Putting the Civil Rights Movement into Historical Perspective

Thinking about comparative American struggles against tyranny.

Bloody SundayCharles  C. W. Cooke had a column in the National Review that is worth a read:  The GOP’s Conspicuous Absence from Selma.

While the piece, as the title suggests, was inspired by the fact that the leadership in the House and Senate declined to attend the events in Selma, is it Cooke’s arguments as to why their absence was problematic that is worth some thought.  Specifically he notes the way in which we Americans exalt the Founders and, further, the degree to which our national origin mythology is told as a tale of a struggle against tyranny.

However, truth be told, the struggle for full citizenship rights for African-Americans was a struggle against a tyranny far more pernicious than that which the colonist combated with the British.

Cooke:

That the Founders fought their war anyway was admirable. That the leading voices of their era had the presence of mind to hijack the American revolution and to codify a set of radical principles into a national charter was even more so. Indeed, we might today learn a great deal from a political culture that, per Burke, preferred to detect “ill principle” not by “actual grievance” but instead to “judge of the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle” and to “augur misgovernment at a distance; and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.” And yet our celebration of their fortitude is rendered as folly if we forget that, for all that the rebels went through, they were not facing down evil in its purest form.

That task would fall to other Americans — many of whom would pay a terrible price for their rebellions. Eventually, after a century-long struggle and a series of yo-yoing attempts, the twin horrors of slavery and segregation would indeed fall to posterity — but only after they had presented challenges that eclipsed those that were posed during the Revolution. The two eras are essentially incomparable. The crime of the British in America was to deny British conceptions of good government to a people who had become accustomed to it, and to do so capriciously. The crime of white supremacy in the South was, in the words of Ida B. Wells, to “cut off ears, toes, and fingers, strips off flesh, and distribute portions” of any person whom the majority disliked, and to do so in many cases as a matter of established public policy.

Consider what happened on the Edmund Pettus Bridge fifty years ago:  a peaceful march of unarmed citizens (including children) set off to register to vote and were met with the coercive power of the state.   The events in question ranks with any number of authoritarian crackdowns that we have seen on our television screens from other countries from the around the world.  Indeed, if we saw a similar event in, say, Caracas or Moscow today we would consider it confirmation of the authoritarian nature of those governments.  If you are unfamiliar, I would recommend watching this video from about the 3 minute mark (or, indeed, the entire documentary).

Peaceful marchers, walking on a sidewalk (not even walking in traffic lanes) seeking to underscore injustices linked to a fundamental democratic right were met with tear gas and baton-wielding police on horseback.

I don’t want to get over the top in descriptions of the land of the free and the home of the brave, but anyone who has ever thought of the United States of America as an exemplar of democratic values, or an example worthy of emulation in any way, has to look back on the past and come to at least two conclusions.  The first is that despite many positive contributions to democratic governance, the US has some serious sins in its past of a decidedly undemocratic nature (and this is a past that is not that distant and that should not be forgotten or sanitized).  Second, those who led the fight for civil rights were heroes and deserve to be regarded as such.  As Cooke notes in his piece, they were fighting true tyranny and deserve recognition for so doing.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
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. C. Clavin says:

    Would love to see Palin stand up for the second amendment rights of those folks.
    But they weren’t real Americans.
    Not like Clive Bundy is a real American.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The first is that despite many positive contributions to democratic governance, the US has some serious sins in its past of a decidedly undemocratic nature (and this is a past that is not that distant and that should not be forgotten or sanitized).

    And the seeds of sin have been resown time and again, and we continue to reap the sorrows of that hateful crop.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    Pleasant surprise to see Cooke’s article in the National Review. The comments, on the other hand, are largely as expected.

  4. Surreal American says:

    But, but, STATES RAAAAAGHTS!!!!!!

  5. Scott F. says:

    The first is that despite many positive contributions to democratic governance, the US has some serious sins in its past of a decidedly undemocratic nature (and this is a past that is not that distant and that should not be forgotten or sanitized).

    Watch out, Steven. Rudy Giuliani’s going to come after you for not loving America!

  6. al-Ameda says:

    The first is that despite many positive contributions to democratic governance, the US has some serious sins in its past of a decidedly undemocratic nature (and this is a past that is not that distant and that should not be forgotten or sanitized). Second, those who led the fight for civil rights were heroes and deserve to be regarded as such. As Cooke notes in his piece, they were fighting true tyranny and deserve recognition for so doing.

    Well, those dead-on accurate observations preclude any chance you had of moving to Oklahoma.

  7. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08:

    The comments, on the other hand, are largely as expected.

    (The following is submitted with apologies to the writers of “Ghostbusters.”)

    Spengler: There’s something very important I forgot to tell you.

    Venkman: What?

    Spengler: Don’t read the comments.

    Venkman: Why?

    Spengler: It would be bad.

    Venkman: I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, “bad?”

    Spengler: Try to imagine all thought as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your brain exploding at the speed of light.

    Stantz: Total intellectual reversal.

    Venkman: Right. That’s bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

  8. Loviatar says:

    The true existential threat to America’s existence is not ISIS or Iran, its the neo-confederate Republican party and its supporters (Doug Mataconis, James Joyner, etc.).

  9. Loviatar says:

    Why do I constantly call out Doug Mataconis and James Joyner by name. I want others to understand where I see the threat.

    I’m afraid of the brown shirts/KKKers on this site, but I do not fear them. SD, Erik, etc they’re brown shirts, give them a bat and tell them to attack – a Jew, a Hispanic, an African American and now a Muslim, – they will. As such you should be afraid of them, just don’t fear them. They only have as much power as they’re given.

    I fear the Doug Mataconis’ of the neo-confederate party, they’ll provide the brown shirts/KKKers with the legal parsing as cover for their attacks. They’ll provide them with the funding, not to purchase the bats, but to purchase everything else, so that the money not spent on food and shelter can then be used to purchase the bats.

    I fear the James Joyners of the neo-confederate party, they’ll be the ones providing the brown shirts/KKKers with the moral, ethical and pseudo-intelligent foundation (not that they’ll need one, but it’ll sound good for moderate fools) for their attacks. What I’ve never understood is how they could go home and look their children in the eye and claim to be good people.

    I fear the ones who are smart enough to know better, but yet continue to support evil. They are the ones with the power to do great harm.

  10. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As Billie Holiday noted, it is some strange fruit indeed.

  11. Mikey says:

    @Loviatar: Yeah, this is a bit much. You’re veering into the same territory you accuse the other side of occupying.

    You must take care that your impassioned dedication to a set of principles doesn’t devolve into mere bigotry. Not everyone on the “other side” is evil.

  12. Hal_10000 says:

    I don’t know if you followed John Lewis’ twitter account yesterday, where he was recalling his first hand experience with pictures. Amazing. Someone suggested (and Doug agreed) that the bridge be renamed after Lewis. Sounds like a good idea to me.

