    Can someone explain the etymology behind ni-CLANG? I checked the Balloon Juice glossary to no avail.

    I understand what it means, just not the origins.

  16. 16
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    So Obama is a lazy and stupid… black President, according to John Sununu?

    So, uh, why didn’t Mr Sununu ever have the energy and intelligence to run for President before he became a political has-been?

  17. 17
    eric says:

    @cckids: the GOP knows that when you lose, you say you won and say with great ferocity

  18. 18
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @one two seven:

    Can someone explain the etymology behind ni-CLANG? I checked the Balloon Juice glossary to no avail.

    Oh man – rent out “Blazing Saddles” and watch it.

  19. 19
    jenn says:

    @cckids: This and the poor pullet reference, and Betty’s snake story, have perked up my afternoon most beautifully!

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    I last saw Huntsman on TDS and the venom was flowing like (alcohol-free) wine. But, if he has a future as a “moderate Republican” [stop laughing; stop it I say!] he can’t really risk essentially campaigning for Obama. IMHO.

  21. 21
    anonymoose says:

    If Obama would have challenged Romney on all of his lies, I am sure we all know what Sununu would have been saying today…

    …that Obama gets all uppity when challenged and told the truth.

  22. 22
    virginia says:

    Nice to see the old, very old, guard feeling SO good about last night (really?) that they start up with the self-destructive madness all over again. These boys just cannot help themselves! Not even 24 hours later and the surrogates are out there changing the story they ought to be trying to run with — More Sununu all the time, I say. Thank you indeed! And it doesn’t hurt that Sunny looks like something straight out of the Simpsons.

  23. 23
    one two seven says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    Thanks for the tip! Makes it even funnier now!

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    If you want to talk about “lazy” chief executives, in the non klaxon-blaring sense of “lazy”, look no further than the deserting coward who preceded Obama in the White House. Then we can also look at the “let’s fly to Santa Barbara for a week or so…every three weeks…of Ronaldus Magnus.

    Projection. It’s what these foul maggots do.

  25. 25
    eric says:

    @trollhattan: There is a level of hate there that I cant recall ever having seen between two political actors. I am not sure he has a political future. And I think that if Mitt made a serious push, that it would trump all else to destroy the great white hope

  26. 26
    The Moar You Know says:

    If there is going to be a “ni-CLANG” moment – which I sincerely doubt – ol’ Johnny boy there’s going to be the guy to do it.

    He’s willing to (obviously) and never gave a shit about consequences, why start now?

  27. 27
    donnah says:

    I’m surprised Andrea Mitchell gave him an opportunity to take back that comment, but I’m glad she did. His refusal to do so shows his enormous disrespect of the President and his ample bigotry.

    Fuck you, John Sununu, you racist son of a bitch.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @one two seven:

    There’s also the “Near Sheriff”, derived from that same scene:

    “What is he saying?”

    “I think he said the sheriff is near.”

  29. 29
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Counsel for maggots on line two, suggesting a defamation claim in the offing should there be any similar remarks.

  30. 30
    arguingwithsignposts says:


    I’m surprised Andrea Mitchell gave him an opportunity to take back that comment,

    I’m not. Mitchell is classic village “both sides do it” and she’s married to Alan Greenspan.

  31. 31
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @one two seven:

    “Blazing Saddles” should be an essential part of the American curricula, given that it faces racism square on and proceeds to kick the shit out of it with hobnail boots in such a way as to make it totally ridiculous.

    Alas, there is no way it could be even *produced* these days, without being deep-sixed for its use of the “n” word.

