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Running Out Of Angry White Guys

Quote of the day honors go to Lindsey Graham: ”We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

WaPo (“As Republican convention emphasizes diversity, racial incidents intrude“):

From the convention stage here, the Republican Party has tried to highlight its diversity, giving prime speaking slots to Latinos and blacks who have emphasized their party’s economic appeal to all Americans.

But they have delivered those speeches to a convention hall filled overwhelmingly with white faces, an awkward contrast that has been made more uncomfortable this week by a series of racial headaches that have intruded on the party’s efforts to project a new level of inclusiveness.

[...]

“The demographics race we’re losing badly,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

On Tuesday, convention organizers ejected two attendees after they reportedly threw peanuts at a black CNN camerawoman and told her, “This is how we feed animals.” Organizers called the conduct “inexcusable and unacceptable.”

That followed an on-air shouting match between MSNBC host Chris Matthews and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus over whether presidential nominee Mitt Romney was injecting race into the campaign by joking about President Obama’s birth certificate and attacking his record on welfare reform.

[...]

And on Wednesday, Yahoo News fired Washington bureau chief David Chalian after a live microphone caught him telling a colleague, before an online event, that Romney and his wife, Ann, were “happy to have a party with black people drowning,” a reference to the RNC’s decision to go ahead with the convention while Hurricane Isaac lashed New Orleans. Chalian later apologized.

The “series of racial headaches” doesn’t much bother me. They consist of one legitimate incident involving two people whose identity and relationship to the convention is unknown, Chris Matthews having a spittle-flecked rant about a controversy that was several days old, and another legitimate incident that redounded to Republican advantage by fueling the “liberal media bias” narrative.

But the larger issue is troubling, indeed, and foreshadows doom for the GOP unless it undergoes a major change.

While I’m willing to dismiss Romney’s birther joke as hamhanded, the fact that an absurdly high percentage of the party believes against all evidence that our president was born in Kenya points to something rotten in the core. The notion that a black man named “Barack Hussein Obama” couldn’t possibly be American is worse than casual racism; it’s a fundamental misapprehension of what it means to be American. Similarly, the belief against all evidence that Obama is a Muslim—and thinking that, too, disqualifies him from the presidency—shows a stunning lack of tolerance.

Further, while some of the best speeches of the convention thus far have been given by minorities—Condi Rice, a black woman, has given by far the best speech yet—the fact that the GOP has to reach down to obscure office-holders to find diversity to put on display—and needs to put diversity on display to begin with—spotlights, not hides, a major problem.

There’s a clear path for the Republican Party to make inroads with blacks and Hispanics: shared social values inspired by a fundamentalist Christianity that they have in common. And the party has, going back at least to the days of Jack Kemp, been trying to make the argument that it’s emphasis on self-reliance is ultimately much better for minorities than the Democratic welfare state and set-asides.  That’s a make-able case.

But to make a case requires that the audience listen with some degree of trust. And that’s impossible so long as a huge part of the base makes it clear that they don’t really consider non-whites to be Americans. Or even so long as Condi Rice is considered the minimum standard for being “one of the good ones.”

Frankly, it may just take fifteen or twenty years for the old racists to slowly die off and get replaced by a younger generation that can’t fathom an America with segregated schools and lunch counters, much less pines for it.

Hat tip: Brian Fung

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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. C. Clavin says:

    “…Condi Rice, a black woman, has given by far the best speech yet…”

    Yes…true…but the bar is pretty f’ing low at this point. And in addition she didn’t mention Bush or Cheney once. She failed to describe what Romney’s foreign policy might look like. Only that Obama is a weakling. A weakling that, I might add, has done a bunch of stuff Republicans couldn’t…including killing OBL and not allowing an horrific terrorist strike on our soil.

    But to the topic of your post…absent hate and fear Republicans are left with nothing but the lies used to stoke that anger and fear.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 58 Thumb down 11

  2. Scott O says:

    ”We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

    It’s not for lack of trying

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 67 Thumb down 5

  3. Rob in CT says:

    @Scott O:

    Beat me to it. I thought the use of the word “generating” was surprisingly honest.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 2

  4. JKB says:

    Well, we’ll certainly have to watch and see who the Dems trot out. Besides their standard token powerless minorities from gerrymandered districts. So besides Obama, who’s headlining their event?

