Warren’s DNA Test Release Will Backfire

Rather than cauterizing an open wound, she's fanned the fuels of a fire.

As Doug Mataconis posted earlier, Massachusetts Senator and presumptive presidential aspirant Elizabeth Warren released DNA test results to counter the ‘Pocahontas’ meme President Trump and other Republicans have been leveraging against her since she came to national prominence.  Rather clearly, as Dan Drezner observed, Warren thinks “she’s cauterizing an open wound and will move on.” But I’m in agreement with Rich Lowry that, instead of putting the problem behind her, she has instead “highlighted it and opened up other avenues for attack.”

Here’s Snopes‘ description of the original controversy:

In October 2014, a meme targeting Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) began to circulate on social media sites. In it, Warren is framed as hypocritically exploiting programs aimed at Native Americans to achieve wealth and political power. Examples cited included her purported ownership of a $5.4 million mansion and a high-paying gig at Harvard University supposedly achieved solely due to her claim of possessing a small amount of Native American heritage:

They go on to debunk the business about the mansion and the $350k teaching gig, charges that seem to have fallen off of the national radar. But the “Pocahontas” bit remained in play. Its origins predate the 2014 meme:

The claim about Warren’s use of her Native American heritage to obtain a high-paying job at Harvard University appears to date from her 2012 bid against incumbent Scott Brown for his Senate seat. Brown alleged during a debate in 2012:

I think character is important. I think what you’re referring to is the fact that Professor Warren claimed that she was a Native American, a person of color, and as you can see, she’s not. That being said, she checked the box and she had an opportunity actually to make a decision throughout her career when she applied to Penn and Harvard and she checked the box claiming she was a Native American.And, you know, clearly she’s not. That being said, I don’t know and neither do the viewers know whether she got ahead as a result of that checking of the box, but the only way that we’ll be able to find that out is to have her release her personnel records, have Harvard release their personnel records to make sure that she did not have an advantage that others were entitled to. When you are a United States Senator you have to pass a test, and one of character and honesty and truthfulness. And I believe, and others believe, that she has failed that test.

The legitimacy of Warren’s claims to Native American heritage has certainly been challenged by many critics, and it is true that while Warren was at U. Penn. Law School she put herself on the “Minority Law Teacher” list as Native American) in the faculty directory of the Association of American Law Schools, and that Harvard Law School at one time promoted Warren as a Native American faculty member. But specific evidence that she gained her position at Harvard (at least in part) through her claims to Native American heritage is lacking. Warren denied applying for special consideration as a person of Native American heritage during her career, and when the matter was examined in 2012 in response to Brown’s claims, people with whom Warren had worked similarly denied her ancestral background’s factoring into the professional opportunities afforded her . . . .

There’s more but the bottom line, essentially, is that she apparently made more of a deal about her Native American heritage than it warranted but that it was neither a routine claim she made nor one that contributed in any meaningful way to her professional advancement. Mildly embarrassing, perhaps, but just not that big a deal.

Beyond that, I was perfectly satisfied with her story up until now: that, like many families who have been in the United States for many generations, claims to having some Native blood were part of family lore and she just accepted that uncritically.

Today’s stunt, then, struck me as simply bizarre. Analysis showing that she’s as much as 1/32nd or as little as 1/512th American Indian pretty much confirms that she’s in fact not Native American. Not only does she not meet most tribal or US legal definitions for Native status but she doesn’t meet any sort of commonsense standard, either. And that’s fine! But why bring the issue back up only to reinforce the original charge against her?

Indeed, Warren is doubling down with this little Twitter stunt:

WaPo, The Hill, and others seem to think it’s funny that she called his bluff and now he’s weaseling out on paying. But what he said was, “I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian.” She took the test. She’s not an Indian.

Already, memes like this are making the rounds:

Even as one who finds the “Pocahontas” slur beneath the dignity of the Presidency, that’s funny.

Now, none of this has any particular bearing on her fitness for the Presidency. While she’s not among my favorite Democrats, I’d vote for her in 2020 if the alternative were the re-election of Trump. But why she thinks this own-goal trolling strategy is helping, I haven’t the foggiest.

UPDATE:  The Cherokee Nation has weighed in. It’s not good for Warren.

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. issued the following statement Monday in response to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test claiming Native Heritage:

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2020, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. It strikes me that the purpose behind this isn’t to convince Trump or his supporters of anything, they’re never going to accept any evidence and they’ll continue with the stupid “Pocahontas” nonsense regardless of whether she had done this or not.

    The purpose of this was to show Democrats that she is willing to take Trump on at his own level, something that Clinton largely failed to do in 2016 for a variety of reasons, including her own ethical problems and unfavorability among the public as a whole. Whether it works or not is something only time will tell, but except for the fact that its given the usual conservative Twitter trolls something to talk about today I don’t see this as something that will hurt Warren and it may actually help her among Democrats looking for someone willing and able to take Trump on.

    In that sense, I have to disagree with the idea that this will backfire on her.

    ReplyReply
    35
    4
  2. SKI says:

    Wow, that is a bad take, James. Did you even watch the video before making this post? I suggest you do so.

    She isn’t going to run on this and I doubt she will ever bring it up again. But if/when Trump does, the response is going to be the video (a positive message that will resonate) and, more importantly, the inability for the MSM to report on the controversy (she hasn’t taken the test) rather than the facts.

    Obama was stilled attacked as a Kenyan-born Muslim even after he released his birth certificate. But *he* didn’t have to respond anymore. Same thing here. She is going to get attacked but won’t have to spend time responding.

    ReplyReply
    24
    4
  3. Eric Florack says:
  4. @Eric Florack:

    The Federalist? Really? You may as well just link to Breitbart.

    ReplyReply
    40
    3
  5. Raoul says:

    As part Oklahoman I know most people in the state have Native American ancestry. And yes, even though my bloodline goes to the mid 1800s I do consider myself partly Indian.

    ReplyReply
    11
  6. Eric Florack says:

    You really do have a problem with opposing views don’t you?

    Go down the list that James put up, and try to apply the same comment to them. And, to James for that matter. Let’s see how that one goes.

    the woman has been lying about this all along because she thinks she’s going to get a pass in some way. Just like Obama lied about being a foreign exchange student. Why would he do that? Same reason. Because it has advantages. Financial advantages, political advantages and so on.

    The Woman release is a test that shows clearly that she’s been lying, and is in fact whiter than milk on rice… And you think that it’s going to all disappear?

    Well maybe thinks is too strong a word

    ReplyReply
    4
    31
  7. @Eric Florack:

    I don’t have a problem with opposing points of view. I do have a problem with propaganda outlets like The Federalist, Gateway Pundit, or whatever conservative website you consider reliable.

    The rest of your comment is just filled with lies. Warren never claimed to be a minority for employment purposes, Obama never claimed to be a foreign exchange student. But then you’re probably one of those people who still thinks Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

    ReplyReply
    51
    2
  8. the Q says:

    Hmm, methinks Big Chief Forked Tongue is squelching on his bet. And the original claims by Warren wasnt’ that she was an Indian, only that some of her distant ancestors were as told to her by her family members.

    And James, you’re doing a Greg Brady “exact words” routine to obfuscate what Trump was betting. He wasn’t saying she was 100% “Indian” he was questioning her integrity by betting she was lying about having Indian heritage. A YUGE difference.

    The wingnut faction is simply moving the goalposts, like they did with Obama and the birther thing.

    First, the Honolulu Advertiser contemporaneous birth announcement from 1962 wasn’t good enough.

    Then the Governor of Hawaii vouched for the validity of the birth certificate but then, she was a Democrat so…..

    The short form was mde public…but, it was a forgery to them……

    Then, the long form came out and….it took President dipschite…years to finally admit the obvious.

    ReplyReply
    31
    3
  9. just nutha says:

    @Eric Florack: No, he’s just noting that we already all know that you and the rest of the cons–neo and paleo alike–don’t care about the issue except to the degree that you can try to slur her with it. Old news. Move on.

    ReplyReply
    15
    1
  10. EddieInCA says:

    Dr. Joyner –

    You might want to reconsider. Your take is wrong.

    She claimed she had Native DNA.
    Trump claimed she didn’t.

    She does.

    Trump looks like the loser here, not Warren. I think your bias – although you despise Trump – against Warren is coloring your judgement.

    Respectfully.

    ReplyReply
    31
    2
  11. JKB says:

    Pocahontas and Fauxcahontas will be retired for the more accurate milli-hontas. 1/1024? Really?

    But just as Hillary and her minions were the originators of the Obama birther “question”, Warren’s Dem primary opponents will be the users of this meme.

    Some are questioning the timing of this announcement. It is something that is sucking the oxygen from those Dems actually up for a vote in 22 days. It could have waited until the day after the election. Poor decisionmaking by Warren or are the Dems trying to drown something in the news?

    ReplyReply
    3
    31
  12. Jake says:
  13. Jake says:

    “So the same media who say that two X chromosomes don’t make you a woman now say that a Native American ancestor 10 generations ago makes you Native American. Got it.”

    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/10/elizabeth-warrens-vindication.php

    ReplyReply
    3
    30
  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m with James Joyner on this. It sounds an off note. My immediate reaction was that it didn’t sit well with me.

    ReplyReply
    10
    8
  15. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Backfire? No, not exactly.

    American conservatives (or what passes for them now) have been trained to ignore facts.

    American conservatives have been socialized to ridicule facts and any data presented to them.

    American conservatives will find a way to question any detail when facts are overwhelming against them.

    Lemmings.

    ReplyReply
    10
    2
  16. Eric Florack says:

    @just nutha: face it. The only reason this got brought up was because she wants to run for president.

    the only reason the rest of you were defending it is because one of your own got caught out as a liar yet again. And, because you realize as the rest of us have for a long time l…that the list of viable Democrat candidates for 2020 has gotten thin indeed.

    I don’t suppose I need to tell you that it just got that much thinner…

    ReplyReply
    3
    28
  17. Jake says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test Proves She Was Lying.

    http://thefederalist.com/2018/10/15/elizabeth-warrens-dna-test-proves-she-was-lying/

    Acting as if the results of the test are a vindication of her initial claims, as so many journalists are now framing it, is an assault on reason.

    ReplyReply
    3
    34
  18. reid says:

    Perhaps links to thefederalist or gatewaypundit could be added to the criteria for blocking a post? The comments have quickly become a sewer thanks to the usual trolls.

    Should Warren have bothered with this? Who knows. She said she thought that she had NA heritage and this proves she does. The usual trolls are spinning it madly, of course.

    ReplyReply
    16
    3
  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @SKI: Well, I just watched the video and I feel confident that James won’t give a rat’s ass about it, but he will double down on the whole backfire thing. Still, I’m finding it easier to be cynical again about what Dr. Joyner says these days, so I may not be the right guy to listen to.

    ReplyReply
    11
    2
  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Eric Florack: Clearly, you’ve paid no attention whatsoever to what I’ve said about the Democratic Party Presidential field. Additionally, I’m not part of whatever “your own” you may be imagining in that the only time I ever voted for a Democrat or a Republican for President was in 1976 (something I’ve noted here on maaaaaaany occasions). But thanks for playing all the same.

