Grudging Acceptance of a Black Planet

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Over the weekend the Politico's Ben Smith uncovered some evidence that people who don't like blacks—full-blown, get-off-my-lawn racists—might just vote for Obama anyway. Post-Wall Street crisis, polling shows some overlap between people who express overt racism and people who'll vote for the black guy anyway.

"I wouldn't want a mixed marriage for my daughter, but I'm voting for Obama," the wife of a retired Virginia coal miner, Sharon Fleming, told the Los Angeles Times recently.

One Obama volunteer told Politico after canvassing the working-class white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, "I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are … undecided. They would call him a [racial epithet] and mention how they don't know what to do because of the economy."

When there is overt anti-Obama racism, it blows straight onto the front pages. But there simply can't be that many racists ruling the guy out completely if he's fighting for West Virginia, the state where he lost every single county to Hillary Clinton. (He's polling at 43 percent, which is as much as the very white John Kerry got in 2004.)

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  1. Best. Headline. Ever.

    I think the thing is that between McCain’s hoteheadedness, and Palin’s incompetency on anything not having to do with social issues and Alaska, have scared a lot of people into at least giving Obama a fair hearing. Let’s see how this plays out on Election Day 2 weeks from now.

  2. I read the link to Obama’s visit to Fayetteville,NC.Where is the overt racism?
    There appeared to be some religious bigotry but that old lady would have probably yelled “socialist” at Hillary Clinton.Many of those people profoundly disagree with Obama’s political ideology.Not to say some of them aren’t racist but it was not on overt display.

  3. Anyone who thinks that the race card will no longer be played if obama wins is nuts. If he wins, the story will then become how any and every failure of his administration was due to racism. If the 2010 elections go badly for the Democrats, the storyline will be how people in this country just won’t accept that there is a black President and punished the Democrats for it. Imagine for a moment that the first two years of an Obama administration is a repeat of the the first two years of the Clinton administration and it ends with Republicans running ads with Democratic congressman morphing into Obama just like the ads they ran in 1994. Then the Republicans win big. Instead of the year of the “angy white male” like 1994, 2010 will be the year in which racism reasserted itself once agian in American politics.

    Politics never ends. It just goes on and on.

  4. One Obama volunteer told Politico after canvassing the working-class white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, “I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are ? undecided.

    But that is not in the South! How could this possibly be true? Or was that Philadelphia in Arkansas or something?

  5. John,

    Imagine for a moment that the first two years of an Obama administration is a repeat of the the first two years of the Clinton administration and it ends with Republicans running ads with Democratic congressman morphing into Obama just like the ads they ran in 1994.

    Aren’t you forgetting that Sen. Obama will only be the second Black president? Your example is of the first Black president.

  6. Guy, when John Murtha acknowledges that there is a lot of racism in his own Congressional district, it’s probably time to drop the shtick about stories about racism outside the south being unusual.

    We’ve been talking about racism in Pennsylvania playing a role in this campaign for, what? A year now?

  7. Todd,

    I disagree that McCain’s temperament or Palin’s competence is at issue.The economy is.
    As much as some people loathe “socialism” they would rather there be work on some government stimulus/relief boondoggle than be unemployed.
    Obama is benefiting politically from insecurity.

  8. Yes, John, the politics of personal destruction via insinuation that Republicans use to win elections come across as racist to a lot of people when they target a black man.

    Hold on a minute, let me get out my little, tiny violin.

  9. There are rassis people who think a Black Obama presidency will be the ultimate in hillarity. But who axed em anyway?

    The economy? Obama’s economic advisor, Sean Penn, is visiting Hugo Chavez right now. My opinion of racists has just been blown away.

    http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/news/wire/sns-ap-lt-venezuela-people-sean-penn,0,4156761.story

  10. “Yes, John, the politics of personal destruction via insinuation that Republicans use to win elections come across as racist to a lot of people when they target a black man.”

    Yes Joe, 1994 was all about personal destruction. Not an unpopular President and a corrupt Congress. It was all about personal destruction.

    Thanks for confirming exactly what I am saying. Previously any criticism of a Democrat is just the “politics of personal destruction.” With Obama you get the added bonus of it being racist to. We know the rules Joe, anyone who criticizes Obama is a racist and if he wins the election that will mean anyone who criticizes his administration and by extension the government is a racist.

  11. On second thought, it’s wrong for me to judge all racists based on a negative experience with just a few. I apologize sincerely.

  12. If he wins, the story will then become how any and every failure of his administration was due to racism.

    No. No it won’t. This is an idiotic statement.

    If the 2010 elections go badly for the Democrats, the storyline will be how people in this country just won’t accept that there is a black President and punished the Democrats for it.

    Nope. It will be about the DNC failing to perform.

  13. I’m seeing commercials for both Obama and McCain in New York city this year.

    We NEVER get to see commercials for presidential candidates, since it’s a forgone conclusion that the Democrat will win the city, if not the whole state.

    I can understand Obama, from what I read he’s brought in so much money he’s thinking of paying for the bailout with what’s left over, but McCain?

    Is New York in play and no one’s told us about it?

  14. I’m curious what an Obama volunteer working in Philly’s Fishtown neighborhood considers to be “overt racism.”

  15. I don’t see a lot of people who criticize Obama being characterized as racist.

    I think the deal might be that if you have a stupid criticism of him, instead of people just assuming you’re stupid (which is what they would do in any other scenerio), they might just give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re racist (“you” here meaning the general “you,” not specific “you”).

