Last week, I reported for the Huffington Post that country singer Toby Keith had performed a pro-lynching anthem on the Colbert Report, and would be playing the same song soon on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and a slew of nationally televised talk shows.
The lyrics of Keith’s song, “Beer For My Horses,” which I transcribed, could hardly be less explicit — “Hang ‘em high, for all the people to see.” In my piece, I also noted the racially tinged nature of the song’s video and the forthcoming movie that Keith’s song inspired.
Toby Keith’s latest: Obama “talks, acts, and carries himself as a Caucausian.”
The response from right-wing blogs was swift and strident. Townhall.com whined that “The Liberal Lynching of Toby Keith” had taken place; Lonewacko claimed that Keith was actually “promoting lawful executions.” And Keith found an avid defender in Robert Stacy McCain, the disgraced former Washington Times reporter and avowed neo-Confederate who once allegedly ranted in the middle of the Times newsroom that slavery was “good for the blacks and good for property owners.”
My report on Barack Obama’s evangelical outreach strategy is up at the Nation. I open by revealing a testy moment between the candidate and Franklin Graham:
On June 10, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama convened a meeting in a law office in downtown Chicago with a wide array of about thirty evangelical leaders, in an unprecedented effort to win their support. Obama insisted that the meeting remain entirely off the record, forbidding participants from disclosing his statements to the press. His campaign has kept the names of attendees a closely guarded secret. But through interviews with participants and overlooked statements in obscure publications of the Christian press, a first-hand picture of the meeting emerges, starkly at odds with the news reports that accepted the formal version at face value.
News accounts about the meeting stated that Obama impressed his audience with his sincerity, depth of theological knowledge and communication skills. But according to those present, he did little to assuage the hostility that many of the assembled–particularly the conservative white evangelicals–harbor toward him and his liberal positions on social issues. Those differences reached a crescendo when the Rev. Franklin Graham directly confronted Obama about his supposedly Muslim background and Christian authenticity. Continue reading →