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Potential Pitfalls of Political Alliances:

My recent exchange with Mark Kleiman over the issue of "fellow-traveling" with "wingnuts" raises the more general question of the dangers of political alliances. As I argued in my last post, it is sometimes necessary to make political alliances with people who we think hold flawed views or even "insane" ones (to use Kleiman's terminology). Such coalitions are a necessity for almost any political faction, but particularly a relatively small one such as libertarians. At the same time, coalition politics creates the danger that we will ignore or even try to justify the shortcomings of our political allies of convenience. The danger is real. But it doesn't justify abjuring all political alliances with people we strongly disagree with. Rather, the right approach is to recognize the problem and try to guard against it.

For example, I think that the current political situation justifies an alliance between libertarians and conservatives, who share a common interest in opposing the vast expansion of government advocated by the liberal Democratic administration and Congress. It's certainly possible that this view might lead me to ignore the shortcomings of conservatives. However, I have tried hard to keep that from happening. For example, I have not hesitated to criticize conservative icons such as Robert Bork and William F. Buckley. During the 2008 election campaign, I criticized Sarah Palin for her ignorance of important policy issues, even though I thought that the Republican ticket was the lesser of the two evils on offer last November. And I have a long record of criticizing the Bush Administration's massive expansion of government spending and regulation (e.g. - here and here). At one point, my sympathy with some of Palin's views on other issues may have led me to unjustifiably minimize her possible endorsement of creationism; however, I eventually noticed the mistake and corrected it. I suppose it's possible that I would have criticized various conservatives even more were I not in favor of a political alliance with them. But it's hard to argue that I have simply chosen to ignore their flaws from a libertarian point of view.

In sum, political alliances with people who hold what we see as flawed views are perfectly defensible so long as we don't blind ourselves to our allies' shortcomings. At the same time, it's important to make two distinctions. First, it's worth differentiating serious thinkers like Bork from far more dubious pundits such as Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter. Association with the former is more defensible than with the latter. It would, of course, also be wrong to suggest that one must forego all cooperation with a political movement merely because it includes some extreme or ridiculous elements, since virtually any large political faction does so.

Second, there is a difference between active cooperation with a group and merely expressing views on a particular issue similar to theirs. In my post on "czars" that kicked off this discussion, I did not actually cooperate with Glenn Beck or other dubious right-wing pundits in any way. I merely expressed opposition to the czar system, an institution that they also oppose. I don't see why I should change my stance merely because people with ridiculous views on other, unrelated issues have the same position. If I instead supported the czar system, one could probably find equally ridiculous commentators who also hold that view. More generally, as Eugene Volokh explained in his post on the "reverse Mussolini fallacy," it is a mistake to reject a position merely because some of the people who endorse it are foolish or even evil.

Even active cooperation with the likes of Beck might be justified if a great enough good can be achieved through it. But we have to be careful that the good achieved really is great enough to justify the risks. I don't think you have to have meet anywhere near as high a standard if all you're doing is expressing a view that Beck also happens to hold, or cooperating with serious thinkers from a political orientation that also includes some crazies.

Melancton Smith:

Such coalitions are a necessity for almost any political faction, but particularly a relatively small one such as libertarians.


Such coalitions also suffer fragmentation upon success, as we see with the current situation of the Democrat party.

Some wonder why they can't succeed in all their policy choices since Democrats control both all 3 houses (Senate, House, Whitehouse). However, much of the reason they control so much is due to them actually being a coalition and not a homogenous party.
9.8.2009 4:44pm
A.C.:
Whenever a liberal tries the reverse Mussolini thing on me, I point out that Hitler was an anti-smoker. This usually works.
9.8.2009 4:55pm
ChrisTS (mail):
But, doesn't one have to worry about being tarred with the same brush? If Obama is accused of 'palling around' with unsavory types by his opponents, don't you think libertarians run the risk of being accused of doing the same with racists, fundamentalists, etc?
9.8.2009 4:58pm
rick.felt:
Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter

I've always been a bit mystified by the lumping of Limbaugh in with other "extreme" voices on the right. I suppose if you're not on the right you'll to see all talk radio hosts and mass-market polemic writers as an undifferentiated blob, but Limbaugh is different. He's less serious and cantankerous than Levin, smarter and less of a bully than Hannity, less of a d-bag and conspiracy nut than Savage, and less of a bomb-thrower and name-caller than Coulter.

Nearly always when there's some sort of media firestorm surrounding Limbaugh, he has been quoted out of context. I doubt that many of his detractors have ever listened to him for more than a minute. In fact, when I hear someone say something about "Rush Limbaugh's rants," that's an instant signal to me that this person has never listened to Limbaugh, because the guy doesn't rant, at least not in the sense that someone like Olbermann or Levin does.
9.8.2009 5:04pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
For an accusation like "palling around" to be valid, it should be applied when the person does more than merely belonging to the same broad movement. As I recall, in Obama's case the argument hinged on his having actually worked with the unsavory types.
9.8.2009 5:05pm
Kirk:
I think it says a lot more about Kleiman (none of it particularly good) than you, that you felt it necessary to post this.
9.8.2009 5:06pm
Bob White (mail):
I, for one, am very strongly against the murdering of toddlers, and I don't care who agrees with me about it.
9.8.2009 5:10pm
TMK:
ChrisTS,

Ilya is going to great lengths to distinguish between sharing common viewpoints on a given issue, and actual collaboration.

Sharing the same view on any given issue should be blameless, as in the "Hitler was an anti-smoker" example. Working together towards a common goal requires a more delicate balancing of the overall good to be achieved and the costs of association.

I would rather grudgingly work in common cause with someone who holds some distasteful views but whose views overlap with mine 1/3 to half of the time(a range I would assume covers much of the compatibility of libtertarians and conservatives), than to see someone like Obama (with whom I agree under 10% of the time) succeed in his efforts to radically transform our nation.

Finally, the standards for Presidential appointments are higher than for anything else, and rightly so.
9.8.2009 5:11pm
Ilya Somin:
But, doesn't one have to worry about being tarred with the same brush? If Obama is accused of 'palling around' with unsavory types by his opponents, don't you think libertarians run the risk of being accused of doing the same with racists, fundamentalists, etc?

The risk certainly exists. But it has to be weighed on a case by case basis against the possible benefits of an alliance. Moreover, not all potentially unsavory political allies are as bad as racists or certain fundamentalists.
9.8.2009 5:14pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Sasha:

Then, what kind of active cooperation does Ilya have in mind?

Years ago, when my older sister had spent most of her adult life as a Republican insider, she asked me why I found the party so objectionable - despite agreeing with some Republican views (back before Bush). I answered that we have, really, only two viable parties in this country. I look at the Dems and see who their wingnuts are; I look at the Reps and see who their wingnuts are. I am more afraid of and repulsed by the latter.

I think a strong libertarian movement is a good thing [though, again, I am not a card-holder]. Why mess it up even being seen as 'cooperating' with someone like Beck?

Along the same lines: A.C. notes the mess of the Democratic party. But look what courting the religious right and the xenophobes has done to the Republican party.
9.8.2009 5:16pm
NOTatoddlerkiller (mail):

I, for one, am very strongly against the murdering of toddlers, and I don't care who agrees with me about it.



You're good people Bob, that makes two of us who aren't in any way associated to Hitler and Stalin. Though I do like breathing....oh crap. They do that to?
9.8.2009 5:17pm
ChrisTS (mail):
TMK:

My point was more general than anything about Obama. I think Ilya has offered a more pertinent response. I'm just not persuaded (see above); in particular, I cannot imagine why any intellectually serious libertarian would ever want to be linked to Beck.
9.8.2009 5:19pm
NOTatoddlerkiller (mail):


I look at the Dems and see who their wingnuts are; I look at the Reps and see who their wingnuts are. I am more afraid of and repulsed by the latter.




Good to know that there are people like you who vote based on the views of the people who will never hold power and you will rarely find in the ballot. Do you by any chance live in a Tim Burton movie? Because you live your life as if you're surrounded by bogeymen.
9.8.2009 5:20pm
ChrisTS (mail):
You're good people Bob, that makes two of us who aren't in any way associated to Hitler and Stalin. Though I do like breathing....oh crap. They do that to?

Well, not recently.
9.8.2009 5:20pm
rick.felt:
Such coalitions also suffer fragmentation upon success, as we see with the current situation of the Democrat party.

Pointing out the latent fissures in the majority is a favorite pastime of the minority. Back when the GOP was the majority party, liberals consoled themselves by pointing out the fissures within the coalition. The bigger the tent, the more clowns underneath it.

That reminds me: what happened to those folks who were pushing that absurd "Liberaltarian" thing? Could you please raise your hands so that I can laugh heartily at you?
9.8.2009 5:20pm
JohnK (mail):
An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the person" or "argument against the person") is an argument which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of a person advocating the premise.

In the end, that is the only defense they can mount for Jones. They know he is a hustler, pseudo Marxist economic halfwit who has no more business in a position of power than the crazy old lady at the laundramat. So instead of defend the indefensible, they scream RACIST and attack the source of the attack. Who cares that Glen Beck is not a nice guy? Was the tapes he played of Jones faked?
9.8.2009 5:21pm
Suzy (mail):
I don't think the danger comes from happening to share a view with certain extremists. Rather, it's that a) the like-minded people in this case tend not to give any arguments for their views at all, and do not respond in reasonable ways to direct, factual contradiction of their assertions, and b) the views in question are, for these parties, closely bound to other offensive and unjustified claims. So when you argue for similar conclusions, you risk being mistaken for someone who shares the same lack of concern for truth, and it becomes more difficult to determine why you have taken up a banner that is being used right now in other hands to advance a troubling agenda.

In the abstract, the issue of the "czars" and their role in the administration could be taken up fruitfully, and I'd probably even agree with your conclusions based on what you've said do far. Against the specific backdrop of people claiming that Obama's administration is like a fascist or tyrannical regime, however, it's something different to fret about "czars" seizing unwarranted authority. It raises the question of whether you, like these extremists, think that the "czars" are part of some scary power grab, complete with Nazi allusions, concerns about indoctrinating the children with socialist speeches, and so forth. It's sort of like this: I'm pro-life, but I'm not going to argue for particular talking points that I know are presently being used by the same extremists that condone bombing clinics, and in general I'm going to take caution to distinguish my views and methods from their morally pernicious ones.
9.8.2009 5:23pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Not a Toddler Killer:

No, I vote based on the candidate and her/his likely work in the office.

Perhaps I should have noted that my sister's query was based in part on my having voted for Republicans on occasion.

However, it is a fact that most politicians will eventually have to pay their masters; if enough of the masters - or the really rabble-rousing ones - are scary, that might be reason to keep one's eyes on the wings.
9.8.2009 5:23pm
JohnK (mail):
If someone you find unsavory makes a valid argument, are you then somehow obligated to disavow that argument because it was made by the wrong person? That seems pretty crazy. Either Jones needed to go or he didn't. The source of arguments for his needing to go really have nothing to do with it.
9.8.2009 5:24pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Thank you, Suzy, for articulating my point more clearly than I, apparently, have done.
9.8.2009 5:25pm
ChrisTS (mail):
JohnK:

Is ayone arguing that Jones should not have stepped down? One could, but that is not what is being discussed, here, as far as I can tell.

