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September 14, 2009


"There's no true 'Left' in America -- and there's never really been one."

Eugene V. Debs, Richard Wright, John Lewis, and Harry Bridges, among many others, are rolling over in their graves thanks to that remark.


The thing that annoys me the most about these "logically incoherent" protests is how much press they have received. Almost seven years ago the largest anti-war demonstration since Vietnam was held on the Mall with over 100,000 in attendance and the story was not even on the front page of the Washington Post but was pushed off to the Metro section.

If you listened to Obama's (and Clinton's) speeches at Walter Cronkite's memorial last Wednesday, the subtext was that our media is failing us, the press is doing a piss poor job of informing us. I know times have changed and all that but if we cannot trust the major media outlets to provide the facts on which we can base our arguments then we will be hard pressed to have a debate and will likely just talk past each other.

It is truly remarkable that Obama (and Clinton before him) can be so middle-of-the-road and fiscally conservative and yet so reviled by the right wing. While it is seemingly bizarre, I guess it does make some sense if your goal is to simply to push a rigidly conservative agenda to scream bloody murder over even the slightest liberal-leaning policy or pronouncement. But for the media to give these protests credence instead of pointing out that they really are nonsensical and guano crazy is disheartening to say the least.

"But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy! "

You talk about protesting against imaginary enemies, while approvingly citing a Dowd column in which she relates her auditory hallucinations as evidence of somebody else's racism?

Keep telling yourself the Obama-hate is not racist, Brett. It won't work out for you - or for the rest of us - but you just keep right on going, like you always do.

Keep telling yourself that it IS racist. I know you will, anyway.

and I actually think Maureen Dowd of all people made some good points on this today.

I think it's a no-brainer, except for the people who actually share Joe Wilson's views about a black President. Back in February, I read a blog post / comment thread in which a bunch of conservatives assured each other that some comment by Barack Obama (I think it was the "I won" remark to Republicans who wanted to continue 2008 economic policies) proved he was now "too big for his britches" and deserved to be given a smackdown.

There absolutely are a bunch of white people who really can't cope with the fact of a black man who is the President. That Joe Wilson - an admirer of Strom Thurmond - is one of those people, is not exactly surprising.

(On his twitterfeed, he was patting himself on the back for having 8500 people write in support. Even granted the ten for one rule - for every 10 people who care, 1 will write - that still suggests the vast majority of Americans are at least sufficiently non-racist enough to know that Joe Wilson is an asshole.)

"It's also frustrating to hear angry protests from people who would be outraged if we actually took government services away from them. The ironic aspect of the Tea Party movement is that it takes place within a widely-shared (if invisible) consensus that government should pay for lots of expensive stuff -- schools, retirement, massive military projects, and health insurance for senior citizens and poor people."

I'm sorry, but what evidence do you have of this, at all? You even contradict yourself in the middle of your statement by suggesting this consensus is "invisible." I guess you're the only one who can see it, huh?

I can imagine that many of the protesters voicing their discontent over health care reform, would also approve of reduced federal involvement in the education system, for example.

Keep telling yourself that it IS racist. I know you will, anyway.

The facts support that conclusion.

Decades after the Republicans sold their souls to the racists with the Southern Strategy, they are slowly losing all but the racists as their voters. If you don't like that the racism is there, complain to the racists, not the people who point out how full of racism the opposition to Obama is.

Not all opposition to Obama is racist, but there is a huge amount of racism in the opposition -- and too many of the other opponents of Obama appear to be perfectly happy to have the racist bigots on their side.

C'mon, Brett - is that the best you can do? Y'all constantly trumpet that you're the ones with the facts, the numbers, the principles ... and the best you can come up with is 'I know you are but what am I?'

If you guys are the keepers of the clue - to the extent that you think we should IGNORE THE ELECTION and let you lot continue running things - it hardly seems unreasonable to expect a cogent, reasoned argument that *could not* be hear on a playground at recess.

Absent that, y'all aren't even a political party, an ideology, a movement: you're just a bunch of entitlement freaks who've had their bottles taken away. Turn EVERY public forum into the Jerry Springer show, Brett. It really seems to be all you guys are capable of...'cause IF y'all were capable of some *real* thought & the construction of a reasoned, coherent argument, we'd see something beyond this shamefully embarrassing public spectacles you're so bloody fond of.

Love & kisses, a post-racist Southern conservative

I don't have a soft spot for large public protests by people whose views are informed largely by misinformation and hate, and who have no discernible answers to a serious problem that's bankrupting (and worse) so many Americans, even people who are probably related by blood to the people marching around. Their outcry is some kind of primal scream. An overwhelming majority of people in this country favor a public option, and we're not going to get it. People who want it are the ones who should be out on the streets with pitchforks.

Eugene V. Debs, Richard Wright, John Lewis, and Harry Bridges, among many others, are rolling over in their graves thanks to that remark.

Doesn't your list reinforce the point? Would you have been happier if the remark had been that the Left has always been marginal in this country? Leftists have never been in any danger of winning even one state. Sure, Henry Wallace got about as many votes as Strom Thurmond in '48, but we haven't seen anything even that good since.

I'm kinda torn. I feel like the left has always been marginalized (I often note how anarchist became a term of abuse), so I don't think publius overstated it, but I would point to the Wisconsin Progressive Party as leftists winning one state. On Wisconsin!

The finance meltdown was forced upon them, but they resisted the more obviously "Leftish" policy of nationalizing banks.

