We’ve all gotten those vile right-wing e-mail forwards — usually from that right-wing brother-in-law or cranky uncle — which, it turns out, is one of the right’s more effective under-the-radar techniques for spreading smears and various falsehoods about their liberal targets, since it’s so devoid of any kind of accountability.
So the most recent iteration making the rounds is probably one you’ve seen: Featuring various "real quotes" from Barack Obama, it pretends to demonstrate to the reader what an anti-white racist and radical he really is. (Maybe this is meant to eventually tie into the Obama-equals-Hitler meme.) It is, of course, complete horseshit.
Snopes has posted a pretty thorough debunking that makes clear how the quotes in question are either grotesquely twisted out of proportion, are jammed-up misquotes, or outright fabrications. One fake "quote" in particular stands out:
I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s race.
As Snopes notes, "no such sentence (nor anything close to it) appears anywhere in either Dreams from My Father or The Audacity of Hope." Nor can anything like it be found in any speech or article by him. Never said it, and he never would.
So who did say it?
The "quote" is actually taken (and slightly edited) from a line in a March 2007 American Conservative magazine article about Barack Obama:
In reality, Obama provides a disturbing test of the best-case scenario of whether America can indeed move beyond race. He inherited his father’s penetrating intelligence; was raised mostly by his loving liberal white grandparents in multiracial, laid-back Hawaii, where America’s normal race rules never applied; and received a superb private school education. And yet, at least through age 33 when he wrote Dreams from My Father, he found solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against his mother’s race.
The author of the article in question?
Why, our old friend Steve Sailer, who has been peddling this schtick about Obama — making his presidential candidacy into nothing but a referendum on race, and insisting that Obama reflects a malignant "foreign" influence — for a good long while. Remember when he called Obama a "wigger"?
And he’s been peddling racially incendiary horseshit for even longer. Both the folks at Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting and Media Matters have the complete rundown. He’s a racist, a white supremacist in pseudo-academic clothing. And his words, his depiction of Obama, are being promoted around the Intertoobs as being Obama’s own words.
Chutzpah doesn’t begin to describe it.
Incidentally, it’s worth recalling that Sailer’s American Conservative article was the very piece that inspired Alexander Konetzki to leave that rag. What he said about it at the time:
I realized that, in addition to the racist associations he employs, Sailer frequently quotes Obama out of context and makes assertions about Obama’s racial identity that the book flatly contradicts.
Sailer is, to put it nicely, dishonest — something he’s long been noted for.
Also worth noting is the oh-so-very-special quote at the end of the compilation in the e-mail smear that the writer urges readers to pay special attention to:
I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.
Well, here’s the entire passage:
In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.
Maybe Steve Sailer wouldn’t, but — knowing the deep history of that episode well — I for one would be proud to stand with Obama. And most of the "real Americans" I know would too.
UPDATE: Obama now has a site dedicated to addressing the smears.