    ETA: I don’t know whether the video and the DNA test was a good idea or not. Don’t much care either in that it is not likely to dissuade me from voting for her as much as that I’m tired of seeing 70 years-olds running for office. Neither of those opinions matter regarding how full of shit the right is on this whole issue.

    ReplyReply
    8
    3
  21. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack: Once again, you have yet to apologize for spreading an outright hoax on this forum last week. You are in absolutely no position to be talking about credibility or honesty until you own up to this.

    ReplyReply
    21
    1
  22. Tony W says:

    @Kylopod: Florack, like so many of his ilk, cannot win with his ideas, so you use what you have.

    ReplyReply
    9
    1
  23. An Interested Party says:

    But just as Hillary and her minions were the originators of the Obama birther “question”…

    If you have to lie to make a point, then anything you write is totally worthless…of course, you’re a Trump supporter, so you’re just emulating your hero…

    ReplyReply
    15
    2
  24. Jake says:

    Group think. You people are hilarious. No facts. 1+1 = 3 for you people.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/elizabeth-warrens-native-american-ancestry-spin-media-fell-for-it/

    ReplyReply
    3
    21
  25. jake says:

    In a Press Release sent out just hours ago, Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. had this to say…

    Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

    ReplyReply
    7
    16
  26. Jen says:

    Hopefully my last post on this nonsense, because this is ridiculous.

    She heard family stories that said she had Native Americans in her background. Clearly–all along, clearly–not close enough to claim tribal rights, but enough that the mere existence of it caused problems between the families of her parents (this is key, in family folklore, there’s nothing quite like the story of those in love eloping and defying their families over something no one could control, like who their ancestors are).

    She never proactively used it to secure jobs or promotions. A DNA test has now established that indeed, there are genetic markers that indicate it is very likely that she did have Native American ancestors.

    Not enough to claim tribal rights. Not enough to call herself Cherokee. Not enough to really do anything with…just there. I’m a bit mystified that anyone is suggesting this somehow proves she lied–it does precisely the opposite, it validates her family story. But that’s ALL it does.

    This is not unusual. This is not unique, or unprecedented.

    I hope with every fiber of my being that this is like Obama presenting his birth certificate: a valiant attempt to get the sane people to STFU about it already. The Trump enthusiasts will never believe her, but something like 46% of Republicans STILL think Obama was born in Kenya.

    ReplyReply
    24
    2
  27. Kylopod says:

    @Jake:

    Group think. You people are hilarious. No facts. 1+1 = 3 for you people

    Yes, because as you know, the definition of “group think” is contradicting whatever your masters at Gateway Pundit, the Federalist, and Breitbart have told you to believe.

    ReplyReply
    19
    1
  28. Modulo Myself says:

    This was pointless. Nobody sane believed that she invented a distant Native American in her family’s past, or that she used this to get ahead. Trump’s band of losers projects their own inferiority complexes everywhere. That’s why all of these Republicans are sagely agreeing with the Cherokee tribespeople who are saying that appropriating Native America identity is wrong. It’s not like tomorrow we can use logic to show that if it’s wrong to claim Cherokee heritage because of a family story then it’s also wrong to name a team the Redskins. I’m sure these chuds who couldn’t compete against liberals at The Federalist or Breitbart quoting Cherokees are really empathizing with the ethical principles here, instead of on Columbus getting ready to cheer on genocide to own the libs…

    She was dumb to have bothered to do this.

    ReplyReply
    5
    3
  29. Guarneri says:

    Still talking about this?

    Instead of attacking each other’s sources like little kids, apply common sense.

    What the hell was she doing telling this “family lore” in the first place unless she saw advantage in it?

    Why did Harvard law use it to promote “the first law prof of color” unless it saw advantage?

    Why did she feel the need to pull this stunt right now except personal political advantage? Better to just STFU. Very selfish. It’s obvious to anyone she is – I believe the phrase was – whiter than milk on rice. And now the Cherokee guy calls her out.

    She face planted. It’s not earth shattering. But she face planted. WTFU people.

    ReplyReply
    4
    20
  30. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @jake:

    Jake … Looks like your master spoke…

    With Melania standing next to him, Trump today stated “I will only pay her if I can test her personally”.

    Ewwww…

    Creepy.

    ReplyReply
    11
    2
  31. Eric Florack says:

    Hmm

    “‘A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America,’ Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. ‘Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.'”

    well I’m sure that we will hear all about how this is biased against women or against Democrats or against what have you…. And on the basis of that excuse it’ll be rejected by the Usual Suspects..

    and of course all that will do is prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that’s the left will never accept any evidence of any kind.

    Oh, wait, didn’t that already get said by someone?

    ReplyReply
    19
  32. Eric Florack says:

    Hmm

    “‘A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America,’ Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. ‘Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.'”

    well I’m sure that we will hear all about how this is biased against women or against Democrats or against what have you…. And on the basis of that excuse it’ll be rejected by the Usual Suspects..

    and of course all that will do is prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that’s the left will never accept any evidence of any kind.

    Oh, wait…

    ReplyReply
    1
    18
  33. Eric Florack says:

    @Guarneri: precisely. Well said

    ReplyReply
    1
    18
  34. Slugger says:

    Of course Trump will pay the million. He has a long track record of scrupulous payment of debts and not just legal debts but satisfying any hint of obligation. The story of Lincoln walking many miles to return a few pennies of change is just apocryphal, but everyone in New York knows that Trump’s word is his bond and his handshake is better than a thousand pages of legal contracts. This is the way he has always been, and besides that a million is nothing to a man of his wealth.

    ReplyReply
    9
    2
  35. michilines says:

    I’m with @Doug Mataconis and @SKI.

    She got this out of the way. I’m not saying she knew that the Saudi thing would blow up, but as it is, this turned out to have a life span of one day. The Saudi thing will be a much bigger deal (and deservedly so) for far longer.

    At any rate, the way this topic has animated certain types, it seems to have distracted them from attacking Dems running in much closer races with any efficacy — it least for one day.

    ReplyReply
    10
    2
  36. R. Dave says:

    There’s more but the bottom line, essentially, is that she apparently made more of a deal about her Native American heritage than it warranted but that it was neither a routine claim she made nor one that contributed in any meaningful way to her professional advancement. Mildly embarrassing, perhaps, but just not that big a deal.

    The bold portion of James’ post, along with Doug’s statement earlier today that the assertion Warren used her claims of NA heritage to advance her career “has largely been debunked”, strike me as clearly wrong, or, at the very least, putting a heavy thumb on the scales in Warren’s favor.

    It’s undisputed that Warren listed herself as Native American for purposes of the Association of American Law Schools faculty directory for nearly a decade in the late-80s and early-90s, openly discussed her supposed heritage with colleagues at Penn and Harvard, received a faculty award from Penn in 1994 the announcement of which identified her as a minority, and was identified by Harvard in its federal affirmative action reports as Native American.

    The fact that she didn’t literally fill out a job application on which she checked a box marked Native American is irrelevant (not least because that’s not how law professors get hired). She consciously chose to broadcast her supposed Native American heritage to her professional circle and that claim was publicly and officially accepted by that circle. The idea that a progressive law professor climbing the ladder at elite northeastern schools in the early-90s in no way expected or intended that to enhance her career opportunities simply doesn’t pass the laugh test for me.

    ReplyReply
    3
    13
  37. KM says:

    The fact is he’s cheating a charity out of money he agreed to pay. He lost his bet, plain and simple. He’s willing to stiff some charity that had nothing to do with this just to spite Warren. I don’t care how stupid the bet was – you pay up when you lose. THAT”S why Warren’s bring this up. He’s going to welch on the bet and look like a scumbag while he does it.

    That’s your President wingnuts – he’s screwing over little people like you just because he doesn’t like her. Regular Americans would have benefited from this. That money would be going to a worthy cause, namely the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center who work on domestic abuse and violence against women. Trump’s willing to cheat them out of the million he promised by first lying about the bet and then insisting on doing the test himself (like he could). What kind of man does that? A $#*%* bum, that’s what.

    ReplyReply
    13
    4
  38. michilines says:

    Ah, see how *new* ones (with details!) flock to every outpost 🙂 to pedal their oh so important theories about how this trivia is important 🙂

    ReplyReply
    1
    3
  39. Jc says:

    This is important? This is America today. That this “story” is a big news story at all shows you how far we have fallen. I just don’t get it. I care about it just about as much as I care if Trump has a rug on his head. It’s not important at all. If you argue that it is important you fall off the scale of “serious people” as far as I am concerned. And yet I read it lol, help me lord. Can we go back to talkin’ Bout portant’ Stuff please?

    ReplyReply
    1
    1
  40. de stijl says:

    Joyner had a very bad take.

    From now on and forever, no one can chant either “Pocahontas” or write “Fauxcahontas” towards Warren. That will, immediately and factually, be disproved. Warren has NA ancestry.

    Whenever someone going forward tries to use the Pocahontas / Fauxcahontas framing it will be rightly seen as petty and, frankly, quite racist.

    Warren’s release of the test results puts this to bed, it shames Trump’s bullying, and negates the whole framing.

    Stupendously bad take.

    ReplyReply
    9
    2
  41. One American says:

    @Doug Mataconis: you are wrong. What an embarrassing day and I have great grandchildren with Indian blood.

    ReplyReply
    14
  42. One American says:

    @KM: please read some facts

    ReplyReply
    14
  43. de stijl says:

    Come to think of it, Joyner had a very James Pearce take.

    ReplyReply
  44. de stijl says:

    Trump:

    “I will give you a million dollars, to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian. I have a feeling she will say ‘no.’ ”

    She did. She passed.

    Pay up, fucker.

    ReplyReply
    11
    1
  45. Richared Gardner says:

    @de stijl:
    I have family that are Dawes Roll card carrying Cherokee (I am not, only 1/32) and not on the rolls) and I am offended by your ignorant comment. I know my Cherokee relatives will agree (and I know you will find a FEW Cherokee activists that support Senator Warren)

    ReplyReply
    1
    6
  46. James Joyner says:

    @SKI: I didn’t even know there was a video; I was responding to news reports and her tweet asking Trump to pay up. I don’t think a 6-minute video is useful, though, in refuting “Pocohantes” and, now, variants of “1/64th.”

    @the Q: I’m not defending Trump, who’s been a moron about the whole thing. But the fact is that Warren has no significant Indian heritage.

    @EddieInCA: I haven’t studied the entirety of Trump’s history on the Pocohantes slur. Betting that someone whose family has been in the United States for generations has no Indian heritage at all would be silly, or at least hyperbolic. But Warren has essentially the least amount of Native DNA she could be expected to have after a dozen or more generations here.

    @Jen: That has been my take on this all along. She went a little more than anecdotal “Oh, there was some Indian ancestry” stories, in that she had herself listed in minority law professor directories. But there’s no evidence that she did that to advance her career or that it helped her in any way. It was just a silly non-story. My point is that she’s exacerbating it with this release.

