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April 29, 2009

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I get it. Black people are SOOOOOO happy that a black man is president that they are handing out positive reviews of him even though they don't like his policies.

Yep, still sounds pretty stupid.

I'm sure there are some people who are still polling positive because they are too focused on his race to admit their true feelings on his policies, but I can't imagine that there is a statistically significant number of them.

I call that racism related program activities...

hmmm...for some reason it reminds me of what the famous philosopher once said about Shoenberg's music: I am sure it is better than it sounds...

Right. Of course, there are no white americans who might be giving Obama low approval ratings becuase he is black, so their feelings about him must be the more accurate ones that give the "actual" picture.

What say you, asian-americans, native americans, hispanics....?

that's just racism. simple, plain old, ought to be ashamed of it, racism.

I don't think that calling racism "racism" is any more inflammatory than it needs to be.

Hey, pretending black people aren't real Americans doesn't just decrease Obama's "actual" popularity, it also renders him, a black person, not a real American, proving once and for all that his birth certificate is a forgery. Who's crazy now, huh?!

This is just moronic. I don't know of any charitable interpretation of York, except for maybe he just wasn't paying attention, and went and edited himself and let this WTF moment slide out into print.

That's the charitable version. Others are not as nice.

Why doesn't York just get on with it and use three-fifths of Obama's ratings among African-Americans?

nice one, Dave S.

I read some of the supportive comments to that piece.

I feel...dirty. Stained, for doing so. The defenses of the article are as odious as the article itself.

Similarly, echidne of the snakes just pointed to Peter Thiel's screed on being a libertarian, where he admits "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible", because "Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron."

In Albion's Seed, David Hackett Fischer quotes a pre-Revolutionary Virginia planter who said:

"I am an aristocrat. I love freedom; I hate democracy."

Peter Thiel is at least honest compared to Bryon York, but neither is as honest as that planter.

If it wasn't for the black vote...

I have heard that phrase my entire politically-aware life in Louisiana.

When Edwin Edwards beat David Duke for governor in 1991, you couldn't have a conversation about it without somebody qualifying his victory with, "well, yeah, but if it hadn't been for the black vote..."

Even in 2008, there are some who apparently still consider African-Americans as not completely deserving of the franchise. The "black vote" is considered less than completely legitimate.

We still have some work to do, it seems.


Yeah, no other way to read this than the only approval ratings that really matter are those of white people.

But there's got to be some label for this subconscious discounting of black votes -- and the implicit overvaluing of "real" (i.e., white) America. It's just [racist].

Fixed that for you.

"I get it. Black people are SOOOOOO happy that a black man is president that they are handing out positive reviews of him even though they don't like his policies.

Yep, still sounds pretty stupid."

Yeah, that's probably the most sensible interpretation: That Obama's high popularity isn't because his policies are popular, it's because virtually every black in the country is going to like him regardless of what his policies are.

It's quite possibly wrong, but it's not nonsensical. If whites can dislike Obama for reasons unrelated to policy, blacks can like him for equally unrelated reasons. Possibly to the point where their like of him is utterly uncorrelated with his policy positions.

After all, it's not whites who voted, what? 95% for the guy.

In Albion's Seed, David Hackett Fischer quotes a pre-Revolutionary Virginia planter who said:

"I am an aristocrat. I love freedom; I hate democracy."

By strange coincidence I was reading that very section of that same book just last night. It is even worse than it sounds from just that short quote. The numerous other citations from the political philosophy of the late 17th and early 18th Cen Virginia Planter culture make it quite clear that to them the word "Freedom" as expressed in the context of a system of hierarchical liberty meant them (the planters) having both the power and the right to oppress other less fortunate people and lord it over them. That, and never having to be answerable to anyone for their deeds.

Slavery = Freedom, indeed.
Orwell had nothing compared with these guys.

It's not that slavery=freedom, it's that as you say, TLT, freedom was never meant for everyone, only for them. Freedom was for them, slavery, oppression, and misery were for everyone else.

Yeah, that's probably the most sensible interpretation: That Obama's high popularity isn't because his policies are popular, it's because virtually every black in the country is going to like him regardless of what his policies are.

