Re: Chris Rock, Still Funny

1

"A 75-year-old black man who hates white people. Is there another type of 75-year-old black man?

I heard Michael Wilbon from PTI (and WaPo, I think) make this point--entirely before the Rev. Wright thing--in explaining the difference between John Thompson II, formerly of G'Town, and John Thompson III, now at G'Town. It was kind of genius, actually; it was a novel insight (wc?) to me, anyway.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:33 PM
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The thing about Wright isn't that he's angry, it's that he's a smart guy (who went to all-exam Central High in Philadelphia, for crying out loud), but is willing to say from the pulpit that the US government created the HIV virus. That's depressing, no?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:39 PM
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2: That might be the thing for you, but I'm pretty sure for most people, it's that he's angry. As to the HIV thing--what do you want to bet that Steven Hayes thinks Saddam planned 9/11? People are crazy; it's a function of being people.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:42 PM
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but is willing to say from the pulpit

He's a preacher. They're predisposed to believe all manner of crazy shit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:46 PM
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2: He cites a specific book, I forget the title, in his recent interview, backing up that claim. So, he doesn't know enough about science to know that that book is a pack of lies. He probably shouldn't be talking about it then.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:47 PM
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He cites a specific book.... So, he doesn't know enough about science to know that that book is a pack of lies. He probably shouldn't be talking about it then.

The bible?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:49 PM
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4 is right.

Seriously, couldn't the Democrats come up with a series of ads containing McCain claiming to revere Republican power brokers Hagee and Jerry Falwell, and then those guys talking about how the US government's love of sodomy and gender equality leads to our reaping the whirlwind of Katrina? That is not any closer to the mainstream. And anyone who views Jerry Falwell as a font of infallible wisdom is not voting Democratic anyway.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:51 PM
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The recent army medical service revelation seems a little weird - would that be the first thing Rev Wright's supporters should have brought up in response to the charges of anti-Americanism? Why is it only coming to light now? Has he been hiding it from his own allies? Weird.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:51 PM
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3, 5: Guys, again, 75 years old. Not just Tuskegee, but a whole raft of lesser-known actual incidents of people dying because hospital emergency rooms wouldn't take a black patient, of prisoners undergoing medical experiments without anything resembling informed consent, of pills, vaccines, and chemicals being tested on military personnel without knowledge or consent...and that's not to mention last year's Harvard study on the painful cost of doctors' unconscious racism.

It's not nuts that he believes a non-scientific fearmongering book, it's nuts that our society has created an environment in which that thesis is even vaguely plausible.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:53 PM
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Didn't Obama's speech mention his military service? (I knew about it, and I don't know any other means by which I would've learned it.)


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:54 PM
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It's not nuts that he believes a non-scientific fearmongering book, it's nuts that our society has created an environment in which that thesis is even vaguely plausible.

And it's also nuts that 85% of our society is totally unaware of why the other 15% of our society might think it's plausible.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:54 PM
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Except McCain doesn't actually attend Falwell's church. It is as if Rev. Wright is purposefully sabotaging Obama's campaign.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:55 PM
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It's not nuts that he believes a non-scientific fearmongering book, it's nuts that our society has created an environment in which that thesis is even vaguely plausible.

Amen.

(And everyone knew that Wright had been a Marine.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:56 PM
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W/r/t the AIDS thing, Adam Kotsko wrote a brilliant post on the topic a while ago.

I wonder if it's any more crazy to believe that the US gov't created HIV than it is to believe that the US is able to achieve its ostensible goals in Iraq (viz., a stable, liberal-democratic, pro-Western state). No matter what the degree of craziness, the people with the latter crazy views have actual influence in the world, while the people with the former crazy views do not.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:57 PM
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He's a preacher. They're predisposed to believe all manner of crazy shit.

Tell me about it. My father believes the Wright stuff (thank you) has hurt Obama below the waterline and he'll leak votes from now to a sad November. He's very disappointed in his Vermont neighbors. Whacky!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:58 PM
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It is as if Rev. Wright is purposefully sabotaging Obama's campaign.

Yeah, I find it weird that he won't lay low and let the dust settle, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:58 PM
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16: It's unwise, from the political point of view, but I think it's to his (and Obama's) credit, that he seems not to care about that much.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:59 PM
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11: Agreed.

Best excerpt from the aforementioned brilliant Kotsko:

If someone actually were to act in line with the crazy evangelical preachers' theories, then we'd be starting World Wars III, IV, and V -- whereas if someone were to act in line with Wright's theory about HIV, we would be ... trying to halt the spread of HIV in the black community. It's the difference between pointless willful destruction and doing what we should be doing anyway.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:01 PM
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, but I think it's to his...credit, that he seems not to care about that much.

Disagree, I think: it's selfish, if he genuinely doesn't care.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:03 PM
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So, it's objectionably selfish for a preacher to defend his reputation and his sermons, but perfectly okay for cops to beat children.

