A new example of Right Wing pundits playing the Liberal exaggeration game

The latest Rick Perry controversy came out some days ago when it was revealed that a hunting camp his family had leased for some years has a place name that by today's standards is universally deemed derogatory toward African Americans. Worse, a stone near the camp's entrance at one time had the old place name: N-----Head painted on it. The word, by most accounts, had been painted over on the rock in 1983, though a few people contend that if the sun hits it just right the old word can be seen through the paint.

Now my personal feelings for Governor Perry are, very frankly, strongly negative and for several reasons. Despite my dislike for the man's policies and the general mien of wariness I have for him, I do believe him when he says that his family attempted to do the right thing when someone finally pointed the word out on the rock. Sure, it may have been better to have just turned the rock over than paint over it, or just haul it down to the nearest river and throw it in. But this aside, the family did paint over it once it was brought to their attention. And the truth is, the place name the rock was indicative of was an old place name. The Perry's didn't invent it; it came, as most areas of by-gone days, from colloquial words and phrases that residents were accustomed to using and conceived for reasons that usually had some special meaning surrounding the place. And even though we don't like it today, the fact is the N word was part of everyday language back then. That the rock was there for a long time before it was pointed out is most likely indicative that modern residents just hadn't thought to remove it or at least cover it up. It was part of the landscape, like a civil war marker that locals take for granted and only the tourists take snapshots of. Again, not something to be proud of -if we are to assume whoever gave the locale its name did so solely for mean and racist purposes.

Of course, when you think about it, if the people who named the place were white racists why not name it something like Honky Head or Cracker Corners? Maybe even Lily White Acres? We'll never know the answer, of course, because the folks who named the place aren't here to speak. And so, to assume the place name developed out of some racist agenda is myopic on our part.

On the other hand - Herman Cain recently appeared on ABC news and was asked by a reporter his opinion on the "N" rock controversy. Mr. Cain told the reporter he thought it was insensitive, and that he also thought it was insensitive of Perry (or at least the Perry family) for not removing the word sooner. Considering the historical use of the word evolved into the twentieth century as one really nasty, hateful slur against African Americans, his view is certainly not overboard. I can understand his feelings. Even as I said before the Perry's painted over it as soon as it was brought to their attention, you'd think if they could read -and I'm sure most of them could- that someone in the family would still have at least occasionally glanced at the darned rock, and taken measures decades before 1983 to do something to remedy the eyesore. And although I know colloquial expressions from long-ago should be remembered in their historical relevance, this isn't a story by Mark Twain; a literary work written by someone who lived in the era and was using the word as realistic (for the time) dialog for the hometown, everyday type characters of a fictional story or book. This was an old place name designation left out in the open for the entire world to see. The Perrys may have taken it for granted, but that its existence offended people is completely and rationally understandable.

The point I want to stress here is this: the rock with the slur on it was just left there -for whatever reason- and this was insensitive. Yet, Herman Cain did not once say Rick Perry was a racist, nor any of his family. He said it was insensitive. To say someone's actions or non-actions are insensitive is a totally different thing than calling someone a racist. Herman Cain recognizes this and most thinking people do, too.

But not certain Right Wing pundits.

Rush Limbaugh pounced on the moment to criticize Cain, accusing him of trying to piggyback and capitalize on the N rock story. The next high-profile pundit to level criticism was Bill O'Reilly; who, pulling Brit Hume into the act, tried to make Cain out as a race card player. Very soon some Right Wing forum squawkers had jumped onto the bandstand, echoing the sentiments of their beloved pundits with the charge that Cain had sold out the GOP for some Maxine Waters-type emotional grandstanding game.

Sorry, but the only grandstanding I see going on in this situation comes from these pundits who are all too eager to throw ammunition at Herman Cain.

In this day and age it seems most ultra liberals will throw out the "racist" charge at any and all real or just perceived criticism of President Obama, his administration and his policies. They've already tried this on Herman Cain with comments about Sharia Law and his requisite of proven American loyalty for any future presidential cabinet he may decide upon. It isn't just Cain or the GOP in general or even just the Tea Party; it has become the modus operandi among Ultra Liberals to stamp the patented label of "racist" on whoever expresses an opposing view. It is emotionalism at its most noxious extreme. It is ugly. It is deceitful. It is childish.

Right Wing pundits aren't afraid to call them on it, either. But when Right Wing pundits turn around and use the same brand of emotionalism to cast doubt on a candidate that rivals their chosen favorites, it is just as wrong. O'Reilly has done this by trying to saddle Cain with the mantle of hypocrisy. But he and Hume miscalculated for the very reason Cain wasn't the one who brought up the word racism. As I contend, and as both these educated men know, there is a big difference between racism and insensitivity. In his comments about the Perry family and the matter of the rock, Cain said it was a case of "insensitivity". That was it. But to hear O'Reilly and Hume tell Cain had a Janeane Garafalo moment.

