While participating in a roundtable discussion on ABC’s “This Week,” Georgetown University professor and MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson posited that only a racist person would refer to the president’s Supreme Court comments as “bullying.”
“Look all of this ‘othering’ of Obama, like he's from some other planet. Everything he does is subject to a different lens and seen through a microscope that really tends to pick him apart,” Dyson said.
“I think it's indivisible from the broader issue of his race, of his being a black man with a certain kind of authority. These are impolite things we don't want to talk about. We think that they're being extraordinary ratcheted up. But I don't see any other way to explain it but a remarkable resistance to the integrity of this man that has no other explanation [emphasis added]," he added.
Watch via ABC News (at the 1:50 mark):
“When you hear Republicans say that President Obama is being a bully, you hear racial subtexts?” ABC host Jack Tapper asked.
“Of course,” Dyson answered.
Bully -- I mean look this guy -- if -- if you can't deal with this reasoned, articulate expression of difference and dissent and calling that bullying. And on the one hand Obama has to be worried about, I can't be an angry black man. I can't speak up in a certain way. He's already constrained by the stereotypes that prevail. If you can't even take his dissent as an expression of legitimate disagreement and instead of ascribing to him bullying…
Translation: What President Obama said about the Supreme Court wasn’t all that bad and the only reason people are criticizing him for it is because, well, they're kinda'-sorta' racist.
Conservative author and columnist George Will wasn’t buying it.
“[R]egardless of his skin pigmentation, what he said was factually, demonstrably false. He said something would be unprecedented that has many precedents, probably thousands since 1803,” Will noted.
“That I don't have a problem with,” Dyson responded, “I'm talking about the overall response to him and the picking apart and the refusal to concede legitimacy of difference. Not to point out where you would disagree with him. I think that's powerful.”
Peggy Noonan, former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, weighed in on Dyson’s comments.
“Can I say this -- the president is known as an extremely bright man. He was an instructor of constitutional law,” Noonan noted.
“For him to say something so deeply incorrect and almost unknowing about the -- the purpose of the Supreme Court seemed provocative. At the very least sloppy and what the heck is he doing? But at the most, provocative. A real brush back. A real, I'm going to go to war with the court,” she added.
“Those familiar with Dyson know this to be his common position on anything involving Obama: any criticism of the President is because he's black. Period. End of story,” News Busters’ Noel Sheppard writes.
Indeed. It seems the only difference here is that unlike MSNBC (Dyson's home field), “This Week” hosts panelists who are willing to challenge the notion that anyone who criticizes the president -- especially on things like woefully-inarticulate warnings to the Supreme Court -- is kinda'-sorta' racist.