UPDATE #3: Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman reports that Rep. Doug Lamborn has apologized in a formal letter to the President this evening.
UDPATE #2: Bet you’re dying to know what former FEMA Secretary Michael “Heckuva Job” Brown thinks of all this, aren’t you? Brownie Tweets his objection:
Now there’s the sensitivity that served Brownie so well in New Orleans. His comment reminds us of those from the old “Watermelon patch in the White House lawn” pictures in which some folks were equally, er, “confused” that someone would find it racist.
UPDATE: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols:
A spokesperson for Rep. Lamborn said the congressman was considering issuing a statement on the matter.
“Looking beyond the fact that Congressman Lamborn’s entire comment is nonsensical. His use of the term ‘tar baby’ is unfortunate because the historical connotation of that term when used in conjunction with African-Americans,” said former Colo. Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll, an African-American.
“I certainly hope the Congressman simply failed to carefully consider his word choice as opposed to making some racially derogatory remark toward the President.”
Courtesy radio host David Sirota, here’s Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn on the Caplis and Silverman Show Friday discussing his reluctance to go along with any debt-ceiling deal that might be in some manner agreeable to President Barack Obama.
Can’t see the audio player? Click here.
LAMBORN: Even if some people say ‘well, the Republicans should have done this, or should have done that,’ they will hold the President responsible. Now, I don’t even want to be associated with him, it’s like touching a, a tar baby [Pols emphasis] and you get it…you know you’re stuck and you’re part of the problem and you can’t get away.
Note the personal nature of Lamborn’s “tar baby”–not the policy, mind you. Rep. Lamborn doesn’t want to touch the “tar baby” of President Obama personally.
Folks, we know the phrase “tar baby” has its origins in an old African-American children’s story. We also know that smart politicians stopped using this phrase after Mitt Romney apologized for doing so in 2006, or well before. We’ll go one step further and say that most smart politicians in office since the 1950s have probably never used this phrase in their public career–knowing how it can be interpreted, as it has been countless times, as highly racially insensitive.
And we have to say, that was before we elected the first African-American President.
In 1981, author Toni Morrison published a novel titled “Tar Baby,” and she has compared the expression to other racial epithets. She says it’s a term that white people used to refer to black children, especially black girls.
Reached at her home near Princeton University, where she teaches, Morrison called the expression “antiquated” and one that’s “attractive to some people, when they begin to search for hints of racism.” [Pols emphasis]