By the by, he is a hustler, pseudo Marxist economic halfwit who has no more business in a position of power than the crazy old lady at the laundramat could be read as an ad hominem argument.
9.8.2009 5:28pm
neurodoc:
ChrisTS: If Obama is accused of 'palling around' with unsavory types by his opponents, don't you think libertarians run the risk of being accused of doing the same with racists, fundamentalists, etc?
Wouldn't it depend on what can be counted as "palling around"?

Anybody here been "'palling around' with Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh? Who, and how did they go about the 'palling around'? Did they communicate directly with one another, as I imagine is at a minimum a requirement for 'palling around' generally? Did they discuss matters of any consequence, rather than talking about the stock market or sports results? Was there anything like a priest-penitent relationship, with one party a politically radical, arguably racist and antisemitic, pastor of a large church and the other someone attracted to that church by pastor, with the pastor later officiating over the congregant's marriage and the petitioner present for sermons filled with politically incendiary material?

Anybody can be accused of anything, the question is will the accusations have some truth to them or be flat out bogus. Who are you associating with, and what is the nature of your association with them, which takes in to what ends you have associated with them, those are what all need to be taken into account.
9.8.2009 5:28pm
bloodstar (mail) (www):
I still don't understand this idea that Conservatives and Libertarians should be some sort of allied group. To me conservatism is everything that is opposed by libertarianism. (Particularly "Big Government" Conservatism as currently the flavor of the day in most republican circles).

Ironically the Democrats are a better fit, as they're already a coalition of groups and it makes more sense to try to work to pick off a few groups and work with them on core issues that matter more to Libertarians. Right now, Big Government Conservatism has the vast majority of the Republican party under it's control, and Libertarians really are going to be nothing more than a very small, and compared to the birthers and conspiracy theorists already rampant through the Republican Party, a not very vocal or noticed one.

Add to it the idea that really, I'm sick and tired of being used by the Republican Party, and at least with the Democrats, there's a chance that somehow some civil liberties may actually survive. So really, until I actually see some willingness for the Republican Party to step away from their big government ways and actually put their money where their mouth is, I'll go my own way and continue working with people who actually live in the same reality as I do where the President really is a US citizen.

As it stands now, i look at the Republican party and think to myself, "Palin/Cheney 2012: The Mayans were on to something." (with apologies to the person who came up with the original quote)
9.8.2009 5:30pm
JohnK (mail):
"By the by, he is a hustler, pseudo Marxist economic halfwit who has no more business in a position of power than the crazy old lady at the laundramat could be read as an ad hominem argument."

No. It is the truth. Read Green Collar Jobs sometime. It is nothing but a several hundred page exposition of the broken window fallacy. The person who wrote that is an economic halfwit. Jones was originally an avowed Marxist who now claims not to be a Marxist but to view environmentalism as a vehicle for enacting socialist policies. That would make him very much a pseudo Marxist. He also admits to attending Yale Law School over Harvard because Yale didn't give grades and would allow him time to in his words raise hell rather than study. That would make him a hustler in my view.

There is nothing ad hominem about what I am saying. I am not attacking his arguments by attacking him. I am attacking him directly by pointing out how crazy his ideas are.
9.8.2009 5:32pm
wfjag:

But, doesn't one have to worry about being tarred with the same brush? If Obama is accused of 'palling around' with unsavory types by his opponents, don't you think libertarians run the risk of being accused of doing the same with racists, fundamentalists, etc?

In case you hadn't noticed, people who question the President or his associations or his policies are accused of a great many things by his apologists. There have been those who have rather strongly implied that anyone having any disagreement with any policy proposed by this administration, or anyone questioning of any advisor or appointee of this adminstration is motivated by racism. Kleiman, himself, appears rather quick on the draw on the race card.

Admittedly, there are opponents of the administration who are quick on the draw, too.

However, in terms of who to ally with on an issue or cause, I believe that Sir Winston Churchill provided the best guidance. When asked if he would make a deal with the devil to defeat Hitler, he replied "If the Hell declared war on Nazi Germany, I'm sure I could find it in my heart to say a few kind words about 'Old Scratch' before the House of Commons."
9.8.2009 5:33pm
David Hecht (mail):
Reagan gave one of the best answers to this question during his first run for governor. Asked how he responded to the endorsement of some really far-out group (Birchers or Klansmen, I believe), he responded "When they endorse me, they're accepting my views. I'm not accepting their views!"
9.8.2009 5:40pm
byomtov (mail):
Good to know that there are people like you who vote based on the views of the people who will never hold power and you will rarely find in the ballot.

Are you seriously suggesting that wingnuts don't hold significant power in the GOP? Republican politicians who criticize Limbaugh are forced to crawl and apologize. Coulter has the following of a rock star, and Hannity and Beck are also very popular among conservative voters. Just because they don't run for office doesn't mean they don't wield considerable power.

And IMO there are plenty of wingnuts who do hold office and have been serious candidates.
9.8.2009 5:40pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I think it says a lot more about Kleiman (none of it particularly good) than you, that you felt it necessary to post this.


Ditto. I wonder if in the course of writing about how "insane" and nasty his political opponent's "fellow-travelers" supposedly are if someone ever said to Mark Kleiman "try looking in the mirror once in a while?"
9.8.2009 5:42pm
ChrisTS (mail):
neurodoc:

Yes, I think that was Sasha's point.

wfjag:

So, tu quogue?

Look, my point was and is that intellectually serious libertarians - people who, as Suzy observes, value reasoning and reasons - should not 'actively cooperate' with people who are screaming fanatics.

I'm really not sure why this is such a contentious point. You might disagree with me about the danger of strange bedfellows, but I happen to think it is a genuine danger if one's bedfellows are irrational ranters rather than people with 'similar ideas.'

And, as long as I am it, I agree with bloodstar (??) that this alliance is an especially unfortunate one for libertarians. Once again, look at the Republican Party. Do libertarians really want to ally with the fringe elements that have driven/are driving it into extinction?
9.8.2009 5:44pm
Melancton Smith:

My point was more general than anything about Obama. I think Ilya has offered a more pertinent response. I'm just not persuaded (see above); in particular, I cannot imagine why any intellectually serious libertarian would ever want to be linked to Beck.


I suppose I am not an "intellectually serious libertarian" because of all of the pundits on both sides, I like him best. I don't care for his "End of Days" type things, not being religious myself. However, he is very populist...much less statist than, say Bill O'Reilly. He is much of an asshat than Olberman and Hannity are.
9.8.2009 5:48pm
ChrisTS (mail):
MSMITH:

That is illogical. I did not suggest - nor does what I wrote - entail that someone who does 'like' Beck is not an intellectually serious libertarian.

By the way, what is the distinction between calling someone an 'a-hat' and an 'a-hole,' if any? (Or is the former just the currently preferred term?)
9.8.2009 5:57pm
Ben P:

Is ayone arguing that Jones should not have stepped down? One could, but that is not what is being discussed, here, as far as I can tell.



I think no one argues it because nearly everyone is in agreement. Not because of Jone's views, but because of his effect.

From the beginning I could really care less about the Jones story, "oh, so Obama has another person with some crazy opinions advising him, that's a shocker." I see the move to remove him as being entirely legit, but equally driven by the desire to stick it to Obama.

I think most people on the other side of the aisle aren't defending jones because it's just not a fight they're concerned about. If he's drawing fire, and he's not important in any real way, he's more of a liability than an asset and there's no real reason to keep him.
9.8.2009 6:18pm
Melancton Smith:

By the way, what is the distinction between calling someone an 'a-hat' and an 'a-hole,' if any? (Or is the former just the currently preferred term?)


There is no difference...why do you ask?
9.8.2009 6:18pm
sk (mail):
Blech. You are either a snob, or you are allowing your enemies to define you.
Every movement has a wide range of viewpoints. Michael Moore is an important part of the Democratic Party-he sat with Carter at the convention a few years ago, after all. He's also a nut. Jones is a Marxist, distasteful lunatic. He was also a Czar to the President until his words were actually quoted in the media. There's Molly Ives, and Olbermann, and dozens of others. Nevertheless, they make up part of the Democratic Party establishment.
And so with Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, and religious conservatives. You don't have to agree with everything they say, you don't have to endorse anything, and can even feel that some of them are unacceptable (apparently, unlike the Democrat's views towards Jones). But if you think you can have any type of political movement made up of nothing but elitist university professors, you are simply not a serious person. You are simply one of those Swiftian cloud dwellers. Peggy Noonan would welcome you.
If, on the other hand, you are simply spouting your disdain in order to please the Kleiman's of the world, well, you've conceded initiative to him. It is preposterous that, in the face of removing a left-wing nut from power, Kleiman has convinced you to....renounce right-wing nuts, (rather than you convincing him to admit that Jones was in fact a left-wing nut), you have lost. Classic misdirection (If I get caught stealing candy, and say, 'Yeah, but my brother broke a window yesterday', and dad goes after brother, DAD GOT SCHOOLED. Are you being schooled?)

So which is it? Are you too smart for the conservative populists-unwilling to dirty your hands by contacting the intellectual lower classes? Or are you being schooled?

In any event: I don't know much about Beck, but he was clearly and unambiguously right with respect to Jones: it is a very good thing for our society that he has his show, and was able to stop the MSM from killing a legitimate story. Coulter is crude but funny. Limbaugh is far far better than his critics accuse him of being. And the religious right really isn't that bad-even if not many of them went to the Ivy League.

Sk
9.8.2009 6:21pm
NOTatoddlerkiller (mail):
Mark Kleiman was a professor of mine at UCLA. Professor bloggers are like Jekkyl and Hyde sometimes. Why his online persona is that of an a-hole baffles me.
9.8.2009 6:22pm
Joan in Juneau (mail):
Let's see... we have Beck, Rush, etc here and Obie and Colmes there. All have been right at times and all have been wrong at times. We need to use our own minds and make then up according to what we feel is right and not be sheep to anyone. BTW, I do not watch tv or listen to them on radio.

I get more value from discussions such as this than from any of the talking heads. I rather view them all as sermonizing.

As far as parties, they all have their extremists.. Pelosi, Franken, Bachmann and Cheney.

My problem with the csars is not the name for me but the people put in these positions as all seem to be either extremely to the left, tax evaders, or people most see as someone that needed paid off for helping with winning the eletion, like the unions. He came into office with a superior air about himself and then started adding czars right and left. If he would have stopped at say 10 or so, would have been different than 30+ in the minds of most people.

Personally, would rather go with a no party system and top vote getter is Pres and 2nd is VP, popular vote and do away with the electoral college too. Not sure why everyone feels they need a label or to fit into a certain little round or square hole to feel good about themselves.
9.8.2009 6:26pm
purplekoolaid (mail):
This seems like a no-brainer.
Another example is the communist party endorsing Obama for president.
9.8.2009 6:28pm
ArthurKirkland:
The term liberaltarians strikes me as no more strange than self-described "libertarians" comfortable in a pack heavily influenced by gay-bashing, marijuana-criminalizing, creationism-peddling, surveillance-loving, speech-banning, abstinence-only, Fourth Amendment-hating conservatives.

