Racism Begets Racism

Riffing off a point by Matt Yglesias (who notes that the opposition to Sotomayor has been almost cartoonishly racist), Ta-Nehisi Coates says the GOP can’t help itself:

One problem with the GOP is that when you build your brand on Willie Horton, “white hands” and the Minutemen, you end up with a party that, well, believes in those things. People keep saying that the GOP is playing into Obama’s hands. I’ve said similar. But as I think about this, that takes chess-match thinking to a rather silly extreme.

More likely, when you have a party, in which people feel comfortable coming to rallies and saying on camera that they won’t vote for a black guy, then that party will have people asserting the right to mispronounce Sotomayor’s name. That party will have people arguing that Sotomayer’s food choices are evil.  It’s highly unlikely that that party will have some sort of sophisticated tolerence game at the ready. They are who they are.

That’s exactly right. The GOP is reaping the seeds sown when Nixon launched the Southern Strategy — the Republican Party has become the party of racism in America. I’m not saying all Republicans are racist — they aren’t. But most racists are Republican, for the simple reason that the Republican party has shown itself to be welcoming to the intolerant, the bigoted, and the hateful. That’s the reason that despite strong business support, and despite the clear long-term interest of the GOP in attracting Latino and Latina voters, and despite the strong support of both the the then-President and the party’s future presidential nominee, that immigration reform went nowhere. That’s the reason why opposition to Obama so often takes the where’s the birth certificate/scary black man/socialist!!1!!11! approach, when a sane approach would certainly work better.

Like the scorpion on the back of the frog, the GOP can’t help but sting anymore — it’s in its nature. Fortunately for America — and unfortunately for the GOP — the sting isn’t hurting the frog anymore. And unless the Republican Party can find a way to transcend the racism that is at the very core of its existence, the Republican Party alone is going to find itself drowning.

This entry posted in Race, racism and related issues, Supreme Court Issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

38 Responses to Racism Begets Racism

  1. 1
    Manju says:

    But most racists are Republican, for the simple reason that the Republican party has shown itself to be welcoming to the intolerant, the bigoted, and the hateful.

    Well, here’s some evidence that dems are more anti-semitic than repubs:

    http://bostonreview.net/BR34.3/malhotra_margalit.php

    Could they be more welcoming to this hate, more tolerant to anti-semitism, especially vis a vis Israel. Perhaps their power theories of racism and anti-capitalist viewpoints nicely correlate with anti-Semitism.

  2. 2
    Manju says:

    The GOP is reaping the seeds sown when Nixon launched the Southern Strategy

    Well, we are in the middle of an economic crises, when xenophobia, economic nationalism, and nativism raises its ugly head. Who really benefited from this? Who played the southern strategy, using of code words that aren’t de facto racist but send a particular divisive message.

    I saw both obama and clinton disengenuously bash nafta (Obama was famously caught winking and nodding by canada) in order to sway hillary’s famous “hard working white americans” in PA and OH, which they won btw like nixon took the south. i wonder why they chose to speak out against NAFTA, globalization, and free trade? no southern strategy there?

    I recall obama specifically singling out china during his acceptance speech in denver (notice how they never mention job killing british or german competition). Before that, Marc Warner took direct aim at “bangelore india” on the convention floor. Its always china, mexico, india, and dubai with this crowd.

  3. 3
    Jake Squid says:

    Its always china, mexico, india, and dubai with this crowd.

    As opposed to always being the Chinese, Mexicans, Indians, Arabs, etc. (not to mention actual US citizens who aren’t white & xtian) with the other crowd. It’s a difference with distinction when we talk about this subject, I think.

  4. 4
    PG says:

    Manju,

    You seriously can’t think of a reason why someone would oppose “NAFTA, globalization, and free trade” other than racism?

    Have you noticed that there are many people in India, Mexico and other developing countries who are skeptical of globalization and free trade? Against whom is Arundhati Roy being racist? India has a freaking tenable political party (the Communists) that is blatantly opposed to globalization and free trade. They win seats in Parliament on that platform! (Not to be confused with the Naxalites, who are the Maoist terrorists.)

    In contrast, there were very few black people supporting Nixon’s Southern Strategy and joining protests against busing to integrate schools. It was pretty clearly something done solely to appeal to white voters. There’s no such racial uniformity in the opposition to globalization and free trade. The equating of anti-globalization with Nixon’s Southern Strategy is ludicrous.

    notice how they never mention job killing british or german competition

    Is there some alternate reality in which British and German labor costs are significantly lower than those in the U.S.? Also, how often do plants that are moving overseas move to Britain and Germany? Like, what percentage of all factory closings in the U.S. since 1980 have been in order to move operations to Britain and Germany, as compared those moved to Mexico and China?

