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TwinSwords
07-22-2010, 06:48 AM
Rachel Maddow explores the Republican Party's legacy of race hatred, and how that mantle is carried today by Fox News, Breitbart, and other leading figures in the conservative movement.

http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/2343/maddowrace.png (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qAQ3XXxKAY&videos=QWMQR9qaqL4)

Is it unfair to say that if you are a Republican, you are complicit in the politics of hate?

(video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qAQ3XXxKAY&videos=QWMQR9qaqL4))

bjkeefe
07-22-2010, 09:28 AM
Is it unfair to say that if you are a Republican, you are complicit in the politics of hate?

Yes. Let's not do the same thing we are trying to call attention to -- demonizing an entire group for words and actions coming from individuals.

Even though there are a lot of such individuals, and even though there are a lot more who are willing to play along, or unwilling to speak against, it's still wrong to say "all Republicans are [X]."

Ocean
07-22-2010, 10:41 AM
Yes. Let's not do the same thing we are trying to call attention to -- demonizing an entire group for words and actions coming from individuals.

Even though there are a lot of such individuals, and even though there are a lot more who are willing to play along, or unwilling to speak against, it's still wrong to say "all Republicans are [X]."

Agreed.

uncle ebeneezer
07-22-2010, 03:12 PM
Broad brush is never a great approach. HOWEVER, it is totally in bounds to continue to shine light on: 1.) the statements of the Right's de facto leader (and the often racist nature of said statements), 2.) the tremendous following and influence he (and others) have on the GOP and 3.) the deafening silence of his supporters when it comes to calling him on things that they say they disagree with.

Wonderment
07-22-2010, 06:04 PM
Broad brush is never a great approach. HOWEVER, it is totally in bounds to continue to shine light on: 1.) the statements of the Right's de facto leader (and the often racist nature of said statements), 2.) the tremendous following and influence he (and others) have on the GOP and 3.) the deafening silence of his supporters when it comes to calling him on things that they say they disagree with.

Race gets very tricky in American politics. It's hard to call Republicans racist today, with a straight face, given that Dems. were the party of Southern Segregation for many decades. Also, there is rampant racism today in the Dem. Party, which we saw in Southern states in the 08 national election, where many Dems. either flipped to McCain, stayed home or supported Clinton over Obama on racial grounds.

Also, I would say that most Americans, independent of politics, are proud to have a black president. They are not necessarily proud of Obama, but they like the idea of an African American in the White House. Most Repubs., for example, would have been delighted to have Colin Powell or a more conservative A-A win the presidency.

Having said that, I certainly agree that Limbaugh is horrifyingly and despicably racist, and that he has a strong right-wing hate-based constituency.

Ocean
07-22-2010, 07:38 PM
Race gets very tricky in American politics. It's hard to call Republicans racist today, with a straight face, given that Dems. were the party of Southern Segregation for many decades. Also, there is rampant racism today in the Dem. Party, which we saw in Southern states in the 08 national election, where many Dems. either flipped to McCain, stayed home or supported Clinton over Obama on racial grounds.

Also, I would say that most Americans, independent of politics, are proud to have a black president. They are not necessarily proud of Obama, but they like the idea of an African American in the White House. Most Repubs., for example, would have been delighted to have Colin Powell or a more conservative A-A win the presidency.



Either consciously or unconsciously we all keep a list of pros and cons in our heads when we think of others. Being well-educated, highly intelligent, African American Democrat are all traits in the pros list for many of us. For others those are all in the cons. And of course, you can have multiple combinations in between.

AemJeff
07-22-2010, 07:38 PM
Race gets very tricky in American politics. It's hard to call Republicans racist today, with a straight face, given that Dems. were the party of Southern Segregation for many decades. Also, there is rampant racism today in the Dem. Party, which we saw in Southern states in the 08 national election, where many Dems. either flipped to McCain, stayed home or supported Clinton over Obama on racial grounds.

Also, I would say that most Americans, independent of politics, are proud to have a black president. They are not necessarily proud of Obama, but they like the idea of an African American in the White House. Most Repubs., for example, would have been delighted to have Colin Powell or a more conservative A-A win the presidency.

