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May 31, 2008

Comments

It was ugly when some Republicans seemed to seriously believe that the Clintons murdered Vince Foster and hung crack pipes from their Christmas trees. This is ugly in exactly the same way.

Thanks hilzoy. Even handed as always. (Seriously, no snark implied.)

"Would you rather have a president who had an affair [Bill Clinton] or one who was a murderer [Obama]?"

I actually visit Larry Johnson's House of Flying Saucers from time to time, and I don't recall seeing this. Just who is Obama alleged to have murdered? Vince Foster? Amelia Earhart? Bambi's mother?

Inquiring minds want to know.

that and the gay sex were both new to me. but geez, this may not be a "soft landing".

but then again, terry mcauliffe could be dnc chair right now

Anyone willing to show up to protest a RBC meeting -- especially if they live more than 50 miles away -- is probably a little more passionate about politics than perhaps they should be.

I've been ignoring this, but if someone -- ANYONE -- says the following, that man has my vote and support for life:

"Regardless of what anyone now feels about the fairness or wisdom of the rules, or the punishments of the Florida and Michigan delegates, those were the rules decided upon before a single vote was cast. Those rules had the full support of every candidate still in the election today.

However unfair the outcome, changing the rules after the voting is complete is infintely less fair than sticking with the rules as agreed upon by all candidates.

Not a single person here would play a game in which the way points were awarded was subject to change after the game was finished. You would undoubtably call such "cheating". So how is it that you have the gall to stand before us, asking to change the way delegates are alloted after voting is complete, and complain about unfairness?

Not one of you objected that the Michigan and Florida decisions were unfair when they were made. Not one of you objected that they were unfair when Florida and Michigan voted.

Had you spoken then, perhaps we could take your complaints seriously now.".

You let me know. I won't hold my breath.

I am not saying that Clinton supporters in general have lost their minds

then i'll say it.

look at the exit polls. when 80% of Clinton supporters say they won't support Obama if he wins the nomination, they're either Republicans or kool-aid-chugging cultists

Cleek, that's not entirely fair; remember how many anti-McCain Republicans said they wouldn't support McCain in the general? And yet, most of them have fallen (albeit grudgingly) into line. I think most of the Clintonites will do the same.

I think most of the Clintonites will do the same.

for the country's sake, i hope so.

personally, i can't see it happening. they really, truly, exist in a different mental universe from the rest of us.

Rupert Murdoch, the American Spectator, and Roger Stone:

Hillary supporters.

I can't remember which side of the looking glass I'm on anymore.

I've been ignoring this, but if someone -- ANYONE -- says the following, that man has my vote and support for life

Actually, just before the lunch break, Donna Brazile said almost exactly that -- including the word "cheating."

Actually, just before the lunch break, Donna Brazile said almost exactly that -- including the word "cheating."

Good on her. I suspect that's why the commentators at Talk Left loathe her so much.

I suspect that's why the commentators at Talk Left loathe her so much.

As does Avedon Carol at The Sideshow. (BTW, she's claiming that Nevada and two other states which were encouraged by the DNC to go early are exactly like MI and FL. Blech.) She's too smart and too well-informed to not know what's going on, which leads to some ugly conclusions.

Unless any of these people spent the last twenty years sitting in the pew of a church spewing racial animostity I will give them more credit than anyone who supports Obama.

mgk wrote: " And yet, most of them have fallen (albeit grudgingly) into line. "

But that's what Republicans *do*. They live to fall in line.

Democrats are a herd of cats at the best of times.

Rupert Murdoch, the American Spectator, and Roger Stone:

Hillary supporters.

I can't remember which side of the looking glass I'm on anymore.

Follow the white rabbit.

I kinda get the impression that this is just the Clinton campaign's strategy for the general, only by happenstance it's being engaged against Obama, who turned out to be the barrier to her getting elected.

"But wait, Senator! The K-763X Protest Bomb is meant to be deployed against the Republican forces in November!"
"That plan was overtaken by events, Major. We need it now, against the real threat! Go!"

It's like they've been cultivating this fantasy scenario since 2000, and can't help enacting it, even though the 'enemy' is in their own party.

It almost makes a kind of crazy sense that way.

@ calling all toasters:

Apparently, according to this Larry Sinclair character, Barack Obama is supposed to have connived in the murder of a couple of gay guys in order to cover up his (gay) affair with Mr. Sinclair a few years ago in Chicago.

The credibility of said allegations I leave up to you to judge...

From the apparent tone of the protest, it'd be kind of fun to walk up to them, carrying a cross and a container of accelerant, and see how many are game for a cross burning, and how long it took for someone in authority to shut it down.

Even the people at WorldNutDaily have disavowed Sinclair, and he's failed a lie detector test.

'Nuff said -- except for the fact that the Hillary people didn't invite him to leave, but instead wanted their picture taken with him.

Jay C: thanks. I was wondering about that, but didn't have the heart to look it up.

About Clinton supporters: sheesh, people, it's possible to support her because you think she's the best candidate without becoming Larry J. I'm sure lots of people do. Those people, who don't believe Obama is a murderer etc., etc., deserve the same kind of respect we'd want if our candidate was losing.

" Those people, who don't believe Obama is a murderer etc., etc., deserve the same kind of respect we'd want if our candidate was losing."

Sure. But, you know, squeaky wheels etc.

Folks willing to turn out to protest a committee meeting (many of whom don't actually appear to be from Michigan or Florida, strangely) are probably a weird and fringe group to begin with.

But where I Hillary Clinton, and I noticed that my protestors were not only talking glowingly of joining up with McCain, but queuing up to get their pictures taken with a man who is accusing Obama of murder, and of plotting murder....

Well, I'd probably rethink the political decisions that got me to where that became the public face of my cause.

And then I'd go out there, with a megaphone, and say:

"I APPRECIATE THE SHOW OF SUPPORT. HOWEVER, I CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE SOME OF YOU ARE INSANE. ESPECIALLY THAT GUY OVER THERE. YEAH. THE "OBAMA IS GOING TO KILL ME GUY". I THINK HE PROBABLY NEEDS A THERAPIST AND SERIOUS MEDICATION. REALLY, I DON'T THINK I WANT TO BE THE CANDIDATE RUNNING ON THE INSANE DEMOGRAPHIC. SO I'M QUITTING. VOTE OBAMA. UNLESS YOU HAD YOUR PICTURE TAKING WITH CRAZY MCCRAZY-PERSON OVER THERE. I'M ASKING YOU NOT TO VOTE".

Of course, if I was Hillary Clinton I'd have probably had a post Super Tuesday plan and would never have hired Mark Penn, and so would probably be deciding who to select as my VP and keeping Bill out of the loop.

Also, I'd have boobs.

" Those people, who don't believe Obama is a murderer etc., etc., deserve the same kind of respect we'd want if our candidate was losing."

don't see many of them around anywhere. but hopefully, those people are simply underrepresented on the web.