  13. LaMont says:

    It is because of this reason that most African Americans, right or wrong (and I feel mostly right), will play the race card more often than anyone else. Most African Americans view this country in a completely different and cynical light than most other races. Imagine being an African American during a period where at every turn for 100 years, from the civil war to civil rights and in many ways beyond, African Americans were strategically held back through organized policy, propaganda, and terror – in America! That is very difficult for most people to grasp. So when GOP leaders choose to play hooky from events such as this it plays into the narrative, especially amongst African Americans, that people just don’t have a clue.

  14. Loviatar says:

    @Mikey:

    Not everyone on the “other side” is evil.

    First of all, I’ve never called Doug or James evil, I’ve said they support an insane and evil party. The modern Republican party is insane and evil, their sole purpose for existence is to inflict cruelty upon their fellow Americans. Doug and James are enablers of that evil.

    Since you brought it up, what would you call someone who supports the party that is responsible for the actions detailed in the DOJ’s Ferguson report?

  15. Mikey says:

    @LaMont: It’s a stain on American history that so many Americans were brutalized for wanting nothing more than to exercise Constitutional rights. They were beaten and murdered for simply wanting to be full members of American society, free to move about and go to the same schools and stores and restaurants as everyone else.

    And then we see how so many Americans are still treated with suspicion and brutality due to their skin color, and we should realize how far we still have to go. But you’re right…some people just don’t have a clue.

  16. C. Clavin says:

    But, really, racism is over.
    We don’t have to worry about this anymore.
    The free market will keep it from happening.

    PAUL: I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains, and I’m all in favor of that.
    INTERVIEWER: But?
    PAUL: You had to ask me the “but.” I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners — I abhor racism. I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant — but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership. But I absolutely think there should be no discrimination in anything that gets any public funding, and that’s most of what I think the Civil Rights Act was about in my mind.
    INTERVIEWER: But under your philosophy, it would be okay for Dr. King not to be served at the counter at Woolworth’s?
    PAUL: I would not go to that Woolworths, and I would stand up in my community and say that it is abhorrent, um, but, the hard part — and this is the hard part about believing in freedom — is, if you believe in the First Amendment, for example — you have to, for example, most good defenders of the First Amendment will believe in abhorrent groups standing up and saying awful things and uh, we’re here at the bastion of newspaperdom, I’m sure you believe in the First Amendment so you understand that people can say bad things.It’s the same way with other behaviors. In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people, who have abhorrent behavior, but if we’re civilized people, we publicly criticize that, and don’t belong to those groups, or don’t associate with those people.

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @Mikey:

    due to their skin color

    Or who they love.

  18. Mikey says:

    @Loviatar: You said of James and Doug

    What I’ve never understood is how they could go home and look their children in the eye and claim to be good people.

    If that’s not calling them evil, then WTF is it?

    what would you call someone who supports the party that is responsible for the actions detailed in the DOJ’s Ferguson report

    I would call them “wrong.”

    There’s “wrong,” and there’s “evil,” and the two are not always synonymous. If you believe someone is wrong, you understand their mind could be changed, even if doing so is difficult. If you believe they’re evil, eventually you’ll believe the only solution is killing them.

    You think that’s hyperbole? All human history proves it isn’t.

  19. Mikey says:
  20. JKB says:

    The first is that despite many positive contributions to democratic governance, the US has some serious sins in its past…

    from Democratic Party governance.

  21. Loviatar says:

    @Mikey:

    I would call them “wrong.”

    No I’m sorry, you can be “wrong” if you don’t know the facts about the modern Republican party. You can be “wrong” if you’re not smart enough to understand the facts about the modern Republican party.

    Do you think Doug or James don’t know the facts or are not smart enough to understand the facts about modern Republican party? If not then they can’t be “wrong”.

    —–

    If you believe someone is wrong, you understand their mind could be changed, even if doing so is difficult.

    If after 8 years of the Bush administration and 6 years of the Obama administration you’re still supporting the modern Republican party I don’t know how much convincing there is to be done.

    —–

    Again, I never said Doug or James are evil, I just think they’ve made conscious choices to support evil. I’ll use this analogy, I’ll call it the Rand Paul. Do I think Doug or James are bigots, probably not, but do I think they would find some reason to support bigotry, probably yes. What should we call them, I don’t know, but “wrong” is to mild a word for those that support evil.

  22. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    Is there more to that thought…or are you still waiting for Fox News to tell you the rest?

  23. Tillman says:

    @Loviatar:

    No I’m sorry, you can be “wrong” if you don’t know the facts about the modern Republican party. You can be “wrong” if you’re not smart enough to understand the facts about the modern Republican party.

    The latter one is “stupid,” the former one is “ignorant.” Neither of those is “wrong.”

    Do I think Doug or James are bigots, probably not, but do I think they would find some reason to support bigotry, probably yes. What should we call them, I don’t know, but “wrong” is to mild a word for those that support evil.

    “Enablers,” that’s a description that gets thrown around.

    So is bigotry evil? I never took that class. I thought evil in today’s modern world was genocide, bodily mutilation for social control, desecration of historical ruins, systematic prejudice, but basic bigotry is like a character flaw. You have to extrapolate it to get to anything evil.

  24. C. Clavin says:

    The Senators threatening Iran and undermining Obama’s foreign policy is as incredible as it is ground-breaking.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/09/us-iran-nuclear-congress-idUSKBN0M516X20150309
    After complete abdication of their role in foreign policy for…what…the last 12 years…Republicans have now decided that inaction is not enough….and they are now going to act incredibly stupid.

  25. humanoid.panda says:

    @Mi
    key
    :

    what would you call someone who supports the party that is responsible for the actions detailed in the DOJ’s Ferguson report

    Not a big fan of the GOP here, but in what significant sense is the GOP, as a party, responsible for the actions of the Ferguson people?

  26. JohnMcC says:

    What the civil rights struggle did for me is open my eyes to the loss that I suffered when African Americans were subjugated and plundered. There was no real gain to anyone from Jim Crow which I personally knew from the perspective of a little white boy growing up in the deep south. There was some consolation for the ignorant white community in having a relative higher status; I recall an acquaintance asking in some anger ‘if I’m not better than a ni&&er who’m I better than?’ Always seemed to me to sum up the essential heart of racism.

  27. Loviatar says:

    @Tillman:

    The latter one is “stupid,” the former one is “ignorant.” Neither of those is “wrong.”

    “stupid” and “ignorant” are usually the basis for evil. Since no one on this site would call either Doug or James stupid or ignorant, I won’t call them evil.

    —–

    “Enablers,” that’s a description that gets thrown around.

    While I used that term and I tend to agree with its usage in this case, I just think theres more to it. I truly don’t know what you call those that do what Doug and James are doing, enablers just doesn’t seem to go far enough and evil is too far.

    —–

    So is bigotry evil?

    I used bigotry as a stand in for all the other evil done by the modern Republican party, plus Rand Paul hypocritical stance on Civil Rights was too easy of a target to pass up.

    To answer your question directly; yes I do consider bigotry evil. You’re judging (usually negatively) someone solely based upon a characteristic that they have no control over. When that judgement is then used for evil, then yes bigotry is evil as it is part of the whole evil process.