  16. “Nope. It will be about the DNC failing to perform.”

    Why wasn’t that the story in 94? The story was that 1994 was the year of the “Angry White Male”. Tom Brokow said on election night that “voters had thrown a temper tantrum.” If it wasn’t the story in 1994, why would it be the story in 2010? Do honestly think if that ever happened Joe would get on here and say, “yeah we fucked up”? No, he would get on here and post exactly what he said above and throw in the racism angle to boot. Joe is not a crazy. He is pretty much going to give you the party line on things.

  17. Yes Joe, 1994 was all about personal destruction. Not an unpopular President and a corrupt Congress. It was all about personal destruction

    1994? What does the year 1994 have to do with anything?

    Like you, I was talking about the political campaigns the Republicans ran in 1994 – and 1988, and 1992, and 1996, and 2000, and 2004 – not the underlying political environment.

    See, the hint was in the beginning of my sentence: the politics of personal destruction via insinuation that Republicans use to win elections… Like, oh, I don’t know – morphing people’s faces into other, unpopular people, or accusing them of personal involvement in criminal activity, or of palling around with terrorists, or of hating America.

    Surely, not even you have been able to avoid noticing that Republican candidates use tactics like that.

  18. Is New York in play and no one’s told us about it?

    I’ve seen a ton of Obama commercials but not a single McCain commercial. Where are they?

  19. John wants the Republicans to be able to launch attacks about the (real or imagined) personal characteristics of their opponents, without people thinking they’re launching attacks on the (real or imagined) personal characteristics of their opponents.

    Boo fuckity hoo. Why don’t they try going for that “party of ideas” thing? Oh, right, “If we talk about the economy, we’ll lose the election.”

  20. Is New York in play and no one’s told us about it?

    They tell us that Iowa is going for Obama, but McCain keeps advertising and showing up.

    Either McCain knows something the pundits don’t, or he’s a complete idiot.

  21. Where do I vote for Mr. Obama to run for Miss Fleming instead of the White House?

  22. joe have you met John before? You two share so much in common.

  23. I think racism has been a factor in the campaign cycle, but I don’t think there’s been a lot of real racism in the criticism of Obama launched by other campaigns.

    I think that instead there’s a general acknowledgement that there are a lot of racist voters, and both the Clinton and McCain campaigns have occupied themselves with trying to find non-racist ways to appeal to those racist voters. Indirectly, as it were.

    To be fair, there’s been some “aspirational racism” on the part of minority voters, too. John Edwards campaigned to the left of Obama, but did not pick up a lot of support among constituencies that are traditionally the most left-wing in the Democrat Party. This was because there were voters who preferred a black semiliberal to a white flaming liberal. Again, Obama did not craft any specifically racist appeal to these voters; he didn’t have to, really. He just had to show up.

  24. Wait a second, the story in 1994 wasn’t about dissatisfaction with the Democrats?

    Really?

    How exactly does “the voters are angry at the Democrats” not reflect dissatisfaction with the performance of the Democrats?

    Get off the cross, John.

  25. Guy in the back row: I much agree. I’ve seen more ads in the past month for president than I’ve literally had in my life. The most we see is (interestingly enough) New Jersey statewide elections for governor and senator.

    SIV: I agree with that. Obama’s best job in the past month or so has been doing *something*…something that the American people want, and McPalin has had a heck of a time doing.

  26. They tell us that Iowa is going for Obama, but McCain keeps advertising and showing up.

    Either McCain knows something the pundits don’t, or he’s a complete idiot.

    The guy’s gotta campaign somewhere.

  27. Guy in the back row,

    Maybe you’re seeing national media buys.

  28. John,
    It’s hard for me to feel bad for a party being racist, when they spent the last 7 years calling their opponents unpatriotic and terrorist sympathizers.

    SIV,
    I’m guessing the racist part of the NC article are the people that think he’s a closet Muslim.

    Abdul,
    According to Sean Quinn, stuff like this:

    So a canvasser goes to a woman’s door in Washington, Pennsylvania. Knocks. Woman answers. Knocker asks who she’s planning to vote for. She isn’t sure, has to ask her husband who she’s voting for. Husband is off in another room watching some game. Canvasser hears him yell back, “We’re votin’ for the n***er!”

    Woman turns back to canvasser, and says brightly and matter of factly: “We’re voting for the n***er.”

    I don’t know what disturbed me more about the story, the racism or the fact that the woman is voting for whomever her husband tells her to.

  29. it’s probably time to drop the shtick about stories about racism outside the south being unusual.

    People moved to the suburbs to get away from their darker skinned city neighbors, so everyone who moved to the suburbs is/was a racist.

    Since their children never interacted with minorities (except the few minorities who could afford to live in the suburbs) their children are anti-racists, but deathly afraid of dark skinned people and deathly afraid of showing that fear.

  30. I’m sorry I said “run” at 10:51 am.

  31. assist, dammit!

  32. Maybe you’re seeing national media buys.

    Could be, McCain is on during the 7pm Simpson’s rerun on Fox5, while I noticed Obama Sunday morning during a local news broadcast, but it might have been at the end when it went to national news.

  33. Elephant,

    Here’s the thing: people didn’t have to move to the suburbs for the purpose of getting away from black-skinned neighbors for that effect to happen.

    The cities really were going down the tubes in the late 50s through the 80s really were going down the tubes. That it was “white flight” rather than just “flight” is at least as much a consequence of the flight-limiting poverty of the cities’ black residents than the racial motivations of the white-flighters.