You're an odd duck, Tim.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:06 PM
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17: Would you find an egotistical white preacher equally admirable?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:07 PM
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any more crazy to believe that the US gov't created HIV than it is to believe

he US government creating HIV is certainly not *less* plausible than people rising from the dead, walking on water, or taking long trips inside a whale. Let's keep things in context. The bigger issue is that Obama's preacher has fuck-all to do with what sort of president he'd make.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:08 PM
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So, it's objectionably selfish for a preacher to defend his reputation and his sermons, but perfectly okay for cops to beat children.

In each case, there's something bigger that counts for more. For Wright, it's the possibility of an African-American President. That's not one for his lifetime; given the population numbers, there's a decent chance that's one for his grandkids' lifetimes. And in the kid's case, we're talking about a valuable life lesson: be afraid. Every single day of your life, be afraid.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:11 PM
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21: I think it's to his credit because it suggests that he takes the church/state separation seriously? And he's not working on Obama's campaign? And he's a free citizen, who has been pilloried in the media, and he has a perfect right to defend himself?

So, yeah. I admired the white Chicago preacher whose name I don't recall who was on YouTube recently defending Wright, as well.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:12 PM
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And in the kid's case, we're talking about a valuable life lesson: be afraid. Every single day of your life, be afraid.

MINORITY REPORT WILL GET YOU.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:13 PM
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24: You're kidding, right?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:15 PM
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Tim, there's *always* something bigger that counts for more. It's not a reason to let yourself be bullied.

However, I now see the common thread in your thinking on these two questions, which is that people should sit down and shut up.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:16 PM
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The bigger issue is that Obama's preacher has fuck-all to do with what sort of president he'd make.

I have to disagree with you there, apo. It should not be the deciding factor, but an adviser as influential as Wright has been to Obama is a legitimate issue. But only to the extent that any other adviser is, which is very little.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:16 PM
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26: No, I'm not.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:16 PM
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(I'll admit, however, that I haven't bothered to read or listen to any of the recent Wright stuff, so I'm only talking about the general principle that there's not a damn thing wrong with his speaking to the press.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:18 PM
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No, I'm not.

I'm with B here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:20 PM
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Except McCain doesn't actually attend Falwell's church.

Falwell is dead, so we can switch the example to Hagee, who is both more insane than Falwell and less popular with the average churchgoing white person, despite having a similarly powerful role in the Republican Party to the role Falwell once had.

Obama went to Wright's church but does not rely on him for career help or advice. McCain does not have any interest in religion or the details of Hagee's beliefs, but publicly endorses Hagee's beliefs in exchange for Hagee's political help.

I think those two cancel out. For one thing, McCain is on record saying wonderful things about Hagee.

And which of those relationships sounds like it is more likely to lead to the craaaazy preacher having actual power once his friend reaches the White House?


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:20 PM
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an adviser as influential as Wright has been to Obama

Does Obama seem like a particularly religious guy to you?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:21 PM
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29: Then: (i) has nothing to with the separation of church and state; (ii) irrelevant; and (iii) way to dodge criticisms of how Wright is defending himself to Obama's disadvantage.

As for the white Chicago preacher, also irrelevant.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:21 PM
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"career help or advice" means "career help or career advice".


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:22 PM
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The bigger issue is that Obama's preacher has fuck-all to do with what sort of president he'd make.

I hope you are wrong, because I like Wright.

But you are probably correct.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:25 PM
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1: Rock has been making a similar crack for a while now, basically telling honkies that that old black guy, Willie? The one you love so much because he's always soooo nice? He hates your white ass. Cracker ass cracker.

I love Michael Wilbon, probably because he's a Chicago guy.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:25 PM
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31: And don't you forget it, baybee.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:26 PM
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I agree with B that it's too his personal credit to talk to the media for a variety of reasons. I do not entirely discount megalomania as a motivation, which would be less clearly to his credit. Regardless of either of these things, it still ain't good for Obama.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:26 PM
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34: Okay, Flippanter. I hereby disavow *and* denounce Reverend Wright.

Happy?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:27 PM
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Does Obama seem like a particularly religious guy to you?

This is really the point. Everyone has a crazy person in his life that is important to him, and everyone picks and chooses what to what he listens. It's only weird when the other guy's crazy person seems so different from your own. For gawd's sake, we're in Iraq because well respected people argued our way of life--and, sotto voce, our existence--was under attack. And the people who made those arguments are still considered respectable. Let alone the people listening to them.

As I think I said earlier, this seems sort of like the problem Romney faced with Mormonism: it only seems super weird if you don't know any Mormons.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:28 PM
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40: Now renunciate.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:28 PM
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As I think I said earlier, this seems sort of like the problem Romney faced with Mormonism: it only seems super weird if you don't know any Mormons.

I agree. It's a very big problem.

But it can still be nullified by pointing out the importance Hagee has to the Republican nominee, dammit. McCain is required to praise Hagee. And Hagee is not some lovable old-timer who can be forgiven for maybe not being as tactful as he was in his prime. Hagee is only popular with a minority of the people who liked and respected Falwell. And Hagee's craziness sounds a lot crazier than Falwell's did.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:30 PM
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this seems sort of like the problem Romney faced with Mormonism: it only seems super weird if you don't know any Mormons.

