So many ways to spin the contrived Brewer confrontation; so little time. Never underestimate what two racist men can say about it to turn a picture of a bemused President looking at an overreacting governor with a bemused look into something far more sinister. Newt should get some credit for being only slightly more obvious in his racist outlook than he's been during the debates, but not much.
Here's the racist take on Ms. Governor Fake-Outrage Brewer, beginning with Hannity's lead-in:
HANNITY: Now according to the press pool, the two got into a heated conversation over a passage in the Governor's book. Apparently Obama took issue with how Governor Brewer described their meeting at the White House about the Arizona immigration law back in 2010.
Keep it classy, Hannity. Calling the President "Obama" while according Brewer the courtesy of her title? Not even subtle, is it?
HANNITY: Now the Governor was clearly shaken up by the exchange, told pool reporters that he walked away before she could finish her sentence, and said "I said to him, you know, I have always respected the office of the president and that the book is what the book is...I said that I was sorry that he felt that way. Anyway, we're glad he's here, and we'll regroup."
Clearly shaken up by the exchange? Oh hell, no. But it does play right into what comes next, for sure. Now we come to Newt, post-introduction:
HANNITY: You know, I'm thinking, you know, if you just look at The Drudge Report, and just one day's worth of attacks and criticisms leveled by many of your critics in one day, and this one thing has gotten to the President, what does that say about him?
GINGRICH: Well, you know the thing that's fascinating when I read the story, you know that Governor Brewer is telling the truth because he acted as arrogantly and as rudely to her on the tarmac as she suggested he had in the Oval Office.
That wasn't the behavior of a man who said "Gosh, I'm sorry you felt that way." She described him as lecturing her in the Oval Office and what do we see at the foot of Air Force One? He's lecturing her. So you know that her version's right and it tells you how thin-skinned and I think how utterly unable to relate to other people that President Obama is. He's terrific in front of a crowd but at least with Republicans he seems to have almost no ability to receive incoming information or to listen to the other side.
Wow, here we get a two-fer. According to Newt he's arrogant (code word for 'uppity) and he's stupid or handicapped or something.
Well, here's the raw video straight from the Associated Press of this little incident. Perhaps it will yield some clues about whether this was contrived or a real confrontation. At the time I wrote this, there was a video that had all of the footage out of sequence posted on the Associated Press account at YouTube. There was a short clip of the President greeting officials, and the two still photos spliced into the center, and then more footage of him greeting the crowd. They pulled that down sometime in the last eight hours.
That video seemed out of sequence to me. The photos of the two of them are inserted into video of his arrival to cheers yet there was no car or people anywhere near them in the still shots. They were clearly taken at different points in the encounter. At any rate, the still photos give a clearer sense of who was lecturing who. I'd say the finger poking near his face was a clear indicator, wouldn't you? Here's a clip still posted on the ABC News site with about half of the original video, which gives you at least a sense of the mood, which wasn't at all solemn.
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Well, let's give Hannity another poke at the barrel, shall we?
HANNITY: Speaking of listening to the other side, first of all he said America is back. I'm sure you would take issue with that. And then he said we've got to follow the example of the military. We've all got to work together. Lower the temperature in this town. The same guy that said if they bring a knife to the fight we bring a gun. The same guy that said Republicans want dirty air, dirty water, and old people to not have health care? What did you think of the speech overall?
Gosh, there's an intro, eh? You can listen to Newt's answer, but it's predictably loaded with doom and gloom about how taxing capital gains at the Reagan rates would somehow crash the stock market and devalue everyone's 401k plans, as though that hasn't already happened a couple of times over the past 30 years? It's predictable Newt Gingrich hyperbole.
I could go through all of the different outrageous things that have been said by Republicans about President Obama too, but all anyone really has to do is spend a few minutes looking at Media Matters' daily clips to know Hannity is way out in left field on this.
Ahead of the debate Thursday night, laying the foundation for more slams on minorities, the poor, and the middle class probably felt like a good idea to these two clowns. To me, it just felt like more ways to try and hide the fact that President Obama gave a speech that viewers overwhelmingly approved of, and they don't have a thing to push back with.
Instead, they use the timeworn "uppity" and "out of touch" memes to reach into viewers' psyches and tickle their inner irrational prejudices. I'm hoping their Southern strategy backfires and divides the GOP forever.