Cleek, a lot of Clinton's supporters aren't computer literate, and I don't mean that as an insult. I've heard them conversing at my barber shop and some of the little shops in my neighborhood, for instance. And of those who are online, a lot of them are no more interested in profoundly pointless exchange of hatefestery than, say, Hilzoy, and simply keep quiet because if they speak up, the odds are good that someone will dump on them for the faults of the jerks. It's a very familiar social dynamic, nothing new.

in which a Hillary supporter with two poodles shouts, "Howard Dean is a leftist freak!"; in which a man exhibits a sign that reads "At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen" and shows Dean whipping handcuffed people; and in which Larry Sinclair, the Minnesota man who took to YouTube to allege that Barack Obama had oral sex with him in the back of a limousine in 1999, is one of the belles of the ball.


Why was I not informed that scientists have found a way to clone Lanny Davis?

It's really been amazing to see the absurdity of some of the Clinton die-hards. The vanity of it all has been something to behold.

Cleek: View a lot of Hillary Clinton's on-line supporters as the "email forwarding, don't know what Snopes.com is" type.

I've got a highly conservative second-cousin that keeps forwarding me GOP emails, and I can assure you it's like an almost invisible but massive self-reinforcing circle.

Hi, Bruce! I'm a Clinton supporter. I used to write operating systems for multiprocessor computers but for the past few years I've been developing access control (network security) technology. I've got a patent granted and more applications in process, and I've chaired working groups in several networking standards bodies. I've had RFCs published, papers published in refereed journals, chaired a few conferences and been on the program committee for a bunch more. I'd like to point out that you forgot to add that Clinton voters are low-information racist rubes.

Thanks!

Melinda, is it insanely offensive to note that Clinton's supporters are general older than Obama's? In the context of Bruce saying that they're largely, you know, not insane people who think that Obama is a gay leftist murderer?

I've got a patent granted and more applications in process, and I've chaired working groups in several networking standards bodies.

Elitist!

Melinda wrote: " I'd like to point out that you forgot to add that Clinton voters are low-information racist rubes."

You may not be, but many of them are.

Sorry, but them's the breaks. Take a good look at your co-supporters, and think hard about whether you enjoy being associated with them.

Sorry, but them's the breaks. Take a good look at your co-supporters, and think hard about whether you enjoy being associated with them.

I really don't care about them. I think Clinton's supporting sounder policies. It's not a club. That, by the way, is a pretty good example of the association logical fallacy.

I'm looking forward to voting for Obama. I think he's weaker on policy than Clinton but that doesn't mean I don't like him or even substantially disagree with him. But so many of his supporters are so incredibly alienating -- insulting, sexist, offensive, and cheap -- and sometimes it's a little difficult to separate them from their candidate. But I do, and you might think about doing the same for Clinton.

Melinda, you'll notice that I didn't say anything about Clinton supporters being low-information voters, or rubes. I said that I've seen many Clinton supporters in working-class environments, and implied - and here state explicitly - that I've heard a fair number of them mention about not using computers much or at all. You wouldn't know this without searching out my posting history here and elsewhere, but it's not uncommon for me to rant about the blogosphere's cultural blind spots, including the temptation to treat computer literacy as a mark of virtue. It's not a mistake I make very often - I think that a lot of people who simply pay attention to the world around them, including their own experience, are likely smarter and certainly wiser than a lot of information junkies, and in the early months of the primary, before her policy stances and campaign practices alienated me so thoroughly, I spent a fair amount of time explaining why I thought people supporting Clinton often had good reasons for it. I do so occasionally still, though my heart's not in it anymore.

Sure, Jon H, and I'd like to point out that some Obama supporters are elitist sexist douches.

You may not be, but many of them are.

Sorry, but them's the breaks. Take a good look at your co-supporters, and think hard about whether you enjoy being associated with them.

Can we just stipulate that any large group of people, like Clinton supporters, Obama supporters, and McCain supporters, will have some jerks among their number?

If so, can we then decide both that it would be not just nuts, but actually impossible, to vote for the candidate without nutty supporters?

And also that comity requires making sure that we distinguish the nutty from the non-nutty ones, across the board?

Here's hoping...

"Sure, Jon H, and I'd like to point out that some Obama supporters are elitist sexist douches."

I wonder how you separate sexism from simple dislike of Hillary which she has earned through her behavior.

Often, it might be expressed in sexist ways, but the animus is not because she's a woman.

"and think hard about whether you enjoy being associated with them."

We've behaved vastly better than the nutjobs among the Clinton supporters.

Bruce, I know plenty of middle-income and higher people who don't use computers. I also know plenty of working class people (farmers, people in the trades) who do. Really, be careful about this kind of stuff.

Melinda wrote: " I think Clinton's supporting sounder policies. "

But does she really support them? She once said she supported stripping MI and FL of delegates.

Melinda, are you noticing what I'm actually writing? I'm talking about what I hear people saying in my immediate vicinity, and describing the circumstances. I have seen people saying the things it looks to me like you're reacting to, but I'm not them.

Well, Jon H, sexism is a pervasive problem in our society, as is racism. When a person uses sexist language to insult a person it does make sense to imagine that sexism may in fact be a factor in this person's thinking. Similarly, when insults a person using racial insults, it just might indicate that that person just might harbor some racists thoughts. I'm just putting the idea out there. Sounds far out, I guess, but I think it just might be worth thinking about.

As for a qualitative comparison of Obama and Clinton supporters, I submit to you that you might be just a wee bit biased. I personally have no favorite for the Democratic nomination, and I have been disappointed by both sides. I have seen insane bitterness from both sides distract us from the real fight. I hope the bitterness will fade in the end, but that depends on the actions of the winners, as well as those of the losers.

But so many of his supporters are so incredibly alienating -- insulting, sexist, offensive, and cheap -- and sometimes it's a little difficult to separate them from their candidate. But I do, and you might think about doing the same for Clinton.

I might if she wasn't so insulting, sexist ("I deserve to win just because I'm a woman, dammit!"), offensive and cheap. She is the embodyment of her supporters.

====================

sexism is a pervasive problem in our society

Therefore, HRC deserves to win, By Any Means Necessary. That, my friend, is sexist twaddle.

=====================

As for a qualitative comparison of Obama and Clinton supporters, I submit to you that you might be just a wee bit biased.

Observe the behaviour of the Clinton supporters and the Obama supporters over the past day. Would you care for a side-by-side comparison?

===================

Melinda and Allienne, Clinton is a liar and a cheat. There's no two ways around that. Why on earth would you support someone like that. Not just because "sexism is a pervasive problem in our society", I hope.

Jeff, I want you to look over your last post, and reflect. Do you really believe your argument is accurate and fair? If so, I hold you up as an example of an insane Obama supporter. If not, then I forgive you.

Melinda wrote: " I think Clinton's supporting sounder policies. "

Then argue that. PLEASE.

