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Opinion

Opinion

It’s high noon, not morning

February 2, 2012

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A picture, the saying goes, is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, we have only about 550 with which to appraise a picture that has raised eyebrows across the country: In it, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is seen wagging her finger in President Obama’s face during his visit to her state last week.

The two were apparently engaged in a discussion of Arizona’s controversial immigration laws and of a 2010 White House meeting that Brewer described at the time as “very cordial.” She has since written a book in which she now claims the president’s demeanor was “condescending.”

As to her demeanor in that picture, Brewer says she, ahem, has a habit of talking with her hands. She also says she felt “threatened.” Apparently, she thought the scary black man might hurt her even though he’s president of the United States and they were standing in broad daylight surrounded by security. Good thing he didn’t follow her into an elevator. She might have Maced him.

Perhaps you are old enough to remember when it was morning in America. That was the title of a 1984 campaign ad for Ronald Reagan, but it also came to symbolize an era. Say what you will about Reagan, but credit him with this much: He restored to his party and the nation a sense of vibrant optimism that came as a welcome jolt after Carter’s malaise and Nixon’s crookedness. Nearly 30 years later, as his putative political offspring attempt to claim his mantle, it is obvious by many measures that none of them is Reagan. But the most glaring deficit is embodied in that picture.

It reminds us that Republicans are no longer about sunshine and can-do. These days, they simply seem cranky and dyspeptic. As in Herman Cain vowing to build a fence to electrocute Mexicans, Newt Gingrich verbally punching out the media, and debate audiences cheering for record executions and the death of the uninsured. As in Jan Brewer poking her finger in the president’s face.

Under Reagan, optimism about the future was the Republican brand. But that brand has curdled in the ensuing 30 years, and the party that once sold hope has become instead the party of grouchy codgers yelling at the future to get off their lawn. More to the point, it has become a party of those unable to process the sense of dislocation, the loss of primacy and privilege our present demographic path portends. Thus, it has become the party of resentment and resistance, the last stand against ongoing racial, religious, cultural and sexual upheaval, the Alamo in the fight to forestall change.

This is why a Jan Brewer feels herself empowered to wag her finger in the face of the president. And why the charisma-challenged Mitt Romney spends long weeks out in the cold looking for love like a character in a country song while bomb-throwing zealots who would have been laughed out of previous elections take turns playing frontrunner.

They will likely settle for him, but what Romney offers is not what many in the Republican electorate evidently seek. At bottom, they seem less concerned with competence or a new economic plan than with finding a gunslinger for a showdown against the future.

Ronald Reagan would not recognize his party today. Morning in America is almost 30 years gone. It’s high noon now.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. His email is lpitts@miamiherald.com.

Comments

Armstrong 2 years, 2 months ago

Still no Obama defenders, interesting. O can't run on his record and still you want to vote for him why ?

Koolaide answer - Because he's a Democrat. Like the logic kids

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 2 months ago

Was somebody yapping about deficits? http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/02/another-obama-record-4-straight-years-of-trillion-dollar-deficits/ (BTW, this is the second time I posted this link) (from a source)

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 2 months ago

Jan Brewer has a screw lose. Is this behavior any surprise?

Like children and the mentally impaired, she cannot be held responsible for her actions.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 2 months ago

Subject: A "What If" Golf Story for our beloved Barack. The guy we all love and admire.

This is a "what if" golf story --

What if you were playing in the club championship tournament finals and the match was halved at the end of 17 holes. You had the honor and hit your ball a modest two hundred fifty yards to the middle of the fairway, leaving a simple six iron to the pin. Your opponent then hits his ball, lofting it deep into the woods to the right of the fairway. Being the golfing gentleman that you are, you help your opponent look for his ball. Just before the permitted five minute search period ends, your opponent says: "Go ahead and hit your second shot and if I don't find it in time, I'll concede the match." You hit your ball, landing it on the green, stopping about ten feet from the pin. About the time your ball comes to rest, you hear your opponent exclaim from deep in the woods: "I found it!". The second sound you hear is a click, the sound of a club striking a ball and the ball comes sailing out of the woods and lands on the green, stopping no more than six inches from the hole. Now the real "what if" in this story......

What if you had your opponent's ball in your pocket?

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tange 2 years, 2 months ago

So, did Jan Brewer ever find her head in the desert?

/ "... Brewer, the headless finger pointer..."

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 2 months ago

Reagan = borrow and spend,borrow and spend,borrow and spend,borrow and spend

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts were the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

• Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Starting in 2003, George W. Bush destroyed the world economy by encouraging U.S. banks to make loans to those who could not afford them, through schemes such as the "American Dream Downpayment Initiative".

Also through the destruction of oversight, such as lawsuits to prevent state securities laws from being enforced on Bush's watch.