I might be an asshole, but I know some Mormons very well. And while I grew up in a Catholic tradition, their tradition smacks more of crazy to me. Like, a lot more. But again, I might be an asshole about it.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:31 PM
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that old black guy, Willie? The one you love so much because he's always soooo nice? He hates your white ass

Kind of funny, because we have a neighbor named Willie who's a really nice old black guy. But he doesn't hate us! He doesn't!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:32 PM
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The only comfort I have had in the last few months is the fantasy of Obama removing his hand from the Inauguration Koran, talking off the topcoat to reveal a dashiki, and invitin NWA to the podium to mash God Bless America with Fight the Power.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:33 PM
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And Hagee's craziness sounds a lot crazier than Falwell's did.

Actually, no. Falwell went batshit on 9/11, as did Robertson, and they never really recovered.They were batshit already, but it became very clear after 9/11.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:34 PM
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40: I would also have accepted "Wright is entitled to defend himself as he sees fit; however, you are right that, as a blah blah blah blah, I would likely find it hard to watch some fat-necked Southern Baptist in a suit that a '70s golf pro would burn tell Bill Moyers that the CIA had a farm in Costa Rica of zombie clones of Jimmy Carter and Angela Davis and that's who was attacking him for saying Israel would be 'a carnival of the unconverted dead when Jesus comes back'."

Seriously, whatever you pick from your rattlebag of opinions is fine.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:34 PM
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Bob, NWA merged with Delta. No hope any more.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:35 PM
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Does Obama seem like a particularly religious guy to you?

not really. But Obama claims Wright as an influential person in his life, so that's ok with me. I would think less of Obama if he disowned Wright just cuz the heat was on. If he were that weak, I wouldn't want him as President.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:36 PM
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"Fight the Power" is far too explicitly political for NWA. It's a Public Enemy track.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:37 PM
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Catholic tradition is part of American pop culture. For decades there have been jokes everywhere in the mainstream media about nuns, priests, lapsed Catholics, hilarious Italian grandmas, hilarious Irish grandpas, et cetera. And people can be reassured from this, and from personal experience, that there are a lot of Catholics out there who are not devout.

If I encounter someone who identifies as a Mormon, I usually assume he/she is devout.

I don't hold this against them, of course. But if I had grown up devoted to another faith, and seeing their religion as mysterious and probably anti-Christian, I would presume that a given Mormon is probably pretty devoted to whatever mysterious things Mormons do, and couldn't be trusted to stand up for other religions.

That is to say, it's like Catholicism was 60 years ago.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:37 PM
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but I know some Mormons very well

Different kind of "know."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:40 PM
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Just when you think that Hagee's anti-Catholic weirdness is drawing on prejudices that faded long ago, someone comes along to prove you wrong.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:41 PM
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I think 54 is directed at you, Sivyl.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:45 PM
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I guess we can score a big win for the soft bigotry of low expectations. Wright isn't some dope, he's an educated man. A patrician, in point of fact. That he holds a lunatic, pathetic belief that is also a hateful blood libel against the US government is depressing beyond measure. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills just arguing this point.

This isn't necessarily a blot against Obama. As someone notes above, we all have crazy people in our lives.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:46 PM
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I think 54 is directed at you, Sivyl.

Is it? I admitted I was being an asshole, but it's how I feel. I am having a shit day, though, so maybe it turned me into a bigot. Who knows.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:48 PM
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The crazy/angry/criminal black associate was going to happen to any black nominee, no matter who. If Wright defended himself in whatever way some of you seem to believe would make a difference (which I doubt), they'd just go find somebody else.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:49 PM
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I am having a shit day, though, so maybe it turned me into a bigot.

No one wants to admit it, but horsecollaring a random 14 yr-old skate rat will make you feel much better. Or so I've heard.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:50 PM
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hateful blood libel against the US government

Those Iraqis black people just aren't grateful enough.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:51 PM
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No, Sybil's good. I'm not convinced about her Camille Paglia fetish, but other than that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:51 PM
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Wright isn't some dope, he's an educated man.

Depending on what you think of DePauw or Columbia, so's Stephen Hayes.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:52 PM
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56: Have you ever heard of anything called "history" or "context," baa?


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:54 PM
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I'm not convinced about her Camille Paglia fetish

Men are the way they are because they pee in an arc! The long, projectile force of their pee compels them to be do-ers, action-takers! What is unclear about this?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:54 PM
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64: I think I remember Norman Mailer saying pretty much that exact thing.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:57 PM
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That he holds a lunatic, pathetic belief that is also a hateful blood libel against the US government is depressing beyond measure.

I don't believe the US Government is behind the AIDS virus.

But if I was in my mid-thirties and I found out my government had been using people like me as guinea pigs for a disease, I might find the AIDS rumor more plausible.

Essentially, Chris Rock is dead-on.


Posted by: 56 and sunny | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 6:59 PM
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Oddly, on the trip to the Antelope Valley this weekend? I had to pee, and I dropped my pants and peed---standing, in an arc! into the bushes by the fence. Mr. B. was all "I didn't know women could do that" and I was all, dude, I've written about being able to do that ON THE INTERNET, and done it on road trips with you before.

