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GOP’s Rodeo of Racism Blows Up

Anti-Obama ugliness resurges as birther-in-chief Donald Trump joins top Republicans in Iowa.

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I should note that the Missouri State Fair rodeo was so sickening that Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder had to denounce it as “disrespectful” to the president, adding, “We are better than this.” Fairgoer Perry Beam told the Associated Press that “everybody screamed” and “just went wild” when an announcer asked if they’d like to see “Obama run down by a bull.”

“It was at that point I began to feel a sense of fear. It was that level of enthusiasm,” the 48-year-old white musician said. Another clown approached and began to play with the lips of the Obama mask. “There would have been no reason to play with his lips if he were a white president,” Beam said. “They mentioned the president’s name, I don’t know, 100 times. It was sickening. It was feeling like some kind of Klan rally you’d see on TV. I’ve never seen anything so blatantly racist in my life,” he added. “If an old country boy picks up on something like that, imagine what a person of color would think.”

Meanwhile, John Boehner golfs with birther-in-chief Trump, while he headlines ABC’s respected Sunday news show. The GOP seems content to live on the fumes of Obama-hatred. It’s not a strategy for a post-Obama politics, but they seem to reckon there are enough rodeo clowns out there to get them through 2014.

Joan Walsh is Salon's editor-at-large, and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America." Read more of her work at Salon.

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