    —–

    For those who think I’m thread jacking. I’m not, in my own way I’m comparing Doug and James to all those who sat on the sidelines during the 60s and watched their fellow Americans being cruelly abused and did nothing or made excuses. I’ve always wondered what was going through their heads. I’ve also always wondered what do we call those Americans; “wrong” and “enablers” seemed too forgiving, while evil is overly harsh and should be saved for those who are truly evil.

  28. Tillman says:

    @Loviatar: You know, this might be one of those situations where “privilege” or “privileged” is a useful description. In a phenomenological sense, that describes fairly people who could go about their lives without caring about civil rights struggles and such.

    (Yes, everyone who is groaning, I love honest discussions on semantics.)

  29. michael reynolds says:

    Black Americans do not get the recognition they should as freedom fighters. Whites pigeonhole the Civil Rights movement in parochial terms as blacks getting for blacks. But it’s bigger than that because the rights of the least are the rights of the rest as well. Their fight wasn’t just for black people, it was for all Americans. They liberated their oppressors as much as themselves.

    But dismissing African-Americans is standard practice, and not just in terms of politics. What African-Americans have done in terms of music is an artistic revolution, an achievement on a par with what the Italian Renaissance did to art and architecture, or what the Austrians and Germans did to classical music. Jazz, gospel, soul, blues, rock and roll, hip hop, virtually all of modern music flows from this small minority. And they did it without Medici sponsors paying the bills.

  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    You’d think Tom Cotton would be acquainted with the Logan Act.

    I guess laws are just suggestions that can be violated with impunity when you’ve convinced yourself that the ends justify the means …

  31. Loviatar says:

    @Tillman:

    You know, this might be one of those situations where “privilege” or “privileged” is a useful description.

    Expand upon please.

    I don’t see Doug or James in this light. My looking for a label is based upon the following questions:

    – How can Doug and James support evil when it contradicts everything their intellect should tell them is wrong?

    – How can Doug and James support evil when it contradicts everything their morals and ethics should tell them is wrong?

    We’ve had 14 years of evil with the modern Republican party trying everything within its power to roll us back to the images above. Doug and James support of this evil makes me search for a word to describe them and people like them. Privileged is too trite a word.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnMcC:

    ‘if I’m not better than a ni&&er who’m I better than?’ Always seemed to me to sum up the essential heart of racism.

    It’s possible to make a good case that this is the essence of conservatism. I was always puzzled as to why conservatives would fight so hard for a hierarchy when they’re near the borttom. The answer seems to be that what’s above isn’t important. What’s important is that there be someone below.

  33. Mikey says:

    @Loviatar: Well, Tillman got to it before I did, but I think he’s right. There are very few people in the world who are really evil (although unfortunately we’ve seen they can garner sizable followings).

    The rest, even those who support wrong and bad things, generally do so out of ignorance, or inertia, not knowing any better way, or (as Tillman notes) out of privilege. Even at this late date, with all America’s sad history of race relations, there are still people who hold wrong beliefs for sincere reasons because they have no other frame of reference than what they grew up seeing and believing.

    Of course, it would be naive to think people don’t hold such beliefs out of prejudice and bigotry, but even their minds can be changed, difficult as it may be (and for some it may never happen).

    In the past, I myself believed it was time to “move beyond” the racial problems of the past, that racism in America was basically over. Man, I was wrong, without a doubt, but it took some deep conversations (with more people than I’m proud admitting to) for me to change my views.

    The reason I addressed you above is because if someone had approached me with the view I was “enabling evil,” I would likely never have evolved in my views. There would have been confrontation, not discussion, and I would have responded as anyone would, by digging in ever deeper.

    An impassioned defense of principle is a great thing, but without moderation it can morph into a wall that prevents bringing people around to see the validity of that principle.

  34. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Jazz, gospel, soul, blues, rock and roll, hip hop, virtually all of modern music flows from this small minority. And they did it without Medici sponsors paying the bills.

    Well, Robert Johnson did have to sell his soul… 😉

  35. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Loviatar:

    Just a suggestion, which you can of course heed or ignore at your discretion:

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but impassioned binary arguments are generally a bad thing from the perspective of actually convincing the reader of anything.

  36. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    A worthy trade.

  37. Loviatar says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Just saw your question since it was addressed incorrectly, I’m assuming it was directed at me.

    Not a big fan of the GOP here, but in what significant sense is the GOP, as a party, responsible for the actions of the Ferguson people?

    First a little history.

    The image above is reflective of an atmosphere created by 60s era southern Democrats and Republicans. The power structure in place felt comfortable in their ability to abuse their fellow Americans without any repercussions. That comfort level was because they were supported and protected by their political class. That repercussion when it came had to come from the political parties, that is the way our country works, the political class drives the power structure.

    —–

    Now to your question.

    in what significant sense is the GOP, as a party, responsible for the actions of the Ferguson people

    The DOJ found that the power structure in Ferguson felt comfortable in their ability to abuse their fellow Americans without any repercussions. Now smart person that you are and knowing a little modern history (1980 and forward), which political party is more likely to support and protect the power structure in its abuse of minorities.

    Its not always a specific event, it sometimes the atmosphere and context surrounding the event.

  38. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but impassioned binary arguments are generally a bad thing from the perspective of actually convincing the reader of anything.

    Ahhh, here is the thing, everyone seems to have the belief I’m trying to convince the reader of anything. I’m not.

    Doug and James and their ilk after this length of time will not change their minds. If after the Iraq War, the Great Recession, the roll back of Civil Rights, the attack on Gay Rights, they want to continue to support the modern Republican party there is nothing I can write on this website that will change their minds.

    I’m just trying to label them and point to any and all that will listen that due to their continued support of the modern Republican party they will and should share the blame when things get worse.

    —–

    Also, just so you don’t think I’m blind to your arguement, you I would try and convince with non binary arguments that your views on economics are wrong. Michael Reynolds I would try and convince with non binary arguments that his views on Foreign Policy are wrong. You two, similar to Doug and James are intelligent, politically aware Americans, key difference though, you both seem like you’re willing to adapt and change with the times. Doug and James haven’t.

  39. Scott says:

    Ahhh, here is the thing, everyone seems to have the belief I’m trying to convince the reader of anything. I’m not.

    So you’re just being rude and insulting. You are the type that shows up for dinner and insults the cook.

  40. humanoid.panda says:

    @Loviatar:

    Now smart person that you are and knowing a little modern history (1980 and forward), which political party is more likely to support and protect the power structure in its abuse of minorities.

    Yes, if put came down to shove, the GOP would be less likely by far to make the kind of push towards resolving the problems of which Ferguson is but a symptom, yes. However, where I disagree with you is that you are basically dividing the American political system into White and Black hats, while the problem is a result of a series of policy choices and cowardice that are the result of decisions of both parties make, mostly because they are genuinely popular (say, the drug war, or the idea that taxes on the middle class always have to be pushed to the minimum). At the very least, we have to grapple with the fact that the governor of MO and and much of the Ferguson elite are old style Southern Democrats.

  41. humanoid.panda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Jazz, gospel, soul, blues, rock and roll, hip hop, virtually all of modern music flows from this small minority

    Michael, did you see the Obama speech on Saturday? He gave out a shout-out to that musical tradition.