    @KM: That’s just silly. First, it wasn’t a bet, it was a boast. Second, he clearly said “if she’s an Indian.” She ain’t.

    @Jc: We’re talking about this because a presumptive Democratic frontrunner to become the next president of the United States did this as a publicity stunt.

    ReplyReply
    4
    8
  47. Jen says:

    @Donna Simmons: You think that “never having any real interaction with the tribe” is why they issued that statement?

    No. Tribes hold on to the authority to designate very closely–it’s a control issue. They have similar problems with DNA testing (that it shows few are truly 100% anything) and they do NOT want it to become a standard of use for the designation or administration of their nations.

    They, of course, have good reason for concern–they have not exactly been treated equitably by generations of white Americans.

    The ability to control who is and is not a member of a specific nation has been used to the detriment of those within a tribe as well. Tribes in California have kicked out a whole bunch of tribe members when the casino dividends started rolling in.

    This is about power and control, and the fact that they have issues with DNA testing too. That’s all.

    ReplyReply
    11
  48. Eric Florack says:

    @Kylopod: your problem is that you are operating under the misbegotten idea that I actually care what you believe.

    and no it was not an outright hoax. It was the truth. It just happened to run a fall of the normal leftist manttra.

    Wow, reality. What a concept.

    ReplyReply
  49. Eric Florack says:

    So, why would Elizabeth Warren be making claims she is Native American, when her own DNA testing taken to prove she was telling the truth exposes that Not only was she lying about this, it also exposes the fact that she actually has more Hispanic heritage in her then Beto O’Rourke does?

    Speaking of which,…

    Why would “Beto” O’Rourke be claiming to be Hispanic when in fact he’s Irish?

    Why would Rachel Dolezal claim to be black, when she is in fact whiter than most refrigerators?

    Obviously the answer is that in these people’s estimation there is something of an advantage for adopting such a label.

    I wonder what that Advantage would be in Democrat Party circles?

    I mean, I hope it hasn’t slipped your notice that you never see such claims coming from anyone outside the Democrat Party.

    ReplyReply
    4
    13
  50. wr says:

    @Guarneri: “What the hell was she doing telling this “family lore” in the first place unless she saw advantage in it?”

    I don’t know. Why do you come here and pretend to a bunch of strangers that you buy and sell companies and are richer than everyone here combined? At least we know that Senator Warren isn’t living in a trailer park somewhere…

    ReplyReply
    12
    2
  51. wr says:

    @Donna Simmons: “This was dumb on her part.”

    Hey there, Bungles,

    I’m sure that the senator will be greatly concerned at this opinion from someone who used to post as a Democratic man being forced to support Trump because liberals were just so icky to right wingers and is now pretending to be a female Democrat who believes we should all follow Trump so that we can win the mid-terms. Please be sure to copy her office on your important note.

    ReplyReply
    8
    1
  52. MarkedMan says:

    I tend to agree with Doug on this, but at this point it doesn’t matter. What matters is Trump is welching on the bet. “But, but, but” he may say. But what we’ll be discussing is whether Trump welched on the bet.

    ReplyReply
    6
    1
  53. wr says:

    @Eric Florack: “I mean, I hope it hasn’t slipped your notice that you never see such claims coming from anyone outside the Democrat Party.”

    Yes, it is indeed shocking that there are no members of a party that has declared itself for white power who claim to be minorities. Almost as shocking as the minimal numbers of Nazi party members declaring themselves Jewish.

    ReplyReply
    9
    1
  54. Tyrell says:

    I remember the history classes where we learned that Pocahontas was a respected and courageous person. So when I here her name that is what I think of.

    ReplyReply
    1
    4
  55. Ivan Peck says:

    1. The Boston Globe corrected their numbers yesterday. They are between 1/64th and 1/1024th. Senator Warren does not qualify as Native American by literally any standard

    2. As the representative of the Cherokee Nation stated, the dna used in the test was South American and the test could not distinguish between North or South American so the odds are just as good that Senator Warren’s ancestor was South American as North

    3. This article did not reference the fact that average North Americans of European descent test as approximately 1% Native American. Taken in context, that means that Senator Warren is slightly more Native American than average or slightly less.

    Following the last election, I had hoped the Democrats would realize that countering one fundamentally bad candidate with another was a horrendous idea. Reading the comments to this thread, its obvious that they have not

    ReplyReply
    4
    11
  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl:

    Whenever someone going forward tries to use the Pocahontas / Fauxcahontas framing it will be rightly seen as petty and, frankly, quite racist.

    For you. For the usual trolls in the nation (and Dr. Joyner it seems–but I may be too cynical) it a tribute to the extent to which the perfidy of all us “leftist types” colors absolutely EVERYTHING we do and what a disaster our actions are for Democracy and The Rule of Law [tm]–especially Senator Warren’s in this case.

    ReplyReply
  57. KM says:

    @James:

    @KM: That’s just silly. First, it wasn’t a bet, it was a boast. Second, he clearly said “if she’s an Indian.” She ain’t.

    Nice dodge. When someone says “I will give you a million dollars if you do X” to you, it’s a bet. Otherwise known as a wager. It might be facetious but that’s literally what it means – meet condition X and get paid, lose and forfeit. A “boast” is bragging about yourself or something you have pride in – are you saying he was proud of her claim of heritage?

    He may not have *meant* it as an actual bet but the statement he made can be construed as a wager by anyone who even remotely speaks English. I’m 100% he never meant to pay up and it was one of those meaningless things that just fall out of his mouth. But unfortunately for him, he’s on record having said that. Like every idiot who’s ever opened mouth and inserted foot, he wants to deny that’s what he said especially when someone meets the challenge and wants to get paid.

    Again, I don’t really care what Warren is or how Trump feels. I have no dog in that fight. A real man would go “you know what? I think you’re full of shit but I’m donating some money anyways to a worthy cause.” He’s supposed to be rich, right? Why not toss some bucks towards charity and write it off as a FU, Warren? It would by him good will with voters AND piss off the libs if he did it on his own terms.

    Domestic abuse among Natives is a real problem and they need all the funding they can get. He doesn’t have to admit she’s right but a man should honor his word. She took the test, she has Native ancestry even if she doesn’t meet current tribal acceptance criteria (“Indian” as y’all keep putting it). Just give them the money, Donald – they didn’t do anything to you and it would really piss off Dems if you said something like “Here, *real* Indians need this money so I’m helping them of my own free will while Pocahontas whines!” Do the right thing, man!

    ReplyReply
    11
    1
  58. MarkedMan says:

    I don’t know about you guys but I’m getting the sense that our “newest” commentor, Ivan Peck, is yet another variant put out by the James Pearce creator.

    ReplyReply
    4
    1
  59. MarkedMan says:

    And just so we have context, having a DNA test that shows 100% American Indian ancestry doesn’t grant you membership in any North American tribe that I know of, and having a DNA test showing 0% ancestry doesn’t get you kicked out. There are various different criteria used by different tribes but they are all tightly controlled, highly politicized (within the tribes themselves), and I’m pretty sure that none accept DNA.

    ReplyReply
  60. SKI says:

    @James Joyner:

    I didn’t even know there was a video; I was responding to news reports and her tweet asking Trump to pay up. I don’t think a 6-minute video is useful, though, in refuting “Pocohantes” and, now, variants of “1/64th.”

    Wow.

    You made an entire post to provide your political analysis without spending any time actually researching or learning what the underlying issue is or was. I guess this approach to the irrelevancy of facts explains why you have always identified as a Republican…

    ReplyReply
    11
    1
  61. Lenoxus says:

    This is a case that doesn’t divide into two sides; one can object to what Warren did here without having to give an inch of ground to the horrible bigotry of Trumpists. The core problem with having taken the test at all is that it plays into a number of common white narratives about “Indians” that are hard to refute with soundbites, though to her credit Warren has tried to dispel some of it anyway and clarified in speeches that tribal identity is about much more than DNA.

    Extending from the cultural issues are legal implications. Republicans would love for Native identity to be reduced to genetics, because then they can raise Constitutional and legal objections to laws and programs that help Natives and treat their nations as, well, nations and not just “a race”. Among the people who have made a political game out of denying the legitimate Native identities of entire tribes/nations on the basis of supposed lack of racial connection are Donald Trump (in real estate legal battles) and Brett Kavanaugh.

    de stijl:

    Whenever someone going forward tries to use the Pocahontas / Fauxcahontas framing it will be rightly seen as petty and, frankly, quite racist.

    It already was; this changed little and was perhaps a mistaken sidestep that didn’t confront the racism at all. To be clear, she has confronted that part too, but the test thing was inevitably going to drown out that message.

    James Joyner:

    Warren has essentially the least amount of Native DNA she could be expected to have after a dozen or more generations here.

    That would probably be true if the white and Native populations had coexisted peaceably all this time, but given genocide, smallpox, cultural factors of racism such as prohibition of miscegenation and the “one-drop rule”, any given white American not currently in a tribe is far likelier to have an all-white family tree than any Native ancestry at all. So what Warren found isn’t trivial.

    That said, the test is dubious even with its “10 generations” result. In order to make its determination, you have to identify someone else as “genetically Native” in the first place and use their DNA as the basis so that your logic isn’t circular, and thus you’re relying on their word, genealogy, etc. A lot of Native Americans are reluctant to take these tests, so that skews the data pool. It’s not as objective as people might assume, and arguably a bit like finding oneself to be 1/X “genetically Pennsylvanian”.

    I do think the probability of Warren having Native ancestors exceeds 50%, but that’s because of both the test and her personal family history, which apparently includes some anti-Native animus on the part of one pair of grandparents objecting to their child’s marriage with the other. She’s right to discuss that, but was mistaken to ever label herself on paper as anything but white.

    A side note to anyone saying “welch” in this conversation touching on racism: Please don’t. It derives from “Welsh” and it’s not cool. And especially gross is inventing some supposed “Indian name” for anyone for purposes of mockery. Really, really don’t do that.

    ReplyReply
  62. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Correct. One of the reasons she’s getting called racist is because taking a DNA test is viewed by some Natives as seeing being Native only in terms of genetics. It’s a cultural identity more then it is a strict blood one; your bloodline is Native because the Elders says so, not your genes.

    It leads to some….. interesting dynamics to say the least. Genetically, she’s Native in some small part but as for being “Indian”? What *IS* “Indian”, anyways – it’s not some monolithic concept.
    Well, that’s between her and the relevant tribes to hash out. The test only registers Mother Nature’s opinion.

    ReplyReply
  63. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI: Oh come on. James’ post aside, jumping to conclusions is now a trait limited to Republicans? I could go on and on about the failures of the modern Republican Party and the amorality of their current electorate, but failing to do adequate research and then shooting off your mouth is the default human condition. (And, for the record, I’m not putting James’ quick take in this category. I didn’t react the way he did, but he has every right to post on his reaction. )

    ReplyReply
  64. MarkedMan says:

    @Lenoxus: I don’t give a rat’s ass where the term “welch” derived from. That’s ancient history, as is the derivation of most of our words. It is political correctness taken to ludicrous extremes to somehow put this in the same category as, say, “Washington Redskins”.

