I'm every bit as sensitive to racism as the next liberal who grew up in the suburbs and attended a Big-10 university. By which I mean, I've rarely seen it in person and pretty much never had it practiced upon my person. I am, however, aware that it exists in America. To argue otherwise would be the height of folly. It would be like claiming we never landed on the moon and citing as proof the fact that I wasn't there as an eyewitness. It would be analogous to insisting global warming was a Green Party scare tactic, evidenced by this past week's unusually cool temperatures in my hometown of New York City. It would be a non-starter.
That being said, I just don't buy the near-universal position across the progressive blogosphere that Hillary Clinton's recent statement concerning white voters constitutes race-baiting. The exact quotation was, "I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on" and she quoted an AP story that pointed out "Senator Obama's support among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me. There's a pattern emerging here." I don't know why Rep. Charles Rangel said, "I can't believe Sen. Clinton would say anything that dumb." Or why Joe Conason over at Salon.com would argue that she "violated the rhetorical rules" and crossed a "bright white line."
This is not Ronald Reagan decrying (fictitious) welfare queens in Cadillacs and "young bucks" buying T-bone steaks. It's not Richard Nixon running on states' rights and law-and-order in 1968 following the inner-city riots in response to Martin Luther King's assassination. Both Reagan and Nixon were tacitly signaling to their white constituents that they would use the office of the presidency as a hammer against the black community.
The only thing Clinton was signaling is the truth. Blue-collar whites have overwhelmingly preferred Clinton over Obama, especially recently. Whites made up 80% of the vote in Pennsylvania and broke for Clinton roughly 60-40. In Ohio, she won whites 64-34. In West Virginia, she steamrolled him 72-23 among blue-collar whites.
If you're Obama, that's a pattern and it's a problem. If you're Hillary, it's a pattern and it's a lifeline. Her only path to the nomination consists of the super delegates looking at the big picture after all the votes have been counted, seeing a contest that is basically a dead heat, both in terms of pledged delegates and popular vote, and using their position as it was intended -- to tip the scales towards the candidate they judge to be more electable in the general election. Now, the odds of that happening are long, and the arguments against it are plentiful, but it's her story and she's sticking to it.
Paul Begala says the Democrats can't win with a constituency of "eggheads and African Americans," the old Dukakis team. Never minding the fact that Obama is also carrying the youth vote by a margin of 70-30% over Sen. Clinton, it's still hard to imagine a Democrat winning the White House without at least a somewhat competitive showing among blue-collar whites. The question is, does a poor showing by Obama against Hillary necessarily presage a similar result against McCain in the fall? I'm not sure we can draw that particular causal relationship. Obama doesn't fit neatly into any of the candidate molds we have on the shelves -- he's a new breed and his organization continues to multiply at the grass roots level.
But that's Obama's argument to make, not Clinton's. Her challenge is to construct an electoral narrative convincing enough that the super delegates overturn the slight lead Obama takes out of the campaign. The best way for her to do that is to point out that working whites make up a larger section of the Democratic Party than do African Americans and liberal intellectuals and that many of them will choose McCain over Obama in the general election. I suppose you could hear a dog whistle in her "hard working whites" comments if you were so inclined. Almost by definition, a comment is racial on some level if it refers specifically to race. But "hard working" could just as easily be read as shorthand for blue-collar as be interpreted as code implying a comparison to lazy blacks. Depends on what you're listening for.
The point is, it's a fact that Clinton is winning the white vote. One could take issue with Hillary's argument that this is a pattern -- the breakdowns have actually been fairly consistent throughout the campaign, for the most part. Obama did about as well among whites in Indiana as he has been doing all along, with the exceptions of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. I would argue that what she points out as a pattern is really just a reflection of primary scheduling serendipity. It so happens that Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky fall consecutively in the campaign. She happens to do very will in coal mines and hollers, where they've been spending an awful lot of time of late. Basically, she's got the hillbilly vote locked up. And pundits are taking this hillbilly vote and extrapolating it out across the entire electorate. Which I don't think is an accurate reflection of working class, white America. I would argue that hillbilly white America has a greater antipathy to the concept of an African American president than does much of the rest of white working class America. It's just a theory of mine, and not one I'm about to go knocking on doors to confirm, but it seems plausible.