  5. 5
    Manju says:

    That’s the reason why opposition to Obama so often takes the where’s the birth certificate/scary black man/socialist!!1!!11! approach, when a sane approach would certainly work better.

    Its worth noting these memes, with the exception of “socialist,” emerged from the democratic primary. larry johnson, a rabid clintonite, pushed the birth certificate thing as well as the whitey video. clinton staffers were caught using the madrassa smear (including bob kerrey) and the short-lived “drug dealer” allegation. talk about scary black man. the ultimate prize however went to Gerry ferraro and her bizarre theory of black privilege.

    the reaction against soto has been a farce. but is it really worse than what thomas, palin, and steele have had to deal with from the other side? in fact, your own jeff rosen got the ball rolling.

  6. 6
    Manju says:

    You seriously can’t think of a reason why someone would oppose “NAFTA, globalization, and free trade” other than racism

    i can. but i can also think of reasons why someone would be opposed to AA or for “law and order” or against illegal immigration besides racism. i didn’t have time for the nuance here but that’s what a southern strategy is, it has plausible denial, which is, of course plausible

    Obama and clinton however are In a tougher position, their stand is in fact disingenuous so i think its plausible to conclude they were exploiting nativism and xenophobia during tough economic times, taking populist postion that they themselves belived hurt developing nations.

  7. 7
    PG says:

    Manju,

    Its worth noting these memes, with the exception of “socialist,” emerged from the democratic primary. larry johnson, a rabid clintonite, pushed the birth certificate thing as well as the whitey video. clinton staffers were caught using the madrassa smear (including bob kerrey) and the short-lived “drug dealer” allegation. talk about scary black man. the ultimate prize however went to Gerry ferraro and her bizarre theory of black privilege.

    Except in the Democratic Party, that sort of thing is generally marginalized — how many of the folks you’re talking about are current elected officials, or even people Hillary Clinton wanted to continue to associate with after they made such statements? Cf. the Republicans’ embrace of the birth certificate thing, which has gone far enough that two Republican Congressmen have introduced a bill to require presidential candidates to submit a birth certificate to prove eligibility. Not even close.

    “i can. but i can also think of reasons why someone would be opposed to AA or for “law and order” or against illegal immigration besides racism. i didn’t have time for the nuance here but that’s what a southern strategy is, it has plausible denial, which is, of course plausible”

    AA is an overtly racial issue. Your position on it is inherently based on what you think about race. There’s no overtly racial aspect of free trade — British people get annoyed with Polish people, even though they’re all pretty damn white, because the Brits think the Poles are bringing down wages. And I notice that you haven’t submitted an example of Democrats’ being OK with a factory closing so long as the factory was going to Britain or Germany. It’s losing jobs that pisses people off; I’ve never heard of people being like, “Oh, but my job is going to a white person. Well, that’s all right then.”

    Obama and clinton however are In a tougher position, their stand is in fact disingenuous so i think its plausible to conclude they were exploiting nativism and xenophobia during tough economic times, taking populist postion that they themselves belived hurt developing nations.

    I’m glad that you can read Obama’s and Clinton’s minds. I thought they were taking up a fairly mainstream position in the Democratic Party, which says that free trade can be beneficial, but that it needs to come with regulations and safety nets. One of my friends is presumably pretty pro-free trade (she works to help corporations in international trade, after all), but was very concerned about the Central American Free Trade Agreement specifically because of its exclusion of “employment discrimination” from the definition of “labor laws.” Does this mean she’s either herself nativist and xenophobic, or pandering to someone else’s nativism or xenophobia?

  8. 8
    Manju says:

    Except in the Democratic Party, that sort of thing is generally marginalized — how many of the folks you’re talking about are current elected officials, or even people Hillary Clinton wanted to continue to associate with after they made such statements?

    Bob Kerrey mentioned the madrassa and “hussein”, (in a plausible denial sort of way). true, the NH guy quit after the drug dealer smear (he said the republicans are going to call obama a drug dealer so he gets double bonus southern strategy points, for smearing obama and the republicans simultaneously) but Hillary never acknowledged the racial nature of it. she still stayed married to bill clinton as far as i know. mark penn wrote a memo advising hillary to portray obama as foreign, and he remained in the campaign. gerry ferraro stayed on for a while even after she began race baiting Obama, and while she’s not a current elected official, she was a former vp candidate. pretty high up there.

  9. 9
    Manju says:

    Except in the Democratic Party, that sort of thing is generally marginalized

    also there was the drudge pic of obama in somali garb, the clinton camps non-denial, maggie williams saying there’s nothing wrong with the pic, and then clinton surrogate stepahnie tubbs johnson claiming somalia is obama’s native country.

    also, hillary’s own 60 minute performance when asked if she thought obama was a muslim. imagine if obama replied to that with a: “i take her at her word that’s she’s not a lesbian. she’s never slept with a woman…as far as i know.”

    so i don’t think this southern strategy was just some marginaized players. it went right to the top.

