Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

October 20, 2008

"Barry": One Clue an Obama Foe is Racist

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 2:40 pm

I know that there are honorable ideological foes of Obama, or skeptics about his qualifications who have their reasons. I think they fail to see the Big Picture, but I still respect their intellects. Not so the sandbox namecallers.

Like the ones who practically froth and drool when they write “Barry Obama” or some variation on it. From studying anti-Obama commenters here and on other blogs, even onl ostensibly liberal pro-Hillary blogs (like the one by the guy who cliamed he was going to produce the “whitey tape”) I’ve noticed that there is a certain tone that certain Obama foes take when they sneeringly call him “Barry” as if it were somehow a wounding, belittling insult.

Almost like calling him “boy”, but because they know that’s a dead giveaway, they find some other way to sublimate their biogtry, and are too dumb to know their attitude is flagrantly obvious to everyone with a brain.

No I don’t think everyone who’s ever used “Barry” for Obama is a racist, but I think you can tell when something more than health-care policy differnces, say, are at issue.

I’m not sure why they feel calling him “Barry” makes them feel somehow superior or one-up on Obama but that’s what comes across as. It’s particularly ludicrous coming from people who don’t sound as intelligent as he does (saying this drives them crazy).

It’s different from those who use “Hussein” as if it were an insult; there we’re talking Islamophobia right out front.

But “Barry” is more insidious. “Barry” suggests some ugly bile to it. Read the comments for yourself, not just here, see if you see what I mean.

These people don’t know how revealing they are.



  1. So, when Mr. Obama (the respect due to someone of his accomplishments) called himself Barry, was he a racist?

    There have to be other things over which evangelical Obama believers can froth and drool. These are “feelings,” and “projections,” and exactly the sorts of righteous indignation that follows upon finding the “truth,” and discovering that others refuse to believe with you.

    They are all racists. Damn backsliding, heretical racists. Barry is code. So is anything except praise.

    If you hijack racism in support of Mr. Obama, you will dilute the real meaning of it. He has offered it up and has used it to his benefit. All the privileges and immunities of racism are his.

    What can a critic safely say about him? Without being burned at the stake?

    Comment by MarkO — October 20, 2008 @ 3:01 pm | Reply

  2. By the way, do you have any idea how much you are chilling speech on your site by this ploy?

    It just occurred to me that the drift of this silliness would the that you might want others to consider me a racist for calling you on it. How far down on your intellectual scale are you prepared to go?

    Is this what we can expect from an Obama presidency? I know one is not to mock God, but can no one mock Mr. Obama?

    Are you still considered a “liberal?”

    Comment by MarkO — October 20, 2008 @ 3:41 pm | Reply

  3. Am I missing something? Barry IS his name, isn’t it?

    And he isn’t Black(TM)… he shares none of the formative, cultural experiences of Black America. He is half Luo, and half of his mother’s ethnicity.

    But, perhaps I am a bit dense. I am, after all, only half Acadian, and half Celtic. Which, in the minds of some bean-counters, makes me “Anglo”.

    Comment by MG — October 20, 2008 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  4. Mr. Rosenbaum, when I read your columns about the so-called racism of those who who do not want to see Barack Obama become president, I’m left with the dismaying feeling that this presidential campaign is going to set the cause of racial harmony in America back a few decades.

    Will this self-righteous hair-splitting never end? Is there anything to be said about Barack Obama that won’t be rationalized away as racist “code”?

    The point above about stifling comment is well taken. Not only that, have you stopped to consider that you are trivializing beyond belief the real history of slavery and Jim Crow in America? Shame on you sir.

    Comment by marymcl — October 20, 2008 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

  5. Oh please. Even if one wanted to diminish the Chosen One (because, say, you disagree with his politics or his self regard) it not follow that one is a racist.
    Finding racists and racism under every rock probably says more about the one doing the searching.

    Comment by Oxford — October 20, 2008 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  6. If he were a white guy named Barnett Plushbottom, there’d also be people calling him “Barry.” Because “Barry” is (forgive me) well-established as a dorky name. And people will do what they can to belittle their opponents. Racism has nothing to do with it. (It’s not just politics — athletes do it too.)

    P.S. Ron, did you see those Palin “c*nt” T-shirts? Were they sexist? Did they belittle all women candidates or just Palin herself? Why? Or are you with the “She’s not a woman. She’s a Republican” crowd?

    Comment by Michael — October 21, 2008 @ 8:58 am | Reply

  7. Did you see the incredible footage of Obama on “Frontline” at the Harvard Derrick Bell rally? Child Barry was father to the man Barack

    Comment by charlie finch — October 21, 2008 @ 10:37 am | Reply

  8. MarkO – Chilling speech? What can a critic safely say about him? Doesn’t jumping to such absurd conclusions ever get tiring?

    The article very clearly differentiates the ‘sandbox namecallers’ from those who have ‘honorable ideological’ differences.

    It’s as obvious as the difference between calling Mr. McCain “Oldy McGrumpypants” vs. stating a belief that his economic policies will ultimately widen the gap between the working-class and the executive-class in America.

    If you can’t tell which of those two statements is sandbox namecalling and which represents an ideological difference I can’t help you there.

    Like bullies on a playground, people resort to name-calling out of insecurity. In this case, the name-calling seems to arise out of the insecurity one feels when they have no reasonable basis for their deeply held opinions.

