Archive for Friday, October 16, 2009

Lawmaker reposts rap video criticizing Obama

October 16, 2009, 9:27 a.m. Updated October 16, 2009, 4:50 p.m.


— A Kansas legislator reposted his “RedNeck Rap” video criticizing President Barack Obama on YouTube on Friday after adding an introduction responding to critics who assailed it as racist.

Republican state Rep. Bill Otto, dressed in a jacket and tie, explains in the introduction that the ballcap he wears in the original video — calling opossum “the other dark meat” — is a reference to his own “hillbilly” heritage, not the nation’s first black president.

Otto, who represents an eastern Kansas district and lives in LeRoy, about 75 miles south of Topeka, posted the video on YouTube last month, but it came down Thursday after a fellow legislator called it as “disturbing” and suggested it was evidence of bigotry.

Otto said his adult daughters took the video down, using his passwords, because they didn’t like him being called a racist.

“I am not a racist, and I don’t like being called a racist, any more than some people like being called a communist back in the 1950s,” Otto says in his new introduction. “It wasn’t fair then, and it’s not fair now.”

But Heidi Beirich, research director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, was skeptical of Otto’s explanation.

“Look, he said ‘dark meat.’ Come on,” she said. “It’s totally racially insensitive.”

Beirich saw Otto’s video as part of ongoing criticism of the nation’s first black president that is “racially tinged.” The center, based in Montgomery, Ala., monitors hate groups and saw more than 200 reports of hate crimes in the weeks following Obama’s election.

Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, called the video “disturbing” and “outrageous.” Sonny Scroggins, leader of Bias Busters, a Kansas group, promised to organize protests at the Statehouse.

“It was just uncalled for — unprofessional,” Scroggins said Friday.

The flap over Otto’s video comes less than two months after U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, another Kansas Republican, remarked in a public forum that the GOP still was looking for “a great white hope.” She later said she wasn’t referring to Obama and didn’t know of the phrase’s past link to pre-civil-rights era racism.

Otto said he wanted to repost the video because it’s important to raise issues about Obama’s policies. In his rap, he criticizes Obama over health care, the environment, the economy and Obama’s plans to close the prison for terrorist detainees in Guantanamo Bay Cuba.

The lawmaker says in his new introduction that he’s proud the U.S. has elected its first black president and that he’s much more critical of Congress than Obama. But he also acknowledged using the word “redneck” could have given some viewers “the wrong mindset.”

“It would have been better if I had dressed up like a caveman or called it a hillbilly rap,” he said.

Otto, first elected to the Legislature in 2004, has posted videos on YouTube for about 18 months.

Earlier this year, he poked fun at then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ impending departure for Obama’s Cabinet with a parody of a country song that ended with the chorus, “You picked a fine time to leave us, Kathleen.”


mickeyrat 8 years, 4 months ago

How long will it take Rep. Otto to learn how to create an account and upload a video? The 21st century must be rough on him.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for putting this guy in office, Kansas!

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 4 months ago

Well well, let's see...

Let's give Otto the benefit of the doubt, that his Redneck (c)rap is harmless fun (in which he harshly speaks about Obama).

If true, it makes me question his judgment. Only an idiot would not recognize that this could be interpreted as a racial insult against the President of the United States.

So we are left with two choices.

Either Otto is a bigoted racist, or he is a complete idiot.

Take your pick, voters in LeRoy!

budwhysir 8 years, 4 months ago

Yep good thing he doesnt see any real issues that need to be worked on. I would say that getting this back up is what is making our economy so bad. I would also say that with this back up, the state should see a bail out of about 55million. He might be eligable for half

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 4 months ago

I think it's a little of both, yourworstnightmare.

Those two traits seem to often go hand in hand.

infidel 8 years, 4 months ago

Does this mean that anyone who says anything negative about the president is a racist? Or attempts of humor? I don't remember all those critical of W being labeled anything.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 4 months ago

I don't remember any comments referring to Mr. Bush as "the other white meat", infidel.

If you don't the video was racist, then you're just ignorant. Enjoy it. They say ignorance is bliss....

parrothead8 8 years, 4 months ago

Lawmaker vows to get “Redneck Rap” back onto YouTube

I vow not to watch it.