In a two-party system, the forced coalitions make strange bedfellows (educated, successful, worldly economic conservatives with young-earth religious fundamentalists, for example, or anti-war youth with old-time union members).

Over time, as successive generations become less tolerant of racism and homophobia and xenophobia, the Republican Party seems likely to confront difficult choices with respect to its Robertson-Dobson-Perkins element. Certain demographic trends, if they continue, will create similar pressure on the party.

The trick for old-line Republicans (educated fiscal conservatives favoring small government and disfavoring religious fundamentalism) will be to fashion a way to advance their traditional arguments in a manner that attracts current Democrats and does not rely on the religious right. The trick for Democrats will be to prevent that from occurring -- or to simply ride out demographic waves as whites become less numerous and bigotry erodes. The fissures to come might even generate a legitimate third party.

I'd like to see a party that emphasizes rewarding work, skill, reason and sensible risk-taking. The party that comes closest to that platform will get my support (barring unlikely wild cards such as torture, but I am hopeful we are washing that problem out of our system).
9.8.2009 6:39pm
BGates:
as whites become less numerous and bigotry erodes

Are you suggesting a causal relationship there?
9.8.2009 6:52pm
SenatorX (mail):
I still don't understand this idea that Conservatives and Libertarians should be some sort of allied group. To me conservatism is everything that is opposed by libertarianism. (Particularly "Big Government" Conservatism as currently the flavor of the day in most republican circles).

The "Big Government" trend is indeed a source of friction but there are still fiscal conservatives around, somewhere...! But also there are some other grounds for agreement between these two groups. As an atheist I might not be the best person to say this but I think some Christian teachings of Jesus help line up the conservatives with the libertarians. Specifically the focus on individual salvation and choice (how else do you go to heaven or hell if not by your free choices?). You could also add in the right to teach your children the religion you want instead of having the State pull a brave new world. I also think there is also an argument to be made for the Rule of Law in conservatism. Now I wouldn't say I like conservatives and I certainly don't want to hang around with any in my personal life, but there are many common themes that libertarians and conservatives agree on that make sense for a political alliance. If we could get them to drop big government and mixing religion and state though...
9.8.2009 6:58pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
Well said AK. The issue is a personal one really, whether in your own perception (if you favor liberty) you believe the R or the D will do better for you (either in the short term or long term). I suspect Prof. Somin takes the long-term view in favor of R because of the way the D's disrespect property rights in particular, his field. ?
9.8.2009 7:06pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
Perhaps I'm projecting, since I've considered that one of the long-term pros for the R side. (or at least it used to be)
9.8.2009 7:09pm
c.gray (mail):

ver time, as successive generations become less tolerant of racism and homophobia and xenophobia, the Republican Party seems likely to confront difficult choices with respect to its Robertson-Dobson-Perkins element


Sigh.

For all the whining in some quarters about the Religious Right, they seem far less interested in actually forcing me to live according to the dictates of their religion than the Greens. This is doubly annoying since some Green leaders (Al "my home office requires a heated swimming pool" Gore) are pretty much uninterested in following those dictates themselves.

Most Christian wingnuts would be pretty much content with a tax right off for sending their kids to a church-run school.

But sure, Pat "I got 20% of the Republican Primary Vote" Robertson, and Mike "Hey I got the same 20%" Huckabee are the REAL problem. Whatever.
9.8.2009 7:19pm
MarkField (mail):
While I think there's some truth to this post, some metaphors come to mind: riding the tiger, wolf by the ears, etc.

Let's not forget that Hitler only got 1/3 of the popular vote and got into power because the conservatives who thought they could control him were, well, wrong.
9.8.2009 7:19pm
ArthurKirkland:

as whites become less numerous and bigotry erodes

Are you suggesting a causal relationship there?


Had not thought about it. I was referring to two distinct trends.

First, for at least 40 years, each successive generation of Americans has been less racist, less bigoted toward gays, less comfortable with discrimination against women, etc., than its predecessors. This is likely to be a major factor in political affiliation for decades.

Second, the demographic trend toward larger proportional non-white population, if it continues, seems likely to influence political affiliation (unless the Republicans lose the elements that handicap them with non-whites).

Two different issues, I'd say, although they might be related.
9.8.2009 7:20pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
ChrisTS:

By the way, what is the distinction between calling someone an 'a-hat' and an 'a-hole,' if any? (Or is the former just the currently preferred term?)


I prefer "Virtus asine" myself. Translates as "Gallant ass."
9.8.2009 7:22pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Suzy:


I'm pro-life, but I'm not going to argue for particular talking points that I know are presently being used by the same extremists that condone bombing clinics, and in general I'm going to take caution to distinguish my views and methods from their morally pernicious ones.


I'm pro-life and I arrived at that view after careful thought. If an abortion clinic bomber happens to voice the same train of thought I had, I'm not going to abandon my own reasoning as a result. If I'd derived my opinion from a person who turned out to be a clinic bomber I'd take a good hard look at them, but as it is, I got there by myself and I'm sticking.

That's kind of the problem with being too squeamish about agreeing with people like Beck or even Michael Moore (as if) - if they are speaking truth, then you have to put aside the truth. Then you've left the path. Better not to be an opinion snob, IMO.
9.8.2009 7:33pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I think one if the issues in collaborating with those who hold very different ideas ought, in part, be an exercise in humility. Not one of us can say for certainty that our ideology is perfect, and that agreement with us is something which should be the measure of how correct somebody is politically.

Political collaboration carries with it two elements-- one is mutual dialog and finding of common ground and the other is alliance in common causes. In reality both elements are important and one thing lacking in current health care debates for example is real dialog. Both are productive even in cases where one might not initially find much common ground.

ChrisTS:

"Virtus asine" if I am saying it to someone's face, "virtus asinus" if I am saying it behind their back. Other case endings may vary.
9.8.2009 7:37pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
I think Ilya's post is sensible and well-reasoned. Limiting political alliances, much less casual associations, to people and groups we have no serious disagreements with would render politics impossible. Obama was and continues to be flogged by ridiculous accusations of guilt by association. The tactic is no more legitimate when it's used against Ilya or the other bloggers.

Of course there are people whose casual associations do hint at a more nefarious coincidence of purpose than they'd like to admit. But all we can do without throwing the baby out with the bathwater is ask them to clarify their positions one at a time. The ones with secret sympathies will expose themselves by evasion and obfuscation.
9.8.2009 7:37pm
Melancton Smith:

First, for at least 40 years, each successive generation of Americans has been less racist, less bigoted toward gays, less comfortable with discrimination against women, etc., than its predecessors. This is likely to be a major factor in political affiliation for decades.


Agreed. Until the Republican party decides to renounce prying into our bedrooms, they'll have a tough time. And I'm a fan of Palin, Huckabee, and Beck. The Republican party needs to get over this gay thing.

It is true that the Greens sin in similar ways, but they don't run counter to the younger demographic.
9.8.2009 7:40pm
ArthurKirkland:
I believe it is broader than an issue regarding gays.

Republicans are seen as courting racist whites, which offends young people (when my daughter read recently that some Southern college football teams were segregated 40 years ago, she was stunned and appalled, even angry at people who allowed it to occur on their watch). They are seen as opposing science and reason to promote dogma, a poor selling point with a generation that laughs aloud (again, with a measure of disbelief) when told of blue laws and Prohibition.

Today's young people (especially the better-educated) are not about to take to the streets to protest these points, but they seem likely to refrain from affiliation with an organization seen as hostile to gays, women, minorities, the educated, etc.

It's the Southern Strategy in reverse gear, and it creates a severe issue for the Republican Party. And for those who believe our system functions best with two functioning parties.
9.8.2009 8:24pm
Melancton Smith:
I don't see the Republicans courting racist whites. I see Republicans disagreeing with Liberal agenda and being cast as Racist.
9.8.2009 8:36pm
neurodoc:
Leo Marvin: Obama was and continues to be flogged by ridiculous accusations of guilt by association.
I will allow that might be said where Van Jones is concerned. And it is arguable how close Obama ever was to Ayers. But do you maintain it was all "ridiculous accusation of guilt by association" with Wright, there being no legitimate issues/concerns about that personal relationship?
9.8.2009 8:55pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Melancton Smith: yes.


(when my daughter read recently that some Southern college football teams were segregated 40 years ago, she was stunned and appalled, even angry at people who allowed it to occur on their watch)


Is your daughter of the opinion that Southern states had Republican governments 40 years ago? I remember hearing about Ross Barnett, governor of Mississippi, and how hard he tried to keep James Meredith from entering Ole Miss. Barnett was a Democrat.


They are seen as opposing science and reason to promote dogma....


I can't help what other people see me as doing, if they don't ask and don't listen.
9.8.2009 8:58pm
Derrick (mail):
I don't see the Republicans courting racist whites. I see Republicans disagreeing with Liberal agenda and being cast as Racist.


Oh never! You would never hear of a Republican Congresswoman, say, reving up sort by encouraging a "Great White Hope". Or the frequent outings of Republicans passing around emails equating the President to a monkey, or him surrounded by KFC and food stamps. That would never happen.
9.8.2009 9:07pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

Geiger released the following statement on Jenkins' behalf: "There's no doubt the Republican Party has gone through some dark and challenging times in recent years, but thankfully bright young leaders have stepped up to lead the party into the future and she hopes to be a part of it. That was the intent of her comments — nothing more and nothing less. Congresswoman Jenkins apologizes for her choice of words.


Great White Hope

Let me know when the (Democrat) Congressional Black Caucus explains how excluding Steve Cohen for being white wasn't meant to be racist.
9.8.2009 9:24pm
Jim Miller (mail) (www):
It is amusing to see people who belong to the same party as Al Sharpton does worrying about racism in the other party. People who have those worries might want to review the line about beams and motes.

(It is easy to find more examples, starting, for instance, with Reverend Jeremiah Wright.)

By the way Al Sharpton's party also had some rather aggressive poll watchers in Philadelphia in the last election -- but that doesn't seem to bother many Democrats, either. As I recall, one of those poll watchers even posted something about killing people of a different color.
9.8.2009 9:27pm
BGates:
the frequent outings of Republicans passing around emails equating the President to a monkey

One, "frequent"?
Two, remember the good old days of 2001-08, when passing around emails equating the President to a monkey was the highest form of patriotism?
9.8.2009 9:55pm
ArthurKirkland:

I don't see the Republicans courting racist whites. I see Republicans disagreeing with Liberal agenda and being cast as Racist.

Perhaps the young, lacking experience, misinterpret e-mails from Republican Party officials concerning new federal 'watermelon and fried chicken programs' or 'jungle Obama' depictions, or pleas for a 'great white hope.'

Is your daughter of the opinion that Southern states had Republican governments 40 years ago? I remember hearing about Ross Barnett, governor of Mississippi, and how hard he tried to keep James Meredith from entering Ole Miss. Barnett was a Democrat.

I haven't discussed it with her, but she has taken a number of history and political science courses, so she is probably familiar with the South's party realignment in connection with the Southern Strategy.

They are seen as opposing science and reason to promote dogma....
I can't help what other people see me as doing, if they don't ask and don't listen.

