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Is It Racist To Oppose Barack Obama?

In a post titled “White Resentment, Obama, and Appalachia,” Ta-Nehisi Coates pushes back on the “it’s not just racism” argument.

The presumption here is that race can somehow be bracketed off from the perception that Obama is “ultra-left.” Thus unlike other shameful acts of racism, opposition to Obama race as a possible “factor” but goes “beyond it.” Or in Kornacki’s formulation Obama, presumably unlike past victims, is facing a complicated opposition which can’t be reduced to raw hatred of blacks.

The problem with these formulations is that they are utterly ahistorical. There is no history of racism in this country that chalked “up only to race.” You can’t really talk about stereotypes of, say, black laziness unless you understand stereotypes of the poor stretching back to 17th century Great Britain (Edmund Morgan again.) You can’t really talk about the Southern slave society without grappling with the relationship between the demand for arable land and the demand for labor. You can’t understand the racial pogroms at the turn of the century without understanding the increasing mobility of American women. (Philip Dray At The Hands Of Persons Unknown.)

And this works the other way too. If you’re trying to understand the nature of American patriotism without thinking about anti-black racism, you will miss a lot. If you’re trying to understand the New Deal, without thinking about Southern segregationist senators you will miss a lot. If you’re trying to understand the very nature of American democracy itself, and not grappling with black you, you will miss almost all of it.

Now, on the surface, this is absolutely right. Even people who are unabashed anti-black racists tend to draw their antipathy from cultural markers, not race per se. That is, they have contempt for those who display certain behaviors associated with ghetto culture, view young black males dressed a certain way suspiciously, and view every failure of a black celebrity as validation of their prejudices while simultaneously acknowledging that there are some “good blacks” out there along with “white niggers.” And they experience no cognitive dissonance in rooting for a black athlete or cheering for a black politician like Herman Cain.

But Coates’ larger argument rests on the ecological fallacy. He’s looking at aggregate studies showing that racism is a factor for some people in a group and imputing that racism to all the people in that group. His conclusion:

Complicating racism with other factors doesn’t make it any better. It just makes it racism. Again.
I don’t mean to come down on Kornacki or Cillizza. But I think this sort of writing about race–and really about American politics–as though history doesn’t exist is a problem. Specifically, journalists are fond of saying “racism is only one factor” without realizing that any racism is unacceptable. It is wrong to believe Barack Obama shouldn’t be president because he’s black. That you have other reasons along with those–even ones that rank higher–doesn’t make it excusable. Likely those other reasons are themselves tied to Obama being black.

The problem with this is that, while there may be people who would otherwise support Obama if not for his race–and even some people who dislike him more than they otherwise would because of his race–the vast majority of those who oppose him would oppose him with equal vehemence were he white. As I noted in the long discussion thread on the “Conservative ‘Race War’ Meme,” we saw much of the same sort of fantastical conspiracy theories about Bill Clinton.

Of course, even this gets complicated. It’s sometimes next to impossible to untangle partisan “derangement syndrome” with racial stereotypes in the case of Obama.  For example, earlier today JammieWearingFool tweeted,

Obama Had Lower SAT Scores Than That Dummy Bush http://www.jammiewf.com/?p=10368 #DumbestPresidentEver

Curious, I clicked through the link and found that this assertion is based on some thin evidence, indeed, a DailyMail story which quotes some rather dubious reasoning from a Breitbart site:

The president, who moved from Occidental Community College in Los Angeles, was among 67 students whose average combined math and verbal score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test is a 1,100, according to a report obtained by Breitbart News.

By comparison, Mr Bush – who earned a history degree from Yale in 1968 – got 1206 out of a possible 1600 points in the same test he took at Andover boarding school in Massachusetts.

If Mr Obama, who majored in political science at Columbia, were near the average of that year, it would mean he had worse high school grades than a president derided by many as the dumbest in history.

Now, it takes about 2 seconds to realize there’s zero reason to assume that Barack Obama got the average score of 67 students who transferred in at the same time. Confronted with this, JWF responded, “ I guess Obama should provide his records in that case.” When I noted that it’s up to the accuser to provide evidence of his claims, not the accused to refute it, he responded, “Happens every day to Republicans.” We ended the conversation there.

Now, how do we assess this exchange? Is it sheer blind partisanship? Built up resentment over the fact that Republican presidents are often presumed to be not so bright, whereas Democratic presidents are generally touted as near-geniuses? Or is it racial resentment, a belief that no black man would get into a great school, much less succeed there, without racial preferences? I’d say it depends entirely on whom you’re talking to. Just because some people who “want to see the transcript” are motivated at least partly by race doesn’t mean that all or even most are.

And that’s the rub: While I agree with Coates that having other reasons besides racism to oppose Obama doesn’t excuse the racism, the fact that sussing out racial motivations is so damned complicated makes it awfully easy to just chalk up all opposition to Obama and any references to his past as racist.* And, frankly, Obama’s supporters have been more than willing to use that to their advantage and and Obama’s team to quietly let them going way back to 2008 primaries.

_____________
*Before I get accused of constructing a straw man, see former President Jimmy Carter, Congressman James Clyburn, comedian and talk host Bill Maher, legendary actor Morgan Freeman, political columnist John Heilemann and others. And, no, I don’t think Coates himself is making this argument, although I think he’s laid the ground for it.

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    Not all opposition to Obama is based on his race(probably not even 25% of the opposition to him), but there is a persistant part of the opposition that seems so desperate to conjure up faux scandals, push fake complaints and dance on the line between legitimate criticism and racism.

    However, in states like West Virginia, Kentucky and Arkansas, Obama’s vote totals can be explained by simple racism. That is still on the table in states like those.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  2. Short answer: No.

    Longer answer: Yes there are people out there who have always opposed the President because of his skin color. There’s nothing we can do about that. But for people like Coates to lump in with those people anyone who dares to have a policy difference with the President is absurd.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 20

  3. Rob in CT says:

    Oy. The headline…

    Of course not. Not necessarily. It can be a factor, though. All sorts of predjudices can come into play… racism against black Americans is one with a long and particulary potent history, but it’s not the only one out there.

    I mean, look at the fear and loathing of robots. Asimov tried to defuse this with his Robot stories, but alas here we are in 2012 and people are reacting in such predictable ways to the Rombot3000. I mean, it’s true his Pander function needs adjustment and his Core Beliefs function was disabled, but those are minor bugs…

    ;)

    To be more serious about it: look, I generally come down roughly where you are and for similar reasons: I remember the 1990s and the crazy stuff about the Clintons. If Obama were white, most of the crap spewed against him would still have been spewed, for his chief sin is being a Democrat.

    And yet… there is a difference here. All the Othering attempts, specifically (the birther stuff, the really strange “kenyan anti-colonial” charge, etc). You couldn’t possibly contend that Billy Clinton, ‘ole Slick Willie, wasn’t a good ‘ole American boy. You could certainly call him a librul, you could maybe even try and gin up some wacky murder conspiracy, but there was no othering attempted (was there? I don’t recall it).

    And I’ve HAD the conversation – more than once – with acquaintences who flat-out said (usually after a couple of beers had loosened tongues) that Obama would get in and “give all the money to the blacks.” In slightly more refined settings, that’s “food stamp President.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  4. Rob in CT says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’ve read Coates a lot. I rather doubt that’s what he’s doing [check's James' post]. Oh, right, he’s not doing it. What are you talking about, Doug?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  5. @Rob in CT:

    That is certainly the implication I got from these closing sentences of Coates’s post:

    It is wrong to believe Barack Obama shouldn’t be president because he’s black. That you have other reasons along with those–even ones that rank higher–doesn’t make it excusable. Likely those other reasons are themselves tied to Obama being black.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 17

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    It’s all about tribalism and yes, racism is part of tribalism. Keep in mind that Falwell and Robertson initially preached in opposition to segregation – abortion came much latter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  7. Just Me says:

    I think the problem is while racism can certainly cause one to oppose Obama it can’t be generalized in the direction of calling all those who oppose Obama as being motivated by racism.

    I know for a fact that I would have no problems voting for Obama is he were a conservative and if he was lily white and running on the same agenda I would vote against him.

    I think it is a mistake to assume all opposition to Obama comes from a racist motivation and accusing those who are in opposition of being racist IMO pretty much shuts down the discussion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  8. Wayne says:

    Is it racist to support Obama?

    In the story they stated “In a December 2007 Washington Post-ABC News poll, six percent said a candidate being African American made them “more” likely to support him while five percent said it made them less likely. “

    So according to that poll there are more racist that support Obama than opposed him.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 15

  9. No. You read ecological fallacy into what he was saying.

    He is not saying that all Tea Partiers are racist. He is saying that you can’t understand the Tea party without acknowledging the racist component.

    Since you always want to say racism is an outlier …. as swbarnes2 noted yesterday:

    For goodness sake, it’s not “mindboggling”, it’s not some random, isolated bit of crazy, and it’s not inexplicable. It’s very easy to explain, you and Doug just refuse to see it or admit it.

    Then you must distort this argument into something other than what it is. It’s the swbarnes2 thing. It is that this is not random, it is intrinsic even if it is not universal, and should be addressed.

