Is G.W. Bush a G.W. Bigot? (w/ Poll) Email Print

I think we should thank Mel Gibson for offering us this opportunity to discuss bigotry in America. Unfortunately, discussions of bigotry rarely erupt here on a national level unless some atrocious event has kindled our wavering national attention.

Truly, bigotry, and race relations in particular, has been a topic largely lost on our government in recent years unless forced upon them by such unfortunate circumstances as those involving the abolishment of Affirmative Action or the outrageous abandonment of New Orleans post-Katrina.

Sadly, such a dialogue may yet be a difficult proposition given that those in charge are bigots -- that's right, BIGOTS! -- and that includes our down-home, folksy dork-in-chief, George W. Bush.

Hear me out and then decide for yourself.

If I asked you one week ago if Mel Gibson was a bigot, you probably would have said, "Who cares about Mel Gibson." But after some prodding you'd probably have responded along the lines of "I don't know" or "I don't know why you would ask that."

Some of you might cite his film "The Passion of the Christ" and note the criticism targeted his way accusing him of Anti-Semitism. But anyone who actually saw the film (which I did -- along with my Jewish wife), would probably dismiss those accusations. It was just a film telling a story from the bible. So, if you consider the New Testament anti-Semitic, then you'd probably consider the movie anti-Semitic as well. To me it was no more bigoted than is to be expected from 'standardized' religions.

Nevertheless, after the Gibson train wreck of this past week, there are few who could now defend Mel from such accusations with a straight face. Now we have foolproof evidence that his anti-Semitic bigotry was well-received from his Holocaust denying father.

Enter George W. Bush. Most people, even his critics, probably don't consider him a bigot. Sure he's an evil, dopey goof, unfit for the office of the Presidency (or any other office for that matter), but most simply don't see him as some sort of bigot.

And that is a part of his folksy act -- the one area where Bush excels -- he smiles a dopey smile as he screws every minority group under the sun.

Clearly, closeted bigots have become versed in traversing the bumpy bigoted landscape, furthering their ideals while claiming tolerance and proclaiming their love for diversity. Thus, they are often difficult to expose outright. We must therefore watch their "walk" vs. their "talk". Don't expect to find Bush using the "N" word or berating gays openly. What you will easily find, however, is a record of civil rights atrocities and staunch support for admitted bigots. Indeed, until Trent Lott spilled the beans regarding his racist beliefs, accusations of contemporary GOP racism was often pooh-poohed as left-wing rhetoric with little evidence (i.e. signed confessions).

Mel Gibson allowed his liquor to set his true feelings free. GW Bush has record.

Actions, as we know, are what determine character and reveal true thoughts. Words mean nothing alone. George W. Bush is THE prime example of rhetoric without support of actions. However, with adept handlers, a propaganda machine, and historical revisionist spinners, Bush has been shielded from any outright racist gaffes. Nevertheless, his actions have unerringly exposed a character that fits snugly in the racist mold.

For example...

1) During his 2000 (in 1999 and 2000) primary campaign for the White House, Bush drummed-up support from his racist buddies at good ol' Bob Jones University. You know. The one that banned interracial dating and declared on its website that the Catholic Church is a minion of Satan.

2) Bush nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, CA state Judge Carolyn B. Kuhl who is pushing to reinstate the undeserved tax-exempt status of the blatantly racist Bob Jones University. Isn't that nice.

3) Despite pleas from civil rights leaders, Bush boycotted the United Nations conference on racism.

4) George W. Bush beat John McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary after what Newsweek called a 'smear campaign' of leaflets, e-mails and telephone calls calling attention to the McCain's 'black child' (an adopted daughter from Bangladesh).

5) Southern Exposure magazine published an article documenting "a questionable relationship between Bush and far-right neo-Confederate groups." For example: "Bush is listed as a donor to the Museum of the Confederacy, based in Richmond, Virginia, as a supporter of the Museum's annual ball - an event held in a slave hall, which has drawn fire for its celebration of the Southern Confederacy." Also, "a letter on Texas Governor stationary, dated January 1, 1996, shows Gov. Bush congratulating the 100th anniversary of the United Daughters of the Confederacy - a group known for glorifying the Confederate past."