    And as for how the American Indian tribes feel about this, well, that’s an interesting and probably important part of the overall story. But this is fundamentally about Warren’s story, about her family and about the family lore of discrimination by one side against the other because of Indian blood (real discrimination even if the ancestry had turned out to be apocryphal). The idea that she, or anyone, should keep quiet because official Tribes are the only ones allowed to speak about anything to do with American Indians is demeaning.

    ReplyReply
  65. SKI says:

    @MarkedMan: Not limited but a hallmark of the modern Republican party. Think climate change or trickle down economics.

    To have been an avid Republican over the past 30 years you would have needed to have not cared about facts and science – or remained deliberately ignorant.

    ReplyReply
  66. Franklin says:

    My more nuanced position upon full reflection:
    1) Having between 1/64 and 1/1024 NA heritage doesn’t make you legally NA, but it sounds like perfectly fine, accurate conversation to say that you understood that your great-great-great-grandma was (part?) NA.
    2) Listing oneself as a minority staff would be a mistake (intentional or not).
    3) Although Trump is a buffoon, I changed my mind on whether he “owes” the million dollars – he doesn’t, because she doesn’t fit any legal definition. But I still think he should donate it to a NA group mostly just because he never earned most of the money he has. And certainly, with the way land was stolen from Native Americans, and the fact that he’s supposedly a ‘real estate tycoon’, basically means he profited off of them.
    4) This whole issue is irrelevant to basically everybody.

    ReplyReply
    5
    1
  67. Blue Galangal says:

    @Jen @James Joyner:

    Additionally, the Cherokee Nation fought (and lost) a lawsuit over the Freedmen’s status as members of the tribe and I think they’re still trying to redefine membership to exclude them.

    The point, as Jen so eloquently stated, was that SPW stated she’d heard family lore about NA ancestry, identified with that ancestry as she began to lose maternal members of her family (and feared losing their stories), and eventually took a DNA test that showed she had a high probability of one NA ancestor 6-10 generations back. It doesn’t sound as if most posting here, including Dr. Joyner, actually read the Stanford report. I did, because I’m quite interested in statistics and in genealogy. The report stated that due to one long block of DNA, that was a high indication of a single ancestor with DNA that matches NA DNA in other populations. This comports with SPW’s family lore and is evidence that she apparently does have NA ancestry. That’s all this was ever about, and the science supports her family’s story. She never claimed to be part of a tribe, was not using this test to claim tribal status, and in fact explicitly stated that tribes determine their own membership, not DNA.

    My own family’s lore said that we were descended from the Ulster O’Neills (yes, yes, I know, who wasn’t?), and lo and behold, my father has a Niall of the Nine Hostages genetic marker. I’m not using that to claim Irish citizenship, but do I find it fun and fascinating that this particular piece of information was passed down through many, many generations that pre-dated the discovery of DNA and the existence of genetic testing? You bet I do.

    ReplyReply
  68. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI: I agree with you completely that anyone still a member of the Republican Party has shown that lying, smearing, slander, science denial, racism, anti-religious expressions, etc. etc. etc. are something that does not really matter to them, even if they find such things unpleasant.

    But a member of any group (including, in my case, the unit group) is just as likely as any other to go off half cocked and without research. You can decry science denial and still use bogus statistics and half truths to support your position – and many do.

    ReplyReply
  69. MarkedMan says:

    @Franklin:

    3) Although Trump is a buffoon, I changed my mind on whether he “owes” the million dollars – he doesn’t, because she doesn’t fit any legal definition.

    FWIW, there literally is no legal definition. There are definitions that the Tribes themselves apply, but they don’t have anything to do with DNA. But there is no US legal definition of what constitutes “sufficient” blood line to qualify as American Indian or any other minority group.

    But again, that doesn’t matter. If Warren plays this right, it will be the gift that keeps giving. Trump’s initial reaction was an unforced error – he denied he ever made the bet. That should be Warren’s constant refrain, because even among Trump’s base, it plays into his negative stereotypes. He’s cheap. He’s not as rich as he says he is. He has a reputation for stiffing charities.

    No negative campaign meme is as effective as one that seems to confirm a pre-existing bias. Even if it is false (just ask Al Gore). And this one is true. Trump does have a miser’s heart. Trump does stiff charities. And then lies about it. To the average Republican, a slur being false doesn’t matter. But to the average Democrat, it does. Democrats can promote this meme with a clear conscience.

    ReplyReply
  70. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, my mother has mentioned that we are descended from Brian Boru. Given that Ireland is a relatively small island, and given that more than 1000 years has passed since he lived, I think it’s a pretty safe bet.

    ReplyReply
  71. SKI says:

    @MarkedMan: Something like, not all knaves are Republican but all Republicans are knaves? 😉

    ReplyReply
  72. James Pearce says:

    @de stijl:

    Come to think of it, Joyner had a very James Pearce take.

    You think there’s only two of us with this “take?”

    @MarkedMan:

    I don’t know about you guys but I’m getting the sense that our “newest” commentor, Ivan Peck, is yet another variant put out by the James Pearce creator.

    I always post with my real name, Mark Edman or whatever your name is.

    Also: “But why she thinks this own-goal trolling strategy is helping, I haven’t the foggiest.”

    This is why: The Dems are superficial and lazy. They are completely unwilling to change their strategy. They still think that if Donald Trump is sexist and racist enough, they will just be handed the keys to the kingdom.

    ReplyReply
    3
    6
  73. al Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:
    @Ivan Peck:
    @Donna Simmons:
    It’s all so predictable, some conservatives are already trashing DNA science and testing.

    ReplyReply
  74. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI:

    Something like, not all knaves are Republican but all Republicans are knaves?

    Exactly. Now if only we could ship them all off to Smullyan’s Island of Knights and Knaves…

    ReplyReply
  75. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    You made an entire post to provide your political analysis without spending any time actually researching or learning what the underlying issue is or was.

    The whole point of the post is that THE UNDERLYING ISSUE DOESN’T MATTER. All that matters is the political optics.

    My starting position on this was that, to the extent that Warren made outsized claims about her Native heritage, it was essentially a non-issue. While she apparently listed herself as a “minority” for purposes unknown in some directories, there’s simply no evidence that she benefitted from it professionally.

    The “Pocahontas” thing registers with Trump supporters, who are unlikely to change their minds anyway. So, making a big show of reintroducing the issue to prove that she had Native ancestry—only to show that she has none to speak of—is simply a political own-goal. It does nothing to advance her agenda and has now given opponents a new meme.

    Almost nobody is going to watch a 6-minute propaganda video. They’re just not. They’re going to recirculate silly memes on Facebook and Twitter.

    ReplyReply
    5
    5
  76. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    The optics of this thing are bad for Warren and for Trump. That’s why minorities will keep voting Democratic and that’s why I can’t see Warren winning the Democratic Nomination – the optics of this are simply horrible for Blacks and Hispanics.

    ReplyReply
  77. Jake says:

    The liberal media has been attempting to play it with a straight face, as if Elizabeth Warren had not made a fool of herself by presenting evidence that she is so an Indian because she might have somewhere between 1/64 and 1/1,024 Indian blood, which is no higher than average for a white American. Yet the laughs continue. Fauxcahontas says she is a Cherokee, but real Cherokees aren’t buying it:

    The Cherokee Nation responded to the results of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test on Monday, arguing that “a DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship.” …

    “Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a press release.

    True enough; for Lie-awatha’s DNA test, a Stanford professor used Mexican, Peruvian, and Colombian DNA.

    Hoskin continues:

    “Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and [their] legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

    So why not just admit that you lied, Senator Warren?

    But instead, she lashes out at Trump, predictably resorting to a #MeToo mode of attack in a bizarre Twitter rant that began yesterday afternoon:

    “We all know why @realDonaldTrump makes creepy physical threats about me, right? He’s scared,” Warren tweeted from her verified account. “He’s trying to do what he always does to women who scare him: call us names, attack us personally, shrink us down to feel better about himself.”

    What physical threats?

    From there it went downhill, as Warren became increasingly shrill and hysterical.

    The liberal establishment media doggedly spins in her favor. Actual title of a Washington Post editorial:

    Yes, Elizabeth Warren has Native ancestry. No, that won’t stop Trump’s racist attacks.

    But the mainstream media further discrediting itself by following Warren down the rabbit hole of self-parody only compounds the debacle. Even other Democrats have expressed their irritation.

    With luck, Warren going into meltdown mode signifies that she is setting off on her personal Trail of Tears into well-deserved obscurity.

    ReplyReply
    1
    10
  78. Michael Reynolds says:

    24 hours in I think it’s clear that @James Joyner was right. (Me too). This was an unforced error. It reminds me of Kirsten Gillibrand’s over-eager condemnation of Bill Clinton. It’s the kind of sour note that makes a Democratic voter look elsewhere for a candidate.

    Warren is a great senator. She should continue being a great senator.

    But for Trumpaloons celebrating this as some great victory, all you’re seeing here is the auditions for candidates. We have LOTS of potential candidates.

    ReplyReply
    2
    2
  79. R. Dave says:

    @James Joyner: While she apparently listed herself as a “minority” for purposes unknown in some directories, there’s simply no evidence that she benefitted from it professionally.

    I really don’t understand this take absent a desire to give Warren every benefit of the doubt, no matter how implausible (which, for the record, is not a desire I attribute to you, James, which is why your position baffles me so much). Was her self-identification as Native American really for “purposes unknown”? Technically, sure, we can’t know what her subjective reasons were, but career advantage seems far and away the most likely reason why a progressive professor hoping to move up the ladder of elite schools in the 90s would list herself as Native American in professional directories (and describe herself as having such heritage in conversations with colleagues) despite being visibly white and having no practical connection to such heritage.

    Similarly, there’s no conclusive evidence that she benefited from such claims, but there’s certainly circumstantial evidence – i.e., the general context of the progressive push for greater minority representation in the academy at that time, the particularly strong pressure on Harvard to hire more minority faculty and its avowed commitment to do so, and the fact that Harvard and Penn both formally identified Warren as a minority hire. Again, it seems more likely than not that her claimed status was at least a “perk” that the hiring committee would have been aware of, whether or not they openly discussed it. Regardless, though, the relevant issue to my mind is not whether she actually gained a tangible advantage from identifying herself as Native American but rather whether she intended or hoped to gain such advantage. That’s what matters in terms of evaluating her character, and like I said, I really can’t think of another equally plausible explanation for her to have identified herself as Native American in professional circles in the context of 90s progressive academia.

    ReplyReply
  80. Michael Reynolds says:

    Most of us have more Neanderthal DNA than Warren has Indian DNA.

    ReplyReply
    1
    4
  81. SKI says:

    @James Joyner:

    The whole point of the post is that THE UNDERLYING ISSUE DOESN’T MATTER. All that matters is the political optics.