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Loviatar:

    If that’s the case, why not just email them directly?

    Just asking …

  43. Loviatar says:

    @Scott:

    So you’re just being rude and insulting. You are the type that shows up for dinner and insults the cook.

    Sometimes you need someone at the table to be what you consider rude (notice, I’m not agreeing with you that I’m rude). Sometimes you need someone to say, hey guys he is feeding you dog shit and calling it chocolate pudding.

  44. Loviatar says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    No, I’m sorry both sides don’t do it. While Missouri Democrats may be a throwback to old style southern Democrats, we’ve had enough experience in the past 50+ years with Republican policies when it comes to minorities. Ferguson is a result of Republican policies and government, the Democrats in that area may call themselves Democrats but the act like republicans.

  45. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    I think that we have to grapple with the facts that 1) the structure of municipalities in Missouri, wherein you have thousands of little fiefdoms all competing for tax dollars from a populace with a finite ability to repay them created much of the environment that allowed Ferguson to happen, and 2) power structures are, by their nature, prone to developing an oppressor / oppressed dynamic, which is why they have to be so carefully monitored.

    Ferguson is, in my opinion, an example of what happens when a city which – based on its available tax base – realistically shouldn’t exist at all in its current form / borders decides to deputize its law enforcement function into the role of revenue collection, then looks the other way with regard to the tactics that said function utilizes in pursuit of that mandate.

    Are there racists on the Ferguson Police Department? Undoubtedly, but to scope-lock on that simplistic wrong misses the broader points – a municipality desperate for revenue decided not to exert competent oversight over its police department, evidently because collecting the money was more important than treating its citizens with respect. This wasn’t simply and solely a failure of some racist police officers. It was a failure of the entire system of local government.

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @humanoid.panda:
    No, sorry I missed it. Occasionally I work. I know it doesn’t look like it, but every now and then. . .

  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Loviatar:

    See, this is where the binary argument starts to go off of the rails. It only requires evidence of erroneous assumptions to disprove it.

    For example, I live in Westchester County, NY, specifically Rye, one of the most lily-white places on the planet – and one of the more stridently Democratic. (We’re rated a D+19 PVI). Dems control pretty much everything here.

    And yet, sadly, the occasional African-American is likely to be viewed with at least mild suspicion when he/she wanders through, even here in Democrat country.

    People are tribal by nature, and race is – unfortunately, I’ll agree – one of the most, if not the most, potent markers of tribal congruity. You seem to be conflating problems with race into your primary gripe about the Republican party, and that’s disingenuous.

    Negative attitudes about race isn’t (just) a Republican problem. It’s an American problem.

  48. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    If that’s the case, why not just email them directly?

    I believe you don’t give evil a chance to dissemble quietly. Why should those who support evil then be given a chance to dissemble quietly.

  49. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    C’mon…you’re the 113th Congress of Teen Fiction.

    /snark

  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Loviatar:

    Hence the problem – you have evidently appointed yourself the arbiter of what constitutes evil, and slotted Republicans into that niche – with the resultant classification of yourself as the anti-evil. I get the passion. I do. I’m just saying that the rhetoric being employed doesn’t service that passion in the manner that I suspect you think it does.

    White/black, evil/good, yes/no are rarely ever that simplistic. The world isn’t black and white – it’s grey.

  51. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Negative attitudes about race isn’t (just) a Republican problem. It’s an American problem.

    Never said it was.

    I grew up in NYC, upstate was a place you didn’t go. It meant either Sing Sing or the enclaves of white privilege/white flight where minorities were not welcome.

    Race is an American problem thats part of our DNA, written into our Constitution, so believe me I know its not limited to republicans. However, I’d rather the corrupt and stupid party’s (Democratic) attempts to address our national problem than the insane and evil party’s (Republican) attempts. The way I see it one party is looking forward in its own imperfect way while one is looking backward. I for one do not want to return to the era reflected in the above photo.

  52. al-Ameda says:

    @Loviatar:

    Doug and James and their ilk after this length of time will not change their minds

    I realize that this is a minor point but ….
    Over the years the use of ‘ilk’ has been used by conservatives to slam liberals for any number of perceived sins – not patriotic enough, not anti-communist enough, and so forth. Perhaps it’s just me, but when the term ‘ilk’ is used – ‘people of their ilk’ ‘people of your ilk’ – I see it very negatively, perhaps more than most people, I assume that it’s mean to be a strong negative.

    For the record, I don’t see Stephen, James or Doug in that way. There’s a range of ideology and personality among Republicans and conservatives, and I understand that. Sarah Palin is not the same as John Boehner, Michele Bachmann is not the same as Olympia Snowe, Ted Cruz is not the same as John McCain, Rick Perry is not the same as John Kasich.

  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Loviatar:

    And I respect that. I do. I’m just saying that perhaps we’re doing the issue a disservice by slotting people, or parties, or whatever, into good and bad camps on the issue. It’s quite a bit more pervasive, and insidious, than that.

    We as a nation, and as a people, are pretty reluctant to either acknowledge or address the darker side of our history and our nature. Saying “well, blame those damn Republicans”, while tempting, and often accurate, doesn’t do justice to the magnitude of the problem. Let’s not make it that much more difficult to push that self-examination by introducing a tangential factor – political affiliation – into the mix.

    The fact is that you’ll find racist Republicans, and racist Democrats, and racist Libertarians, and racist anarchists, and so on ad infinitum. The problem that needs to be addressed in that reality isn’t political affiliation – it’s racism itself. Pure and simple – no need to complicate it any further than that.

    Just food for thought.

  54. Liberal With Attitude says:

    @humanoid.panda:
    Its not so much that the GOP caused the cesspool of corruption in Ferguson, so much as Ferguson is the true beating heart of the GOP.

    Racism? Check

    Regressive tax structure bordering on feudalism? Check

    What has been happening in Ferguson is being repeated wherever the GOP is in total control- Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas.

    1. Cut taxes for the rich triggering a fiscal crisis-
    2. Cut services to the poor and minority communities;
    3. Inflict regressive fees and fines aimed at that class exclusively.

    Rinse and repeat. This has not one thing to do with Edmund Burke, fiscal conservatism, common sense kitchen table budgeting, or anything else. It is a coalition of the 0.1%, with enough racism to attract the bottom feeders who as noted above, only want someone lower on the ladder to step on.

  55. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Loviatar:

    which political party is more likely to support and protect the power structure in its abuse of minorities.

    And from that basis a national political party is responsible for the systematic racist power structures of a suburb of St. Louis?

    My current city is D+10. We have a democratic city council, a democratic slate of local judges, and while our current mayor is a Republican, his successor will be a D (no R’s are challenging) and Mayors before him were all D’s stretching a long way. We also have problems with racism in the police department.

    Is the national Republican party to blame for our problems as well?