I guess he was just never paying attention before. Or else he, too, has been brainwashed by Camille Paglia.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:00 PM
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(Oh, and he promised next time to take a picture so I can post it on the blog.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:01 PM
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(Because the current crop of tedious commenters needs to be spiced up a bit . . . with some pee fetishists.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:01 PM
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but, as arcs go, it was a lower pee arc than Mr. B's simultaneous pee arc would've been, no? So there you have it.

That said, I can only imagine peeing in an arc if I had an uncomfortable amount of pressure built up.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:03 PM
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I found out my government had been using people like me as guinea pigs for a disease

Not to mention the 30-year offensive biological warfare program.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:03 PM
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What's crazy is the idea that the United States government that can barely deliver the mail has the competence and discipline to pull off a conspiracy as huge as inventing the AIDS epidemic without leaving fingerprints. Not that they're too moral to do it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:07 PM
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That he holds a lunatic, pathetic belief that is also a hateful blood libel against the US government is depressing beyond measure.

What's really depressing is that if he were entirely right about this, it still wouldn't be the worst thing the U.S. government has done to black people.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:20 PM
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The great thing about 64 is that I can't tell if it's Pagila or Pagila parody.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:21 PM
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73: Just because he thinks HIV was released into the black community by the government doesn't necessarily mean he thinks the government intended for it to be THIS BIG of an epidemic.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:21 PM
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70: Probably not, no. But next time I'll try to remember to propose a contest. (It's largely about being willing to use a couple of fingers to help aim. But yeah, of course pressure helps.)

72 is making an excellent point.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:22 PM
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73: Oh wow, baa actually said that's a "hateful blood libel" against the US government?

Dearie me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:25 PM
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And my 66 is condescending in a big way, but I stand by it.


Posted by: 56 and sunny | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:26 PM
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I'm on board with 72, and a bunch of other stuff people have already said. Thabo Mbeki isn't an idiot either. What people know and is salient to them makes a big difference in what they'll believe.

And by the way, Wright had a great response to Rock.

When the moderator asked him to respond to Chris Rock's joke that Wright is a "75-year-old black man who doesn't like white people--is there any other kind of 75-year-old black man?" Wright had the perfect retort: "That's just like the media. I'm not 75." (He's 66.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:37 PM
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77: Oh wow, baa actually said that's a "hateful blood libel" against the US government?

Ah c'mon b, what part of "My country is the deepest part of me." don't you get? .. besides if they did create the HIV virus for use against blacks, I'm sure they had a good reason.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:42 PM
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As for the political implications, I'd bet money that Wright sought, and got, the okay from the Obama campaign before doing this.

Emerson said it in another thread: No more cringing.

Letting Wright define himself, to the extent that is possible, is a tactically wiser move than letting the Republicans and the media do so. And make no mistake: The Wright thing wasn't going to go away, even if Wright went into hiding between now and November. Has it shown any signs of going away yet?

Remember Obama's invocation of Jay-Z ? I had to have that explained to me - I'm an old, out-of-touch white guy and didn't get it. But the idea that a black candidate for president would consciously invoke a rapper - and a specific rap song with its N-words and MF-words - would have struck me as insane. If I were a campaign advisor, I would have begged him not to do it.

But it was clearly the right thing to do - and I'm delighted to see a candidate for president pull of the exact opposite of a Souljah.

No more cringing.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:49 PM
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In case it hasn't been linked yet: Bill Moyers's interview with Jeremiah Wright.

And for the record, he's 67 years old, not 75.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:55 PM
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The more I see of Wright, the more I like him. Just like Bob McManus!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:57 PM
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My father believes the Wright stuff (thank you) has hurt Obama below the waterline and he'll leak votes from now to a sad November.

Unfortunately, this might well be true. His poll numbers have been sagging badly since PA. Fortunately, the Democrats still have time to get away if this trend continues for the next five or six weeks.

I don't think it's Wright in particular, I think an accumulation of stuff has hurt. We'll see if he can right himself. So to speak, etc.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:57 PM
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Can I cringe about B's pee?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:57 PM
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Can I cringe about B's pee?

No, goddamit !! There really is something middlin' vile about blaming HIV on a US government plot to kill black people, and there's something profoundly unnatural about women peeing standing up. But no shame is allowed ! NONE !


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:02 PM
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It was Freud who first pointed out the significance of being able to pee over a distance.

Just as Freud predicted, B shows a notable lack of penis envy.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:02 PM
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I'd bet money that Wright sought, and got, the okay from the Obama campaign before doing this.

Oh, please.

Can I cringe about B's pee?

NO CRINGING! Or I'll pee on you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:03 PM
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The only thing worth envying is the ability to pee outdoors without worrying about a rattlesnake biting your butt.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:05 PM
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I use blood libel advisedly for a belief which is both:

a) absurd
b) attributes to the target group a wickedness so absolute that, were the accusation true, one would have little grounds for good faith negotiation.