Having said that, I certainly agree that Limbaugh is horrifyingly and despicably racist, and that he has a strong right-wing hate-based constituency.

All Republicans are certainly not racists. But after the Democratic party became the party of Civil Rights reform, the vast majority of the racists switched parties. (Funny how the Party of Lincoln nearly sweeps Texas to Georgia northward to the Mason-Dixon line.) The problem for modern Republicans is that playing the racial resentment card is really easy.

chiwhisoxx
07-22-2010, 07:52 PM
All Republicans are certainly not racists. But after the Democratic party became the party of Civil Rights reform, the vast majority of the racists switched parties. (Funny how the Party of Lincoln nearly sweeps Texas to Georgia northward to the Mason-Dixon line.) The problem for modern Republicans is that playing the racial resentment card is really easy.

And the problem with modern Democrat's is that playing the racial grievance card is perhaps even easier. I think Wonderment's post was really good, and is good reminder of how complicated these things can be. It's a mash up of mixed parties and ideologies that change dramatically over time. Are there more racist Republicans than Democrats? I don't know. Quite possibly. Questions about demographics in parties are much less interesting to me than questions about ideology. But I think we go too far in assigning to blame to people other than the racists themselves. Should Republican politicians be more assertive and clear in opposition to racism in a lot of cases? Yeah. Should Democrats be more assertive in their opposition to the things that come out of Al Sharpton's mouth? Yeah. This isn't a moral equivalence between Al Sharpton and racists. I'm just pointing out that the extent to which you can, and should control the fringe of your party, is a bi-partisan question.

AemJeff
07-22-2010, 08:19 PM
And the problem with modern Democrat's is that playing the racial grievance card is perhaps even easier. I think Wonderment's post was really good, and is good reminder of how complicated these things can be. It's a mash up of mixed parties and ideologies that change dramatically over time. Are there more racist Republicans than Democrats? I don't know. Quite possibly. Questions about demographics in parties are much less interesting to me than questions about ideology. But I think we go too far in assigning to blame to people other than the racists themselves. Should Republican politicians be more assertive and clear in opposition to racism in a lot of cases? Yeah. Should Democrats be more assertive in their opposition to the things that come out of Al Sharpton's mouth? Yeah. This isn't a moral equivalence between Al Sharpton and racists. I'm just pointing out that the extent to which you can, and should control the fringe of your party, is a bi-partisan question.

Sharpton is mainly an embarrassing clown with a lot of clout in Harlem - which makes him a Kingmaker in NYC, and which makes him as much an embarrassment as Helms was. I think Tawana Brawley makes possible the argument that he is very nearly the moral equivalent of a racist.

The Republicans have to accept responsibility for accepting deeply offensive choices like accepting the use of the "Southern Strategy" to deliberately split the country racially and for unambiguously embracing people like Jesse Helms. Also for accepting and enriching despicable demagogues like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Andrew Breitbart, whose equivalent is hard to identify on the left. (Please don't say "Olbermann." He may or may not be a clown, but his kind demagoguery does not rise to the same level.) It seems clear to me that these sins far outweigh the antics of Sharpton and his like.

chiwhisoxx
07-22-2010, 08:30 PM
Sharpton is mainly an embarrassing clown with a lot of clout in Harlem - which makes him a Kingmaker in NYC, and which makes him as much an embarrassment as Helms was. I think Tawana Brawley makes possible the argument that he is very nearly the moral equivalent of a racist.

The Republicans have to accept responsibility for accepting deeply offensive choices like accepting the use of the "Southern Strategy" to deliberately split the country racially and for unambiguously embracing people like Jesse Helms. Also for accepting and enriching despicable demagogues like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Andrew Breitbart whose equivalent is hard to identify on the left. (Please don't say "Olbermann." He may or may not be a clown, but his kind demagoguery does not rise to the same level.) It seems clear to me that these sins far outweigh the antics of Sharpton and his like.