    In any case, this is just smoke to obscure the real problem. The Republicans are the party of the profit centers and we running out of producers. Much easier to be a cost center Democrat. Of course, as the Welfare state collapse, more and more will be forced to become value-added, original producers instead of clerisy and government-dependent class.

    Romney’s imperative will be to rouse the yeomanry by suggesting the clerisy, both by their sheer costliness and increasingly intrusive agenda, are crippling their family’s prospects for a better life. In these times of weak economic growth and growing income disparity, the Republicans delude themselves by claiming to ignore class warfare. They need to learn how instead to make it politically profitable for themselves.

    And just so you know, the Kulaks are raising their banners

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 50

  5. James Joyner says:

    @Scott O: @Rob in CT: The problem isn’t so much getting white guys angry but that winning over white guys hasn’t been enough in forty years and our ranks are getting proportionately smaller by the day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  6. DRE says:

    @JKB: Well, we’ll certainly have to watch and see who the Dems trot out. Besides their standard token powerless minorities from gerrymandered districts. So besides Obama, who’s headlining their event?

    I thought this was pretty good irony until I read the rest of the post.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  7. There’s a clear path for the Republican Party to make inroads with blacks and Hispanics: shared social values inspired by a fundamentalist Christianity that they have in common.

    Which would be what, exactly?

    But the larger issue is troubling, indeed, and foreshadows doom for the GOP unless it undergoes a major change.

    So, the GOP is supposed to change to be…..just like the Democrats? What change do you suggest? Should we push for open borders, abortion on demand, a massive central government controlling people’s lives and taking huge taxes to use for re-election purposes, spent willy nilly? Should we push for identity politics, placing everyone in their own group box? Increasing safety net programs without the ability to pay for them, running up massive unfunded liabilities? Should we embrace the public unions, who exist to rape the taxpayers? What exactly are you suggesting, James? Should we just act like liberals/progressives?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 37

  8. DRE says:

    @DRE:
    To be fair I should point out that the same could be said about this:

    Further, while some of the best speeches of the convention thus far have been given by minorities—Condi Rice, a black woman, has given by far the best speech yet—the fact that the GOP has to reach down to obscure office-holders to find diversity to put on display…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  9. Scott O says:

    @James Joyner: Maybe they’ve reached the point of diminishing returns. Too many angry white guys ranting about taxpayers being raped casts the entire GOP as insane.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  10. mantis says:

    The “series of racial headaches” doesn’t much bother me.

    Of course it doesn’t. You pretend they don’t exist or aren’t important.

    They consist of one legitimate incident involving two people whose identity and relationship to the convention is unknown

    Because the GOP has kept their identity secret.

    Chris Matthews having a spittle-flecked rant about a controversy that was several days old

    Romney and the Republicans continued dog whistle lies about welfare reform are not some old controversy. They repeat them daily. Lindsay Graham just pointed out exactly why they do it: to enrage white men.

    While I’m willing to dismiss Romney’s birther joke as hamhanded

    Just like you are willing to ignore or apologize all of his despicable lies. You’re so far in the tank you’ve got taped pinchers.

    the fact that an absurdly high percentage of the party believes against all evidence that our president was born in Kenya points to something rotten in the core. The notion that a black man named “Barack Hussein Obama” couldn’t possibly be American is worse than casual racism; it’s a fundamental misapprehension of what it means to be American. Similarly, the belief against all evidence that Obama is a Muslim—and thinking that, too, disqualifies him from the presidency—shows a stunning lack of tolerance.

    That’s all fine and good except you dismiss it as fringe activity instead of recognizing it is a strategy of the GOP and the Romney campaign.

    There’s a clear path for the Republican Party to make inroads with blacks and Hispanics: shared social values inspired by a fundamentalist Christianity that they have in common.

    Hatred of gays and independent women is the sure ticket to attracting minorities!

    And the party has, going back at least to the days of Jack Kemp, been trying to make the argument that it’s emphasis on self-reliance is ultimately much better for minorities than the Democratic welfare state and set-asides. That’s a make-able case.

    Yep, your party has been making the case that black people are lazy moochers who are too stupid to recognize they are on the “Democrat Plantation.” Good strategy.

    Frankly, it may just take fifteen or twenty years for the old racists to slowly die off and get replaced by a younger generation that can’t fathom an America with segregated schools and lunch counters, much less pines for it.