  34. So, is this the Rays-win-the-pennant thread?

  35. whoops

    sorry!

  36. John | October 20, 2008, 10:48am | #
    “Nope. It will be about the DNC failing to perform.”

    Why wasn’t that the story in 94? The story was that 1994 was the year of the “Angry White Male”. Tom Brokow said on election night that “voters had thrown a temper tantrum.”

    How is this relevant?
    The “Angry White Male” is a description of the voting block that was angry at the performance of the Democratic Congress.

    If you are saying that the media will continue to use race when describing voting blocks, you are correct. If you are saying that racism will be blamed for lack of support for Obama you need to put down the crack pipe.

  37. By the way, since this is the racism thread. What every happened to the supposed Asian American and Latino racism that was going do Obama in? He’s doing just as well in those demographics if not better than Kerry and Gore.

  38. “I don’t see a lot of people who criticize Obama being characterized as racist.”

    What you see is attacks being labled as racist. Hell, slate argued that linking Obama to two white guys with ties to Freddie and Fannie was a racist attack. Things get very rough with a President. It is a great American tradition to go after the President. Good luck contintueing that tradition. If nothing else it will be funny watching leftists who spent the last 8 years calling Bush Hitler now saying that “Obama is the President, you have to respect the office.”

  39. For Senate I am voting for Daniel Towers Lewis, unless there is some compelling evidence for me not to.

    If there is I hope I find it soon, because I am filling out the ballot now.

  40. Wait, I am beginning to see.
    John is talking about the outliers and thinks he is talking about the general trend.

    Idiots will always be with us, but the margins are the margins. It is silly to point to them as if they are the middle.

  41. I guess further proof isn’t necssaary that this country is full of ignorant racists. I guess it served it well when it prospered by slaughtering brown people and oppressing black people, but now that we actually have to live peaceably with “those types” its driving the whites crazy.

  42. “John,
    It’s hard for me to feel bad for a party being racist, when they spent the last 7 years calling their opponents unpatriotic and terrorist sympathizers.”

    Democrats have spent the last 8 years accusing everyone who agreed with Bush of being Nazis. If they take control of the government expect them to accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being dangerous subversives. My advice to you is that if you happened to run into a Democratic politician in the next few years, is to keep your eyes down and don’t ask any unecessary questions that might make him uncomfortable.

  43. I’ve seen a ton of Obama commercials but not a single McCain commercial. Where are they?

    seen nary a captain foreverwar clip here neither.

  44. If the 2010 elections go badly for the Democrats, the storyline will be how people in this country just won’t accept that there is a black President and punished the Democrats for it.

    Nope. It will be about the DNC failing to perform.

    I do think the race card will be played aggressively by the Dems as a defensive measure in the Obama administration. They’ve already started during the campaign; why would they stop?

    If the Repubs start posting gains in 2010, I don’t think it will be because the Dems fail to perform; quite the opposite – it will be because they are performing by doing what they said they would do, starting with card check and continuing right down the line with tax increases, spending increases, a tranzi foreign policy, and the like.

  45. Really, there should be one. I bet if a California team were in the Series there would be. Besides, the Rays are libertarians. The Sox (and the Yankees) are statists. Work with me people!

  46. right John because Bush supporters weren’t Nazis they were just patriotic Americans doing their duty to their country, right?

  47. One would think the savvy racist would have no problem voting for Obama. At best, the next four years will be a 70’s style recession. At worst, a depression. The next President is going to rank as one of the most unpopular in the history of the nation. If I hate black people, why wouldn’t I want the black guy to take the hit for the coming clusterfuck. Fits in to my general ideology and will work wonders for my recruitment efforts. Of course, all this assumes a racist sharp enough to think all this through, and there just might not be so many of them around.

  48. So it turns out that if they point out actual racism then they are playing the “race card”?

  49. “Wait, I am beginning to see.
    John is talking about the outliers and thinks he is talking about the general trend.”

    The MSM is increasingly becoming the outliers. Most people don’t listen to them. But in publications like Slate and on the OPEd pages of the major newspapers, racism will have a lot to do with any failure of an Obama administration.

  50. What you see is attacks being labled as racist.

    John – I don’t see much of this either. I watch some television “journalism,” read a lot of news from papers, online-versions of papers, blogs, etc., and listen to the radio. This sounds to me like something you’d consume on conservative talk radio or FoxNews. So check it out – those with a partisan Republican agenda get their troops riled by telling them that their completely fair criticisms of Obama (whatever examples of those may be) are being characterized by Rosie O’Donnel as racist… does that sound about right?

  51. thats right the next four yhears will be a recession because of Obama’s socialisty socialism! And people will hate him! They won’t hate the country-fried white trash that preceded him and caused this mess with his special interest deregulation and his war for oil, and his screw the poor tax policy, they’ll hate him for being a socialist!

  52. Would I be out of order for suggesting that everyone wait until 2010 to hate joe for what he says about the 2010 elections? You are on record as having called it.

    I can see your point if you expect either you or joe to not be on Hit & Run in 2010, so you need to get your invective in now, but there will be plenty of reasons to hate joe during this election season. I am sure that there will be a liberal around wherever you are posting in 2010.

    I would hate to see someone use up material in this season and be unable to contribute in years ahead.

  53. If Obama loses does anyone here doubt that people would blame it on racism? I sure don’t. Given that fact, why would they also not blame a failure to re-elect him on racism? Why would they not blame a failure to retain Congress and low approval ratings on racism?