  32. 32
    Jamie says:

    As White House Chief of Staff, Sununu reportedly took personal trips, for skiing and other purposes, and classified them as official, for purposes such as conservation or promoting the Thousand Points of Light.[17] The Washington Post wrote that Sununu’s jets “took him to fat-cat Republican fund-raisers, ski lodges, golf resorts and even his dentist in Boston.”[17] Sununu had paid the government only $892 for his more than $615,000 worth of military jet travel.[18] Sununu said that his use of the jets was necessary because he had to be near a telephone at all times for reasons of national security.[19] Sununu became the subject of much late-night television humor over the incident.[17] Sununu worsened the situation shortly afterwards when, after leaking rumors of financial difficulties in his family, he traveled to a rare stamp auction at Christie’s auction house in New York City from Washington in a government limousine, spending $5,000 on rare stamps.[20] Sununu then sent the car and driver back to Washington unoccupied while he returned on a corporate jet.[20] In the course of one week, 45 newspapers ran editorials on Sununu, nearly all of them critical of his actions.[21]

  33. 33
    aimai says:

    After I found out, by reading clips from right wing blogs, that a bunch of these guys are convinced that Obama is doing Cocaine in order to appear upbeat and lively during all his public appearances, I just finally despaired of ever expecting any kind of convergence between my reality and their reality. Sununu, as is appropriate to a palindrome, exists in a mirror world where it makes nothing but sense to say that a guy who has bounded through the last four years, driven a hugely productive legislative and policy agenda, reformulated the US health care system, killed bin laden, ended the war in Iraq, and campaigned tirelessly for the last year is “lazy.”


  34. 34
    japa21 says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I think the surprise is that she just didn’t let it go by uncommented on. By giving him the opportunity to rephrase it, she also gave him the opportunity to double down, which, not being too bright, or maybe lazy, he did.

  35. 35
    Jamie says:

    wow, the freepers are guiding the Rmoney campaign

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    I guess I could envision “Unleash the Huntsman!” were Willard to close the gap to a perilous level. I agree he’d probably be willing and even enjoy it.

    And then he could become a “moderate Democrat” and run in ’16 anyway. I find myself wishing he’d write a tell-all about his Republican primary experience. The level of nuttery he witnessed first-hand would turn a lesser human into a pile of goo.

  37. 37
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    OT, but this is just wrong, whichever spouse got the call first

    Aspiring first lady Ann Romney will join George Stephanopoulos and crew as a guest host on the suddenly dominant Good Morning America next Wednesday, October 10, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Mrs. Romney joins a rotating cast of anchors filling in for Robin Roberts, who is recovering from a bone marrow transplant. ABC is also reportedly in talks with Michelle Obama, who doesn’t really have a choice now, does she?

  38. 38
    Amir Khalid says:

    Iz baffled. How does this racist dog-whistle thing work? Don’t you end up putting off people who disapprove of racism even if they’re not keen on Obama? I believe that’s still a majority of Americans; so, even if you manage to mollify the racists in your party, you’re not coming out ahead.

  39. 39
    trollhattan says:

    10:1 Luntz tested “lazy” and found it to be a winner. Perhaps Willard will unsheath it during Debate the II–Townhallaroo.

  40. 40
    trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    We are still a tribal nation, with a nuclear arsenal. The tribe that would “huzzah” calling the president lazy does not give a shit what the other tribes think.

  41. 41
    lamh35 says:

    AFL/CIO has registered more than 450k new Union Voters

    “The newly registered voters include 68,000 in Ohio, 57,000 in Pennsylvania, 13,500 in Colorado, 10,000 in Nevada and 6,700 in Virginia. Now 75 percent of eligible voters in union households are registered, versus about 65 percent in the general population.”

  42. 42
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @one two seven:

    Blazing Saddles.

    The new Sheriff is a ni-CLANG. [noise, I don’t remember what]
    Repeats a few times.
    Finally gives up and says the Sheriff is near.

  43. 43
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    And despite the delusions and deceit of the Sununus of the world, an awful lot of the electorate seems to have its collective head screwed on pretty good.

    73% of it.

  44. 44
    Cromagnon says:

    So if you call a black person lazy its racist? Is it racist if you call a white person lazy?

  45. 45
    notoriousJRT says:


    but for sweet Jesus’s sake, he wasn’t that bad.

    I give you the “wit” and “wisdom” of Jeff Greenfield:;_ylv=3

  46. 46
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Amir Khalid: Sununu is a crude, ham-fisted, angry man, so is Gingrich, who is operating far more cynically than Sununu– Gingrich would never be as blunt on MSNBC as he was on Fox, and even on Fox, he knew he was talking to their weakest link.