    How many times can we fob off racism as a separate thing? That’s what swbarnes2 asked yesterday.

    I think you, and a certain segment of the right, plan on doing it forever. You will have racism as a component of your political power base, but will forever argue that, since you are not personally racist, it has nothing to do with you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 8

  10. reid says:

    That SAT tweet is so utterly dishonest. How does JWF sleep at night. Good for you calling him on it, James.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  11. New Poll Finds Tea Partiers Have More Racist Attitudes

    Right?

    Your strategy, James, is that why that may be true, it can never be acknowledged.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 5

  12. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You bolded the wrong sentence in your block quote.

    Let’s try again, shall we:

    It is wrong to believe Barack Obama shouldn’t be president because he’s black. That you have other reasons along with those–even ones that rank higher–doesn’t make it excusable. Likely those other reasons are themselves tied to Obama being black.

    Oh, quelle suprise!, that makes a world of difference! Now it is obvious that Coates’ argument is that if you don’t think Obama should be president because he is black, any other reasons you give can’t really be unpackaged from the core racism. Funny how that paragraph has a completely different meaning when you read it from start to finish and don’t just skip to bolding the one sentence that lets you take the largest amount of false umbrage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  13. @Gromitt Gunn:

    And he also appears to make the assumption that most people oppose the President because of his race. Or at least he makes no serious effort to differentiate between those who do, and those who oppose him based on policy or on the conclusion that he just hasn’t been a very good president.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 23

  14. brendanm98 says:

    Doug: the “you” in TNC’s closing paragraph is restricted to people whose opposition to Obama is partially (“other reasons along with those”) due to his race.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  15. Wayne says:

    @ Gromitt Gunn
    Can’t that argument be made for those who support him as well? Isn’t considering the color of someone skin as a reason to vote for or against them wrong?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

  16. @Doug Mataconis:

    And he also appears to make the assumption that most people oppose the President because of his race.

    That is dishonest crap. That kind of comment is self-defeating, really. All I need do is highlight it.

    You, and James, play a game. Whenever anyone says the right has racists, you say “it is totally unfair to say all on the right are racists.”

    That neat little swap means you never have to engage with what was actually said.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 4

  17. Rob in CT says:

    Ah, I see, Doug. I read that differently.

    Here’s how I read it (note, I backed up 1 more sentence, and that’s the key):

    It is wrong to believe Barack Obama shouldn’t be president because he’s black. That you have other reasons along with those–even ones that rank higher–doesn’t make it excusable. Likely those other reasons are themselves tied to Obama being black.

    So he’s talking about a subset of people who think Obama shouldn’t be POTUS because he’s black. Then he says those people (same people) may have other reasons they don’t like him – even ones they care more about – but that doesn’t excuse the racism, and strongly suggests that those other things they care about so much may be, um, colored by their bigotry.

    That’s my interpretation. Given what I know of Coates, I really think you’re misread him.

    That, to me, is pretty clearly not charging everyone who disagrees with Obama with racism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  18. @Wayne:

    The symmetry would be that while there are a component on the left who support Obama for his race, and this can be acknowledged, it is not true that all support him for his race.

    Metaphysically though, loving someone for their race might be less evil than hating someone for it. There is a difference between positive and negative emotions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  19. Rob in CT says:

    Regarding support for Obama, IIRC, Kerry got something like 88% of the AA vote and Obama got in the mid-90s. I don’t recall the turnout numbers, but I think there was a jump there too in ’08.

    Three things about that: 1) AA’s vote for Democrats, generally. You can’t just put a black guy/gal in front of them and expect support. The GOP has tried this, and it doesn’t work; 2) 2008 was a wave election, and turnout was up generally; and 3) I assume a “FIRST!” boost is plausible and, frankly, excuseable.

    If this became a trend, we might have a problem that needs discussion. For now, I don’t see one.

    The ideal remains voting for the best candidate you can (usually the LOTE, in practice), regardless of race, gender or other immutable traits (as opposed to beliefs).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  20. Jake P says:

    While I don’t doubt there are people who won’t vote for him based on race, what gets my dander up is the reflexive assumption that’s the *main* reason he is opposed, and that there could be no other explanation. (Same thing applies to gay marriage–there are reasons one can oppose it that have nothing to with disliking homosexuals.) For those who voted for President Obama largely because of race, that’s their choice. I wonder what they think about that decision now.

    I did not vote for Obama, but I had significant hopes that he could start an honest, or at least open, conversation about race in this country: i.e., use the bully pulpit to tell the race-carders to cool it, and tell the racists to get over it. I have been disappointed. Maybe he’ll do that in his second term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10

  21. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Doug Mataconis: If that is *actually* true then you’ll easily be able to find writings by Mr. Coates that support that conclusion, rather than highlighting snippets that you had to take out of context to support your gut feelings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  22. @john personna:

    Yes there are people in this country who continue to harbor racist points of view. What is one supported to to with them, kick them out of the country? It is, I have found, rather pointless to try to argue with them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  23. Rob in CT says:

    what gets my dander up is the reflexive assumption that’s the *main* reason he is opposed, and that there could be no other explanation

    Some of it is just people being perplexed at some of the really ridiculous things people accuse him of (things like the birth certificate nonsense). The natural thought process goes something like this:

    1) How could anyone actually believe that crap? It takes 10 seconds to google it and find out that it’s total BS. Therefore,
    2) This person is just a hater who needs only the thinnest veneer of rationalization for it.

    This leads people to racism as a possible root cause, particuarly given our history. It downplays simple partisan policies, of course (this is where the Clinton comparison comes in). But partisan politics have also pretty much always had a racial component (at least since the GOP was originally formed and promptly dubbed the “Black Republican Party” by the retrograde Democrats). Which is what Ta-Nehise Coates touched on briefly.

    Anyway, I think you’re right to bring up the gay marriage comparison. Again, it’s about looking at a position that seems irrational and deciding that it’s therefore motivated by hatred. And of course some of it is, so it’s easy to have that suspicion confirmed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  24. anjin-san says:

    What is one supported to to with them

    Well, you could write a lot of posts about how “silly” and “bizarre” they are, then move on to “both sides do it”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  25. @Doug Mataconis:

    That didn’t really address Ta-Nehisi Coates’, or swbarnes2, or my point at all. Did it?

    What you did there is say “yeah there are racists” and you again made an argument disconnected from the (statistical) political binding.

    If the polls say Tea Partiers are more racist, then you can acknowledge that as part of their motivation, and discuss how best to respond to it.

    I don’t believe a blind eye, or a game of “hey, every movement has racists” is the right response.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  26. Rob in CT says:

    Ta-Nehisi, not Ta-Nehise. I should just stick with Coates, because I don’t screw that one up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  27. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Is It Racist To Oppose Barack Obama?

    That question itself only can exist in the interrelated vacuums of the Internet, in media newsrooms, on college and university campuses, in schoolrooms, in government cubicles and among the extraordinarily wealthy.

    On Main Street it’s a non-sequitur. People don’t think that way. Notwithstanding the shrill and hysterical thoughts to the contrary by the likes of Coates, et al.

    Not that there aren’t crackers who oppose Obama solely or mostly on the basis of his skin color. There are. In both political parties, by the way. Ultimately, however, we’re talking about the very tail end of the political bell curve. As the blog post author correctly notes, the overwhelming majority of people who will vote against Obama this November will be doing so independently of his skin color.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  28. Gromitt Gunn says:

    James,

    Here’s a good rule of thumb:

    If someone uses any one of these phrases in relation to the President or his family: “Kenyan,” “Muslim,” “Black Liberation Theology,” “He hasn’t been vetted,” “We don’t know who he is,” “Bill Ayers,” “Chicago Style Politics,” “Angry,” “Shuck and Jive,” “Food Stamps,” “White Grandparents,” “Reparations,” or “Rev. Wright,” their core objection is most likely race.

    If someone forwards pictures of any member of the first family using any of the following imagery: pimp/ho costumes, tribal dress, watermelon, fried chicken, food stamps, shuck and jive, muslim, or monkeys gorillas, or other non-human primates, their core objection is most likely race.

    If someone spends multiple paragraphs working themselves into a froth over the First Lady’s attempts to battle child obesity through better diet and exercise, their core objection is probably race.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3

  29. Jeremy R says:

    Let me try an entirely different tack than I did in the “Race War” thread.