Had he temporarily nationalized some of the big banks and delivered big rhetorical spankings thereto, there would've been howls from Republicans, but, ironically, it might have been relatively popular among some of these 'populists'. Their objections to Obama aren't due to his being a leftist, because he most definitely *isn't* one. Their objections aren't really very ideological at all. I think this is a populist moment, and other than the racists and anti-abortion people, a chunk of these teabaggers just want someone to acknowledge their fear and anger, which - while incoherent ideologically - is real and somewhat justified. Obama and the dems don't do it - the dems practically fetish establishmentarianism. Our politico-economic establishment *is* pretty rotten, so..voila, right wing populism.

Keep telling yourself that it IS racist.

Yeah, I'll spot you that. With some fairly vivid exceptions, it takes at least one ounce of mind-reading to get all the way to racist.

I'll settle for ignorant, clueless, dumb-ass, stone cold stupid.

Dumb as a box of hammers now, dumb as a box of hammers tomorrow, dumb as a box of hammers forever.

Just brutally, stunningly, willfully dumb. And pissed off too, although they have not one original thought of their own as to why.

It's painful, bro.

Would you have been happier if the remark had been that the Left has always been marginal in this country?


Would you have been happier if the remark had been that the Left has always been marginal in this country?

At a number of times, most notably in the 1930s and 1960s, the actual left had an impact on policymaking. Think, for example, of the influence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Michael Harrington in the 1960s. Correctly declaring that neither could have been elected president doesn't accurately measure their impact on U.S. politics.

And though Henry Wallace got only 2.4% of the vote in 1948, he had been Vice President of the United States. And his presence in the race contributed to the decision of the Democrats to add a civil rights plank to their platform for the first time.

I may not be paying a whole lot of attention to the current Two-Minutes Hate, but it sure seems like the Clinton-hate in 1992-93 was a lot nastier than the Obama-hate in 2008-09.

The Clinton-hate included accusing him of murdering dozens of people and participating in drug smuggling. They hated his wife (probably more intensely than they hated him). They said his daughter was uglier than a dog.

I mean, I think there are a bunch of people on the Right who dislike Michelle Obama, but I'd be surprised if they despised her as much as they despised Hillary Clinton in 1993. And they've left Obama's daughters entirely alone. And I don't think they're accusing Obama of killing his friends to hide his illegal drug scams (though I haven't been following the Rezko thing very closely).

The Obama-hate is pretty much, "(1) Dude's not really a citizen, and (2) dude's a Commie-Nazi." It's not much to write home about, hate-wise.

I guess I'm willing to believe that race is a big, unspoken component of those beliefs - but in terms of virulence, I think 1992 takes it.

It doesn't take a whole lot of mind-reading to get to the idea that Joe Wilson, who referred to the actual of fact of Strom Thurmond's half-black illegitimate daughter as "a smear," might be a little tiny bit racist.

" .... who would be outraged if we took government services away from them ....

Do it.

Start with Joe Wilson and his parasite family.

Move on to the confederate scum in his district who voted for him.

Maybe Rick Perry of Texas wants a piece of this. He needs a good federal mussing up of his coward's coiffure.

" .... chased out of town with pitchforks."

I've got machetes.

They have guns. Which means we'll need an armed federal presence in those areas to protect the true citizenry.

Will they stop paying taxes and show up in the tens of millions on the Washington mall (and claim a billion, the liars)?

Good. I want them to have their defining moment.

Bring it on and come and get it. But they had better use the Second Amendment to its full advantage this time. Because I'm sick of talk.

If you're going to wave those effing things around, shut up and use them and leave the effing wildlife alone. Shoot the ones you imagine in your fever dreams.

Maureen Dowd, whom I'm replacing at the New York Times, didn't hallucinate one republican politician and activist after another twittering his and her racist horseshit.

definitely agreed.

you look at their signs and read the interviews and you notice that the only unifying theme is a shared hatred of Democrats (with Obama as poster boy); and beyond that, most of them are protesting things which are completely imaginary. sure, you get a few deficit whiners (who couldn't bother to complain when W put us on this road), but mostly you've got people screaming about how Obama is a communist/socialist/nazi, how he's raping the constitution (let's hear it for the 10th A!), "Chicago-style politics", etc..

and what really gets me is the Joker/Obama mashup posters. it's a neat image, sure. but the Joker was an insane, murderous, anarchist (and the best part of that movie). Obama is none of those things - and the whingenuts don't even accuse him of being any of those things! it's a total fail as a symbol.

So after 8 years of dissent is unpatriotic, we're in for 4 to 8 of dissent is racist. Great. It's politically incorrect to criticize the most powerful man on Earth (unless from the left).

Of course the protesters don't have a coherent plan for governing and of course they include some nuts. Have you ever been at a protest, publius? It isn't a graduate seminar and it isn't a budget reconciliation session.

What I hear is what you get in every Lewis Lapham column and many an ObsiWi thread: this country would be more democratic if everyone agreed with me.

Comparing the attacks on the Clintons with those on the Obamas, I would suggest that they were more extravagant for Bill and Hilary because there was not a reservoir of racism to tap into as there has been regarding the notion of a black president. I'm not sure what would qualify as proof of this, but if you already have enough tinder to start a fire, you don't need to stock up on charcoal starter fluid.

"The Obama-hate is pretty much, 1) Dude's not really a citizen, and (2) dude's a Commie-Nazi. It's not much to write home about, hate-wise."