  54. “There will be aliberal around when you are posting in 2010” if no one else i’ll be here.

  55. @John-have you ever stopped to consider that if obama loses it might actually be because of racism?

  56. FDS,
    Actually, if you want to be popular, this is exactly the situation you want to walk into. It’s hard to fuck it up more and in 4 years, President Obama will be able to say, “We’re better off than we were 4 years ago.” 4 years is a long time and the economy should be on the upswing by then.

    Democrats have spent the last 8 years accusing everyone who agreed with Bush of being Nazis.

    John,
    You know Kos-kids and idiot protesters with puppets don’t count. I was talking about actual politicians and political leaders that were calling dissent with the White House unpatriotic and people un-American (see: Michell Bachmann, R-MN) for disagreeing with OIF, the PATRIOT Act, what we did in Gitmo and torture. Find me a quote by a single elected official at a level higher than state senator calling Bush supporters Nazis. People like Ward Churchill don’t count because there are douchebags in all political parties and all groups of people.

  57. The MSM is increasingly becoming the outliers. Most people don’t listen to them. But in publications like Slate and on the OPEd pages of the major newspapers, racism will have a lot to do with any failure of an Obama administration.

    Wait. The mainstream media is not mainstream?
    What was the definition of mainstream again?

    If Obama loses does anyone here doubt that people would blame it on racism?

    Some people will. I don’t think that will be the consensus.

    Why would they not blame a failure to retain Congress and low approval ratings on racism?

    Because the Democratic Congress will be mostly white men?

    Reinmoose,
    Exactly, a dead-on analysis.

  58. If Obama loses does anyone here doubt that people would blame it on racism?

    Some maybe, especially the news-writer classes. I would blame it on Socialism to an unacceptable extreme for the majority, i.e., McCain being slightly less Socialistic than Obama.

  59. why would they also not blame a failure to re-elect him on racism?

    So you’re saying that some people will only notice his skin color after they’ve voted for him once?

  60. The next President is going to rank as one of the most unpopular in the history of the nation.

    If you just went by actual performance, FDR should have been one of the most unpopular Presidents ever.

    The economy languished year after year, and internationally fascism swept over most of continental Europe.

    That’s one of the real problems with the W Presidency. It has been so horrible that the next guy gets a free pass. As long as he looks busy the average voter will blame W for any ongoing problems we have.

    The real time to try to react against Obama is 6 years from now. Forget 2 years or 4 years. We need to spend 6 years hitting the meme that W was a statist every day in every way we can. As long as W is perceived as having been the apex of laissez-faire thinking we’re fucked. The first task we have to accomplish is to set the record straight on W’s statism. Until we do that digging out is going to be real difficult.

  61. Capitalism good, socialism bad! Capitalism good, socialism bad! That’s pretty much all one would have to program a robot to say to have it effectively impersonate a libertarian.
    Though you might also want to include-
    Big business good, big government bad
    starvation wages good, minimum wage bad!

  62. And it’s far more interesting and relevant than this stupid, stupid election, between a not-ready-for-prime-time player and a guy who has been in politics too friggin’ long.

    Since we’re doomed to expanded government, more socialism, and more stupidity, I figure we might as well embrace ghafla and entertain ourselves into oblivion.

  63. “So you’re saying that some people will only notice his skin color after they’ve voted for him once?”

    they rose above their racism once but can’t do it anymore. Any electoral defeat for Obama will be viewed as a return to the dark old days of racism and end of a short lived golden age of racial harmony.

  64. So, is Fox News Channel mainstream media?

    Is Glenn Beck mainstream media?

    Is NPR mainstream media?

    Rush Limbaugh?

  65. Funny they didn’t edit out “your pooler” from that article.

    “Fanning told your pooler…”

  66. “They would call him a [racial epithet] and mention how they don’t know what to do because of the economy.”

    Which is ironic because Obama will not (and can not) do anything to make the economy any better than McCain – or a pet rock – could do with his butt parked in the oval office.

  67. “And it’s far more interesting and relevant than this stupid, stupid election, between a not-ready-for-prime-time player and a guy who has been in politics too friggin’ long.”

    I have come to the conclusion that we would be better off if we didn’t have elections but rather picked our leaders by lottery among registered voters. Each Congressional district picks one person at random to serve a single once in a life time two year term in the house. Let the state legislatures picked the Senate like they did in the old days and then go ahead and elect the President.

    Really could we do any worse? I think a collection of 435 people picked at random with no ties to government and no concern over re-election would probably rise to the ocasion and do a great job. Yeah, there would be some nuts and some crooks, but so what? What will one of them cruise for sex with underage pages? Will one of them live with a gay pimp or let his gay lover steal millions from Freddie and Fannie? Will one of them go to jail for selling earmarks to lobbiests? If so that would be so much worse than what we have now. Nothing short of an absolute destruction of the political culture is going to fix this.

  68. That’s right John you can adequately predict what we on the left will say in four years. Omigod Nostradamus is back!

  69. I don’t support “banning” anyone here and I thought filtering was ridiculous but someone is starting to change my mind.

    Neu

    If Obama loses does anyone here doubt that people would blame it on racism?

    Some people will. I don’t think that will be the consensus.

    Testing this hypothesis is about reason number 3 to root for McCain.

  70. Thats right SIV what I think pisses you off so I should be banned. So much for the libertarian devotion to free speech.