    Don’t worry. Your party is doing its level best to instill a bitter racism in the younger generations too, with you carrying its water. You are complicit in all of this James.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 5

  11. James in LA says:

    @William Teach: It’s going to take doing away with the lies for treats. It means accepting the demonstrable, shared reality and not retreating behind one’s god-bully when challenged on one’s magical B.S when it poses a clear threat to the liberties of all citizens. It requires doing away utterly with authoritarianism in which classes of people are “better” or “above” other classes.

    Regrettably, your points of order therefore sound like a temper tantrum, sorry, a manufactured one complete with talking points, side notes, and citations, published and funded by Crossroads GPS. It is not real, and your complaints come off as plastic.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  12. Dave says:

    @William Teach: You don’t need to change core values. As this election cycle has shown real or imagined there is a racial aspect to this election. The Republicans have historically done nothing to welcome any other races into their party. Their seating of delegates from the outlying territories and obscure minority speakers to add color, is so disingenuous. Also when you have Ann Romney talking about Hispanics need to get over their biases and the Democratic machine shows just how out of touch they are. Cubans overwhelmingly vote Repub. There are policies that non-whites embrace that Republicans espouse, however their overwhelming sense of xenophobia and inability to accept non-whites as “Americans” will turn off people more likely than policy issues will cause them to flock to the party.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  13. James in LA says:

    James, I have to agree with Mantis. You walk an utterly untenable line that will cut you if you are not careful. Evolve, Brother. This is the multiverse shouting at you the opportunity to do so.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  14. Dave says:
  15. al-Ameda says:

    The Republican Party strategy for will probably be to attract or create a generation of angry Hispanics, Latinos, Women and Gays who hate Democrats a little more than they hate Republicans.

    I know they can do it, because resentment is what Republicans market best.

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

  16. MBunge says:

    @William Teach: “What change do you suggest?”

    The GOP doesn’t have to win the Black or Latino or Asian vote. They simply have to not get slaughtered in those and other minority demographics and I don’t think they have to change much policy-wise to do that. What they’ve got to do is not just stop but aggressively repudiate the race-baiting Republicans have been doing since the 1960s. And they have to do it consistently over a long period of time.

    Mike

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  17. Speaking of racial headaches, Herman Cain created another one last night on The Daily Show:

    http://thehill.com/video/campaign/246649-herman-cain-polls-show-blacks-voting-for-obama-because-romney-supporters-were-working

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  18. swbarnes2 says:

    Frankly, it may just take fifteen or twenty years for the old racists to slowly die off and get replaced by a younger generation that can’t fathom an America with segregated schools and lunch counters, much less pines for it

    But by continuing to vote for Republicans who enact the policies that those old racists want, you are going to reform the party from the inside, right?

    How does that plan work again? I’d say that step 1 is underwear, but it’s no joke how many millions of people are going to be hurt by the policies you support with your votes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MBunge:

    The GOP doesn’t have to win the Black or Latino or Asian vote.

    For a start, the GOP could try letting them vote.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  20. WJS says:

    There’s a clear path for the Republican Party to make inroads with blacks and Hispanics: shared social values inspired by a fundamentalist Christianity that they have in common.

    Fundamentalist Christianity has already spoken on that issue.

    Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson planned to tie the knot at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs this month, but changed their venue at the last minute at the pastor’s request, CNN reports.

    “Because of the fact that we were black, some of the members of the congregation had got upset and decided that no black couple would ever be married at that church,” Charles Wilson told CNN on Sunday night.

    “All we wanted to do in the eyes of God was to be man and wife in a church that we thought we felt loved. What was wrong with that?”

    Pastor Stan Weatherford told the TV station WLBT that some members of the congregation asked that the couple not be allowed to get married in the church.

    “This was, had not, had never been done here before, so it was setting a new (precedent) and there were those who reacted to that,” Weatherford told WLBT.

    I think we’re pretty much done hoping that Christian ideals will somehow emerge from the hardened hearts of those who are of a certain age and live in a certain part of this country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  21. sam says:

    “Are there no more erectile dysfunction meds?” asked Scrooge.

    “Plenty,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

    “And internet porn sites” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation helping things along?”

    “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

    “The 900 numbers are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

    “Very busy, sir.”

