O’Reilly and the “white, Christian, male power structure”

Cross-posted from PoliBlog:

It is not uncommon for critics from the Left to accuse persons on the Right as being about nothing more than defenders of a white, male, protestant status quo. What is unusual (thankfully) is to hear a prominent commentator or politicians from the Rightward side of things to blatantly state that that is what they favor.

Along those lines I give you Bill O’Reilly on May 30, 2007 on his program The O’Reilly Factor interviewing Senator John McCain (transcription via Lexis/Nexis):

O’REILLY: .what “The New York Times” wants and the far-left want? They want to breakdown the white Christian male power structure of which you are a part and so am I. And they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically breakdown the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say that you’ve got to cap it with a number.

MCCAIN: In America today, we have a very strong economy, low unemployment. So we need additional farm workers, including by the way, agriculture. But there may come a time where we have an economic downturn and we don’t need so many.

O’REILLY: OK, but in this.

MCCAIN: So I think it has to vary.

O’REILLY: In this bill, you guys got to cap it.

MCCAIN: Yes.

O’REILLY: Because you’re estimated there’s 12 million. There may be 20.

MCCAIN: Yes.

O’REILLY: You don’t know. I don’t know. You got to cap it.

MCCAIN: We do. We do. I agree with you. But I also would remind you, again, that they have to get behind everybody else who tried to apply legally. They have to pay the fines. They have to go back to the country of origin.

If you prefer video, you can watch the exchange at Think Progress.

This is stunning. First off, I reject the notion that, properly understood, American conservatism is about maintaining the “white, Christian, male power structure”–and I say that as a white, male Christian. One cannot be in favor of freedom, liberty, merit and the marketplace if one thinks that there is a specific power structure linked to gender, race and religious confession that needs to maintained. Plus, I hate to break it to Bill, but there are a lot of non-male, non-white, non-Christian types in this country who are quite significant and have accrued a great deal of power by their talent and hard work.

And he is very much aligning himself with Buchanan here, and that is not a compliment coming from me.

Shame on McCain for not calling O’Reilly on this reactionary tripe.

I am repulsed by the notion that we should be focusing on race, gender and religion in the context of who should, and should not, be in power.

A lest ye think that this was a slip of the tongue on the part of O’Reilly, I noted the following from the Lexis/Nexis transcript of the May 29, 2007 edition of the O’Reilly Factor:

O’REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I’m Bill O’Reilly.

In “The Factor Follow-up” segment tonight, racism and the immigration Bill. FOX News contributor Linda Chavez writes in a Town Hall column, quote, “Some people just don’t like Mexicans, or anyone else from south of the border. They think Latinos are freeloaders and welfare cheats who are too lazy to learn English,” unquote.

Now on the other side, the open border people want a huge influx of foreign nationals to become American citizens, because they don’t like the white Christian male power structure that’s in place now.

And later in the same show:

O’REILLY: That’s bull. At the turn of the 20th century when the wave of immigration from Europe came over the country was in a totally different thing. If you bring in 40 — look, you bring in 40 million foreign nationals to this country, you change everything about this country. And admit it, everything changes. And then there’s where you have the reverse racism.

SCHWARTZ: Our rights change, our freedoms change?

O’REILLY: No. We have a one party system. The Republican Party disappears, because three to one the 40 million will break Democrat. So you destroy that. And then you go from there.

But that’s where the reverse racism is. The New York Times of the world hate the white Christian male power structure and want to change it by a massive amount of foreign nationals being able to vote, Laura. That’s racism, too.

The irony of making those assertions in the context of charges of racism takes cognitive dissonance to a new level.

Also, I reject the notion that immigrants from Latin America and their progeny will automatically be, over time, Democrats. Further, O’Reilly and his ilk act as if as soon as immigration reform passes the Congress that all the illegal aliens in the country become voters overnight–which is hardly the case.

BTW: we all do know who it is that usually rants about protecting white, Christian America?

h/t: TAM.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Steven Taylor, , , , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Beldar says:

    Is it somehow new news to you that O’Reilly is an idiot?

    He’s been an idiot for a long time, Dr. Joyner.




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  2. Beldar says:

    Ack. Wasn’t looking at the tags and tagline carefully enough.

    He’s been an idiot for a long time, Mr. Verdon.




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  3. Beldar says:

    Sigh. Mr. Taylor. Just shoot me now.




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  4. No, it is no shock to me that O’Reilly is an idiot. Still, this takes his idiocy to a new level.




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  5. And no prob: too many authors to keep track of.