I cut a lot of slack for old people. I expect old black guys to dislike white people, and vice versa. I expect the uninformed and the uneducated to parrot the goof ball beliefs that fit their biases and priors (Obama is a "secret muslim," e.g.). But at a certain level of sophistication charity must come to an end. The 'context' here is a guy who received two master's degrees. Heaven forbid we expect him to avoid explicitly endorsing from the pulpit embarrassingly absurd and hateful beliefs.

All this seems to me not directly relevant to Obama's campaign. It's just depressing.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:06 PM
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I do want the record to note that I never cringe about pee in real life. Pee is patently unoffensive.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:07 PM
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And baa? Given that there wasn't a goddamn thing that George Bush could do in the last seven years to get you to stop voting Republican, including fraud, torture and mass murder, you can kiss my ass. I don't believe for a fucking second that you or Sean Hannity or anyone else in the Republican Party actually gives a fuck about a single thing Barack Obama's pastor said, except to the extent that it makes your sad, desperate little clutch of overfed plutocrats slightly more likely to hold on to the White House for another four years. So go ahead and cry your crocodile tears over what one black preacher in Chicago said about HIV, while a war sold on lies by the people you continue to smugly support has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:10 PM
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There was a This American Life segment recently about how gentrification in many Af-Am neighborhoods is attributed to a secret plan called, appropriately, "The Plan." It's easy to dismiss the idea in its particulars as conspiracy theory, but in essence it's just describing communities left to the mercy of the agents of capital, so it's not exactly untrue. That may represent blood libel against the US and its sacred doctrine of unfettered capitalism, but so be it. The Man sucks.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:11 PM
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All this seems to me not directly relevant to Obama's campaign. It's just depressing.

I'll tell you what I find depressing: Something that is, on merit, so ludicrously irrelevant to Obama's campaign has been rendered central to his campaign.

That, and the fact that people like you look at this situation and find Wright to be the one whose transgressions are important and worthy of comment.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:13 PM
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In historical context, baa, is the popular belief that the government invented AIDS (a) or (b)?

Bonus points: why?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:14 PM
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I do want the record to note that I never cringe about pee in real life. Pee is patently unoffensive.

Unless it is in your bed. My lovely daughter wears a pull-up. Sometimes it has overflow. Sometimes, I have to get in the bed to convince her to go back to sleep (and not wake up everyone else a 3:30 am).

If I have to sleep in a wetspot, I'd rather it not be pee.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:14 PM
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93, that was a great segment, a really interesting look at gentrification.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:14 PM
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I love This American Life.

Last week's was good.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:15 PM
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This American Life

Oh, hey, has anyone linked to this nationwide movie screening of TAL excerpts? This Thursday at these theaters.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:16 PM
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If I have to sleep in a wetspot, I'd rather it not be pee.

PK spilled hot chocolate in my bed this morning. (HC in bed being my new morning ritual for him--the kid's version of coffee. Works a charm.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:18 PM
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Also, re: gentrification, IIRC there have been several occasions in the US in which there were actual plans, starting in the 1960s with that round of "urban renewal," to move black folks out of neighborhoods. Like the t-shirt says, it's not paranoia if they're really after ya.

Bah, depressing.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:18 PM
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If I have to sleep in a wetspot, I'd rather it not be pee.

Better pee than vomit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:18 PM
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I bathed with my kid every night for a year, and when she was finally old enough to stand throughout the bath, with her ass out of water, i realized she peed in the tub every night. BUt pee in bathwater is utterly unproblematic, I think.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:22 PM
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102, so so true.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:23 PM
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Better pee than vomit.
Thus, I didnt want to share a room with you at Unfogged DCon.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:23 PM
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99: Thanks, Witt! I'd heard about that but didn't know it was showing anywhere closer than LA. Tickets purchased. A mid-week date night! Hard to believe.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:25 PM
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101: My understanding is that there's been a spectrum with actual plans on one end, free-market property value fluctuations on the other, and in the middle all sorts of policies, such as redlining, with varying degrees of conscious invidiousness. But yeah, wicked depressing.

Better pee than vomit.

That was my first thought. Great minds Fathers of small children think alike.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:27 PM
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106: Glad to help. When are you going to write that book?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:27 PM
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Inventing HIV probably is beyond the capabilities of the US government. Inventing crack would be more their speed.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:27 PM
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103: Yeah, I remember that realization. Damn kids.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:28 PM
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We wanted to see it, but Tucker has a baseball game that night. bummer


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:28 PM
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108: Soon.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:28 PM
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Did they invent crack, or merely push it in the inner cities?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:29 PM
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My understanding is that there's been a spectrum with actual plans pee on one end, free-market property value fluctuations vomit on the other, and in the middle all sorts of policies fluids


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:30 PM
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Is vomit *really* the worst? I bet we can come up with others.

And if not, I bet the US government could.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:31 PM
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Will you let us select the words that you use to describe us in your book?

Can I reserve "deracinate"?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:32 PM
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the US government could

Black people would have the worst vomit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:32 PM
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It's not that kind of book. But you can email me with all the godawful awkward questions your kids have asked you, just in case I forget anything.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:33 PM
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Did I mention that my daughter often sticks her hands down her pants (front and back) and rubs vigorously?