    Retch. I think you need to re-name the website as I don’t think there is *anything* more “inside the beltway” than this thought/belief.

    It also has the virtue of being consistently wrong. Just look at Chris Cilizza’s track record for predictions. You sound like him (and no, that is most definitely not a compliment).

    My starting position on this was that, to the extent that Warren made outsized claims about her Native heritage, it was essentially a non-issue. While she apparently listed herself as a “minority” for purposes unknown in some directories, there’s simply no evidence that she benefitted from it professionally.

    Indeed. It still is a non-issue. And it is unclear to me that she made “outsized claims”. I haven’t seen evidence of it one way or another and most of the people making that assertion are obviously arguing in bad faith or, like you, obviously not caring about the facts, just the optics.

    The “Pocahontas” thing registers with Trump supporters, who are unlikely to change their minds anyway. So, making a big show of reintroducing the issue to prove that she had Native ancestry—only to show that she has none to speak of—is simply a political own-goal. It does nothing to advance her agenda and has now given opponents a new meme.

    In what world do you think that they weren’t going to this well without this video and release? Facts don’t matter to them.

    Almost nobody is going to watch a 6-minute propaganda video. They’re just not. They’re going to recirculate silly memes on Facebook and Twitter.

    First, some undoubtedly will watch the video. And yes, many will still post memes – but they were going to do so anyway. But others will post the video. Most people won’t care one way or another but there will be *something* for her supporters to point to.

    The Birther nonsense, racist as it was, didn’t go away when Obama ignored it. It *mostly* went away when he posted his birth certificate.

    ReplyReply
  82. SKI says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Holy no-sequitur, Batman!

    Warren has a family history of having Native Americans on her mother’s side – to the point that her paternal grandparents opposed her parent’s marriage.
    Does anyone other than Trump dispute that?

    The DNA testing she did showed that she does likely have Native American heritage 6-10 generations back.

    Do you have a Neanderthal relative 6-10 generations back?

    Can we stop with the political optics bullshit? We prove, time and time again, that we are simply wrong in predicting how people will feel/vote, especially one – two years out.

    ReplyReply
  83. SKI says:

    @R. Dave:

    I really don’t understand this take absent a desire to give Warren every benefit of the doubt, no matter how implausible (which, for the record, is not a desire I attribute to you, James, which is why your position baffles me so much). Was her self-identification as Native American really for “purposes unknown”? Technically, sure, we can’t know what her subjective reasons were, but career advantage seems far and away the most likely reason why a progressive professor hoping to move up the ladder of elite schools in the 90s would list herself as Native American in professional directories (and describe herself as having such heritage in conversations with colleagues) despite being visibly white and having no practical connection to such heritage.

    Except *everyone* who hired her (or were on the committees that considered her) – including staunch Republicans like Bush’s former Solicitor General – stated that they didn’t consider her a Native American in any way when considering her for hiring or promotion.

    ReplyReply
  84. SKI says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    24 hours in I think it’s clear that @James Joyner was right. (Me too). This was an unforced error. It reminds me of Kirsten Gillibrand’s over-eager condemnation of Bill Clinton. It’s the kind of sour note that makes a Democratic voter look elsewhere for a candidate.

    Stop. You have no clue yet whether or how this will resonate or play out. Elite political talking head opinion, or worse, twitter opinion, is consistently wrong.

    Maybe it will stick. If so, I doubt that the reason is the release of the video and the test, as opposed to the underlying smear.

    We know it didn’t matter to Massachusetts voters in the past when Brown tried to use it. We don’t have any polling on it yet and certainly no indication that it will matter in the primaries or the general. It may – but you and James have no way to know that. The only evidence we have is that it didn’t matter in the past. Very well may be different in the future and on a national stage but absent any evidence you are just bloviating.

    ReplyReply
  85. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    Warren is not the kind of person that would be harassed by cops in South Dakota or Colorado because she is a Native American. Counties with large Native American Reservations are among the poorest counties in the US and Native Americans face lots of discrimination.

    Trump is using a racial slur, but the best thing that Warren should do is say that she is sorry.

    ReplyReply
    2
    1
  86. R. Dave says:

    @SKI: Except *everyone* who hired her (or were on the committees that considered her) – including staunch Republicans like Bush’s former Solicitor General – stated that they didn’t consider her a Native American in any way when considering her for hiring or promotion.

    Sure, but given the context that I cited and the fact that Harvard immediately listed her as a minority hire, is it really plausible that her claimed status had no influence whatsoever on their decision? And as I said, even if her claimed status ultimately didn’t influence the hiring committees, what matters is whether she expected or hoped that it would. Warren says she only listed herself as Native American in professional directories in order to connect with other Native American colleagues, but is that remotely believable, let alone a more plausible explanation than the desire for career advantage?

    ReplyReply
  87. SKI says:

    Not suprisingly, all the immediate statements folks are making about comparing ancestry levels is factually wrong.

    See this thread

    Woke up to the dubious honor of a namecheck in @WSJ. @FreemanWSJ uses my reporting to back the false assertion that @SenWarren’s Native American ancestry is no different than that of average European Americans. For those interested in facts, a thread…

    Potential thread roll here (not sure because blocked by work filters…): https://t.co/yvq1hxRP1i

    ReplyReply
  88. SKI says:

    @R. Dave: That is what people on the Committee who hired her said. Are you claiming they are lying?

    Pretty sure none of the Faculty committee members that hired her are responsible for the website.

    ReplyReply
  89. Blue Galangal says:

    @R. Dave: No, because they had to fill out the form justifying the hiring of a non minority. Ergo, they knew they were hiring a white woman. Ye gods, what part of the academic hiring process don’t you understand? This stuff is tracked and locked down, and I imagine doubly so at an Ivy.

    ReplyReply
  90. R. Dave says:

    @SKI:

    I’m not claiming that they’re lying so much as taking their assurances with a grain of salt given the context in which the decision was made and my understanding that it would have been illegal for them to openly base a hiring decision on the race of the candidate. It would be a huge statement against interest for them to acknowledge that they explicitly considered or were even influenced by the race of a potential hire. Given that, I’m pretty skeptical that it actually played no role in their decision, though I can’t say whether their claims of race-neutral hiring reflect willful dishonesty or just an overestimation of their own ability to be totally unmoved by the pressures they faced and fortuitous “perk” of Warren’s status claims.

    ReplyReply
  91. Blue Galangal says:

    @MarkedMan: I recently ran across an ancestral branch of the family that showed up in Key West, oddly enough. Some further tracing and tracking indicates that this branch came to the US as part of Cromwell’s Caribbean trade in Irish indentured servitude and they either escaped or were able to buy their freedom and made their way to Florida (too bad they didn’t keep hold of some of that Key West property for their descendants!).

    ReplyReply
  92. R. Dave says:

    @Blue Galangal: Can you link me to the cite for that claim? From what I read at the fact-checking links in Doug’s post yesterday, it’s my understanding that Harvard listed Warren as a minority hire in their federal affirmative action reports.

    ReplyReply
  93. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Eric Florack:

    your problem is that you are operating under the misbegotten idea that I actually care what you believe.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the GOP party line, summarized.

    ReplyReply
  94. MarkedMan says:

    The DNA test proved exactly what Warren’s parents told her. To reiterate, Warren said something about her background and the DNA exactly backed up what she said. Of course it didn’t back up what the Trumpoids and RWNJ’s said she said, but that’s to be expected.

    I used to think the loser of a bet couldn’t go lower than initially denying he had ever made the bet and then coming up with ever more ridiculous reasons why he had really won. But now I realize that a bunch of Toadies currying favor with the loser can embarrass themselves to a much higher degree.

    ReplyReply
  95. SKI says:

    @R. Dave: You are very wrong. As Blue Galangal noted, they had to explicitly explain why they were hiring a non-minority.

    Read the Globe reporting.

    FGrom there:

    The Globe examined hundreds of documents, many of them never before available, and reached out to all 52 of the law professors who are still living and were eligible to be in that Pound Hall room at Harvard Law School. Some are Warren’s allies. Others are not. Thirty-one agreed to talk to the Globe — including the law professor who was, at the time, in charge of recruiting minority faculty. Most said they were unaware of her claims to Native American heritage and all but one of the 31 said those claims were not discussed as part of her hire. One professor told the Globe he is unsure whether her heritage came up, but is certain that, if it did, it had no bearing on his vote on Warren’s appointment.

    The Globe closely reviewed the records, verified them where possible, and conducted more than 100 interviews with her colleagues and every person who had a role in hiring decisions about Warren who could be reached. In sum, it is clear that Warren was viewed as a white woman by the hiring committees at every institution that employed her.

    Among the records were some never examined before by a newspaper, including one key form that a University of Pennsylvania professor kept tucked away for three decades.

    That previously undisclosed report reveals that the hiring committee at Penn, where Warren worked from 1987 to 1995, viewed her as a white female applicant. Moreover, the committee went to some pains to explain on this form why she was selected over several minorities to fill a faculty position.

    Not until she had been teaching at Penn for two years did she authorize the university to change her personnel designation from white to Native American, the records show.

    The Globe also reviewed, for the first time, a Harvard University human resources form showing that Warren first listed her ethnicity as Native American nearly five months after she started her tenured position at Harvard and 2½ years after she was there as a visiting professor and first offered the job.

    More details are also in that reporting. I suggest you read it.

    ReplyReply
  96. R. Dave says:

    @R. Dave: @Blue Galangal: Can you link me to the cite for that claim? From what I read at the fact-checking links in Doug’s post yesterday, it’s my understanding that Harvard listed Warren as a minority hire in their federal affirmative action reports.

    Too late to edit my last post, so responding to myself. Found what I think you’re referring to, BG, in this Boston Globe report from September. Seems you’re talking about UPenn, which did apparently fill out a form justifying hiring a non-minority when they hired Warren. The Globe report doesn’t whether any similar form was either required or prepared at Harvard. However, the Globe does go on to note that Warren later explicitly authorized Penn to start listing her as Native American and again explicitly authorized Harvard to do so after she began her tenured position there.

    *ETA: Jeez, how do you guys type so fast? Looks like SKI beat me to it on the Globe article. Like I said above, though, SKI, the Globe reports that Warren actually explicitly authorized both Penn and Harvard to list her as Native American, which seems like a pretty damning piece of evidence against her claim that she didn’t know Harvard was identifying her as a minority in their affirmative action reports. It also seems like a point in favor of the view that she was openly presenting herself as Native American and that Harvard likely would have been aware of that status claim when they hired her.

    ReplyReply
  97. SKI says:

    @R. Dave: YOu read that article and *that* is what you took from it regarding Harvard? Not this:

    One area that 30 of the 31 professors interviewed by the Globe agreed on: There was no talk about her Native American claims during the meetings over her appointment. One professor emeritus, Lloyd Weinreb, said he believes her Native American ancestry was discussed. But, in an e-mail he questioned his own recollection: “I am not sure enough for you to rely on me,” he wrote.