    Let’s take your premise that only a fraction of conservative media is scratching a racial animus itch as they construct their latest outrage narratives against the president. Considering how the RightWing blogosphere actually functions, where people build off of each others work, often ignoring mainstream debunkings along the way, what is the net effect of all these supposedly non-racist bloggers and media pundits building off of the product of the less pure in their midst?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Sorry, one more:

    Birthers, in my opinion, are directly acting out of racist motivations themselves, have (or should have) a clinical mental health diagnosis or diagnoses, and/or are opportunistically using the racist motivations of others to further their own ends. And while there might exist evidence that refutes that, I can’t possibly think of what it would be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  31. California Politician’s Email Depicts Obama as a Chimp, Sparks Outrage

    Conservative Blogger Resigns After Posting Hateful Obama Image

    Mayor Who Sent Obama Watermelon Email Quits

    The thing that James and Doug have been telling us for YEARS is that these things are random, right? And that we can separate them from the political debate. THAT is what Coates is addressing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  32. Jake P says:

    @Rob in CT: Thanks for the thoughtful reply, and I agree with your reasoning. I’m somewhat dumbstruck by the downvotes. If someone can hit me with some knowledge about what was so offensive, incorrect, or “unhelpful” about what I wrote, I’m sincerely interested.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  33. rodney dill says:

    @Jake P: Nothing was ‘wrong’ with your comment (IMHO). While the site itself leans somewhat to the right, depending on the author, the majority of commenters tend to lean to the left, and have shown a proclivity to down vote comments that disagree with them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  34. merl says:

    What is a Jammie Wearing Fool? And who would want to be called a fool on purpose?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  35. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    “What is one supported to to with them, kick them out of the country?”

    One can use the “marketplace of ideas” proactively, by not supporting people who engage in racist rhetoric, even on other matters and by bringing their racist rhetoric to the forefront on a regular basis, every time they speak up on any topic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  36. @Jake P:

    I did not down-vote you, but I didn’t really like this paragraph:

    I did not vote for Obama, but I had significant hopes that he could start an honest, or at least open, conversation about race in this country: i.e., use the bully pulpit to tell the race-carders to cool it, and tell the racists to get over it. I have been disappointed. Maybe he’ll do that in his second term.

    I think Obama’s comments on race have been pretty good. He may have been “conservative” in moving the ball on the field, but then “telling” people as you ask would probably just cause a news blip and be forgotten.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  37. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: But I reject the notion that “it is intrinsic even if it is not universal.” I don’t deny that there’s a strong element of racism in certain parts of Republican politics. For reasons Coates outlines well, it’s so tied up in parts of rural and Southern culture as to be impossible to untangle. But it’s not intrinsic, in either sense. That is, it’s possible to hold various conservative positions without being racist and not all racists hold conservative views.

    @john personna: “If the polls say Tea Partiers are more racist, then you can acknowledge that as part of their motivation, and discuss how best to respond to it.” The way to respond to it is to condemn that part of it. Which I have, repeatedly. I pretty much dismiss the Tea Party entirely–even though I agree with a significant part of their agenda–because it has so many racists and yahoos in vocal positions.

    @john personna: On the chimp thing, I actually do think “both sides do it” is a fair response given the Bush/chimp crap over the years. The other two examples are extremely small time. (Derbyshire is a much better example.) But, yes, I fully agree that there is an overlap between racism, xenophobia, and the “protect our values” wing of conservatism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. Katharsis says:

    @Jake P:

    …[W]hat gets my dander up is the reflexive assumption that’s the *main* reason he is opposed, and that there could be no other explanation. (Same thing applies to gay marriage–there are reasons one can oppose it that have nothing to with disliking homosexuals.)

    If someone can hit me with some knowledge about what was so offensive, incorrect, or “unhelpful” about what I wrote, I’m sincerely interested.

    You’re understanding of the issues appears to be sidelined by your need to insert yourself as the victim.

    Affected: There is racism here.
    You: How dare you lump me in with the racists!

    Affected: There is homophobia here.
    You: How dare you lump me in with the homophobes!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  39. al-Ameda says:

    Anyone else notice this?

    The president, who moved from

    Occidental Community College

    in Los Angeles, was among 67 students whose average combined math and verbal score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test is a 1,100, according to a report obtained by Breitbart News.

    Occidental College is NOT a community college, it is a highly ranked liberal arts college.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  40. @James Joyner:

    Why don’t the polls prove that it is intrinsic?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  41. Just to be clear, the polls show a statistical relation. There are more racists within the Tea Party movement than outside it. That may be uncomfortable for you to read, but that’s the data.

    Now Coates is saying that you can’t just split that out. If people who think blacks ware less intelligent than whites (right there in the poll(*)), then you can’t say the SAT thing (an intelligence thing) is just random and unconnected.

    * – “On whether blacks were intelligent, 45 percent of the tea-party supporters agreed, compared with 59 percent of the tea-party opponents.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  42. Seerak says:

    @Doug Mataconis: It isn’t just absurd; it’s an instance of precisely what makes racism an evil in the first place: collectivism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  43. rodney dill says:

    @Katharsis: If Jake P is being miscast as racist or homophobic then he really is a ‘victim’. Don’t you think? I think the term victim is a bit over dramatic, I’d rather see it as maligned. And, I certainly don’t see where you can read into it that its sidelined his understanding of the issues, other than it may not agree with yours.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  44. James Joyner says:

    @john personna:

    Why don’t the polls prove that it is intrinsic?

    “Intrinsic” means that something is either impossible without that component or else that the component is a subset of that thing. Neither is the case here.

    @john personna:

    There are more racists within the Tea Party movement than outside it. That may be uncomfortable for you to read, but that’s the data.

    I don’t doubt that at all. I just say: So what? There are proportionally more Southerners in the Tea Party than in the GOP writ large and more in the GOP than in the non-GOP population. There are more racists in the South, proportionally.

    Now Coates is saying that you can’t just split that out. If people who think blacks ware less intelligent than whites (right there in the poll(*)), then you can’t say the SAT thing (an intelligence thing) is just random and unconnected.

    But OF COURSE YOU CAN. That people who think blacks are stupid therefore think Obama is stupid doesn’t mean that non-racists who are resentful of Bush and Reagan being called stupid can’t take some joy in polls showing Kerry, Gore, and Obama actually had lower scores. And, yes, the Bush-Gore and Bush-Kerry comparisons were made, too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  45. mattb says:

    As I said in the in the previous thread, I largely agree with what James wrote here. The issue that I have with current republican media outlets (talk radio, blogs, FoxNews) is the fact that regardless of whether their motivations are racial, they constantly use racial/bigoted language and images to attack Obama on non-substantive issues.

    Whether or not that’s just part of an attempt to appeal to what James refers to as the “protect our values” wing of conservatism is some what inconsequential. The fact is that they’re exploiting (and re-enforcing) racial stereotypes and fears.

    And that’s deeply problematic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  46. mattb says:

    As I noted in the long discussion thread on the “Conservative ‘Race War’ Meme,” we saw much of the same sort of fantastical conspiracy theories about Bill Clinton.

    To my point above, while we saw conspiracies about Clinton, or ad hominem attacks on the man, most of them were based on the idea that he as an individual was (a) a crook, (b) a triangulating politician with no spine, and (c) a womanizer. Generally speaking, his “tribal” aspects, i.e. being a good ‘ol boy, wasn’t the subject of much ridicule.

    But when one looks at the conspiracy/ad hominem attacks on Obama, its hard to find many that don’t get mapped to one racial stereotype or another.

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  47. rodney dill says:

    @mattb: you forgot (d) Guilty of perjury.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  48. mattb says:

    @James Joyner:

    That people who think blacks are stupid therefore think Obama is stupid doesn’t mean that non-racists who are resentful of Bush and Reagan being called stupid can’t take some joy in polls showing Kerry, Gore, and Obama actually had lower scores.

    Agreed. And when it comes to single attacks like this one, I think it’s important to understand how much of this is a reaction to attacks by liberals on how smart Bush was.

    But these attacks are bundled up into larger narratives. For Liberal’s Bush’s Academic performance was part of a larger meme about how we was, in CCR’s words, a fortunate son.

    In Obama’s case, many in Conservative Inc media machine use this SAT thing as a further idea of Obama as the Affirmative Action candidate.

    I realize that both are cases of trying to invalidate the individual because of factors beyond themselves. But on the one hand you have wealth and a political dynasty and on the other side, you have, well… race.

    And the problem is that many conservative commentators don’t want to admit the racial aspect to their attacks. Instead incredible verbal and mental gymnastics take place (which again, only suggests exactly how much they understand that the attacks are racially based and from the get go they’re trying to explain those aspects away).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  49. mattb says:

    @rodney dill:

    @mattb: you forgot (d) Guilty of perjury.

    Wasn’t that covered under “(a) a crook?”

    Seriously, the actual admission/conviction of perjury came pretty late in the game for Clinton. The criminal conspiracies were being kicked around long before that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  50. @James Joyner:

    I’m afraid that all reduces to sophistry to me. What you’ve done there is say, sure the Tea Party is disproportional racist, but we should take that off the table, and listen to the ostensibly non-racist things the movement says. You are saying “if they talk SAT scores, then we must answer that non-racially.”

    The problem with that is that it is the worst sort of defensive argument. It is a get out of jail free card. More on that below:

    On the semantic argument, I think that a majority of Tea Partiers could not agree “blacks were intelligent” makes it intrinsic. That is way too much a correlation to be random, disconnected, or beneath our consideration.

    You are asking us to take a group with majority racist views, and subtract that, and instead view them by the minority position within them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  51. Scott O. says:

    @Jake P:

    (Same thing applies to gay marriage–there are reasons one can oppose it that have nothing to with disliking homosexuals.)

    If I may ask, what are those reasons?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  52. rodney dill says:

    @mattb: Probably, I just couldn’t resist adding to that list. ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  53. @mattb:

    Well, James may be a good representative of non-racist right wingers, but I don’t think he gets to extend his non-racism to people who are.

