A Republican National Committee member from Arizona has drawn some ire after accusing President Obama of “shucking and jiving.”
“Some people wonder why I cannot figure out why I believe Obama is shucking and jiving on ObamaCare,” Bruce Ash wrote Thursday afternoon on his Facebook page, linking to an article detailing how the White House would be delaying a small part of the Affordable Care Act for a few weeks.
Local Democrats bashed him for the move.
“Bruce Ash should be ashamed of himself,” Pima County Democratic Party Executive Director Shasta McManus told the Tucson Sentinel. “It’s so sad that a national committeeman of the ‘Party of Lincoln’ doesn’t have sufficient sensitivity to grasp the inappropriateness of what he wrote.”
Ash also insisted to the paper that there wasn’t anything racial about the comment.
“There are plenty of folks who are shuckers and jivers,” he said. “There is nothing in my lexicon that has racial overtones.”
Ash is far from the only Republican to use the “shuck and jive” phrase in reference to Obama, nor the only one to say it wasn’t racially charged.
Sarah Palin accused Obama of using a ”shuck and jive shtick” in a jab against the Obama administration’s handling of the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya.
“Why the lies? Why the cover up? Why the dissembling about the cause of the murder of our ambassador on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil? We deserve answers to this. President Obama’s shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end,” she wrote on her Facebook page in October of last year.
Just a few hours later, she took to her Facebook page again to defend the phrase.
“For the record, there was nothing remotely racist in my use of the phrase ‘shuck and jive,’” she wrote, pointing to a handful of instances in some on the left have used the word as her proof.
Rush Limbaugh has used the phrase to criticize Obama in just the last few weeks, calling the president’s Syria plan “operation shuck and jive” in comparison to President George W. Bush’s “operation shock and awe.”
The phrase was examined by the mainstream media in 2008 when Hillary Clinton supporter Andrew Cuomo used the phrase in reference to Obama, and as we learned, “shuck” has its roots in African-American slave culture.
The Online Etymology Dictionary explains:
[B]lack senses probably fr[om] the fact that black slaves sang and shouted gleefully during corn-shucking season, and this behavior, along with lying and teasing, became a part of the protective and evasive behavior normally adopted towards white people in “traditional” race relations; the sense of “swindle” is perhaps related to the mid-1800s term to be shucked out, “be defeated, be denied victory,” which suggests that the notion of stripping someone as an ear of corn is stripped may be basic in the semantics. [“Dictionary of American Slang”]
“Jive” has similar origins, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Derived from “black English,” though only dating back to the middle of the 20th century.