It's quite possibly wrong, but it's not nonsensical. If whites can dislike Obama for reasons unrelated to policy, blacks can like him for equally unrelated reasons. Possibly to the point where their like of him is utterly uncorrelated with his policy positions.

After all, it's not whites who voted, what? 95% for the guy.

First of all, Obama got only slightly more of the black vote than did Kerry, Gore and Clinton. Approval ratings are also comparable (to Clinton). So, that doesn't quite add up.

Second, if some support him for his ethnicity, and others oppose him for same, that seems like a wash with little impact on his "true" popularity - or the "true" popularity of his policies.

Brett, do some back-of-the-envelope numbers:

Say we assume that a generic Democratic President would have even 2/3 support among Black folks - and that's probably low, as the best recent Republican Presidential electoral performance was iirc less than 15% of Black folks, possibly less than 10% - and we know that Black folks are, what, 13% of the population? Then even if all Black folks were total Obama cultists (which is unsurprisingly not the case) then Obama's advantage in that demographic could maybe account for a 4% bump in his national approval ratings. In reality, weighting the effect of Obama's approval advantage among Black Americans compared to what you'd expect for a generic Democrat proably wouldn't account for even a 2% bump.

So, no, increased Black support for Obama can not possibly explain why Obama's ratings are so high.

Maybe he just never quite got around to reading the 13th and 14th amendment and is still laboring under the idea that their opinion only counts for 3/5's of a white voter's opinion.

Oh, and what Eric said: the bump I imagine would only happen if Obama did significantly better than, say, Clinton for approval among Black folks (say, 20% higher among black folks to get 2% in the national numbers - which Eric says is not the case).

Also, much as I'd like to discount Eric's suggestion that any positive effects of Black folks' higher support for Obama be corrected for the effects white racism, because I'd like to imagine that those folks wouldn't join me in backing a Democrat anyhow, the Appalachians effect in the primaries and general election may suggest it's real. Still, if you widen the calculations to include such factors then I suppose you might have to account for irrational support of a Black President simply because he's Black by folks who aren't themselves Black, and if it exists then such an effect is likely even harder to measure than simple White anti-Black racism.

Eric and Warren are right. In 2004, 88 percent of African-Americans voted for Kerry, compared to only 48 percent of all Americans. In 2008, 96 percent of blacks voted for Obama, compared to 53 percent of all Americans. So, a five-point +D swing among the general population but an eight-point +D swing among blacks. Three percentage points is a tiny difference.

WT,

Adam Serwer compares the electoral support of blacks for Dem candidates I listed:

From Dave Wiegel:

"A couple more things about that Byron York column. First, the topline argument about President Obama’s popularity is even sillier than it first seems, because the president’s popularity has risen with whites and held even with blacks since the election.

62 percent of whites approve of the job Obama is doing as president. Among blacks, the number is 96 percent.

Obama won 43 percent of the white vote and 95 percent of the black vote. His black support has increased by only one percent, but his white support has soared by 44 percent."

This kind of unconscious racism has been around a long time. I recall a famous study of slavery published about 50 years ago in which the highly ranked author stated something to the effect that "Americans feel a great burden of guilt at how slaves were treated." It never occurred to this man (a white professor at a major university) that many Americans, being black, had no reason whatsoever to feel guilty. But their existence never came into his mind. His world was a purely white world in which blacks did not exist except perhaps as objects of laboratory study. As it happened, his glaring bias helped my white students understand the veiled racism behind other parts of his analysis, particularly concerning "sambo" imagery.

It's a dumb column. "Whites" are a mix of Democrats, Independents, and dead-enders; "Blacks", based on the last few electionsa, are overwhelmingly Democrat.

So York has discovered that Obama's views poll better among Democrats than among mixed groups. Tear out the front page.

However, I can answer this:

"It's the last part that doesn't make sense. If black Americans strongly support Obama's positions, how on earth does that make the "overall" support deceptively high?"

Well, becasue they support the man, not the mission. Any example involving Obama will be to emotive, so switch back to Bush and evangelicals. If they threw up their hands on Iraq in 2003, said they had no sensible way to evaluate the arguments or the intelligence, but trusted Bush because he went to church regularly, well, their support for the *war* was pretty tepid even though their support for Bush was high. So one might have said that the policy is not as popular as it appears. Easy enough.