Do you really believe your argument is accurate and fair? If so, I hold you up as an example of an insane Obama supporter.

That's getting personal and against site policies.

I'd feel better if you could support your argument better.

I'm not, to be honest, at all sure that there is an argument in favor of Clinton's other policies that would override her continued support of the occupation of Iraq and her thoroughly incompetent, loyalty-favoring, competence-ignoring, contingency-ignoring style of management. I say this in a spirit of fairness; I sometimes ask others what it would take to persuade them of this or that, or if in fact they're not really open to persuasion, and I hold myself to the same standard. But I'm also not sure I'm not open to such an argument. Keeping in mind that I'm willing to explain why I think individual mandates are actually a step backward in health care, I would be interested in hearing what it is about Clinton's stances on administrative secrecy, torture, the environment, disability issues, and the like (to grab some important to me) that make her superior to Obama. I may have missed the obvious - it wouldn't be the first time.

I disagree. The specific argument I was responding to was the idea that Obama's nutjobs aren't as bad as Clinton's nutjobs. I believe that Jeff's argument showed that he hadn't even read my post, and that to him it is reasonable to take sentences out of context, and then add things I didn't say in quotes. I would call this kind of unhinged dishonesty insane, but okay, let's just call it unhinged bitterness.

" I would call this kind of unhinged dishonesty insane, "

You haven't read the ravings and conspiracy theories at NoQuarter or HillaryIs44, have you?

That's the standard for supporter insanity, I think.

My god, this is tiresome. Look, if you all want to believe that Obama supporters are inherently superior, fine. Enjoy it. Hate the other half of the Democratic party. Have fun.

For myself, I just will have to wait for the nomination process to end, and hope I can forget that so many of my allies really aren't that different intellectually from my opponents. It is a disappointment, but as a non-Republican I am used to that.

Allienne and Melinda,

I know we're all very agitated right now because of the sheer perpetuity of this primary, but I think the ObWi comment boards are a very welcoming place, and people who step out of lines are usually put in their place by Hilzoy.

So I really want to know. On what issues is Hillary better? Since her post-February populist reinvention she has advocated for both a pandering gas tax policy and
obliteration of Iran. How are these good policies?

Dishonest. Clinton didn't "advocate" the obliteration of Iran. Again, I'm not a Clinton supporter. I am a truth supporter. I am a reality supporter. Why is it necessary to be dishonest? I just don't get it.

My god, this is tiresome.

Yes, it is. How about more issues oriented discussion? Please?

Consider everyone put in their place.

None of us has anything like exhaustive knowledge of "Clinton supporters", "Obama supporters", and their comparative loathesomeness. We just don't. Moreover, it doesn't really matter whose supporters are worse. At least, not for any important issue I can think of.

We might as well just acknowledge that in all likelihood, our own side has some utter nutjobs, and get on with dealing with everyone else in a spirit of good will.

I should have put a smiley after "put in their place"... I meant it in a smiley way.

hilzoy @ 9:43 is what I'm talking about.

one of the many reasons ObWi remains my favorite blog...

"When a person uses sexist language to insult a person it does make sense to imagine that sexism may in fact be a factor in this person's thinking."

Maybe. But since most Obama supporters seem to have no problem with Obama picking a woman who isn't Hillary to be his VP, this seems like a flawed conclusion. And many Obama supporters wouldn't even mind Clinton.

I give claims of sexism more credence if they refer to events that happened last year. By now, it's pretty likely that it's mostly motivated by Hillary behaving like an asshole for the last several months.

My last word on the topic, just to Jon H,

I think that even last year there were good reasons to oppose a Clinton candidacy including, her AUMF vote, her refusal to admit is was a mistake, her sponsoring of the flag burning amendment, and her weird hearings on video-game violence. None of these reasons are rooted in sexism.

I'd like to point out one thing: even if Clinton supporters were inherently more virtuous and wise than Obama supporters, we should expect to see a lot more Clinton supporters acting like jerks now because Clinton is losing. That makes people feel angry and powerless, and some of those supporters who are either not terribly well inform (and let's face it, most Americans are not) or who have poured all their hatred and enmity onto Obama are going to react like jerks. So, even if one did empirical research and concluded that Clinton supporters are far more likely to act like jerks now, that doesn't tell us anything about the intrinsic nature of Clinton versus Obama supporters. Of course, I tend to think that its extremely hard to even do the comparison given sampling issues and selection bias. In other words: Jeff and Jon H, you're not helping. Please stop.

The real problem here isn't that some Clinton supporters are acting nutty; in a large group of people backing the losing candidate, that's inevitable and it has absolutely nothing to do with Clinton or her supporters. The real problem is that Clinton has been deceiving her supporters by encouraging them to believe that the nomination was "stolen" from her. That behavior suggests that either Clinton can't accept unpleasant truths or that she's unethical. But I can't blame most of her supporters for believing that she's telling them the truth.

Okay, Jon H, but just out of curiousity, if blatantly sexist language isn't a sufficient indicator of sexism, what exactly is? Also, your "many", "most", "mostly" thing obscures the simple point I was trying to make which was that both sides have supporters the majority probably don't agree with, and it is silly to attack the candidate for the words and actions of any particular supporter.

Basically, hate Clinton for Clinton, if hate her you must. Hate the specific Clinton supporters who warrant it, I know I do. But don't hate half the party because they disagree with your choice for candidate. Instead, hate the Republicans for their choice. Hate them with the red hot passion of a thousand suns. Hate them for what they have brought upon us, and the world, and for what they wish to bring upon us all. All I'm saying is, give hate a chance.

br wrote: "I think that even last year there were good reasons to oppose a Clinton candidacy including, her AUMF vote, her refusal to admit is was a mistake, her sponsoring of the flag burning amendment, and her weird hearings on video-game violence. None of these reasons are rooted in sexism."

Oh, I agree. I just mean that the use of sexist terms of abuse last year were more likely to be indicative of actual generalized sexism. Now, it's more likely to be because she's been a jerk.

When a person uses sexist language to insult a person it does make sense to imagine that sexism may in fact be a factor in this person's thinking.

Allienne,

Um, maybe I missed something, but who exactly used sexist language? You've made several comments containing that claim and I can't see what you're referring to. It often helps to include the quote that you're responding to in your comment, as I've done above.

Well, Turbulance, Jon H admitted that animosity towards Clinton might be expressed in sexist language, but that this did not necessarily imply that the animosity was generated by sexism. So, the "Fatal Attraction", "Beat the Bitch", stuff that has certainly not been hard to locate on the internet and TV is what I assumed he was referencing.

Allienne,

Thanks for the explanation. That makes your comments come together for me.

Just out of curiosity, is there any empirical reason to believe that sexist remarks played a significant role in Clinton's failure to secure the nomination? I mean, given that sexism is competing with her general managerial incompetence, her Iraq/Iran war issues, her failure to plan for a post-super tuesday campaign, and her failure to effectively tap small donor networks, why should we assume that sexism was more of a problem than any of those other issues?