    His non-racism is not an umbrella.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  54. Katharsis says:

    @rodney dill:

    If Jake P is being miscast as racist or homophobic then he really is a ‘victim’. Don’t you think? I think the term victim is a bit over dramatic, I’d rather see it as maligned.

    You almost make my point for me. No I don’t think him being being miscast as maligned is nearly as much a problem those who are miscast, rather permanently, as lessors.

    And, I certainly don’t see where you can read into it that its sidelined his understanding of the issues, other than it may not agree with yours.

    Agreed, however he asked for a reply on why he got down votes and I offered my opinion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  55. rodney dill says:

    @Katharsis: I don’t think him being ‘maligned’ is as big an issue, as those that are victims of racism either. I read an inference into your statement that he was playing the victim card, and I saw that as more an ad hominem attack on his statement rather than the requested response. If it was not meant that way, then my mistake.

    Yes, he did ask for a response.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  56. mattb says:

    @Jake P:

    Same thing applies to gay marriage–there are reasons one can oppose it that have nothing to with disliking homosexuals.

    If by “disliking” you mean not wanting to actively persecute them, I can buy into that.

    But I have a really hard time coming up with a rational reason for opposing gay marriage which is *not* based in seeing their relationships as either (a) not deserving of equal protection under the law or (b) believing their behavior to be fundamentally deviant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  57. mattb says:

    @Jake P: I didn’t vote you down, but my guess is that for some people the issues was with this statement:

    what gets my dander up is the reflexive assumption that’s the *main* reason he is opposed, and that there could be no other explanation.

    This comes across as a move that can be read as a broad brush. I think there are a lot of reasons for people to oppose Obama. And many of them come down to legitimate disagreements on policy issues. Others come down to party line issues. And all of that is — and should be — fair game.

    What many of us have argued, however, is that when it comes to ad homiem attacks and the level of vitriol directed at the president, you find that race plays a rather large factor. And the fact that pointing that out is taken as the same as saying all ya’lls are racist immediately shuts down the mature discussion of racism that you seem to be asking for (because it suggests that we don’t have a serious concern).

    And it should be noted that the question of racism and opposition to the president goes beyond Republicans. Look for example at this interactive map on the New York Times site which shows areas of the country where Obama got significantly fewer votes than Kerry:
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/11/05/us/politics/20081104_ELECTION_RECAP.html?ref=politics
    (h/t Jeremy R.)

    It’s hard to find any rational explanation for reconciling that shift (presumably among Southern Dems) with the numbers Obama put up in other areas of the country than the color of Mr Obama’s skin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  58. jukeboxgrad says:

    james:

    makes it awfully easy to just chalk up all opposition to Obama and any references to his past as racist … Before I get accused of constructing a straw man

    Yes, and it’s “awfully easy to just” put words in someone’s mouth and pretend they said something they didn’t actually say. You are indeed constructing a straw man, and you should really have more respect for the intelligence of your readers. Carter said this: “an overwhelming portion.” Clyburn said this: “in large measure.” Maher said this: “a lot of it … almost all of it.” Freeman said this: “It is a racist thing.” Heilemann said this: “for some number of the president’s enemies.” With the exception of Freeman, none of those people said “all.”

    Words matter. Don’t say someone said “all” if they didn’t say “all” (or a real synonym for “all”).

    As john personna said:

    You, and James, play a game. Whenever anyone says the right has racists, you say “it is totally unfair to say all on the right are racists.”

    That neat little swap means you never have to engage with what was actually said.

    That word (“all”) is an important part of the game you’re playing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  59. Jake P says:

    @Katharsis: Yes, I did ask for a response, and I appreciate you taking the time to craft one. But, no, I don’t consider myself a victim, and don’t believe it affects my understanding. (You and I may need to agree to disagree on that, eh.) I just think the dynamic, and the overall vitriol, is unproductive in a boy-who-cries-wolf kind of way.

    As far as gay marriage, I personally don’t care that much one way or the other. I was using it as an example of reflexive assumptions about a person’s motives, attributing to hatred what might be a moral, religious or financial objection. Naively, I’d prefer that government get out of the marriage business (among myriad other matters) altogether.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  60. jukeboxgrad says:

    matt:

    Look for example at this interactive map

    That’s a great map. I’ve cited it here before (link), and I was about to cite it again. It also popped up this morning at WaPo:

    Obama under-performs a generic Democratic candidate in Appalachia (Kentucky and West Virginia) and in some portions of the South. Of course, we knew that after the 2008 election; just check out this terrific map highlighting counties that went more Republican in 2008 than in 2004. … While race is clearly an element of the opposition among some Democrats in these regions, it’s far from the only factor. …

    And at TNR:

    … let me suggest that people take a look at this map. It shows the counties where Obama in 2008 got a lower share of the general election vote than John Kerry had four years earlier, even as Obama did vastly better than Kerry nationwide. It is a virtually contiguous band of territory stretching from southwestern Pennsylvania through Appalachia and across the Upland South, finally petering out in north-central Texas. … look more closely at the map — where was Obama’s 2008 dropoff particularly heavy? In eastern Kentucky and most of Arkansas.

    Keep in mind: this was at the peak of Obama’s popularity. It was before he began his “war on coal,” before Obamacare, before all the things that pundits will point to to explain why this part of the country is so dead set against the president. And yet he did worse in this region than Kerry, who’s not exactly Johnny Of The Ozarks. The easy explanation for this is obvious, but I don’t think it’s actually all that simple. …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  61. James Joyner says:

    @jukeboxgrad: The point of each and every one of those declarations was that we should presume criticisms of Obama are racist. They’re doing the opposite of what you’re accusing me of doing: excusing their broad brush by admitting that not literally everyone is racist while nonetheless implying or outright declaring that most are.

    Neither Doug nor I have argued that there’s no racism in the GOP, the Tea Party, or some Obama opponents. We’ve indeed said the opposite. We’re saying that most of the opposition to Obama is partisan and ideological and would exist if Hillary Clinton or John Edwards or Joe Biden had won in 2008. It might take different forms–the Birther stuff, for example, wouldn’t exist–but the vehemence would.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  62. @Gromitt Gunn:

    “Chicago Style Politics,”

    Objection to the corruption in Chicago’s political machine isn’t race focussed.

    the First Lady’s attempts to battle child obesity through better diet and exercise

    Again, this has nothing to do with race.

    This is basically indicative of the general problem here. Gromitt Gunn starts with listing legitimate examples of racism and then part way through starts sliding into objections based purely on policy disagreements. So by the end, anyone who disagrees with the President about anything is racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  63. Wayne says:

    @ JP
    Re “and this can be acknowledged, it is not true that all support him for his race.” Which can be said for the other side.

    As for your positive and negative comment, perhaps those who are less likely to vote for Obama because of his race is because they like whites better. That’s positive right? Thinking or treating someone better because they are blond and blue eyed, black, etc may be “positive” but there are negative side effects. Giving one race preferential treatment means you are treating another race in lesser manner.

    In the end, judging someone because of his race positively or negative is still racism and is still wrong. I shake my head at those who are selective in their condemnation of racism. It undercuts their arguments and shows them as hypocrites.

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  64. jukeboxgrad says:

    james:

    excusing their broad brush by admitting that not literally everyone is racist while nonetheless implying or outright declaring that most are.

    This is what you’re saying now. I highlighted a key word. This is what you said before:

    … makes it awfully easy to just chalk up all opposition to Obama and any references to his past as racist

    I highlighted another key word. What you’re doing is known as backpedaling. And let’s refer again to your examples. Heilemann said this: “for some number of the president’s enemies.” How does that correspond to “most?” It doesn’t. Clyburn said this: “in large measure.” That means ‘a lot,’ which is also not as strong as “most.”

    So you cited examples which don’t correspond with your original claim (“all”), and which don’t even correspond with your new, weaker claim (“most”). One more time: don’t insult my intelligence as a reader. Don’t tell me these people said “all” when most of them said something weaker than that. And don’t change your pitch from “all” to “most” and then expect me to not notice that you changed your pitch.

    We’re saying that most of the opposition to Obama is partisan and ideological

    The key word there is “most.” This claim is probably correct. Yes, it’s probably true that “most” Republicans are not racists. Trouble is, that’s not good enough. The racists in the GOP, even though they are a minority, are a strong force, and the non-racists in the GOP do much too much to accept, tolerate and encourage them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  65. KariQ says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Notwithstanding the shrill and hysterical thoughts to the contrary by the likes of Coates

    Anyone who can call Ta-Nehisi Coates “shrill” or “hysterical” has clearly never read anything that he’s written in their life and is just making wild assumptions based on their lack of knowledge.

    Coates is one of the more thoughtful bloggers in the blogger world. His posts are always thoughtful, humane, and fair to the point of being unreasonable. That’s why those of us who actually read him know that he has never, ever said that all opposition to Obama is based on race.

    Plus, his writing is some of the most beautiful prose you will encounter on the internet.

    Sorry to gush, but Coates is what I wish other bloggers would strive to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  66. mantis says:

    the vast majority of those who oppose him would oppose him with equal vehemence were he white.

