UPPITY…. It was only a matter of time before Republican officials shifted from oblique racially-charged language to brazen racially-charged language.

Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the racially-tinged term “uppity” to describe Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Thursday.

Westmoreland was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech with reporters outside the House chamber and was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama.

“Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity,” Westmoreland said.

Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

Now, one is tempted to note how truly absurd it is that a Republican feels comfortable calling the Democratic candidate part of “an elitist-class” when the GOP nominee owns so many homes, he’s lost count. But let’s put that aside.

Lynn Westmoreland is a white, right-wing southerner who, not too long ago, took a bold stand against reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. For him to smear the first major-party African-American presidential nominee as “uppity” is … what’s the word I’m looking for here … unacceptable.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.