    Perhaps most telling was the role of Randall Kennedy, a law professor who was on the Harvard appointments committee at the time, and was in charge of recruiting minority candidates.

    “She was not on the radar screen at all in terms of a racial minority hire,” Kennedy told the Globe. “It was just not an issue. I can’t remember anybody ever mentioning her in this context.”

    This view is shared by those on the faculty who aren’t close with Warren, ideologically or personally.

    “This is a made-up issue,” said Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus and occasional Trump defender, when asked if her heritage played a role. “This is not an issue that’s worthy of the president or anyone else.”

    Others sounded a note of exasperation that the Globe was examining this question again.

    “It had nothing to do with our consideration and deliberation,” said Charles Fried, the former solicitor general to president Ronald Reagan and a member of the Harvard Law School appointments committee at the time. “How many times do you have to have the same thing explained to you?”

    It’s not even clear that Warren would have been accepted as a true minority hire if she’d been pitched to the faculty that way. “It wouldn’t have even worked in the most diehard communities,” said Wilkins, who was one of the only black law professors on staff. “Let’s be blunt. Elizabeth Warren is a white woman. She may have some Native American roots, but so do most people.”

    The Harvard Law School students who were clamoring for more diversity also did not view her as a woman of color when she was offered a job.

    “In order to show a real commitment to diversity they need to do more than pass a resolution and bring in white women,” said Julie A. Su, then a second-year Harvard Law student who was quoted in the Harvard Crimson the day after Warren was offered the job.

    THE ONLY INDICATION that someone at Harvard was aware of Warren’s ethnic claims before she was offered the job comes from a 1993 Affirmative Action Plan that Harvard University compiled from data collected from deans at the 10 different Harvard schools.

    Paul Upson, who was the assistant dean for finance and operations at Harvard Law School at the time, said that law school administrators would look at faculty lists and annotate them, manually marking who was a minority and sending those reports to the university offices where they’d be compiled and forwarded to the federal government.

    Also, if the Harvard Law School dean’s office was aware of Warren’s Native American heritage when the school offered her the job in February 1993, they forgot that detail when she started in July 1995.

    Warren’s personnel file from Harvard shows that her ethnic status was first marked in the Harvard human resources system as Native American in November 1995. That’s more than four months after she started her position, and two years and nine months after she was offered the job.

    “It tells me that we did not know. Or nobody had told us,” said Upson, who reviewed the forms at a Cambridge coffee shop.

    A memo with Warren’s file shows the change in her ethnic status was noteworthy enough to merit additional paperwork.

    In short, the people that hired her, didn’t view her as Native American.

    The administrators, who didn’t hire her, used her in their minority reporting months later.

    ReplyReply
    7
    1
  98. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Most of us have more Neanderthal DNA than Warren has Indian DNA

    Funny, I’m about at 3 1/2 % neanderthal.

    And, I am about the most Aryan on this thread, with nearly all of my gene’s being north eastern european.

    Genetics is not predication. But it is history.

    The spin of “most white Americans have more Indian in them than she does” is absurd.

    It’s all about choosing to spin away the fact that one said no, and the other said yes. The rest is noise.

    ReplyReply
  99. Michael Reynolds says:

    @SKI:
    I’m not claiming I have psychic powers, just making an educated guess. In politics if you’re explaining, you’re losing. And ‘we’ are explaining.

    This is not how you deal with bullies. When they say, ‘your momma’s so fat. . .’ it doesn’t work to say, ‘her BMI is within the healthy range.’ Especially not when a nutritionist (in this case the Indian nations) pop up and say, ‘actually, she is technically overweight.’

    Never let the enemy choose the battlefield.

    She’s ended up looking ridiculous and the proof is in the glee of the Trumpaloons and in our defensiveness.

    ReplyReply
    1
    2
  100. SKI says:

    @Michael Reynolds: My point is that your guess isn’t “educated”. You are basing political predictions on twitter and social media. That is a fool’s game – especially 12-18 months out.

    ReplyReply
  101. Michael Reynolds says:

    To me this is a classic case of Democrats not understanding the game. The game is not factual accuracy, the game is power. This was by definition a weak, reactive move, a response that magnifies the enemy’s position. An ineffectual counterattack signals weakness. It is a loss of power. The fact that Warren doesn’t get that means she’s a legislator, not a leader. She may learn from this and come back stronger, but for now she has lost ground.

    ReplyReply
    2
    4
  102. Jen says:

    @James Joyner:

    to prove that she had Native ancestry—only to show that she has none to speak of

    (Emphasis added)

    I do not understand why you are saying this. The test appears to prove she DID have (a single, long ago) Native American ancestor. She does not have sufficient lineage to petition for tribal membership or make any claim whatsoever to being “Indian”. It IS highly likely she had a Native ancestor. Why are people not getting this?

    One. A long time ago. Which is exactly what the family lore was saying. She does have Native ancestry, but it doesn’t amount to anything other than a verification of the family story. Why is this so difficult to understand? Someone can have a single interesting and notable ancestor and remark on it, right?

    People–conservatives, I mean–seem to be being deliberately obtuse about what “having an ancestor” means versus “I am claiming that I am as Indian as full tribal members.” It’s utterly daft and completely bizarre.

    ReplyReply
    6
    1
  103. Michael Reynolds says:

    @SKI:
    First of all, I was playing political prognosticator long before there was a Twitter. I’m not always right, but my guesses are educated by almost 50 years of focus on politics.

    We are at the start of a crowded marathon. Democratic voters are considering where to place bets. Bets placed right now will have a big impact downstream. One of the favorites in the race just stumbled. She may well recover, but she’s dropped back a couple of places.

    ReplyReply
    1
    3
  104. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Or, she did this early to get it (and the subsequent wailing and gnashing of teeth) done and over with.

    I’m still mystified by the timing, but for now, she has effectively–I think, time will tell–hobbled Trump’s use of that nickname. Which, I think, bothered her family quite a bit–and the politicians I have known do try and blunt things that they know bother their families.

    ReplyReply
  105. SKI says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Ok, Nostradamus.

    ReplyReply
  106. MarkedMan says:

    It is depressing to see how many people are falling right into the reactions assigned to them by the Swift Boat Slime Machine types. But I guess it just proves this is a test for Warren. If she reacts by pulling a Kerry and staying above it while her minions trot out careful and factual histories then, yes, forget her. Because if she is stupid enough to go down the Swift Boat path after having seen it work against a previous candidate then good riddance to an inevitable loser. But if she takes it as an endless opportunity to say Trump is a welcher, he’s a miser, he’s a pathetic loser stammering out ever more ridiculous “dog ate my homework” excuses for why he didn’t really lose, then more power to her. If any reporter wants to discuss the details with her, she should say, forcefully, “Look, what I said is out ther in public and what he said is there too. I’m not going to help this welcher in his pathetic attempt to weasel out of his bet. You shouldn’t either.”

    ReplyReply
    2
    1
  107. KM says:

    @Jen:

    Why are people not getting this?

    It’s not that they aren’t getting it – they are using a different definition then we are. See, when someone says to me “I took a test and it shows I have X ancestry”, my brain doesn’t immediately go “was that ancestor actually of X nationality officially?” but rather “meh, that’s cool.” If you tell me you have Irish in you, I’m not going to say it doesn’t count if that ancestor wasn’t living in Ireland at the time or deemed themselves Irish.

    Again, the difference between cultural identity and genetic one. If you were raised Cherokee, born and accepted by the council only to take the test and find out you are 100% Northern European all the way back, do you stop being Cherokee? Is it in the blood or in the soul?

    ReplyReply
    2
    1
  108. R. Dave says:

    @SKI: Yes, but what that boils down to is that the people involved say they either weren’t aware of or weren’t influenced by her NA status claim, while the only documentary evidence available shows that the information was certainly available to them via Penn’s records and the AALS directory and that Harvard as an institution was aware of it and did actively rely on it for federal reporting purposes. I agree that the uniformity of the denials is compelling, but like I said, I’m not calling them liars, I’m just taking their denials with a grain of salt given the context and the self-interest in appearing race-neutral. More importantly, though, my comment from the beginning has been that whether or not her status claim actually helped her career was beside the point and what matters is whether or not she made the claim in hopes that it might. That’s the key issue here, and I’ve yet to hear a plausible explanation for why Warren would identify herself as Native American in professional directories and personnel records if not for the perceived career advantage it might bring.

    ReplyReply
  109. John430 says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Once again, Mataconis is tripping over his own biases. Accusations against Kavanaugh without a scintilla of proof: Good. Accusations of lying by Warren, with factual proof: Bad.
    Mataconis had his law license suspended once for not paying attention, so have the Dems. nominate him for SCOTUS. LOL!!!

    ReplyReply
    4
    9
  110. reid says:

    @John430: There is zero proof that Warren lied. This test actually affirms what she said. Bizarre how you’re able to twist things 180 degrees from reality.

    ReplyReply
    8
    1
  111. John430 says:

    @reid: @reid: She IS a liar. Her so-called “test” was in fact, not a DNA test but an examination of possibilities by a Biostatician. Still no publication of results of the actual test. She has always avoided admission of a test by Ancestry.com, et.al because it likely proved zip, nada. The 1/1000th or whatever she now claims is statistically equal to zero. She was, and is, still a liar.
    It’s funny to me to see such slavish beliefs of zero truth from her and with absolutely NO proof from Blasey-Ford, you leftists believe her too. Don’t trip over your own fantasies.

    ReplyReply
    2
    6
  112. reid says:

    @John430: You’re hopeless in your partisanship.

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  113. Kylopod says:

    @John430:

    The 1/1000th or whatever she now claims is statistically equal to zero.

    You are making the same mistake you made yesterday–and were corrected on.

    To repeat: The 1/1024 was not an estimate of probability, it was the lower-bound of the estimated range of Warren’s amount of Indian ancestry, the upper-bound being 1/64. Or, in the words of the Boston Globe article:

    He concluded that “the vast majority” of Warren’s ancestry is European, but he added that “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor.”

    Bustamante calculated that Warren’s pure Native American ancestor appears in her family tree “in the range of 6-10 generations ago.” That timing fits Warren’s family lore, passed down during her Oklahoma upbringing, that her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was at least partially Native American.

    With each generation, the amount of ancestry that a particular ancestor gives you decreases by a power of 2. So an ancestor from 6 generations ago is 1/2^6, or 1/64th of your total ancestry, while 10 generations back it’s 1/2^10, or 1/1024th of your ancestry. But that’s still relatively recent in historical terms, enough to show up in a family’s oral history.

    You have misrepresented the study by pulling the 1/1024 figure out of context and treating it as a probability estimate (which it isn’t), and ignoring the fact that the estimated range of Warren’s Indian ancestry–6 to 10 generations ago–corroborates her family’s claims perfectly.

    ReplyReply
  114. Jack says:

    This DNA test definitively proves that Liawatha is a pretendian.

