Petty Digs at Obama's Race (And His Dogs)

New lows in the competition to make the most outlandish comment about President Obama.

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What a way to lead up to the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech. There's the governor of Maine, who should know better, saying that President Obama could have been a great president, but played down his biracial status because he "hates white people." Then we have the wild-eyed, Obama-hating website The Daily Caller (what will they do after the next president is inaugurated?) weighing in on the new canine addition at the White House, noting that Obama has no white dogs.

Really, have we so run out of ways to insult someone on the basis of race – or projecting one's own racism on the biracial president – that the haters have to scrape that far down in the barrel to make a racially offensive comment?

Maine Governor Paul LePage made his comments about Obama at a private event, and his remarks were confirmed by two fellow Republican lawmakers who were there, according to the Portland Press-Herald, which broke the story. The idiocy of the comment is beyond comprehension. First, it's been the press and Obama's detractors who have underscored the African side of his heritage; Obama himself has repeatedly talked about his white, Kansan mother. And it's beyond naïve to imagine that if Obama were to go around the country saying, "wait! I'm not all black! I've got some solid Caucasian blood in me, so you have to like me at least half-way!" that the racists of the country would accept him, or even give him a 50 percent approval rating.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

We're talking about people who are still so baffled that the electorate would send Obama to the white House twice that they are convinced he's not really American – that he must be Kenyan or Arab or who knows what. The suggestion that Obama's half-white heritage would somehow ameliorate those wacky claims is insulting to anyone's intelligence.

Then there's the dog. Presumably, the Daily Caller was trying to be cute with that remark. It didn't work. So hateful of this president is the website that it can't even write about a puppy without being hostile. The column refers to the price of Portuguese Water Dogs, suggesting that the two dogs the president has adopted are somehow extravagant (this, after letting us know what the unemployment rate is in new dog Sunny's state of birth).

First of all, first First Dog Bo was a gift from the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, so no rash spending there by the commander in chief. And secondly, the dogs were selected because they are hypo-allergenic, and one of the Obamas' daughters has asthma.

Worst of all, the photo of the digs belies the entire point of both hate-purveyors: Bo is black with white paws. So he's biracial, in dog terms. Or would LePage also be upset that Bo's white fur is not being sufficiently honored? Whatever dream King had, it couldn't have included such pettiness.

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