So, just like I don't think Rick Perry's family deliberately acted with malice by overlooking the rock, I don't think Herman Cain deliberately acted with malice in his response. I believe Hume and O'Reilly know this, too. But what they also know is that O'Reilly has tried again and again to make Mr. Cain out to be inept as a real contender. He wants a standard politician to run against Obama in 2012 - a lifelong public servant as opposed to a business man who has worked in the public sector all his life. From the spectator's box it feels that O'Reilly and Hume, while famously opposed to the "race card" game, aren't above using it as a cudgel against their least favorite GOP contender.

Bill O'Reilly -first to call down the race card players; but keeps the race ace up his own sleeve.
Bill O'Reilly -first to call down the race card players; but keeps the race ace up his own sleeve.


As for Mr. Limbaugh..any one with as much ego as this blowhard possesses is the LAST person to accuse anyone of piggybacking on anything. Sure, he's right on some political issues, I can't deny that. But dear goddess..he piggybacked on the Eagles' song, "Get Over It" and he piggybacked on that horrible cult tune, "Barack the Magic Negro". If he wants to talk about grandstanding, he ought to start with that lavish fourth wedding when he plopped down a $1million fee for a performance by Elton John or when he mocked Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease. Right in political views or not, the man has the social maturity of an eight year old and his civility toward anyone who disagrees with him is every bit as exaggerated and rabid as as any of the Liberal pundits on the other side of the political forum. His hypocritical slamming of Cain comes as no surprise, but it is detestable nonetheless.

Rush Limbaugh never acts like he wants to "get over it".
Rush Limbaugh never acts like he wants to "get over it".


I will say, however, that I was genuinely surprised by Sean Hannity's response to Cain's words. Just when I thought Hannity had sunk into the Far Right tank and was never coming up for air he gave Herman Cain his moral support and apparent understanding. I don't know who Hannity's going to vote for, and I really don't want to know. But I admire him for being the man that some of his pundit colleagues have not been.

And to his credit, I even applaud Rick Perry for not reacting like a douche on this issue. Considering his churlish behavior during the last debate, I have to say he seems to be getting a little more mature.


"Politics, it seems to me, for years or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong." ~ Richard Armour

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Comments 15 comments

the bunco squad profile image

the bunco squad 5 years ago from Savannah GA

Nice hub, However, it is not an exaggeration. I currently live in Georgia, but since the Presidents election I have lived in three different states and during that time there hasn’t been a day go by that someone has not made a blatant racial remark concerning the President or the people who elected him, and that is no exaggeration. I have talked to literally hundreds of people claiming to be Tea Party members and every single one of them has eventually made a racial slur. Within these pages you will find hundreds of examples of this truth. I believe that you are sincere in your writing but if you want to write the truth then you need to do some research.


delmer47 profile image

delmer47 5 years ago from Nebraska

Now all Rick Perry has to do is explain his support for the Confederate flag.....


delmer47 profile image

delmer47 5 years ago from Nebraska

Great hub by the way, and I love your perspective. Voted up and interesting....


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

the bunce squad, I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. But if you want the truth- I know several Tea Party members and I've not heard a one of them, in all these years, utter a single racial slur. Now I'm not saying you didn't hear what you say you heard, but I do have ears myself and if I had heard anything like that from any one of them they wouldn't be my friends today.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

Delmer47, thank you for reading my hub and taking the time to comment. I don't know why Rick Perry would support the Confederate flag, but I know a few people who have antique ones in their homes. Most of these were flags used by their great-great grandparents and are displayed today as family memorabilia. I have mixed feelings about that flag; as I know that for some it represents slavery, and yet for some it represents the independence of their Scot and Irish American kinfolk who came down to the South to escape the unjust and often violent working conditions they faced in the industrialized North. My own parents would never display it because they wouldn't want to offend anyone, and yet they know that for their own grandparents it merely represented sovereignty from corporate abuse.

Thanks so much and I appreciate your words :)


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona

BunkoSquad joined two weeks ago and is already slamming fellow Hubbers as racist...must be a shill for moveon.org...BS ( the initials can be taken both ways ), has posted several cut and paste hubs decrying the tea Party and conservatives in general...

My experience is as yours in that none of these Tea Party members I have met ( dozens ) espouse anything other than concern for an unresponsive and out of control government and the determination to elect like-minded Americans to political office...