The PC police need to recognize the difference between demagoguery and fact. When Bill Clinton compared Obama's success in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson's in '84 and '88, he was pointing out the fact that African Americans make up approximately 50% of Democratic primary voters in the state. Given that Obama wins 9 in 10 black votes, it stands to reason that Clinton would attempt to lower expectations for a race Hillary could not win. To say that a legitimate black candidate is going to win the South Carolina Democratic primary, and that it isn't necessarily a precursor for the rest of the campaign, is not race baiting, it's fact.
It's a fine line. Lee Atwater, Reagan and Bush 41's "happy hatchet man," explained the subtleties of the southern strategy as:
"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."
See, that's race baiting, in all its abstract brilliance. Because the southern strategy was so successful, Democrats have grown hyper-sensitive to all things racial. It has become impossible to bring up the subject of race without drawing politically correct fire. Which is all well and good -- sometimes the race card is indeed being played. But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
And Barack Obama's problem with white, working class voters is a real cigar. I'm not sure ignoring the state of West Virginia and the subsequent 40+ point defeat was the best strategy. He might end up needing every hard working white voter he can get come November.
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Officials announced the news shortly after Mr. Obama landed here late this afternoon. The campaign has timed the announcement to coincide with the start of the major evening newscasts, which would have otherwise focused on Senator Hillary Clinton?s landslide victory in West Virginia, which raised new questions about Mr. Obama?s strength with white working class voters.Lots of buzz on the internets about a big endorsement for Obama tonight. Via Taegan Goddard:
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign is planning to announce "a major endorsement" tonight at 6:30 pm ET.We've heard it from good source that it will be John Edwards.
USA Today has an editorial explaining how Voter ID laws suppress turnout.
The photo ID laws in seven states are problematic enough, but now several states are also looking at ways to require voters to prove U.S. citizenship. Arizona does that already, and Missouri's legislature is debating a constitutional amendment that would pave the way for requiring voters to present a driver's license or a substitute when they vote. Obtaining such an ID in Missouri requires proof of citizenship, so voters would, in effect, have to prove their citizenship to cast ballots.
To be sure, only citizens should vote. But as with photo IDs, there's little evidence that voting by illegal immigrants is a problem. Most stay as far away from government officials as they can lest they be caught and deported, and fraudulent voting is a felony. Proof-of-citizenship requirements are likely to trap legal citizens who don't have their birth certificates and would have significant trouble getting them.
Hillary Clinton issued this statement Monday opposing Voter ID laws such as the one upheld by the Supreme Court in Indiana and those contemplated by Missouri and 19 other states.[More...]
By trying to require not just photo identification but proof of citizenship - proof that thousands of American citizens can't produce through no fault of their own - cynical Republican lawmakers are trying to build new walls between hundreds of thousands of eligible senior, minority, and low-income Americans and their civil right to choose their own leaders.
"Republicans claim that these requirements are needed to prevent fraud, but the reality is that they do little more than disenfranchise eligible voters. I believe that we should start from the premise that voting is a right, not a privilege, and we should make sure that the ballot box is open to every eligible citizen in our country. That is why I have been a strong and vocal opponent of these voter ID measures."
I guess this goes into the unsurprising category, but a new study shows that the risk of premature death plummets as you wander up the educational ladder. To make a meta-point, I post on these sorts of socio-health studies frequently for a reason: We[...]
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By Michael Parenti The myth of progress Peasants in Central America in the 1950s were better nourished than their descendants today. What happened? The same thing that has happened all over the Third World. The gangster-corporate state has become more effective at extracting wealth from poorly armed countries. The Myth of "Underdevelopment" Technorati Tags: video,poverty,third world,corporations,BrasscheckTV
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Before the West Virginia primary vote on Tuesday, it was a foregone conclusion that Hillary Clinton would sweep the state, perhaps by over 70 percent. In the event, she came close to that, with 68 percent of the vote. Now that the vote has happened, Clinton and a corporate media anxious to spin out the ratings-boosting contest as long as possible, are arguing that Obama is in trouble.