    Says you, just because.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  67. michael reynolds says:

    Coming late to this since I’ve been off in, ahem, Hollywood, but this:

    You, and James, play a game. Whenever anyone says the right has racists, you say “it is totally unfair to say all on the right are racists.”

    That neat little swap means you never have to engage with what was actually said.

    Says it perfectly. That is exactly the Republican game and has been for years. The second tactic is to accuse the other side of what your side is doing, ie: accusing the left of race-carding.

    This is what Republicans are reduced to. It’s almost sad. A guy like James Joyner has to live in the real world, with black colleagues. His kids may have black friends. In the DC area he’s around black people frequently, obviously. And he wants to see himself as a good man.

    But he belongs to a party that simply cannot win national elections without appealing to racists.

    So he has a choice, and he tries to rationalize his choice with what is an ultimately absurd argument (see above.) It’s vital to him to see himself as a decent man, and he genuinely despises racists. But in the end, he chooses his tribe (Republicans) and his position within his party, and the income and security and sense of identity that flow from it, over his conscience. Ditto as relates to gays.

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 5

  68. mattb says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Two thoughts:
    1. You’re right that by themselves, there’s nothing racial about calling people from Chicago Criminals (hell the town takes a certain pride in that) or making fun of a First Lady’s social initiative.

    2. This also points to how you need look at the tone in which the attack is delivered. Calling Obama a “Gangster” is fine. Intentionally calling Obama a “Gangsta” is immediately problematic because that has embedded in it a racial connotation. Likewise, “Thug” can be a generic term (see “Union Thug” for example). But wrap it up in larger phrases like “Thug’s Life” or “Straight Thuggin'” and it immediately references a certain subset of rap/ghetto culture.

    Likewise, Rush Limbaugh didn’t simply criticize Michelle Obama’s initiative or attack it just on the merits. He did it by saying that she was fat! and mentioning that she ate ribs. At a different point he joked about how her intro music should be “Baby got back!” All of this stuff is directly referencing stereotypes about Black women (and further really doesn’t have any connection with the reality of Mrs Obama’s body).

    This is the point that I’ve been making on the thread. What’s frustrating is that many opponents of the president use this type of casual racism to attack him. The net result is that things that don’t need to have racial content in them become filled with racial content.

    Have at Michelle Obama’s initiative as government overreach/control of aspects of our lives. Call Obama a Chicago gangstER or a Chicago Thug. Both can be done without injecting race into the equation.

    But the moment you start bringing up “ribs” or “40 parties” that’s you or your side intentionally going after race. And it isn’t funny. It isn’t satire. It’s pandering to bigots. And to defend that is to defend racism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  69. john personna says:

    @Wayne:

    Positive energy does not generally produce attacks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  70. mattb says:

    @Stormy Dragon: One last point, there are definitely liberals/dems who see racism behind everything. And that is problematic because it cheapens it.

    But at this moment in time, I have a hard time believing that there are as many of them as there are real racists across the political spectrum.

    Further it seems to me that when it comes to media and the attention of the base, the number of chicken-little liberal voices are far outmatched by the number of conservative media personalities engaging in the sort of accepted. casual race-baiting I’ve described above.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  71. mantis says:

    @mantis:

    the vast majority of those who oppose him would oppose him with equal vehemence were he white.

    By the way, Doug, if you think that the vast majority of West Virginia Democrats who voted for a prison inmate over Obama in the primary would oppose him with equal amount of vehemence if he were white, you’re nuts. And that’s not even considering Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  72. jukeboxgrad says:

    Limbaugh didn’t simply criticize Michelle Obama’s initiative or attack it just on the merits. He did it by saying that she was fat! and mentioning that she ate ribs.

    Let’s remember that this is the same Limbaugh who said “take that bone out of your nose and call me back.” And also the same Limbaugh who was described by Reagan himself as “the Number One voice for conservatism.” And who was described by NR as “The Leader of The Opposition.” If you want to know how the GOP feels about racism, all you need to know is right here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  73. anjin-san says:

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

    That’s a big problem for all of us. And I think the issue is a huge problem for James, and people like him. I will stick my neck out and say I think I can speak for most Democrats here in saying we think James is a decent guy. So how does he translate that decency into his professional and political life, especially when it seems that his career is really going places?

    I would love to see James write that Don Draper “I won’t take tobacco money” letter. But if you follow Mad Men, you know the hidden price ol’ Don recently found out he is paying for taking that stand. Real life, and well written fictional life can be very complicated.

    I desperately want a rational and responsible GOP led by men like Chuck Hagel & James. Hell, I might even join that party. I am a Democrat by default, and I feel that having half of our two party system based in irrational beliefs is doing great harm to our country.

    But for that to happen, principled people on the right are going to have to stand up and be counted. Because right now they are willingly participating in something that is ugly. The GOP needs to admit it has a serious problem with bigots and deal with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  74. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: If someone uses any one of these phrases in relation to the President or his family: “Kenyan,” “Muslim,” “Black Liberation Theology,” “He hasn’t been vetted,” “We don’t know who he is,” “Bill Ayers,” “Chicago Style Politics,” “Angry,” “Shuck and Jive,” “Food Stamps,” “White Grandparents,” “Reparations,” or “Rev. Wright,” their core objection is most likely race.

    Bill Ayers is a white unrepentant domestic terrorist. “Chicago Style Politics” refers to the corrupt Democratic machine that’s run things for… oh, hell, I’ll guesstimate a century, and is predominantly white. So those are loads of crap.

    Now, let’s look at the others, through a prism of accuracy: Obama’s father and large numbers of his family are Kenyan. Hell, he’s got an aunt and uncle in Massachusetts, both here illegally.

    His father and stepfather were both Muslims.

    “Black Liberation Theology” was a key point of the church he attended for about two decades.

    “He hasn’t been vetted…” meh.

    “We don’t know who he is.” Obama himself described himself this way: “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

    “Angry.” Well, he’s shown some temper. Not as much as Bill Clinton, though.

    “Shuck and jive.” I’ll grant you that one, a little.

    “Food stamps.” I’d call that a dog whistle line, but I don’t think I’m allowed to mention dogs.

    “White grandparents.” Obama himself invoked his “white grandmother” in the campaign.

    “Reparations.” That one, too, I’ll give you.

    “Reverend Wright.” Sorry, Obama CHOSE to tie himself to Wright for almost two decades. You don’t get to declare that relationship off limits just because it makes your guy look bad. Hell, if Bush had been a follower of Falwell or Robertson even briefly, we’d never heard the end of it.

    If someone forwards pictures of any member of the first family using any of the following imagery: pimp/ho costumes, tribal dress, watermelon, fried chicken, food stamps, shuck and jive, muslim, or monkeys gorillas, or other non-human primates, their core objection is most likely race.

    I’ll grant you most of those, but I’ll echo our host’s bit about how 8 years of Bush being called a chimp kind of diluted the hell out of the whole primate issue. And let me just say that the watermelon and fried chicken thing really pisses me off — I think both are delicious, and I’m about as white as you can get. (For at least four generations; beyond that, we’re all taking people’s word for things we really shouldn’t.)

    If someone spends multiple paragraphs working themselves into a froth over the First Lady’s attempts to battle child obesity through better diet and exercise, their core objection is probably race.

    I can give you about two solid reasons I dislike the First Lady, and they have absolutely nothing to do with her race. And it isn’t her cause that bothers people, it’s the coercive aspects she’s endorsed so far. First Ladies — who are NOT elected and hold NO official office or power — should focus more on persuasion. People laugh at Nancy’s Reagan’s “Just Say No” program, but it wasn’t about tougher drug laws, it was about persuading people to not use drugs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  75. Jenos Idanian says:

    And as far as conservatives “denying” the racist elements of the Tea Party movement and conservatism in general — speaking strictly for myself, it’s because we see those elements as trivial at best. To “acknowledge” them and “openly discuss them” is to agree to change the subject to an area where we are essentially starting off on the defensive, and letting our main issues be shoved aside. I have no particular interest in running down those diversions when there are far more substantive matters at play.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  76. swbarnes2 says:

    Basically, as long as Obama promotes a single policy that Doug and James disapprove of, they will always be able to claim that policy differences, and not racism, are the reason why Fox News calls Mrs. Obama a “baby mama”. We could list overtly racist statements and political advertisements made by high-ranking Republicans for pages, and pages, and pages, but as long as Obama supports, I don’t know, safety regulations for children handling toxic chemicals, Doug and James won’t say “Wow, Republicans are being racist, aren’t they?”. They’ll claim that they are honestly “mindboggled” , and don’t understand the point of making such “bizarre” statements, and get pouty when people sensibly claim that Republians say racist things because it pleases racist voters who will vote for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  77. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    speaking strictly for myself, it’s because we see those elements as trivial at best.

    Yeah, it’s funny how people who aren’t holding the sh*t end of the stick view it as trivial.

    Jews take anti-semitism more seriously than gentiles, blacks take racism more seriously, gays take gay-bashing more seriously, etc… It’s always trivial until it’s you. Then it’s deadly serious. That’s why white Republicans (yes, a redundancy) can get hysterical over a 1% tax increase and laugh off the systematic screwing of a people by race or religion.