Of course sexism is reprehensible and should be stomped down whenever it appears. However, there are people who talk about McCain getting brainwashed by the Vietcong and Obama being a Muslim sleeper agent, so it seems that some people will deploy insane attacks against any candidate no matter what.

is there any empirical reason to believe that sexist remarks played a significant role in Clinton's failure to secure the nomination? I mean, given that sexism is competing with her general managerial incompetence, her Iraq/Iran war issues, her failure to plan for a post-super tuesday campaign, and her failure to effectively tap small donor networks, why should we assume that sexism was more of a problem than any of those other issues?

If it is playing a significant role, where is it doing so among the various segments of the population? Certainly not among older people and older women, which is her strength. And I'd be hesitant to pinpoint it among the younger and more educated voters without a lot of support...

Well, Turbulence, as I am sure you realize, it is extremely difficult to say to what degree sexism affects behavior in any particular case. I am not aware of any convincing evidence that sexism has resulted in a loss of support for Clinton, and I have nowhere argued that such is the case. However, I think it very likely that some men and women do not feel that a woman could be a good POTUS, just as some people will not believe a black man, or an atheist, or an S/M practitioner would be a good POTUS. People have their prejudices.

I brought in sexism originally to mock Jon H's statement that "many" Clinton supporters are "low-information racist rubes"(7:29 above). It was a simple replacement to suggest that similar tactics could be used just as fairly against Obama supporters.

I honestly don't see how anyone could imagine that Clinton has not suffered from sexism, just as I can't imagine anyone could argue that racism has not been damaging to Obama.

Alliene wrote: " So, the "Fatal Attraction", "Beat the Bitch", stuff that has certainly not been hard to locate on the internet and TV is what I assumed he was referencing."

The 'Fatal Attraction' thing seems fairly weak as a case of sexism. There are plenty of movies with the genders reversed and a male psycho stalker. It's fairly natural for people to use a prominent example with a female antagonist who is an overpersistent suitor who has worn out her welcome. That said, if the roles were reversed, and Obama were persisting despite a victory having been unlikely since March, they might well be comparing *him* to Glenn Close.

I'm sorry the comparison is unflattering to Senator Clinton, but she's the one who chose the strategy and the rhetoric and the tone to use.

"Beat the Bitch" is pretty ugly, but wasn't it a woman who asked McCain about how he was going to do it? Would it be used if the candidate was Kathleen Sebelius, rather than Hillary Clinton? I seriously doubt it. I think there's a lot of animus there that is specific to Clinton.

For the record: Here is my cut-n-paste reply to every lefty charge of sexism/racism against the right for the rest of my life:

2008 Democratic Primary

You can’t buy this stuff, even on “Pay per View”… Heck – if it comes down to a floor fight they could put it on Pay per View and reduce the deficit from the proceeds…

I brought in sexism originally to mock Jon H's statement that "many" Clinton supporters are "low-information racist rubes"(7:29 above). It was a simple replacement to suggest that similar tactics could be used just as fairly against Obama supporters.

Given the polling data on Clinton voters in recent days, why should that be mocked? That's an accurate description of those voters in those states. Shouldn't the impulse be to show how you're not like those voters, and not to lash out?

"I brought in sexism originally to mock Jon H's statement that "many" Clinton supporters are "low-information racist rubes"(7:29 above). It was a simple replacement to suggest that similar tactics could be used just as fairly against Obama supporters."

'Many' has the nice property that a quantity of people can qualify as 'many' while being a small portion of the whole. Given the on-the-record comments of Hillary supporters, and the way that more Hillary supporters say they wouldn't vote for Obama than the reverse, it seems reasonable to say that there are enough low-information racist rubes among Hillary's supporters to qualify as 'many' even if they're only 10% of the total.

"I honestly don't see how anyone could imagine that Clinton has not suffered from sexism, just as I can't imagine anyone could argue that racism has not been damaging to Obama."

I don't think she's been substantively harmed by sexism in the Primary. She'd probably get more of it in the General. But considering how many Obama voters would vote for Hillary, and would support Hillary or another woman as VP, I can't see sexism as having made a material difference to her campaign in the Primary.

The lack of sexist rumors about Hillary has certainly been a plus for her, when Obama's been dealing with persistent rumors about his nationality, his race, his religion, etc.

It's not like anyone's felt the need to post a pro-Hillary website that is the anti-sexism equivalent of IsBarackObamaAMuslim.com

It was a simple replacement to suggest that similar tactics could be used just as fairly against Obama supporters.

I'm sure there are some Obama supporters that are incredibly sexist. However, I don't think I've seen a state carried by Obama that had as much conscious blatant sexism displayed as WV showcased racism. I could be wrong, but I think that might be what Jon was referring to.

In any event, Clinton has done particularly well with low-information voters. I don't think that's something we can really argue about.

I honestly don't see how anyone could imagine that Clinton has not suffered from sexism, just as I can't imagine anyone could argue that racism has not been damaging to Obama.

She certainly has suffered from sexism. But she's also a member of the most powerful club on earth and has a hundred million dollars sitting in the bank. And she's done more than enough things wrong to explain losing the nomination, so I don't really see why I should care overmuch about what role sexism played in denying her the nomination.


OCSteve: Yeah, you're right. Democrats were a lot more vicious this year choosing between their female and African American candidates than the republicans were choosing among thei...oh, wait. I'm sorry, were you trying to make a point or were you just going to embarrass yourself? ;-)

But hey, on the bright side, I'm sure African American approval for Bush has climbed above 2% by now...well, maybe not.

I'm sorry, Jon H, I was writing you a reply, but it was really boring. Look, can you just look at hilzoy's last comment. That is really the only point I was trying to make. I didn't come here to argue sexism, racism, or even policy points. I only posted because you annoyed me by suggesting that because some of Clinton's supporters are nutjobs, no one should be associated with Clinton. I am offended by the behavior of both sides because they use dishonest tactics, and distract from the more important threat. I'm also a bit concerned that the Obama supporters are expecting a bit much from their candidate, and I'm afraid they will abandon him when he turns out to be an imperfect politician. I'll still support him, just as I would support Clinton. I don't like either of them, but the alternative is worse. That is what American politics is all about.

Turb: oh, wait. I'm sorry, were you trying to make a point or were you just going to embarrass yourself?

Well, we all know I have no problem embarrassing myself. At the same time, I’ll be hanging back here keeping score - how many minorities/women will Obama have in his cabinet? How many important positions will he fill with minorities/women? Will he do better than Bush? Hmm.

Do you really want to make the case that Democrats have not seriously embarrassed themselves on the issues of race and sexism in this primary?

I can see what you all must have been arguing againt for a while, because no matter what I write I am always somehow saying that Clinton is losing because of sexism. Well, have fun arguing against that. I'll see you all later, well, actually I probably won't.