6) Bush has shown indifference to the issue of the confederate flag flying atop the South Carolina Capital building sticking the issue into the 'states' rights' bin, not coincidentally the same argument used to rationalize the right to own slaves. Note that Bush has no problem with overriding states rights when it comes to 'assisted suicide' or 'medical marijuana'.  

7) According to Ralph G. Neas, President of People For the American Way, "It is more important that the White House and GOP leaders make a break not only with the segregationist past but with their policies and actions that continue to undermine civil rights protections in America today. This includes especially the efforts by Bush to pack the federal judiciary with states' rights ideologues."

The federal Judiciary, eh? Well, long ago in a place far away, when Democrats actually had a say in the confirmation of Bush federal judgeships, there were two candidates in particular with abominable records on civil rights, (a tell-tale sign of the stealth racist.) who were rejected from serving on the federal bench. Indeed, these monsters were Priscilla R. Owen of Texas and Charles W. Pickering Sr. of Mississippi, a longtime friend of Trent Lott (Need we say more?)

So what did Bush do? Unbelievably, After a 95.4% senate confirmation rate for Bush judicial nominees, Bush had the unmitigated cojones to renominate Owen and give a recess appointment to Pickering. And not only did these two right-wing, senate-rejected, judicial-activist, extremists make it back into the line-up, but so too did 18 other previously-rejected, radical-right losers.

8) Bush and the Republicans politicized a horrifically disingenuous spin on the Social Security system attempting to frame the Social Security debate as an issue of civil rights... one on which the GOP is the advocate for civil rights (LOL). Bush argued that, since Black men die earlier, on average, than white men, the system is racially "biased against" and "inherently unfair" to blacks.

Not surprisingly, Bush claims the solution to these racial woes is his plan for Social Security privatization

Maya Rockeymoore, who has studied the issue at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, said Bush's rationale for privatizations as a solution to alleged "racial bias" is completely misleading and followed by saying that Bush is "playing a race card" as "an excuse to change the system for their own narrow ends."

Jeffrey Liebman, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, has studied the issue of whether blacks are treated unfairly by Social Security concurred.

9) Bush chose Dick Cheney as his vice presidential running mate, a person who voted against a 1986 resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela and recognition of the African National Congress that gained international and U.S. bipartisan support,

10) Bush said, "Rush [Limbaugh] is a great American, and that it was an HONOR to speak talk to him:

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Ladies and gentlemen, we have been saying President Bush will join us at 1:45 this afternoon, about 12 minutes from now, but he can't wait. He's so excited, he's here now. President George W. Bush, welcome to the program, sir. Nice to have you with us.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Thank you, Rush. It's an honor to talk to you.

An honor? An HONOR??

This is the man that Bush was 'honored' to talk to:

a) Limbaugh said of the 2000 election results, "If you take away the black vote, Bush won by a landslide."

b) Limbaugh as an NFL commentator decided that his energy was best spent claiming that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated by the media just because he's black. Limbaugh suggested that McNabb was benefiting from a "media-driven NFL affirmative action plan."

c) He once told a black caller to "Take that bone out of your nose and call me back."

d) He commented that "all police composites resemble Jesse Jackson."

e) Limbaugh expressed his anger when Spike Lee urged that black schoolchildren get off from school to see his film Malcolm X: 'Spike, if you're going to do that, let's complete the education experience. You should tell them that they should loot the theater, and then blow it up on their way out.'

f) Limbaugh mocked the NAACP: 'The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.'

g) When Carol Moseley-Braun was in the Senate, the first black woman ever elected to that body, Limbaugh would play the 'Movin' On Up' theme song from TV's 'Jeffersons' when he mentioned her."

It was an honor for Bush to speak with Rush...a true honor.

11) Despite the racist "coming out" party that Republicans had to endure as a result of Trent Lott's admission of "White Love", President Bush soon thereafter decided to take a high profile stance against "affirmative action" as it was being heard before the United States Supreme Court.

"Policies that give minorities a leg up on white college applicants are unconstitutional discrimination and should be struck down by the Supreme Court"

We should all be proud of Bush for taking a stand. We certainly don't want those pesky minorities to have a leg up on those poor white folks. Of course, not everyone was accepting of Bush's rationale against "white oppression".