Once Bush's policies led to their inevitable result of economic collapse, the United States found itself in a situation where it had to take on debt in order to restore the economy.

http://www.reaganbushdebt.org/CalculationDetails.aspx

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Armstrong 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm glad I will never go into battle with any of the left posters. Attack Reagan, attack the right, attack each other and not one post to defend Obamas record. Regardless of the fact Obama has no record to defend it is hysterical not one bothered to put up even a half heatred arqument for the next ex-president of the US-IOU formerly known as USA

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Ceallach 2 years, 2 months ago

Cite the source for your definition. Otherwise, it should be

con·de·scend    [kon-duh-send] Show IPA verb (used without object) 1. to behave as if one is conscious of descending from a superior position, rank, or dignity. 2. to stoop or deign to do something: He would not condescend to misrepresent the facts. 3. to put aside one's dignity or superiority voluntarily and assume equality with one regarded as inferior: He condescended to their intellectual level in order to be understood.

Dictionary . . . . Dot Com

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jayhawklawrence 2 years, 2 months ago

The modern translation of "uppity black" is now "condescending".

Definition: Not knowing one's proper place.

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rockchalk1977 2 years, 2 months ago

Because Obama is the least experienced person in any room he enters, he looks particularly juvenile and arrogant in this encounter with Gov. Jan Brewer. Yes Arizona, one of the many states Obama's incompetent Justice Department is suing for protecting it's own borders. Hope he changes yes he must!

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 2 months ago

I didn't realize old white women scared Pitts and Obama like this. Isn't it mysogynistic of Pitts to scamper to Obama's defense. Although, Pitts did know that Obama's grandma scared him. But, to come to Obama's side to protect him from the mean old finger pointing blue haired old lady is a bit over the top for such strong intelligent manly men like Obama and Pitts.

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Ceallach 2 years, 2 months ago

On more than one occasion our president has shown himself to be a petulant man/child, while Pitts is just a petulant old man.

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Getaroom 2 years, 2 months ago

Oh my Toto, I think we must be back home finally and look how sophisticated the racism is here in Kansas. They don't even use the "n" word in public! Gosh, what a fine group of people.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 2 months ago

"high noon" is a coded appeal to Gary Cooper.

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its_just_math 2 years, 2 months ago

My 8:21 violated a term of use? What for?

Mr. Parker, Mr. Romney's security has been all over the news. I can't discuss current topics now?

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grahambailey 2 years, 2 months ago

seems like the President picked the arena, the Governor picked the weapons. Pitts often makes goodpoints, this wasn't one of them. Mid article he depicts the republicans with their ongoing racism, yet feels necessary to play the race card himself in his opening thoughts. The Pres being a "scary black man" has little to do, actually nothing, with the issue.

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jaywalker 2 years, 2 months ago

"Apparently, she thought the scary black man might hurt her even though he’s president of the United States and they were standing in broad daylight surrounded by security. Good thing he didn’t follow her into an elevator. She might have Maced him."

And there goes Fonzie, sportin' leather, skis akimbo, jumpin' the shark.

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beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

Governor Brewer was out of line. She was there to greet the President, not take the few moments to push her agenda and get in his face. She isn't even qualified to be a WalMart greeter.

This is what happens when the GOP pushes and elects people who can't even conjugate verbs properly. 'What we have did for the state ..." Good god. This governor makes Sarah Palin look like Mensa material. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUPKKb...

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its_just_math 2 years, 2 months ago

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

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BigAl 2 years, 2 months ago

I think Pitts has a point. A few years ago I felt like the Democrats swayed a long distance from the party of Truman and Kennedy. Now, I feel like the Republicans have traveled a long distance from Reagan and Bush (the elder). In today's Republican party, Ronald Reagan would not, could not, get elected. He raised taxes and the national debt. Where was the tea party then?

John Edwards is considered, rightfully so, a low-life scum-bag for his extra marital escapades. These escapades are very similar to Newt Gingrich's but Gingrich is running a close campaign within the Republican party for President. How does that happen?

I still believe that most Americans are middle of the road type thinkers. Where and who is their candidate?

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rtwngr 2 years, 2 months ago

President Obama is the height of arrogance. The tarmac was not the place to express his exception to the way Gov. Brewer described their White House meeting. His arrogance exudes every action he undertakes. The only thing he has done correctly is allow the military to undertake the operations it recommends. They are his only sound adviser.

His immaturity has allowed this country to flounder and, soon, there will be no turning back.

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 2 months ago

Brewer simply reflects many Americans' attitudes about Obama. Based on reports from both sides of the aisle, he can be extremely condescending toward people with whom he deals. He was publicly condescending toward members of the United States Supreme Court in his 2010 State of the Union address, conduct which he may later come to regret.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 2 months ago

More "Code Language" from the King of "Pittisms"

Do people like Pitts really need to attack old white women? I mean really? Scary old blue haired white women with crooked bent fingers?

lol Pittisms....lol

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Armstrong 2 years, 2 months ago

 Reagan did unite the country and rally the economy to the biggest boom in recent history.   Between all the bashing of the current republican cast and clearly absent critique of the current " leadership " Pitts failed to capture the true essence of of his piece.  His title should have read  "Actions speak louder than words".

 Compare the two Presidents, both inherited similar economic situations. The difference, well history speaks for itself. Reagan delivered results, Obama to date ( dont get me started ) let's just say all powder - no lead.
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