I agree with 90% of this. I don't think anything I said really tries to contradict any of this, either. The Southern Strategy was disgraceful in many ways. But when you say Republicans have to own up to it...I mean, do I have to own up to it? I admitted it was disgraceful, should I go beyond that? I promise (pinky swear) it wasn't my idea, and I didn't have anything to do with implementing it, supporting it, etc. My point wasn't about which party is worse; I don't debating the horribleness of Glenn Beck vs. the horribleness of Keith Olbermann is a productive argument. I only wanted to raise the question of dispersed responsibility. I think sometimes people overestimate the extent to which people can be purged from movements, and the extent to which you can remove influence. And I think sometimes liberals go too far in dispersing responsibility to rank and file party members for what they perceive as "staying silent" and "implicit support". But that's a somewhat semantic argument, as I still agree with you for the most part.

AemJeff
07-22-2010, 08:59 PM
I agree with 90% of this. I don't think anything I said really tries to contradict any of this, either. The Southern Strategy was disgraceful in many ways. But when you say Republicans have to own up to it...I mean, do I have to own up to it? I admitted it was disgraceful, should I go beyond that? I promise (pinky swear) it wasn't my idea, and I didn't have anything to do with implementing it, supporting it, etc. My point wasn't about which party is worse; I don't debating the horribleness of Glenn Beck vs. the horribleness of Keith Olbermann is a productive argument. I only wanted to raise the question of dispersed responsibility. I think sometimes people overestimate the extent to which people can be purged from movements, and the extent to which you can remove influence. And I think sometimes liberals go too far in dispersing responsibility to rank and file party members for what they perceive as "staying silent" and "implicit support". But that's a somewhat semantic argument, as I still agree with you for the most part.

I think that's a fair response.

The context of my complaints is mainly to counter the moral equivalence argument. I hear far too many (mostly) white (mostly) men complaining about "black racism," demonizing organizations that try to correct the historically atrocious imbalance of comparative enfranchisement between whites and everybody else (read ACORN), accusing organizations like the NAACP of racism, accusing civil rights heroes like John Lewis of being lying race-baiters, denying the importance of the history of institutional racism that this nation has tolerated and even nurtured (and of which they are generally beneficiaries, in at least an abstract sense), etc...

As far as I can see, it's the Republican Party who benefits from these things. And that's a moral issue that I think needs to be addressed. I'm not pointing at you, chiwhisoxx, or anybody else who just happens to be a member of the Party. But, there is the Party as an abstract thing, there's an extant leadership responsible for making strategic decisions, and there is the incredible number of whingers (some right here on this board, most claiming Republican or Tea Party allegiance [is there a meaningful difference?]) who either like to complain about what I cited above, or just directly cite racists like RS McCain and Steve Sailer. All the while making the moral equivalence argument I mentioned at the outset of this diatribe.

TwinSwords
07-22-2010, 10:52 PM
Yes. Let's not do the same thing we are trying to call attention to -- demonizing an entire group for words and actions coming from individuals.
Well, I don't think saying that Republicans are complicit in the politics of hate is doing anything like what we are trying to call attention to on the other side. And I certainly don't think it's the same as saying "all Republicans are racist" -- a statement I have (a) never made, and (b) have explicitly disavowed on numerous occasions. I have repeatedly said just the opposite: that not all Republicans are racist. But they are all members of the Party of Race Hate -- a party that systematically and deliberately uses the appeal to racism for electoral advantage. My own values are such that I find these appeals repugnant, and I don't think very highly of people who look the other way and vote for the party anyway.

If the kid down the street who has been in and out of jail a half dozen times breaks into the corner store and steals all the cigarettes and liquor, you're not exactly his moral equivalent if you buy some of the booze and smokes from him at a big discount, but you're complicit in an important and meaningful way. It's certainly nothing admirable. I wouldn't respect someone who got their booze that way. Considering the prevalence and prominence of the politics of hate in the Republican Party, you really can't be associated with the party without being tarred by the association -- except maybe for the deeply oblivious. I'll admit there are a lot of Americans who pay very little attention to the political sphere and may really believe the politics of race hate are a thing of the past. I think this delusion is especially likely for people living in deep blue parts of the country, where racism really is a subterranean thing. I would tell those deep blue staters to visit Sarah Palin's Real America sometime.