Why he doesn't take those Hitler comparisons as a compliment is beyond me.

Avedon Carol on the Sideshow:

It's hard to believe, after what happened during the general election campaign right up to the end of his presidency and beyond, so many people have forgotten just how ugly and virulent the right-wing has been toward the Clintons. Is it really that easy to forget that Clinton's legitimacy as president was questioned from day one, that in fact no stone had been left unturned in trying to (illegally) keep him or get him out of the White House, leading up to an astonishing investigation over nothing that led to him actually being impeached, and barely managing to stay in office by remarkably few votes in the Senate? There's nothing special about the right-wing's attitude toward Obama. It would have been like this for any Democrat, even if it was a white guy. Something you have to remember about the right-wing position is that they worry that Democrats will do something good for black people. They are a bit more sure of that with Obama (although I'm not - I actually think he may be worse for the black community as a whole than any Democratic president in my lifetime), but the racists have always hated Democrats for that, anyway. More to the point, the Republican program since the '70s has been a concerted effort to sow fear, hatred, and derision of all things liberal or even associated with liberals. Way back then they announced, publicly, that they intended to infiltrate the mass media with their corrupt "vision". The fact that it has reached its current level of virulence is a measure of its accumulated power, and the fact that generations have been indoctrinated with this attitude toward liberals and Democrats makes the color of Obama's skin irrelevant. In fact, pretending it's just about racism plays right into their hands, since it's really very obviously not about that, and it won't be just about that when it's the next liberal or the next Democrat. The racism that's at issue isn't about Obama, it's about poor and working-class blacks who might benefit from the system, and now, by association, every other "loser" the system betrays.
Avedon's right that the vast majority of Republicans who hate Obama would hate Edwards or Clinton just as much: the outrageously racist Republicans who literally cannot bear to have a black man as their President are a minority. Most of the maniacal hatred of Obama would be just as maniacal if he were regarded as being of his mother's race instead of his father's, so long as he was a Democrat.


"Why he doesn't take those Hitler comparisons as a compliment is beyond me."

I don't think comparing Democratic Party politicians to totalitarian dictators is particularly unique to Obama. Comparing him to Hitler is spectacularly, mind-meltingly dumb given, y'know, the Nazi Party's policy on race. But it's not new. (I'm not arguing we should tolerate it, or that race isn't part of it: I just think that this level of Crazy-Hate has been around for decades.)

Of course the protesters don't have a coherent plan for governing

Nice the way you changed inchoate, irrational, contradictory protest into 'not having a plan for governing', Pithlord.

So after 8 years of dissent is unpatriotic, we're in for 4 to 8 of dissent is racist.

Publius took pains to stress his admiration for the idea of public protest. Did you read that part? Neither he nor anybody else said dissent is racist. Racism is racist. Did you see the all those confederate flags? There were lots of them. Pretty good bet those people have some racial animosity within.

What distinguished this event was not that there were a few crazies, but that the majority was crazies. If you don't agree, please tell me what the main, coherent message was. The marches about the Iraq war had some crazies with other agendas, but it was very clear what the protest was about, in the main. What was this event about? Pelosi is a nazi? Obama's plan to essentially rescue the private insurance industry is socialist? Government run health care is also socialist/nazi, but keep your hands off my Medicare?

This was gibberish protest, and yes, there was a very clear racist component. It is what it is, Pith, not what you wish it were.

Pithlord, I don't mean to dismiss your observation, which could be correct in describing some analyses of dissent, but I would be careful in dismissing all discussion on this as political correctness. Especially if, as I believe is the case, you are not an American and not based in America. I can't claim that my knowledge is recent, but given is not only the first black president, but was the first black candidate of a major party (I sadly omit Dizzy Gillespie and his outstanding cabinet) suggests that this has gotten ahead of American society might find itself so I find it hard to think that American society has changed so much as to rule out any link to some dissent and racism.

It is interesting that Maureen Dowd, of whom Clark Hoyt, the public editor at the NYTimes, said "Politically correct is never a term one would apply to Dowd’s commentary" is the one delivering this observation. The book on Dowd is that she is simply concerned with personalities, not with anything deeper. I suppose you could suggest that she is turning Wilson into the personality in this case, but her discussion of Wilson is limited to a paragraph. If you argue that she is suddenly succumbing to political correctness, it seems remarkable that she has been able to resist it for so long.

"Why he doesn't take those Hitler comparisons as a compliment is beyond me."

Well, some on the Mall imagine Hitler and Stalin were black men.

As to the Clintons, I think they received a little hate bonus boost after Bill Clinton was identified as the first black President.

But incoherency does not do nuance. People who carry pitchforks will stick them in anything that they are told is pitchfork-stickable by their queen of hearts on the car radio.

The fact is that the foks on the Mall are being demagogued by the Republican Party for the same reason that the Republican Party demagogued social issues for the religious Right.

The Republican Party hateses themses taxes. It doesn't matter what the tax rate is.

They hateses themses taxes, but the Republican requires lots of other ancillary hate to gain a majority.

Interesting comparing dave's comment with this one. Finding it easier to be nasty to a woman says a lot.

It seems fitting that this posting is titled what it is, because if you look at the rhetoric, there's no sense about what these protestors are for. A protest made up entirely of negative polemics does not amount to much of a protest at all.