Oh, and Steve, it is to the credit of Democrats that sexism and racism is an issue to us. For Republicans it is a standard tactic.

How many important positions will he fill with minorities/women? Will he do better than Bush? Hmm.

I do wonder if Obama will be able to bring people as talented as Condi Rice and Colin Powell. Those two were stunningly brilliant. Birth pangs indeed. I suppose that when one starts their military career by whitewashing My Lai, there is nowhere to go but up in Bush's administration.

In other words, Bush doesn't get points for appointing spectacularly incompetent and unethical women and minorities. Then again, given that Bush structured his administration so that Rice and Powell were systematically locked out of power, I'm not sure its fair to give him any credit on that score. At the end of the day, the only people who had actual authority in his administration were still old white guys like Cheney and Rumsfeld. One more thing: Bush brought about the deaths of a quarter million women and half a million brown people for no reason. He also replaced a secular republic with an Islamist theocracy that has severely curtailed women's rights. In my book, those count as black marks on racism and sexism, but YMMV.

More seriously, what point are you trying to make here? Are you suggesting that Obama won't have enough minorities on his cabinet? That he'll systemically discriminate against women when it comes to appointing people? What? Do you really believe that Obama himself is a racist or a sexist? Or do you think that Clinton has so enraged him that he'll take it out on all women in general?

Do you really want to make the case that Democrats have not seriously embarrassed themselves on the issues of race and sexism in this primary?

Yes, yes I do. It makes zero sense to talk about people embarrassing themselves except in relative terms. So who are you comparing Democrats' behavior to? Republicans? Americans in general? Human beings? The truth is that lots of people, not just in the US but all over the world are racist or sexist. And that includes a fair number of Democrats. Being in the Dem party isn't about racial and gender perfection or only associating with non-sexist non-racist people; its about recognizing that racism and sexism are real and trying to find ways to address those problems as a society.

There are tens of millions of Democrats in this country. Can you name for me even one group of people in the US that is as large as the Democratic party and as a group, is less sexist or less racist? Just one? Surely you can find one, right?

Turb: (a) I don't think Powell is incompetent. I think he should have resigned over Iraq, but he's not incompetent.

(b) OCSteve made the (true) claim that some Democrats have embarrassed themselves by revealing themselves to be racists and/or sexists. You made the (true) claim that Republicans escaped this embarrassment by running white guys. These two are not in conflict, since it's not a contest.

(c) I don't see why Steve has to answer for the sins of the GOP, since last I heard, he wasn't a member of it.

nah, OCSteve's 100% right.

the Dems, to their credit, can now say they've given either a woman and a black man as much of a chance to make it to the top as either party in the US ever has. but too many of the rank-n-file the Dems have proven unquestionably that they are as racist as anyone could've imagined supporters of any party could be.

personally, i don't see the sexism in the base (though i can see it in the media, esp. clowns like Matthews). i know the most vocal of the Clinton supporters see it everywhere, in everything anyone does that isn't explicitly pro-Hillary - but they're also innumerate, illogical, disingenuous, hypocritical and frankly, fncking crazy; so i pay their arguments no heed. but the racism is front and center in the Dem base. and to her eternal shame (i hope) Clinton is banking on it.

it's terribly embarrassing to me that people like that call themselves Democrats. and, though the country will suffer their decision, i'm a little happy that they've declared that they'll go with McCain instead of a Obama - get them out of the party for good. i hope they leave and never come back. as far as i'm concerned, the Republicans can have Appalachia and the rest of the racist scum. so here, GOP: take them. enjoy them.

choke on them.

I don't think Powell is incompetent. I think he should have resigned over Iraq, but he's not incompetent.

Getting consistently outmaneuvered by Cheney and Rumsfeld doesn't speak to one's competence I would think. Nor does signing up to join Bush's administration. Nor does blowing off INR in favor Chalabi and Curveball based intelligence when speaking before the UN. Nor, for that matter, was deciding to lay your credibility on the line for an administration that was hellbent on invading Iraq no matter what; I mean, Powell had front row seats when it came to understanding that the Bush administration was neither honest nor smart by that point. But opinions can certainly differ.

OCSteve made the (true) claim that some Democrats have embarrassed themselves by revealing themselves to be racists and/or sexists.

He did? I don't recall seeing that claim. Can you quote what you're referring to please? In any event, the notion that some of the tens of millions of Democrats in this country might be racist or sexist strikes me as something so trivially obvious that no one as smart as OCSteve would waste our time by repeating. And given that he spoke about the 2008 nomination process in terms of a defense against accusations regarding conservative racism and sexism, I don't think that your interpretation makes sense. I mean, arguing against the existence of individual racists or sexists among Democratic party members has no relationship with the existence of institutionalized racism and sexism amongst conservative groups.

I don't see why Steve has to answer for the sins of the GOP, since last I heard, he wasn't a member of it.

I don't know what you're referring to here. I don't think I asked him to answer for anyone's sins. What exactly are you talking about?

I haven't read all the comments on this thread, and I haven't had a chance to write up anything from my RBC observation today. At this point, I'll just say that the woman in this video was sitting behind me when I came back from lunch and is a large part of the reason I didn't stick around for the rest of the proceedings.

The specific argument I was responding to was the idea that Obama's nutjobs aren't as bad as Clinton's nutjobs.

I'd like to expand on the point Turbulence made. Clinton's supporters have spent the last three months insisting that she could win the nomination, when her chances of winning have moved steadily from unlikely to very unlikely to extremely unlikely to damn near impossible. Obama's supporters, OTOH, have spent the last three months insisting that he is winning the nomination race, which he is.

That being the case, Clinton's nutjobs may not be worse than Obama's nutjobs, but they are certainly more prominent. At this point, anyone who thinks that she can still win the nomination is pretty much a nutjob by definition.

Turb: I was mostly reacting to this:

"Can you name for me even one group of people in the US that is as large as the Democratic party and as a group, is less sexist or less racist? Just one? Surely you can find one, right?"

pox on both houses

is
the
perennial
phrase
of
the
losing,
and lazy
partisan

hilzoy,

I'm sorry to bother you but I'm feeling particularly thick today with a head cold that won't quit and I don't understand what you're talking about. Was your last comment regarding your point (b) or point (c)?

Assuming it was (c), I really don't see how I asked OCSteve to defend the Republican party. The point I was trying to make in that quote was that ANY large group of people in the US is going to have some sexists and racists in it because sexism and racism are very prevalent in our society. Moreover, I think that any group as large as the Dem party (tens of millions of Americans) is going to have lots of sexists and racists because the group is a physically and organizationally realizable group: it is not a theoretical abstraction such as "the top 30 million Americans who are less sexist and racist than other Americans".