  56. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    you have evidently appointed yourself the arbiter of what constitutes evil, and slotted Republicans into that niche

    Disagree. I’ve not appointed myself arbiter, I’ve appointed myself donkey, brayer of what I consider the truth. If you disagree with me that what the Republican party has done the past 14 years on the Iraq War, The Great Recession, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Women Rights, etc is evil then make you case. While your definition of evil may differ, I believe there are millions of Iraqis, millions of wage earners, millions of African Americans, millions of LGBT and millions of women who would fall closer to my point of view than yours.

    —-

    I’m just saying that the rhetoric being employed doesn’t service that passion in the manner that I suspect you think it does.

    Again, you’re thinking I’m writing to convince I’m not. I’ve told you, I’m writing to proclaim, to announce, to publicly state that these two men and others like them are as much a part of the problem as the politicians they support.

    —–

    White/black, evil/good, yes/no are rarely ever that simplistic. The world isn’t black and white – it’s grey.

    You’re doing something surprising for a lawyer (particularly a Harvard educated lawyer), you’re reading into my comments facts not in evidence. Of course life is not binary. Things aren’t simple and like you wrote earlier everyones definition of evil will differ, however when we attempt to rationalize away things we know are ethically, morally and intellectually suspect then we open the door to evil.

    You know why I write with a passion and form that seems simple and declarative its because I asked myself the following question; do I think the modern Republican party is trying to do good or evil?

  57. humanoid.panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I agree with everything you say, and this is why I think that Loviatar’s comic book version of the politics of race in this country is so misguided. Yes, the Republicans are by far the worse actor in that regards, but the structure of American politics and race and class relations is such that there is a huge slice, perhaps a plurality, of the American electorate that supports their policies.

  58. Loviatar says:

    @al-Ameda:

    their ilk

    agree.

    Strongly negative term, I should have used something else.

  59. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Loviatar:

    You know why I write with a passion and form that seems simple and declarative its because I asked myself the following question; do I think the modern Republican party is trying to do good or evil?

    I get that. That disdain for the Republican Party is your primary motivator isn’t difficult to ascertain, and while I’m not nearly as binary in my thinking, I respect the position.

    . I’m just saying that deputizing problems with race into pursuit of that position does a grave disservice to our problems with race – it reduces racism to being a political gripe, and it’s far, far more – and far, far worse – than that.

    Racism isn’t simple. It’s incredibly complex, so maybe we’re not doing ourselves any favors by trying to slot it into a “we good / they bad” dynamic.

  60. humanoid.panda says:

    @Liberal With Attitude: I don’t disagree with any of this in that yes, Ferguson is an inevitable outcome of the GOP-preferred model of governance: low taxes, few government services funded by the poor, and a “law order” approach towards the poor. The problem is that this model of governance is not imposed on America by a secret 0.1% cabal: it has a real and strong constituency of middle class people who get their government subsidies from tax deductions, and hate people who get them directly (and the elderly who don’t even realize they are getting government money..). Even if there was no GOP, the structure of American politics is such that some Democratic politicians endorse it in all but its most openly racialist implications: see Rahm’s Chicago for an example..

  61. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I think we’re talking on two separate but equally important tracks. These tracks cross occasionally but there are crucial differences.

    Racism is an American problem. We agree and it should be addressed as a disparate issue that cuts across party, class, ethnicity and every other boundary.

    The modern Republican party is insane and evil. They use racism as one of their tools to attack their fellow American citizens. As a party they don’t see AA, Hispanics, Muslims as worthy of cultivating in their own right, so why should they be treated as equals. How do you “work” with that point of view?

  62. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    “we good / they bad” dynamic

    What other dynamic is there?

    I refuse to rationalize racism. There is no “good” to it. This is my frustration with the politics today, everyone seems to think compromise is good, the middle is where you want to be on a subject. Half a loaf is better than none or the modern buzz words is to be pragmatic. There is no pragmatism to racism, there is no compromise, there is no middle ground. If one party supports racism as their standard, them I’m sorry their evil. Nothing you can say or do will convince me otherwise.

  63. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Loviatar:

    What other dynamic is there?

    Depending on the circumstances, we all have the potential to be bad with respect to racism.

    And before you argue differently, assuming you are Caucasian (if you aren’t, my apologies). go wandering around at 125th and Lexington at night, then get back to me about racism.

    I refuse to rationalize racism.

    As do I. I also refuse to simplify it to serve a political preference.

    Should we address racism in concrete terms? Yes. There is a definable, discrete sense of what is right and what is wrong with respect to racism. Regardless of where it stems from, it’s inherently wrong.

    That having been said, “my way or the highway – I will never compromise because I am wearing my cloak of righteousness!”, in the context of politics, renders you Bernie Sanders in terms of actually being able to accomplish anything. 1) It’s smug / condescending, which repels the very people you need to convince, and 2) it’s Pyrrhic.

    I love Bernie, but the guy has less influence over political outcomes in the US than my Bubbie did – and she’s been dead for 20 years …

  64. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Have you ever been to Stone Mountain. Several years ago the company I work for purchased a smaller company based out of Atlanta and moved our regional HQ to their offices in Atlanta. I had to go down several times during the first year to assist with merging the staffs. After a few months I became friendly with one of the ladies and she took me to Stone Mountain, I couldn’t believe it, a huge monument to racism just outside of Atlanta. This country has a racism sickness, it is our illness, and one of our two political parties uses it as their path to power.

  65. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Loviatar:

    This country has a racism sickness, it is our illness, and one of our two political parties uses it as their path to power

    You’re obviously quite intelligent – far more than enough to recognize that Republicans don’t even remotely have a monopoly on pimping race as a path to political power.

  66. An Interested Party says:

    The first is that despite many positive contributions to democratic governance, the US has some serious sins in its past…

    from Democratic Party mostly Southern White governance.

    Happy to be of help…

  67. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92: @HarvardLaw92:

    125th and Lexington at night

    You’re joking right. Harlem has become so gentrified that Bill Clinton has his personal office not too far from there. While there are parts of NYC, even upper Manhattan that are overly dangerous to those of the Caucasoid persuasion at night 125th st. ain’t it.

    —–

    As do I. I also refuse to simplify it to serve a political preference.

    Again, we’re talking on two separate but equal paths (you like that). We agree on the racism is bad aspect and it should be widely addressed. Where we seem to disagree is the political aspect. Racism has already been chosen as a political preference, the Republican party has chose to be the party of racism. What is wrong with pointing out repeatedly that this is wrong and the people who’ve done so are evil.

    —–

    Republicans don’t even remotely have a monopoly on pimping race as a path to political power.

    Never said race. I said racism. Huge difference.

    Affinity voting has been used since the beginning of time. Vote for me because I’ll discriminate against the guys who don’t look like us has also been used since the beginning of time but it is no longer acceptable.

  68. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Loviatar:

    While there are parts of NYC, even upper Manhattan that are overly dangerous to those of the Caucasoid persuasion at night 125th st. ain’t it.

    The immediate area around that intersection registered 32 felony arrests in 2013, the highest of any block in the city.

    Gentrified or not, I think you get the broader point.

    As for the rest, I respect your position and I admire the passion – even if on some level I might personally consider it to be counterproductive. I’ll leave it at that rather than 20 more rounds of back and forth when we’re both essentially repeating the same thing over and over.

