The Corner

The GOP’s Use of ‘You Didn’t Build That’ Is Racist

Sayeth Jonathan Chait:

Mitt Romney’s plan of blatantly lying about President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” speech is clearly drawing blood. But what makes the attack work so well is not so much the lie itself but the broader subtext of it. Watch Obama’s delivery in the snippet put together by this Republican ad:

The key thing is that Obama is angry, and he’s talking not in his normal voice but in a “black dialect.” This strikes at the core of Obama’s entire political identity: a soft-spoken, reasonable African-American with a Kansas accent. From the moment he stepped onto the national stage, Obama’s deepest political fear was being seen as a “traditional” black politician, one who was demanding redistribution from white America on behalf of his fellow African-Americans.

For #$&% sake, man. Really? I don’t even have an argument here — which I suppose is fine since Chait doesn’t either.

UPDATE: Okay, on reflection maybe I’m not giving Chait enough credit. Maybe his implicit argument was that Obama should repeat his “You Didn’t Build That” bit, word for word, but this time as a “soft-spoken, reasonable African-American with a Kansas accent.” Then it would resonate. Then people would understand.

I’m all for it. If nothing else, it’d be a neat experiment into whether Jon Chait, or everybody else in America, is insane.


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