Then, she wants to touch your face with her hands.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:33 PM
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I bet Will doesn't kiss BR after a blow job, either. Prude.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:35 PM
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But you can email me with all the godawful awkward questions your kids have asked you, just in case I forget anything.

My son actually used the word "abortionist" to describe a member of the family.

Hey now, son!!!!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:35 PM
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I can't believe I said that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:36 PM
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121: You must be so proud.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:37 PM
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I bet Will doesn't kiss BR after a blow job, either. Prude.

I am no prude or germophobe. Just for that, I am slobbering all over you next time and making BR grab your butt.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:38 PM
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i can't figure out what to tell my kid when she asks what i am doing putting makeup on and why. I would like some help with that. "Dress up paint for your face" and "no, I would rather you didn't" does not help get past my shame.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:39 PM
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I can live with that.

Has anyone here ever watched "The Great Mouse Detective"? I'm rather shocked at how racist it is. It's a fairly recent movie and everything; you'd expect the racism to be a little more subtle.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:39 PM
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I use blood libel advisedly for a belief which is both:
a) absurd
b) attributes to the target group a wickedness so absolute that, were the accusation true, one would have little grounds for good faith negotiation.

The trouble is that you have Tuskeegee in this man's lifetime. I don't see how you can exempt the US gov't that sanctioned Tuskeegee from " a wickedness so absolute...." Many, many banned analogies come to mind.

Is the specific accusation false? Certainly. Would exactly comparable accusations be true? Sure. For instance, did the SCOTUS just vote 6-3 in favor of a law that was clearly intended to disenfranchise blacks (and the elderly and the generally poor), because it would only burden the right to vote a little bit?

To pretend that Wright's accusation is beyond the pale is to pretend that everything is basically hunky-dory for blacks in America in the early 21st Century. News flash: they're not.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:40 PM
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Just tell her you're fellating the patriarchy, Sybil.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:40 PM
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Sybil:

Just wait until she asks you about the "Ha Ha. Hee Hee" song that you were singing the previous night.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:41 PM
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Right, obviously. I can then demonstrate with her dad. This parenting book will be flying off the shelves!


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:42 PM
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130 to 129 or 128


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:42 PM
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ATLANTA!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:47 PM
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SIOUX CITY!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:48 PM
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Nah, but seriously. It's sort of like the "why do you smoke, Mama?" question. You have to just say, well, I'm doing something I'm not especially proud of because I feel like it's expected of me, and I wish I were a little bit braver about it, but when I was growing up, blah blah, and I hope that *you* are growing up in a time when people will be putting a lot less pressure on little girls to conform and I'm certainly going to do my best to help you feel like you don't have to fuss with this stuff every morning for no really good reason.

That's assuming you wear makeup every day. If you just wear it on occasion, then I'd go with the, "oh, it's sort of like playing dress up: it's fun, once in a while," and let her "try it on". At least, that's what I did with PK, although obviously he's not exactly going to have a lot of pressure to wear makeup regularly so I'm sure it's not the same. Add in explanations as you like about yes, different gender conventions for men and women and yeah, it's a little bit sexist, and on the one hand it's too bad that little boys are discouraged from this sort of dress-up play because it *is* fun, sometimes, though on the other hand a lot of people go way too far and try to teach girls that they *have* to do it all the time, which is clearly stupid.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:48 PM
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But "fellating the patriarchy" is shorter, so if you're in a hurry to get out the door, I'd just go with that instead.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:50 PM
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Tempus fugit, laydeez.


Posted by: The Patriarchy | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:52 PM
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Yes, that is all very good. And sensible. And legible.

But what do you say to the 2.5 year old, who can't grasp that nuance and yet deserves a non-dismissive answer?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:52 PM
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135:

yes, but a three year old isnt going to understand that very well.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:53 PM
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darn! pwned by sybil. Our minds are on the same thing.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:53 PM
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I don't think I really need to say something profound to her at 2, or really even true, but I know that I get antsy when she asks and I can't quite diffuse it the way I want to and yet I really don't want her to try it on before preschool. So I always go with something lame like, 'this is a thing that big girls do, sort of like driving a car, and when you are bigger you can try it yourself." so lame.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:56 PM
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137: Oh. Well, again, do you wear makeup every day or on occasion? If the latter, the "dress up, yes you can try but really it's for grownups" thing should work. If it's the former, hmm. Maybe something like "a lot of people think women are supposed to wear makeup, so it's kind of like getting dressed before going outside: there's nothing *wrong* with being naked, but it's polite not to upset people."

"Why do people think women are supposed to wear makeup, Mommy?"