  10. 10
    Manju says:

    AA is an overtly racial issue. Your position on it is inherently based on what you think about race. There’s no overtly racial aspect of free trade —

    Well, i didn’t invent the concept of a southern strategy. its long been more associated with dog whistles than overt racial issues. bob herbert argued that “tax cuts” were part of the souther strategy. in 2009, accusing obama of having a messiah complex was considered codeword for uppity, and socialist was also racially divisive because mlk was accused of being one. orlando patterson cited hillary’s 3am ad as fear of the balck man as house burglar.

    one example, that went somewhat unnoticed by the msm is, right after iowa, hillary first attack on obama was on his lax stand on prison sentencing for, get this, drug dealers.

    that’s the beauty of the southern strategy. its not overtly racist but it supposedly triggers racial fear among the targeting group. though it seems so obvious to me now, when i first saw the willie horton ad i didn’t see anything racial about its. i just saw a criminal. but the makers of the ad knew what they were doing.

    its in this sense that the dems mentioning of jobs going to india and china sound suspicious. i think they know their playing on xenephobia during times of economic insecurity. though i must admit there is plausible denial.

  11. 11
    Manju says:

    I’m glad that you can read Obama’s and Clinton’s minds.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2185753/

  12. 12
    Manju says:

    In contrast, there were very few black people supporting Nixon’s Southern Strategy and joining protests against busing to integrate schools. It was pretty clearly something done solely to appeal to white voters. There’s no such racial uniformity in the opposition to globalization and free trade. The equating of anti-globalization with Nixon’s Southern Strategy is ludicrous.

    nixon didn’t oppose integration, just busing, and i wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few blacks were opposed to that as well. nixon did in fact integrate the schools, as well as give us affirmative action, support the era, signed title 9 and 10, and child development act.

  13. 13
    Jake Squid says:

    nixon did in fact integrate the schools, as well as give us affirmative action, support the era, signed title 9 and 10, and child development act.

    It’s always cheering to be reminded of just how much federal level politics has jetted to the right since Nixon, that socialist.

  14. 14
    PG says:

    Manju,

    Bob Kerrey said, “I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama, and that his father was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother is a Muslim. There’s a billion people on the planet that are Muslims, and I think that experience is a big deal.” Point out the Republican who said it was a good thing for Obama to have personal contacts with the Muslim world.

    What did Bill Clinton say that was the same or comparable to the smears Jeff highlight, the “birth certificate/scary black man/socialist” stuff? Clinton wasn’t clean in the campaign, but at no point did he say that Obama was unfit (which is the birth certificate thing) or dangerous to become president. Sorry, but you’re really reaching here if you have to pull out internal campaign memos to find Democrats who were considering using rhetoric about Obama that Sarah Palin would bust out without a second thought.

    “i take her at her word that’s she’s not a lesbian. she’s never slept with a woman…as far as i know.”

    OK, that’s just a bizarre comparison. As noted above, Obama’s paternal family is Muslim, and his stepfather also was Muslim, and he grew up partly in Indonesia. Given that background, it would be perfectly reasonable for him to be a Muslim, as the vast majority of people have the same religion as their family. Obama found his faith for himself in the United Church of Christ (which is one of the many things I like about him, that he made his choices as an adult about what to believe in). Also, the general media was trying to hype this as a controversy, where the birth certificate bullshit is grassroots/somewhat Fox News stuff. None of the major networks did an interview asking the other candidates if they believe Obama had been born in the U.S., but they did interviews to hype the Muslim thing:

    STEVE KROFT: You don’t believe that Senator Obama’s a Muslim?
    HILLARY CLINTON: Of course not. I mean that’s, you know, that, there is no basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says, and, you know, there isn’t any reason to doubt that.
    KROFT: You said you take Sen. Obama at his word that he’s not a Muslim…
    CLINTON: Right, right..
    KROFT: …you don’t believe that he’s a Muslim.
    CLINTON: No, no. Why would I? There’s nothing to base that on, as far as I know.

    Yeah, that’s comparable to being a sitting Republican Congressman demanding that presidential candidates submit birth certificates.
    ———-

    its in this sense that the dems mentioning of jobs going to india and china sound suspicious. i think they know their playing on xenephobia during times of economic insecurity. though i must admit there is plausible denial.

    Again, could you point out which jobs are going to white countries? I’m sure plenty of Democrats would like to know.

    ———-

    nixon didn’t oppose integration, just busing, and i wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few blacks were opposed to that as well.

    When you find the black people who were at anti-busing rallies, let me know.