And if Bush had been replaced by a hard-drinking womanizing Republican in 2003, support for the war might have fallen among evangelicals. That would have pulled the rug out from under any war proponents who thought they were winning the war of ideas rather than the contest of personalities. That said, evangelicals would have supported the pro-life policies of this new hard-drinker even though they disliked him personally.

It's not that complicated. York just picked a bone-headed example with no poll data to support him.

What York needs are cross-tabs demonstrating that Obama's policy positions are more popular among black Democrats than among white Democrats *and* a convincing argument that the topic in question "ought to be" race-neutral. Than he could think about asserting that Obama's support among blacks is race-based rather than policy-based. Whether that would be convincing, surprising, or relevant, I don't know. Conceivably it might be important to Dem strategists - some day Obama won't be President, and if his successor inherits a position that was sold based on personality rather than substance, that could be a problem. A problem for another day, of course.

I don't like York or the NRO, but one shouldn't focus on election results, when York is talking about polls:

On the economy, 55 percent of whites in the poll say they approve of the way the president is handling the issue. Among blacks, the number is 91 percent. Thirty-six percent of whites disapprove of Obama's economic performance, while just two percent of blacks disapprove.

That's a pretty striking discrepancy on an issue where one would expect public opinion to be quite a bit more uniform, no?

Yeah, that's probably the most sensible interpretation: That Obama's high popularity isn't because his policies are popular, it's because virtually every black in the country is going to like him regardless of what his policies are.

That's the most charitable explanation, but I don't think it's the most sensible. The most sensible is that he's a closet racist who slipped up and let his racist views show.

"On the economy, 55 percent of whites in the poll say they approve of the way the president is handling the issue. Among blacks, the number is 91 percent. Thirty-six percent of whites disapprove of Obama's economic performance, while just two percent of blacks disapprove.

That's a pretty striking discrepancy on an issue where one would expect public opinion to be quite a bit more uniform, no?"

This should be testable. What is the percentage of people who approve of the government's economic performance in the past few months.

"That Obama's high popularity isn't because his policies are popular, it's because virtually every black in the country is going to like him regardless of what his policies are."

I wonder what Michael Steele's numbers are among black voters?

Or Clarence Thomas'?

Novakant,
Yes, there could easily be a difference between election results and polls (for example, Obama got ~80% approval from Blacks in the recent poll, accompanied with vanishingly small disapproval; in November, Obama got 98% of the Black vote iirc). That's why I left some margin for error in my numbers.
Still, even if Obama is doing some 30% better than an average Democrat among Blacks, which is almost certainly not the case (think Clinton had only 50% approval among Black folks?), the effect on the national numbers would still be only 4%, so if the national numbers say Obama is popular you can't say - as York seems to - that it's an illusion created by unusually high support among Black folks.

" It never occurred to this man (a white professor at a major university) that many Americans, being black, had no reason whatsoever to feel guilty."

Or that a greater many Americans, never having owned slaves, also had no reason whatsoever to feel guilty?

Look, I'm not saying he was right. On the contrary, if there's an effect there, it's only a few percent. I'm saying that it's not "nonsensical"; The claim might be wrong, but it's at least meaningful. A pretty low hurdle to cross, but it did cross it.

I agree that York is overplaying his hand for obvious reasons, but it would be nice if we could also agree that the judgment of a lot of blacks (and to a lesser degree that of Democrats in general) might be a wee bit biased at the moment, which is only natural and understandable after the first black president ever has just been elected.

Why doesn't York just get on with it and use three-fifths of Obama's ratings among African-Americans?

It's called Originalist Polling, OK?

"It's called Originalist Polling, OK?"

Now I'm feeling really skeptical about George Washington's approval ratings, seeing as how he was the first white president and all.

I think the takeaway point here is that, as a rule, blacks make judgments based on emotions and racial biases, whereas we whites make carefully planned, objective and logical decisions.

/snark

hmmm...for some reason it reminds me of what the famous philosopher once said about Shoenberg's music: I am sure it is better than it sounds...

For the record, it's Wagner, not Schoenberg, and the "philosopher" was Twain.

It doesn't seem like York even realizes the unspoken assumption in this piece. When he asserts that sampling African-Americans biases polls and inflates approval of Obama's policies, he just assumes that the non-African-American demographics sampled represent unbiased American opinion.