  71. Hell, slate argued that linking Obama to two white guys with ties to Freddie and Fannie was a racist attack.

    Howell Raines is white? You sure about that, John?

    Because in the pictures of hime they showed over and over in that ad, he looked pretty black.

    I’ll take your word for it that the other Fannie Mae guy was white. I don’t recall seeing him in that ad, so I can’t say for sure.

  72. So a canvasser goes to a woman’s door in Washington, Pennsylvania. Knocks. Woman answers. Knocker asks who she’s planning to vote for. She isn’t sure, has to ask her husband who she’s voting for. Husband is off in another room watching some game. Canvasser hears him yell back, “We’re votin’ for the n***er!”

    Woman turns back to canvasser, and says brightly and matter of factly: “We’re voting for the n***er.”

    I don’t know what disturbed me more about the story, the racism or the fact that the woman is voting for whomever her husband tells her to.

    I don’t know what makes me laugh harder:

    1. The couple’s casual use of the word “ni**er”.

    2. Their willingness to vote for the “ni**er” if they are truly racist and not just backward assholes with a limited vocabulary.

    3. Their misidentification of a “muslin” ayyyy-rab as a “ni**er” without the appropriate modifier “sand” being used.

    /snark

  73. Granted there has been some gentrification, but Fishtown used to make living in a single-wide trailer park in Apalachia look inviting. My friend rented out a building there to throw a party about 10 years ago and felt it was prudent to sneak his black friends into the building to avoid any problems with townies.

  74. Don’t blame me, I voted for Bob Barr and Daniel Towers Lewis.

    Now, I truly hope that the Tennessee Democrat Party does not have my vote cancelled due to military service.

  75. Observer: I know this goes against policy, but you look so hungry that my long-dead altruistic tendencies from childhood just kicked in.

    Here is a biscuit.

  76. they rose above their racism once but can’t do it anymore. Any electoral defeat for Obama will be viewed as a return to the dark old days of racism and end of a short lived golden age of racial harmony.

    So you’re assuming his opponent will be white?

  77. I have come to the conclusion that we would be better off if we didn’t have elections but rather picked our leaders by lottery among registered voters.

    And oddly enough, John came to this conclusion shortly before a Democratic landslide.

  78. bigbigslacker | October 20, 2008, 10:39am | #

    The economy? Obama’s economic advisor, Sean Penn, is visiting Hugo Chavez right now. My opinion of racists has just been blown away.

    Proof that even Sean Penn can’t escape
    Typecasting

  79. No Joe, I have thought that about the House for a very long time. If there is one great service Obama could do for the country, it would be to fail miserably and help end the cult of the politician. Both sides have this idea that there are these annointed leaders who are going to come and solve all of the world’s problems. The truth any person of reasonable intelligence and decent values and a dose of humility ought to be able to be serve effectively in government. In fact, the values are what matters more than anything else. With a few notable exceptions like Joe Biden, most poeple in government on both sides are very smart, yet they fail miserably. Why? Because they are corrupt and have no humility. Our system seems to have created an entire class of people like that.

  80. Which is ironic because Obama will not (and can not) do anything to make the economy any better than McCain – or a pet rock – could do with his butt parked in the oval office.

    I wish we had a pet rock as a candidate. It would get my vote.

    I also support the idea of randomly selecting the people in charge.

  81. If there is one great service Obama could do for the country, it would be to fail miserably and help end the cult of the politician

    Bush failed miserably, and it didn’t do anything to end the cult of the politician on either side of the aisle.

    Maybe if enough failures pile up back-to-back it might have a cumulative effect on the perception, but I doubt the country can survive all that.

  82. Another idea that I used to think was impossible but today with a 12% approval rating for Congress might just be possible, would be to have an off year election dedicated totally to removing incombants. Everyone signs a petition agreeing to vote for the challenger in their local Congressional elections regardless of party. The idea being that the entire House and 1/3 of the Senate would be replaced in one election. In addition, since the parties would be reversed, all of the Dems would be representing big republican districts and all of the Republicans would be representing big Dem districts. That would make both sides actually have to be reasonable. No one would be in a safe district anymore. You would also get all kinds of kooky outlier candidates who ran in formerly uncompetetitve districts that would make things interesting. The main feature of course would be 100s of politician’s careers would end.

  83. If there is one great service Obama could do for the country, it would be to fail miserably and help end the cult of the politician

    as much as i like this idea, and lord knows i do like it, if nixon couldn’t kill it…if w. couldn’t kill it…obama isn’t going to kill it. a good chunk of the electorate is in a “just need someone from the other team” mindset, and naught will change that.

  84. “Maybe if enough failures pile up back-to-back it might have a cumulative effect on the perception, but I doubt the country can survive all that.”

    The country can survive fine. The country is great because of the people in it not the people who allegedly run it.

  85. But that is not in the South!

    You’ll never find bigger racists than the pollacks and dagos who spent their lives in a steel mill in some horrible rust belt steeltown.

  86. Of course no one is going to call criticism of Obama racism. I mean, no one called criticism of Hilary sexism, right?

    It will be done, some of it will be valid, most of it will not be. But to say it won’t be done is ridiculous.

  87. if nixon couldn’t kill it…

    Nixon never had a cult of personality like this. The only one who ever did was Kennedy and he was killed before he had a chance to fuck it up.

  88. The country is great

    Put away the pom-poms, John, this isn’t about how nifty you think America is, it’s about things like massive overspending and increasing the size and power of government, as well as the wasteful and inept use of that power.