    “Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it. We old angry white men are still in the game.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. An Interested Party says:

    Besides their standard token powerless minorities from gerrymandered districts.

    Project much? The GOP could put out all the colors of the rainbow on the stage in Tampa and it still wouldn’t take away from the fact that if you judge minority ethnic groups by their voting records, they overwhelmingly support Democrats over Republicans…

    And just so you know, the Kulaks are raising their banners

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but the only Marxism going on these days is in the delusional minds of certain conservatives, like you…

    So, the GOP is supposed to change to be…..just like the Democrats? a political party that isn’t openly hostile to minorities and only seems to recognize them positively when a few of them are trotted out onstage at its political conventions.

    Happy to be of help…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  23. I don’t get it. I’m a white guy, but I grew up in one of those crazy California towns with a half-English and half-Spanish name. One word from each. Crazy.

    I’m really comfortable in a mixed culture, and enjoy a post-ethnic vibe. But I get reminders when I travel that other places aren’t like that. Sometimes people say things to me, in Oregon or Alaska, that seem like test questions. Aren’t I happy to be away from all the Mexicans? Maybe a little more subtle than that, but not much.

    Ah well, I grabbed a good “breakfast burrito” (note one English word and one Spanish) this morning (after my bike ride, Drew) from a joint I am pretty sure is run by a local gang. Great food. I think they are bangers because they call me “sir” a lot. LOL, I figure they are trying not to scare the white guy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  24. kap55 says:

    Frankly, it may just take fifteen or twenty years for the old racists to slowly die off and get replaced by a younger generation that can’t fathom an America with segregated schools and lunch counters, much less pines for it.

    The problem is that you could have written those exact same words twenty years ago, and yet nothing has changed. So think about that, and think about why racism is so ingrained.

    One of the reasons is that there is a political party that thinks racism is just fine, as long as it’s under the radar. That party used to be the Democrats, until Hubert Humphrey’s “bright sunshine of human rights” speech showed them the door. Unless the GOP does the same, it is doomed to become a regional party as the nation becomes less white and more diverse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  25. Spartacus says:

    James wrote: “There’s a clear path for the Republican Party to make inroads with blacks and Hispanics: shared social values inspired by a fundamentalist Christianity that they have in common.”

    I don’t think Christianity means what you think it means. Other than being opposed to abortion, I don’t think there’s a single GOP policy that can be plausibly linked to the fundamental teachings of Christ. There is no connection between the GOP policy of gutting the safety net and the fundamental teaching of Christ that says people will be judged on how they treat the lowest members of society.

    If you think that blacks and Hispanics will ignore all of the greed, meanness, racism and voter suppression that almost daily gushes from the GOP merely because the GOP wants to use the power of the government to force women to carry every single presidency to term, then you’re hopelessly clueless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  26. Spartacus says:

    @Spartacus:

    Oops. I meant to write “every single pregnancy” not “every single presidency”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  27. grumpy realist says:

    @Spartacus: The question is how much of so-called “Christianity” in the US has turned into Prosperity Christianity, where If You Are Rich It Shows That God Loves You. The Catholic Church has already jumped the shark over into degeneracy, where worries about sex (especially female and gay) is now the only issue to worry about and forget about all the tradition that Catholicism had for helping the poor and dispossessed.

    I will always think it a crying shame that Revolutionary Catholicism got squelched so heavily. Catholic Popes used to have a tradition of speaking up for the poor and against the rich. Now they find justifications for the old men’s club to claim jurisdiction over the bodies and lives of homosexuals and women. We need another Reformation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  28. jukeboxgrad says:

    Because the GOP has kept their identity secret.

    Exactly. If the GOP cared about handling this properly, they would publish their names, and explain who they are and why they were there, and demand a public apology. In the absence of those steps, we should assume that they are back inside today, and the GOP doesn’t really care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  29. Spartacus says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I absolutely agree with you about Prosperity Christianity. I just don’t think there are enough minority Christians that accept the view that a safety net is not needed and that all people need to do is be better Christians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. KariQ says:

    James, your dismissal of possible racial undertones to Romney’s joke and the not so covert racism of the welfare ad wouldn’t bother me so much if you weren’t absolutely certain that Biden was obviously appealing to race by using the word “chains” in a speech. Why work so hard to give Romney the benefit of the doubt while damning Biden? Are so unwilling to face what the Republican party has become that you refuse to accept what even Republicans are admitting: they are running a campaign designed to appeal to racist sentiments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  31. James Joyner says:

    @KariQ: Because I think Biden’s remark was off the cuff rather than scripted. I think he got carried away with the “chains” symmetry and went too far. Again, I think it’s Biden being Biden—which causes me to groan sometimes but I generally appreciate—rather than Biden being a racist. But I think the remark was clearly about slavery. As do such figures as Doug Wilder and Charlie Rangel.

