Bottom of the Barrel

In case you were wondering, the combined efforts of the Breitbart dumpster-divers and Sean Hannity to convince people that the late Andrew’s cherished tape of Barack Obama speaking at Harvard in 1991 would, if seen in its entirety, just blow everybody’s socks off, have not exactly borne fruit. The idea, I gather, is to turn professor Derrick Bell (who died last autumn) into the new Jeremiah Wright, and make Obama’s unobjectionable introduction of Bell at a Harvard rally for law school faculty diversity the new “scandal” of the president’s hidden but definitive “radical” past.

I watched the whole video, and it sure didn’t work for me, even though I tried to make myself susceptible to the Breitbart appeal by eating a bag of pork rinds, getting in touch with my inner Elite Hater (and his Ivy League-hater twin), summoning up every negative thought I’ve ever had about Affirmative Action, and (since this was a PBS video) remembering how annoyed I get at those damned PBS fundraising drives that seem to accompany every show I ever want to watch on their damned pointy-headed channel. It’s a total snooze.

You can make your own moral judgment as to whether you want to risk hellfire by adding to the traffic at Breitbart’s site (which ought to be named Big Spin), but trust me, you’d think they were covering the very End of the World, what with the screaming headlines and the breathless exposes about the dusky devil-figure Bell. But it’s obvious they know it’s a nothing-burger, since they are now trying to shift attention from the “story” to the alleged cover-up of the “story” by Obama and his minions. As one derisive commenter said, the only real message seems to be: “Obama Once Hung Out With Other Black People!”

Maybe that’s all they’ve got, down there at the bottom of the barrel. If so, things really are looking up for 2012.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.