Remember Laura Ingraham? She's the back-up O'Reilly Factor guest-host who wrote a deliberately (it seemed) unfunny Barack Obama "diary" last year in which she described Michelle Obama as eating baby-back ribs at every meal.
Her grasp of race and politics has only grown stronger since then, and today on her radio show she wondered aloud if Herman Cain "would be the first black president, when you measure it by -- because he doesn't -- does he have a white mother, white father, grandparents, no, right?"
That was clearly an unguarded moment on Ingraham's part, and you can hear her fumble and slam on the brakes as she realized where this train of thought was taking her. And then she changed direction to say that Cain could be "the first Main Street black Republican to be the president of the United States," whatever that means. But she didn't quite stop herself in time and ended up questioning whether President Obama is really black, given that his mother was white.
So that's not good, though at least it's distinct from the prevailing right-wing theories regarding the president and race.
And it's a marked improvement over one of my all-time favorite moments from campaign 2008, when Monica Crowley (guest hosting for Ingraham!) accused Obama of lying about being black: "According to this guy Kenneth Lamb, Barack Obama is not black African, he is Arab African. And yet, this guy is campaigning as black and painting anybody who dares to criticize him as a racist. I mean, that is -- it is the biggest con I think I've ever seen."
I should point out that Crowley's source on this was an amateur Obama family genealogy put together by a very strange right-wing blogger who encouraged his readers to steal Obama's used handkerchiefs so he could test the DNA.
Transcript after the jump.
INGRAHAM: When the president told the Black Caucus to stop whining, I was thinking about this, he was really telling all of us to stop whining. Oh, things aren't so great, stop whining. So you've been out of work for two years, stop whining. So we haven't done that whole jobs-saved-or-created, shovel-ready-projects, that hasn't really sort of come -- stop whining.
Arrogance. The audacity of arrogance. We've spoken about that on The Laura Ingraham Show. What happens when individuals get pushed into positions, or elevated to positions for which they're not qualified? We've talked about this a lot. This is a problem with affirmative action, is that people get pushed, pushed, pushed farther than their abilities can match the position, and then they just keep failing, then they feel terrible about themselves, then everyone's annoyed. Right?
And what happened with Obama is that he gets this job that he's not qualified for. He's Constitutionally qualified for. OK, the birth-certificate people are all going "Oh no no." Oh please. OK, so he's Constitutionally qualified for but he's not really qualified for. And guess who pays the price? All of us. Because we had such a yearning for history.
Well I have a question. Herman Cain, if he became president, he would be the first black president, when you measure it by -- because he doesn't -- does he have a white mother, white father, grandparents, no, right? So Herman Cain, he could say that he's -- he's -- he's the first, uh -- he could make the claim to be the first -- yeah, the first Main Street black Republican to be the president of the United States. Right? He's historic too.
But, you know, he's not running on that. He's running on 9-9-9. The Wall Street Journal slammed 9-9-9 today, saying you should never agree to a national sales tax, that's idiotic because the income tax will always be raised. People always try to raise that, so then you'll have an income tax and a sales tax, which is not a bad argument against the national sales tax.
But they basically say, look, the GOP field is shaking out, and Herman Cain is confident, as he showed in his 1994 exchange with Clinton on health care. He shows he can carry his own in a debate. But the most serious political mistake he makes, according to the Journal, is this national sales tax that the Journal believes is just going to add more burdens to an already overburdened taxpaying public. So that's all out there.