  69. Grewgills says:

    @Mikey:
    Well, he wasn’t usin it

  70. Loviatar says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’ll leave it at that rather than 20 more rounds of back and forth when we’re both essentially repeating the same thing over and over.

    agree and I’ve got dinner to cook.

  71. Grewgills says:

    @Mikey:
    Sister Rosetta didn’t have to sell her soul.

  72. Rafer Janders says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    And before you argue differently, assuming you are Caucasian (if you aren’t, my apologies). go wandering around at 125th and Lexington at night, then get back to me about racism.

    What the….maybe in the 1980s. But I’m a white middle-aged professional in a suit and I wander about 125th Street all the time — all the time — and I’ve never had any problems there. In fact, I had dinner off of 125th just last week at Red Rooster, one of the most popular, stylish restaurants in Manhattan.

  73. Rafer Janders says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The immediate area around that intersection registered 32 felony arrests in 2013, the highest of any block in the city.

    So….less than one a week? And I’m betting that most of those were arrests were for drelatively victimless drug-related offenses, not for African-American assaults on Caucasians, making it irrelevant to whether or not 125th and Lex was a dangerous area to walk around in. It’s just not. Almost nowhere in Manhattan is overtly dangerous.

  74. Tony W says:

    @Loviatar:

    Democrats in that area may call themselves Democrats but the act like republicans.

    No True Scotsman….

  75. michael reynolds says:

    I wonder how James Joyner feels about the fact that 47 Republican Senators committed treason by attempting to kill nuclear talks with Iran and push this country into a war only Israel wants.

    Is it time for a name change for the GOP? Shall we just call it Likud from now on?

  76. motopilot says:
  77. An Interested Party says:

    The Iranian response is interesting.

    It isn’t a shock that Iran’s foreign minister would know more about international law than so many Republican senators…

  78. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I think you get the broader point. I did my best to be more specific than just saying ” You know, Harlem. That black neighborhood.” The point wasn’t so much being in danger as being a white speck in an awfully black area, and how quickly even the most rationale person might start to perceive danger where there realistically is little to none. At its heart, that’s subtle racism coming into play.

    It wasn’t well stated, granted, but I live in Westchester, for chrissakes. What reason would I ever I have to go above 110th Street unless I’m on the FDR headed home? Work with me here … LOL

  79. C. Clavin says:

    @An Interested Party:
    The Iranian Cabinet is far better educated, at American University’s, than these 47 Senators fools.
    Please Doug “Both Sides” Mataconis…when have Democrats pulled something like this???

  80. James P says:

    The new context of the civil rights movement (such as it is today) is that it has been coopted by the radical left.

    The left took something which was meritorious fifty years ago and coopted it into a grievance/profit racket today. People like Jackson and Sharpton are in it solely to make money. The Democrat party has coopted it solely to win votes.

    They don’t care one whit about advancing the lives of minorities. IF they did they wouldn’t oppose school choice.

    The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s is one of America’s great achievements. However the civil rights movement today is an arm of liberalism and deserves to be ignored. They don’t care about advancing minorities. IF they did they would have celebrated Clarence Thomas and Tim Scott. They would not have pilloried Miguel Estrada. The only reason they opposed Miguel Estrada is because he is Hispanic.

    The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s needs to be celebrated and taught. The civil rights “movement” today is one of ideologues, charlatans, and profiteers and needs to be opposed and marginalized.

  81. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:

    The only true victims are white people. My God, look how they’ve suffered at the hands of minorities. I don’t think they control more than, say, 95% of the political and economic power in this country. The hardship! The suffering! It’ll bring tears to your eyes.

  82. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:

    By the way, on school choice? Let me tell you, pal, I have a choice of every single damn school in the entire United States. And hell, foreign countries, too. I mean that literally. I’ve tried to find schools I thought wouldn’t screw up my kids, and you know what? Doesn’t work. The schools still suck.

    The incredibly well-financed public high school sucks, and the 50k a year private dyslexia school sucks. You know why that is? You knew the answer when you were younger: school sucks. Always has.

    But can we all stop pretending that the only thing wrong with this country is the schools? The real problem with this country is that we have lost the ability to work together to solve problems like the school problem. Schools are a symptom. And your cure, James P, the school choice, school voucher thing is abject crap. No one with any sense believes it. It’s not only crap, it’s aged crap. It’s crap past it’s sell-by date. It’s crap that smells like crap.

  83. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: [“The only true victims are white people. My God, look how they’ve suffered at the hands of minorities.”]

    I realize you are trying to be facetious but there is an element of truth to your comment. It’s called affirmative action. That’s flat out reverse racism.

    We have suffered from affirmative action. Qualified people lost spots to less deserving people solely because of race and we also got people like Obama (who was only admitted to the schools he was because of affirmative action —— and quite likely applying using his Indonesian passport to apply with the lower standards of a foreign exchange student) in positions for which they are not qualified.

    Why should a white student with better grades and a higher SAT be denied a place to a minority student with worse grades and lower SATs solely because of race.

    Is this fair:

  84. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:
    Jesus, what are you, 90? You sound old to me and I’m old. You’re still working that affirmative action wheeze? Unbelievable.

  85. anjin-san says:

    @An Interested Party:

    It isn’t a shock that Iran’s foreign minister would know more about international law

    Listening to him schooling Bevis, Butthead and the rest of the GOP clown car posse was sobering.

  86. humanoid.panda says:

    @James P:

    The new context of the civil rights movement (such as it is today) is that it has been coopted by the radical left

    Again, you are either a liar of ignoramus.

    The civil rights movement wasn’t hijacked by the radical left: it was always staffed by communists and trade unionists and liberals and radicals and homos and other people you hate. Hell, even MLK, the guy you all describe as a cuddly bear conservative, was a self described socialist.

    Recommending this book to James P is like throwing pearls to swine but I heartily suggest Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore’s Defying Dixie -THE RADICAL ROOTS OF CIVIL RIGHTS, 1919-1950, as a palliative for the teddy bear version of civil rights history people seem to hold today.

  87. humanoid.panda says:

    And of course, Obama did a great job illuminating the darkness at the hearts of people like James P, who were the sworn enemies of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and are now shedding crocodile tears over its “hijacking” by nasty leftists:

    As we commemorate their achievement, we are well-served to remember that at the time of the marches, many in power condemned rather than praised them. Back then, they were called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse – everything but the name their parents gave them. Their faith was questioned. Their lives were threatened. Their patriotism was challenged.

  88. humanoid.panda says:

    Qualified people lost spots to less deserving people solely because of race and we also got people like Obama (who was only admitted to the schools he was because of affirmative action —— and quite likely applying using his Indonesian passport to apply with the lower standards of a foreign exchange student) in

    I was inclined to this that time around, James P was an ignoramus, but nope- still a liar.

  89. humanoid.panda says:

    @James P:

    Why should a white student with better grades and a higher SAT be denied a place to a minority student with worse grades and lower SATs solely because of race.

    What had you done to protest legacy admissions, a phenomenon that keeps many, many, many more qualified applicants from colleges than affirmative action?