My feeling is that rather than liberate people, the extremist right has simply forced people into alienation and resignation who can't face facts about the forces that are actually arrayed against them. Facing facts is the last thing it wants; it wants them to retreat into pointless fantasies that economic forces have their best interests at heart, when these forces have created the state of affairs that threaten them while the extremists serve themselves from the economic stewpot. My guess is that a vast number of the people at these protests truly, if you cornered them privately, have no clue as to what they feel threatened by, and at least some don't even know what it is they're protesting save for what Glenn Beck tells them to. They're immersed in a situation they don't even know exists but is all around them, while they feel victimized by bugaboos the right feeds and manipulates them with.

So as for the sense that we must feel "heartened" by these people willing to come on out to the Mall - sorry Pub, can't be with you on this one. I would feel as such if what they were coming out for was done out of a heartfelt sense of outrage, out of a struggle for justice with their self-respect at stake and a quest to reclaim that self-respect. But all I see is the opposite - a parody of civic duty expressed by a confederacy of dunces whose self-respect has been bought out from them, pathetically manipulated by people who claim to speak for their concerns but secretly piss firehoses on them.

I see nothing ennobling in this protest - I only see childishness, ignorance, and cant. The worst part of it all is that as venomous as the rhetoric is and as uglified as many of these people have made themselves look, I can't despise them, as much as I am tempted to. They are real victims who don't know it, in a culture that celebrates victimhoom in people who usually don't deserve it. What went on at the Mall was equal parts farce and tragedy, and I'm not buying this as worthy protest.

My apologies - that should be "victimhood"

Sometimes I think the caricature of hand-wringing left-of-centerites is justified when I see the amount of bits expended on this insignificant fart of a protest.

To follow on jonnyb -- pith, the larger point isn't just the protesters. It's one piece of a larger anti-Obama attack that I think just isn't founded on actual reality.

You more than most probalby recognize how non-Left the so-called 'american left' truly is. or at least, how non-left the national party nominally aligned with "the left" actually is

Norbizness, couldn't agree with you more - and I'm not wringing my hands over it, as much as it seems (and which I wouldn't blame anybody for accusing people like me of), but some things are too outrageous to keep one's mouth shut about.

allow me.

bold, too ?


Could do with a touch more salt, too.

Dm--what evedence is there of the hypocrisy of the Teabaggers? They come mostly from red states. Red states are the ones that depend for their economic survival on goverment subsidies. Those red state residents not living a parasitic exsistance on farm supports or ranching subsidies or timber subsidies either work for the federal or state governements or live on Social Security and Medicare and/or veterans' benefits.

ANd yet the endless bitching about taxes, big government and Democrats wasting money. No Republican politician is willing to apply his or her own campaign rhetoric to his or her own state.

Example; in near unison Republican politicians in Congress and many governors denounced the stimlus while at the same time hailing its effects on the economies of their own states! Why? Because they were cynically matching the behavior of their constituents who oppose any spending that might help someone else but support anything for themselves.

The Republican party isn't the party of "No". It's the party of "I want for me, but not for thee."

I don't think this is really d'd'd'dave. And I've tried to close the italics - even with /p and /i. That's as much as I know how to do in that regard.

The same dave thing is going on in the Kanye thread. My html thing didn't appear to work over there in preview, but I got as far as cleek before he cleared out the bold, apparently, given how it looks now. Imposter trollery abounds.

An important source of the "Obama=socialist" nonsense is the complete suppression of true leftist ideas in this country for the past 30 years or so. Publius overstated the suppression of the left in this country but it *has* been almost completely suppressed in the media since around when Reagan took office. Even things like nationalization of the banks during the panic last year got almost no play with people like Geithner spouting off about how only the free market can run banks - while dealing with a monster catastrophe that conclusively proved the free market *can't* run the banks. These protesters haven't the foggiest notion of what real socialism is.

The left has to some extent assisted with its own marginalization by rejecting Americana imagery. Old-style leftists were much smarter, singing "This land is my land, this land is your land" (originally a leftist anthem) and waving flags enthusiastically. That had a lot to do with why they were much more successful than current leftists.

The ridiculous mob provides a great focus for my own rage since the protesters seem to embody the stupidity at the heart of the gridlock of American politics. Most people want big change in the way health care is paid for. Most people support a public option. As soon as they experience it, most people enjoy and support government-run single payer health care. But enough clueless people take to the streets spurred on by the disfunctional media that the main story becomes "healthcare reform is controversial" or "Americans unsure about Obama's plan" or "people don't trust government to solve healthcare problems". It's so frustrating, because, except for those who feel compelled to take some dogmatic anti-government position, there's really very little argument that the current system sucks, and that Congress can improve it. And then the Senate gloms onto this media-created perception to cater to the insurance company lobbyists yet again. It's disgusting.

I'm going to blame the media. See, for example, the front page Washington Post article on the latest ABC poll. Then go to Nate Silver's blog and read his take, and the comments to his blog post. It's very demoralizing to think that the media seems to have such an intense interest in derailing health care reform.

"My guess is that a vast number of the people at these protests truly, if you cornered them privately, have no clue as to what they feel threatened by, and at least some don't even know what it is they're protesting save for what Glenn Beck tells them to."

I wonder if Beck has some mind-control abilities.

To think that he can move a sizable crowd of people is scary.

I keep thinking about Jim Jones and Jonestown for some reason.

BTW if anyone is still trying to make the argument the the Teabaggers are protesting something real go to Red State blog and read their sign montage. By their own words as posted on a supportive site they are a bunch of paranoid wackojobs.

