Everyone, it seems, has an annoying right-wing uncle. He’s the one who sends around those strange birther emails, makes inappropriate jokes at family gatherings, is impervious to reason and evidence, and seems a little too eager to believe everything he hears from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.
This phenomenon is so common that The Rachel Maddow Show has made good use of it. During our recent coverage of the trumped up “Fast and Furious” controversy, you may have noticed the screen behind Rachel read, “What Your Uncle Who Watches Fox News All Day Is All Worked Up About.”
For his part, President Obama campaigned in Virginia today, and not only acknowledged the problem of the wacky Fox News-watching uncle, but took the next step of giving the uncle a name (thanks to M.Y. for the tip).
When talking about his plan to extend the Bush tax cuts for people making less than $250,000 a year, Obama blamed the network for contributing to misperceptions of his tax policy as president. He chose “Uncle Jim” as a random example of the average Fox News viewer.
“Uncle Jim, who’s been watching Fox News, thinks somehow I raised taxes,” Obama said.
He added: “In the case of friends like Uncle Jim, who watch Fox News – let’s be clear. I’ve lowered taxes.”
I don’t imagine Uncle Jim will find this persuasive – for the record, the president is telling the truth – but it’s oddly reassuring to realize everyone has an Uncle Jim (or perhaps an Aunt Jill?) in their lives.