  90. HarvardLaw92 says:

    There are realistically two possibilities with this clown:

    1) He genuinely believes these Fox News / Teabagger talking points he’s spewing – in which case you should ignore him; or

    2) He’s a sockpuppet / troll spewing these Fox News / Teabagger talking points in an attempt to disrupt the discussion and inflame the participants – in which case you should ignore him.

  91. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I found it particularly amusing that he would trot out Clarence Thomas – a glaring beneficiary of affirmative action in more ways than one – just before he tried to pillory affirmative action.

  92. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Oh, just to clear up another of his crap talking points, Democrats did oppose Miguel Estrada for one reason – he’s a strident conservative and they disliked his views about the law.

    Republicans should have been familiar with that tactic and that justification, since they had blocked Elena Kagan from a seat on the DC Circuit just a few years prior – for the exact same reason …

    Truthfully? They’re both extraordinarily qualified, but here in the real world, politics matter. You can’t support an Estrada as being qualified without equally supporting a Kagan – unless, of course, their legal qualifications were never the reason you supported them / selected them to begin with …

  93. Another Mike says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The real problem with this country is that we have lost the ability to work together to solve problems like the school problem.

    Is there anything in the tone of your comment that would indicate that you are someone with whom people can work to solve problems? I mean that seriously. You have already ruled out as abject crap almost everything that people of a different point of view might propose. Are you sure that you are part of the solution and not part of the problem?

  94. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:

    we also got people like Obama (who was only admitted to the schools he was because of affirmative action —— and quite likely applying using his Indonesian passport to apply with the lower standards of a foreign exchange student) in positions for which they are not qualified.

    Do you have one single ounce of proof of this?
    If your opinions are based on lies and mis-information then your opinion is worth absolutely nothing.

  95. C. Clavin says:

    Is James P. actually Jenos???

  96. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Biden tears the 47 Senators idiots, who committed treason, new a-holes.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/biden-statement-on-gop-senators-letter-to-iranian-regime

  97. KM says:

    @humanoid.panda

    What had you done to protest legacy admissions, a phenomenon that keeps many, many, many more qualified applicants from colleges than affirmative action?

    Amen! I spent a few semesters working for a prestigious college in Academic Advisement attached to Admissions. The amount of students with absolutely APPALLING records who got in solely by Daddy’s Last Name and Donation was sickening. They were eventually remanded to my office because they were seniors+ who hadn’t declared majors – most of them having not enough class credits to be declared as anything since they were partying out on the Row instead of going to class. My job was to squeeze them into some sort of major so they could graduate and go out to make Daddy proud – a difficult task when many of them couldn’t even crack the Communications credit limit (the cake degree). I came across maybe a dozen students at most who’s might have benefited from AA in my time but the vast vast VAST majority undeservedly benefited from the legacy admission process.

    How many deserving students got screwed so Jr the 3rd could rush? How many poor, bright students got left out so some ignoramus could pollute my office with Jameson breath and arrogance that his solid D would make him a great Elementary Ed candidate? What a freaking waste…..

  98. Rafer Janders says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I did my best to be more specific than just saying ” You know, Harlem. That black neighborhood.” The point wasn’t so much being in danger as being a white speck in an awfully black area

    Just so you know, Harlem is no longer majority black and hasn’t been since about 2000. Only about 4 in 10 residents of Harlem are African-American, African or West Indian.

  99. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: You’re ignoring the memo that the Senator from Chappaquiddick sent to Chuck Schumer telling him that they needed to oppose Estrada because he was Hispanic. Kennedy told Schumer that if they didn’t stop Estrada from getting on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals it would be almost impossible to stop him from getting onto SCOTUS when the next vacancy became available.

    The Chappaquiddick Swimmer told Schmer that Estrada’s ethnic background made it more difficult to oppose him but that same ethnic background made Estrada more “dangerous”. I don’t know why Mary Jo Kopechne’s boyfriend would think Hispanics are “dangerous” but his memo to Schumer said that Estrada’s ethnic background was a reason to oppose him.

    Sounds like racism to me.

  100. James P says:

    @C. Clavin: Where the Democrat senators who sucked up to Daniel Ortega in an attempt to undermine PResident Reagan similarly treasonous?

    Joe Biden visited the Commandante in Manaugua in 1986. Wouldn’t that be the same kind of “treason” he now abhors?

    These 47 Senators are HEROS. They are trying to stop BHO’s attempt to aid and abet Iran going nuclear.

  101. JohnMcC says:

    Please stop feeding this troll!

  102. michael reynolds says:

    @Another Mike:

    Is there anything in the tone of your comment that would indicate that you are someone with whom people can work to solve problems? I mean that seriously. You have already ruled out as abject crap almost everything that people of a different point of view might propose. Are you sure that you are part of the solution and not part of the problem?

    I’ll answer your question seriously. It takes two to negotiate or compromise. Your side rejects absolutely 100% of everything Mr. Obama has done. Your side lies constantly, obsessively, shamelessly. Your side still refuses to acknowledge the staggering failure of the Bush administration. Your side has voted 100 times to repeal Obamacare despite none of your anti-Obamacare talking points holding up.

    Your side engages in racist dog whistle politics. Your side denies the very citizenship of Mr. Obama. Your side rejects science. Your side rejects history. Your side still wants to find aways to stigmatize gays and deprive them of their rights. Your side still refuses to afford equality to women.

    In the past I was one of the persuadable voters. There was a lot I despised in the Democratic Party. My first vote was for Richard Nixon. In Carter v. Reagan I voted for Anderson. But your party has become increasingly extreme, increasingly racist, increasingly a purely white, male party. Your party is in thrall to religious fanatics.

    We on the other hand, have moderated. The reflexive hair-shirt approach to foreign policy that I hated in Democrats is gone. The reflexive “tax everyone more!” mentality I thought was obviously reckless, is gone.

    The problem with compromise is that we have an agenda for governing. You don’t. You have an agenda for hating Barack Obama. That’s all you’ve got. The GOP plan? There is no GOP plan but to keep doing the dumbest things they’ve done in the past – start then lose more wars, release big finance to cause more recessions, poison more air and water.

    It’s hard to compromise when one side wants to govern and the other side wants to bring on armageddon so they can watch sinners roasting in the fires of hell.

    If this were the 60’s, the 70’s, the 80’s even, I’d see all kinds of possibilities for compromise. But your party is sick. It has lost its mind. It’s in a death spiral of denial and hate. So now, honestly, we’re just waiting for you people to conclude your epic self-destruction.

    When an actual conservative party appears to replace the radical lunatics of the GOP, there will be all kinds of room for compromise.

  103. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: You really don’t understand what motivates conservatives. We don’t want to govern. We want to tear down government.

    I want to kneecap government — I don’t want to govern.

    I don’t need a plan. My plan is to take a chainsaw to government. I don’t want to fund ANYTHING (except the military).