If you doubt the existance of racists amongst the crowd go to Dailly Kos and read their sign montage.

I don't think the Obama hate is primarily racist. I agree with the Avedon excerpt: is Democrat hate. So the question is why do these people who want for themselves the benefits of programs created mostly by Democratic politicians so full of hate for Democrats(while continuing to support the programs that benefit them?)

I think we are looking at a demographic that is comprised largely of authoritarian personality types from the sort of family or social backgrounds that don't support the habit of learning or logical thinking and who come from those regions of America that have entenched and dishonest local cultural myrths such as the myth of the independent Westerner or the more-patriotic-than-thou Southerner. They have beliefs that don't correspond to reality and lack the ability to change their beliefs, so they are mad at reality.

They are a subset of a subset of a subset, the dregs of our politics. Unfortunately the Republican party represents them. Indeed the Republican party has gone so far to the extreme that the majority of it's members of Congbress ate just as willfully ignorant, arrogant,hypocritical, and meanspirited as the minority of the population that they represent.

The Republicans made the decision back in Atwood's day to increase their base by inviting the lunatic fringe into the party. Now the lunatics are the party.

Every country has it's haters. Our country has a political party of haters with their very own media outlets, a big hunk of Congress, and a veneer of apologists to lend them a respectability they don't deserve.

FYI, two articles about Japanese equivalents (more or less) of teabaggers.
here and here (Uyoku dantai are at the top, some other interesting groups when you scroll down)

Every country has it's haters. Our country has a political party of haters with their very own media outlets, a big hunk of Congress, and a veneer of apologists to lend them a respectability they don't deserve.

Yes, we need the hater party to be a marginal party that keeps getting its 5-8% of the vote but is totally irrelevent to day to day politics. If we had such a thing, the GOP could reclaim its heritage instead of being embarrassed by its two greated presidents: Lincoln and TR.

Nixon and Atwater have a lot of explaining to do, but so do today's GOP that are still willing to keep bigots and haters in their party.

JamesNostack says: ...it sure seems like the Clinton-hate in 1992-93 was a lot nastier than the Obama-hate in 2008-09.

Yup. And the vitriol switched to Bush-2, escalating frenetically from the Left after it became obvious Iraq was a disaster. This is the nature of partisan politics in our hyper-smug media culture. Divide and hate. And not only enmity between conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, but also between those with inter-party differences. Just check the archives here for recent examples of the disrespectful, hostile abuse Hillary Clinton was subjected to during the primaries. Or the recent personal attacks on Von, from various narrow-minded assholes who don't like his views, or his morals, or his veracity, or his IQ, or the way he clips his nails or ties his shoes.

That's why so many of us in the middle think the Lefties are just as smugly intolerant and insulting as the Righties, as redundantly annoying as automobile security sirens that go off for no reason at 3AM...

But the Left is certainly more hypocritical than the Right -- mouthing platitudes about how important it is to be tolerant, then exhibiting their own version of narrow-minded intolerance.

Just look at the level of nastiness expressed in this thread, where poster russell calls them:brutally, stunningly, willfully dumb. And pissed off too, although they have not one original thought of their own as to why.

And Thulen, spouting his own vicious brand of invective under a tissue-thin cover of satiric irony, categorizes Wilson and his family as 'parasites' and those who voted for him as 'confederate scum.'

This is the era of the fight-cage mindset. Forget the Marquess of Queensberry, anything goes. So protect your balls, and pass the invective.

"I think we are looking at a demographic that is comprised largely of authoritarian personality types from the sort of family or social backgrounds that don't support the habit of learning or logical thinking"

Elitist psychobabble--

I don't understand why pithlord and other's continue to try to insist that racism on the right isn't as major a factor today as it has been historically. I mean, I get that you guys want to think that there's *lots of good reasons* for the American Right to be fixated on anti welfare, anti urban, anti health care, anti immigrant policies *absent* racial issues and racism at this present moment. But its simply undeniable that racism played a big role in the creation of the modern Republican party up until fairly recently. Nixon's southern strategy which pulled former democrats out of the party entirely, and flipped the south from the D to the R fold. The infamous switch from naked racial code words to the language of anti "entitlment" and anti "civil rights" (whose that nobody on the right? Oh yeah--Lee Atwater?


Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry Dent and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964… and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster...

Questioner: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps...?

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can't say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”[7]

But even if you wave a magic wand and you forget Reagan's "big black buck" on welfare cheat stories how on earth do you ignore the fact that the NRA, the militias, the minutemen and the white Supremacists are all in bed together and supporting this teabagger event? I mean, as I said on my old blog--the accusation that right wingers are "racist" and that their opposition to Obama is informed by, or colored by, their racism may be old but *its your old*--so own it.

Of course there are lots of reasons a sane person, or even an insane person, could be opposed to this or any president. But just as it seemed to add insult to injury to Clinton's win that he was a "bubba" without upper class style it simply adds insult to injury, apparently, to Obama's political foes that he's an uppity black guy. Its not the only thing they hold against him. But the preponderance of the evidence is that its an extra fillip that causes even more rage because he is extra, totally "not like" the imaginary white american.

I actually read exactly this defense by a parent holding their kid out of school to prevent them from hearing Obama. The problem was that he was "exotic" and "not like other people" and "very well spoken" and "attractive" and "had kids" so he'd "come across like a parent" and he wasn't a "good christian" because he wasn't going to tell the kids only god could help them in school. Of course the exact same thing could have been said of Obama had he been some other alien quantity--like a Jew--but the exact same thing could never have been said of any other white candidate. And it wouldn't have been.