One other thing, not responding directly to anything you said, but just in general: There's nothing "historical" about Republican racial politics, except in that they started practicing them a long time ago. But the Republican Southern Strategy is alive and well and practiced constantly, as anyone who has been alive in July, 2010 is aware. The whole Republican mediaverse has been pushing racially divisive stories all month, the New Black Panthers, Shirley Sherrod, more ACORN, the supposed Justice Department ban on prosecution of blacks, etc.


Even though there are a lot of such individuals, and even though there are a lot more who are willing to play along, or unwilling to speak against, it's still wrong to say "all Republicans are [X]."
First of all, you could formulate an infinite number of true statements that start "all Republicans are ..." Like, all Republicans are members of the Party of Reagan. All Republicans are members of a party that supports reducing taxes on the rich.

Furthermore, people generalize as part of normal speech. One expects reasonable people to take into account that there are always exceptions to any generalization. If I said, "Republicans favor lower taxes," you might say "not all." But no one would interpret that statement to mean "every last Republican favors lower taxes." The meaning is clear. That said, I have never generalized by saying "Republicans are racist." I favor formulations like "the Republican Party is the party of race hate," and while I might consent to a couple of qualifiers, I also would have no problem saying that "Republicans are complicit in the politics of race hatred." The qualifiers, for those who need them, might be "Republicans, knowingly or not, are complicit in the politics of race hatred." The "or not" is for the benefit of the many millions of ordinary rank and file Americans who pay no attention to politics, live in a bubble unaware of reality, and who pull the lever for the R's when they vote.

TwinSwords
07-22-2010, 10:53 PM
Broad brush is never a great approach. HOWEVER, it is totally in bounds to continue to shine light on: 1.) the statements of the Right's de facto leader (and the often racist nature of said statements), 2.) the tremendous following and influence he (and others) have on the GOP and 3.) the deafening silence of his supporters when it comes to calling him on things that they say they disagree with.

Agreed.

TwinSwords
07-22-2010, 11:06 PM
Race gets very tricky in American politics. It's hard to call Republicans racist today, with a straight face, given that Dems. were the party of Southern Segregation for many decades.
It's really not very tricky at all. We have two parties: one is explicitly dedicated to opposition to racism, and one is explicitly and energetically dedicated to promoting and encouraging racism.

The Democrats were, in fact, the party of racial segregation many decades ago, but when they abandoned those politics, the mantle was immediately picked up by the Republicans, which is why the overwhelming majority of southern white conservatives switched en masse from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.


[...] there is rampant racism today in the Dem. Party [...]
[...] Most Repubs., for example, would have been delighted to have Colin Powell or a more conservative A-A win the presidency. [...]
Huh. It almost sounds like the Republicans are the party of racial tolerance compared to the Democrats.

Wonderment
07-22-2010, 11:08 PM
I favor formulations like "the Republican Party is the party of race hate," and while I might consent to a couple of qualifiers, I also would have no problem saying that "Republicans are complicit in the politics of race hatred." The qualifiers, for those who need them, might be "Republicans, knowingly or not, are complicit in the politics of race hatred." The "or not" is for the benefit of the many millions of ordinary rank and file Americans who pay no attention to politics, live in a bubble unaware of reality, and who pull the lever for the R's when they vote.

Far be it for me to defend Republicans, but I think you're still taking it too far here. Saying Reps. are "the party of race hatred" is like saying Dems. are the "anti-military" party or the "illegals" party because a significant part of the base is pro-peace/anti-war and/or pro-immigrant rights.

Plus, mainstream Republicanism is so hard to differentiate from mainstream Democratism that you often get flip-floppers like Lieberman and Spector who are in the muddled middle. "Moderates" of both parties are nearly identical. Lots of Republicans in my state of California are to the left of Mickey Kaus, for example, a self-professed Democrat. And speaking of racists, there's Exhibit A.