    What do you think was the purpose of busing if not to integrate schools in areas where housing patterns had become racially segregated? I’m not saying Nixon publicly opposed Brown v. Board and stood in the schoolhouse door. But if black people had been redlined into living only in certain areas of Boston, then even in the absence of Jim Crow laws mandating segregation, the drawing of school districts would put nearly all the black kids into a few schools, de facto segregated from the white kids. Democrats didn’t support busing just so they could pump a few more tons of pollution into the atmosphere every day by driving buses from one end of town to the other.

    The Southern Strategy, which included being opposed to busing for the purpose of integrating schools, told whites that if they just moved away from black people — left the cities for the suburbs where realtors never could find an open house for a black family, or kept smaller towns racially separated in housing by social pressures — they wouldn’t have to go to school with them. In other words, Nixon wouldn’t enforce a segregation that had been declared unconstitutional, but he also wouldn’t enforce integration even by the means the Supreme Court had declared constitutionally necessary.

    It took a few years for the courts to catch on that this was what was happening in the South, but the hangover lasted for decades — when I graduated, my high school was still under a court order to remain unitary, because when East Texas towns could have more than one high school, you ended up with a predominately black (now also Latino) high school and a predominately white high school — see, e.g., John Tyler and Tyler Lee (yes, named for Robert E. Lee).

    ———

    nixon did in fact integrate the schools, as well as give us affirmative action, support the era, signed title 9 and 10, and child development act.

    Nixon didn’t originate affirmative action in the federal government — ever heard LBJ’s famous metaphor about running a race? The phrase “affirmative action” first showed up in an Executive Order by JFK, which was expanded upon by LBJ’s Executive Order 11246. The EEOC began in 1965, again under LBJ. Can you name an affirmative action initiative begun by Nixon and sustained throughout his presidency? Nixon at best initially adopted LBJ’s program of timetables and preferences, but later backed away from it.

    ERA, titles 9 and 10 (family planning was supported by Bush I, too) and the Child Development Act have roughly f*ck-all to do with the Southern Strategy. Heck, a Southern Senator was the one who added sex discrimination to the prohibitions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — he was worried that otherwise the Act would advantage black women over white women.

    ———

    Your proof of what Obama and Clinton really think about free trade is a memo written by a Canadian minister who met with one of Obama’s economic advisors? Ho-kay.

  15. 15
    Manju says:

    Manju,

    Bob Kerrey said, “I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama, and that his father was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother is a Muslim. There’s a billion people on the planet that are Muslims, and I think that experience is a big deal.” Point out the Republican who said it was a good thing for Obama to have personal contacts with the Muslim world

    Well, this is how the dark art is practiced, PG…you innocent little pumpkin. He said this right b/f the primary and while endorsing clinton. do you think he thought this would hep obama, when everyone in town including obama feared his “muslim roots” could sink him. he maintained plausible denial. he managed to toss out a reference to “secular madrassa” too, whatever that is. plus consider context, 3 clinton staffers had just got caught passing on the madrassa rumor.

  16. 16
    Manju says:

    but at no point did he say that Obama was unfit (which is the birth certificate thing) or dangerous to become president.

    leading up to hillary’s firewall states stacked with “hardworking white americans” they circulated the pic of obama in Somali garb and implied he wasn’t american but rather native somalian (tubbs johnson). then came the 3am ad cleverly playing off fears that obma’s is weak, maybe foreign, followed by hillarys unfit to be commander in chief argument (“threshold”). taken in context , you can see how tthey were portraying him as unfit and dangerous.

  17. 17
    Jake Squid says:

    I’m really appreciating your comments on this thread, PG. Thanks.

  18. 18
    Myca says:

    Well, this is how the dark art is practiced, PG…you innocent little pumpkin.

    Hey Manju, that’s inappropriate. Watch yourself.

    Incidentally, you’ve posted twice as much as the other two posters in this thread added together, and since you’ve been called on throwing gravel before, and in similar circumstances, you might want to keep an eye on that as well.

    —Myca

  19. 19
    PG says:

    Manju,

    If that’s how the “dark art” (interesting choice of phrase in this context) is practiced, why can’t you offer an example of Republicans who have said, “I think it could be a plus for our next president to have some understanding of the Muslim world”? With them, it was straight up Muslim = bad. Even when John McCain was being good relative to most of the GOP, he responded to someone’s saying Obama was an Arab not with “Couldn’t it be a good thing if he were, so as to help us work better with the Arab world?” but with “No, ma’am, he’s a decent, family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with.” I mean, I totally did appreciate that McCain recognized Obama’s citizenship, but it would be nice if like Colin Powell he could have acknowledged that being Other is not always bad.

    I’m not going to claim that Clinton’s campaign was devoid of racial dog whistles, and as an Obama partisan I probably wasn’t as sensitive to the sexual dog whistles coming from his side. (When someone said that Obama was being sexist for using the word “periodically” about Clinton’s going off on him, I thought, “Seriously, the word periodically is out of bounds for a woman who’s almost certainly past menopause anyway?”)