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  6. legion says:

    The shock is not that O’Reilly’s a buffoon and a bigot, it’s that he still gets the credit & respect he does, even outside the hard-right base.

    Also, I reject the notion that immigrants from Latin America and their progeny will automatically be, over time, Democrats.

    Well, with guys like this as the leading public voice of conservative media, getting an explicit pass on his foolishness from one of the leading GOP candidates, it would be highly surprising if immigrants became anything _but_ Democrats… Any time some whiny-arse wingnut complains about how how unfairly the GOP is portrayed vis-a-vis minorities, I want this video clip stapled to his eyelids.




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  7. Anderson says:

    Will someone explain to me why I should not infer John McCain’s agreement with O’Reilly on this subject?

    I mean, if O’Reilly had been talking about the supposed Jewish threat to the Christian power structure & McCain had responded likewise, would he get a pass on that?




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  8. Triumph says:

    First off, I reject the notion that, properly understood, American conservatism is about maintaining the “white, Christian, male power structure”—and I say that as a white, male Christian.

    I don’t know about this–conservatism, as a political ideology, dating back to Edmund Burke in the 18th century has precisely been about maintaining existing power structures. In fact, that is the definition of the word–“the tendency to preserve and keep intact” is how the Oxford English Dictionary terms it.

    This is exactly why you don’t see many feminist, atheist people of color who identify themselves as Christian. O’Reily is simply keeping it real.




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  9. Triumph says:

    his is exactly why you don’t see many feminist, atheist people of color who identify themselves as Christian. O’Reily is simply keeping it real.

    Sorry, I meant “Conservative”–rather than Christian.




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  10. Rick DeMent says:

    First off, I reject the notion that, properly understood, American conservatism is about maintaining the “white, Christian, male power structure”

    Right, it just sort of works out that way.

    Seriously if the word “conservative means anything it means maintaining the status quo which, just by freakish coincidence, is ruled by white male Christians.




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  11. Actually, at this point to want a “white, Christian, male” power structure would be reactionary, not conservative, as at the status quo is one in which there are plenty of non-white, non-Christian, non-male persons who have power and who can obtain power.

    We have noticed that two of the more prominent presidential candidates are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama? Have we looked at the Clinton and Bush administrations cabinet members?

    And conservatives are not opposed to all change (go back and read Burke).

    Further, the notion that race, gender and religion, per se, are the main variables that warrant protection is not a conservative worldview, again properly understood.




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  12. legion says:

    So, the best defense that can be made of any percieved right-wing bigotry is “hate the game, not the player”? I think Dave Chappelle did a skit about that once…




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  13. So, as a Mormon, am I Christian enough to be stood against the wall come the Revolution?




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  14. Anderson says:

    Hm. I continue to be mystified why the title of the post is not “John McCain and the white, Christian, male power structure.” Guess it’s just me.




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  15. Anderson,

    Because the words were O’Reilly’s and her used them in three instances, two of which did not include McCain.

    However, McCain deserves a great deal of blame as well, as he didn’t say “boo” to what O’Reilly said.

    Also, given his audience, O’Reilly is in many ways more important than McCain.




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  16. Steve Plunk says:

    Let’s keep in mind where the generic label of “white ,Christian, male” originated. The left used it as a stereotype of traditional conservatives as a way to attract people who don’t fall into those catagories. O’Reilly seems to be doing the same thing, using it as a stereotype to represent what many would consider the traditional model that has led to a successful nation.

    His statement that the left wants to destroy that is somewhat true since traditions and traditional values stand in the way of progressive (collectivist) ideas. The left appears to believe that chaos in whatever form will lead to a reorganization of power. Chaos could be massive immigration that upsets traditional voting patterns.

    I think it’s reasonable to say that white, Christian, male, traditional values are much of what conservatism is about. The key words are traditional values. True conservatives are less about race, gender, and religion than they are about values and traditions.




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  17. Michael says:

    Kent,
    The great thing about being Mormon is that the Christian extreme will hate you for not being Christian enough, while the anti-Christian extreme will hate you for being too Christian.

    Come to think about it, I guess it’s not so great after all.




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  18. Anderson says:

    Plunk: I think it’s reasonable to say that white, Christian, male, traditional values are much of what conservatism is about.

    The sound you hear is the folding-up of the Steve Plunk 2008 Exploratory Presidential Candidacy Committee.

    Prof. Taylor, I have to differ with you on “importance”; conservatives typically pretend to dismiss O’Reilly, Coulter, etc., as performing seals — er, “entertainers” — but John McCain is RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    He would appear to be quite comfortable with racism, sexism, and religious prejudice.




