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Peter Johnson: You know, it's a peculiar and strange and haunting and really backward reference that we're seeing by the president. And what we're really seeing is a reference to the notion of being in the back of the bus. And that's a matter of sad American history, embarrassing American history. Rosa Parks in December 1955 changed the course of American history when she decided that she would not give up her seat for a white person. And ended the concept, across the country, of African Americans being in the back of the bus -- literally, metaphorically, in every way in terms of our society.
So now we have a president referring to this kind of malignant, charged era in American history, and saying, in a long narrative -- and it's incredible what he said -- that somehow the car's in the ditch, that the Republicans are --
Brian Kilmeade: He's told the story a million times.
Johnson: No, no, but it's incredible -- at the top of the ditch, slipping, ah, drinking slurpees, kicking dirt in the face of the president and others who are trying to get this car out of the ditch. And once the car's out of the ditch and the Republicans demand the keys -- 'You can't have the keys, but we'll let you sit in the back of the bus.'
Couple that too with the statement the president made on a Spanish radio show, where he talks about exhorting the Spanish-American community, the Latino community in this country to punish their enemies when they vote.
Kilmeade: And reward your friends.
Johnson: When we engage in this charged, strange, malignant kind of language, we are not moving forward. We are moving backwards, um, in this country. And it's a regrettable statement.
The American bus -- the American car is a bus and a car for all Americans, regardless of race, and regardless of party. And so we're allegedly in this post-partisan, post-racial era where we summon our better angels. To summon our worst demons and to go back 55 years and summon a horrible image of a courageous Rosa Parks fighting the evil of segregation -- to inject that again into our politics is a mistake. It's a surprising thing and I'm sure the president wouldn't do it again.
Soooooo. I guess RedStaters aren't the only wingnuts this desperate in their neverending search for proof, which they know fershure is out there, that President Obama and the liberals are the real racists in this mix.
Now Fox & Friends are in on the action. Can Glenn Beck be far behind?
But let's replay the tape, just so everyone can see what Obama actually says. The tellings vary slightly, of course, from venue to venue, but here's how he put it last week in Seattle:
Obama: Let me offer an analogy I've been using around the country. The Republicans took America's car and drove it into the ditch. And it was a really deep ditch. And it was really reckless driving. So afterwards we show up at the scene of the accident. The Republicans have climbed out of the car. Abandoned the accident. Patty and I, we're putting on our boots and we're going down and into the ditch. And it's muddy down there, and it's hot and it's dusty. But you know what, we know that we've got to get the car out, and so we just start pushing.
And Patty, even though she's small, she's tough, so she's -- [demonstrates pushing]. And even though I'm skinny, I'm pretty tough, so I'm pushing. And sometimes we slip a little bit. Sometimes it's not working -- but we're just staying on it, we're sweating it -- every once in awhile I look up, and the Republicans are up there on the road. They're just waving. And meanwhile they're going around whispering to everybody, 'They're not pushing hard enough.' 'They're not pushing the right way.' And we say to them, 'Well, why don't come down here and help push?' 'Naw, naw, naw.' 'Push harder, push harder.'
So we just get out and push. And finally -- finally! -- we get this car up on the road. The car is a little banged up. The car is a little banged up, it's gotta go to the body shop and get a tuneup -- but you know what? It's pointed in the right direction. It's starting to move.
And suddenly we get this tap on our shoulders. And we look -- who is it? It's the Republicans! And they're saying: 'Ah, we want the keys back.'
You can't have the keys back! You don't know how to drive!
The Republicans can come along with us, but they've got to get in the back seat -- where they can't do too much damage.
Have you ever noticed that when you want the car to go forward, you put it in 'D'. When you want it to go backward, you put it in 'R'.
OK, anyone there see a reference to "the back of the bus"? Or Rosa Parks? Or segregation?
Uh, no. Because it isn't there. Obama's metaphor doesn't even obliquely hint at these issues.
Indeed, you have to wonder if Johnson's hyper-sensitivity to any discussion of race has to do with the fact that it was Southern conservatives who wanted Rosa Parks to sit in the back of the bus.
Memo to Peter Johnson: A bus is not a car. Political affiliation is not race. The fact that you deliberately confuse the two -- using them, in fact, interchangeably -- tells us far more about you and Brian Kilmeade than it does anything about President Obama.
After all, the only way this little anecdote can even remotely be about race is if you equate the Republican Party with white people. And that, of course, is simply not true -- at least not according to Republicans. So who's being the racist here?