A U.S. Senate committee hearing on transportation funding was droning on Tuesday, as Capitol Hill hearings often do, when Jay Rockefeller startled the attendees to attention with this nugget:

“It’s an American characteristic that you don’t do anything which displeases the voters, because you always have to get re-elected here. I understand part of it. It has to do with—for some, it’s just we don’t want anything good to happen under this president, because he’s the wrong color.”

The comment came during a monologue where the five-term Senator lamented the political pandering that substitutes for good government in Washington these days.

So, what are we to make of Rockefeller’s comment? Here are a couple of theories posited to me by a variety of sources I checked with across the political spectrum.

–Rockefeller is retiring, and finally free to speak his mind. Rockefeller has supported Obama and has no doubt gotten an earful from constituents, since the President is wildly unpopular in West Virginia. The senator can now say what’s on his mind without worrying about the next election.

–Democrats are worried about getting blown out in the midterm elections and they’re looking for a foothold. The senator was repeating a familiar Democratic talking point that a portion of the opposition to the President is rooted in racism. For example, just last month, Congressman Steve Israel (D-New York) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that “not all” Republican members of Congress are racists, but “the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism.”

–Rockefeller, who turns 77 next month, is starting to slip. But there are conflicting reports on that. One friend who recently spent time with the Senator said he’s as sharp as ever. Still, the race reference seemed to jump out during a hearing about highways.

A Rockefeller spokesman declined the opportunity to elaborate on the Senator’s intent, which is unfortunate because it matters here.

If the Senator was making a general observation that some people in this country want Obama to fail because he’s black, then I agree with him. We’ve come a long way on race, from Jim Crow to electing a black man to the nation’s highest office within two generations. But, as we were graphically reminded last week in the Donald Sterling affair, bigotry remains.

But, if Rockefeller was suggesting that some of his colleagues don’t want anything good to happen to Obama, then he should name names. The race card is a cheap play, and one that’s too often used by the President’s supporters when opponents make legitimate arguments on policy points. Disagreeing with the president does not make you a racist.

Racial charges are serious matters; be specific or don’t bring them up.

With his time in public service winding down, Rockefeller may indeed feel liberated to say exactly what’s on his mind.  That could be refreshing, as well as entertaining. However, it also makes one wonder what he’s been thinking and not saying on a variety of other issues for the last half-century.

 

 

 

 

bubble graphic

185

bubble graphic

Comments

  • Brian

    This from a guy who served side by side with a KKK member for years. The POTUS is not liked here in the state because jobs are being lost!! Obama has had it easy. They tried to get Clinton impeached. Bush was called everything in the book daily. One day in this country race isn't going to be a issue. Then what will the race baiting left wing nut jobs have to talk about then? I guess people just want to forget Dems had control on everything for 2 full years. They got everything passed and into law. There's a reason members of the house aren't agreeing with Obama's vision. That's because we the people sent them there to stop it! We haven't had a decent POTUS since George H Bush. We as a country need to send all these career liars in Washington back home!! Both parties, if you've been there for more then 10 years it's time to go back to the real world. It's time for term limits on all of them not just the POTUS.

  • Harry Crumb,

    Libs can't win without the race card. That is a diversion they love to play . The following are my selections to replace the King . Dr Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz , Dr Alan Keyes, Allen West, or Herman Cain . I would rather see WV Joe then Hillary . Sorry I am a racist

  • squad

    underneath it all, there's a feeling or belief that drives you to take the position you do? is inadequacy, did you get your ass kicked in the playground by someone-do you feel like you are not educated? what is it? what are you trying to get back at? i'm just saying for SOME people in a largely (95%+) white area...maybe..just maybe.... some of em are uncomfortable around those they don't see in person or know..that's all-im not saying they belong to the KKK...but they feel comfortable using the N word, and making jokes.... and it would be odd if we were 1st place in racial harmony. we don't have diversity here, so we will largely (even those of us who swear otherwise) will be ignorant of diversity..

    . the real truth is when you are on the economic bottom you look for any false ego boost and security you can..and by putting down someone else, you feel better..but inside you really DO know better.. its pretty pathetic.. its like wearing a "I have a small ____" shirt in public when you say stuff like that....

    its a game of losers, one and all

  • Marshall

    Nothing riles up biggots more than having the light shine on their beliefs!
    Let's take a look at some of the things Shelley Moore Capito and the Rethugs are doing to do to law-abiding West Virginians... Did you know that Shelley voted 55 times to take health insurance away from children with austism? She also voted to take health insurance away from children with diabetes, leukemia and other terrible diseases. She voted to take health insurance away from women with breast cancer. She voted to take health insurance away from people with pre-existing conditions. She also voted to take health insurance away from black lung victims. But to beat all Shelley and the Rethugs voted to take health insurance away from newborn babies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Get your facts and know who you are voting for ladies and gents! Rethugs care nothing about West Virginians and their health. NO MOORE CAPITO!