  89. With a few notable exceptions like Joe Biden, most poeple in government on both sides are very smart…

    I take it all back, then. This isn’t another eruption of your partisan hackery at all.

  90. The only one who ever did was Kennedy and he was killed before he had a chance to fuck it up.

    Bush had one hell of a cult of personality. People were saying that God wanted W to be president? Hard-ons for him in the flight suit, etc.

  91. Didn’t National Review sell bronze busts of George W. Bush in 2003?

  92. Cults of personality–

    *George Washington
    *Andrew Jackson
    *Abraham Lincoln
    *TR
    *FDR
    *Kennedy
    *Reagan
    *Bush II (pre-2005)

    We seemed to survive all of them.

  93. Didn’t National Review sell bronze busts of George W. Bush in 2003?

    NR just pimped them. He’s in his flight suit no less. Just $2,995.

  94. Just what in the hell does this sentence mean?

    “But there simply can’t be that many racists ruling the guy out completely if he’s fighting for West Virginia, the state where he lost every single county to Hillary Clinton.”

    Who–besides the Blue State media–decided that West Virginia went for Clinton over Obama due to racism? If the preponderance had been in Obama’s favor then you would no doubt have said that the state’s political climate was decicedly sexist.

    Such a remark is as much bigotry as that Obama is encountering, but he isn’t finding it in West Virginia. He’s only been here once and he is gaining on McCain. Why is it that when a Blue State goes for Obama it’s because of a population of enlightened people, but if a Red State (especially an Appalachian one) shifts in his direction (without one iota of effort put out on his part) then it’s only because a bad economy or some such forces racists to look past their prejudices?

    Face it, Blue Staters hate West Virginia because it is largely provincial and has a large pocket of rural poverty. This prejudice is no different than the charges of racism that you are inaccurately hurling at West Virginia. You could find the same negative remarks about Obama in California or New York that the media took from West Virginia if you sampled the same demographic group. Ah, but Blue States don’t get that double standard, do they? They are represented by Ivy League educated members of the upper class, while places like West Virginia are represented by their impoverished village idiots.

    It’s time for the Blue States to actually become the enlightened liberals that you pretend and posture to be, rather than exercise this constant bigotry, which you hurl at provincial people, then excuse away by assigning racism and bigotry that has no basis.

  95. Imagine for a moment that the first two years of an Obama administration is a repeat of the the first two years of the Clinton administration… Then the Republicans win big.

    If it features the same level of anti-gun legislation your prediction may be accurate, but your reason won’t be.

    Yes, John, the politics of personal destruction via insinuation that Republicans use to win elections come across as racist to a lot of people when they target a black man.

    But not when they target a white man? Isn’t that racist, joe?

    Big business good, big government bad, starvation wages good, minimum wage bad!

    Reminds me of a (self-labeled) socialist speaker back in the day. He gave this talk on how if all the capitalist countries went socialist we would have fair distribution of goods and everyone would be equally rich. Then some college freshman ruined his whole day by asking why it was the capitalist countries that were rich, while the socialist countries were poor.

  96. Blue Staters hate West Virginia because it is largely provincial and has a large pocket of rural poverty

    Hm, I feel this way and I don’t know what “color” my state is. Of course, WV and KY are great places to get cheap cigarettes and booze, so maybe I should back off.

  97. An anti-Semite might hire a Jewish lawyer because it would be consistent with their bigotry.

  98. LarryA,

    No, an all-white party targetting personal attacks at a white man does not come across as having a racial element.

    Isn’t that racist, joe? No. What kind of a dumb-ass question is that?

    You know, when people called Tom Daschle shrill, nobody thought it was reference to his gender. When the same people called Hillary shrill, the question came up. I think you can figure out why.

    The way the politics of personal destruction works is to draw a picture of what kind of person a politician is, by picking up on that person’s attributes, history, positions, and whatnot and using them not to argue about the wisdom of his policies, but about who this person is.

  99. David,

    During the primaries, there were a number of polls taken in different states, that aimed to determine the effect of race on the contest.

    Something like 40% of West Virginian Democratic primaries votes – Democratic primary voters! – state that race was important to them in deciding how to vote, a number a great deal higher than for places like California and Vermont.

    This isn’t made-up, so get off the cross.

  100. When I heard people call Tom Daschle shrill, I immediately thought it was reference to his apparent lack of gender

  101. Now, KfP, I don’t think the American people have reached a comfort zone with that sort of language.

    Mew, mew, please don’t be mean to me, mew mew!

  102. SugarFree | October 20, 2008, 12:13pm | #
    Of course no one is going to call criticism of Obama racism. I mean, no one called criticism of Hilary sexism, right?

    It will be done, some of it will be valid, most of it will not be. But to say it won’t be done is ridiculous.

    It will be done.
    But it won’t be “the story” as characterized by John. And the fringe that makes this charge will not be the center…it will be the fringe.

  103. The cities really were going down the tubes in the late 50s through the 80s really were going down the tubes. That it was “white flight” rather than just “flight” is at least as much a consequence of the flight-limiting poverty of the cities’ black residents than the racial motivations of the white-flighters.

    Verifying what joe said here, at least for Louisville. When busing started in 1975 (as I started 1st grade), white flight did happen, but it was from the suburbs to the next counties out. I knew a number of people who already lived in the suburbs whose families moved a mile or two further out to get outside the county to avoid busing.