I don't think the Obama hate is primarily racist. I agree with the Avedon excerpt: is Democrat hate.

I agree. The race thing is lagniappe.

Just look at the level of nastiness expressed in this thread, where poster russell calls them:brutally, stunningly, willfully dumb. And pissed off too, although they have not one original thought of their own as to why.


"Keep your government hands off my Medicare".

How many of these people can explain, in two or three sentences, what socialism or communism are?

How many of them participate in existing entitlement programs, and find no cognitive dissonance whatsoever with their argument that "Obamacare" is an un-American exercise in socialism?

How many of them would know what I was even talking about when I say "entitlement program"?

How many of them have read any portion of HR 3200 other than whatever bits were quoted on radio, TV, or in an email?

How many have read any independent analysis, at all, of what is in the bill or any of the alternative bills?

In short, how many of them have *any freaking idea* what the hell they are talking about?

They're ignorant, and in a world where access to basic information is virtually ubiquitous that means they're willfully ignorant.

They don't just not know, they don't care to know. If they cared, they could find out. But they don't.

And they're pissed off, but the only explanation they can offer for why they're pissed off is to say that "Obama's health care plan is socialism".

They don't know what's in the plan, and they don't know what socialism is. They just know they're agin it.

I'm not being nasty at all, I'm just making a comment on the facts. In fact, I'm being relatively generous, because unlike many folks here I'm not assuming racism as a motivation.

If you find my characterization of the protestors to be ungenerous, maybe the problem isn't with me. Maybe there just isn't anything positive there.

The infamous switch from naked racial code words to the language of anti "entitlment" and anti "civil rights" (whose that nobody on the right? Oh yeah--Lee Atwater?

they have new code words these days.


@Jay Jerome:

"I think we are looking at a demographic that is comprised largely of authoritarian personality types from the sort of family or social backgrounds that don't support the habit of learning or logical thinking"

Elitist psychobabble--

Whereas the anti-intellectual populist tradition you evoke here doesn't have an elitist bone in its body...

can you ban him now?

The "race thing" isn't lagniappe. It's central to the GOP hatred of all Democrats. Obama's own race may be lagniappe. But absent racism, the GOP couldn't sustain this level of hatred.

In this regard, see Glenn Greenwald and Ta-Nehisi Coates, both of whom remind us that: a) irrational GOP hatred of a Democratic president is not a new phenomenon; b) irrational hatred of Obama is about more than just race; but c) the GOP's irrational hatred of Democratic presidents has always had a strong element of racism in it, even with a president who is not himself black.

For example, Greenwald reminds us about all the fuss about midnight basketball under Clinton.

A healthy "individual" is a happy individual, an individual who would be "more free"?.

And, I suspect, for many right-wingers, certain people should not be more free.

See also Amanda Marcotte on the racist undertones (those Confederate flags ain't there for nothing, folks), including the coded messaging in the perennial "conservatives didn't even leave any trash behind" meme, which translates to "liberals (i.e., black people) are filthy and live in garbage like pigs."

I agree with Glenn, and Ben Alpers. As Jonah Goldberg would say "this is central to my point." Lets not forget that Clinton was absolutely identified and overidentified with the black community--he was yclept (sorry, had to do it, a momentary spasm of S.J.Perlman) the "first black president" for a reason and that was very much a part of the whole hate on Clinton.


Normally, I'd have banned him already, but I can't.


grow up

sorry - i deleted his first two, and had to turn to other things.

I apologize for not being able to ban this person completely. If anyone out there is tech-savvy enough to identify via IP numbers, etc., I'd be comfortable tracking this person down, particularly if he's using a work or university network


Reverse IP lookup

Maybe the kid needs a hug.

If we had to reduce this to a binary, is it a good thing or a bad thing that the racism is coming out of the woodwork? It certainly hasn't appeared ex nihilo. If a good metaphor for racism in the U.S. is a festering wound, then we will have a lot of pus to drain before things improve, right? Or are things getting worse now that racism is better-encrypted by politicians, so that it's harder to nail them on it?

"This is the era of fight-cage mindset. Forget the Marquess of Queensbury .. anything goes."

Years ago, as a registered Republican, I woke up in a Party that had become a cage-match. I learned quickly. The poor Marquess had been kicked in the nuts and had his ears chewed off by Lee Atwater and the rest of the racist filth. (see AIMAI above)

They (not Von, whom I defend, not Sebastian, not you, not Andrew Olmsted,) but the infestation that took over the Party) will not be appeased. No matter how low I set the bar, the Republican Party limbos under it.

But Marquess of Queensbury rules are fine with me, Jay, despite your rhetorical earbiting techniques on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

Set something boxing-wise up for me with Glenn Beck or any of the other batshit luminaries who have a well-paid platform for their hate -- much more prominent and dangerous then anything I spew at Obsidian Wings .... cripes ... set it up in Vegas, where Beck will likely end up in his show-biz dotage .... as the center ring in the 2042 Cirque du Soliel show celebrating the Republican assholes of the early 20th century.

Invite the NRA so I can KO Beck's pasty face even while being threatened by a bunch of shitheads with weapons.

As to Hillary, I'd have voted for her in a second, if not for Obama. In fact, I wish it had been Hillary Clinton giving the speech the other night instead of Barack Obama.

