November 10, 2014 12:30 pm -

The term “Tar baby” can mean two very different things, and it’s best to avoid using the term especially when referring to a black person because it’s a racial slur. Mitt Romney learned that lesson, as did John McCain.

[su_center_ad]And now Haley Barbour is learning that lesson and has issued a really crappy apology.

Politico reports:

The former Mississippi governor made the remark as he was taking questions from 100 or more clients of the BGR Group during an hourlong call on Thursday morning. According to a person on the call, Barbour was noting how rare it is for Americans to elect a president from the same party as a commander-in-chief leaving office after two terms.

“And then he said there is no one who will run for president who will endorse Obama’s issues, because Obama’s issues are ‘tar babies.’”

Barbour acknowledged using the term.

“If someone takes offense, I regret it. But, again, neither the context nor the connotation was intended to offend,” Barbour wrote in an email to Politico.

Barbour’s past is riddled with dubious comments and views.

When Barbour was considering his own potential 2012 presidential campaign, he came under scrutiny for kind words about the Citizens Councils in his home town of Yazoo during the civil rights era.

“Up north they think it was like the KKK,” he told the Weekly Standard in a profile of him. “Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

Barbour also said he didn’t “remember it as being that bad” and recalled going to see Martin Luther King Jr. speak in 1962.

I’m sure some of this best friends are black, too.

In 2011, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) said in reference to Obama, “Now, I don’t even want to be associated with him. It’s like touching a, a tar baby and you get it.”

He later apologized and clarified as to what he really meant by his remark. [su_csky_ad]

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

13 responses to Haley Barbour Sort Of Apologizes After Calling Obama’s Policies ‘Tar Babies’

  1. R.J. Carter November 10th, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I propose we start calling them “cockleburs.”

  2. Jones November 10th, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    The Paula Dean syndrome…

  3. burqa November 10th, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    OP: “The term “Tar baby” can mean two very different things, and it’s best to avoid using the term especially when referring to a black person because it’s a racial slur. … And now Haley Barbour is learning that lesson and has issued a really crappy apology. ..”

    I agree with you 100% on the first part. While the term is a vivid, descriptive metaphor, a time came where it gained another racist usage, which is a shame, because it is a useful example of figurative language when one knows the story. So it should never be used in reference to, even tangentially, anyone who is African-American and rarely, if ever under other circumstances.
    I have to quibble a bit with the second part because I don’t think Barbour issued an apology at all. I am a purebred 13th generation Southerner and one thing we are proud of is not just our manners, but we have all kinds of complicated notions about what is acceptable and how to behave and Barbour apparently was not taught or failed to learn how to properly apologize.
    On the off chance someone around here does not know, this is how to do it:
    1. Say what you did plainly with no shading to make it appear less severe.
    2. Say why it was wrong so the listener knows you get it.
    3. Throw yourself on the mercy of the court. Bow your head to give the offended party a clear shot at chopping your head off.
    4. Make it clear you are not just aware of the offence, but that you will do your best to not do it again.
    5. Beg forgiveness. Sometimes the shame is so great one can not bear to do this step so it is optional.

    Had I done the same as Barbour, my apology would go something like this:

    “The other day I used a figure of speech that is sometimes used with a hateful, racist connotation. It is a vile thing, and I used it in the manner that is certainly racist. Our society is harmed when such rhetoric is used and I know my stupidity was hurtful and insulting to people who deserve no such thing. It was a horrible thing to say and I can’t tell you how ashamed I am of myself. I am disgraced to have done this and I promise to do my best to see to it that neither this expression or anything of the sort ever passes from my lips again. I am deeply sorry for what I have done. I let down my family and the people of Mississippi. I hope that some day, when you have seen I have truly reformed, that you may find it within yourselves to forgive me.”

    THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how to apologize.

    • R.J. Carter November 10th, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      “…and I used it in the manner that is certainly racist.”

      I would disagree with this part of the imagined apology, but I’m something of a purist about having perfectly good literary allegories stolen by racists or other stupid people.

  4. edmeyer_able November 10th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks to: Unknown @beg_danish It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don’t say it.

    then there’s no reason to apologize.

  5. Bunya November 10th, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Don’t be fooled. Haley Barbour knew exactly what he was doing when uttered that phrase. It’s a dog whistle to his base.

    And BTW, Haley, please accept my “sort of” apology when I referred to you as a “a ton of racist blubber”. I was merely stating a fact.

  6. Denise November 10th, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    why do black people support the gop? barbour knew precisely what he was saying.

    • R.J. Carter November 10th, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Do we get velvet curtains, hanging beads and a crystal ball with the mind reading act?

  7. eyelashviper November 10th, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    The term “tar baby” would not be used by a person who truly understands the dreadful meaning of the term…no apology can erase this.

    These deeply prejudiced Southern White Guys cannot help themselves, and with few exceptions, they have not changed their spots, and still remain deeply prejudiced against blacks and other minorities, with misogyny also festering just under the surface.

  8. whatthe46 November 10th, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    i would never accept or believe any of their “apologizes” because its what they truly mean. i hate when they do that. just OWN your fk’n racism and prejudices and hatred. they knew exactly what they were saying and it came across exactly the way it was meant to. A&&HATS

  9. Suzanne McFly November 10th, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Who has this term in their vocab to begin with. If I was to describe someone, that term is foreign to me and it would not even enter my thoughts. For this term to be used, it must be in his common word usage, it is not out of the blue for him to say this disgusting term.

  10. Lorraine Easterling November 11th, 2014 at 8:46 am

    He’s always been an idiot!!!