I was responding to OCSteve's comment wherein he said:
"Do you really want to make the case that Democrats have not seriously embarrassed themselves on the issues of race and sexism in this primary?" which I took to be implying that the Democrats as a group have seriously embarrassed themselves on racism and sexism. Now, I know for a fact that OCSteve would (rightly IMHO) take umbrage at the statement that "the US military has seriously embarrassed itself because of a rape in Okinawa". I think he'd point out that any large group of people is going to contain some criminal and that you can't judge the whole by the actions of a few. Consequently, I've assumed that OCSteve was making a statement about Democrats as a group rather than a few bad apples. Insofar as he's done that, I think it is fair to ask him what other comparable groups of people (comparable in size and geographic distribution -- by no means limited to political parties) have behaved in a better fashion. For example, the Catholic Church would be one comparable group.

Did I just horribly misread your concerns and respond to an issue you have no interest in?

"I'd like to point out that you forgot to add that Clinton voters are low-information racist rubes."

This seems to be a groundless remark, unless you can link to a past comment of Bruce Baugh's in which he's written something remotely similarly insulting about "Clinton voters." Cite?

What Bruce did write was that "a lot of Clinton's supporters aren't computer literate."

Unless one has an idiosyncratic definition of "a lot," this seems indisuptable. Similarly, a lot of Barack Obama's supporters aren't computer literate, a lot of John McCain's supporters aren't computer literate, a lot of John Edwards' supporters aren't computer literate, a lot of Dennis Kucinich supporters aren't computer literate, a lot of Americans aren't computer literate, and so on.

"But so many of his supporters are so incredibly alienating -- insulting, sexist, offensive, and cheap -- and sometimes it's a little difficult to separate them from their candidate. But I do, and you might think about doing the same for Clinton."

I might if she wasn't so insulting, sexist ("I deserve to win just because I'm a woman, dammit!"), offensive and cheap.

Yes, it's always easy to find a justification for being rude and insulting. "She started it" works so well for 7-year-olds.

And the resulting conversations, once it turns into an insult exchange, are so enlightening and profitable.

"Look, if you all want to believe"

Please don't generalize: cite and link to the comments and people you wish to address. "You all" either assumes there is a vast conspiracy against the writer, or it slurs a group of people unfairly. Address individuals. Thanks.

And could people drop the inane arguments about unanswerable points? There are plenty of insane and ignorant Americans, and humans. This includes supporters and opponents of every politician in America. That's all that can be said about that topic. Unless someone has a statistic survey, or study, or other set of uncontrovertible facts to cite, making vague generalized accusations is the way a sixth-grader argues. Can people please grow up?

Thanks.

The amount of signal to noise in this thread has not been impressive so far; I'd like to think folks who show up here can do better.

"I don't think she's been substantively harmed by sexism in the Primary."

You mean "in the nomination process," or "in the fight for the nomination." Primaries and caucuses are events singular to individual states. There is no "the Primary" in the American electoral system.

"I can see what you all must have been arguing againt for a while, because no matter what I write I am always somehow saying that Clinton is losing because of sexism."

Whom are you addressing? Specifically?

"I'll see you all later, well, actually I probably won't."

Why? Most folks haven't had a chance to comment on this thread yet. If you're annoyed with an individual, be annoyed with an individual. Otherwise, why wouldn't it make equal sense for me to scold you because of something, oh, Jeff said?

Turb: possibly I just misread.

Allienne Goddard: …it is to the credit of Democrats that sexism and racism is an issue to us. For Republicans it is a standard tactic.

Well, yes. … But you guys are supposed to better about this kind of thing. Have you been in this primary?


Turb: More seriously, what point are you trying to make here? Are you suggesting that Obama won't have enough minorities on his cabinet? That he'll systemically discriminate against women when it comes to appointing people? What?

I think that Obama won’t actually be able to do squat once he takes the oath of office. I’ll just be watching though, to see if he does better than Bush in this area. I think that will be tough. We’ll see. I stand ready to be proven wrong. I hope I am. Really though, it will suck if he can’t do at least as well as Bush, no?

So who are you comparing Democrats' behavior to?

Democrats - the ones who are supposed to be above all this. You know, it’s us GOP folks who are racist/sexist. You guys have gotten beyond all that. You’re ah, post-racism and post-sexism. Or so we thought… Seriously dude – do you really want to argue that Democrats are in the clear on this?

I suppose I am having a “John Cole” moment. Slowly, over time, I came to realize that the GOP sucks. So I looked at the Democrats… They suck as well. Now what?

Sorry Turb. This is really all emotion and not logic. I’m mad as hell and it spills out everywhere. You don’t deserve crap from me – you’re a good guy. You are one of the best. I guess I take out my frustrations on you folks who will tolerate me. That is wrong, but I’m so god-damned angry. And sorry. And angry. And just f’n mad as hell. And sorry. And mad as hell.

This is really all emotion and not logic. I’m mad as hell and it spills out everywhere. You don’t deserve crap from me – you’re a good guy. You are one of the best. I guess I take out my frustrations on you folks who will tolerate me. That is wrong, but I’m so god-damned angry. And sorry. And angry. And just f’n mad as hell. And sorry. And mad as hell.

Personally, I take this as encouragement to keep our own house in order and to strive to be better than what we are. Any failure is magnified by not attempting to improve.

I think that Obama won’t actually be able to do squat once he takes the oath of office. I’ll just be watching though, to see if he does better than Bush in this area. I think that will be tough. We’ll see. I stand ready to be proven wrong. I hope I am.

Not sure if I follow you here. I do worry a bit about whether Obama will be able to meet expectations (what happens if he wins by a much smaller margin than expected?) and whether the Dems will make as much progress in Congress as expected and whether the Dem Congress will be sufficiently cooperative to get things done. All those things weigh on my mind at times, but worrying doesn't help.

Really though, it will suck if he can’t do at least as well as Bush, no?

That would indeed suck. On the other hand, sometimes not doing stuff is good, especially if the stuff is really bad, such as bombing Iran and thereby causing our Shiite allies to completely choke our supply lines from Kuwait.


Democrats - the ones who are supposed to be above all this. You know, it’s us GOP folks who are racist/sexist. You guys have gotten beyond all that. You’re ah, post-racism and post-sexism. Or so we thought…

Looking back, it seems like I must have failed in previous conversations to distinguish between the Republican party as a racist/sexist institution versus all Republican voters as racist/sexist people. Ironically, thinking about how to avoid pissing off the moderate Clinton supporters has clarified this issue for me. I think that the racists and sexists are disproportionately drawn to the Republican Party and the Party as an institution has institutionalized some of that racism/sexism. However, I know there are plenty of racists and sexists among Democrats and there are plenty of non-racist/sexist folk among Republican voters. I should have made that clear in the past. My bad, and my apologies.

Seriously dude – do you really want to argue that Democrats are in the clear on this?

Like I said, it is all relative. I think they've done pretty well for a bunch of Americans and for a bunch of human beings, but I've got a pretty low opinion of both of those groups. In all honesty, I really have been shocked at how many people have not just supported but become genuinely excited about Obama and Clinton. We still suck though.

