Ethics Heroes: Doug Wilder and Artur Davis


Like everyone else, Doug Wilder knows what ““they’re going to put y’all back in chains” meant. Unlike most Democrats, he has the integrity to admit it.

Democratic flacks and media mouthpieces for the Obama campaign have thoroughly disgraced themselves and insulted the intelligence of the American public by twisting words and logic to argue that Joe Biden’s “put y’all back in chains” rhetoric was something other than the divisive race-baiting it was. Eventually, in such episodes of lock-step partisan dissembling, there are a noble and courageous few who refuse to go along, and black leaders Artur Davis, a co-chair of President Obama’s 2008 campaign, and Doug Wilder, the first African-American governor (of Virginia, where Biden made his comments) have stepped to the fore.


“When I heard him reach for the bottom of the deck and talk about one party putting people in chains? When I heard someone that I admired and have been on platforms with, talk about ordinary conservative principles being essentially racial viciousness – that’s the allegation that he was making yesterday. I was disappointed by it, but I have to tell you it brought back memories to me. It brought back memories of these Democratic politicians in the South who think they can go before black crowds and say one thing, but nobody else will hear it, and that they can somehow get a cheer in the room, and that they can blithely go on about their business.”


“Without question they were appeals to race And if you don’t argue with that, then you understand that, then the next question is why? Why do you feel you need to do that? But the more important thing that I got out of this was Biden separated himself from what he accused the people of doing. As a matter of fact what he said is, they are going to do something to y’all, not to me, not us. So he was still involved with that separate America. And I’m sick and tired of being considered something other than an American.”

So much for the spin, shamelessly pushed by the Obama White House and media sources like the Daily Beast, that complaints about Biden’s offensive slavery reference is false indignation based on taking his remarks “out of context.” Some Democrats and African-American leaders are willing to speak the truth even if it is inconvenient for the once hopeful and unifying presidential candidate turned divisive, scare-mongering President, who, once again, flunked an integrity test by excusing Biden’s words, saying that Biden was just making the point that

…“consumers, the American people, will be a lot worse off it we repeal these [Wall Street reform] laws as the other side is suggesting.”

Sure, that’s what “They gonna put y’all back in chains” means to a black audience! Of course! How could anyone suggest otherwise? The President continued to debase himself by adding,

“In no sense was he trying to connote something other than that. The truth is that during the course of these campaigns, folks like to get obsessed with how something was phrased even if everybody personally understands that’s not how it was meant. That’s sort of the nature of modern campaigns and modern coverage of campaigns.”

Astounding, isn’t it? The man who was elected on the basis of his purported eloquence is now saying that words don’t matter, a position suddenly convenient for a President prone to saying things like “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” and especially helpful to a Vice President whose game is to engage in race-baiting and have his boss claim that “everybody” knew he meant something else entirely, when in fact “everybody” knew Biden’s words were intended to evoke slavery, hate and fear.

Thanks and respect is due to Davis and Wilder, former African-American supporters of Obama who have the decency and integrity to tell the truth.

“The president doesn’t need this now,” said Wilder. “The president needs to be a part of bringing people together.” You would think so and hope so, wouldn’t you?

Obviously, and tragically, the President disagrees.


Pointer: Instapundit


Graphic: Richmond K-12

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at


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