    Republicans care more — much, much more — about minor adjustments to their bank accounts than they care about the fact that their party enjoys trashing minorities. Money over rights, money over fairness, money over justice, money uber alles.

    You want a capsule explanation of why I’m not a Republican? I won’t sell out a fellow American citizen for a dollar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  78. Miscreant says:

    Now, how do we assess this exchange?… is it racial resentment, a belief that no black man would get into a great school, much less succeed there, without racial preferences? ”

    I believe that Obama got into Ivy League schools through racial preferences… because he told us so:

    “…I must say, however, that as someone who has undoubtedly benefited from affirmative action programs during my academic career, and as someone who may have benefited from the Law Review’s affirmative action policy when I was selected to join the Review last year, I have not personally felt stigmatized either within the broader law school community or as a staff member of the Review.”

    – Barack Obama
    Harvard Law Record
    Published November 16, 1990

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  79. Scott O. says:

    And now there’s a long article at the National Review about how African Americans are too stupid to realize that they should be voting for Republicans.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/300432/party-civil-rights-kevin-d-williamson?pg=1

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  80. Gustopher says:

    At a certain point, I grow tired of trying to figure out which Republicans are hard core racists, which are casual racists, which are cynically appealing to racist tendencies, which are just mindlessly repeating racist phrases and arguments they have heard, which are just saying stuff to piss off liberals and which genuinely believe for entirely non-racist reasons that Obama is a secret-Muslim Kenyan Socialist.

    There’s so much racist crap coming out of the right wing — I don’t care any more. I’m not going to try to figure it out. Republicans are racists as surely as Pi is three — there’s some distinction, but it’s close enough for a rough approximation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  81. rodney dill says:

    @Gustopher: Should’ve figured a liberal would come up with a statement equivalent to “Lies are close enough to the truth for me, so I’ll believe the lies”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  82. jukeboxgrad says:

    miscreant:

    undoubtedly benefited from affirmative action

    It’s important to pay attention to both parts of what James said:

    a belief that no black man would get into a great school, much less succeed there, without racial preferences

    The issue isn’t “get into.” The main problem is the “succeed there” part. HLS uses blind grading, and Obama got top grades. That’s why Jim Lindgren, no friend of Obama, said this:

    In traditional academic terms, Obama did better in school than any president in the last 40 years.

    So AA might have helped him “get into a great school,” but it’s not why he was able to “succeed there.” He was able to “succeed there” because he belonged there. The people whining about his transcripts work hard at refusing to understand this. There is no point in seeing his transcripts because we already know that he got top grades at a top school, under a system of blind grading.

    Also, no other president has released their transcripts (GWB’s were leaked, and his campaign complained about it). Nevertheless, there are a bunch of people still demanding Obama’s transcripts. Is there any reason this shouldn’t be viewed as racism? I can’t think of any.

    And it’s important to notice that it’s not just some fringe bloggers who are doing this. We’ve heard this from NR, multiple times. For example, see Victor Davis Hanson, 1/17/12:

    Barack Obama has never to my knowledge done what his 2008 rival John McCain and other presidential candidates like John Kerry and George Bush all have done and released his Occidental or Columbia transcripts

    That statement is packed with dishonesty. McCain never released any transcripts. Neither did GWB. And Kerry released his only after he was no longer a candidate.

    No wonder so many Republicans are confused, and spread lies: they believe what they read at NR. And what they read at NR is designed to appeal to racists.

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  83. bandit says:

    Lefty circle jerk of sanctimony all agrees that people who oppose Obama are racists – who cares? Failure is colorblind.

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  84. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Sorry for the late response.

    I’ll stipulate to “Chicago Style Politics,” even though I almost always see it in conjunction with some sort of “Obama is an ‘other’ / is not a member of tribe” type of argument. By itself, it can be used in other ways.

    However, in regards to your second example, I would ask you to reread the entire sentence in its context.

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  85. @bandit:

    Reading comprehension, 1 out of 10.

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  86. Miscreant says:

    That’s why Jim Lindgren, no friend of Obama, said this:

    “In traditional academic terms, Obama did better in school than any president in the last 40 years.”

    …Also, no other president has released their transcripts

    Logic fail: How can Lindgren’s claim be made… if by your own admittance, other presidents have not released their transcripts?

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  87. michael reynolds says:

    @Miscreant:
    Though Obama didn’t blow anyone away during his two undergrad years at Columbia, he made history at Harvard Law School. He arrived there in 1988, at 27 years old, after working for four years as a community organizer in Chicago. He became a research assistant to Laurence Tribe, a renowned professor working on an article applying physics to the law. (Title: “The Curvature of Constitutional Space: What Lawyers Can Learn From Modern Physics.”) By the end of his first year, Obama had won a position on the Harvard Law Review, widely considered the most influential and prestigious law publication in the nation. In 1990, Obama earned national recognition for the first time when he was elected the Review’s first black president. Obama graduated magna cum laude and moved back to Chicago to direct Project Vote, a grassroots voter-registration program. “I thought … his talents are such that there’s no ceiling to what he could achieve — and that included becoming president of the United States,” Tribe told New York. “He’s the only student about whom I’ve ever had that thought.”

    Magna cum laude being the single direct point re: grades.

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  88. Miscreant says:

    @michael reynolds:

    By his own admittance, Obama received B’s and C’s in high school. By my understanding (correct me if I’m wrong), he did not graduate with honors from Columbia.

    As for his Harvard grades (bearing in mind that Obama’s book and bios have contained numerous errors), I’ve heard of countless examples where a law student gets a A+ on one exam the first year (and does merely okay on the rest), and this is enough to put the student well ahead of the strict-grading curve. Simple math. (Then it’s just a matter of taking mostly non-blind grading courses the next two years to stay ahead of the curve and graduate with highest honors).

    Sorry, but praise from Larry Tribe- one of the most biased professors out there- isn’t going to cut it for me. If, as I explained above, Obama received one extremely high grade from Tribe his first year (as I have supposed all along), and that was what put him ahead, I would like to see the transcripts. You can call this “racism” or whatever, but that’s merely your opinion. I have not seen much indication of a brilliant legal thinker in Obama, either in his post-law school endeavors, or in the numerous times he has been factually and legally wrong about various laws as president.

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  89. Miscreant says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “He became a research assistant to Laurence Tribe, a renowned professor working on an article applying physics to the law. (Title: “The Curvature of Constitutional Space: What Lawyers Can Learn From Modern Physics.”)”

    I don’t believe Mr. Obama had a degree in physics (I’m not sure about Tribe). Why would you have a non-physicist researching physics-related articles? Sounds like “junk science”. Next thing you know, we’ll be having Al Gore, the proud recipient of a D in his Natural Sciences course, lecturing to us all about the “polar bears going extinct” and how we’re all going to die from global warming…

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  90. michael reynolds says:

    @Miscreant:
    Shorter version: you’ve decided and facts are irrelevant. Magna cum laude at one of the toughest law schools in the country means nothing to you because Obama is black, period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  91. jukeboxgrad says:

    miscreant:

    Logic fail: How can Lindgren’s claim be made… if by your own admittance, other presidents have not released their transcripts?

    The “Logic fail” is all yours. “Other presidents have not released their transcripts” is not the same thing as ‘we have no transcripts for other presidents.’ We have GWB’s transcript, even though he didn’t release it. “Other presidents have not released their transcripts” is also not the same thing as ‘we know nothing about their academic performance.’ McCain never released his transcript, but we nevertheless know that his class rank was 894th out of 899. (And of course I know that McCain was not president, but he’s still a relevant example.) Clinton graduated from Yale Law School, which is a great achievement, but he didn’t graduate with academic honors, unlike Obama. Reagan had a degree from Eureka College, which is no one’s idea of a top school. There is no president (or at least no modern president) with an academic honor comparable to HLS magna cum laude, and that’s a sufficient basis for Lindgren’s claim.

    I’ve heard of countless examples where a law student gets a A+ on one exam the first year (and does merely okay on the rest), and this is enough to put the student well ahead of the strict-grading curve. Simple math.

    The one who needs to learn about “simple math” is you. Anyone who is able to do “okay” in blind-graded courses at HLS is someone who deserved to be there, by definition. And it would not be possible to graduate with a top GPA unless you did at least “okay” in the blind-graded courses. And there is nothing “merely” about doing “okay” in a blind-graded class at HLS. It’s only one of the most competitive schools in the world.

    Maybe if you could get yourself some kind of edumacation you’ll be able to figure this stuff out on your own next time.

    If, as I explained above, Obama received one extremely high grade from Tribe his first year

    Except that Tribe didn’t teach Obama in his first year. Obama arrived at HLS in September 1988. Tribe met Obama for the first time on 3/31/89.

    Why would you have a non-physicist researching physics-related articles?

    Because the article was mostly about law, not physics. Duh.

    Sorry, but praise from Larry Tribe- one of the most biased professors out there- isn’t going to cut it for me.

    Follow this link to find statements by four major conservative legal scholars (Jim Lindgren, Orin Kerr, Bradford Berenson, and Michael McConnell) who praised Obama’s academic performance in strong terms.