Surely he could have used gender, or party affiliation, or sexual orientation, or any number of demographics to declare as non-representative outliers of public opinion, but he chose race. And that speaks volumes about his argument.

Yes to what Tom Maguire and novakant said.

Speaking only for myself, I'm much more inclined to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on all these difficult economic questions than I would a Republican president (or even, say, a President Kerry). If he proposes something, the fact that I trust his judgment makes me more likely to support it. This is especially true when it comes to the economic crisis, since I don't have pre-formed opinions and it's way too complicated to figure out on my own.

That doesn't mean I'm following blindly, but it does mean that the distinction between supporting a policy on substance and supporting it on personality is in large part false.

None of this is to defend Byron York. (But spell his name right, people!)

Novakant: It's one thing to say black people like Obama a whole lot. It's a whole other thing to say that Obama's "overall" popularity is "actually" lower than the number you get if you include everyone.

In every presidential approval poll I've ever seen, you can either approve or disapprove; you can't go up to eleven. So there's no way that any group of people really really approving can skew the average, the way Bill Gates skews our average income. So the "overall" number is the one that includes everyone, period. York's statement makes no sense unless he means that white opinions are more real.

Plus, he conveniently lumps together approval of the man and "some of his policies"... and then assumes that if whites don't like him, it means they don't like the policies ("...makes some of his positions seem a bit more popular overall than they really are"). Missing is any notion that John Q. Whiteman, Real American might have any personal dislike of the President for, shall we say, reasons unconnected to policy analysis.

Yep: I don't see any way to take this except as racism. York did not say that African-Americans like Obama more than they like his policies, so he comes out more popular than his policies do. He said:

"the president and some of his policies are significantly less popular with white Americans than with black Americans, and his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are."

If the disparity is supposed to concern Obama and his policies, and the black approval ratings makes Obama's policies "appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are", I don't see how you can parse that without thinking that the popularity his policies actually enjoy is their popularity among white Americans.

He's just keeping up all those old NR traditions, I guess.

"I agree that York is overplaying his hand for obvious reasons, but it would be nice if we could also agree that the judgment of a lot of blacks (and to a lesser degree that of Democrats in general) might be a wee bit biased at the moment, which is only natural and understandable after the first black president ever has just been elected. "

How can you have bias in an approval rating? Approval, by definition, is subjective. Therefore everyone's opinion is as legitimate as anybody else's.

That's a pretty striking discrepancy on an issue where one would expect public opinion to be quite a bit more uniform, no?

Why would you expect that? especially as white opinion on Obama's handling of the economy, broken down by income and other factors, probably isn't especially uniform either.

Black folks have, since the Civil Rights era, always preferred Democrats and Democratic approaches to the economy in far greater numbers than whites. If Hillary Clinton were president, and had pursued an economic course similar to Obama's, there's no reason to suppose that blacks would like those policies any less just because a white person was the author of them.

ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

You're right that the planter philosophy of freedom is scarier than the one quote can express, but IMHO it's not Orwellian. There is no double-think: the planter knew full well that his slaves were *slaves*, and so did they. He never pretended that their condition should be called "freedom", as Big Brother did -- for the planter, part of the spice in his hierarchical freedom was to be recognized and acknowledged by others as being more free than they.

JanieM, I also don't think that "freedom" for them so necessarily meant "slavery" for everyone else, in such a clear black-and-white (heh) way. It was a hierarchy of many steps, with fewer people and more freedom as you went up, more people with less freedom as you went down -- but no-one's freedom was absolute (except the King's), there was always someone you'd better be ready to doff your hat to in turn.

On the economy, 55 percent of whites in the poll say they approve of the way the president is handling the issue. Among blacks, the number is 91 percent. Thirty-six percent of whites disapprove of Obama's economic performance, while just two percent of blacks disapprove.

That is a pretty striking disparity, and shows the baleful effects that Fox news idiotism and AEI madness have had on shockingly large numbers of white people (35% of white people think that a stimulus is the wrong response to a depression? seriously?). Given the irrational susceptibility of those people to such propaganda, Byron York has it exactly backwards.

Doctor Science -- yes, you're right; I was just being snarky.

Good point about how it wasn't Orwellian.

I could say more about "freedom" but I'm falling asleep over the keyboard so maybe tomorrow.