    The flight out of downtown had already occurred. The white flight was from suburb to semi-rural. Some of the areas along the county border became suburbs over the last 30 years but it took a long while for it to happen.

  104. robc,

    I wuz in yr city, using yr Apple Store. Hahahaha.

  105. Apple Store

    Sucker. You overpaid for whatever it was.

  106. Just getting repairs. Broke my CD drive.

  107. You know Republicans are in trouble this election when people who use the n-word to describe Obama think the R-word might be worse.

    Course, two years of one-party rule and overreach by Democrats might make 2010 like 1994. Unlikely people will come to the epiphany that libertarianism is a viable alternative to the Rs and Ds.

  108. And the fringe that makes this charge will not be the center…it will be the fringe.

    Whereas, the fringe that calls support for Obama by a black man is… the mainstream.

  109. FWIW, south Alabama offices for voter registration have been overrun with new voters. They are predicting the largest voter turnout in the history of this universe. No word on racial makeup of those registering.

  110. oops. Insert the word “racist” in there somewhere.

  111. Joe,

    I was here when the questions were asked and don’t pretend for a moment that it was handled with the same aplomb as in California and Vermont. There was a Napoleonic code of racism at work that would never be thrust on such states.

    So sorry I got on the cross. The rest of the state and I will get down as soon as the Blue State media removes the nails.

  112. Whereas, the fringe that calls support for Obama by a black man [racist] is… the mainstream.

    That was my question upthread.
    Does Limbaugh count as mainstream?

    Will his take on things become the narrative, or a fringe comment on the narrative?

  113. This is the first election I can recall where asking easy questions is considered persecution.


  114. NR just pimped them. He’s in his flight suit no less. Just $2,995.

    Oh god, that image will haunt my dreams tonight.

  115. Where did you ASK a question, Joe? You made a dismissive statement. Big difference.

  116. Does Limbaugh count as mainstream?

    Yes, because every time another outrage comes out of his mouth, it gets reported in the rest of the MSM. If he were fringe, no one would care.

  117. David,

    joe was referring to pollsters asking voters how much race was a factor the considered in their decision to support a candidate.

    If pollsters ask the question and a particular state’s rate of responses indicates that race is a bigger factor in that state’s election than the rest of the country, you can bet that will get the attention of the media.

    The reason for that difference may have to do with the demographics in the state, as you seem to indicate above, but it is hardly persecution to point the result out.

    I don’t buy the demographic explanation, however. NM is about has about as much rural poverty as any state around…I don’t recall the numbers looking the same as those discussed above for WV.

  118. This is the first election I can recall where asking easy questions is considered persecution.

    No kidding. Who would have thought that asking a candidate a straightforward question about his tax policy would unleash a media jihad against the questioner?

    Oh, I thought you said “asking easy questions makes you a target for persecution.” My bad.

  119. rhywun | October 20, 2008, 3:59pm | #

    Does Limbaugh count as mainstream?

    Yes, because every time another outrage comes out of his mouth, it gets reported in the rest of the MSM. If he were fringe, no one would care.

    Really?
    That is an odd analysis to my mind.
    That would make Coulter mainstream, for example.

  120. That would make Rosie O’Donnell mainstream.

    High profile is not the same as mainstream to my mind.

  121. No kidding. Who would have thought that asking a candidate a straightforward question about his tax policy would unleash a media jihad against the questioner?

    I thought it was a media love-fest.
    After all, isn’t it the media that is painting him as a victim of media attacks, putting him on talk shows, holding him up as everyman, and acting like he did something special by asking a candidate a question?

  122. Who is Joe the Plumber.

    He’s an unlicensed plumber from Ohio who owes back taxes and is not in a position to buy the business he said he wanted to buy in his question.

    Nasty.
    How can he show his face in public again.

  123. David | October 20, 2008, 3:42pm | #

    Where did you ASK a question, Joe?

    Not me, David. The MSM.

    Katie Couric and Josh Gibson “pesecuted” Sarah Palin by asking her what newspapers or magazines she reads and what foreign policy experience she has. The people of West Virgnia were presecuted by being asked “How important is the race of the candidate?” According to some.

    Oh, look, RC Dean is still repeating his talking point about the guy who the Republicans set up as the target of a media frenzy becoming the target of a media frenzy.

    I can’t even remember my keys when I walk out the door half the time. How on earth do you people all manage to say the same things in the same way at the same time like that?

  124. I thought it was a media love-fest.

    Really? You must one kinky love life, NM. What I saw was more investigative reporting done on Joe the Plumber in 48 hours than has been done on Barack Obama in ten months – an immediate vomiting of attacks on his veracity and credibility. joe has posted some nice summaries of the smears on this guy – his back taxes, his lack of a license or union membership, etc.

    Oh, look, RC Dean is still repeating his talking point about the guy who the Republicans set up as the target of a media frenzy becoming the target of a media frenzy.

    The Repubs set him up? He was in his front lawn when Obama came to his neighborhood, joe. Get a grip, man.

  125. Really? You must one kinky love life, NM.

    Guilty.

    What I saw was more investigative reporting done on Joe the Plumber in 48 hours than has been done on Barack Obama in ten months – an immediate vomiting of attacks on his veracity and credibility.

    Bullshit.
    Undiluted bullshit.

    The Repubs set him up? He was in his front lawn when Obama came to his neighborhood, joe. Get a grip, man.

    The set up was McCain’s use of him in the debate. You aren’t being disingenuous on this topic at all.