    Listen, we know what’s going “to cut it for [you]:” nothing. So thanks for being an excellent example of what this thread is about.

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  92. James says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Once again, Jukeboxgrand for the win.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  93. jukeboxgrad says:

    James, thanks. People like him make it easy. If he made it any easier, people would think he’s my sock puppet.

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  94. G.A. says:

    And again…COMMUNIST IS NOT A RACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Not yet anyhow….

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  95. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: For a professional writer, you sure do suck at reading comprehension.

    I did not say racism is trivial. I said that racism is a trivial component within the Tea Party movement.

    I’m not letting a very few dips throw off the whole movement — which has some very laudable goals and principles, and is doing pretty good at achieving them.

    Now, tell me how the Occupy movement is so much morally superior to the Tea Partiers. I could use a good laugh.

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  96. G.A. says:

    Now, tell me how the Occupy movement is so much morally superior to the Tea Partiers. I could use a good laugh.

    lol…because they are not, um, racists?

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  97. Miscreant says:

    @michael reynolds: @michael reynolds:

    Shorter version: you’ve decided and facts are irrelevant. Magna cum laude at one of the toughest law schools in the country means nothing to you because Obama is black, period.”

    People made the same claim about me being a “racist” when I, and others, dared to raise the possibility that another Harvard person- Elizabeth Warren- wasn’t really a “Native American” (because of various reasons.) Look who’s laughing now…

    If we have legitimate questions about somebody, shouldn’t we be allowed to ask questions- without fear of being called a racist? I could give countless examples of why I made my earlier claim… not that you would care anyway, because your mind unfortunately sees people as categories instead of, well, people…

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  98. jukeboxgrad says:

    If we have legitimate questions about somebody

    I can’t find the part of your comment where you explain why you still think your questions are “legitimate” even though Jim Lindgren, Orin Kerr, Bradford Berenson, and Michael McConnell have all contradicted you. You must know something all of them don’t. I can’t wait to find out what it is.

    Also, you essentially admitted that Obama did at least “okay” in his blind graded classes. As I explained, this demonstrates that he belonged at HLS. I can’t find the part of your comment where you explain why this isn’t good enough.

    You’re doing a good job of ignoring all inconvenient facts.

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  99. michael reynolds says:

    @Miscreant:

    There are people who are on the opposing side and are interesting and actually have something to say. James Joyner for example.

    Then there’s you.

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  100. @Jenos Idanian:

    I did not say racism is trivial. I said that racism is a trivial component within the Tea Party movement.

    That’s what James Joyner told us, back when it was “just a couple signs” and before the polls were done.

    It’s a lot harder to claim when polls show that only a minority of TPers (45%) can answer a poll that “yes,” “blacks are intelligent.”

    Gee. That should be a gimmie. Someone asks that question you answer yes, to be open, positive, to contribute to positive energy. They only reason you answer “no” or “undecided” is that you are ready to be open and public about your racism. It’s a low bar to pass, but the TP (in aggregate) failed.

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  101. Miscreant says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Why does a supposedly brilliant legal thinker (as we are told by Tribe) with a stellar record make so many bizarre legal-related mistakes in the real world? Most attorneys would wait to gather facts before announcing a decision… Barack Obama goes out and accuses a white police officer of “acting stupidly” in the Gates arrest before any of the facts have come to light. Then he publicly berates members of the Supreme Court on a court case in a SOTU speech… and even the NYT had to admit he was wrong about the case. And of course, there’s the infamous TV interview where he claimed that his health care law wasn’t a “tax” (all the while knowing his attorneys would likely be making that very argument in court soon). And so on.

    I’m sorry, but when I view his actions- and not his skin color (which is what I thought we were supposed to be doing), I have serious questions about Tribe’s (and others) exuberant praise. I mean really, would he answer the “cop must’ve acted stupidly” on an exam, and receive a great grade (and if so, what does that say about the supposed blind grading at that school)?

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  102. @Miscreant:

    Law school doesn’t seem to train people for agreement, does it? It steeps the adversarial system, and trains the lawyer to push for absolutely as much as he can get in every argument.

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  103. WR says:

    @Miscreant: Well, the cop did act stupidly. But apparently there are some people out there who take moral offense when a black man is uppity enough to criticize a white cop.

    As for Obama being mean to members of the Supreme Court, who had just overthrown 100 years of jurisprudence to allow their billionaire allies to buy any elections they want — if these men are such delicate flowers that they can’t take a little criticism for radically remaking the entire political system, then perhaps they should find a different line of work.

    Oh, but again, it’s that uppity black guy correcting his white betters. And in public. For shame, for shame.

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  104. mantis says:

    Barack Obama goes out and accuses a white police officer of “acting stupidly” in the Gates arrest before any of the facts have come to light.

    The facts had come to light, and the officer did act stupidly.

    Then he publicly berates members of the Supreme Court on a court case in a SOTU speech…

    No, he did not. He did disagree with their decision on a case. I guess the president should never disagree with the Supreme Court (unless the president is a Republican, of course).

    And of course, there’s the infamous TV interview where he claimed that his health care law wasn’t a “tax” (all the while knowing his attorneys would likely be making that very argument in court soon).

    Untrue. He said it wasn’t a tax increase. It’s not.

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  105. Miscreant says:

    Oh, but again, it’s that uppity black guy correcting his white betters. And in public. For shame, for shame.”

    Hey, let’s put words into somebody’s mouth, and then attack them for something they weren’t suggesting at all! That’ll show them!

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  106. James says:

    @Miscreant: Please. When you write,

    I have serious questions about Tribe’s (and others) exuberant praise.

    that’s exactly what you’re saying.

    You seriously expect people to believe that you have these innocently motivated “serious questions” about the “praise” that Tribe, Jim Lindgren, Orin Kerr, Bradford Berenson, and Michael McConnell have given Barack Obama? Which to any rational observer would imply that the President was a highly qualified law student?

    Now you want to complain about “words” being placed in you “mouth” without actually taking responsibility for the words you’ve actually published. You’ll have to forgive my lack of sympathy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  107. mattb says:

    Generally speaking — and looking at has past posting record — @Miscreant‘s concerns are probably based in blind partisanship versus racism.

    And admittedly the intersection of affirmative action within this entire thing make it a little tough to untangle the two.

    But to see an example of someone using things like the Gates affair in a far more race-baiting/race-war way, I’d suggest looking at this particular post from Wayne: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/washington-times-columnist-half-white-president-silent-on-death-of-beastie-boy/#comment-1523977

    BTW, @Miscreant on the subject of Elizabeth Warren, I don’t think we said the question was out of bounds, but rather that the answer as to what determines who is or is not a Native American is a complex issue. Further as noted in the Atlantic is whether or not she actually used that status, which as it turn out she does not officially qualify for, to get special privileges. Based on their investigative reporting, the answer is that she did not (of course, this probably won’t be sufficient enough for you):
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/05/is-elizabeth-warren-native-american-or-what/257415/

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  108. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mantis: Sheesh, can’t you get anything right?

    The facts had come to light, and the officer did act stupidly.

    The officers acted appropriately. Gates acted stupidly. But that’s debatable.

    What’s not debatable, though, is this:

    Then he publicly berates members of the Supreme Court on a court case in a SOTU speech…

    No, he did not. He did disagree with their decision on a case. I guess the president should never disagree with the Supreme Court (unless the president is a Republican, of course).

    Yes, he did berate them. And he lied in the process about the fundamental facts of the case.

    “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign companies — to spend without limit in our elections. Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

    Foreign corporations have been banned from directly intervene in our elections for over a century, and Citizens United didn’t change one damned thing about it.

    And it’s worth noting that in both 2008 and 2012, the Obama campaign deliberately disabled the default security settings for taking donations online, opening the floodgates for illegal foreign contributions. Two Palestinian brothers gave over $30,000 in 2008 (which was returned after it was exposed), and Obama’s illegal alien aunt also claimed to have donated to Obama.

    So, basically, Obama denounced the “legalizing” of something that was still illegal — something that he does himself.

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  109. jukeboxgrad says:

    it’s worth noting that in both 2008 and 2012, the Obama campaign deliberately disabled the default security settings for taking donations online

    It’s worth noting that you’re promoting complete baloney, as usual. The transactions were verified. They just weren’t verified online. The people who are beating this drum don’t understand how credit cards work, and they don’t understand how campaign-contribution accounting works. Obama did not get to collect any money from anyone unless the name that was entered matched up properly with the account records at the bank. The fact that the initial data-entry form allowed phony names does not indicate that Obama was ever able to actually get money from anyone who entered a phony name in the data-entry form.

    I explained this a long time ago, here and here. Find the comments by me and by Morat20.

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  110. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: “Complete baloney?” My ass.

    Look up Monir Edwan, who gave over $33,000 to the Obama campaign (buying T-Shirts, which counted as donations). Mr. Edwan is a Palestinian living in the Gaza Strip.

    Google up “Doodad Pro,” who gave Obama over $19,000 in 791(!) separate donations.

    Here’s the Washington Post(!) reporting on the mess.

    Oh, and they’re doing things just the same way this year.

    I’d ask for an apology, but I know you wouldn’t do that.