I suppose I am having a “John Cole” moment. Slowly, over time, I came to realize that the GOP sucks. So I looked at the Democrats… They suck as well. Now what?

Ah, I'm starting to understand much better where you're coming from. Many thanks for this comment, it really was a quantum leap in understanding why you've (and a larger group of people for which I think you're the most sane representative) have been strangely hating on Dems lately.

I feel for you. I really do. People like me have it easier because we've been hating on the Democrats from the left for a looong time so we're all about "the lessor of two evils" rather than "choose the good". I don't write much about that especially these past few years because I see the Republican Party as so much worse, but there are all sorts of things I hate about the Democratic Party. Some it is policy (hi intellectual property and Israel), some of it is people (I'm looking at you Mark Penn and the DLC), and some of it is (borderline) crooked machine politics.

This will likely be unhelpful, but our politics suck because we suck, and its not just us Americans but people all over the world. You were in Germany which has pretty effective government: didn't you ever spend time with Germans complaining about how much their government sucked? The truth is that America is a huge country with a great deal more diversity than most other countries. That makes government a lot harder because consensus is a lot harder because we're hard wired to resent and distrust people different from us.

Sorry Turb. This is really all emotion and not logic. I’m mad as hell and it spills out everywhere. You don’t deserve crap from me – you’re a good guy.

Nah, I'm sure I've done something to deserve a beat-down, so you should relax and send an invoice to karma with you billable hours. Heck, call my wife and ask her: she's got a list of horrible things I've done recently that justify a good beat-down.

I guess I take out my frustrations on you folks who will tolerate me. That is wrong, but I’m so god-damned angry. And sorry. And angry. And just f’n mad as hell. And sorry. And mad as hell.

No worries dude. We all get angry. This is rather important stuff after all and our politics really are a bad joke sometimes.

"I suppose I am having a “John Cole” moment. Slowly, over time, I came to realize that the GOP sucks. So I looked at the Democrats… They suck as well. Now what?

I agree that the Democrats suck as well. The racism/sexism thing is just people - there are too many racists and sexists in both parties. The Democrats, to their credit, have done a decent job by not supporting policies that would attract people with those sorts of views.

Also, the "political machine" thing is just politics. Every party is going to suffer from that, and all you can do is minimize it.

I think the real reason the Democratic party sucks is that the party as a whole does not know (or is unable to express) the principles upon which its various policy positions are founded. And in the rare case when it does know, it is unwilling to acknowledge those principles because they sound too wussy.

When my oldest daughter was an infant, my wife went back to work, and I cut my work hours in half to stay home with her. I was taken completely by surprise when I was teased about it (mostly by people I didn't know very well). The most frequent comment had to do with me being a "Mr. Mom". The Democratic party is like that. They need to get over the fact that people are going to call them Mr. Mom.

That's nicely put, David. I like, and agree.

Dear Hilzoy: I hope you are well.

I have wondered about Hillary Clinton's curious behavior. Doesn't she realize her sore loser behavior is not only putting the final nails in her coffin this year, but also for the future? That is, by refusing to admit with sense and dignity that she has lost, she is spoiling her chances of another try in 2012.

I'm reminded of Al Gore in 2000. If he had conceded defeat like a gentleman, he might well have gotten another try in 2004. Instead his sore loser tactics merely discredited him forever as a Presidential candidate. The same fate is likely to be what Hillary Clinton faces.

Not that Barack Obama is any better. What with being a member of a racist church with Jeremiah Wright as pastor for TWWENTY years, he is DEEPLY suspect by me of being a racist himself. And his shady Chicago connections also makes me skeptical of him.

There are so many reasons why I don't like Obama. His dishonesty, his former church and Jeremiah Wright, his liberalism, his 100 percent NARAL rating, and so on.

I'm VERY glad I plan to vote for Senator McCain.

Sincerely, Sean

"Have you been in this primary?"

No. I was elected to the county convention from my precinct caucus, and from there to my Congressional District convention, and the Colorado State Convention. At no time have I participated in a primary.

Same goes for 1980, and 1984, when I was "in" the Washington State caucus, was elected to the county convention as a delegate, etc.

"Democrats - the ones who are supposed to be above all this. You know, it’s us GOP folks who are racist/sexist. You guys have gotten beyond all that. You’re ah, post-racism and post-sexism."

OCSteve, I can only speak for myself, and for myself, this is pretty annoying. I'm one of "you guys," and unless you can provide a link to me making such a statement or claim, I'll ask you to withdraw your assertion that I've ever said or written any such thing at any time in my life, ever.

Alternatively, provide cites to anyone in this thread who has written such a thing here.

Alternatively, provice cites to anyone in this thread who has ever written such a thing, anywhere.

If you can't substantiate any of your claims along these lines, please don't make them: is that a fair request?

Thanks.

"I'm reminded of Al Gore in 2000. If he had conceded defeat like a gentleman, he might well have gotten another try in 2004. Instead his sore loser tactics merely discredited him forever as a Presidential candidate."

Sean, what, exactly, is it that Al Gore did that was a "sore loser tactic" that the other candidate didn't engage in? Cite?

"I'm VERY glad I plan to vote for Senator McCain."

Would you be interested in a detailed statement from me as to how I feel about various things that run through my mind right now? No? Would you be interested in my writing about my feelings about Senator McCain?

Why is it that people are suddenly putting for statements about their emotional state? Are we supposed to be debating people's emotional states? Is it useful fodder for a productive discussion?

Speaking of trying to have a productive conversation, how about responding to this? I'm losing track, absent checking, if this makes the third or fourth time I've asked, so help me out here by please responding, rather than posting more bulletins about how you feel about things. Thanks muchly!

How is your recovery from surgery coming, by the way? Well, I hope?

Sean M. Brooks, when you strew a flurry of innuendo about Obama and follow it with uncritical support of McCain, you make me doubt that you have ever objectively compared their records. If you're going to judge candidates based on guilt-by-association, why not turn some of that laser-like focus onto McCain? Just off the top of my head, an objective person might follow up on his lobbying connections.

McCain first came to national attention as a member of the Keating Five, and the reports during this primary season about his close relationships with lobbyists both in and off his staff suggest that l'affaire Keating merely taught him to mouth ethics principles better. A history of sucking up to illicit funding sources strikes me as somewhat more serious than where he goes to church. And association with people who are paid to influence people like John McCain regarding such matters as support for dictators and arms manufacturers strikes me as more significant than an association with some loudmouth pastor who sometimes says angry, stupid things. In short, why are you more concerned with Obama's friends' attitudes than with McCain's staff's actions?

Why not take an hour and scout around for some dirt on McCain with the same sort of skepticism you show towards Obama? I did exactly that with Obama before deciding to support him in this primary season.

Gary, I appreciate your passion for substantiation, but sometimes I think you deny the obvious merely as a strategic manuever in debate. I hope I am wrong about that.