    But to say that even the Clinton primary voters and supporters were worse about this on the whole than the Republicans is beyond absurd. Even when Clinton attacked Obama on Ayers, she stuck to the facts of his being on a board with Ayers and felt obligated to say, “And I have no doubt — I know Senator Obama’s a good man and I respect him greatly, but I think that this is an issue that certainly the Republicans will be raising.”

    Sarah Palin felt no need to follow up “Our opponent though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country,” with something like “But I respect Senator Obama even though he is misguided in his friendships.”

    Maybe you see this as all the same game, but I see a significant difference between the woman who feels constrained — even if only by the voters of the Democratic primary and not by her own decency — to declare her respect for and trust in her opponent as a good person, and the woman who knows her rally wants to hear the opponent demonized and will give ‘em what they want.

    The Democratic primary was very intense and even strained some friendships, but I was fine with seeing Clinton become Sec.State. If Obama had nominated Palin for anything, I would have protested in front of the White House. There’s just that big a difference — and again, maybe it’s a difference in the party and not the individual, but Palin clearly can’t rise above those instincts in her party (as at least McCain sometimes can). If two people of similar character act differently based on the party they’re in, then at least I can feel good about voting in the party that forces a little more decency.

  20. 20
    Manju says:

    If that’s how the “dark art” (interesting choice of phrase in this context) is practiced, why can’t you offer an example of Republicans who have said, “I think it could be a plus for our next president to have some understanding of the Muslim world”?

    because the mccain campaign, unlike the clintons, didn’t got there, perhaps because that wad was shot and already p[roven a loser. now, i’m sure you can find right wing bloggers who went there, in which case i present you with one larry johnson, but i’ve by in large tried to keep the evidence at a high level: kerrey (hussein, madrassa), clinton staffers (madrassa), mark penn (foreign), hillary (60 minute’s sly move) maggie williams (drudge pic), steph tibbs johnson (somlia native). and that’s just the Muslim smear. or “smear” as colin powell pointed out.

    what i can give you as evidence is the britney spears ad (phallic symbol, white women, messiah complex=uppity). but i’m not sure i buy that analysis. so maybe i’m the innocent little pumpkin now falling for the plausible denial .

  21. 21
    Manju says:

    Sarah Palin felt no need to follow up “Our opponent though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country,” with something like “But I respect Senator Obama even though he is misguided in his friendships.”

    thats the difference between a primary and a general. you can’t go hard at your opponent in a primary, though hillary did, because you might sink your own party. all general elections have been rough, though the Obama campaign was the first s one in recent memory to largely avoid such tactics.

    plus , i’m sure palin was genuine in her disgust with ayers while clinton was not. for people wired like me, associating with ayers is like a trent lott moment, a tolerance for an oppressive ideology just as bad as the very racism we’re discussing. hillary, however, had similar associations (with various communists) that obama declined to bring up, thought the vrwc was gearing up to use had she won the nom, so i find it hard to believe her disgust was real.

  22. 22
    PG says:

    because the mccain campaign, unlike the clintons, didn’t got there, perhaps because that wad was shot and already p[roven a loser.
    and that’s just the Muslim smear. or “smear” as colin powell pointed out.

    Except the original post refers to “birth certificate/scary black man/socialist” and your own claim of the Democrats’ using racism for votes was their concern about free trade. We’ve now gone away from that to “the Muslim smear,” which you think Clinton perpetuated by saying that to her knowledge, there was no truth to it, and which you think Kerrey perpetuated by stating actual facts (Obama does have personal experience of Muslims) and saying they were a positive, not a negative.

    But let’s look at how the non-blogger, “respectable” right dealt with the Muslim thing, if you feel on safer ground there. You have the Washington Times talking up his verbal slip of referring to himself as having a “Muslim faith”;
    on Fox News, Sean Hannity’s special called “Obama and Friends: The History of Radicalism” featured Andy Martin, who got those rumors rolling in the first place and who told Hannity’s audience that Obama once trained to overthrow the U.S. government;
    a letter from the chair of a Republican women’s group, published in a newspaper, calling Obama “a Muslim socialist” (two-fer!);
    Christian talk radio shows referring to Obama as Muslim.

    Perhaps getting more desperate in the last few weeks of the campaign, McCain ran an ad (“Preconditions”) putting Obama’s face over a map of Muslim countries while playing Middle Eastern music, and also talked up Obama’s friendship with Rashid Khalidi.

    Incidentally, while you believe the smears originated with Clinton partisans, some of them were fed to those folks by Republicans, as with Larry Johnson’s beloved “whitey” tape. Speaking of which, like Dave Weigel I’m almost nostalgic for the days when First Lady Michelle Obama was seen as being more like Angela Davis than like a combination Jackie O and Oprah.

  23. 23
    PG says:

    thats the difference between a primary and a general. you can’t go hard at your opponent in a primary, though hillary did, because you might sink your own party.