She'd have called the lights up and given Joe Wilson a tongue-lashing that would have had him on his knees apologizing right then and there.

Talk about a woman who knows her way around a cage match.

You underestimate her.

cleek - it just said "resolved to '.'"

any other ideas?

You know how to IP-ban, publius?

Yes -- but he constantly changes them.

You can also name-ban.

It'd be really awesome if Typepad automatically closed unclosed HTML. I'm not sure whey all blog-commenting systems don't do that.

How useful is name-banning given the frequency of this commenter (these commenters?) signing other people's names?

Or: was that really you, Slarti?

P.S. Not that it's my decision, but also: I vote Slarti be given the new sekrit password. ;)

Where are OUR demonstrators? Why aren't we going to town hall meetings and -- respectfully -- stating our own views, even handing out flyers detailing the nonsense others are spouting. Why aren't we setting up a meeting in Washington to *shudder* actually support our President and health care reform.

Act Blue just raised almost, maybe over, a million dollars for Ron Miller -- and 90% of it came from people who couldn't tell you his position on health care or anything else

But when have any of you sent even $5 to a Congressman or Senator, not because they were in a desperate battle against a monster like Wilson -- who is unquestionably a true racist, tied in with the racists that took over the Sons of Confederate Veterans and turned it f5rom a battklefield preservation society to a political organization. He's also one of the seven hold-outs who fought to keep the Confederate flag flying over the State House.

No, just sending that $5 as a way of thanking and encouraging a Barney Frank, a Henry Waxman, a Kirsten Gillibrand -- whose prinary opponent would have gotten lots of support if she'd had one -- or any of the many quiet hard working Senators and Representatives who are on our side.

(And, OT, but this new trolltrick of deliberately opening tags and leaving them open -- instead of just forgetting, as I have been guily of -- is REALLY getting stale.

Prup, I agree - we need to get our own polite pitchforks out and go to it. They can get 30,000? Let's get 300,000 or 3M. I can't believe that not enough of us are furious that we are stuck with the health care situation in this country. I'm happy with the Democrats who are doing their best, but the others need to know that we need a public option that everyone can buy into. I am NOT happy with my current insurance. I want a public option. How are we going to do it?

P.S. Not that it's my decision, but also: I vote Slarti be given the new sekrit password.

Isn't that how Publius was outted?

I have to add to my Ron Miller comment. I am currently Googling "Ron Miller South Carolina." I'm on page ten, and still have not found anything relating to the Ron Miller we gave all that money to. (Unless he is the singer, the pastor, the Arizona sex offender, or the artist with that name.)

Does anyone know who it was we gave all that money to?

That's an utterly genius theory, Jadegold. Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

Prup, you gave money to ROB Miller.

I don't have a soft spot for people who carry signs saying "We came unarmed [this time]", "Pennsylvanians are armed and ready", more stuff about watering the tree of liberty with blood, etc etc.

Those - along with the milder ones that just equate Obama with Hitler - threaten a violent rejection of democratic rule. These are people threatening to kill whoever gets in their way if their wishes are not granted. I don't have a soft spot for that kind of thing. I don't think it's cute to foment an armed insurrection against the democratically-elected government of the United States just because you don't like the current President.

This is a movement that is going to kill people. They're saying so, explicitly. Are you going to be surprised when it happens?

Yo, "Jerome"-


Heres a guy who was present at the Reagan era fusion of crooked economics with crooked religeon.
He posits the Teabaggers are immune from logic because they are intellectual separatists, in insular, mutually supported fantasy worlds. Which has been my observation, over many years.


It already has.

As Sapient points out (My blushes), it was RoB Miler, and I have found his website. I'm now even madder. We've given a lot of money to replace a truly vicious racist with an unlraconservative Blue Dog whose positions are so 'boiler plate conservative' that all he will add to the Congress is another 'D'; while we do nothing for the people who are actually fighting for us.

Slarts: With all those teabagger newsletter subscriptions, you want another?

Jacob Davies is right; it's just a matter of time before one of these low-information types gets it into his head that popping off a few rounds is not only justified, it's the will of most Americans.

Ha - I didn't even know Slart outed me. No, I have a fairly good idea of who informed Whelan, though i can't prove it. But it's not Slart at all.

So yes, Slart -- let's talk later. Everyone is making good points. I'll email you, or you can email me (I'm pretty sure you have my indiv account).

And I apologize again for not catching this troll sooner.

It was my understanding that Slartibartfast's outing of Publius was unintentional.

Err...what? How/when did I do that? Without even being aware of it, I mean?

Also, why can't anyone just block the IP address of the guy asking for panties? Doesn't that violate the posting policy?

It does violate policy, it's just a question of the levels of admin access. But if it's your post, you should be able to delete comments and ban commenters.

Max Blumenthal visits the teabagger march... yipes.

Yes - I have tried, but he changes his IP addresses a lot. sometimes you don't see them b/c I ban them quickly. but sometimes i don't see him for a while.

I'm emailing you both too


Nope, I won't be surprised.

Well, maybe I will be surprised. So much tough guy talk and so little action so far.

What's taking them so long?

The guy who had the sign saying they'll be armed next time they visit Washington, I expect, is hoping to shoot his mouth off many more times before he shoots his gun off.

I am curious, though, will they be stopped at the airport or on the interstate by Homeland Security since they have threatened my government and the people who work for my government?

Doubtful, because the government protects chickensh-t talk.

It's fascinating how the NRA was transformed from a pretty good interest group who threatened little more than elk into the armed wing of the Republican Party which threatened its own government.