It is true that 20 percent of those voting for Clinton in this almost lily-white, low-income, low-education state said they voted for her on the basis of race, which is to say they wouldn't vote for a black man. Theirs was a vote Clinton has actively pursued. And 40 percent of her backers said they would not vote for Obama in the general election if he were the Democratic candidate.
Bookmark/Search this post with: buzzflash | delicious | digg | technorati Technorati Tags: Dave Lindorff 2008 race Barack Obama Hillary Clinton West Virginia populist working-class racist
The Genruls deep under cover today, so he asked some of his loyal troops to fill in. I was only glad to oblige, though it meant getting out from under the covers myself. Dammit anyway.
But here I am, fighting the good fight at the Genruls behest.
Anyways, we all know the Genruls been way out in front on the scourge of rampant toilet sex. A visionary, ask me. At times, it seemed as though he was fighting an entire nation of toilet sex demons all on his own.
But thank The God of the Republican Party, the Genrul now has a crucial ally in the fight against unintentional wide stances, toe-tapping, hand signals and other assorted bathroom dalliances, thanks to this patriot from the Great State of Idaho:
A Republican seeking a state House seat in the land of Larry Craig advocates segregation based on sexual orientation.Well, I admit I was a bit stymied by the notion that, um, students would be sharing showers with teachers, straight or gay ... but Im not from Idaho and so Im not familiar with local customs. Nonetheless, I had to dab the tears from my eyes when I read about Walt Bayes Crusade To Make Bathrooms Safe For Straight Kids. What a truly great Christian man, finding novel ways to humiliate an degrade th homosexuals in our midst by forcing them to use homo-only crappers. And Walt gets extra points for going after gay kids. They are especially vulnerable, and so they are particularly deserving of having their very souls crushed.
Retired Idahoan Walt Bayes, 70, says in campaign literature that it is absolutely wrong to force any student to share the same bathrooms and showers with homosexual teachers or students.
I dont really have an answer for it, the Wilder resident told the Idaho Press-Tribune Saturday, but were going to have to do something if theres going to be a considerable number of our people who are going to [be gay].
KYOTO, JAPAN - On one of my first mornings at our home here, my family and I headed for the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine. Built in the 8th century by the powerful Hata family, the shrine is best known for the four consecutive kilometers of orange Torii gates covering the mountain on which it was built.
My wife?s family has been coming here for centuries, making it a familiar and comfortable place that we enjoy very much.
It?s also a spot that tends to put things into perspective - like the Bank of Japan?s recent decision to keep its key interest rate at…
Remember this, from 5/11/2006?
BLITZER: Very quickly, is Howard Dean in trouble?
BEGALA: No. I think Candy's report was spot on.
He -- yes, he's in trouble, in that campaign managers, candidates, are really angry with him. He has raised $74 million and spent $64 million. He says it's a long-term strategy. But what he has spent it on, apparently, is just hiring a bunch of staff people to wander around Utah and Mississippi and pick their nose. That's not how you build a party. You win elections. That's how you build a party.
Funny, guess what happened in Mississippi yesterday?
No one could've ever predicted that investing in a state's infrastructure would make it easier to win elections in the future.
p.s. Begala apologized for these comments, but the larger point remains. Begala was reflecting the CW in establishment DC, which has always been against spending money in supposedly "hopeless" states like Mississippi.
A song that capture the hypocrisy and injustice of the Iraq War "Peace" appears on the album "Esther and the Protesters" by New Orleans-based singer-songwriter Esther Sparks. Esthersparks.com. You can contact the artist directly there. If you are moved by its message, please pass it along. You can count on the fact that the Bush supporters who run Clear Channel will make sure it never appears on any of their radio stations. Excerpt: "Oh dear Lord, ...
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