Granted if you listen to Limbaugh or Beck all day long, you'd end up thinking Republicans are racist, warmongering homophobic monsters. But those guys are extremist entertainers, and lots of Republicans can't stand them and can't stand Sarah Palin or Dick Cheney.

At the risk of sounding like a snob, I'd say if you take the college educated in both parties, you won't find a very high percentage of racists, homophobes or religious extremists. Most Republicans with a decent education support their party on economic grounds, which is why the Tea Party wants to break into the mainstream (legitimize) by talking about the deficit and taxes rather than war, abortion or race.

TwinSwords
07-22-2010, 11:13 PM
Questions about demographics in parties are much less interesting to me than questions about ideology.
Questions about demographics in parties are much less interesting to me that how the politics of the parties are conducted by the party leaders. Wonderment is certainly correct that there are a lot of racists in the Democratic rank-and-file, at least in a region stretching from Appalachia into the South (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=158142&highlight=appalachia#post158142). But they find no succor or representation in the party leadership -- not in liberal pundits, party leaders, or politicians. This contrasts dramatically with the Republican party, many of whose leaders are constantly making racist appeals to the Republican base.

chiwhisoxx
07-22-2010, 11:32 PM
Questions about demographics in parties are much less interesting to me that how the politics of the parties are conducted by the party leaders. Wonderment is certainly correct that there are a lot of racists in the Democratic rank-and-file, at least in a region stretching from Appalachia into the South (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=158142&highlight=appalachia#post158142). But they find no succor or representation in the party leadership -- not in liberal pundits, party leaders, or politicians. This contrasts dramatically with the Republican party, many of whose leaders are constantly making racist appeals to the Republican base.

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/01/harry_reid_apologizes_for_ligh.html

just sayin'.

oh, and I almost forgot about Biden: Obama is "bright, articulate, and clean".

TwinSwords
07-22-2010, 11:43 PM
Far be it for me to defend Republicans, but I think you're still taking it too far here. Saying Reps. are "the party of race hatred" is like saying Dems. are the "anti-military" party or the "illegals" party because a significant part of the base is pro-peace/anti-war and/or pro-immigrant rights.
I think it's basically okay to say that the Republicans are the party of lower taxes, for these reasons: (1) The official position/platform of the party is to lower taxes. (2) A significant number, probably a majority, of Republican voters favor lower taxes. (3) The party actually pursues and delivers lower taxes when they are in office. The statement "Republicans are the party of lower taxes" in no way precludes the possibility that there are individual Republicans -- even many Republicans -- who favor tax increases. But higher taxes are not what the party stands for or what the party does. The formulation "the party of [x]" puts the focus on the party, and ultimately that's where it belongs.

You could say the Yankees are a winning team, but no one would think that means they never lose. You could say that the United States is a war-like nation -- maybe you have -- but that doesn't mean every American wants to be at war all the time. Etc.

You're probably overstating significantly the part of the Republican base that is anti-war, but in any event it's irrelevant whether it's 10% or 20%, because the party itself is devoted to war, runs on pro-war positions, and delivers war when elected. The party is the forest; the voters are the trees. Don't lose the former for the latter. You might find one birch in a pine forest, but it's still a pine forest.


Plus, mainstream Republicanism is so hard to differentiate from mainstream Democratism that you often get flip-floppers like Lieberman and Spector who are in the muddled middle. "Moderates" of both parties are nearly identical. Lots of Republicans in my state of California are to the left of Mickey Kaus, for example, a self-professed Democrat. And speaking of racists, there's Exhibit A.
I could not disagree more that it's hard to differentiate between the parties. You are clearly correct that the parties have a vast amount in common. There is a bipartisan consensus on a great many important issues that simply never come up in our national political discourse, because both parties share the same position. We basically have a corporate owned and controlled political process. But despite this, within the context of a corporate-owned political system there are critically important differences between the two parties.