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment. Bear with me, as I think this impeaches York's credibility even further.

Let's just assume (for the sake of argument) that some of the enormous level of support BHO enjoys among AAs is in fact irrational. And let us further allow that such "irrational" support isn't measuring anything that we should care about. Does that mean that Obama's overall support, among those that "rationally and objectively" judge him is lower than the polls indicate?

Hell no! We have only applied the standard of "rationality" and "objectivity" to AAs. What about Asians? Men? The elderly? White Christian males living in the south above the age of 30?

Ultimately, if we start trying to grant York the kernel of an argument, then we have to lead to its logical conclusion. And that logical conclusion is pretty much that it is hard to get an unbiased view of public support. AAs are not much more biased in favor of BHO (compared to generic Democratic presidents) than southern white evangelical males are biased against him (compared to generic Democratic presidents). And almost every demographic slice of the population has some type of systematic bias against particular politicians, so just arbitrarily excluding the one that makes his argument sound plausible not only sets up York for charges of racism, it is also not very rigorous and is a haphazard way of looking at the data.

York's thinking underscores why the Republican Party is in such decline and disrepute.

By the time my 10-year-old son graduates college, minorities in this country will be close to forming a majority.

Instead of embracing this inevitability -- the United States is a melting pot, and twas ever thus -- the GOP seems to be running from it. Some open-mindedness and vision are long overdue.

(I wonder if the Byron Yorks of the world have elementary-aged children and, if so, ever pick them up from school. Kids today gather and play indiscriminately and are impressively color-blind. I see that as a glimpse at our nation's future.)

Doctor Science,

I respectfully disagree with you about the King's freedom being absolute. The point in aristocracy was the idea of aristocrat's freedom being comparable to the King's freedom. For a true artistocrat, the royal family was the first and foremost of the noble families of the realm, the King the primus inter pares, the first of his peers. In Poland, this actually was the case, which resulted in anarchy.

If you consider the idea of aristocratic "freedom", you can see why absolutist monarchy appealed to the middle classes. For example, in mid-17th century Sweden, the three non-noble estates and the lower nobility voluntarily granted absolute power to the king in order to limit the power of noble families. (It didn't work out very well. The nobles lost most of their property, but a foolhardy king almost destroyed the realm in a pointless war against Russia, Poland, Prussia and Denmark.)

If slavery were legal, Byron York would be at the auction house tomorrow.

If slavery were legal, Byron York would be at the auction house tomorrow.

Not necessarily. I could see him chartering his own slave ship and sailing off to Africa to bag his own.

On the economy, 55 percent of whites in the poll say they approve of the way the president is handling the issue. Among blacks, the number is 91 percent. Thirty-six percent of whites disapprove of Obama's economic performance, while just two percent of blacks disapprove.

That's a pretty striking discrepancy on an issue where one would expect public opinion to be quite a bit more uniform, no?

Why should public opinion on the economy be uniform between different ethnic groups when their economic position isn't uniform? If, for example, the poor are more likely to be in favour of Obama's policies than the better-off, and blacks are disproportionately poor, then you've got a difference already (or even if you have groups with the same level of income, but in different industries - car-making v agriculture, say, which may benefit differently from particular policies). You need to control for all those kinds of factors before you start saying race is the key difference.

He's just keeping up all those old NR traditions, I guess.

It's just one of their quaint folkways.

"Instead of embracing this inevitability -- the United States is a melting pot, and twas ever thus -- the GOP seems to be running from it. Some open-mindedness and vision are long overdue."

Yeah, I'm contributing to that, we're an inter-racial couple, my wife is from the Philippines.

But there is a little problem here: Melting pot, hybrid vigour, that's all well and good. When the UK screwed over the residents of Hong Kong, stripping them of their right to travel so that China would get the people, and not just the realestate, I advocated granting American visas to all of them. Would have done this country a world of good. I think we ought to turn the brain drain up to 11, grant automatic entry to anybody with a college degree and a clean record. I work for a German firm where half the employees are here on work visas, and don't mind it a bit.

Seeing to it that most immigration is from one dysfunctional country, consisting mainly of people willing to violate our laws? Not so well and good. In fact, pretty much the opposite.