    ReplyReply
    2
    4
  115. MarkedMan says:

    God help the Democrats. On this very comment thread they are immediately going supine and arguing statistics with Trumpers, when they should be going on the offensive and focusing on Trump’s welching on the bet. God help us all.

    ReplyReply
    2
    1
  116. John430 says:

    @Kylopod: I repeat…where are the actual test results? All other answers are BS. No numbers, no reality

    ReplyReply
    1
    2
  117. R. Dave says:

    @MarkedMan: This is a discussion among mostly longtime readers/commenters at a relatively middle of the road political blog. Why on earth would you prefer that we engage in partisan whataboutism and rhetorical issue dodging? You may be right that Democratic Party and candidate talking points should try to change the subject to Trump’s supposed “welching”, but there’s nothing more tedious and pointless than repetition of those talking points by ordinary people in online discussion forums.

    ReplyReply
  118. MarkedMan says:

    @R. Dave: what’s the point of reiterating the same points over and over? Trumpers will never honestly engage.

    ReplyReply
  119. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Michael Reynolds
    These people STILL don’t get it. Trump did the equivalent of bait her into touching her tongue to frozen flagpole….and she did it. When you take an extraordinary step to prove a bully wrong…the bully wins because it shows that they got in your head–you actually gave a $hit.

    I know in the pristine coffee houses of liberal white wonderland (where the scones are extra moist and flaky) EW proved Trimp (Trump/Chimp/Pimp) to be TECHNICALLY wrong. Average people don’t see it that way. Even NeverTrimpers I know chuckled their a$$ off because it was unbelievable that she took Trimp serious enough to prove him wrong.

    I’ve said this since ’16, Trimp will win reelection if the goal is to paint him as a liar, sexist, climate denier, or racist. The political currency has changed and those attacks no longer bullets that kill. They barely even wound now. You damage Trump by making him look weak. Key to that is creating a caricature of Trump and humiliating it…over and over. His image is his strength…and contrary to what Liberals believe…Trump projects strength…even among non-liberals that can’t stand the guy.

    ReplyReply
  120. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @R. Dave:Politifact offers the following

    ”I am a hard-working teacher, I have won teaching awards, I’ve written books that have won acclaim,” Warren told reporters. ”I applied for one job in 1978 by letter, and every job I’ve had since then has been from someone who recruited me into that job. And they’ve come to me and said — and they have now said publicly — ‘Because of your work, we’d like you to come here.’ ”

    Any special treatment?

    Several people involved in hiring her at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania lent their weight to that claim.

    Harvard Law School professor Charles Fried, who served as U.S. Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan and was part of the committee that put Warren in a tenure position, said in a written statement that her ethnicity never came up during the process.

    Fried, who donated $250 to Warren’s campaign, told the Republican, a Springfield, Mass., newspaper, in 2012, “This stuff I hear that she was an affirmative action hire, got some kind of a boost, it is so ludicrous and so desperately stupid and ignorant, it just boggles the mind.”

    Asked about Warren’s minority status, Robert H. Mundheim, the dean who hired Warren at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Boston Globe that summer, “‘I don’t think I ever knew that she had those attributes and that would not have made much of a difference.”

    A number of news organizations interviewed dozens of faculty and students from the three law schools where Warren taught, and no evidence emerged that any claim about her ethnic roots played a role in the hiring process.

    ETA: Regarding your assertion that she claimed what she did to enhance her academic standing, it appears that a) it doesn’t seem to have worked, and b) was unnecessary. Give it a rest, your argument has worked very hard for nothing and is tired now.

    ReplyReply
  121. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @John430: Yeah, as if you would be able to read a DNA test. ROFLMAO!

    ReplyReply
    1
    3
  122. An Interested Party says:

    You damage Trump by making him look weak.

    Look at his reaction to Russian interference in the 2016 election…look at is reaction to the Khashoggi assassination…if these aren’t weak, I don’t know what is…

    ReplyReply
  123. Kylopod says:

    I haven’t previously commented on the political optics angle to this story. There’s a tendency for “clickbait” stories like this to be overhyped in their importance and to fade as time goes on. But I have a hard time imagining how taking this test hurts Warren, and it may even help her. There was a time when I worried this controversy would become her equivalent to “invented the Internet”–a wild distortion of one particular foible that builds into a massive, unfair narrative about the candidate.

    I no longer see that happening. The mistake a lot of people make is to only consider how the Trumpists react. Sure, Trump was never going to accept the results of this test, and he and his people will continue to lie about it. That’s always been a given. The purpose of taking this test wasn’t to convince the Trumpists, it was to take control of the narrative. After all, “inventing the Internet” didn’t hurt Al Gore because Republicans made fun of him for it, it hurt him because the mainstream media largely accepted the false claim about what he’d said, and the myth became almost impossible to dislodge because it was just too good a story. (Once a story becomes a joke, it’s almost impossible to reverse people’s perception of it.) There was always a kernel of legitimate criticism of what Gore said, but it was monstrously distorted and blown way out of proportion. The same is true of Warren with her decision to identify as Native American at certain points in her past. And just as “invented the Internet” helped build a narrative about Gore as a serial liar or exaggerator, the Warren story plays into some of the worst stereotypes of liberal academics.

    What I think the DNA results have done is helped push back against this narrative, something Al Gore never took a proactive role in doing for the distortions against him. And she did it right around the time as news reports pushing back against the idea that her career was in any way aided by a perception of her as a minority. The overall result is that it’s diluting any media narrative that might build up about this controversy, the way “invented the Internet” did.

    ReplyReply
  124. R. Dave says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Well, I guess I keep bringing it up because I’ve yet to see anyone offer another plausible reason for why she would have made claimed NA status in professional directories and personnel records. The fact that an attempt to do something ultimately fails does not retroactively make the attempt itself ethically acceptable.

    ReplyReply
  125. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: Yes, you don’t understand–and honestly, thats no slight. Liberals clearly dont understand why their attacks are inert just as Conservatives have no clue why they were unable to damage Obama. Trump not siding with a liberal point of view–and looking personally weak are apples and oranges.

    Russia and elections are a losing issue, because, absent showing that vote tallies were changed Trump introduced ambiguity into the issue by acknowledging that foreign powers including America seek to influence target audiences of interest around the globe. Hes battled liberals to a draw on this issue by painting their point of view as sour grapes against something that all world powers do–because they don’t like the outcome this time. A draw against an incumbent, even Trimp, goes to the incumbent.

    A Saudi journalist was killed by Saudis in Turkey. Trimp..a nationalist, “America-First”, “evil news media” candidate had responded with the equivalent of “meh–not really America’s business”. This is the guy that gives a giant finger to the media. How does he look weak?

    Trimp is not the protector of anyone or anything beyond his own interest…therefore his NOT defending people and things beyond his interest have zero effect on his projection of strength. In Trimps world the weak deserve to be exploited. Liberals gravitate towards protectors of weak and vulnerable…they gauge strength by a leader’s ability to do that. That’s not the most important quality in a leader to a large swath of the country–hence Trump.

    Campaigns are about narratives and stories. Trump, the profane non-protector of liberal interests is not an energizing story outside of liberal-land. Trump, the half-broke hustler, who gets American economic interests rolled at every turn by world leaders–that’s an interested story. Where are the stories about how much money the Trump empire is losing and how many giveaways his “deals” contain for himself and other nations and America’s suspense?

    ReplyReply
  126. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kylopod: Sorry, you do not offer any credibility to a serial insulter like Trump.

    You do realize that there is a reason why Trimp doesn’t smugly insult Obama or Maxine Waters. He even sidsteps Avenatti more often than you’d think seeing how at odds they often are at one another. These people insult insulters…often hilariously. Watch Trimp’s body language when he was at the famous dinner where Obama embarrassed the dog $ht out of him… This is how you handle Trimp–by humiliating him with the very things he admires about himself.

    ReplyReply
  127. John430 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Your screen name is so apt.
    I have the following Y-DNA markers: DYS19/394, DYS388, DYS390, DYS426 and YCA lla, to name a few. That translates into DNA Haplogroups M253, M450, P30, P40, S62 and more. My old B.S. degree in Biology helps me out some. More immediately, my DNA Ancestry estimates me as 73% Irish, 12% English and the rest as Western Europe. I’ve been to Galway, Ireland and know that my grandfather was from Annaghdown and Grandma from Tuam.

    If your “pedigree” is better than mine then I’ll arrange a free marriage for your parents and won’t tell anyone that they are first cousins.

    ReplyReply
    3
    3
  128. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown 32: You’re bringing up Obama and the 2011 White House dinner as a contrast to Warren? Did you not remember that the dinner occurred shortly after Obama released his long-form birth certificate in direct response to Trump? And then used the White House dinner to make fun of Trump specifically on the birther issue? I don’t see how that differs in any appreciable way from Warren’s handling of the Indian issue. Maybe Obama’s more skilled at going on the offensive, but the strategy is fundamentally the same.

    ReplyReply
  129. MarkedMan says:

    @R. Dave: Yeah, but you are a Trumper. Your hero is a pathetic liar who will do or say anything. Are we supposed to believe you follow a piece of trash like him but somehow you have retained intellectual honesty? Why should anyone waste a moment engaging you?

    ReplyReply
  130. One American says:

    @Jake: 100 % agree. Melt down extrodanaire.

    ReplyReply
  131. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kylopod: There is a difference, the Birther thing was a Conservative News Complex generated attack that Trimp latched onto. Obama’s birth certificate release wasn’t in response to any call out buy Trimp.

    EW specifically responded to a Trimp troll. Perhaps if not getting a DNA test called into question her legitimacy as a Senator…it may have been warranted. That’s not the type of situation she’s in.

    ReplyReply
  132. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Obama’s birth certificate release wasn’t in response to any call out buy Trimp.

    It actually was. Right-wingers had been calling on Obama to release his long-form birth certificate for years (since 2008, when he released his short-form in response to the first birthers), but he ignored it. Only after Trump launched his birther media blitz in the spring of 2011 did Obama finally do it.

    ReplyReply
  133. R. Dave says:

    @MarkedMan:

    You’ve just perfectly demonstrated the problem with the extension of partisan thinking into all arenas and the recitation of talking points in lieu of discussion. I express disdain for Warren’s facially implausible claims of Native American status in her professional records and skepticism about her rationales, so from that, you conclude that I’m a “Trumper” who can’t be reasoned with and thus isn’t worth engaging. If I’m not all-in for Team Progressive, then I must be all-in for Team Trump.

    In point of fact, my politics are center-left with a mix of libertarian, internationalist, and incrementalist instincts, and I view Trump as the most destructive, unqualified, incompetent, morally degenerate President of the modern era. But that has nothing to do with whether or not I find Warren’s explanations for her status claims plausible or what I conclude about her character as a result. There is no chance that I’m going to vote Republican in the midterms or the next Presidential election, so if Warren is the Democratic nominee, she’ll get my vote just like Clinton did despite my rather low opinion of her. However, the road from here to the nomination is long, and Warren and her supporters are doing themselves no favors with persuadable voters like me by acting like we’re either with her or with Trump.

