SALON'S RICH BENJAMIN REINFORCES RIGHT-WING MEMES
I'm not going to attempt a detailed dissection of Rich Benjamin's much-discussed Salon piece criticizing the speech President Obama delivered yesterday. I just want to point out that when Benjamin -- who otherwise says he feels "extreme admiration for the president" -- speculates that Eric Holder is Obama's "Dark Doppelganger," "repressed Black Id," and "Inner N***er," someone willing to talk frankly about race in ways the president isn't, he's reinforcing right-wing depictions of Obama as a person concealing his true nature in a sinister attempt to deceive America.
It's a short leap from saying what Benjamin said to saying that Obama is hiding an intent to impose socialism on America, or impose second-class national status or the complete disarmament of private citizens or "reparations" meant to punish white people. The majority of right-wingers, including people regarded as respectable conservatives, now believe Obama is furtively pursuing one, several, or all of those goals with all his might, and lying to America about this goal. When an Obama supporter reinforces this belief -- and downplays the possibility that Obama's response to the Trayvon Martin case is exactly as nuanced as his speech would suggest -- he's telling the right what the right wants to hear: you're not crazy, Obama is a sneaky SOB who's been pulling the wool over America's eyes for years now. That's not helpful.