Seeing to it in the face of sustained public super-majorities objecting to it? Proof that democracy doesn't work on subjects where the interests of the ruling class diverge from the general population.

We don't have unrestricted illegal immigration because it's good for the country. We have it because it's good for businesses who want workers who can't complain about illegal working conditions, and elites who want affordable nannies and gardeners. And who don't care what it does to everyone else.

Surely he could have used gender, or party affiliation, or sexual orientation, or any number of demographics to declare as non-representative outliers of public opinion, but he chose race. And that speaks volumes about his argument.

Posted by: charles

While that last sentence is probably true, I also think that this a case of you go with what you got. Remember all those 'journalists' in 2000 sitting in front of a red/blue map of the United States? How they were going on and on about how you could just look at the map and you could see how much of the U.S. 'really' voted for Bush, while Gore's negligible share of area were those effete sections of the east and west coastlines?

I couldn't believe that anyone would seriously make that argument, that no one ever pointed out that the size of the states weren't weighted by population . . . but few did. And those talking up this egregious boner weren't just on Faux.

So while the statement probably does speak volumes, if there was some other statistic they could have used, say that once you exclude the under-25 vote(those college kids vote 'liberal' doncha know, and they vote more often than Heartland kids who are too busy to vote because they're workin' and raisin' families), these sorts would have gone for that instead.

Hmmm . . . let me rephrase that. It's not so much that York is a racist per se, it's just that he's ala Archie Bunker anti-black, anti-woman, anti-youth, anti-intellectual, etc. It's that the only people whose opinions really count are middle-aged and older white guys who own property

This is not unconscious racism. This is blatant ignorant racism. A racist by any other name still stinks

Sorry to hear that cheap agricultural labor so adversely effects your well-being, Brett.

But there is a little problem here: Melting pot, hybrid vigour, that's all well and good. When the UK screwed over the residents of Hong Kong, stripping them of their right to travel so that China would get the people, and not just the realestate, I advocated granting American visas to all of them. Would have done this country a world of good

My daughter's mother is pretty close to the idealized 'leftist' as one can get without being a completely unconvincing caricature; amusingly enough, she would disagree with you. Given some of the representative samples she has had to deal with, she doesn't think that Asians have a deuce or more advantage when it comes to IQ. She thinks that the ones who have managed to come over despite some rather challenging barriers have been selectively filtered, and that, on average, they're probably not as smart as us vanilla whitebread types.

I'll add that she has worked for refugee relocation services in the past and has some rather hair-raising tales to tell. She may be a far-left liberal, but she's not overtly reflexively so.

I'm sure that if we were able to swap countries and move the Phillipines to Mexico and move Mexico just south of Taiwan, we wouldn't have all those problems with immigration from a dysfunctional country, would we?

Given some of the representative samples she has had to deal with, she doesn't think that Asians have a deuce or more advantage when it comes to IQ. She thinks that the ones who have managed to come over despite some rather challenging barriers have been selectively filtered

Given that test scores and per capita income of third and fourth generation Asian Americans have tended to regress back to the American mean, that's probably right.

"We have it because it's good for businesses who want workers who can't complain about illegal working conditions, and elites who want affordable nannies and gardeners. "

My point of view on this is always tempered by my own family history.

My maternal grandmother and her parents came here from Italy in the very early 1900's. They had no money, no skills, no English, no place to live, and my grandmother was an infant. After scrounging around a bit, my great grandfather found work literally digging ditches as part of the build-out of the NYC subway system.

They had nothing, they just wanted to live here.

They were Italian, which means that a very large number of the folks who were already here would have very much preferred that they stay the hell home.

Most of the tradesmen who work in my area have some number of obviously Latin American people on their staff. The folks who clean the building I work in, the folks who work at the car wash I go to, the folks who work in most of the fast food joints I go to, are all largely Latino.

Every time I look at one of them, I see my great grandparents.

I don't really see Latinos coming here for an easy ride on the backs of working Americans. I see a bunch of people ready and willing to work their asses off to get, at best, a marginally better life for themselves, and a much, much better life for their kids.

When I go to the Home Depot on the weekend, the parking lot is full of Latino guys looking for a day's work. I see exactly zero white Americans, although lots of them are out of work and are no doubt drawing unemployment benefits.

The reason we see a lot of illegal immigration is because the border is unenforceable.