  126. What I saw was more investigative reporting done on Joe the Plumber in 48 hours than has been done on Barack Obama in ten months

    What an idiotic statement. I know off the top of my head what school Barack Obama went to when he was 8, the name of the pastor at his church, and the subject of his wife’s undergraduate thesis.

    Two words, RC: Birth Certificate. Don’t push this crap; nobody’s buying it.

    The Repubs set him up?

    I will type the appelation the Republicans gave to Mr. Wurtzelbacher once for every mention of him by John McCain the most recent debate:

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    not done. not even close.

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    nope, not yet

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber.

    They set him up as the subject of a media frenzy. They deliberately cast him as their poster child, and flogged him and his story to every media outlet they could. Heck, they even made up a media-friendly nickname for him to make the story that much more likely to be picked up the teevee nooz.

  127. Thanks for the elucidation, Neu Mejican and Joe.

    Neu Mejican, New Mexico and West Virginia have wildly diverging demographics, so there is no comparison there. Our poverty is largely white, while yours is largely ethnic (Native American, Hispanic), so I sincerely doubt that your state was canvassed on the basis of skin color.

    As for the polls, asking a question is not persecution, but let’s not pretend that all polls are equal. I don’t know the specific questions or polls taken, but as I recall it, the race issue was definitely NOT treated the same way in other states. The pollsters and media came to West Virginia with a clear assumption that these were poor white people and therefore racist.

    West Virginia does not share the history of the Confederate or Jim Crowe South. The founder of black history month is from West Virginia. Booker T. Washington came to West Virginia from Virginia to get a secondary education. The second session of the Niagra Movement was held in Harpers Ferry. Theodore Harold won the Pulitzer for his book “The Making of the President 1960,” about Kennedy’s election process and in it he wrote that he never saw greater harmony between blacks and whites anywhere in America like he saw in West Virginia. And it is the rural poverty that is the equalizer there. So, sorry guys, but there is nothing to back up these polls, which tells me that the pollsters framed the question in the way to get the results they wanted. Don’t act like that is paranoia. We had polls telling us Kerry would win the election!

    In addition, the very idea that the new economic downfall is the reason West Virginia is shifting toward Obama is ludicrous and COMPLETELY unfounded. West Virginia is one of twelve states largely unscathed by the recent meltdown on Wall Street. Poor, Appalachian West Virginia wasn’t a big player on Wall Street, and we didn’t have the housing boom that the rest of the country had, so there weren’t many home buyers caught in the fray. West Virginia’s economy hasn’t changed one bit.

    So before Mr. Weigel and the rest of you make sweeping bigoted observations about a group of people–while ironically accusing others of bigotry–it might behoove you to know your subject.

    The strange thing to me, and all Middle Americans, is the way you guys OWN your ignorance and bigotry. You have absolutely no dog in this hunt, yet you defend Weigel’s stupid and ignorant remark as if it were your own. Sounds like it’s your back yard that needs to be cleaned of its bigotry, not ours.

  128. David, I come from Massachusetts. Trust me when I tell you that the presence of anti-slavery, anti-racist political movements absolutely does not indicate the absence of racists.

    We had polls telling us Kerry would win the election! Actually, the random polls done before the election predicted the outcome quite closely. It was the non-random exit polls that did so poorly. The ones demonstrating a high level of racism among your state’s electorate were random polls. If one particular poll overestimated the level, there should be others which underestimate it.

    BTW, you don’t speak for “all Middle Americans.” If you wish to make broad statements about tendencies among large groups of people, you should have something other than your feelings about people in that group to back it up. You know, like public opinion research.

  129. Joe, at no point did I say that these histories indicate that we have no racism. Of course there is racism here. But definitely no worse than any other place in America to be decreed a bastian of racism as Weigel does. Your native Massachussetts, famous for its Boston riots and busing, is never described as such, so why would you be required to even ponder your own misshapen paradigm? Weigel’s home of Los Angeles has experienced the Watts and Rodney King riots, yet I am sure he would never dream of describing the L.A. as racist. History is a teacher, Joe, so this casual dismissiveness of the past may serve you well but it doesn’t serve the truth.

    Clearly I misspoke when I said used an absolute such as “all.” But trust me, the very fact that George W. Bush got elected and those Middle American states have been mostly red clearly indicated a tiredness with Blue State media arrogance. So I wil boldly change that “all” to a plethora ad satisfy the grammar and the point.

    Public opinion research is as flawed as the reporting. I work in marketing and use research and I know that the framing of the question can be as indicting as a question on a personality quiz.

    I live in West Virginia. I don’t need research to tell me that I see lawns all over the state with Obama signs but very few with McCain signs. I don’t need research to tell me that this racism assigned to us by lazy reporters is not reflected in the attitudes or public discourse of this state. Sarah Palin dropped by the Huntington airport last week and was protested by more Obama supporters than she was supported by her own.

    Clearly this disdain for Applachia that you possess is so dear to you that you will not even contemplate a paradigm shift. You and Weigel know nothing about us. You use whatever shorthand is at your command and dismiss us casually and thing that we are the ones being arrogant for taking umbrage to such bigotry.

    What I am wondering is why Blue Staters, who make such bold claims about their enlightenment, decide for us who we are in a fashion that would never be employed when discussing people who are Jewish, black or gay.

    And for the record I am gay, and I’ve expreienced this snobbery about Appalachia ten times as much as I’ve experienced homophobia.

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