  • Josh

    Almost all left-leaning policies are rooted in good intention but almost all simply cannot be realistically funded in a responsible way (if at all.) I've never once brought up Obama's race when criticizing his policies - in fact I've always made it a point to steer clear of race because I didn't want to give his supporters any chance to play the race card when trying to debate his policies. But that doesn't stop them. And frankly it's sad to see Rockefeller resort to these same, lazy tactics instead of engaging in the serious debate & search for solutions that we desperately need from our elected officials.

  • Get Real

    move on people.......

  • Get Real

    Cmon Hoppy...no news here? Slow day.....

  • Enough Already

    Jason412 & Bookman

    Enough of the racist comparisons! Why not exchange telephone numbers and call each other for your debates rather than droning on and on reputing each other's posts and clogging this Web page?

    Rocky never represented the residents of WV. He voted in lockstep with Feinstein, Kennedy, Schumer, Pelosi, Waxman, Boxer, Durbin and--OBAMA!
    I for one am happy to see him finally leave and he took much too long in doing so! He was a blight on this state as was Bob Byrd.

    • The bookman

      Thanks for your prompt response, three days after the debate.

  • Alum

    Since when did ole' two-cell (yes, that's a reference to his intellect) ever care about governing?

    And he is right, there is a color problem with this President, he is way too Green. Green beyond the point of the ends justifying the means, jettisoning all established fact about efficiencies and energy requirements. Although I have noticed one consistency, the First Family isn't too concerned about all of that jet travel they have made over the last 5 years or so.

  • Don Jr.

    My displeasure with the president has nothing to do with his skin color. Just as my displeasure with both of our senators has nothing to do with their skin color. As others on have posted, I'm also getting sick of seeing the race card played. Especially by someone who is president with a degree from Harvard. Everything that happens to someone in their life is not because of their race. Sometimes bad things happen to you just because you're poor or for many other possible reasons. West Virginians are very competitive on a level playing field. I think the reason for this is because of the adversity and discrimination that we all face (black and white) and have to overcome on our own. Self pity is not going to get us anywhere and we realize that and move on, stronger than ever.

  • Bill Hill

    Like you 2XLpatriot I am just plain sick and tired of the race card. The only reason the progressive leftists use it is because they have no real discussion points. As far as Rockefeller goes, he needs to go back to New York and stay there. What an embarrassment he is.

  • David

    Most people just think he has the wrong politics but don't waste a chance to call those who disagree with you on the issues a racist.

    Rockefeller epitomizes white privilege ....

  • The Facts

    Why don't you ask the federal government sector who is being selected for all key and higher graded positions these days. I will tell you, black employees. Caucasians need not apply as the POTUS has directed his cabinet secretaries, agency heads, etc to ensure black applicants are selected for the higher graded positions no matter whether they are qualified or not. That is a fact. Don't believe me? Ask anyone employed in the federal sector. And the rush is on as his term is nearing an end. Affirmative action should now be in effect for white employees. The trend is now reversed whether anyone wants to admit it or not.

  • The bookman

    "I don't care what color he is"

    Me neither!

    "my stocks have soared, "

    On the borrowed lives of our grandchildren

    "I'm making more money than I ever have (which I'm happy to pay my fair share back in taxes), "

    You are either an evil 1% er or work for the federal government

    "the budget deficit is being reduced"

    Easy to reduce such a large deficit when the Republicans are doing everything they can to restrain spending

    "jobs are being created,"


    And are being lost, with fewer people participating in the workforce since the early 80's, during the Reagan inherited Carter Recession

    " were not at war,"

    As our troops are leaving for points all over the globe.

    " and people are getting health insurance"

    Because we can keep our insurance if we like it, right?

    "Life is good! What's next? Immigration reform? Raising the minimum wage?"


    God help us, what's next!

    • Big Deal

      "I don't care what color he is"

      Me neither!

      "my stocks have soared, "

      On the borrowed lives of our grandchildren

      Just making up for my losses under W.