As far as I'm concerned, if 3 million Mexicans and other Latinos want to come here every year, and want to make a life here, we should embrace them and provide them with a clear and simple path to citizenship. They're the kind of people who built this country, and letting them come legally will only be good for everyone.

My two cents.

My daughter's mother is classic do-gooder, subvariety Catholic. She's worked in daycare, Family Services, refugee resettlement, and finally, the public library. As a consequence, she has a rather large fund of stories about undeserving specimens drawn from the deserving poor, minorities, and oppressed. Which, come to think of it, is why she moved from Family Services to librarian.

"I'm sure that if we were able to swap countries and move the Phillipines to Mexico and move Mexico just south of Taiwan..."

Plate tectonics, bitchez! Give me 300 million years and I can rearrange teh world! Bwaahaahaa!

Seeing to it that most immigration is from one dysfunctional country, consisting mainly of people willing to violate our laws?

Which country is that? Russia?

Several people have already pointed out the core dumbth of York's statement: the assumption that white people are neutral, rational, the default. You get that same kind of nonthinking in discussions of affirmative action that refer to "unqualified" minorities - as though white people are all selected purely on merit.

"Which country is that? Russia?"

Hilarious.

Whites broke fairly close to fifty fifty, blacks broke so close to 100% it would be fair to suspect the residual was due to mistakes in the voting booth. Unless you're going to posit that this was a race between Simon LeGree and the second coming of Christ, (You're free to do so, I'm free to laugh.) that whites were more neutral than blacks is facially plausible.

Whites broke fairly close to fifty fifty, blacks broke so close to 100% it would be fair to suspect the residual was due to mistakes in the voting booth. Unless you're going to posit that this was a race between Simon LeGree and the second coming of Christ, (You're free to do so, I'm free to laugh.) that whites were more neutral than blacks is facially plausible.

If only there was some other axis on which the candidates differed besides race that might play some small tiny role in black voters' decision making process. Like, maybe, party affiliation. Since we know that Obama's performance among black voters is only a few percent better than Bill Clinton's, I think it is safe to say that race played a pretty insignificant role. But hey, don't let me interrupt your attempts to lie with statistics.


Byron York probably almost had a coherent thought there.

Here's the charitable interpretation:

"The median voter supported Obama less than the mean voter did."

This supposes you can arrange voters (or voting blocs) to get a meaningful mean and/or median result - if you can do that, then you can use the median to exclude outliers.

I'm supposing that this is what people really mean when they say " skewed the average."

Now, I'm not sure what it means to declare 13% of the population 'outliers', but I'm already overanalyzing here, so I'll shut up.

Whites broke fairly close to fifty fifty, blacks broke so close to 100% it would be fair to suspect the residual was due to mistakes in the voting booth.

% of black vote for the Democratic candidate by year:

2008 95%
2004 88%
2000 90%
1996 84%
1992 83%
1988 89%
1984 91%
1980 82%
1976 82%

Try again, and show your work this time.

Whites broke fairly close to fifty fifty, blacks broke so close to 100% roke fairly close to fifty fifty, blacks broke so close to 100% it would be fair to suspect the residual was due to mistakes in the voting booth. Unless you're going to posit that this was a race between Simon LeGree and the second coming of Christ, (You're free to do so, I'm free to laugh.) that whites were more neutral than blacks is facially plausible.

Even more hilarious.

C'mon, Brett, you're sharp enough not to do this kind of stuff...

Wait, whites are more neutral than blacks because half of them voted for the minority Republican party? Huh?

Maybe he thinks some of y'all are unsharp enough that he can get away with it.

Which, come to think of it, might be indicative of some perceptual shortcomings on his part.

Oh, I give up.

And, for the record, whites also didn't break anywhere close to 50-50; it was actually more like 43% D-55% R, which also doesn't differ much historically:

% of white vote for Democratic candidate by year:

2008 43%
2004 41%
2000 42%
1996 44%
1992 39%
1988 40%
1984 34%
1980 36%
1976 48%

"Surely he could have used gender, or party affiliation, or sexual orientation, or any number of demographics to declare as non-representative outliers of public opinion, but he chose race. And that speaks volumes about his argument.