Here's some help (vol. 1)
Here's some help (vol. 2)
Here's some help (vol. 3)
Here's some help (vol. 4)
Here's some help (vol. 5)
Here's some help (vol. 6)
Here's some help (vol. 7)
9.8.2009 10:03pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

an internal investigation found that she had violated the Code of Federal Regulations under Use of Nonpublic Information and Basic Obligation of Public Service, Appearance of Preferential Treatment, although the investigation found no evidence of illegal activity.



... Huh? Is violating the CFR not illegal? How can you find that someone has violated the law without finding evidence of illegal activity?

Your "help" impresses me not. Do you want me to look for examples among the Democrats? How about if I look for articles about groups as biased as the UCS?

As for the Southern strategy, if that's what drove the South into the arms of the Democratic party in the 1960's, I'm not terribly impressed with it either.
9.8.2009 10:13pm
BGates:
They are seen as opposing science and reason to promote dogma

Like the Democrat Senator who said she can feel the result of global warming in the form of "increased volatility" in the air when she's flying? How about the "fire can't melt steel" crowd? Where did the Green Jobs comissar come down on nuclear power?
9.8.2009 10:24pm
Ken Arromdee:
I think one if the issues in collaborating with those who hold very different ideas ought, in part, be an exercise in humility. Not one of us can say for certainty that our ideology is perfect, and that agreement with us is something which should be the measure of how correct somebody is politically.

I think that my ideology that says that AIDS isn't a creation by whites to kill off all the blacks is pretty close to certainty. I think you can come up with similar examples.
9.8.2009 10:31pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
neurodoc,

But do you maintain it was all "ridiculous accusation of guilt by association" with Wright, there being no legitimate issues/concerns about that personal relationship?

Yes. I'm close friends with some very good people who believe things I consider repugnant, and which qualify them as extremists (from both ends of the political spectrum). I'd probably have to revisit some of those relationships if those people acted on the worst of their beliefs, but it wouldn't meet my definition of friendship to so just because they have and express them.

In other words, I qualify as both a left and right wing extremist by dint of associations at least as long as, and arguably closer than Obama's was to Wright. How much sense does that make? I suspect many people who play the guilt by association game likewise apply a standard they themselves couldn't pass.
9.8.2009 10:40pm
ArthurKirkland:
If the Dover monkey trial and the Texas schoolbook massacre don't help someone recognize that dogma-based rejection of science and reason exposes Republicans to ridicule among today's teenagers and young adults, I suppose nothing could.

Even if one believes that the Thomas More Law Center was right about Dover, and that the Republicans nudging creationism into Texas schoolbooks are, well, doing God's work, it still seems to require an immense lack of self-awareness to miss the point that today's young people view those crusades the way they regard racism, homophobia and discrimination against women.
9.8.2009 10:41pm
Suzy (mail):

I'm pro-life and I arrived at that view after careful thought. If an abortion clinic bomber happens to voice the same train of thought I had, I'm not going to abandon my own reasoning as a result.


Sure, but you're talking about the reasoning that led you to a particular position. I'm talking about arguing for "particular talking points that I know are presently being used by the same extremists", which is something different. On the average day, a discussion of this "czar" issue might be interesting. On a day when it's one of the big talking points for everyone who opposes the President's agenda, including the extremists and those who simply blab without supporting arguments, it becomes suspicious. Who are these "czars", who made these roles in the exec. branch, were these people confirmed by the Senate after all, and why are so many people on the right talking about them now? I don't think there's anything wrong with Prof. Somin's position, but it shouldn't be a surprise that people will lump him in with these other more extreme commentators, when he chooses to take up the same banner they do, at the same time, in a similar way.
9.8.2009 11:47pm
AlanDownunder (mail):
@Alex:

Surely one can uphold libertarian ideals without buying into the GOP craziness (eg the "czar" talking point, the climate change denialism, the Sotomayor affirmative action, the neocon bellicosity). If the Dems are the enemy of the rational as well as the absurd, why not just tackle them on a rational basis?

If you're only an economic libertarian and none of the GOP's criminal law overreach, social prohibitions, invasions of privacy or executive power grabs bother you, why claim to be a true libertarian?

@Joan in Juneau:

As far as parties, they all have their extremists.. Pelosi, Franken, Bachmann and Cheney.

In all other advanced democracies, Pelosi &Franken would be regarded as right wing moderates. A lot of Americans need to get out more.
9.9.2009 12:07am
BGates:
Alan, that's just insane. I feel sorry for you that you believe what you wrote.
9.9.2009 12:36am
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

Oh never! You would never hear of a Republican Congresswoman, say, reving up sort by encouraging a "Great White Hope". Or the frequent outings of Republicans passing around emails equating the President to a monkey, or him surrounded by KFC and food stamps. That would never happen.

Boo-fricking hoo. I only take offense to the comparison of Blacks to monkeys, because it is a terrible misunderstanding of Evolution; they are not less evolved than other human sub-groups, they are differently evolved.

Now, do the other stereotypes have a basis in reality? Of course they do. Do Blacks proportionally use welfare and food stamps more than the native population? Of course, and we've known the reason why for a long time, since Murray's 1994 work. Do they enjoy KFC and starchy fried foodstuffs more than others? They do, (see this Youtube video here and I'm really fascinated to find out where that predilection comes from. Yeah, yeah, take offense all you want, but all you're doing in stifling ordinary discourse to an unconscionable extent; if it isn't depraved to joke about the Irish or the Polish or a Welshman, why the differing and egregious standard here? Are you actually helping Blacks by taking offense for them within your bizarre status games?

And what's wrong with praying for the next Great White Hope anyway? What do you think the track record of Black politicians is, do you think that fear of their control is irrational? I recently read the comments section of an NYT article describing the newest "affordable housing" NY State scheme, where a Black woman who had worked herself into the affected neighborhood expressed her deep opposition to the plan -- is that racism too? I personally hope that Whites continue to govern in the United States for a long time -- as if they were some nefarious cabal -- because they aren't encouraged to partake in ethnic nepotism and excused for bad political judgment like other demographics are. Of course, that doesn't make me politically correct, but I think that there are too many of people willing to see the United States, greatest nation on Earth, wane only because the truth is tough to express sometimes.

Most conservatives I've met haven't a racist bone in their bodies in any case. Now perhaps there's some self-selection bias here. But when I journey home, and step again outside my class, to attend a church sermon or a high school football game, I notice the races comingling quite easily. In the South, as certainly in the North, Whites and Blacks inhabit different social milieus, but when they do they interact they do so as brothers. Research shows the supposedly racist deep South is actually the most integrated, and what drives social division is really freely chosen self-selection -- as any reasonable interlocutor should relate -- and that reality is not amenable to government fiat. To change this would require remedy of the underlying deficits, the nature of which transformed CCNY from nowhere into a Jewish intellectual powerhouse and enabled them to enter the upper-crust class which similarly discriminated against them. It's about time liberals fully grasped reality, ugly as it is, if they in fact want to change the world.
9.9.2009 1:45am
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
That last post was hurried and rushed, so I guess I'll conduct whatever hazy thesis that was in there into two points:

1) What does it matter if a rhetorical point is offensive, if it's true?

2) If it isn't, shouldn't we be policing offensive rhetoric equally, according to its egregiousness?
9.9.2009 1:50am
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
"Conduct" --> "Condense".
9.9.2009 1:50am
jordan 6 rings (mail) (www):
This is a great piece. Very thought provoking. I like the sort of ending that leaves it opn to personal input. Makes it work for just about everyone I think. Nicely done! I'll subscribe.
9.9.2009 3:04am
Ricardo (mail):
Cato the Elder, how do you feel about caricatures depicting Jews as wealthy bankers or lawyers with longer-than-average noses? Some things are taboo not because the underlying stereotypes do not have some statistical support behind them but because these caricatures have an extremely ugly history behind them. When actually viewed by the intended audience they will be seen not as playful exaggerations but something much more sinister.

What does Barack Obama -- who last year earned over $1 million in income and was slammed by the McCain campaign for his supposedly elitist taste in food -- have to do with KFC and food stamps? Other than the fact that he is black -- and even then only by half. That's the point: people are individuals.
9.9.2009 3:04am
supra shoes (mail) (www):
Nice work guys!
this is just Amazing!
Thanks
9.9.2009 3:05am
Quixotic (mail):
I doubt that Ilya Somin has any idea of the extent to which his continuous references to "dubious" right-wing figures such as Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh approaches parody (or self-parody) of the T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII
variety. Each one of these individuals has contributed far more to the cause of liberty in America than the vain and pompous Ilya Somin has, or ever will.
9.9.2009 3:28am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

If the Dover monkey trial and the Texas schoolbook massacre don't help someone recognize that dogma-based rejection of science and reason exposes Republicans to ridicule among today's teenagers and young adults, I suppose nothing could.


If you want to take individual events in this great nation and tie them to 40% of the population, I suppose nothing will stop you. It's not logical reasoning, but whatever.


Even if one believes that the Thomas More Law Center was right about Dover, and that the Republicans nudging creationism into Texas schoolbooks are, well, doing God's work, it still seems to require an immense lack of self-awareness to miss the point that today's young people view those crusades the way they regard racism, homophobia and discrimination against women.


You think today's young people give a rip about creationism/evolution? These are all grownup battles.
9.9.2009 8:31am
rick.felt:
Some things are taboo not because the underlying stereotypes do not have some statistical support behind them but because these caricatures have an extremely ugly history behind them.

Agreed, and I wouldn't use racial stereotypes to criticize Obama. But I can see why it would be tempting to throw everything at Obama, including racial stereotypes. If you criticize the man on policy grounds you're going to be accused of racism anyway, so why hold back?

Still, I won't defend any KFC/watermelon/Sambo ridicule of Obama. It's just wrong. But the monkey stuff? The left spent eight years comparing Bush to monkeys, baboons, and chimps. I recall thinking at the time that yeah, Bush looks a little like a monkey, but when we get a black president we'll probably be able to find a few monkeys who he looks like, and the left is going to scream bloody murder when we do. Now, the left can shut it. As long-time Obama mentor and Obama Bus Tire Mark Club charter member Jeremiah Wright would say, the left's chickensssssssssss are coming home to rooooooooooossssssstttt.
9.9.2009 9:11am
EcoLawyer:
The last Republican who left the office of the presidency with the federal public debt as a percentage of GDP less than when he entered was Richard Nixon (FY 1975). The last Republican who left the office of the presidency with a federal deficit less than 2.7% of GDP was Dwight Eisenhower (FY 1961). Since WW II no Democratic president has ever left office with the federal public debt as a percentage of GDP more than when he entered. And since WW II no Democratic president has ever left office with a federal deficit more than 2.6% of GDP.

We already have at least one party of fiscal responsibility. It's called the Democratic Party.
9.9.2009 9:32am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Really, "Quixotic"? What cause has Ann Coulter ever contributed to, besides her own bank account?
9.9.2009 10:01am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
quixotic:

I doubt that Ilya Somin has any idea of the extent to which his continuous references to "dubious" right-wing figures such as Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh approaches parody (or self-parody) of the T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII variety. Each one of these individuals has contributed far more to the cause of liberty in America than the vain and pompous Ilya Somin has, or ever will.


Your comment and the article you cite do a nice job of capturing the current state of the GOP.