    Similarly, because Romney’s so damned hamhanded—the trees are the right height? seriously?—it strikes me as plausible that it was just a poor way of saying he’s from Michigan. Was it tied to the Birther meme? Sure. But it’s quite possible that Romney doesn’t really get that the meme itself is racially motivated; he just thinks it kooks being kooks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  32. jukeboxgrad says:

    he just thinks it kooks being kooks

    If that’s what he thinks, then his remark (“no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate”) is meaningless and makes no sense. If only kooks would ask such a question, then there is nothing interesting, valuable or worthy about being someone who has never heard the question. When I proudly present myself as someone who has never heard the question, I am asserting that this amounts to some kind of substantive difference between me and the other guy, who has heard the question. Such a substantive difference would mean that the people asking the other guy the question aren’t kooks.

    And if he really thinks that birthers are kooks, then he should have the guts to describe them that way. That’s what a real leader would do. Notice this from WSJ/Taranto, 7/29/09:

    Gerstein, that is, asked the Republican leaders the same question the birthers keep asking: Is President Obama a natural-born citizen? It is an insane question, because there is no serious reason to doubt the answer is yes.

    The key word there is “insane,” and it’s important to notice that I’m citing WSJ, not, say, Michael Moore. What does it mean that Taranto is willing to make that statement, and Mitt is not? When Mitt leaped into bed with Trump, he announced that he is willing to embrace insanity. This is the opposite of leadership.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. KariQ says:

    I don’t find your defense of Romney persuasive. Sure, it was a ham-handed joke, but I cannot believe that anyone in touch enough with the world around them to be running for president would be unaware of the racial contents of the whole birther theme. If you’re right, and he was completely unaware that this could possibly be regarded as related to race, that speaks worse for him than admitting that he knew it would be taken that way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. bandit says:

    Nothings more hilarious than listening to lefty lunatics wishing death on people with different ideas and projecting their racist hate fantasies calling other people ‘angry’. Take a look in the mirror.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  35. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James in LA: I don’t think he can. I suspect that in that dark night of his soul, Joiner is just as much a cracker as George Wallace or Bull Connors ever was.

    Dr. Joiner–Please, prove me wrong!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  36. Pug says:

    Yep, your party has been making the case that black people are lazy moochers who are too stupid to recognize they are on the “Democrat Plantation.” Good strategy.

    You can add to that tired old repertoire that Latinos are all illegal or anchor babies who just want to come here to sponge off the the hard working white man’s benefits. Of course, you have to ignore the guys doing roofing work in the South Texas summer to buy into that, but you can if you try.

    The fastest growing demographic in the country is headed straight for the “Democrat Plantation”, the bunch of moochers. Again, good strategy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. Elizabeth says:

    @William Teach: No, the answer is not to be just like “dems”. The answer is to stop acting like you (republicans as a party) hate people of color. You’re going to need people of color to remain a viable party. That isn’t gonna happen as long as you make women and minorities (who aren’t going to be minorities soon) feel hated and by the “angry white men” who dominate your party.

    It was a real strategic mistake to spend the last four years trying to de-legitimize President Obama as un-American . . . all that birther and muslim crap was guaranteed to keep minorities far away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. Elizabeth says:

    @bandit: The person who said the republican party isn’t generating enough angry white men is a republican senator.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. Elizabeth says:

    @William Teach: your assumption is that the only way you could win the votes of minorities is to keep “handouts” . There in a nutshell you expose what is wrong with your party: racist assumptions about minorities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  40. Bam says:

    Lindsey Graham: The likes of him are completely out of touch. He is a far right wing career politician, career government worker and career military JAG in the Reserves. He doesn’t know who he really is. He is a government welfare recipient sucking off the backs of the tax payer. He is the same type who turned on the white man. He is a complete fraud and parasite off the hard working private citizen tax payer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0