    A better example of the dog whistle is the welfare ad. Nothing explicitly racist, but it appeals to people who are economically precarious and culturally suspicious, and it feeds in to a thirty-plus year narrative (thirty because of Reagan, plus going back to the 17th century) that the only reason we pay taxes is because of something called wastefraudandabuse, and a big part of that is ‘welfare’ (the other part is ‘foreign aid), which only goes to the undeserving, especially dark-skinned, poor, who by definition don’t want to work. Talking about “the welfare state” doesn’t mean social security and medicare, it means what used to be called “relief”, what Brits (I think) call the dole. It appeals to people who would never use That Word, who would look down on people who do, wash their kids mouth out with soap and of course they don’t mean people like Obama, or that lady they used to work with, or even their friend, who isn’t one of Those. But with people they know, they lower their voices and say “i’m not racist, but…” and then they tell the story about that time they saw woman at the grocery store buying wine and cigarettes with food stamps, or the man their cousin’s brother-inl-law knows who is on disability and runs a cash business and drives a BMW

  47. 47
    Hill Dweller says:


    So if you call a black person lazy its racist? Is it racist if you call a white person lazy?

    Sununu is the real victim here, amirite?

  48. 48

    @Amir Khalid:

    How does this racist dog-whistle thing work? Don’t you end up putting off people who disapprove of racism even if they’re not keen on Obama?

    The dog whistlers want to get these groups:

    1) People who are racist enough to be all, “Yeah, you tell ’em, John Sununu! Those ni-CLANGs are lazy as hell!”

    2) People who are uncomfortable with open racism, but may not notice or may actually be influenced by more subtle manifestations.

    The whistles are supposed to be subtle enough to at least not bother the second group. Ideally, they’d tug on the unexamined racism these people might be carrying around not because they actually hate black people, but just as a result of growing up in a racist society. I feel like the Rs have miscalibrated their whistle with this “Obama is lazy and stupid” stuff, though; a majority of people in this country approve of Obama personally and see that that’s not true.

    Most people won’t see it as a dog whistle per se, I’m guessing; they’ll just think “That’s not right.”

    If they do see it as a dog whistle, they would fall into this group:

    3) People who understand about dog whistles, disapprove of them, and might speak up when they hear them. (Often, but thankfully not only, people of color.)

    That group just gets dismissed as “the real racists” (for noticing race) or “people who think all criticism of Obama is racism” or whatever. And the GOP doesn’t care about that group’s votes anyway.

  49. 49
    aimai says:


    Depends. Accusations that the Irish were lazy, animalistic, sexually unrestrained, and drunken were racist in that they attached a negative sterotype to an ethnic (then thought of as a race) category. Ditto for Poles. You seem to think that perhaps this is some kind of trick question, but its not. A racist term or attack is one which links a negative sterotype to an entire race of people, and then feeds back on itself by treating a personal flaw as symbolic of an entire race’s imagined flaws. Another aspect of the way we understand a “racist” comment as opposed to a mere insult is that it globalizes and totalizes, it is seen as typical of every person. So when you call a white guy lazy you and your auditors also assume that there are other white guys who are not lazy. But when Sununu calls the President lazy he is drawing on a racist image/sterotype which presumes that the laziness of this individual is symptomatic of his entire race, and predicted by his race. Of course, the President is mixed race so in order to make that assertion the whiteness of the President has to be forgotten.


  50. 50
    The Moar You Know says:

    So if you call a black person lazy its racist? Is it racist if you call a white person lazy?

    @Cromagnon: Is it mean to call a troll lazy? Because the only way you could have put less effort into this comment was to have not made it at all.

  51. 51
    notoriousJRT says:


    My link does not appear to be working. Sorry I am not better at this.

    This may work:

    Greenfield calls the debate a debacle for Obama, absolves Jim Lehrer, and pronounces the president as clueless.

  52. 52
    👽 Martin says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    How does this racist dog-whistle thing work? Don’t you end up putting off people who disapprove of racism even if they’re not keen on Obama?