T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII is Iowahawk's parody of William F. Buckley Jr. Iowahawk essentially celebrates the fact that Limbaugh is (in a way) filling Buckley's shoes in the GOP. I have common ground with Iowahawk, since I also celebrate that fact. And I celebrate the fact that there are conservatives like you and Iowahawk who celebrate that fact.

According to his son, William F. Buckley said this:

I've spent my entire lifetime separating the Right from the kooks


Iowahawk's article is a nice reminder that Buckley lost that battle.

The perfect counterpart to Iowahawk is Richard Posner, who said this:

I sense intellectual deterioration of the once-vital conservative movement … My theme is the intellectual decline of conservatism, and it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings. … By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party. … the conservative movement is at its lowest ebb since 1964.


Posner is lamenting precisely what Iowahawk is celebrating. And I think the future will bring Iowahawk more and more reasons to celebrate. For example, "28% of Republicans don't believe Obama was born in America." (And another 30% say "not sure;" only 42% say "yes," in answer to the question "Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?") That's a big clue that the party of Buckley is dead. Especially when we notice birtherism being boosted by people like Roy Blunt.

American Thinker is reliably anti-Obama. They have called Obama a Marxist many times. But their article criticizing birtherism generated 300 comments, mostly defending birtherism. Welcome to the new GOP.

==========================
suzy:

I don't think there's anything wrong with Prof. Somin's position, but it shouldn't be a surprise that people will lump him in with these other more extreme commentators, when he chooses to take up the same banner they do, at the same time, in a similar way.


Exactly. Likewise, Kopel recently got into bed with the birthers (link, link), even though he didn't explicitly embrace birtherism. Seeing a place like VC move that way is yet another clue that the party of Buckley is dead.

==========================
laura:

If you want to take individual events in this great nation and tie them to 40% of the population


40%? You are living in the past. The number of people who currently identify themselves as Republicans is down to 23%.

And if you think that this 23% of the population does not have a problem dealing with facts and reason, you should pay attention to what Posner said, and you should pay attention to the success of birtherism.

==========================
ricardo:

Cato the Elder, how do you feel about caricatures depicting Jews as wealthy bankers or lawyers with longer-than-average noses?


You asked him exactly the right question, and I hope he answers it.

==========================
rick:

The left spent eight years comparing Bush to monkeys


It takes extreme ignorance to fail to realize that comparing a black man to a monkey is a racial slur, and comparing a white man to a monkey is not.

Next up, rick will claim that addressing a white man as "boy" has exactly the same meaning as addressing a black man as "boy." Because no one remembers that white people used to enslave black people.

==========================
ecolawyer:

Since WW II no Democratic president has ever left office with the federal public debt as a percentage of GDP more than when he entered.


You're remembering some facts that a lot of people have forgotten. Likewise, a lot of people don't remember that under Reagan, the national debt tripled. Under GWB, it increased 84%. 77% of our national debt was accumulated under three presidents: Reagan, Bush and Bush.

Bruce Bartlett did a nice job of explaining the hypocrisy:

I strongly suspect that many of those that loudly denounced the Obama stimulus package for its impact on the deficit would have cheered the McCain stimulus package even though it would have increased the deficit by about the same amount.

Proof of this proposition is that there were no tea parties during the years when George W. Bush was turning the surpluses of the Clinton years into massive deficits. Indeed, if concerns about deficits are the primary motivation for this week's tax protests, then these same people should have been holding demonstrations of support for Bill Clinton in 2000 when the federal government ran a budget surplus of 2.4% of the gross domestic product--equivalent to a surplus of $336 billion this year.

The truth is that the greatest addition to national indebtedness occurred in 2003 when Bush rammed through the Republican Congress a massive expansion of Medicare to provide drug benefits even though the system was already broke. According to the latest report from Medicare's trustees, the drug benefit added $7.9 trillion to the nation's indebtedness. This should have led to massive tax protests on April 15, 2004. But, of course, there weren't any. Those protesting this week were only protesting because it is a Democrat who has increased the deficit. When a Republican did worse, it's like Emily Litella used to say, "Never mind."


Seemingly off-topic, but it's indeed connected to the subject of "fellow-traveling" with "wingnuts."
9.9.2009 10:02am
rick.felt:
It takes extreme ignorance to fail to realize that comparing a black man to a monkey is a racial slur, and comparing a white man to a monkey is not.

It's not necessarily a racial slur; it's often perceived as a racial slur, even when it is not intended as such. It takes extreme ignorance not to know the difference.
9.9.2009 10:06am
Aultimer:

Melancton Smith:
I don't see the Republicans courting racist whites. I see Republicans disagreeing with Liberal agenda and being cast as Racist.

Mel, meet Lee Atwater, your puppetmaster:


You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger".
9.9.2009 10:11am
MarkField (mail):

It's not necessarily a racial slur; it's often perceived as a racial slur, even when it is not intended as such.


This is like arguing that a contract doesn't mean X because I had a secret intention for it to mean Y. That argument doesn't fly. We can't judge people by their hidden motives or intent, only by what they say publicly and the context in which it occurs. The sad fact is, the historical context includes virulent racism (much of it quasi-scientific) which associated blacks with primates. There is no such history for whites. Context matters.
9.9.2009 10:27am
rick.felt:
And if you think that this 23% of the population does not have a problem dealing with facts and reason, you should pay attention to what Posner said, and you should pay attention to the success of birtherism.

You can worry about the 23% of the population who "have a problem dealing with facts and reason" - as if all Republicans do. It's probably better to focus on the mere "28% of Republicans [who] don't believe Obama was born in America." I'll gladly stack them up against the 35% of Democrats who think that Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance and willfully let them happen. Facts and reason don't appear to be their strong suit.

Anyway, you cheer what you perceive as the Limbaughification and consequent decline of the GOP; I cheer your constant victory laps. Please, please keep reveling in the GOP's problems. Please, please keep concluding that there's no path back to victory for the GOP by way of Palin and Limbaugh. I derive pleasure from your schadenfreude because it won't last forever. Your crowing will stop when it must. Seriously, what are you going to do with with yourself if Obama fails to win a second term? How empty will your bragging feel when your party is down and out, ruined by spending, corruption, and ineptitude?

I'm sure that could never happen to the Democrats, because once a party is down, lunacy and giving in to its fringes can't bring back. The Democrats didn't come back from 2002 and 2004 by giving in to their kooks and running candidates from their left wing. They purged the Truthers and ran centrists. I remember it vividly!

Oh, right...
9.9.2009 10:30am
Strict:

Do Blacks proportionally use welfare and food stamps more than the native population?


???

By "the native population" do you mean "white people"?

If so, that's pretty messed up.
9.9.2009 10:32am
Losantiville:
"doing the same with racists"

Just as there are more Jew-haters on the Left than the Right, there are (today) certainly more persons who believe that victims of color are "different" and should be treated in a discriminatory fashion on the Left than the Right.
9.9.2009 10:40am
Losantiville:
"palling around" with Commies is more problematical than "palling around" with people who want to cut taxes, and government spending, and the size of government. Commies kill a lot more people.
9.9.2009 10:43am
Strict:

It's probably better to focus on the mere "28% of Republicans [who] don't believe Obama was born in America." I'll gladly stack them up against the 35% of Democrats who think that Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance and willfully let them happen. Facts and reason don't appear to be their strong suit.


Actual knowledge? Almost certainly not. Should have known? Maybe.

Wasn't Bush handed a memo entitled "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S," describing how Al Qaeda agents want to try to hijack airplanes?

People who think that Bush should have been more wary about al Qaeda and that he bears some responsibility for his amazingly poor non-response while the events on 9/11 unfolded are not comparable to those people who believe that President Obama is not an American citizen.
9.9.2009 10:44am
CJColucci:
Limbaugh is different. He's less serious and cantankerous than Levin, smarter and less of a bully than Hannity, less of a d-bag and conspiracy nut than Savage, and less of a bomb-thrower and name-caller than Coulter.

Maybe this is true, but it's not something I'd want in a letter of recommendation.
9.9.2009 10:50am
rick.felt:
9.9.2009 10:55am
c.gray (mail):

40%? You are living in the past. The number of people who currently identify themselves as Republicans is down to 23%.



Yet strangely, the Republicans keep getting far more than 23% of the vote.

While running as candidate for the incumbent Republican party, during the worst economic contraction in living memory and an extremely unpopular war, against the most charismatic candidate since JFK, the most inept campaigner since McGovern managed to win 46% of the vote. He managed this despite a political career spent repeatedly alienating his party's core supporters.

Yes, a lot of Republicans and Conservatives are living in the past. Why not? They've definitely seen better days.
But most "Progressives" are living in fantasyland. They seem to believe that "Bush did bad stuff" and "It's Bush's fault" is a winning political argument in response to objections to the very same sort of policies that made Bush _deeply unpopular_, such as massive deficit spending and feckless military commitments, all the while piling on new policies that are also as unpopular with the public, such as cap-and-trade and mandated insurance purchase.

Well, good luck with that approach.
9.9.2009 11:06am
ArthurKirkland:

Anyway, you cheer what you perceive as the Limbaughification and consequent decline of the GOP;


I do not cheer it, I regret it. The Republican Party that championed fiscal responsibility and small government was a good force in American politics. Some of its ideas deserve strong advocacy.

By hitching their wagon to religious zealots (it began somewhat innocently, by offering refuge to pro-lifers, but has bloomed into full-blown end-of-days, hate-the-gays nuttiness), outsourcing their foreign policy operation to the New American Centurions, and failing to extinguish the Southern Strategy, however, Republicans veered into a ditch. They are no longer the party of fiscal conservatism and small government.

I hope to see a revival of a sensible Republican Party, because our country needs it.
9.9.2009 11:12am
Losantiville:
As a libertarian anarchist (since before some of you were born) I find it hard to credit the opposition to Glenn Beck. He's conducting a continuous lecture series (on his Fox show) on topics that are a bit obvious to the politically involved (Diego Rivera was a Commie, the Delta Smelt should die for us, Rachel Carson caused the death of millions of people), a bit pedantic, but with good production values. See here for example.

He says little that a libertarian would disagree with. Does Barack hate white people? Matter of opinion. He has said some things that suggest he is conflicted with his half-white nature. Certainly, he supports affirmative action and other racist policies. He is a member of the party of Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion. Who knows? At least Glenn's presentations are a bit more information filled than Keith Olbermann's.
9.9.2009 11:18am
Losantiville:
Why would a libertarian care about someone's opinion about the origins of the earth? That's not a political position. Libertarians can believe anything they want about cosmology w/o violating the non-aggression principle.