"Well, because they think women are supposed to be extra pretty all the time. Which is kind of a hassle, to be honest with you." See if you can get the "conspiracy between us two" thing going on, so that being anti-makeup is some kind of super cool and daring mother/daughter collusion.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:57 PM
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140: That's a perfectly legitimate answer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:57 PM
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it's kind of like getting dressed before going outside: there's nothing *wrong* with being naked, but they'll still throw your naked ass in jail or the psych ward.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:59 PM
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Eh, I say try to relax about letting her play with an old lipstick, or let you put it on for her. I think your antsiness on that account is probably a residual idea that makeup is for grownups, or for being sexy or something, but from the pov of a kid that age, it really is just admiring imitation, like trying on mommy's shoes or asking to "help" sweep the floor.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:59 PM
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B, I gather from what you write here that you talk to PK about sexism and gender conventions on a regular basis. Which is awesome. Have you also talked to him about lots of other children his age aren't going to have had similar conversation with their parents, and might not be at all familiar with the concepts? I'm not sure why 134 provoked this question, and it's certainly none of my business, but I'm curious.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:59 PM
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I don't wear every day, but I do like the collusion angle.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:00 PM
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"The Great Mouse Detective"

Is that based on the books where the mouse named Basil lives in Sherlock Holmes' flat? I loved the books, but never saw the movie (if they're the same). No idea if the books are so racist.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:00 PM
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And Apo's right, too: "this is something big girls do" is also a perfectly fine answer.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:00 PM
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Try:
"Daddy makes me do it!!!"


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:00 PM
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147: Yes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:01 PM
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140: Not lame at all. It's basically what I say when I have to assert my right to the glass of wine one of my daughters has seized.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:02 PM
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Oh, I know she is just emulating, like wanting to hold the hairdryer and wear my shoes and put a bra on (which is the new thing; she puts it around her neck and goes, 'I go to my job now'), but I just don't want her to think it is remotely cool when her grandmas buy her stupid little kid makeup or fake lipsticks or whatever. And I am so grossed out by realizing I can moan at my in-laws all I want about it but am supplying more potent counter-influence on a regular basis.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:02 PM
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And now I am off to hate my students and their stupid papers which are ruining my otherwise cushy and idyllic job.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:05 PM
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140 is a great answer to all kinds of things. It is especially helpful in divorce.

Child: "Why ____________?"

"That is an adult conversation. What is important is that both mommy and daddy love you very much. Nothing can change that."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:06 PM
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I know she is just emulating

"I'm going to work like you, mommy!"

"Sigh. I guess it's time we had the talk about capital exploitation of labor and antagonistic contradiction."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:08 PM
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Heaven forbid we expect him to avoid explicitly endorsing from the pulpit embarrassingly absurd and hateful beliefs.

I don't think we do expect that, though. There are tons of crazy things said by preachers. I'd be astonished if none have weighed in on ID, or supported the Iraq war on idiot grounds, or made crazy claims about the caliphate. There are just so many of them, and backed by so many votes from people we've (the media) decided are trustworthy, that none particularly stand out.

Also, a quibble: I think of "blood libel" as something tied to an ethnic claim, and usually to an ethnicity that is in the minority: that is, there is a reason to care about the libel. That's not true here. As KF Monkey noted, if Obama becomes President, the country will still be 77% white. What's the risk?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:08 PM
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Is it too late to talk about conspiracy theories in the black community? Because I just wrote an article on the subject, focusing on the levee rumors in New Orleans. And I learned that there's some interesting literature on the subject. Oh, forget it. My son, who should be sleeping, just called me.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:12 PM
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the country will still be 77% white. What's the risk?

We're coming home to roost, SomeCallMeCracker.


Posted by: Chickens | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:12 PM
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152: Right, well, like I said, your anxiety is more about a guilty conscience than it is about whether or not it's okay to let her play with makeup.

That said, the grandmas? Do like I did when my dad sent PK bibles and toy tanks: hide them or just tell dad/grandma flat out that you're not passing those on, sorry.

if Obama becomes President, the country will still be 77% white. What's the risk?

BURNING SHIT DOWN. Duh.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:13 PM
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Have you also talked to him about lots of other children his age aren't going to have had similar conversation with their parents, and might not be at all familiar with the concepts?

I had a conversation about God with my niece when she was, perhaps, seven years old. She explained to me that a lot people felt comforted by believing in God, but that God didn't really exist.

I was a little concerned, and said something like: Well, people have different beliefs, and we need to respect those beliefs.

She was suddenly taken aback, obviously worried that she had offended me. "Do you believe in God, Uncle ---- ?"

I was impressed with her concern over broader social mores, and flattered that her initial instinct was to assume that I was knowledgeable and sensible - that is to say, that I was an atheist. But she clearly knew that she had to be careful about her audience when she was saying things like that.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:13 PM
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155: No, because that's ideologically loaded, and the entire point is to answer questions that make you tense while *explaining* why you're tense to the kid in a non-judgmental way. So that the kid doesn't worry that somehow asking questions is bad, or that your answer means that if he grows up to be a bond trader you'll hate him forever.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:14 PM
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Oh, sorry, I missed 145.

Yes, of course. He knows that a lot of people believe in god and don't want that challenged, and that it's not really polite to tell people flat-out that they're wrong. He knows that a lot of people are sexist, and that I agree with him (for example) that it's sexist for teachers to consistently divide play groups into "boys" and "girls". And that I will go tell the teacher that it bothers us, and why, and ask if he/she could do something else sometimes, and that if the answer is "no," then the rule about not being rude to teachers even when you disagree with them is going to trump the rule about never going along with anything sexist, ever.