    It’s called a dog-whistle because only certain people are supposed to hear it. It’s supposed to be subtle with plausible deniability.

    “I didn’t suggest anything about his race, I merely suggested that his poor showing suggested a certain laziness in preparation for such an important event…”

    Some people still don’t hear it (see mechwarrior online two threads back) while others do. Ta-Nehisi writes:

    Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others. Black America ever lives under that skeptical eye. Hence the old admonishments to be “twice as good.”

    Dog whistles are embedded in that broad skepticism. If you happen to harbor that simplistic hatred or you are on the exact opposite end, you’ll hear the dog whistle for what it is – racist. But these folks aren’t the ones that cost you if they hear the whistle because they’re already firmly embedded in one camp or the other. But ff you harbor that broad skepticism in the middle, you probably won’t hear it. You’ll just nod along “Yeah, they are a bit lazy…” and be somewhat swayed by the argument into one camp or another.

    The problem the GOP are having is that a LOT of whites had that broad skepticism. I can’t pretend I didn’t fall into that camp in the past. My parents definitely did. The only people I could definitively point to and say weren’t at least passively racist towards blacks were black. But that’s who we are as a species – we’re tribal. We have to work at this stuff, and we have. So that group is shrinking steadily. That means more and more people hear the whistle for what it is, and the group it works on is shrinking quickly.

    My kids have turned out to be really good litmus tests for this kind of stuff (as has all of their friends). They’d be aghast that anyone suggest the President is lazy. They’d argue he has the hardest job in the country. They’d have said the same thing about Bush. They’d immediately see it as a unfounded character attack and they’d almost as immediately see it as racist.

  53. 53
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    “Blazing Saddles” should be an essential part of the American curricula, given that it faces racism square on and proceeds to kick the shit out of it with hobnail boots in such a way as to make it totally ridiculous.

    The BBC showed it on a regular basis when I was a kid; I never expected it to serve as a fable of American politics.

  54. 54
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @notoriousJRT: your link to Peggy Noonan’s baby daddy (no I don’t know that, but it would be irresponsible not to speculate) is broken.

  55. 55
    Glyph_2112 says:

    Has anyone made the following points?

    1 – The President looked tired et al. Maybe because he is busy running the f’in country and has to squeeze these reality shows.

    2 – The President was not eloquent. Cripes, I could debate anyone and appear to win if I didn’t have to worry about truth, details, or cohesion. When you are trying to explain complex things simply and in 2 minutes, you really need to construct your words well.

    3 – For all the talking heads that say this is some sort of game changer, hey, there are 2 more debates and if an undecided was convinced last night, they can be pulled right back in the next 2 debates.

    4 – The undecided voter. Bill Maher hit this one out of the park about a week ago on new rules. If you are still undecided right now either you don’t care or are completely stupid. They are the uniformed voters and really if the haven’t been following the election up to now, what makes anyone think they would have dropped everything to watch the debates and make up their mind?

  56. 56
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    So if you call a black person lazy its racist? Is it racist if you call a white person lazy?

    @Cromagnon: Stormfront’s that way ->

    Just keep turning right, you’ll get there.

  57. 57
    Quincy says:

    The TNC post is typically terrific except for the approving link it contains to a piece by Friesdorf. I urge all of you not to click that one, as Conor has already trolled the liberal blogosphere enough this past week. It appears that when one discusses drone warfare one must focus only on the fact that Obama is a monster, and disregard both the previous Republican presidency and positions of the current Republican candidate. But when it comes to racism, of course, both sides do it.

  58. 58
    Just Some Fuckhead says:


    Has anyone made the following points?

    Nope, first time.

  59. 59
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @aimai: I was with ya right up to the Irish.

  60. 60
    notoriousJRT says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Will link @51 work for you?

  61. 61
    OGLiberal says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Every conservative/leans conservative person I know haa some anecdotal/apocryphal story about the guy with the iPhone paying his doctor bills with Medicaid or the woman buying a fancy birthday cake with good stamps. My liberal best friend has the same experience. In every case the “offender” in question is brown. Do they even know we’re on to them? Do they care?