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  19. JohnG says:

    I would guess that they wouldn’t attribute this to McCain since 1) McCain didn’t say it and 2) McCain (for the bill) and O’Reilly (against the bill) are in opposition to each other on this issue.




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  20. Anderson says:

    Well, that’s what I want in a President — someone who sits there listening to O’Reilly say that America properly belongs to white Christian men, and doesn’t bat an eye. YMMV.

    I didn’t like him before, but I had no idea he was *that* bad. What would O’Reilly have to say to get McCain to speak up? Call for the 13th Amendment to be repealed?




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  21. JohnG says:

    I think in this case McCain was just caught up in his own points and didn’t realize what O’Reilly said. McCain’s responses didn’t even have anything to do with what O’Reilly said.




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  22. Bithead says:

    The irony of making those assertions in the context of charges of racism takes cognitive dissonance to a new level.

    I’m not so sure he hasn’t misstated his case. Perhaps what we’re talking about here, is not so much race, as much as culture. It’s easy enough to do, and certainly has been done often enough before.

    As an example; when we hear screams from black extremists, of “uncle Tom”, as regards Mr. Justice Thomas, are they really saying he’s not black? Or are they saying that he has adopted white culture?

    As you see, it’s not just the whites that get race and culture confused as topics.

    This would also seem to be a plausible explanation, for McCain’s lack of reaction to O’Riley’s statement. He understood what was being said, despite it not being said very well.

    (Anyone who’s read my notes on John McCain, knows full well that I’m no fan of his, under any circumstances, and therefore have nothing to gain and giving him a kind reading. By no means am I making excuses for the man. I simply offer an alternative read, which seems to make sense given the circumstances. )

    I’ll agree with PLunk’s comments here, too.




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  23. no worries here says:

    Sorry. Calling Thomas an Uncle Tom is not inconsistent in the least with having no problems with white, Christian, males at the top of the power structure, provided that they’re not asshats. The fact that there seems to be a dearth of non-asshats in the GOP of all colors, genders, and creeds is your problem.




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  24. Anjin-San says:

    I think in this case McCain was just caught up in his own points and didn’t realize what O’Reilly said. McCain’s responses didn’t even have anything to do with what O’Reilly said.

    If we accept this as true, that gives McCain what, the brain power of a crouton?

    We have suffered enough having one moron in the White House. Lets get somebody in there who has a working brain and who can think on their feet.




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  25. LaurenceB says:

    I think it’s reasonable to say that white, Christian, male, traditional values are much of what conservatism is about.

    I stopped calling myself a “Conservative” about a year ago. Right now I’m feeling really good about that decision.




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  26. I think it’s reasonable to say that white, Christian, male, traditional values are much of what conservatism is about.

    Reading this thread, I think it’s reasonable to say that bigoted, stereotypical, ridiculous caricatures of white, Christian, male, traditional values are much of what progressive commentary is all about.




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  27. Beldar says:

    The last word Bill O’Reilly ever said that remotely interested me was “loofa.”




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  28. Bithead says:

    Sorry. Calling Thomas an Uncle Tom is not inconsistent in the least with having no problems with white, Christian, males at the top of the power structure, provided that they’re not asshats. The fact that there seems to be a dearth of non-asshats in the GOP of all colors, genders, and creeds is your problem.

    Apparently you are having some problems with the definition of each. However, I am neither inclined nor patient enough to correct you in that regard. As such I was simply regards you as a functional bad example, and let it pass, except to suggest the problem is anything but mine.




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  29. davod says:

    Plunk is right. O’Reilly was merely using the lefts own terminology. Why the moonbats do not like it is beyond me.




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  30. Bithead says:

    davod,
    You’ve answered your own question.




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  31. floyd says:

    Anjin-san;
    History has often shown us that croutons are intellectually over qualified for president.
    Unfortunately, one would think that a 35year old crouton would be petrified…… at the thought of running for president.
    Eventhough a crouton might have the “right stuffing” to run..{$bread$}.., It would be “toast” before the end of the primaries.

    If a crouton should ever “rise” to the occasion, it’s “salad days” would be numbered, due to a “stale” agenda and a crumby campaign.
    Some other things a crouton might have in common with many other candidates are… claiming to come from the “upper crust” and a history of loafing and sucking up a little “pork gravy” on the side.
    One thing in the crouton’s PC favor would be that in spite of starting life as “white bread” it has successfully transformed it’s image to a “crumb of color”.




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