Granted if you listen to Limbaugh or Beck all day long, you'd end up thinking Republicans are racist

[emph added]

I hope by now I've been clear that I'm not talking about "Republicans," but, rather, the Republican Party. I've said over and over and over that not all Republicans are racist. The party itself, though, is an engine of racial grievance and race hate. I'm concerned first with what the party and its leaders do, and of the party members the worst I can say is that they are complicit -- knowingly or not -- when they pull the lever to elect Republicans. I guess if you had an explicitly anti-racist Republican running in your district or state you could vote for him or her with a clearer conscience, but you're still supporting the national machine.


[...] lots of Republicans can't stand them and can't stand Sarah Palin or Dick Cheney.
You can, of course, say "lots of Republicans" hate Cheney or Palin. But they still won their party's nomination in 3 consecutive elections, and were elected to office twice. You can say racism is "rampant" in the Democratic Party, but we still chose Obama over all the other choices, and elected him to office. I won't disagree that there are minorities in both parties who are out of synch with the larger message/intent of their parties, but let's focus on the rule, not the exception. I'm not sure what your purpose is in trying to flip this around and make the exception appear to be the rule in both cases.


At the risk of sounding like a snob, I'd say if you take the college educated in both parties, you won't find a very high percentage of racists, homophobes or religious extremists. Most Republicans with a decent education support their party on economic grounds...
Oh, that's not snobbish at all. Let me give you my own case as an example. I live in a small town in a rural area and work at a massive Fortune 40 corporation. The people I spend all day with are the elite of the elite: the top graduates from the best schools. A clear majority are Republican, and a small minority are racists. These are exactly the people you're describing: they support the party on economic grounds, and maybe for some nebulous cultural reasons. ("Family values.") But the people I work with take pride in their open-mindedness and the diversity of our workplace. Nevertheless, they look the other way when it comes to the deranged Republican base, and I honestly do think they are complicit in propelling a hate-based political movement forward with their dollars and their votes. I think most of them are simply in denial. They want to believe they are good people, so they refuse to acknowledge that they are supporting the politics of hate.


[...] which is why the Tea Party wants to break into the mainstream (legitimize) by talking about the deficit and taxes rather than war, abortion or race.
I really don't agree with this at all. The base Republicans do not want to break into the mainstream; just the opposite. They want to overthrow the old Republican guard. The "legitimate" or corporate class of Republican wants to co-opt the tea party and neutralize it as a threat to the coalition that has worked for so long. I know you have an idealized impression of the Tea Party, but the real meaning of the tea party is a grass roots revolt of Republican rank-and-file trying to overthrow the corporate leaders who have dominated the party and only paid lip service to the religious freaks and xenophobes in recent decades.

TwinSwords
07-22-2010, 11:44 PM
http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/01/harry_reid_apologizes_for_ligh.html

just sayin'.

You're not sayin' much, cuz that statement is anything but proof of racism. I know it's what your side needs to latch onto to convince yourselves you're not all alone in practicing the politics of hate, but it's bullshit and it ain't flyin'.

bjkeefe
07-23-2010, 12:28 PM
You're not sayin' much, cuz that statement is anything but proof of racism. I know it's what your side needs to latch onto to convince yourselves you're not all alone in practicing the politics of hate, but it's bullshit and it ain't flyin'.

Exactly right.

Chi: you are really having to reach to make your equivalence arguments -- a couple of impolitic remarks in extemporaneous settings, by guys who grew up in a different time, to boot, plus reference to one almost sui generis rabble-rouser (Sharpton) -- so much so that you come off as self-refuting to others. You might want to think a little harder about wasting your time trying to make such arguments, because they just won't fly, except for wingnuts.

I'm not saying that there are no racists who are registered Dems, nor am I saying that there are no non-white racists, nor am I saying all Republicans or conservatives are racists or evil, or whatever straw man you're contemplating typing about at this moment. What I am saying is that to deny that the strategy of playing on white fears of blacks, browns, and foreigns is, and has been for decades, a key to the GOP and the conservative movement is to reveal yourself to be not worth taking seriously on these matters.

chiwhisoxx
07-23-2010, 12:44 PM
Exactly right.