  62. 62
    Enhanced Mooching Techniques says:


    So if you call a black person lazy its racist? Is it racist if you call a white person lazy?

    Is this that why white people look so clumsy on a dance floor, to lazy to learn how to do a simple dance?

  63. 63
    Lurking Canadian says:

    You know, this puts a new complexion on Obama’s debate performance. It must have taken a Herculean effort of will not to smash his fists into Romney’s smirking face for employing this douchebag as a spokesman.

  64. 64
    👽 Martin says:


    So if you call a black person lazy its racist? Is it racist if you call a white person lazy?

    I don’t know. Are they actually lazy? Do you think the black guy with the Harvard Law degree, was US Senator, ran for President, and accomplished what he has from ending Iraq to Bin Laden to HCR to dealing with the GOP House is really lazy? He had a presidential debate on his 20th wedding anniversary, campaigned in 3 states today and will end the day in a 4th, and probably between all of those things needs to check in on Turkey/Syria, Iran’s collapsing currency, the Libya investigation, and a raft of other things.

    I don’t think lazy people are successful in that way.

  65. 65
    Anya says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I really hope Mrs. O tells them to fuck off. She’s shouldn’t do their stupid show. She has better things to do.

  66. 66
    notoriousJRT says:

    @👽 Martin:

    But Obama golfs and plays basketball!

  67. 67
    Captain C says:

    @aimai: Given that Romney looked more manic than some tweakers* I’ve met, any coke accusations against Obama are quite amusing, if not outright laughable.

    *=Users of crystal meth, for those not in the know. They infest Arizona, where I used to live.

  68. 68
    greenergood says:

    “2) People who are uncomfortable with open racism, but may not notice or may actually be influenced by more subtle manifestations.”

    I think there’s a subset here of whom I’d include people like my 80-yr-old Bronx (now suburban) Irish Catholic mom and her friends. During the 2008 campaign she was forwarding me stuff like the photoshopped pic of Obama as a witch doctor, etc. She’s not internet savvy enough to find her own links, but can forward stuff her friends send her. I regard her whole mailing list as a group of old white people who have found that the internet has allowed them to cultivate their inner racist without fear of censure. If you call them on their forwarded images, they just say ‘Oh I thought it was a bit of fun.’ I call these dog whistles ‘race bells’, in that people like my mom don’t lift their heads up and say ‘Hell, yes’; they respond to the resonance of the race bell, that causes subtle sonic shifts to their racism, making it more comfortable to nurture their inner, unspoken racism, and occasionally let it peek out into the sunshine, cause it’s all ‘just a bit of fun’.

    She doesn’t send that much anymore – I only respond to her forwarded messages when they’re pictures of fluffy kittens and such like. Photoshopped witch doctors are met with stony silence – argument is useless.

  69. 69
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Anya: *I* have better things to do than appear on Good Morning America. Lord knows Michelle Obama does.

  70. 70
    Chris says:


    People who are uncomfortable with open racism, but may not notice or may actually be influenced by more subtle manifestations.

    This. Nixon racists, as opposed to George Wallace racists. The people who think unless you’re wearing a dunce hat and burning a cross in preparation for a lynching, you’re not a “real” racist.

  71. 71
    hep kitty says:

    Dammit, I’m watching the President giving a speech right now about the debate and I’m saying, where was that guy last night? He’s excellent right now, excellent. And I usually think his speeches are boring.

    Maybe we’re going to get a fantabulous ad out of it, just a stream of Mitt’s lies, each one effectively debunked in succession. I’m confused so I think I’ll just sit back and shut up about it now.

  72. 72
    Jamie says:

    well looks like Romney is going in full birther. this going to be fun.. fasten your seatbelts

  73. 73
    burnspbesq says:

    I forget which movie this line comes from, but Sununu is the very essence of a “honky-tonk, corn-pone, jive-ass peckerwood.”