I have more problem with the (non-controversial) view held by many people that slave schools are a good place for children than I do by someone's view of creation. The former opinion has grievous consequences, the latter none.
9.9.2009 11:26am
Suzy (mail):
Cato the elder, that was quite a post. Some truly rock solid racism, followed by a protestation that conservatives generally don't have a racist bone in their bodies. So you're the exception, then?
9.9.2009 11:44am
neurodoc:
Leo Marvin: Yes. I'm close friends with some very good people who believe things I consider repugnant, and which qualify them as extremists (from both ends of the political spectrum). I'd probably have to revisit some of those relationships if those people acted on the worst of their beliefs, but it wouldn't meet my definition of friendship to so just because they have and express them.
You don't say how those people who believe things you consider repugnant came to be and continue to be your friends. Did those friendships grow out of business interactions, social interactions, family connections or mutual friendships, etc.? Your doctor, personal lawyer, accountant, dentist, or others you rely on for professional help? Is one of those friends with repugnant beliefs your clergyman, whose congregation you joined on account of that clergyman who so greatly impressed you that you want everyone to know it, advertising the fact widely and prominently in a book? And what you so admire is a carve out from the repugnant stuff? The repugnant stuff you would tolerate for the sake of friendship might be "goddamn America," retailing ideas like the US concocted the AIDS virus; vehement denunciations of Israel; lavish praise of the likes of Louis Farrakhan; etc.? (But doesn't Obama, or those speaking on his behalf, maintain that he was blissfully unaware of that side of Wright, though he was a member of Wright's church for 20 years and Wright didn't hide these views, he thundered them from the pulpit.)
9.9.2009 11:53am
MarkField (mail):

But context isn't frozen in time.


Agreed.


The context of chimp depictions of President Obama includes the depiction of his predecessor as a chimp. The left has diminished - not completely, of course - its ability to object to depictions of Obama as a chimp by mainstreaming the depiction of the president, a national politician, and one's political opponent as a chimp. This doesn't meant that they have diminished their ability to object to depicting blacks generally as chimps. But a black president? Absolutely.


Well, no. It takes a lot more than scattered insults against a particular individual to wipe out 150 years of far more common -- at some points nearly universal -- references to an entire ethnic group.
9.9.2009 12:04pm
CJColucci:
In the immortal words of Howard Cossell: "Look at that little monkey go!"
9.9.2009 12:13pm
ChrisatOffice (mail):
einhvrfr:
I prefer "Virtus asine" myself. Translates as "Gallant ass."
"Virtus asine" if I am saying it to someone's face, "virtus asinus" if I am saying it behind their back. Other case endings may vary.


Ah, I wondered about the first post. :-)
9.9.2009 12:27pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nieporent:

What cause has Ann Coulter ever contributed to


quixotic is not alone in his admiration for Coulter. As Somin said in 2007:

a large swathe of the mainstream right views her as a heroine - or at least as an acceptable part of the conservative movement


In Somin's recent post about Kleiman, he cited that old thread. It's a nice summary of Coulter-related matters.

=============================
rick:

It's not necessarily a racial slur


We already know that you think this. Trouble is, you're wrong.

You might as well claim that drawing a caricature of a Jew with a big nose is not "necessarily" an ethnic slur.

The context of chimp depictions of President Obama includes the depiction of his predecessor as a chimp.


That's true, and that part of your argument is correct. Trouble is, "the context of chimp depictions of President Obama" also includes a long history of the GOP aligning itself with racists. (I hope you're not going to bore us with the obligatory reference to Byrd; those ancient facts don't change what I just said.) Along with a long history of racists comparing blacks to monkeys. It's appropriate to consider all this history when evaluating chimp depictions of Obama.

the mere "28% of Republicans [who] don't believe Obama was born in America."


It's not so "mere" when you realize another 30% said "not sure." In other words, most Republicans are not rational enough to understand that (according to WSJ) "Obama has already provided a legal birth certificate demonstrating that he was born in Hawaii."

I'll gladly stack them up against the 35% of Democrats who think that Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance and willfully let them happen


You are making a false claim (and Bill O'Reilly made exactly the same false claim; what a stunning coincidence). The "willfully let them happen" part is false. The survey you are thinking of did not ask that. It asked this: "Did Bush know about the 9/11 attacks in advance?" And as pointed out here, that could simply mean "that Bush received ample warning of possible attacks." And that's true: he did. As Strict mentioned.

So your comparison fails. Here's another reason it fails: 9/11 truthers received little or no support from prominent elected officials (former and current). On the other hand, the birthers are indeed getting support from elected (former and current) Republicans. And here's another reason it fails: DailyKos is the leading D blog, by far. Do you know how it handled the truthers? It rejected them completely. Those who refused to stop promoting trutherism were banned. "Purged the Truthers" is precisely what dKos did.

Compare this to how leading righty blogs are handling birtherism. The biggest righty blog, arguably, is Instapundit. He promotes Tom Maguire, a leading birther. And Maguire promotes Andy McCarthy of NRO, another leading birther. Yes, National Review, founded by Buckley, is now a platform for birtherism.

As former Republican John Cole has pointed out, "the entire party has been taken over by crazy people."

what are you going to do with with yourself if Obama fails to win a second term?


To the extent that Obama and the Dems fail to sufficiently differentiate themselves from the GOP, they don't deserve to win more terms. I have often said that I hope someday we will have a two-party system.

The Democrats didn't come back from 2002 and 2004 by giving in to their kooks and running candidates from their left wing. [sarcasm]


As AlanDownunder has pointed out, there is a problem with your calibration. The "left wing" of the Democratic party is not Obama. It's Kucinich and Sanders. If Kucinich had just led the Dems to victory, then you might have a point.

=============================
aultimer:

meet Lee Atwater, your puppetmaster


Atwater's words can be found here, along with some other interesting comments about the GOP and racism.

It's interesting to notice that the GOP convention was only 1.5% black (see here). And "no black Republican has served as a governor, U.S. senator or U.S. House member in the past six years." And "the Census Bureau reported last month that racial and ethnic minorities will make up a majority of the country's population by 2042 -- almost a decade earlier than what the bureau predicted just four years ago."

The GOP is facing a variety of conflicting pressures regarding race (which includes issues like AA and immigration), and is going to have a tough time surviving those pressures.

Having a black president is getting a bunch of white racists all riled up (example, example, example). This is a problem for the GOP. It's losing support, so it's not eager to alienate these supporters. On the other hand, it can't embrace them openly. So every now and then it sends them signals, and gets caught doing so (example, example).

Bigotry and racism are a key part of how the GOP attracts votes. "We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting. Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks."

Jews and African-Americans figured this out a long time ago. Hispanics are in the process of figuring it out. Demographics are among the many reasons that the GOP has a dim future. Obama's victory margin among voters under 30 was 34% (and young people don't wet their beds when they hear the word "socialism"). The GOP is rapidly becoming the party of irrational old white taxophobes in the South.

=============================
gray:

Yet strangely, the Republicans keep getting far more than 23% of the vote.


You are strangely overlooking the context of my remark. There are Republicans and there are independents who vote Republican. The commenter who used the number 40% was responding to someone who was discussing the first group, not the second group.

While running as candidate for the incumbent Republican party, during the worst economic contraction in living memory and an extremely unpopular war, against the most charismatic candidate since JFK, the most inept campaigner since McGovern managed to win 46% of the vote.


That's one way to frame it. Here's another way to frame it: a black man with a foreign name who no one ever heard of a few years ago ran against a bona fide war hero who had been a popular figure with independents and Democrats for many years.

Obama won 52.9% of the popular vote. Since FDR, Bush I and Ike are the only candidates who managed to beat that number (when running as a non-incumbent). All the following failed to beat that number (when running as a non-incumbent): Bush II, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, JFK, and Truman. And Bush II failed to beat that number even when running as an incumbent. But his 50.7% in 2004 was promptly called a "mandate" by Cheney and lots of other folks.

Another way to look at it: Obama's popular vote margin was 7.2%. In the post-FDR era, Ike, Reagan and Bush I (riding on Reagan's afterglow) are the only other non-incumbents to achieve a margin higher than that.

Another way to look at it: in terms of absolute votes, Obama's victory was the "largest ever by a non-incumbent" (but of course that's "mostly an artifact of population growth").

So feel free to try to convince yourself that Obama didn't have a huge victory.
9.9.2009 12:51pm
Joan in Juneau (mail):
How long will it be in this country before racism isn't a black, white, asian, latino issue but a Democrat and Republican one or is it already here?
9.9.2009 2:09pm
yankee (mail):
By "the native population" do you mean "white people"?

If so, that's pretty messed up.

I'll say! Black people are, if anything, more native than white people, inasmuch as the ancestors of enormous numbers of white people immigrated during the late 19th or early 20th centuries, while the black ancestors* of most black Americans "immigrated" before the Civil War.

Of course, the actual native population of this country comprises the American Indians, Native Hawai'ians, and so forth.

*Most black Americans are of mixed African-European heritage, due to white rape of black women, which was either de jure or de facto legal in much of the U.S. until the middle of the 20th century.
9.9.2009 2:21pm
yankee (mail):
By hitching their wagon to religious zealots (it began somewhat innocently, by offering refuge to pro-lifers, but has bloomed into full-blown end-of-days, hate-the-gays nuttiness), outsourcing their foreign policy operation to the New American Centurions, and failing to extinguish the Southern Strategy, however, Republicans veered into a ditch. They are no longer the party of fiscal conservatism and small government.

When were Republicans ever the party of fiscal conservatism and small government? When GWB massively increased federal discretionary spending while starting a war of choice? [1] When Reagan jacked up spending and deficits? When Nixon proposed health insurance reforms more socialist than any option on the table today? When Eisenhower expanded social security?

The closest Republicans have ever come to being the party of "small government" is when they're out of power. As soon as they're in power they support big government as much as the Democrats, if not more.

[1] Even if the Iraq war was a good idea, it was not an example of "fiscal conservatism" or "small government."
9.9.2009 2:34pm
Joan in Juneau (mail):
Yankee - Look at the track record. Neither party has done anything to reduce the size of the government. Is it their fault or is it We the People that elected them that have let them all do as they wish for so very long that is to blame for all of this?
9.9.2009 3:00pm
Ken Arromdee:
Why would a libertarian care about someone's opinion about the origins of the earth? That's not a political position.

It can make other things worse. For instance, a libertarian might not like public schools much... but public schools where someone teaches that the Earth originated 5000 years ago are a lot worse. Likewise, a libertarian might not be crazy over government-funded scientific research, but government-funded scientific research that isn't actually scientific is worse.

Also, in practice, believing the Earth is 5000 years old is not something that people come up at random. It's such a bizarre, specific, idea that pretty much the only way anyone comes up with it is that their religion tells them it. And someone who ignores science and everything else in favor of religion probably isn't going to just do it for the age of the Earth.
9.9.2009 3:26pm
neurodoc:
jukeboxgrad: ...a long history of the GOP aligning itself with racists.
How long do you estimate that history to be? You will agree, won't you, that while the GOP may not have been entirely free of bigotry (which major party has ever been?), up until sometime after 1964, the Dems were the clearly the party that appealed to racists? And when the Dems lost that franchise with the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the GOPs "Southern strategy," the Dems after while repositioned themselves as the party representing the interests of "people of color," which arguably entangled them with racism again, albeit of a different kind and perhaps a somewhat lesser pernicious effect.

When Kleiman throws out that crap about Sunstein having a better chance at confirmation because of his white skin, that isn't implicitly racist, the intimation being that Sotomayor had a harder time of it because of her "color"? ("Hispanic" = "brown," no matter the individual's actual appearance, because in truth it is about identity politics, power blocs, etc.?)