    Is this a rule only for Democratic primaries? I distinctly recall a 2000 Republican presidential primary in which John McCain was getting smeared in South Carolina as having an illegitimate black daughter.

    plus , i’m sure palin was genuine in her disgust with ayers while clinton was not. for people wired like me, associating with ayers is like a trent lott moment, a tolerance for an oppressive ideology just as bad as the very racism we’re discussing.

    No one had a problem with Trent Lott for associating with Strom Thurmond. Pretty much everyone in the Senate perforce had to associate with Strom Thurmond. Collegiality and comity and so forth. Even Democrats would say polite things about him as a person.

    The problem was with praising Thurmond’s segregation-forever 1948 presidential platform. If Obama had praised Ayers’s ideology or said, “If only Bill had been more effective in the 1970s, our country would be better today,” I would have supported HRC instead and Obama wouldn’t have had a chance in a single primary. There’s a big difference between working with someone and being polite with them socially, and saying, “They have great ideas, I wish those ideas had succeeded.”

  24. 24
    Manju says:

    Is this a rule only for Democratic primaries? I distinctly recall a 2000 Republican presidential primary in which John McCain was getting smeared in South Carolina as having an illegitimate black daughter.

    allow me to amend the rule. the candidate has to be careful what he or she says. you can smear, bur you have to keep your fingerprints off it, as bush did and Kerry did when “he” smeared dean with an ad similar to the one run against max cl eland.

    but when hillary said obama was unfit to be commander in chief, when she legitimized the Ayers, farrakhan, and wright associations, she gave the repubs ammo…even a democrat thinks this is wrong.

  25. 25
    Manju says:

    No one had a problem with Trent Lott for associating with Strom Thurmond.

    true, but i believe it was later discovered that lott had attended meetings run by some racist group. recently ron paul got caught with such a guilt by association. likewise, the progressive Indian diaspora went ape shit when Obama appointed sonal shah, who had some associations with the Hindu nationalist movement.

    the pont is both sides go nuts when such associations emerge. the whole orcinus blog is dedicating to doing that to the right. daniel pipes does it to muslim organizations. sometimes its mccartyism, other times its legit.

    hillary was unique in doing it to one on her own side while she had associations with similar America hating characters.

  26. 26
    Charles S says:

    because the mccain campaign, unlike the clintons, didn’t got there, perhaps because that wad was shot and already p[roven a loser.

    Perhaps, as a Wall Street Journal columnist wrote last fall it was more because they had an entire Right Wing media establishment to do the job for them. Of course, you also have to ignore the fact that Ayers importance for the McCain campaign was far less that he had been associated with terrorism when Obama was still a child, and that the two of them had once sat on a committee together, and far more that the conservative media had spent the past 7 years constructing an equivalence between terrorist and muslim, and an equivalence between both of those and Al Qaeda, so being able to repeatedly talk about how Obama palled around with terrorists and anti-Americans was not intended to re-fight the political fights of the early seventies, it was intended to link Obama to Al Qaeda. The response of McCain and Palin supporters at both Palin and McCain’s rallies demonstrates that they were effective in their goal (although it is also clear that McCain found his own campaigns techniques and goals revolting, making him a rather sad and tragic figure).

    I actually don’t disagree that various Democrats engage in xenophobic nationalist rhetoric from time to time, although I also agree with Jake Squid that the Democrats engage in hostility towards China and India and Mexico, while the Republicans engage in hostility towards Chinese and Indians and Mexicans.

    I’m also not sure what this has to do with Republicans inability to refrain from grotesque open displays of racism towards Sonia Sotomayor.

  27. Pingback: Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Oh, that wacky GOP racism

  28. 27
    Sailorman says:

    AA is an overtly racial issue. Your position on it is inherently based on what you think about race.

    What do you mean by that?
    Edit; obviously there are racial issues involved in AA, but it seems that many of the positions on AA are derived from the interaction of non-racial issues. So one can believe that blacks as a race have been historically disadvantaged (racial) but believe that the government should not attempt to redress that type of disparity in general (nonracial); or, for a more extreme example, one can believe that government should not attempt to fix disparities at all, and that it is the role of individuals to solve their own problems. Etc.

  29. 28
    PG says:

    Manju,

    You’re trying to conflate association with individuals (Lott with Thurmond; Obama with Ayers) with association with ideological organizations. That dog won’t hunt. It’s entirely reasonable for someone to call me up and question me about my association with the Federalist Society; I would be infuriated if someone called me up and questioned me about my friendship with someone who had a political appointment in the Bush Administration.

    This reflects the basic decency of most Americans in believing that we ought to be able to have acquaintances and associations across the lines of ideology, and that indeed these relationships help keep our politics and civic life from becoming a complete sewer. There is no sensible way to say that Obama’s associating with William Ayers is comparable to Obama’s giving speeches before, submitting to the newsletter of, or otherwise engaging with the Weather Underground. Member of Group X =/= Group X.