Posted by: charles"

Surely he was looking at a NY Times poll which had data subdivided for blacks and whites, but not Hispanics or Asians, not to mention an absence of crosstabs for gays, women, the young, evangelicals, and the rest of the glorious mosaic. And let's stop calling him Shirley.

Why the Times made the shameful choice to ignore Hispanics and Asians in their breakouts will remain shrouded in mystery - maybe those groups don't count?

Now, the Times paid for the poll and used it as the foundation for a story about black-white differences in attitudes. Asians and Hispanics were not heard from in the text. However, the total of poll respondents exceeds the total for blacks and whites, so we know other groups were heard, even if they were suppressed as irrelevant.

Deplorable. Better write to the editors quickly.

Tom,
Let me get this straight. The NYT poll subdivides opinion into black vs. white. York says "Hey, blacks are really throwing off the numbers!" What's missing from this equation?

Tom, you are I assume correct that the Times offered a paucity of data, and that some interesting comparisons were thus made impossible. But what does that have to do with anything?

None of the details of the polling data change the fact that York's observation was - and I quote:

"his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are."
- and none changes the fact that simple arithmetic and common sense makes this claim a nonsense.

That phrase is essentially York's whole column, but the important word there is "bit", and even that's an overstatement. As has been quite beaten into the ground here in this thread, Black voters tend to favor Democrats, especially in the last twenty years, and furthermore Blacks are only 13% of the nation. The idea that Obama's national numbers are boosted in any significant way by the increased support he gets from Black voters is just silly - the relevant baseline number (Clinton, most obviously) is just too high for Obama to register strong gains, and there just aren't enough Blacks for a small effect to sway the national numbers.

Now, if you were to make the comparison from Obama to Bush instead of to Clinton, then I suppose that the switch from Bush's extremely low popularity among Blacks to Obama's high popularity among Blacks might begin to have a significant effect (although then again, Bush became so very unpopular that it might not) - but the only reasons to make that comparison would be blithering idiocy or mendacity. Blacks were never part of Bush's coalition, and were already part of the Democratic base. You'd get similar, if smaller (both because of reduced intensity and because some of them are smaller demographic groups) if you compared support for Obama to support for Bush among Atheists, or those with postgraduate degrees, or Gays. Or, going the other way, Pro-Life Southern Baptist Creationists; I bet most of them loved Bush and hate Obama.

"Hillary said Obama was 'too inexperienced' and selling false hope, meanwhile 100 days in he's taking names and kicking ass."

Get over it, Spaz. Obama and Hillary certainly did -- to the point where Obama is off to the best 100-day start in memory. Nevertheless, I must have missed the "taking names and kicking ass" part; perhaps I was asleep while the torture prosecutions began.

Who's the groupie?

I just posted my last comment in the More Specter thread, where it was meant to be before a three-hour work interruption interfered.

% of white vote for Democratic candidate by year:

2008 43%
2004 41%
2000 42%
1996 44%
1992 39%
1988 40%
1984 34%
1980 36%
1976 48%

So basically, white support for Rs has been unwavering no matter how thoroughly they tank the economy. And this is the demographic group that keeps demanding college admissions to be based solely on brainpower? They'd better hope they keep losing that one...


"Maybe he thinks some of y'all are unsharp enough that he can get away with it."

Maybe I thought I was dealing with people who understood 'facially plausible' to be less than a stellar endorsement of an idea. Rather than people who weren't content for their foes to be wrong, but who have a deep seated need for them to be morons as well.

Given how frequently you get easily-Googleable stuff wrong, you may need to explain to us why we should opt for one rather than the other. I mean, do you think I had those % by race numbers in my wallet or something?

Brett, where did you get your 'figures', such as they are? What is the source of your data?

You wouldn't have made something up rather than actually check the numbers, right? So give us a link, please.

Maybe I thought I was dealing with people who understood 'facially plausible' to be less than a stellar endorsement of an idea.

I invite you to connect this thought to previous thoughts. Because it seems more than a little non sequitur, without some explication.

Also, a statement that sounds something like "I was wrong" might be a good move right about now.

"York says "Hey, blacks are really throwing off the numbers!" What's missing from this equation?"

What's missing is that I already went over my quota in denouncing York earlier in the comment thread (5:38 PM) and didn't imagine anyone could endure a second round.

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Whatnot


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