    Moreover, the Democrats, in my opinion, are shooting themselves in the foot (and further damaging the broader political culture) in the long run by fostering an all-in or all-out mentality, because Trump and the GOP’s complicity in his extraordinary awfulness won’t be around forever to provide an “at least they’re better than Trump” justification. Eventually Republicans will regain some modicum of decency (one hopes), and moderates will have a genuine choice about whether to support the Democrats or at least how much enthusiasm they bring to that support.

    ReplyReply
  134. MarkedMan says:

    @R. Dave: I owe you an apology. I had confused you with one of our forever-Trump RWNJ. I just did a search on your posts here on OTB and I see that I had the wrong person entirely. Truth be told, I should have realized that by the cogency of your writing but, do to my assumption, I was merely skimming. My mistake, and I regret the insult.

    ReplyReply
  135. James Pearce says:

    @MarkedMan:

    My mistake, and I regret the insult.

    Now do mine.

    ReplyReply
    1
    2
  136. An Interested Party says:

    How does he look weak?

    By giving the same weak, mealy-mouthed response to this assassination that he did to Russian interference…you did see him at that press conference? He looked like Putin’s bit@h standing up there…

    You do realize that there is a reason why Trimp doesn’t smugly insult Obama or Maxine Waters.

    What would you call “low IQ person”? A compliment? Oh look, more compliments

    ReplyReply
  137. R. Dave says:

    Thanks, @MarkedMan; I appreciate that. Sorry for getting up on a bit of high horse for a moment there. I just get frustrated that there’s so little room these days to actually discuss anything political, even with – sometimes especially with – folks who are broadly but not entirely aligned with my overall worldview.

    ReplyReply
  138. MarkedMan says:

    @James Pearce: There’s no chance I will confuse the James Pearce posts with anyone else.

    ReplyReply
  139. MarkedMan says:

    @R. Dave: You were perfectly within your rights to take offense. I also regret the politicization of, well, politics. And am a bit frustrated by how often this forum in particular has every thread descend into a meaningless exchange with the small number of unthinking RWNJ’s whose sole contribution is “I know you are, but what am I? MAGA!!!!”

    ReplyReply
  140. reid says:

    @R. Dave: On this site, posts that are generally pro-Trump are almost always from known trolls posting idiotic things. (There are examples on this page, of course.) You got caught up in that a bit, unfortunately.

    ReplyReply
  141. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    And am a bit frustrated by how often this forum in particular has every thread descend into a meaningless exchange with the small number of unthinking RWNJ’s whose sole contribution is “I know you are, but what am I? MAGA!!!!”

    But that’s why I think it’s so important not to reject someone simply because of their opinion. I was a little perplexed by your statement to R. Dave “You’re a Trumper and therefore not worth engaging with” because I didn’t remember R. Dave as a Trumper at all, but even if he were a Trumper, would you still regard that as an appropriate response? I wouldn’t. I don’t totally agree with him but I don’t think he was being unreasonable. My problem with the Trumpers here isn’t their point of view but their behavior. They refuse to engage. When I present them with facts, they either ignore me or post something along the lines of “That’s a load of crap,” without elaboration. But if they actually did engage, I’d be more than willing to listen. I’m not likely to end up agreeing with them, but I don’t have any particular problem engaging in back-and-forth with someone I strongly disagree with, as long as it’s done in good faith and it isn’t something I find massively offensive, such as open racism or misogyny.

    Part of the problem with this forum is that the right-wingers we do get consist almost entirely of these bad-faith trolling types who come here simply to “own the libs,” which they believe they’re doing by simply regurgitating their talking points from Breitbart et al. You can’t have a conversation with these folks because they’re not interested in having one, and are so utterly brainwashed they’re incapable of even conceptualizing the idea that we might be worthy of having a conversation with them. To them, we’re like that Far Side cartoon showing what a dog hears its owner say (“blah blah blah blah Ginger blah blah blah blah blah”). They aren’t hearing us because they’ve been programmed to believe there’s nothing to hear.

    The thing is, though, if a Trumper here actually did make a genuine, good-faith effort to engage, I think they’d be rejected by most of the folks here just as quickly. And that, I believe, is a problem with us. This is a better forum than most–there’s relatively more diversity of opinion than a lot of places–but it’s still an echo chamber. People refuse to listen to what they don’t want to hear, even if the person expresses their views sincerely and politely. Maybe that’s part of the reason why we get such low-grade trolls representing the Trump defenders; no one of higher quality has any interest in bothering.

    ReplyReply
  142. Bruce Henry says:

    Kylopod, you show remarkable restraint in not pillorying Eric Florack again on this thread. A few days ago, he linked to a Pelosi clip which he claimed showed her explaining Democratic strategy. When you pointed out (and linked to a longer clip proving it) that she was actually accusing REPUBLICANS of this behavior, you demonstrated that he was spreading an outright hoax. When you did, he fled that thread. In various threads since, you have demanded whenever he sticks his toe in the water that he apologize, but in this thread he doubles the fck down and claims that his fraudulent post is “the truth.” This is how “zombie lies” are perpetuated.

    I think that every commenter here should be sure to remind Florack of this zombie lie every time he posts. Don’t let up until he owns up.

    ReplyReply
  143. Kylopod says:

    @Bruce Henry:

    I think that every commenter here should be sure to remind Florack of this zombie lie every time he posts. Don’t let up until he owns up.

    I’m just not invested enough to attempt such a thing. I reminded him of it twice in the past few days, and in this thread he finally responded–through flat denial, of course.

    This is not my first experience like this with another OTB commenter. It’s not even the first experience with Florack. It’s not even the first experience with Florack in the past few weeks: he did exactly the same thing when another commenter showed him that a rumor he’d parroted about the Kavanaugh matter was unfounded (that Kav’s mom, a judge, had ruled against Ford in a foreclosure case–in fact Kav’s mom had ruled in Ford’s favor, and it’s known that Ford’s home was never foreclosed). Florack simply refused to believe the source. When I pointed out to him that the source linked directly to primary source documentation, and that he’d gotten his info from a secondary source that had used–and misread–the same primary source, Florack replied, “But what if your primary sources are unreliable?” As usual, he refused to elaborate further.

    Why bother pursuing this? I made my point, and I’m confident that no one with a modicum of rationality is going to be persuaded by Florack. Winning an argument doesn’t mean having the last word, and it doesn’t mean causing the other person to back down. Anyone can claim they don’t believe you. Sticking to one’s guns isn’t a skill, it’s a choice. Denying something in the face of massive evidence disproving it isn’t impressive, it’s pathetic.

    One of the problems with Internet conversation is that people build up trolls to be a lot more than they are. They imagine “trolls” (a term they tend to apply broadly to anyone they strongly disagree with) to be some kind of sly tricksters, where the very act of responding to them means you’ve fallen into their trap. There’s some truth to that when it comes to certain kinds of online commenters. But a lot of the time it’s just people too stupid to realize they have no idea how to defend themselves, because they’re so thoroughly brainwashed they’re literally unable to comprehend the possibility that they might be wrong. When Florack flatly denies I showed his claim to be a hoax, it’s not some kind of sly, backhanded achievement on his part. He persuades no one, and impresses only people who are already true believers like himself. But if we let him get in our head, then in a way he has achieved something.

    “Don’t feed the troll” is largely a myth. As Teve Tory has put it, “in the entire history of the internet telling people not to feed the troll has never once worked.” A much better adage would be, “Don’t let the troll make you tear your hair out.”

    ReplyReply
  144. Bruce Henry says:

    You are absolutely right, of course. You are much more rational about this than I am. I get too angry.

    I’ll try looking at things the way you describe. I bet I’ll have a much better Internet experience, LOL.

    ReplyReply
  145. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: As they say YMMV, and I think engaging in any way with a Trumper or other RWNJ is a waste of time. Something they said may be worth a brief comment to correct some facts, but I would never respond directly or mention them.

    In such cases I would normally say “That’s how I handle it, but go ahead and engage in whatever small or even large way you want. If it helps you vent, so much the better.” But this isn’t a normal situation. Suckering rational people into responding to endless RW trolling is exactly how Swift Boating works, and why it is so effective. All the sound and fury eventually bubbles up to the general public who don’t engage much in politics and their takeaway is: “Hmm, something about John Kerry being dishonorable in Viet Nam.” Or “I heard Al Gore claims to have invented the internet.” Or “Hillary Clinton is being dishonest about Benghazi.”

    The RW Slime Machine’s purpose is to get their trolls frothing at the mouth about this nonsense and to goad the rational people into becoming indignant and keeping the outrage going for cycle after cycle. I refuse to play into it. After all, you’ll never reach the trolls (for all the reasons you articulated). And the the people instigating the trolls already know this is all BS, and they don’t care.

    ReplyReply
  146. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The RW Slime Machine’s purpose is to get their trolls frothing at the mouth about this nonsense and to goad the rational people into becoming indignant and keeping the outrage going for cycle after cycle.

    But not all Trump supporters fall in that category. Many people voted for Trump very reluctantly, including a small but significant number of people who had voted for Obama at least once. I’ve listened to interviews with Trump voters who are already regretting their vote, and others who are on the fence. Now, part of me wants to mock people like that and say “I told you so”; in the past I’ve called these people suckers and compared them to those who respond to the Nigerian Prince emails. But the fact is, we need these people, and they aren’t trolls, they’re quite persuadable.

    There are also a lot of Republican-leaning voters, particularly white suburbanites, who voted for Trump mostly because of the R after his name, but with plenty of hesitation. Over the past year and a half, many of these voters have shown (through the results in Virginia, PA-18, and AZ-8, among others) that they’re hardly a lost cause.

    It’s true you’re not going to encounter many of these types online, which has a tendency to draw in the worst sorts. But it’s also why it’s important not to dismiss someone’s point of view as unworthy of a serious response just because you think they’re a “Trumper.”

    Even the trolls shouldn’t always be ignored. When you ignore a troll’s arguments–and reacting to them with nothing more than a dismissive insult amounts to the same thing–then the arguments will remain unanswered, and innocent onlookers will conclude you don’t have an answer, that it’s just a food fight. It’s possible to answer a smear without getting pulled down a rabbit hole. Obama did it when he released his birth certificate. Warren did it when she released these DNA results. It won’t shut up the trolls, but that was never its purpose. The purpose is to make sure the non-trolls–including people who may be on the fence–know where you stand and what your defense is. I hope that’s what I’ve done in this thread and others, and I really hope that’s the strategy taken by Democrats in the public square.

    ReplyReply
  147. reid says:

    @Kylopod: Keep fighting the good fight, sir.

    ReplyReply
  148. al Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I wonder what that Advantage would be in Democrat Party circles?
    I mean, I hope it hasn’t slipped your notice that you never see such claims coming from anyone outside the Democrat Party.

    Maybe you didn’t get the memo but …
    There is no ‘Democrat Party’ in America, the is a Democratic Party, but not a ‘Democrat Party.’ That concludes my non-Echo Chamber, non-Talking-Point public service and educational announcement for the day.

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*