    From reasonable Republicans, the worst aspersion they’ve been able to make on Obama is that they believe Ayers as a person is outside the bounds of respectable society; that Ayers basically ought to be blacklisted from being associated with anything better than a McD’s fryer. Charles Krauthammer did this sort “I wouldn’t touch Ayers’s hand!” riff to show his moral superiority to Obama.

    With regard to the Dean-juxtaposed-with-Osama ad from Americans For Jobs & Healthcare, even the people who hammered it acknowledged that AFJH seemed to be more like an anti-Dean organization than a particularly pro-Kerry one; if anything, the donors to AFJH had more overlap with labor unions and donations to Gephardt than with Kerry. And evidently the ad wasn’t seen as beyond the pale among Democrats, as AFJH’s spokesman — i.e., someone directly part of the organization instead of vaguely overlapping with it — is now the White House Press Secretary.

    SM,

    I mean that your preference re: AA is shaped by what you think of race. If you think the Constitution commands “race-blindness,” for example, you think AA is unconstitutional when practiced by the state. If you think the Constitution instead is anti-subordination with regard to race, then AA is permissible. If you share Clarence Thomas’s view that people who are already inclined to be racist will simply take the existence of AA as proof that every black person they meet is unqualified, then AA actually harms black people. I can’t think of how someone could analyze affirmative action without thinking about race. It’s embedded in the subject.

    In contrast, race is not embedded in the subject of free trade and globalization. As I’ve pointed out with regard to Manju’s apparent belief that Democrats are okey-dokey with jobs leaving America so long as the jobs go to white people in other countries, that’s ridiculous. Most of the European Union is composed of people belonging to what’s usually considered the White race, yet they have lots of fighting and resentment about the movement of goods and labor even among their white population. You don’t have to think about race in order to evaluate whether free trade is a good or bad thing.

  30. 29
    Sailorman says:

    PG,

    Thinking that “the Constitution demands that we be blind to race” seems to be a legal issue, insofar as a Martian with nothing but the Constitution to go on could develop an opinion on that subject.

    OTOH, doing the balancing act between “blind to race” as a goal and “fix problems” as a competing goal obviously requires analysis of race. As a practical matter AA is always linked to race, but as a theoretical issue it does not need to be linked.

    I agree that issues like free trade, globalization, immigration, etc are delinked to a much greater extent, though (like almost every other issue) they certainly CAN be linked to race in some instanced.

  31. 30
    PG says:

    “Thinking that ‘the Constitution demands that we be blind to race’ seems to be a legal issue, insofar as a Martian with nothing but the Constitution to go on could develop an opinion on that subject.”

    Given that people think the Constitution’s command of color-blindness is in the 14th Amendment, and the 14th Amendment doesn’t actually mention race, it would require a pretty imaginative Martian to come up with an opinion on affirmative action based solely on that.

    “As a practical matter AA is always linked to race, but as a theoretical issue it does not need to be linked.”

    I don’t follow how AA theoretically doesn’t need to be linked to race.

  32. 31
    Sailorman says:

    Bob has a generally applicable belief about whether certain processes are acceptable or not. Bob’s general belief, as applied to AA, results in Bob having a belief about whether or not AA should exist. Bob’s general belief was formed prior to and independently of Bob’s analysis of AA.

    So: does the mere fact that AA is a race-based program mean that Bob must have considered race when reaching a conclusion on AA? I don’t think it does, and here’s why:

    Obviously AA is a complex entity. As an incomplete list of characteristics, AA is

    A program, administered by the government,
    which selects certain people to benefit,
    based on inherited characteristics,
    which inherited characteristics are racial in nature;
    the program is justified because of past or current wrongdoing,
    which wrongdoing was committed by people now alive, or their ancestors or other people of their race or country or background;
    against people now alive, or their ancestors or other people of their race or country or background;
    in administering the program, the benefited people are not assessed for individual eligibility or need;
    in administering the program, the nonbenefited people are not assessed for individual wrongdoing or means;
    etc.

    As it happens, I don’t oppose AA. But one could easily oppose AA based on a moral opposition to any one of the characteristics above, by no means all of which require racial analysis.

    One might oppose any government intervention, or the existence of any government at all.
    One might oppose any program which gives or withholds benefits based on any inherited characteristic of any kind.
    One might oppose any government program which doesn’t do individualized assessment before giving benefits.
    One might feel that people should not be liable for the acts of others.
    One might be more concerned with certain types of error; one might believe it is a greater moral fault to give to the undeserving than to withhold from the deserving; or to penalize the faultless than to let the guilty go free.

    And so on.