XEPCT 8 years, 4 months ago

I like how it's necessary to point out that his adult daughters made him remove it.

napoleon969 8 years, 4 months ago

It's really comforting to know that this jerkwad, in a couple of months, will be back in Topeka helping to craft new legislation. Ahhh, Kansas, its as backward as you think!

Mandie Eutsler 8 years, 4 months ago

infidel (Anonymous) says…

"Does this mean that anyone who says anything negative about the president is a racist? Or attempts of humor? I don't remember all those critical of W being labeled anything." It was so easy to make fun of W. All we had to do was replay a speech, any speech. Or my personal favorite, a video of him reading with school children and he held the book upside down.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 4 months ago

Bush was criticized and made fun of based upon his policies and stances on issues and based upon the fact that he is not smart.

I don't recall Bush being criticized for his race. He was criticized for his religion, but this was because of his policies and that interjected his religion into the public domain.

Otto is either making a racial slur against the President or is too stupid to realize that his Redneck (c)rap is easily interpreted as a racial slur against the president.

What a doozy! He is likely a two-fer, as mentioned above.

Alexander Neighbors 8 years, 4 months ago

did you people really need this video to know that the people in kansas are raciest? I could have told you that

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 4 months ago

and i thought MY dad did embarrassing stuff!.........

jimmyjms 8 years, 4 months ago

"Does this mean that anyone who says anything negative about the president is a racist? Or attempts of humor? I don't remember all those critical of W being labeled anything."

You mean other than "un-American" and "un-patriotic" and "traitor"...right?

Randall Barnes 8 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

ralphralph 8 years, 4 months ago

Otto isn't an idiot, he's a retired educator. His attempts to be funny reach varying levels of success. That's all this is ... an attempt to be funny, not a racist rant. Everybody take a deep breath.

texburgh 8 years, 4 months ago

Otto's hat and the associated statement are clearly racist. He spends 2 minutes on the attack against an African-American, then points to his hat and says, "Opossum, the other dark meat. Kinda greasy but hey..." It is a clear reference to the president's skin color and the "kinda greasy" matches his attacks on the President. If you can't see the racism, you are simply choosing to be blind. And, by the way, this is no compliment to anyone's "Ozark-American" heritage. Bill Otto notwithstanding, the good people of the Ozarks are not a bunch of opossum eating rednecks. That this man should be in the legislature is deplorable.

Katara 8 years, 4 months ago

texburgh (Anonymous) says… And, by the way, this is no compliment to anyone's “Ozark-American” heritage. Bill Otto notwithstanding, the good people of the Ozarks are not a bunch of opossum eating rednecks. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You are so right about that. The folks I know that live in the Ozarks area would be mortified by this man's description.

tomatogrower 8 years, 4 months ago

I betcha he's got a lot of black friends, and he even lets them use his bathroom. This new tactic by racists to claim that they are just misunderstood is just pretty disgusting. Maybe if he would get off his redneck duff and come up with solutions instead of criticizing the president, maybe we'd solve some problems. Of course, I'm guessing Otto is highly under qualified for the job of governing. Is he the smartest they have to offer in Leroy? Has there been some major inbreeding there?

trinity 8 years, 4 months ago

"attempts to be funny"??? please fill me in on why in the H an elected state representative needs to "be funny" in the first place?!? wow. just wow. otto is a total joke. i've emailed him before about a video he'd posted on the 'net-that was not nearly as idiotic as this "rap" one. i received a response from him-that i could not even read, as the man is just disgusting. i don't give a rat's patootie that he was a teacher! there are people in every profession who are buffoons. but him being in the position he is in-oh dear god. whoever pointed out that the rest of the legislators are on to otto and pretty much laugh when he's taking the floor-i have also heard that, from another legislator. otto is a joke, period. and what is sad-i happen to live in this moron's district. please, someone tell me the first step toward getting this fool out of office???

BrianR 8 years, 4 months ago

One can only hope that he finds packing up his office just as amusing.