Chi: you are really having to reach to make your equivalence arguments -- a couple of impolitic remarks in extemporaneous settings, by guys who grew up in a different time, to boot, plus reference to one almost sui generis rabble-rouser (Sharpton) -- so much so that you come off as self-refuting to others. You might want to think a little harder about wasting your time trying to make such arguments, because they just won't fly, except for wingnuts.

I'm not saying that there are no racists who are registered Dems, nor am I saying that there are no non-white racists, nor am I saying all Republicans or conservatives are racists or evil, or whatever straw man you're contemplating typing about at this moment. What I am saying is that to deny that the strategy of playing on white fears of blacks, browns, and foreigns is, and has been for decades, a key to the GOP and the conservative movement is to reveal yourself to be not worth taking seriously on these matters.

Wasn't making an equivalence argument. I made that clear, by saying, you know, I'm not making an equivalence argument in the earlier sequence with Jeff. The Reid and Biden things were just in good fun. I thought "Just sayin'" made it clear that I was...just sayin. I was ribbing a few politicians, not making a grand argument.

bjkeefe
07-23-2010, 01:30 PM
Well, I don't think saying that Republicans are complicit in the politics of hate is doing anything like what we are trying to call attention to on the other side. And I certainly don't think it's the same as saying "all Republicans are racist" -- a statement I have (a) never made, and (b) have explicitly disavowed on numerous occasions. I have repeatedly said just the opposite: that not all Republicans are racist. But they are all members of the Party of Race Hate -- a party that systematically and deliberately uses the appeal to racism for electoral advantage. My own values are such that I find these appeals repugnant, and I don't think very highly of people who look the other way and vote for the party anyway.

I do not find the distinction you are making sufficiently clear, and what's more, given that you are not likely to go on at this length every time in the future, I still think the label "Party of Hate" is unfair and, worse, risks being applied in an entirely too-sweeping manner.

I also don't think it's fair to characterize everyone who votes R or who registers R all as "people who look the other way." Some do, sure. And you can say that according to your values and priorities, the strains of racism and race-baiting employed by some in the GOP suffice to be a deal-breaker for you. But I can imagine -- and know -- people who have as political priorities issues such as lower taxes, a strong military, an absolutely unfettered Second Amendment, making abortion illegal, and a whole host of others who care not at all about race, and may even be nauseated that they get associated with racists, but who nonetheless have in the end a realistic choice between two parties only.

Finally, if you're not persuaded by my morals-based argument, you might also contemplate matters in an entirely ends-based sense: do you really think demonizing such a large class of people is likely to help liberals, or the Dems, more than it will hurt? And do you really think it's good for the country, especially in the sense of dislodging from power those who do play race cards to get ahead? My sense is that here, it is much better to employ a divide and conquer approach -- concentrate on the individuals and small groups who actually are objectionable, and see if you can't get some other people who are nominally in the same party to join you in condemning and ostracizing them.

In other words, accept that it is going to be a process, and a long one at that, and that you aren't going to be able to fix things quickly with more confrontation and more heated rhetoric, and you're almost certainly going to be working against your own desired ends by using such blunt tools. That's my strategic view, anyway.

If the kid down the street who has been in and out of jail a half dozen times breaks into the corner store and steals all the cigarettes and liquor, you're not exactly his moral equivalent if you buy some of the booze and smokes from him at a big discount, but you're complicit in an important and meaningful way.

True, but I don't think this is a very good analogy to the R or D choices people make.

I would tell those deep blue staters to visit Sarah Palin's Real America sometime.

As we both know, SP's RA is a small slice of the population, and it's getting smaller every year. I'm not saying it can be disregarded entirely, especially given the fetish for it politicians and Villagers have for it, but I am saying that in the end, the Palinistas aren't such a threat that we need to beat coastal elites over the head with it. When the time comes near to vote, and the spotlight swings over to them, it's to their disadvantage (http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/76457/how-much-did-palin-hurt-mccain).