At least the elk wanted to take away their hunting rifles. I don't know what the government ever did to them.

Now, Glenn Beck is chickensh-t taken two diapers farther. As are Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, any number of Redstate (cool (in the sense of it's cool how effing stupid, stupid can be) video over there on a teabagger march thread of a guy demonstrating a new shotgun (fashion statement and will do a lot of damage, although the guy mentioned fashion statement three times and "damage' only two times, so I think looking good over his diapers matters more than actual bloodshed to these natty cowards) and Neil Boortz.

Once the shooting starts (it won't in any mass way; chickensh-ts who kill what they think are liberals hide in the bushes and book depositories, and buildings next door, or track them down in church) they'll (Beck, tripping over his clown shoes) be hiding in their secure radio T.V studios or in their bullet-proofed Goebbelsmobiles as they run for cover.

On another note, I never want to be in a rhetorical cage match with Lindsay Beyerstein.

Who needs Wayne La Pierre when you have Lindsay to bring out the heavy armor?

"After all, he only wanted to make some soup."

No soup for you!

publius posted: "Obama, recall, also ran on a platform of not raising taxes on virtually anyone in the country. It's hard to see the boogeyman here."

Not being a teabagger, I myself am suspicious of President Obama keeping this pledge. I mean, sooner or later, someone or something is going to have to bring some sanity to the country's soaring deficit.

For those who haven't see it, Yglesias has a good take on the role of race in right wing reaction here. The key excerpt:

I think the crux of the matter is that since 1928 or so, the Democratic Party has typically presented itself in national politics as representing a coalition of “outsider” groups—Catholics & Jews back in the day, nonwhites and seculars more recently. The actual identity of the leader of the coalition matters, but only at the margin. It could be a patrician from upstate New York or a war hero from South Dakota or a cracker from Arkansas at the top of the ticket, but fundamentally no matter who’s in charge the election of a Democrat represents the mainstream’s loss of power to the outsiders. .....Thus the reaction to an actual black president is different, but not all that different, from what you saw previously.

In other words, all this teabag crap really does have a racial cast, but I think it might be more precise to call it 'ethnic'. In 1928, it was unthinkable to elect an African American to much of anything, so the boogey was Al Smith and all the drunken Catholic thug mulligans, and other dirty urban immigrant sots, he represented. And the other choice was that nice Mr Hoover. Hell, Prohibition was largely a result of ethnic (white, protestant, small town) hysteria.

At the risk of sounding like the dread hangdog Lewis Lapham, racial/ethnic anxiety is not new in the US, but is also not only old. It's still thick as mud all over this country, and if you think otherwise, you are either a Canadian (and therefore excused) or in denial.

so none of those posts from Lindsay actually were from Lindsay it turns out.

Pssh. In my day, bored teenagers amused themselves online via 1337 h4x0ring, not tedious comment-spoofage.

Also, we had to use dial-up, uphill both ways -- in the snow!

fundamentally no matter who’s in charge the election of a Democrat represents the mainstream’s loss of power to the outsiders

And at the risk of sounding like dreaded hangdog Thomas Frank, I'll observe that the folks who spent 9/12 on the Mall in DC do not strike me as powerful insiders.

Dial-up? Huh, in my day we wished we had dial-up. We had to make do with tin cans and string.

I'll observe that the folks who spent 9/12 on the Mall in DC do not strike me as powerful insiders.

No, but they were protesting on behalf of the powerful insiders. Which is why they sound so crazy.

I'll observe that the folks who spent 9/12 on the Mall in DC do not strike me as powerful insiders.

I think Yglesias meant that in a putative way, russell. But you knew that.

Of course the true teabaggers are mainly the white losers of the country. If you're black or latino with no hope, hey - life's not fair. But if you're *white* and a loser...hey wait a minute! That's not supposed to happen!

For me, it’s the 1920s and not the 1960s, in which are modern day assumptions concerning political parties, gets formed.

In the 1920s, the United States consolidated its Anglo-Protestant ethnic character in a series of legislative actions:

The Volstead Act of 1920 prohibited the consumption of alcohol;

The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 shaped immigration flows around a quota system designed to preserve WASP dominance;

Al Smith, a Roman Catholic of part-Irish extraction, was defeated in his bid for the presidency in 1928.

In communities large and small, powerful Protestant voluntary associations like the Ku Klux Klan, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Masons, and American Protective Association (APA) nurtured the bonds of white Protestant ethnicity and enforced Anglo-American hegemony

Nativist commentators glowed with praise for a U.S. Congress whose ethnic composition matched that of the Continental Congress of 1787.

Anglo-Protestants had been interacting with non-Anglo immigrants in numerous ways since the founding of the Republic. The difference now lay in the new left-liberal’ preconceptions. Instead of approaching the foreigner with fear and loathing, the left-liberal Anglo-Saxon reformer exhibited humanitarianism—albeit from a position of superiority. This differing preconception was the result of an ideological shift which cannot be explained by social interaction.

The protests are NOT "incoherent" once you understand the protestors are demonstrating because they do not want a single red cent fo "their money"--even when it's paid in taxes, it's "their" money--going to assist, aid or relieve the struggles of their "inferiors." That's the same reason making a "moral" appeal fails. A "Moral cause," to these folks, is just a way of giving good white folks' tax-money away to give shiftless, pregnant, drug-abusing nee-groes, messikans, and immigrants a free ride...

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