"The Bush administration is attempting to perpetrate a racist fraud," said Luke Massie, a national organizer with The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration By Any Means Necessary. "Bush consciously misrepresented Michigan policies by representing them as quotas," Massie said. "Integration and equality can't be achieved without active measures like affirmative action."

12) And perhaps the most enraging accounts of Bush's racism is his administration's broad use of tokenism -- selecting spokespersons whose ideals run counter to their particular ethnicity's general best interest in order to forward an agenda destructive to those demographics.

By definition, "tokens" fall into one of two categories:

1) Those who are representative of the demographic from which they originate, but exist in extremely small numbers within the group being analyzed. If these people were a significant percentage of the group, then they would no longer be considered tokens.

And...

2) Those who are non-representative of the demographic from which they originate. With this type, it doesn't matter how many there are within the group. They are still tokens because they do not offer the diversity that their presence is alleged to provide.

Republican tokens tend to be of the second type. So regardless of how many of these tokens they have, the fact that they are still tokens remains unchanged. However, the audacity of their attempt to conceal that tokenism increases exponentially.

For example, when the administration was railing against Affirmative Action, it wasn't George Bush or Dick Cheney who was the front person for the assault. Nope, it was National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Apparently affirmative Action had become a threat to national security. Why have her front this uniquely domestic, non-security related issue?

Another Example? Bush's nominee for US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and one of his top candidates for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was Migual Estrada.

And, as is typical of a situation involving token nominations, the demographic that the person supposedly represents led the charge AGAINST his confirmation. Indeed, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus OPPOSED Miguel Estrada:

So here we have Rice, an anti-affirmative action African-American coupled with Estrada, an anti-affirmative action Hispanic and anti-choice ideologue. Neither Rice nor Estrada represent the majority of the demographic from which they originate and yet it is because of their status as ethnic minorities that the administration finds them so politically valuable. Like it or not, the characteristics of both Rice and Estrada fall well within the strategic guidelines of that proud GOP tradition -- Tokenism.

They appoint ethnic minorities who are intended to lure in others from their demographics even while legislating against the proclaimed best interests of these demographics. Obviously I'm not saying they shouldn't appoint and nominate minorities, I'm saying they should appoint and nominate minorities who are actually representative of their demographic. Of course they won't do that because such a person would likely be opposed to the GOP's racist agenda.

For a more complete -- and likely more controversial discussion of tokenism, go here.

13) And let's not let Bush off the hook for choosing the political party that boasts an atrocious record on civil rights.

I've read many attempts to defend Bush from accusations of racism -- implicitly releasing him from responsibility -- by rationalizing that Republicans, and conservatism in general, are fundamentally structured to favor the elite, white man.

What the Hell kind of defense is that?

In any event, my attempt here is not to present a character assassination, but rather a character examination. Present the facts and let the reader decide.

So is this laundry list going to convict Bush of racism in a court of law? Hardly.

But IMO, all these things work together to form the true picture of Bush and his fellow Republicans as bigots -- normally unwilling to admit their feelings toward non-whites, but ever transparent in their acts.

So, are these arguments compelling as a whole, or is it just a new load of hot air from a (proud) long-time Bush-basher. If the latter, there's one thing I'd like to know -- if what is presented in this post doesn't illustrate a deliberate pattern of racist behavior, then I ask anyone to reasonably illustrate why it does not. Be sure to address McCain's "Black Child", Bob Jones University, and Bush's praise for the confederacy. And please don't write it off as 'just' being conservative or that it 'wasn't Bush's idea'.

Please share your thoughts.

[NOTE: Clearly this discussion should be expanded to address Bush's bigotry toward gays and Muslims -- and should also include his vast policy-driven misogyny. Unfortunately, this diary was already getting too long for most people's tastes.]


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Poll

Is Dubya a bigot?
George Bush is a bigot. 29%
George Bush is NOT a bigot. 3%
GWB is too damn dumb to understand how his policies fuck minorities. 10%
Structural racism and Conservatism go hand-in-hand. 56%
This topic is too depressing to discuss. 0%
Stop bashing President Bush you commie, pinko scum. 0%

Votes: 78
Results | Other Polls
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'Racism' and 'bigotry' are strong terms and I fear that the semantics -- the different perceptions of exactly what 'racism' and 'bigotry' are -- might cloud the issue. So I offer these very broad definitions for context in this discussion.