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  111. jukeboxgrad says:

    Every campaign has to deal with questionable donations:

    John McCain, Republican Party are reviewing curious donations

    John McCain moved Thursday to return about $50,000 in donations raised by a defense contractor who has amassed $500,000 for his presidential campaign.

    McCain’s campaign has been stung by news accounts raising questions about some donations. The campaign sent letters to donors whose contributions were solicited by Florida businessman Harry Sargeant III and his business partner Mustafa Abu-Naba’a, a Jordanian native. …

    The letter to the donors came after the Washington Post and other publications raised doubts about roughly $50,000 in contributions from about 13 California contributors, who are of Middle Eastern extraction. …

    In 2004, Sargeant’s firm, International Oil Trading Co. LLC., won a $1-billion contract to supply petroleum to U.S. troops in Iraq. One of Sargeant’s partners, Mohammad Anwar Farid Al-Saleh, is related by marriage to King Abdullah II of Jordan. Al-Saleh has sued Sargeant and Abu-Naba’a, contending he helped Sargeant win the contract but was cut out of millions in the enterprise’s profits.

    Finding a few anecdotes like this doesn’t mean anything. When you’re accepting donations from over a million people, stuff like this is going to happen. No one ever demonstrated that the Obama campaign did anything wrong or broke any laws. It’s just the usual manufactured wingnut hysteria.

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  112. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Congrats, you proved that McCain took contributions from foreign-born donors (note that the story doesn’t say that the donors are NOT American citizens, and goes to great pains to avoid saying whether or not the contributions were legal), and took efforts to prevent foreign citizens from making donations. Meanwhile the Obama administration took lots of donations from foreign citizens, only returned them when caught, and did nothing to prevent future occurrences.

    I appreciate the support.

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  113. jukeboxgrad says:

    you proved that McCain took contributions from foreign-born donors (note that the story doesn’t say that the donors are NOT American citizens, and goes to great pains to avoid saying whether or not the contributions were legal)

    If there was nothing wrong in that situation, you should explain why McCain returned the money.

    Also, for some strange reason you seem to be under the impression that there is no evidence indicating that McCain took contributions from donors who “are NOT American citizens.” So let me help you:

    A US campaign watchdog has accused presumptive Republican president nominee John McCain of violating election laws by accepting campaign contributions from two prominent Londoners.

    Let us know why you didn’t know that.

    Meanwhile the Obama administration took lots of donations from foreign citizens, only returned them when caught, and did nothing to prevent future occurrences.

    Tell us exactly how much is “lots,” and tell us how you know, and then tell us how much this was as a per cent of the total he raised.

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  114. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Tell us exactly how much is “lots,” and tell us how you know, and then tell us how much this was as a per cent of the total he raised.

    Last first: as a percentage? I don’t care. Illegal is illegal.

    Here are two examples: First, Monir and Hosam Edwan, two brothers in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. They gave over $33,000 to Obama’s 2008 campaign — illegally. When this was discovered, the Obama campaign said they returned the money. But the brothers, last I heard, hadn’t gotten any.

    Next, the mysterious “Doodad Pro” and “Good Will.” Pro gave obama 791 separate donations, for a total of $19,065. “Good Will” was even more generous — with 835 donations totaling $20,225. Oddly enough, those both work out to just under $25 per donation. One theory was that credit card thieves, knowing the Obama campaign had turned off some of the security over credit card donations, was using the site to test stolen cards — if the donations were accepted, then the card was still valid and had not been canceled. And several reports of people discovering they had made donations to Obama supported that theory.

    There was no reason to turn off the security checks. McCain didn’t, and a host of other campaigns didn’t. But Obama’s campaign did. So naturally I’m a little suspicious.

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  115. jukeboxgrad says:

    I don’t care. Illegal is illegal.

    Except that no one was ever able to prove that the Obama campaign did anything illegal. The law requires only that you make a reasonable effort to screen transactions, and to fix mistakes when you find them. Which is what he did. But thanks for admitting that you are, as usual, inventing your own facts. You said this:

    the Obama administration took lots of donations from foreign citizens

    You’re presenting examples (which I’m not going to bother to check) that total under $100,000. He raised over $650 million. So you’re claiming a problem with less than 0.02% of the money he raised. That’s not 2%, or 0.2%. It’s less than 0.02%. Sorry, that’s not “lots.” Not in absolute terms, and not in % terms.

    And I’m being generous, because you only gave examples of $33,000 from foreign citizens, not $100,000. So your “lots” is baloney. As usual. It’s what we have come to expect from you.

    There was no reason to turn off the security checks.

    Wrong. By verifying the information later, rather than online, the transaction was faster and easier for the user. Which is important when you’re trying to encourage a very large number of small donations, which is what he did. Why do you hate democracy?

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  116. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Except that no one was ever able to prove that the Obama campaign did anything illegal. The law requires only that you make a reasonable effort to screen transactions, and to fix mistakes when you find them.

    The Obama campaign disabled the default security settings for credit card transactions. While that doesn’t meet the “barely legal” standard you seem to push for, it makes it a hell of a lot easier for illegal transactions to go through.

    Or are you pushing the “if it isn’t explicitly illegal, it’s cool with me” standard?

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  117. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: By verifying the information later, rather than online, the transaction was faster and easier for the user.

    You seem to put yourself up as an expert here. Just how much “faster and easier” was the transaction? How much of a burden was the security default setting? And if it was so burdensome, why did so many other campaigns put up with it — like McCain’s?

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  118. WR says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Shorter Jenos: I make sweeping generalizations to back up wild claims that actually are 180 degrees from the truth and never provide a shred of evidence. But if you’re going to disagree with my obvious lies, you’d better have complete technical specs — and when you do, I’ll change the subject.

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  119. Jenos Idanian says:

    @WR: Longer WR: I keep getting my ass kicked when I take on Jenos directly, so I’ll just cheerlead from the side when someone else takes him on.

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  120. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    The Obama campaign disabled the default security settings for credit card transactions.

    And I told you the purpose, and I told you why it doesn’t matter. There is no effective difference between checking the transaction now vs. checking it later.

    While that doesn’t meet the “barely legal” standard you seem to push for, it makes it a hell of a lot easier for illegal transactions to go through.

    No, it doesn’t. One more time: there is no effective difference between checking the transaction now vs. checking it later.

    Or are you pushing the “if it isn’t explicitly illegal, it’s cool with me” standard?

    Here’s what I’m pushing: the idea that you should start telling the truth. You said this: “the Obama administration took lots of donations from foreign citizens.” You presented one example of $33,000. That’s not “lots.”

    Just how much “faster and easier” was the transaction?

    Fast enough to make the transaction easier for the user to complete.

    why did so many other campaigns put up with it — like McCain’s?

    Obama set a record for fundraising because he figured out how to get a very large number of very small donations. Making the web transaction fast and easy is part of making that work. Why didn’t your candidate do that? Maybe because he’s used to relying on big money, not little money. One more time: why do you hate democracy?

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  121. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Obama set a record for fundraising because he figured out how to get a very large number of very small donations. Making the web transaction fast and easy is part of making that work.

    And it especially helped how those small contributions didn’t require the kind of disclosure that larger ones did — which, I’m sure, was a pure coincidence.

    I cited the specific one because your vaunted “security measures” did NOT catch it — it took Obama detractors looking through the records to find just this kind of illegality.

    And you won’t answer just how much easier disabling the default security features made donating. Since you won’t, I’ll just make an assumption — it removed one step and six extra keystrokes (five characters for a ZIP code and “Enter.”) from the donor’s work load. My, wouldn’t that be a terrible burden.

    Oh, and if you’re going to be so anal, I cited three examples — the Palestinian brothers, and the obvious fake names of “Doodad Pro” and “Good Will.” There are several others, but I didn’t feel like cutting and pasting names and occupations that obviously came from keyboard mashes that also went through just fine.

    And isn’t your side the one that keeps whining about there being too much money in politics, and candidates buying elections by raising more money than their opponent? I really appreciate your stirring argument that “dollars equals democracy.” How refreshingly honest.

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  122. jukeboxgrad says:

    And it especially helped how those small contributions didn’t require the kind of disclosure that larger ones did

    That’s the law, and it’s that way for a reason. See if you can figure it out.

    I cited the specific one because your vaunted “security measures” did NOT catch it

    So what? Security measures that are 100% effective do not exist. The point is that you’re exaggerating the extent of the problem.

    Since you won’t, I’ll just make an assumption — it removed one step and six extra keystrokes

    It’s not just about keystrokes. It’s about response time, and it’s about the load on the server, and it’s about being able to handle a large number of transactions during a traffic peak without users thinking the system has frozen.

    I cited three examples — the Palestinian brothers, and the obvious fake names of “Doodad Pro” and “Good Will.”

    What you cited for foreign donors was $33,000. Still waiting for you to explain why you called that “lots” (“the Obama administration took lots of donations from foreign citizens”).

    And isn’t your side the one that keeps whining about there being too much money in politics

    No. The problem is not exactly “too much money in politics.” It’s too much money from a relatively small group of donors. Encouraging lots of ordinary people to make small donations is a way to address that. One more time: why do you hate democracy?

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