MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry suggested the term “Obamacare” and the N-word are interchangeable, claiming both were “conceived by a group of wealthy white men who needed to . . . render [a black man] inferior and unequal and diminish his accomplishments.”
Harris-Perry opened her show Sunday morning with a sober monologue on President Obama’s push to rebrand his failing healthcare law:
HARRIS-PERRY: “I want to talk today about a controversial word. It’s a word that has been with us for years. And like it or not, it’s indelibly printed in the pages of American history. A word that was originally intended as a derogatory term, meant to shame and divide and demean. The word was conceived of by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man, to render him inferior and unequal and diminish his accomplishments.
“President Obama has been labelled with this word by his opponents, and at first he rose above it, hoping that if he could just make a cause for what he’d achieved, his opponents would fail in making their label stick. But no matter how many successes that he had as president, he realized there were still many people for whom he’d never be anything more than that one disparaging word — a belief he knew was held not just by his political opponents, but also by a significant portion of the American electorate.
“And so he decided if you can’t beat them, you’ve got to join them. So he embraced the word and made it his own, sending his opposition a message they weren’t expecting: ‘If that’s what you want me to be, I’ll be that.’
“Y’all know the word that I’m talking about. Obamacare! That’s right! I said it and I’m not ashamed, and neither is President Obama!”
The MSNBC host doubled down on the racially-charged segment as she ticked off the president’s accomplishments and how they are apparently diminished by the “Obamacare” slur.
“I mean, what do you call the president who rescues the U.S. auto industry?” she said sarcastically. “Obamacare! What do you call the president who finally eliminates Osama bin Laden? Obamacare! What do you call the president who ends don’t ask don’t tell? Say it with me: Obamacare!”
No one knows for sure who first coined the term “Obamacare,” or if they were truly the “group of wealthy white men” Harris-Perry claims. But the history of racist code words may be even more extensive than Harris-Perry realizes.
Hillary Clinton’s push for universal healthcare was labelled “Hillarycare” by bigoted opponents way back in 1993. Prior to that, the Ku Klux Klan coined the term “Reaganomics” to describe Ronald Reagan’s fiscal policy of tax cuts, deregulation and reduced rates of spending increases. In the 1970s, as part of their plan to create clones of Adolf Hitler, the American Nazi Party labeled the president’s devious approach to politics “Nixonian.”
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