'Bigotry', in my perception, refers to the deliberate, but not necessarily public, undermining of, dismissal of, or disregard for a population or population subset whose members carry some common, but nontrivial, characteristic that in some way separates them from the bigot's perceived population. These characteristics may include, but are not limited to race, ethnicity, skin color, religious beliefs, etc.

'Racism' obviously refers to 'bigotry' as it applies to race.

Political Cortex -- Brain Food for the Body Politic

by Tom Ball on 08/02/2006 04:37:16 PM EST

In this article, you call Bob Jones University "blatantly racist," citing a 2000 Salon editorial which is not only outdated but also misrepresentative.  I do agree BJU has held racist policies in the past (a fact I detest); however, to continue to refer to BJU as racist is merely empty and polemical rhetoric.

Let me adopt your style of enumerated arguments, only this time against a view of BJU as racist:


  1. The Salon article overstates its case by saying that BJU began admitting African-American students "under court order."  This error arises from a misreading of Bob Jones Univ. vs. United States, 461 U.S. 574, the Supreme Court case which removed BJU's tax exempt status in 1982.  In that case, Berger, writing the majority opinion, says:

    Following the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in McCrary v. Runyon, 515 F.2d 1082 (1975), aff'd, 427 U.S. 160 (1976), prohibiting racial exclusion from private schools, the University revised its policy. Since May 29, 1975, the University has permitted unmarried Negroes to enroll; but a disciplinary rule prohibits interracial dating and marriage.

    BJU began admitting African-Americans freely on May 29, 1975 (having admitted married African-Americans since 1971), "following" the original circuit court ruling in McCrary v. Runyon.  However, this original ruling applied only to Runyon in that specific case and not to BJU.  It was not until June 25, 1976 that the Supreme Court passed its universally binding order, a year after BJU had already begun admitting African-Americans.

    Obviously, BJU's pre-1975 admissions policies were racist and thus detestable.  However, these policies were abandoned in the closely following the American Civil Rights movement.  True, they did not move as fast as they could (and should) have; however, they were not far behind the times in this respect.  Their current nondiscrimination policy is contemporary standard fare.

  2. BJU's institutional rule against interracial dating was dropped six years ago in the wake of Bush's visit and the ensuing controversy.  It is truly sad that the rule was kept on the books for so long; however, the ease with which it was dropped (and the lack of any negative reaction from the university's constituents) demonstrates that it was not an identifying belief.  Though an argument could possibly be made that the rule made BJU racist by default while it existed, to continue to wield such an argument against BJU now is invalid rhetoric.
  3. Realizing that there was insufficient minority representation, BJU established two insitutional scholarships specifically for minorities in 2001: the Hispanic and Minority Assistance Funds.  Minorities are also not discriminated against on campus -- an African-American was recently elected to student body president, beating out two white contenders.

I have not addressed your other arguments against Bush -- that is intentionally not my point.  My purpose was to demonstrate that to call BJU "blatantly racist" is a baseless polemical assertion blooming solely out of an unresearched political agenda and bordering on slander.

by scottsb on 08/03/2006 06:38:39 AM EST

But frankly, I don't think the institution's forced, snail-paced progress is much of a defense against my assertions.

Even disregarding all other factors, the mere existence of the ban on interracial dating is monumentally damning -- regardless of your claims that it was not a part of their 'identifying beliefs'.

Political Cortex -- Brain Food for the Body Politic

by Tom Ball on 08/03/2006 12:42:20 PM EST

I agree that BJU has been shamefully slow in proactively reaching out to minorities; however, your claim that they are "blatantly racist" in the present is not valid.  You say their progress is "snail-paced" -- fair enough.  You say their progress is "forced" -- not true.  They were certainly under no obligation whatsoever to implement the scholarship programs, and claims of duress for their other actions are quite weak.  Even if their interracial dating ban was "monumentally damning," they don't have it anymore.  Thus, they stand "undamned."  It intellectually dishonest and unfair to slap a racist label on an institution and then to polemicize about it for political ends despite the institution's obvious public efforts to distance itself from its past.

by scottsb on 08/03/2006 05:47:38 PM EST

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