    Again, as I said, practically speaking AA is tied to race. And i also agree that a complete discussion of all characteristics of AA would by default include a discussion of race. But as a philosophical issue I don’t think it needs to be that way, because it is certainly possible to adopt a position on an issue based on a single characteristic.

  33. 32
    PG says:

    Sailorman,

    All praise to hypothetical Bob. Now, who is this person in real life who applies a general belief to everything without consideration for the specific? And does this person ever hold political office or make policy decisions?

    Take the Republicans’ statement that torture is justified because the president should be doing whatever is necessary to gain information, protect the American people, and win the war on terror. That’s their general belief. Then ask them if that means the president should disregard the DADT law that requires the discharge of any member of the military who is known to be gay, even if it’s someone who has Arabic translation skills that will help us gain informatin, protect the American people and win the war on terror. Suddenly the specific matters.

    Moreover, people who disapprove of something based on a general principle will say, “But if we’re going to have that thing of which I disapprove, then I will look at the specific to determine whether it’s good or bad.” For example, many libertarians who disapprove of government-recognized marriage nonetheless support SSM because their belief is that until they can get rid of legal marriage, it should not be based on the sex of the partners. We have government. We have government interventions. The anarchists or libertarians are trying to change those preconditions, but in the meantime, what position will they take on what government does?

  34. 33
    Sailorman says:

    PG,

    When I have already said (twice!) that this was a philosophical discussion, your “where is Bob?” comment suggests you’re ignoring part of my post.

    If you don’t want to have that discussion, fine by me, but you can’t blame me for talking about theory when I have been making that explicitly clear the whole time.

    And as for the “apply to EVERYTHING” issue–not only isn’t that what I suggested (I said ‘theory’ and you responded ‘reality, and 100% consistent reality at that’) but it is a little extreme. I, like most people, tend to apply general rules to things that I am not so engaged in or knowledgeable about, and sometimes use more specific rules for things which I am more engaged in or knowledgeable about. It is true that when I am discussing a subject I know about, I still prefer not to have a different rule for each scenario; I’ve gotten into plenty of consistency discussions here on Alas for that very issue. but liek almost everyone who is human, i never reach 100% on pretty much anything, which makes me thing that you’re deliberately setting up a straw man here.

  35. 34
    PG says:

    SM,

    I thought you were responding to my statement, “AA is an overtly racial issue. Your position on it is inherently based on what you think about race.” When I’m talking about “you,” I am referring to human beings living on this planet. If your argument relies upon wholly hypothetical beings not in existence, then it’s not responsive to what I was talking about.

    I, like most people, tend to apply general rules to things that I am not so engaged in or knowledgeable about

    I think it’s irresponsible to engage in political advocacy regarding, or even just vote upon, things “that I am not so engaged in or knowledgeable about.” There are lots of things I don’t know much about — whether schools should do block scheduled semesters or have classes run through the year. I have personal experience in both, and an opinion on how I found each, but I’ve never looked at data on how kids in each system do on the AP exams, for example. I therefore don’t have a position on the question. There are loads and loads of Issues of the Day on which I don’t have a position because I’m too ignorant to have one: should we be running the Hadron Collider lest it destroy the world? should menopausal women take estrogen? should Mayor Bloomberg be allowed to run for another term? I could try to apply a general rule for any of those, but I think that most controversies require actual thought specific to the controversy.

  36. 35
    Sailorman says:

    PG Writes:
    May 29th, 2009 at 10:26 am

    SM,

    I thought you were responding to my statement, “AA is an overtly racial issue. Your position on it is inherently based on what you think about race.” When I’m talking about “you,” I am referring to human beings living on this planet. If your argument relies upon wholly hypothetical beings not in existence, then it’s not responsive to what I was talking about.

    C’mon, PG, is it too much to ask for an “oops, you’re right?”

    I mean hell, I was responding to YOUR POST in which you recognized my distinction between theory and practice, and said in reply

    I don’t follow how AA theoretically doesn’t need to be linked to race.

    I then posted theory (again) and explicitly made it clear I was doing so (again.) You were part of the conversation and I engaged with you in good faith. So why are you now claiming you had no idea what I was talking about?

  37. 36
    PG says:

    I didn’t say, “oops, you’re right,” because I wasn’t sharing your concept of theory. You seem to think that “theoretically” means “without relationship to any actual human being’s thought process.” I thought you meant “theoretically” in opposition to “practically,” i.e. thinking about affirmative action as a theoretical matter and not how it is practically applied. I can support affirmative action in theory or in principle, and be unhappy with practical applications that leave people confused about how they are being measured (as in the New Haven firefighters case). Or to put it another way, I was thinking of “theoretically” as being like “facial challenges” to laws in contrast to “as-applied challenges.”

  38. 37
    hall monitor says:

    Check out http://detentionslip.org for an AWESOME video trying to end segregated proms! (Yes, they still exist)