  104. al-Ameda says:

    @michael reynolds:
    I am from and of the San Francisco Bay Area, The town I grew up in – San Anselmo – was then populated by a blend of working people like my parents (police and fire safety) and white collar professionals who worked in San Francisco for companies like Bechtel, Chevron and so forth. For years the vote was split between the two parties. It was a place that used to elect Republicans and Democrats. In fact a most electable candidate was a liberal Republican. Those types used to be around – like Jacob Javits of New York, in fact, California Senator Tom Kuchel was a moderate Republican from Orange County.

    That was the 60s and 70s, those days are long gone. These days my hometown is a reliable 70%-75% vote for Democratic Party candidates.

  105. KM says:

    @James P :

    Anarchist. Reagan would hate your unpatriotic guts.

  106. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: [“I’ll answer your question seriously. It takes two to negotiate or compromise. Your side rejects absolutely 100% of everything Mr. Obama has done. “]

    Correct. And your point is?

    I don’t want to compromise with Obama on ANYTHING.

    What is wrong with blocking him on EVERYTHING.

    I have never accepted that he is president (he certainly isn’t my president). Now that we have both houses of Congress why not give him the finger?

    In n1940, if a Frenchman was a true patriot he opposed Henri Petain. A true Norwegian patriot would oppose Vidkun Quisling. Likewise, a true American patriot opposes Barack Hussein Obama.

    I stand with Rush when he said I hope he fails. Because I love my country I want its enemies (like Barack Hussein Obama) to fail. Obama is an enemy of America just as Petain and Quisling were enemies of theirs. Patriotism is stopping Obama in his quest to destroy America.

    Obama is a Fifth Columnist. The GOP should NEVER compromise with him about ANYTHING.

  107. Tillman says:

    Remember when this was Stormfront? And not considered credible political commentary that gets you five figures to appear on national broadcast and bloviate about it ad infinitum?

  108. ernieyeball says:

    @James P: I stand with Rush…

    From Mr. Mataconis OTB item Mar. 24, 2011.
    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/rush-limbaugh-perhaps-what-america-needs-is-a-military-coup/

    …Rush Limbaugh is now at the point where he’s openly speculating about whether or not it would be a good idea for a military coup to displace a President he clearly doesn’t like at a visceral, some would say paranoid, level. It’s a crazy question, of course, and the fact that someone who would ask it is seen as a leader of the conservative movement today says as much about conservatives as it does about Rush Limbaugh. In a rational world, someone like this, or Glenn Beck, would be run out of town on a rail. Instead, they’re lauded and worshiped, and that’s just pathetic.

    Rush Limbaugh is an insurrectionist and an enemy of the Constitution of the United States.
    You can stand next to him on the gallows.

  109. James P says:

    @ernieyeball: Rush was speaking tongue in cheek. I think I recall this quote – he was referencing the Egyptian military getting rid of the Muslim Brotherhood and speculating that it would be nice if we could get rid of Obama.

    Ideally I’d like to see Obama impeached (and removed). I’d also like to see him stripped of his US citizenship and deported to Indonesia. As far as I’m concerned it is an open question whether he lost his US citizenship (which he has as a result of being born in Hawaii – good luck calling me a birther) when he gained Indonesian citizenship when Lolo Soetoro adopted him.

    Rush said that he didn’t want to be governed by an Indonesian citizen. Rush has a First Amendment right to say that. If this government can shut Rush up, the next one can shut you up, so you should support Rush’s first amendment rights on that basis.

  110. JohnMcC says:

    @James P: Well, talk about putting the civil rights movement into historical perspective!

  111. ernieyeball says:

    @James P:..Rush was speaking tongue in cheek.

    You may be dumb enough to believe that. I know I am not.

  112. James P says:

    @ernieyeball: I have listened to Rush every day for 25 years. You don’t listen to him at all (speculation, but grounded speculation). I think I am better able to tell when Rush is speaking tongue in cheek than you are.

  113. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    In1940, if a Frenchman was a true patriot he opposed Henri Petain. A true Norwegian patriot would oppose Vidkun Quisling. Likewise, a true American patriot opposes Barack Hussein Obama.

    Interesting, the Republican Party as analogous to Henri Petain or Neville Chamberlain?
    That does seem fair and balanced.

  114. ernieyeball says:

    Per WikiP Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated radio broadcast began in 1988. I tuned in for some of his early programs.
    One call I heard went like this:

    Rush: I voted in an election in New York State for the first time recently.
    Caller: No. You did not vote in that election and I can prove it.
    Rush: I did so vote in that election!
    Caller: No you did not. In New York State when you vote in an election you must sign a card so no one votes twice. That card is a matter of public record. I went and checked your record and your card was not signed. You did not vote in that election.
    Rush: What? You mean you have to sign a card when you vote in New York? What’s that about?
    (Note how he immediately shifts the focus from the fact that he had just got caught in a bald faced lie to New York election laws.)

    If he will lie about voting in an election, he will lie about anything.

  115. James P says:

    @al-Ameda: Uh, you need to read more carefully. BHO is Petain/Quisling. The GOP would be playing the role of the French Maquis – the ones who blew up the railroad lines so the trains carrying the Jews couldn’t reach the concentration camps.

    BTW, is that Andres Iniesta in your profile pic?

  116. James P says:

    @ernieyeball: I think you completely made that up. You have absolutely zero documentation — because it came from your fertile imagination. I don’t think that call ever happened.

    If it’s on Wikipedia, it’s only because some liberal put it there. I can go to Obama’s Wiki page and claim he was born on Neptune – that doesn’t make it true.

  117. Grewgills says:

    STOP FEEDING THE TROLL!
    Seriously, he’s obviously going as far as it can into crazy town to rile everyone up and for some reason you are all letting it work. JUST STOP! Ignore it and it will wander back off under its bridge and share its crazy somewhere else.

  118. ernieyeball says:

    @James P:.. I think you completely made that up.

    I figured you would. I know what I heard. Don’t much care what you think.

  119. @Grewgills: You are, of course, correct (although I do wonder how much is act–that he wants the attention is undeniable).

    He has now gone well to the point that discussion is pointless.

  120. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Fine, feel free to insert “random majority black neighborhood” in there in service to the larger point. You’re being pedantic, but ok – I know little about Harlem. Like I said, I have no reason to ever go there.

  121. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    Uh, you need to read more carefully. BHO is Petain/Quisling. The GOP would be playing the role of the French Maquis – the ones who blew up the railroad lines so the trains carrying the Jews couldn’t reach the concentration camps.

    BTW, is that Andres Iniesta in your profile pic?

    (2) Yes, that is Andres Iniesta.
    (1) Nope, I’ve done the research, Republicans are in this instance Petain/Quisling. I don’t know about you but I’m glad that Republicans didn’t have the time to send a letter to Bin-Laden prior to Obama’s authorization of the operation that killed Bin-Laden.

  122. ernieyeball says:

    @al-Ameda:..I’m glad that Republicans didn’t have the time to send a letter to Bin-Laden prior to Obama’s authorization of the operation that killed Bin-Laden.

    Next thing you know Jack will be telling us that his personal Jesus Rush Limbaugh was speaking “tongue in cheek” when he said: “Thank God for President Obama.”
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2011/05/rush-limbaugh-on-bin-ladens-death-thank-god-for-president-obama.html