  74. 74
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @hep kitty: Occam’s razor says he was 1) tired 2) unprepared for how brazenly Romeny would lie. There are two more debates, which I hope the campaign follows the advice of posters here (and Frank Rich, I think) and brings Barney Frank in as a Romney stand in, and I hoep they get Obama to spend an hour with some snarky young staffers pretending to be town hall questioners.

    one thing we probably don’t have to worry about with Biden, he won’t be decaffeinated. I don’t want to get caught up in expectations (again), but Paul Ryan’s precocious sad dad face is not the right strategy to take on Uncle Joe.

  75. 75
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Tunku Varadarajan (sp?) calls Obama shifty and the Mittbot likeable. From the Daily Beast.

  76. 76
    👽 Martin says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Really?

    “Let Negroes be servants, and if not Negroes, let Irishmen fill their place…”

    The suggestion was that the Irish would only work hard if forced to. That attitude lasted longer in Britain, but had a period here in the US as well particularly at the peak of the Irish immigration. The Irish also have a reputation for working really shit manual labor jobs – railroad construction, sandhogs, miners, etc. It’s an odd dichotomy. But Mexicans have the same reputation – they are described both as ‘lazy’ and as the only workers willing to stand in a field and pick lettuce 10 hours a day. I think the ‘lazy’ label has a specific application – not unlike what Romney was suggesting in his 47% remarks – that these people lack initiative and self-motivation. That is, you can make them work hard, but left to their own devices, they would just choose to lay about. It’s almost a worse insult – that they’re good for nothing more than being a cog in a wheel.

  77. 77
    Jamie says:

    Romney is likeable? what have you been smoking?

  78. 78
    Captain C says:

    @Jamie: Perhaps whatever Romney was smoking to make him so manic last night.

  79. 79
    hep kitty says:

    @Chris: I just wish white people would check themselves, just at least question whether or not their words or thoughts are racist. Good lord, you can overcome racism if you just try just a little bit. But you must be willing to critique yourself, check yourself and your thoughts and reactions, able to hold two opposing thoughts in your mind.

    But so many people get all defensive, they just shut down and that’s that. They never get to the part of understanding anything close to reality about race.

  80. 80
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Jamie: Well Tunku (what kind of a name is Tunku anyway?) was hopped on Scotch.

  81. 81
    jayjaybear says:

    The dogwhistles work because the American public has absolutely no sense of history. “All he did was call him lazy? How is that racist?” is only possible if you have no knowledge of the history of race relations in the USA.

  82. 82
    burnspbesq says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I was with ya right up to the Irish.

    We Irish are all of those things, and more. It’s the Church’s fault.

  83. 83
    Chris says:

    @👽 Martin:

    You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Irish back then and the Mexicans today actually did do a shit job on manual labor. And I wouldn’t blame them, either. When you compensate and treat your employees like shit, you get what you pay for. Why would they feel any professional pride in their job?

    I get this reaction whenever I hear a conservative whine about shitty customer service at this or that minimum wage job. Well, maybe so, but what’s their motivation for doing better?

  84. 84
    Hill Dweller says:

    @jayjaybear: Sununu’s evidence of Obama’s laziness is a self-deprecating joke he told volunteers in one of his Nevada campaign offices after bringing them pizza.

  85. 85
  86. 86
    Hill Dweller says:


    well looks like Romney is going in full birther. this going to be fun.. fasten your seatbelts

    While I’d love to see it happen, what gives you this impression?

  87. 87
    Chris says:

    @hep kitty:

    This exactly.

  88. 88
    Josie says:

    @Amir Khalid: You make an excellent point. Most who use the dog whistle are a little more subtle about it, as others have described here. Sununu, however, is as dumb as a rock and actually thinks he is doing Romney a solid. He doesn’t even realize he is over the line and doubles down on his stupidity, which is to our benefit in the long run.

  89. 89
    Jamie says:

    the Sununu comments and the rumor flying around that Obama’s gonna have us all microchipped as part of Obamacare. He’s doubled down on the right wing crazies

  90. 90
    kindness says:

    I’m not a big Andrea Mitchell fan but Sununu treated her with more open contempt than Romney treats the help (you know, the 47%).

