Colorado Congressman Refers to Obama as a Tar Baby


Between the birth certificate “scandal” and the Kenya jokes, some arms of the Republican party have had no qualms about making thinly veiled racist comments regarding President Barack Obama.

Now we can add another.

Colorado Representative Doug Lamborn went onto a talk radio last week, where he referred to the president as a “tar baby,” claiming getting too near him will get you “stuck.”

Via Think Progress:

Appearing on the Caplis and Silverman radio show last Friday, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) said, “Now I don’t even want to have to be associated with [Obama], it’s like touching a tar baby and you’re stuck, you’re part of the problem now. You can’t get away.”

Tar Baby, according to Time Magazine, is a very touchy phrase that has gotten politicians into trouble before.   But in the past, they were always referring to a project or situation, never an actual person, and especially not a person of color.

Is tar baby a racist term? Like most elements of language, that depends on context. Calling the Big Dig a tar baby is a lot different than calling a person one. But sensitivity is not unwarranted…The Oxford American Dictionary defines tar baby much like Romney used it, “a difficult problem, that is only aggravated by attempts to solve it.” But the term also has had racial implications. In his book Coup, John Updike says of a white woman who prefers the company of black men, “some questing chromosome within holds her sexually fast to the tar baby.” The Oxford English Dictionary (but not the print version of its American counterpart) says that tar baby is a derogatory term used for “a black or a Maori.”

So, innocent offhand remark, or thinly veiled racist comment?  Which do you think?
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Linda S.
Linda S.5 years ago


SeattleAnn S.
Ann S.5 years ago

This is so messed up. There is no room for even the most minor of racial allusions in our government. It's unfortunate that it occurs among private citizens, but that is an allowance of freedom. Public figures who demonstrate any sort of bigotry betray not only the principles our country was founded on but everything it stands for today.

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm5 years ago

Diane I moved out of my Mothes house many years ago.....longer than you have been alive.
It isnt up to YOU to tell us when to move on. WE will decide when it is time to move on. if you dont like this thread then skip it.

Patrick F.
Patrick f.5 years ago

Anything to bash liberals eh Diane? yip yip yip

David C.
David Connally5 years ago

I was interested to hear earlier today that by 2050, non-whites are projected to outnumber whites in the US. Can't help but feel the R's may become better versed in words and phrases with double meanings.

David C.
David Connally5 years ago

Rod S

You certainly have a great strength in self-righteousness and I'm happy your ego is further inflated.

When you asked for an apology re the tar baby definitions in the Urbam dictionary and Wikipedia, I gave you a 1 on a 1-10 scale for intellectual honesty and selfawareness. Initially, I wasn't sure if you were jerking my chain, I couldn't believe anyone could be so ****** to miss or ignore the second meaning. (I'll let you fill in the letters).

Your "ignorance" logic is bizzare. If we extend it beyond the current discussion, you would define a bilingual individual as ignorant compared to a monolingual companion. I can answer my own question with an emphatic yes.

Rod S.
Rod Swann5 years ago

You know David, we had a discussion where we had different views, then I apologised unreservedly for a misguided accusation. Then you asked me a question to which I had the decency to give you a polite answer. Now you ridicule the answer I was so willing to pass on,
It doesn't say much for decency on your part does it.? I will come out of this the better man.
I'm afraid your standing is pretty cheap.

Don Lukenbill
Don L.5 years ago

Yet another example of the loss of civility in politics and society in general. And people wonder why our country is going to hell in a hand basket.

What ever happened to "I may not respect the man, but I respect the office?"

David C.
David Connally5 years ago


"Sorry, I really haven't a clue."

Truer words were never spoken

Rod S.
Rod Swann5 years ago

David. I can think of a few others but I'm rather more polite than yourself.
Never mind, I had a laugh.
After further consideration, perhaps I'm not, but it's only a discussion we're having. I'm sure we're both entitled to our respective opinions even if you are wrong.