    Comment by Kasey Rasmussen — October 21, 2008 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  9. Sensitive. Sadly, sensitivity is too often throat-clearing for truly prejudiced claims. Normally, denial built-in. This sort of stuff is both meaningless and vicious.

    Comment by Tina Trent — October 21, 2008 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

  10. “It’s true what you say, that Barry Soetoro has handled everything so far with aplomb, calm, and unruffled willingness to apply reasoning to it. A con man and inveterate liar wouldn’t be worth his salt otherwise.” (My comment to RR’s “Why I was Right About Obama.”)

    According to RR, saying that makes me a “racist,” so I amend it now as follows:

    It’s true what you say, that Barack Hussein Obama has handled everything so far with aplomb, calm, and unruffled willingness to apply reasoning to it. A con man and inveterate liar wouldn’t be worth his salt otherwise.

    Whoops! Saying that, according to Big Brother, is “Islamophobia right out front.”

    The moral: Thou shalt not utter the Lord’s name(s) in vain.

    Comment by Carl Sesar — October 22, 2008 @ 5:31 am | Reply

  11. “Barack” is quite a mouthful. “Barry” sounds like someone you know. “Barry Soetero” may be a problem, but “Barry” itself is just a nickname, and one that Obama used himself growing up. You’re looking for hate and finding it wherever you look. But a nickname can be affectionate or slighting or both. It’s hard to hate someone named “Barry.” Please stop being silly.

    Comment by Mack — October 22, 2008 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

  12. I like “the messiah” myself!

    Comment by juanito — October 22, 2008 @ 4:02 pm | Reply

  13. First we couldn’t use his middle name… now we can’t even use his first name! When will this nonsense end!

    Where was all this hand wringing regarding George W Bush.. or W or Dubya or etc..

    Comment by Vince P — October 22, 2008 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  14. First he can’t be called Barack Hussein Obama, now he can’t be called Barry although for years he was Barry Soetoro. Ronnie, what should we call him??

    Comment by BillL — October 22, 2008 @ 4:29 pm | Reply

  15. How about we just call him Taxie McSpreadthewealth? Is that sufficiently race-neutral?

    Comment by Barry Sotero — October 22, 2008 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  16. Its….BARAQ….

    Comment by Mr Gordon — October 22, 2008 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  17. “So, when Mr. Obama (the respect due to someone of his accomplishments)”

    If you really respected his accomplishments, that would be “Senator Obama”. And shortly, perhaps, “President Obama” – I won’t be voting for him but I will sure as hell respect his victory and his office if he wins. You know, just “Obama” is fine.

    Whenever I see fellow conservatives trot out “Barry” as a pet name I’m reminded of people calling President Bush “Dubya”. Making sure to mention Obama’s middle name, as a point against him, is pure racism. And this needs to be said: One thing Senator Obama has not done is try to claim himself as a victim of racism. Whenever the issues has come up during the campaign he has been quick to damp it down. I respect and thank the candidate for that, not least because there have been some blatant and disgusting racist attacks, especially in some corners of the blogosphere. I still hope Senator McCain wins, but if he does not then Senator Obama will make a decent and honorable President.

    Comment by Richmond Tim — October 23, 2008 @ 10:51 am | Reply

  18. Carl Sesar – You provide a good example of how somebody may try to appear as if they are making a reasoned, logical argument while at the core it still amounts to pointless name-calling and absurd conclusions.

    The anti-Obama fanatics long ago neglected ideological arguments in favor of petty personal attacks. Again, I propose that the reason for this is the insecurity that comes from having no reasonable basis for deeply held opinions. I’m waiting for someone to prove me wrong here.

    Comment by Kasey Rasmussen — October 24, 2008 @ 6:36 am | Reply

  19. Kasey – Do you not think that the fanatical left is the same way? or do you think Bush = Hitler? or McCain is a fake war hero? or that Palin believes dinosaurs and people walked together 4000 years ago? or that 9/11 was an inside job? or that Palin’s son is really her daughter’s? how dare you and RR claim moral or intellectual superiority in the name of Democrats. fanatics on both sides are not worth the time. The “racist” comments on this site have nothing on your average DailyKos comments. please try to explain how these are grounded in well thought ideology.

    Comment by Bryan Veronneau — October 24, 2008 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  20. Kasey Rasmussen – Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, these are his names, and when I call Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, by his names, I am calling him by his names, and if that’s name-calling, well, you’re Kasey Rasmussen, take that!

    I call Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, a con man and an inveterate liar not because Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, are his names. I call Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, a con man and an inveterate liar because his behavior has shown him to be a con man and an inveterate liar. The list is long, and you know it.

    The pro-Obama fanatics long ago chose nasty personal attacks such as yours and Ron Rosenbaum’s, branding anyone who would dare to utter the names Barry Soetoro, or Barack Hussein Obama, a racist, or Islamophobic. Now that’s insecurity for having no reasonable basis for deeply held opinions — and that’s fanatic!

    Comment by Carl Sesar — October 24, 2008 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  21. Maureen Dowd was the first, in the modern era, to call him Barry, a la Goldwater. More popular moniker is “Bam” as in BamBam Rubble. I prefer “President O” myself

    Comment by charlie finch — October 25, 2008 @ 10:10 am | Reply

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