Let the Racially Charged Presidential Campaigning Begin Let the Racially Charged Presidential Campaigning Begin
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Let the Racially Charged Presidential Campaigning Begin

by Cord Jefferson

August 27, 2011

Above is a juxtaposition tweeted by David Limbaugh, Rush's brother, on Wednesday morning. Limbaugh claims he got the picture "from a friend," though he doesn't name that friend, meaning that friend may very well not exist. Thus, friend or no, the origin is David himself, meaning we can pin on David Limbaugh the moment when the 2012 presidential election turned racially charged and ugly.

Gawker's John Cook takes issue with the fact that the image uses the loaded term "boy" to refer to the president. That's problematic, I suppose, but I happen to think it's the least discomforting thing about the image. Far worse is the intention of the side-by-side comparison, what viewers are supposed to take from it: Rick Perry, Republican presidential candidate, is obviously a true American, while Barack Obama is not.

"Rick" was in the Air Force when he was younger; he leaned on jets. He takes his name from his middle name, "Richard," which is a pure American moniker. On top of all that, in case you haven't noticed, he's white. Conversely, Barack Hussein Obama was wearing wide-brimmed hats and smoking cigarettes when he was younger. He was doing photo shoots and having fun with his friends. Basically, he's less of an American than Perry. (It's worth noting that Obama was probably 19 in these pictures, not 22. Of course, accuracy isn't the goal of mudslinging like this.)

For the record, Perry's camp hasn't done anything to decry the ugliness of this image; when contacted for comment, a Perry spokesman told Politico "A picture is worth a thousand words." If Perry wins the GOP nomination, this comparison will be held high on placards at GOP rallies in the months leading up to November 2012. Even if he doesn't, expect it to be emailed back and forth between ultra-conservatives looking for yet another way to call the president an outsider.

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Let the Racially Charged Presidential Campaigning Begin