And if we count antisemitism as a form of racism, as I think we should, then how about it's place within the Democratic party and it's pitch to "people of color" ("Palestinian" = person of color, again no matter that they may be indistinguishable in appearance from their Jewish neighbors); "anti-colonialism" stances, etc. Or, do you think that's only legitimate criticism of Israel coming from Democratic ranks? Jim Moran, for example, who blames Jews for taking us to war, is not "problematic"?
9.9.2009 5:20pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
neurodoc:

You don't say how those people who believe things you consider repugnant came to be and continue to be your friends.

With one exception, they're childhood friends. But let me talk about my two brothers, since they're colorful characters who make for vivid contrast. (And I'd feel no differently about them if they were "only" friends.)

One believed the Clintons killed Vince Foster. He now believes Obama is a racist, anti-Semitic Marxist who hates America. Since 2001 he's read Nostradamus as predicting the Anti-Christ will be a Muslim. His deafness to my objections to Pat Buchanan's anti-Semitism ended suddenly when Buchanan opposed the Iraq war. In short, he's a certifiable wing nut who believes most of what I object to here. He's also one of the most admirable people I know. Though he dutifully recites the right wing catechism of unrestricted free markets and the evils of government when it isn't bombing or torturing people, he's eschewed almost all material comfort for a career as a psychiatric social worker at a state agency for the indigent where, after 20 years, he makes about $40,000 dollars a year.

Though I've avoided asking him, I assume my other brother is a Truther. I've never heard him convincingly renounce his support for Mao, Castro, Che, or the Weather Underground. His views on the Middle East approximate Norman Finkelstein's. Yet he's long supported charities for veterans and cops, and he was a loving, devoted son to our father, who's proudest accomplishment outside his family was smuggling guns to the Irgun.

In other words, people, especially the smart ones, are complicated. If we damn them for their most obnoxious beliefs, we'll damn them all, including ourselves. I think Obama understands that. It's one of the things I like best about him.
9.9.2009 6:47pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
leo:

people, especially the smart ones, are complicated. If we damn them for their most obnoxious beliefs, we'll damn them all, including ourselves. I think Obama understands that. It's one of the things I like best about him.


Thank you for the vivid portrait of your family, and thank you for this insightful remark. I agree.

All people are complicated when examined closely (i.e., personally), but look simpler when seen from a distance. Unfortunately in politics we have to make judgments from a distance. What we're seeing may or may not be a genuine reflection of who the person is, but we still have to make a choice even though we're not sure.

Sometimes the easiest thing to notice at a distance might be a certain obnoxious belief, even if it's not a particularly important part of the person's overall personality and character (or something relevant to the job we have in mind for them). And when we go too far with this kind of negative selection, the message we're sending is this: Don't Be Different. Which is a recipe for mediocrity.

==================
neuro:

up until sometime after 1964, the Dems were the clearly the party that appealed to racists


I agree. When I said "long history," I meant 'back to around 1968.' I think forty years qualifies as "long," but you're right that I could have been more careful with that word.

the Dems after while repositioned themselves as the party representing the interests of "people of color," which arguably entangled them with racism again


"Arguably" only if you think that most efforts to remedy racism are themselves forms of racism. I don't.

"Hispanic" = "brown," no matter the individual's actual appearance, because in truth it is about identity politics, power blocs, etc.?


In this sentence you seem to not understand that ethnic identity and racial identity are fairly interchangeable concepts, politically speaking. But in your very next sentence, to seem to understand this. Go figure. Here's your next sentence:

And if we count antisemitism as a form of racism, as I think we should


I guess that means you think "in truth it is about identity politics, power blocs, etc." (Whatever that means.)

the Democratic party and it's pitch to "people of color"


Personally I think 'persecuted minority' is a more useful handle than "people of color." Jews know something about that 'persecuted minority' thing, and they vote D. Who knows, they might actually know what they're doing.

do you think that's only legitimate criticism of Israel coming from Democratic ranks?


Presumably you can show some powerful examples of illegitimate "criticism of Israel coming from Democratic ranks." Or some powerful examples of anti-Semitism, other than the very worn examples of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and a handful of other people.

Jim Moran, for example, who blames Jews for taking us to war, is not "problematic"?


What you claim he said is not exactly what he said. He did say something dumb and then apologized repeatedly. If you want to know what he actually thinks you should read it (link, link).

You should also realize that Michael Lerner does not view Moran as an anti-Semite, and Lerner is not afraid to attack leftist anti-Semitism (link, link).

The fact that your best example is so weak tells us a lot. And before you mention Wright again, you should know that "the Anti-Defamation League says it has no evidence of any anti-Semitism by Mr. Wright."

On the other hand, there is Bobby Eberle's GOPUSA (the same people who gave us Jeff Gannon), posting a delightful article which described George Soros as a "descendant of Shylock."

And then of course we have Sean Hannity legitimizing and promoting Andy Martin, a vile anti-Semite who has said he wants "to exterminate Jew power."

And then of course we have GOP operatives like Tim Philips, who set up an organization which ran an "unquestionably anti-Semitic" campaign against Jewish Republican Eric Cantor.

And then of course we have the Heritage Foundation deciding to forget about the Malaysian prime minister's history of anti-Semitism, an amnesia that seemed to have something to do with money.

And then of course we have a Michael Steele supporter producing an anti-Semitic campaign flier, and then Steele waiting to condemn it until two weeks after the election.

And then of course we have Reagan's lovely visit to Bitburg.

And then of course we have the help Hitler got from Prescott Bush.

And then of course we have Palin campaigning on the idea that Wasilla needed a "Christian mayor," while running against a man named Stein (link, link).

And then of course we have the official platform of the Texas GOP, which says "America is a Christian nation."

And then of course we have Pat Buchanan winning the NH primary in 1996, and getting 21% of the total vote in the GOP primaries (which is more than Jesse Jackson got when he ran).

And then of course we have McCain's pal Hagee, who "argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God's behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine." McCain said he was "proud" to have the endorsement of Hagee, who said the Antichrist was "partially Jewish, as was Adolph Hitler." (More on Hagee here.)

And then of course we have the people who bought 65 million copies of the Left Behind series, which promotes the idea that non-Christians are doomed, while portraying this doom in gory detail. Jews understand that their evangelical 'friends' (who are mostly found in the GOP) don't foresee a happy ending for Jews in Israel.

Jews might actually have some good reasons to vote D.
9.10.2009 3:32am
Melancton Smith:
jukeboxgrad wrote:

That's true, and that part of your argument is correct. Trouble is, "the context of chimp depictions of President Obama" also includes a long history of the GOP aligning itself with racists. (I hope you're not going to bore us with the obligatory reference to Byrd; those ancient facts don't change what I just said.)


Are you ignoring the 'ancient' fact that it was the Republican party that freed the slave's who were owned by members of the Democrat party? That the Republican party had to enact constitiutional amendments to prevent the members of the Democrat party from abusing and outright murdering newly freedmen?
9.10.2009 12:52pm
Melancton Smith:
jukeboxgrad wrote:

And then of course we have Pat Buchanan winning the NH primary in 1996, and getting 21% of the total vote in the GOP primaries (which is more than Jesse Jackson got when he ran).


When you compare the percentage of votes received by Buchanan and Jackson are you adjusting for the racial demographics?

Buchanan getting 21% of the vote where [racist] whites comprise, what, 60 or 70% of the population? Jackson probably got a much higher percentage of the black vote.
9.10.2009 1:00pm
ArthurKirkland:
Democrats have a bad history on race -- right up to the point at which the racists left the Democratic Party and were embraced by the Republican Party.

It is difficult to understand why Republicans would wish to devote attention to the history, because it shines a distinctly unflattering light on the most recent 40 years of the Republican Party.
9.10.2009 1:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smith:

Are you ignoring the 'ancient' fact that it was the Republican party that freed the slave's who were owned by members of the Democrat party?


No, but I think you're ignoring the fact that that fact is ancient. Lincoln's GOP stopped existing a long time ago. I would vote for it if I could. Let me know where I can obtain the proper time-travel device.

When you compare the percentage of votes received by Buchanan and Jackson are you adjusting for the racial demographics?


No. And the comparison you're raising would be something other than unfair if Buchanan had been the first white man to get that far running for president.

Buchanan getting 21% of the vote where [racist] whites comprise, what, 60 or 70% of the population?


I don't think the number is nearly that high. After all, Republicans are only about 23% of the population, and I think even most Republicans aren't racists. Just the reverse.
9.10.2009 3:06pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
jbg, you're welcome, thank you, and I agree with your gloss.
9.10.2009 4:13pm
Melancton Smith:
Arthur Kirkland wrote:

It is difficult to understand why Republicans would wish to devote attention to the history, because it shines a distinctly unflattering light on the most recent 40 years of the Republican Party.


I don't mind dredging up history, especially since I'm not one of those Republicans. I'm a recovering Democrat in fact and I have the pleasure of having never voted for a winning President yet (so don't blame me).
9.10.2009 9:25pm
neurodoc:
neurodoc: Jim Moran, for example, who blames Jews for taking us to war, is not "problematic"?
jukeboxgrad: What you (neurodoc) claim he (Moran) said is not exactly what he said. (emphasis added) He did say something dumb and then apologized repeatedly.
Since I did not quote Moran's actual words, I don't know how it could be that "what (I) claim he (Moran) said is not exactly what he said." But by all means, let's look at what exactly Moran did say (and Lerner, himself "problematic," IMO, so conveniently managed to overlook): "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we wouldn't be doing this. The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going. And I think they should."

You may be impressed, but I'm not that Moran later issued an apology, saying: "I should not have singled out the Jewish community and regret giving any impression that its members are somehow responsible for the course of action being pursued by the administration, or are somehow behind an impending war. What I was trying to say is that if more organizations in this country, including religious groups, were more outspoken against a war, then I do not think we would be pursuing war as an option." And you seem to be impressed that Lerner has granted Moran dispensation for not making it clear that he just meant to play the Walt-Mearsheim "Israel Lobby" trope, which Lerner so heartily approves of.

Also, whereas I called Moran "problematic," you challenge me to prove him up as an antisemite. I doubt that Moran has any antipathy for Jews qua Jews, and it may be seen that he feels very comfortable among Leftie Jews like Lerner. But antisemites should be willing to vote for him.
If you want to know what he actually thinks you should read it (link, link)
What Moran says there somehow makes it better? Again, you may not see this Democratic as "problematic," but I do.
9.11.2009 3:11am
neurodoc:
jukeboxgrad: Personally I think 'persecuted minority' is a more useful handle than "people of color."
jukeboxgrad may prefer "persecuted minority," but that is not the way the Left styles it. Instead, the Left chooses "people of color, no matter actual skin hue, " so as to promote "racial consciousness" and serve it in its pursuit of votes and power both within the US and around the world.

What did you think of Mark Kleiman's suggestion the other day that "white skin" might afford Sunstein an advantage over Sotomayor with her "brown skin" when it came to a confirmation vote? (Was it Miguel Estrada's "brown skin" that caused the Democrats to oppose him so strenuously, denying him an appellate court seat?)
9.11.2009 3:23am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Since I did not quote Moran's actual words, I don't know how it could be that "what (I) claim he (Moran) said is not exactly what he said."


The problem is not that you didn't quote him. The problem is that your short paraphrase ("who blames Jews for taking us to war") is not a fair summary of his views on the subject.