I agree with your analysis that certain right of center pundits are jumping on this n-rock affair with gusto because Cain does not fit into their definition of a big R Republican candidate...They are much more comfortable with a compromising Romney or party hacks like Gingrich and Huntsman...

I have the same feelings towards Perry as you do...His prior relationship with Gore as his campaign director in Texas, his statements on gun control, and his history of compromise when dealing with illegal aliens, all make me wary of his conservative positions...

Thank you for this well-written, informative, and cogent analysis of the vitriol being aimed at Herman Cain, the only candidate to offer a disciplined and unique plan ( 9-9-9 )for fiscal responsibility and economic growth...Voted up, interesting, and useful...Thanks, Larry


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

Larry, thank you for your articulate comments.

I don't know who BunkoSquad is; if he's the commenter who posted first here I've either didn't take the time to check him/her out or their opinion didn't sound balanced enough to pique my interest. I will say this -as a general statement- anyone who goes around routinely calling any group of people racists just because of their politics is a bigot in my eyes. One of the reasons I stopped reading MoveOn.org is for the repeated incidents of bigoted commentary posted there. I'm not saying they are all bigots, but the practice was prevalent enough to turn my stomach. And this may come as a shock to folk of that mindset, but even for those of us who keep middle-of-the-road perspectives, vitriol from either far side comes across as immature.

As for the Tea Party, I am not a member nor do I see myself becoming a member. But the b.s. about them being a pack of racists is, in my view, tantamount to saying Jews are all greedy, Muslims are all terrorists, blondes are all dumb, redheads are all evil spawn of the devil, ect. It isn't true, it isn't right and when that word is brandished like a village idiot's lantern against an imaginary monster the only thing it accomplishes is to downplay the villainy of real racism.

And I really do believe Herman Cain showed that he knows the difference between racism and plain insensitive behavior. His critics among Right Wing pundits were quick to pounce, but they showed their girly panties in doing so.


delmer47 profile image

delmer47 5 years ago from Nebraska

Check this link out from Yahoo about Gov. Perry's support of Confederate symbols

http://news.yahoo.com/perry-once-defended-confeder...


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

delmer47, thanks for the link to the article.

Even as I've said I have mixed feelings about that flag, Rick Perry's reasoning for displaying a Confederate flag in the Texas Supreme Court building just isn't convincing. That isn't a museum, and it isn't even someone's private family heirloom. And the thing about Christianity teaches? Does he really expect everyone who comes into that room to be Christian? Ridiculous. Thanks much again for sharing!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

The left openly despises the South and would like to wipe out all traces of southern heritage, including their battle flag. Having said that, I've lived all over the US, and I've seen just as much racism in the North as I've seen in the South.

But the most cruel and damaging racism of all is the insidious leftist racism of assumed superiority and low expectations.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

Will, well said!


delmer47 profile image

delmer47 5 years ago from Nebraska

Will, as a Southerner I have no desire whatsoever to erase, eliminate or hide Southern heritage. My mother , father, aunts uncles grandmother and grandfathers were and are all a part of that rich heritage, regardless if they were subjugated to racism/slavery or not. I don't think that Southerners are stupid, ignorant, beneath me, or are devoid of an intelligent thought because I am a liberal. Most every one of my white friends from the South are conservative, and they know I am a liberal. But you know what? We love each other anyway. Why? Because they know I have not painted them into some sort of conservative stereotypical corner, and they have not done the same to me. My family and friends, both black and white that live in that region pay their bills, support their families, attend their churches, and otherwise contribute to society just like you and I do. Just because I disapprove of that flag doesn't make me some sort of liberal right wing nut, nor does it make me reject everything about the South. I wish I was there now if you want to know the truth. As an African American though that flag offends me. Sorry. You can attach whatever meaning you have to that flag. But I know what that flag represents to ME.


delmer47 profile image

delmer47 5 years ago from Nebraska

Left wing nut I meant to say....


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee Author

Delmer, I really doubt Will was referring to you or other common sense liberals. I think he just meant those of the fringe mentality, and very apparently you are not one of these :)


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Hi delmer47! Nice to meet you!

I understand, but the battle flag is not the Confederate flag, as the left would have us believe, nor was it a symbol of slavery. It was simply a battle flag, and it represents the valiant young men on the losing side of the Civil War, most of whom had nothing to do with slavery. The true Confederate flag was the Stars and Bars.

The battle flag is simply a sign of Southern Pride, and so the left wants to tear that down too, leaving the South totally broken. The left openly despises the South, and the term 'Redneck', meaning poor, white, southern laborer, is the last racial slur that's still acceptable.

And yes, it is a derogatory, racial slur.

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