Politics and Selling Watermelons

March 9th, 2010

By Tom Carter

Remember Dan Rather?  The self-important little guy who used to sit awkwardly in the giant chair once occupied by Walter Cronkite?  The one who tried to attack President Bush and influence a presidential election using forged documents and got fired for it?  Yep, that’s the one.

After he left CBS, Rather went to HDNet, which apparently no one watches, and hasn’t been heard from much since then.  Now he’s back with a comment about Barack Obama that would get a Republican or a conservative in deep trouble.  Rather said on the Chris Matthews Show (video below):

Part of the undertow in the coming election is going to be President Obama’s leadership. And the Republicans will make a case and a lot of independents will buy this argument. “Listen he just hasn’t been, look at the health care bill. It was his number one priority. It took him forever to get it through and he had to compromise it to death.” And a version of, “Listen he’s a nice person, he’s very articulate” this is what’s been used against him, “but he couldn’t sell watermelons if it, you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic.”

Barack Obama is “very articulate…but he couldn’t sell watermelons if…you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic.”  That’s a racist comment, any way you cut it.  Rather could have referred to selling peaches, apples, vegetables, curios, souvenirs, or any of the other things people sell by the roadsides.  But no, he had to say “watermelons.”  Will the long knives of the left be drawn, will liberals march on his house in the dark of night with pitchforks and torches?  Somehow, I don’t think so….



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4 Responses to “Politics and Selling Watermelons”



  1. larry |

    From left wing Icon to right wing hate monger in one appearance?
    I’d rather buy a watermelon from a black farmer because they grow better melons.(my opinion, no scientific evidence)
    Dan Rather is not my favorite person but I have to agree with him. Obama for all his ability to campaign and draw large crowds cannot inspire or deliver as chief excutive. As long as he has a liberal house and senate he can “fake it” to some extent. Knowing that his majorities will most likely cease after November he has asked the Democrats to fall on their own swords in order to pass his pet health care reform bill. Obama is a poor salesman.


  2. Tom |

    I didn’t say, or imply, that Dan Rather is a “right wing hate monger,” if that’s what you mean. I’m sure he’s sitting somewhere right now tasting shoe leather on his tongue and wishing he hadn’t said anything about “watermelons.”

    The article is about the different standards people are held to by liberals and, even worse, most of the media. Rather isn’t a racist, from what I know about him, but he made a stupid remark that is classically racist — linking African Americans to watermelons. Will he get away with it? Yes. Would Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh? No.

    I agree with your assessment of Obama’s demonstrated weakness as a leader and a “salesman.” During the campaign it was easy to see the gap between image and substance. However, I thought that was mostly typical campaign strategy and figured he had the intelligence and ability to be an effective leader once in office. Doesn’t seem to be turning out that way.


  3. Brianna |

    What does selling watermelons have to do with black people?


  4. Tom |

    Logically, nothing. It’s just another of those non-PC things that are taken to have underlying meanings.

    The point is that Rather’s statement, whether it makes any sense or not, is the kind of thing that a conservative would be attacked for saying, but he won’t be.


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