Lerner, himself "problematic"


Your opinion that Lerner is problematic isn't worth much, in the absence of evidence to support that opinion. He might also think that you're problematic.

You may be impressed, but I'm not that Moran later issued an apology


You haven't told us what's wrong with the apology.

he just meant to play the Walt-Mearsheim "Israel Lobby" trope


I'm interested in holding Moran responsible for the things he has actually said, not what he allegedly "meant." I'm also not interested in holding him responsible for what someone else said.

whereas I called Moran "problematic," you challenge me to prove him up as an antisemite. I doubt that Moran has any antipathy for Jews qua Jews


You mentioned Moran shortly after making this statement: "if we count antisemitism as a form of racism, as I think we should, then how about it's place within the Democratic party." If you didn't intend to imply that Moran is "problematic" because he is allegedly an example of "antisemitism … within the Democratic party," then I don't know why you mentioned him.

I also don't know why you're ignoring the many examples I cited of antisemitism in the GOP.

What Moran says there somehow makes it better?


The heart of what he said is that AIPAC is powerful and that AIPAC supported the war. Those claims are true.

jukeboxgrad may prefer "persecuted minority," but that is not the way the Left styles it. Instead, the Left chooses "people of color, no matter actual skin hue, "


Please let us know who exactly is "the Left," and who exactly in charge of "the Left" announced that "people of color" is a more important designation than "persecuted minority."

What did you think of Mark Kleiman's suggestion the other day that "white skin" might afford Sunstein an advantage over Sotomayor with her "brown skin" when it came to a confirmation vote?


I think he invited confusion and misunderstanding by making reference to her skin color instead of making reference to her ethnic identity. And I think you have accepted his invitation.

Was it Miguel Estrada's "brown skin" that caused the Democrats to oppose him so strenuously


I think it had more to do with him refusing to answer questions.
9.11.2009 11:31am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
antisemites should be willing to vote for him


Likewise, racists are "willing" (and maybe even eager) to vote for Republicans who oppose affirmative action. Does this mean that Republicans who oppose AA are racists?
9.11.2009 11:34am
neurodoc:
jukeboxgrad, you keep avoiding what Congressman Moran (D-VA) in fact said,
"If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we wouldn't be doing this. The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going. And I think they should."
9.11.2009 7:18pm
neurodoc:
jukeboxgrad: I'm interested in holding Moran responsible for the things he has actually said, not what he allegedly "meant." I'm also not interested in holding him responsible for what someone else said.
Nonsense! You keep sidestepping what Moran actually said, that is that he believes the Jewish community is responsible for the war in Iraq. ("If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we wouldn't be doing this.")

Instead, you turn to Lerner and Ira Foreman, chairman of the National Democratic Jewish Committee, to excuse Moran for sounding this classic antisemitic trope. And you think Moran's attack on the so-called "Israel Lobby" (in the manner of Patrick Buchanan) somehow makes it better?!
9.11.2009 7:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
you keep avoiding what Congressman Moran (D-VA) in fact said


I'm not avoiding what he said. You've quoted that one remark three times, while avoiding the fact that he repeatedly apologized for that remark, and made other remarks to explain his views on the subject.

you think Moran's attack on the so-called "Israel Lobby" (in the manner of Patrick Buchanan) somehow makes it better?!


What I "think" it that AIPAC is powerful, and that AIPAC supported the war. I don't think there's anything wrong with me saying this, or with Moran saying it. If you think that saying this is some kind of unfair "attack," you should explain why.

But I do think there's something wrong with obsessively repeating one remark by one Democrat, even though the remark was withdrawn, while saying nothing about many examples of GOP antisemitism.

You also haven't explained why you presented Moran as an example of antisemitism, since you also said you don't think he's antisemitic.
9.11.2009 8:39pm
neurodoc:
jukeboxgrad: I'm not avoiding what he said. You've quoted that one remark three times, while avoiding the fact that he repeatedly apologized for that remark, and made other remarks to explain his views on the subject.
Yes, I have quoted that answer by Moran because I find it so telling, and then I repeated it twice more, asking you to address it directly and explain, if you can, how it is other than an expression of antisemitism. You keep declining to do so, pointing instead to apologies Moran made after he was called out and attempts to excuse him and what he said by partisan supporters (e.g., Lerner and Foreman).
What I "think" it that AIPAC is powerful...
Having repeatedly declined to engage with what Moran said in response to the question put to him by that constituent of his, you are now attempting to change the subject. (Or is this somehow your concurrence with Moran's response to the constituent?)
But I do think there's something wrong with obsessively repeating one remark by one Democrat, even though the remark was withdrawn, while saying nothing about many examples of GOP antisemitism.
I think what is wrong is that you so determinedly evade the question. Also, it is not "one remark by one Democrat," it is remarks by a number of Democrats past and present (Sen. Hollings; Reps. McKinney, Hilliard, Moran, and others; Revs. Jackson and Sharpton. Finally, I have at other times addressed myself to examples of GOP antisemitism (e.g., Buchanan and Nixon, not David Duke). And I feel no call to address myself to all those you allege evidence the GOP as a party for antisemites, including a number whose names mean nothing to me, TV types like Hannity, etc.
You also haven't explained why you presented Moran as an example of antisemitism, since you also said you don't think he's antisemitic.
I presented Moran as someone who sounds antisemitic tropes, which he does, for political purposes, which they do serve. I don't know that he truly feels any animus toward Jews qua Jews, and if I had to guess, I would guess he didn't. But I care little or not at all what may be in his heart; I do care that this congressman lends himself to antisemitism and he is not ostracized within Democratic ranks for doing so.
9.12.2009 10:35am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
neuro:

explain, if you can, how it is other than an expression of antisemitism


It would be an expression of antisemitism if he hadn't withdrawn it and apologized.

Having repeatedly declined to engage with what Moran said in response to the question put to him by that constituent of his, you are now attempting to change the subject.


Looking at all his statements on the subject instead of obsessively repeating one statement that was withdrawn isn't "attempting to change the subject." It's attempting to understand what he really thinks, as compared with simply playing gotcha.

I feel no call to address myself to all those you allege evidence the GOP as a party for antisemites, including a number whose names mean nothing to me, TV types like Hannity, etc.


If you don't understand Hannity's role as an important voice in the GOP, then you're in denial. And I gave plenty of other examples regarding people even more important than him, and definitely more important than Moran.

I do care that this congressman lends himself to antisemitism and he is not ostracized within Democratic ranks for doing so.


He "lends himself to antisemitism" no more than anyone else who criticizes Israel. And he did indeed receive a great deal of criticism from "within Democratic ranks," so your claim of "not ostracized" is misleading. Pelosi booted him from his leadership position.
9.12.2009 11:43am
neurodoc:
neurodoc/jukeboxgrad:

N: explain, if you can, how it is other than an expression of antisemitism
J: It would be an expression of antisemitism if he hadn't withdrawn it and apologized.

N: Having repeatedly declined to engage with what Moran said in response to the question put to him by that constituent of his, you are now attempting to change the subject.
J: Looking at all his statements on the subject instead of obsessively repeating one statement that was withdrawn isn't "attempting to change the subject." It's attempting to understand what he really thinks, as compared with simply playing gotcha.

N: I feel no call to address myself to all those you allege evidence the GOP as a party for antisemites, including a number whose names mean nothing to me, TV types like Hannity, etc.
J: If you don't understand Hannity's role as an important voice in the GOP, then you're in denial. And I gave plenty of other examples regarding people even more important than him, and definitely more important than Moran.

N: I do care that this congressman lends himself to antisemitism and he is not ostracized within Democratic ranks for doing so.
J: He "lends himself to antisemitism" no more than anyone else who criticizes Israel. And he did indeed receive a great deal of criticism from "within Democratic ranks," so your claim of "not ostracized" is misleading. Pelosi booted him from his leadership position.
OK, taking it from the top...

So, you allow that imputing responsibility to Jews for taking us to war in Iraq was an expression of rank antisemitism ("If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we wouldn't be doing this"). But pressured to do so, Moran then "withdrew" the (dumb) remark and apologized (repeatedly) for it, laying the blame on AIPAC rather than to Jews generally. For juxboxgrad, its a case of no harm, no foul; we shouldn't "obsess" about what Moran said, we should focus our attention exclusively on evidence of bigotry among GOP ranks?

jukeboxgrad, refusing to "obsess" on words later "withdrawn" and "apologized" for by Moran, with new ones of "explanation" substituted by him and partisan supporters (e.g., Lerner and Foreman), won't bring himself to repeat exactly what Moran did say and engage with them.

jukeboxgrad won't even quote neurodoc exactly, chosing instead to truncate what neurodoc in fact said. ["I have at other times addressed myself to examples of GOP antisemitism (e.g., Buchanan and Nixon, not David Duke). And I feel no call to address myself to all those you allege evidence the GOP as a party for antisemites, including a number whose names mean nothing to me, TV types like Hannity, etc."]

Moran did not say Israel was responsible for our going to war with Iraq, which I trust you agree is preposterous; he said "Jews" did, which you so determinedly refuse to condemn as both preposterous and, darest I say, blatantly antisemitic. So, it is nonsense for you, jukeboxgrad, to say in rebuttal, "(Moran) 'lends himself to antisemitism' no more than anyone else who criticizes Israel."

But that was a great way to end, "Pelosi booted him from his leadership position." If Moran said nothing of antisemitic nature, or it should be forgiven and forgotten in view of the fact that he withdrew the remark (how exactly does one "withdraw" such a remark?), apologized for it, and corrected himself by substituting "AIPAC" or "Jews," then why should Pelosi have booted him from his leadership position? It wasn't the antisemitic expression, it was that such an individual, an "ethically challenged" (e.g., see Moran and Maryland National Bank) person, should never have held a leadership position? (But Byrd was elected Senate majority leader by his peers in the other chamber, wasn't he?)

Maybe some other time, neurodoc will come back and relate his experiences here in Washington of Rabbi Lerner on February 24, 1991, the day Operation Desert Storm was launched, and Ira Foreman back in 2004 not long before the election, two partisan Jews who have offered cover to Moran. For the time being, though, it seems to me we have said enough regarding Moran. So, sayonara.
9.12.2009 4:55pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
For juxboxgrad, its a case of no harm, no foul


Not exactly. I don't like what he said, but it's still a case of one statement from one person. Which means it should get the attention it deserves (and it did), but it shouldn't be used as an excuse to avoid seeing the rest of the picture.

we shouldn't "obsess" about what Moran said, we should focus our attention exclusively on evidence of bigotry among GOP ranks?


Who said anything about "exclusively?" Bigotry can be found in lots of different places, and it should all get the attention it deserves. But you seem inclined to overlook certain sources of bigotry.

I have at other times addressed myself to examples of GOP antisemitism (e.g., Buchanan and Nixon


The GOP's problem with antisemitism goes beyond those two, as I have shown.

I feel no call to address myself to all those you allege evidence the GOP as a party for antisemites


That's obvious. What isn't obvious is why.

When you focus lots of energy on one statement from one person, while saying nothing about numerous examples of GOP antisemitism (aside from the exceptionally easy targets of Buchanan and Nixon), this creates the impression that you tend to have the following attitude about antisemitism: IOKIYAR.
9.12.2009 10:46pm

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