    It was shocking. How do these people keep from getting beaten up when someone recognizes them on the street?

  91. 91
    Ruckus says:

    “When you’re not that bright, you can’t get better prepared.”

    sununu should know about not being that bright, not that bright is his high water mark in intelligence.

  92. 92
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    You know, I get that it’s a charged issue, but the formulation: ‘lazy’ = ‘shiftless’ = ‘ni-CLANG’ doesn’t seem all that clear to me. I’ve used the word ‘lazy’ plenty of times privately. Almost never to refer to a person, but often to refer to a particular piece of work or lack of effort.
    John Sununu is a dick and possibly a racist, but I don’t think that I’d convict him solely based on that use of that word in that sentence. It’s too common a word, and has wide applications.

  93. 93
    waratah says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I think that they need to prepare Biden for the same treatment Romney did last night. I have not watched Ryan very long but he lies in the same aggressive way Romney did last night.

  94. 94
    aimai says:


    Doesn’t work because, as we’ve seen all along, only rich people are motivated by money. Poor people are supposed to be motivated by fear of utter immiseration and death. Hence: slavery as the solution to the labor problem in an agrarian system without a sufficient work force for unemployment to keep people in fear. As soon as you get enough workers that they have to compete with themselves you can let fear of starvation and illness and old age do the work of the owner’s lash.


  95. 95
    waratah says:

    How long do you stay in moderation?

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    It’s not like this is Sununu’s first time at this rodeo. Have all of the other instances where he’s done this also been isolated accidents?

    At some point, you have to accept that there is a pattern to someone’s behavior when they keep “accidentally” doing or saying the same thing over and over again.

  97. 97
    hep kitty says:

    @kindness: If I recall correctly, he did the same thing to Soledad O’Brien. How do you have that as your surrogate? But we’ve long careened past what was once considered unimaginable and utterly contemptible long ago on this crazy chariot to hell.

  98. 98
    Bruce S says:

    I think that having as obvious a dick as John Sununu wandering around banging your drum makes your cause less attractive and convincing than otherwise. I mean, this is a guy who manages to make Andrea Mitchell seem sympathetic. Just saying. Somehow, given that when I first saw Sununu interject himself in this campaign my reaction was, “He’s still alive?”, I can’t get very exercised about what an intemperate, rancid, unseemly little frog of a man he happens to be. As for his way with the race card, he’s doing it because when you’re not that bright you can’t get better prepared than that. It’s his best shot. Which says all you need to know about Sununu.

  99. 99

    @Amir Khalid: See Cromagnon’s response.

    This kind of exercise is really a sort of reverse dogwhistle, or a type of trolling. The point is to imply racist things in such a way that one’s allies can legalistically deny that they are racist, while getting vocally anti-racist people worked up about them, so that one can then denounce anti-racists as the real racists (because only a pro-black racist would deny that it is logically possible that a black person could be lazy and dumb), and inveigh against political correctness gone mad. There are a lot of people in the US who disapprove of overt racism but find it believable that political correctness has gone mad, and by playing it just right you might be able to get them on your side.

    But I think this one is probably too ham-fisted, anyway.

  100. 100
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:


    2 – The President was not eloquent.

    I’m sure someone will be along to explain that his sort don’t have very good verbal skills, and are much happier playing sports and eating fried chicken and watermelon.

    In a totally non-racist manner, naturally.

  101. 101
    The Klown says:

    God, I love this place.

  102. 102
    The Klown says:


    Look who else called Obama lazy:

  103. 103
    notoriousJRT says:

    @👽 Martin:

    And while chattel slavery still existed the Irish (who were not property on some gentleman’s books) were viewed as more expendable then a slave (who was considered livestock not to be risked wantonly), and, therefore, “perfect” for jobs that often killed workers.

  104. 104
    Tehanu says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Exactly. Every time a Rethug opens his mouth (or her mouth — they’re equal-opportunity assholes), you can practically hear them saying “The President is near!”

  105. 105
    John Mc. says:

    Carnal knowledge of that fine pullet, heh, heh. Good One

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