The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Z_CNHI News Service

January 31, 2014

Complaints about code words a diversion to silence Obama's critics

Editor's note: CNHI newspapers that are not weekly subscribers to Taylor Armerding's column may publish this one if they notify him at t.armerding@verizon.net.

The list of racist "dog whistle” terms got a little longer over the past couple of weeks, which is a clear signal that efforts to distract the public from the Obama administration’s scandals and failures are becoming increasingly desperate.

This past week’s savior for Obama’s acolytes was Richard Sherman, the amped-up Seattle Seahawks cornerback.

Sherman complained, after some people called him a “thug” for his over-the-top rant following Seattle’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago, that the term has become an “accepted way of calling somebody the N-word.”

Sherman is right to complain about the excessive criticism. What he said makes him one in a long line of tiresome, self-absorbed, athletic braggarts, but it doesn’t come close to making him a thug.

But he is dead wrong about “thug” being code. So are the usual crowd of lefties and race hustlers who've come rushing to say that Sherman is right and that anybody who has ever called President Obama a thug – or, in particular, a “Chicago thug” – is guilty of delivering a barely closeted racial slur.

Uh, no, they are not.

As other, more sane observers have pointed out, the word “thug” has been applied to the all-white Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, and his staff hundreds of times in the last few weeks – for good reason, at least when it comes to his staff. It was clearly political thuggery to cause major traffic jams by closing lanes to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, N.J., for no apparent reason other than payback to one of Christie’s Democratic detractors.

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