One other thing, not responding directly to anything you said, but just in general: There's nothing "historical" about Republican racial politics, except in that they started practicing them a long time ago. But the Republican Southern Strategy is alive and well and practiced constantly, as anyone who has been alive in July, 2010 is aware. The whole Republican mediaverse has been pushing racially divisive stories all month, the New Black Panthers, Shirley Sherrod, more ACORN, the supposed Justice Department ban on prosecution of blacks, etc.

All agreed, but that still fails to convince me that I should therefore blame every person who votes R for this. I just don't buy what you're implying here, that everyone has to share your sense of priorities. It's perfectly legitimate, for example, to say, "I recognize that there are distasteful elements within the Republican Party, but this is an imperfect world, and I'm going to have to make a choice between two imperfect options. As sad as the reality of persistent racism is, there's nothing much I can do to fix it except in how I conduct myself, and meantime, there are a bunch of other things that concern me more."

First of all, you could formulate an infinite number of true statements that start "all Republicans are ..." Like, all Republicans are members of the Party of Reagan. All Republicans are members of a party that supports reducing taxes on the rich.

These two examples hardly suggest a plenitude of others. And what's more, I don't even accept these two. I know Republicans in my own sphere of acquaintances, and I've read others as well, who think Reagan was a loon and that his borrow-and-spend economic program was awful, among many other failings. Additionally, I know, and know of, Republicans who are in favor of a progressive tax code.

And again, I must ask: what's to be gained by trying to stuff everyone into the same pigeonhole, when it's either obviously untrue or at least likely to be dismissed out of hand? You risk coming across like JonI and badhat and D'Steve, and a few others on this board, when they make their statements about "all liberals" and "the left" and "the Democrat party."

Furthermore, people generalize as part of normal speech. One expects reasonable people to take into account that there are always exceptions to any generalization.

I hate to have to break this news to you, but you're not always dealing with reasonable people on this site. (0.5*;)) And there is a larger swath of people here who will not act reasonably -- give you the benefit of the doubt, interpret your words favorably on your behalf, etc. -- when you make generalizations, because they are inclined to be in a different camp from yours overall. Seems to me, therefore, that it is worth the small effort to add some precision to your sentences; e.g.,

... "Republicans favor lower taxes," ...

Why not just say most Republicans favor lower taxes? Five more characters, including the space, and you've removed something that a disingenuous interlocutor could latch onto, to distract from whatever else you had to say.

[...] That said, I have never generalized by saying "Republicans are racist." I favor formulations like "the Republican Party is the party of race hate," and while I might consent to a couple of qualifiers, I also would have no problem saying that "Republicans are complicit in the politics of race hatred."

Again, the distinction is far from sufficiently clear to me, and more importantly, I say this as one who is as predisposed to be allied with you as anybody is.

The qualifiers, for those who need them, might be "Republicans, knowingly or not, are complicit in the politics of race hatred." The "or not" is for the benefit of the many millions of ordinary rank and file Americans who pay no attention to politics, live in a bubble unaware of reality, and who pull the lever for the R's when they vote.

Eh, I don't like this a whole lot better. Whether you mean it or not, it sounds awfully close to this: People who vote Republican are either racist or clueless. And I sure don't believe this, so much so that I wouldn't like you even to be perceived as suggesting it.

I'll wrap this up by reiterating once more: It is more fair, and smarter politics, to attack the individuals, the individual statements, and the individual events.

I'll point out, as well, that as you continue to document specific episodes in ways that are not possible to dispute, the awareness of a more general problem will dawn in people's minds, without your having to state it. And further, since they've come to the principle in their own minds, in their own ways, at their own paces, this will likely mean the lesson will stick a lot better.

And finally, if you must have a collective term, why not use wingnuts? Never forget the power of a circular definition!

bjkeefe
07-23-2010, 01:32 PM
Wasn't making an equivalence argument. I made that clear, by saying, you know, I'm not making an equivalence argument in the earlier sequence with Jeff.

Save that bullshit for someone who was born yesterday.

The Reid and Biden things were just in good fun. I thought "Just sayin'" made it clear that I was...just sayin. I was ribbing a few politicians, not making a grand argument.

ibid.