      "I'm making more money than I ever have (which I'm happy to pay my fair share back in taxes), "

      You are either an evil 1% er or work for the federal government

      Neither. Just a typical salesman. You might call me middle class, but I wouldn't want anyone thinking the middle class is doing ok.

      "the budget deficit is being reduced"

      Easy to reduce such a large deficit when the Republicans are doing everything they can to restrain spending

      I guess we should thank W for the deficit. His 3 to 2 spending. It's not like he ever had to balance a budget.

      "jobs are being created,"


      And are being lost, with fewer people participating in the workforce since the early 80's, during the Reagan inherited Carter Recession

      Don't know why you insist on arguing facts. How many months of positive job gains after the Bush Great Recession.

      " were not at war,"

      As our troops are leaving for points all over the globe.

      Iraq, Iraq, Iraq

      " and people are getting health insurance"

      Because we can keep our insurance if we like it, right?

      Your old insurance that wouldn't pass a the Lemon Law

      "Life is good! What's next? Immigration reform? Raising the minimum wage?"


      God help us, what's next!

      You're better than your party Bookman, just not sure that you are any smarter.

      • The bookman

        Big Deal,

        Who here holds up W as a conservative model? I think you'll find that if you could move past Bush and look at Obama objectively, you can conclude only that given the debt we have incurred, we are no better off or worse. Even Janet Yellen this week issued her concerns that the jobs picture isn't improving and incomes are not growing for the consumer base. As Silas stated perfectly earlier, the Bushies aren't conservatives , they are establishment progressives. We need fiscal conservatives to gain control and set our course. I just hope they don't come toting a bag full of social issues with them.

        If you want to bash Bush, become an art critic. He's moved on and so should you.

      • Big Deal

        "Easy to reduce such a large deficit when the Republicans are doing everything they can to restrain spending"

        Clinton-Lewinsky investigation $40 million

        Benghazi investigation have already cost millions of dollars and thousands of man hours.

        2013 Goverment shutdown cost over $24 billion

        Keep restraining spending!

        Oh, so you know. The 9/11 Commission only cost $14 million.

        • The bookman

          Stonewalling investigations runs their costs up. If the administration would simply cooperate and testify, answer the questions, and get it behind them it could've been over a long time ago. That having been said, I think there is little we can learn, and that it is political gamesmanship by the R's.

  • Big Deal

    I don't care what color he is, my stocks have soared, I'm making more money than I ever have (which I'm happy to pay my fair share back in taxes), the budget deficit is being reduced, jobs are being created, were not at war, and people are getting health insurance. Life is good! What's next? Immigration reform? Raising the minimum wage?

    • Aaron

      "the budget deficit is being reduced,"

      Barrack Obama has added 7.5 trilling dollars in debt in 4 years compared to 5 trillion added by Bush. He increased the annual deficits by as much as 40% and then refused to pass a budget, instead relying on scared Republicans to pass continued spending resolutions to keep the government going, resulting in 5 of the 6 largest annual deficits in American history.

      The only thing that altered the spending increases and added a fraction of sanity came about because the two sides couldn't agree on reasonable spending cuts thus the budget sequestration kicked in, of which Obama has spent how many days crying over?

      You seriously cannot be giving Obama credit for any spending cuts, can you?

      • Big Deal

        Aaron,

        You must know something that the rest of the world doesn't.

        Yes, the debt continues to grow, but at a lesser rate. The budget gap is shrinking. You might translate that into "everything Obama does is bad...unless it's good...then it must bad...but if it's good, republicans should take credit for it."

        Hey, since you know things the rest of the world doesn't know, can you find the WMD in Iraq?

        • Aaron

          I don't know things the rest of the world doesn't. I just don't have my head so far up.....that I can see the truth. Raising the annual deficit by 30% to record highs and then reducing it by 15% isn't balancing the budget. What your saying is that during Obama's first four years, he increased it by at least $1,200,000,000,000.00 every year until his spending deal kicked in during 2013 and then when the reduction measures he strong armed on Congress kicked in to get through an election year, brought the annual deficit to $800,000,000.00.

          An appropriate analogy would be someone who weighs 500 pounds gaining 120 pounds every year until they weigh 860 pound and then the next year, they only gain 80 pounds so in your mind they're losing weight. I hate to be the one to break it to you pal but at that rate, you're still getting fatter.

          And yes, I know where the WMD's in Iraq went. I'm curious though, are you saying Iraq never had WMD's? That would be quite a feat considering the US is responsible for Iraq gaining WMD's during the 80's.