I have heard Democrats all my life claim that Republicans are the modern party of racism and sexism, Democrats the party of fairness and tolerance. We point to the Republican "Southern Strategy," to their resistance to the Civil Rights Act and similar legislation, to the "old white male" look of the party leadership and elected officials, to the Federalist Society's contempt for Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade, etc.

It seems to me that there is no need for OCSteve to drag in hyperlinks for matters of common knowledge. Rather, the onus is on you to make a specific challenge. Saying that you personally never said that it not to the point, as he never said you did. In context, "you guys" clearly referred to Democrats as a group, not to every single Democrat.

"In context, "you guys" clearly referred to Democrats as a group, not to every single Democrat."

I'd first like to know who it is that reputely has been saying that no Democrats are or have ever been racist or sexist. I'm unaware of any remotely widespread such claims. But if I've missed that, I'd like to know.

Until that claim is substantiated, I'm uninterested in making more specific challenges.

I bring this up because the claim strikes me as made of straw.

Anyone who would, or who ever has, denied that there are plenty of Democrats who either at times engage in racist or sexist behavior or statements, or that are fairly labelable overall, to some degree, as "sexists" or "racists," would have to be some kind of flaming idiot, after all. So who are these masses of Democrats who have allegedly been making such claims?

Again, you are confusing groups as entities with groups as collections of individuals. Admittedly, OCSteve can be read as conflating the two, but I do not think that is the most reasonable way to view his comment. (he can speak for himself, of course).

I doubt anyone ever said all Democrats are free of racist or sexist views. In suggesting that either OCSteve or I said that, it is you who are presenting a straw man. Many people have said, however, that the Democratic Party is in favor of racial and sexual equality and is against racism and sexism. Indeed, IIRC, those are party platform points and have been for a long time. OCSteve said, in essence, that it is disappointing or startling to see so many members of the Party with those views acting racist or sexist. If you want to argue about that, please go ahead -- but leave the straw men alone.

Gary, in that same comment by OCSteve, he later explained that he was angry and sorry, hurt and confused. I think I've done a decent job of hounding him for substantiation, but now that he's admitted that he wrote that in anger after trying to reconcile his shattered dreams of Democratic party non-sucktitude, I don't see much point in further hounding. The guy is hurt and angry and trying to make a sense of a shifting set of facts and impressions. He's already apologized for making a bunch of statements. Why don't you cut him some slack?

It would have been great if he broke up his comment into a formal apology, but really, I think it was fair of him to expect you to read the whole comment and process the bits at the end.

I doubt anyone ever said all Democrats are free of racist or sexist views. In suggesting that either OCSteve or I said that, it is you who are presenting a straw man. Many people have said, however, that the Democratic Party is in favor of racial and sexual equality and is against racism and sexism. Indeed, IIRC, those are party platform points and have been for a long time. OCSteve said, in essence, that it is disappointing or startling to see so many members of the Party with those views acting racist or sexist.

My two cents:

I have no idea if this is what OCSteve meant by with his "John Cole moment" comment, but I can imagine that it would be a moment of terrible disillusionment to turn one's back on years of GOP anti-Democratic party rhetoric and decide to give the Dems a fresh look, and then have the worst of what this nomination contest has had to offer thrown in one's face.

That would really be wretched, in a way that those of us who have lived for years with low expectations for the Dems (balanced by even lower expectations for the GOP) on account of long experience fighting losing battles inside the party may have difficulty imagining, and should show some sympathy for.

If there is anyone out there going through this right now let me throw out a more hopeful thought: yes, on a great many issues the Democratic party advertises shining ideals while having feet of clay. That may seem like hypocrisy, and it is, but remember that hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue. In other words, it is a starting point, and the best that one can ask for when crooked timber is all we have to work with.

Look back at the history of our country - we have always fallen short of our ideals, and yet that has not been cause to despair, but cause for celebration. The story of the United States has been in part the story of unfulfilled promises which remain within the reach of future generations to approach more closely than we can.

Somehow we've found a way to stumble towards them, sometimes moving forward and sometimes not, but in the long run we do seem to find a way to get closer to them. That is called making progress, and believing in the possibility of making progress is why some of us choose to call ourselves progressives.

I think one can believe in that possibility and still be a conservative, if by that you mean someone who sees the obstacles as daunting, the progress slow and at times confusing, and feels that this is a journey which requires patience and prudence rather than an enthusiastic leap forward which might put at jeopardy that which we've already achieved.

So if our ideals exceed our reality, look on that as a good thing, and work towards them by whichever path best suits you. It is better than not having any ideals at all.

Dear That:

Just a correction, I have FAR lower expectations of liberal Democrats than I do for the GOP.

Sincerely, Sean

Dear Gary; Thank you for your note.

I'm SUPRISED you insist on me being specific on how Al Gore behaved as a sore loser in 2000. Because I THOUGHT everyone, deep down, knew he behaved exactly like that. Do I have to give a detailed recounting of the endless wrangling by Gore's team over the technicalities of voting machines? Or exactly how, in the numerous recounts in FL, the wranglings over hanging chads, or whether this ballot had a vote for Bush or Gore?

And, btw, Pres. Bush won ALL the recounts, no matter how narrowly. It was Gore's stubborn refusal to admit defeat when he WAS defeated and his attempts to lawyer his way into the White House which discredited him forever as a future candidate. If you insist, I will call that merely my opinion.

And why do you insist on me giving a detailed explanation of why I have a strong dislike for Teddy Kennedy? The man might well be dying, after all. So, I was willing to leave it at the level of simple dislike and disagreement.

But, if you insist, I will give two concrete examples of why I have a DEEP dislike for Kennedy: Chappaquiddick, and abortion.

I have GRAVE reservations about a man who drives his car off Dike's Road into the water, gets out, and then waits HOURS to inform the police about his "accident." If Kennedy had called for help IMMEDIATELY on getting back to shore, Mary Jo Kopechne might not have died.

If, as I suspect, you are a liberal, no discussion about abortion will be productive. We will not be able to agree on first principles.

Sincerely, Sean

PS. On a less tense note, I'm happy to say I was able to buy a near mint first edition hard cover of Poul Anderson's classic SF novel BRAIN WAVE. At a very REASONABLE price. Also, do you know an SF writer named Tim Powers? I sometimes talk to him in the AOL Catholic Chat room.


Dear That:

Just a correction, I have FAR lower expectations of liberal Democrats than I do for the GOP.

Sincerely, Sean

Sean,

It may surprise you (or not) to hear this, but that gladdens my heart. Not because I take it to mean that you have lower expectations of the Dems, but because I take it to mean that you have higher expectations of your chosen party the GOP. That is right and proper - we each should hold the group to which we belong to a higher standard than we do the opposition.

The GOP can use people like you (I mean that in a good way, without a trace of sarcasm), and the country can too. Your civility is greatly appreciated, and I hope it is matched in return.

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