Did Melissa Harris-Perry Compare Obamacare to What We Think She Compared Obamacare To?

Dec 9, 2013
10:07 pm

Is it us or are you just as perplexed as we are? This is Melissa Harris Perry over the weekend:

I want to talk today about a controversial word. It’s a word that has been with us for years. And like it or not, it’s indelibly printed in the pages of American history. A word that was originally intended as a derogatory term, meant to shame and divide and demean. The word was conceived of by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man. To render him inferior and unequal and to diminish his accomplishments.

President Obama has been labelled with this word by his opponents. And at first he rose above it, hoping that if he could just make a cause for what he achieved, his opponents would fail in making their label stick. But no matter how many successes that he had as president, he realized there were still many people for whom he’d never be anything more than that one disparaging word. A belief he knew was held not just by his political opponents, but also by a significant portion of the American electorate.

And so he decided, if you can’t beat them, you’ve got to join them. And he embraced the word and made it his own, sending his opposition a message they weren’t expecting — ‘if that’s what you want me to be, I’ll be that.’ Y’all know the word that I’m talking about. Obamacare. That’s right! I said it and I’m not ashamed and neither is President Obama. Because he knows that of all his victories over two terms in office his legacy is ultimately going to be remembered for this one single word.

I mean, what do you call the president who rescues the U.S. auto industry?Obamacare. What do you call the president who finally eliminates Osama bin Laden? Obamacare. What do you call the president who ends Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Say it with me! Obamacare.

And so on and so on.

We still don’t get it. Can anyone explain this for us?


POLITICO’S Dylan Byers tried to get answers by asking these four questions to MSNBC:

1. Was “Hillarycare” a derogatory term conceived of by wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a woman?

2. Was “Reaganomics” a derogatory term conceived of by wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a… Hollywood actor?

3. How do you square your assertion — that the term was conceived of by “wealthy white men” — with the fact that “Obamacare” was first used by a female lobbyist named Jeanne Schulte Scott, who in 2007 wrote: “We will soon see a ‘Giuliani-care’ and ‘Obama-care’ to go along with ‘McCain-care,’ ‘Edwards-care,’ and a totally revamped and remodeled ‘Hillary-care’ from the 1990s”?

4. What is your evidence, if any, for the assertion that Obamacare is a racially loaded term?

He’s still waiting, and so are we. Can anyone explain this to us? Anyone?

Is it us, or is MSNBC just going off the deep end? Maybe they need a Latino host at the table to calm them down.