Randall Barnes 8 years, 4 months ago


trinity 8 years, 4 months ago

i love it, rantings about freedom of "SPEECH" from people who cannot even spell the word. lovely. the word is NOT spelled SPEACH. geez. go back to school.

and this, to me, is not about freedom of speech at all; it is about a lawmaker, an elected official, who conducts himself in an ignorant, idiotic manner. i don't know about you but i sure expect more from the people who hold public office. things like dignity, integrity, decorum cross my mind...this joker lacks 'em all.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 4 months ago

Let's see: freedom of speech vs. no freedom of speech, you decide Americans. Do lawmakers lose their right to say what they want when they get elected? I think not. Vote him out if you don't like what he's doing.

And trinity anyone who was educated in the liberal run public schools may have issues with spelling, where's your compassion, don't you feel their pain or are they not worth anything because you don't like their ideas? I misspell words all the time does that make me or my thoughts of less value to you?

tomatogrower 8 years, 4 months ago

If he has freedom of speech, why do we not have the freedom to criticize him? Look up the word hypocrite. I was educated in public schools up through my bachelors degree, but attended a private university for my master's degree. I have to say, I wish I had gone to a public university where all thought was welcomed. In a private university, you have to watch what you say aloud.

yankeelady 8 years, 4 months ago

Not to throw gasoline on a fire, but all the possum roadkill jokes I ever saw called it the other white meat. Check out roadkill cafe, etc. I think the guy is an idiot, and that is usually the type of Kansan that makes the news. Like our congresswoman's great white hope comment. Really sad, the people that manage to get elected.

jonas_opines 8 years, 4 months ago

"I don't remember all those critical of W being labeled anything."


Hates freedom. Hates America. Hates capitalism. Pro-terrorist. Unpatriotic. Traitors. Did you forget all of those?

My favorite were the signs with Hussein and Bin Laden on them that said "I'm voting for John Kerry!"

Yeah, the right Never uses labels to denigrate their political opponents.

trinity 8 years, 4 months ago

vote him out? hell i am not going to wait for that...i am trying to find out what the process would be to oust the idiot NOW. as a state employee i sure don't want that sort making decisions that directly affect me-and non state employees should be equally disturbed by somebody of that mentality.

and yes-i do get a kick out of somebody who rants&raves and can't figure out how to spell speech. it's just that touch of irony that i adore. furthermore-my opinions thoughts and values are equally as important to me as yours are to you, ad infinitum. and on it goes. i'm done.

ferrislives 8 years, 4 months ago

Although I think he ends up being the butt of his own joke, he has every right to do what he's doing. It's freedom of speech people.

And he's unlikely to get voted out because of it being where he's from, in fact he'll probably get more support now.

He's just looking for attention, and he's getting it. Just ignore the buffoon in the legislature please.

SWJayhawk13 8 years, 4 months ago

I would like to thank Otto for reinforcing the rest of the country's beliefs about Kansas. Between idiots like Otto and biggots like Fred Phelps & WBC, I'm proud to say I live in Kansas!

Seriously, why are people electing guys like Otto into office? WHY?!

redneck 8 years, 4 months ago

You people are out of you're minds. The man was making fun of his own family heritage, while trying to make a point about our governments policies. The hat has nothing to do with the president. Nobody would have cared if he had just gotten on there and stated his opinion. Why do you all assume that rednecks are bigots? Remember that Kansas is the Free State? We never believed in slavery, and we fought to free the slaves. I'm guessing that some of my ancestors died in the civil war. Get over it already!

Cait McKnelly 8 years, 4 months ago

firstnation101, it's already gone national. Honestly he's no different from some of the yahoos in national office.

RWinks 8 years, 4 months ago

Are the people on this thread so ignorant they have never heard the Ads promoting pork as "the other white meat"? The reference to dark meat refers to beef. In connection to "possum" it's intended to be a comical comment on "rednecks". Of course the word redneck is "racially insensitive" as it's an intended slur on rural Southern whites. Southern whites have deflected the slur by adopting it as a point of pride. Anyone who's ever eaten opossum would know why he said it was greasy.

The racist Left can always discover a race angle because they always accuse their opponents of their own faults. I am unfamiliar with the man's activities in the legislature so cannot comment but can say I've never heard any Rap worth listening to on any subject. My own opinion would be that performing a "Rap" automatically brands someone as an idiot.

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