Unless it's an after-school daycare program, in which case when they refused to let him play in the "girl" group, I told him that was their answer and asked what he wanted to do and when he said he wanted to quit going, I said that was fine with me. If I'd had to work, of course, I wouldn't have been able to say that, and we would have gone back to the "yes, sometimes other people are wrong, and we have to just deal with it politely" thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:18 PM
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(And of course his own observations have explained to him that some other parents aren't nearly as fabulous as his own. E.g., the woman at the fair who was telling her daughter that she couldn't have a blue toy, because those were for boys; she had to take the pink toy. PK leaned over to me and whispered "that woman is a bad mama.")


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:20 PM
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I'm back. What, no fanfare? Philistines.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:27 PM
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On the precocious child subject:

My (apparently second-wave feminist) daughter ended up OK with us voting Obama in the PA primary - she said that she herself would still have voted for Hillary Clinton, but as long as John McCain doesn't get elected President, that's OK. Also, we had a big discussion about crime and punishment, which included her suggestion that we should "call the police and tell them that George Bush started a war for no good reason and killed lots of people." We had to explain that the police really weren't in a position to arrest him for this, which was a bit hard to express.

She continues to think that "Barack Obama" would be a good name for her impending baby brother.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:29 PM
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What, no fanfare?

A flourish of strumpets for Ari!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:30 PM
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Ooh, Ari, tell us about the lit you found.

Can anyone tell me if the document "How to make a slave" is historical or not? It's presented as an actual document from antebellum days, but it seems a bit pat* for that.

* Or perhaps too assumption-confirming


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:31 PM
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Ari! (I actually did notice, and thought to myself, "Self, it's nice to see Ari back.")


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:32 PM
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She continues to think that "Barack Obama" would be a good name for her impending baby brother.

I totally second that.

Of course, PK and I have had the opposite conversations: he's pro-Obama, largely because the war in Iraq is his biggest issue. Second is wiretapping.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:35 PM
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I have Wii shoulder.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:35 PM
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PK and I have had the opposite conversations

He thinks you should have a girl and name it Hillary Clinton?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:37 PM
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re gentrification, The Plan, and This American Life -- not only is 101 correct, but the colloquial name for "Urban Renewal" was "Negro Removal". Where it didn't clean out whole black neighborhoods, it bisected them with freeways. That episode of This American Life was really bad, in my opinion; it had a sensible-liberal veneer, a kind of empathy-but-we-know-better. It's as if no one had mentioned Tuskegee in the conversation above.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:38 PM
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No, he's concerned that I was having a difficult time deciding between Obama and Clinton. It's pretty cute, actually; he sort of goes out of his way to acknowledge that Clinton would be an okay choice, but I think Obama would be a better president, Mama. So diplomatic.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:39 PM
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There are tons of crazy things said by preachers

Tim, this is true, but, I think, something of a dodge. How depressed we should be by the crazy things preacher X says depends on how crazy it is and what kind of person preacher X is. And that's why it matters that Wright isn't some yahoo. I expect yahoos to believe bigoted crazy things. I don't expect the same of educated patricians, and I have been amazed and depressed (there's that word again) at the pitiful run of fig leafs that have been offered up as excuses here. Slavery was really evil. Tuskegee was really evil. Jim Crow was really evil. The FBI blackmailing MLK was really evil. When is the point where we can, despite all of the above, be legitimately depressed at a black person in a position of moral authority promulgating deranged anti-American conspiracy theories? My personal depress-o-meter start pinging at "when the guy is a highly educated pastor at a middle-class church who lives a life of relative luxury." Maybe this is too optimistic and instead I should only be depressed if this same attitude persists in the same type of person 50 years from now.

Your quibble on "blood libel" is of course, fair enough. But come fly with me on the wings of metaphor!


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:40 PM
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Barack Obama Roth-Wife'sGermanicName seems somehow... forced.

Boy's names suck.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:41 PM
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170: You were warned. You must now leave an offering to the goddess Di.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:45 PM
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174: I think this may just be a fundamental divide with baa. I don't view "American blacks are too angry" as making the Top Ten list of American problems. Nor the Top 100.

When America is as decent a place for African-Americans as it is for European-Americans, then African-Americans will cease being prone (in large numbers) to believing wacky conspiracy theories. In the meantime, we've got much bigger problems to address. One of which is white Americans who get really unhappy that black Americans aren't grateful enough.*

* That's actually a bit nastier than I mean to be towards baa on this. Take it as a group criticism.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:47 PM
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And that's why it matters that Wright isn't some yahoo.

Whereas the opinions of salt-of-the-earth yahoos ought to be respected - or at least not commented upon. If a yahoo wins the presidency and attempts to impose yahoo-ism on the rest of us - well, that's okay, because he's just a yahoo and ought not be held to any particular standard.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:49 PM
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I expect yahoos to believe bigoted crazy things.

See, but the only crazy part is the idea that there's been a successful conspiracy encompassing the entire research community around the most studied disease in the past decade. That the same government that gave out smallpox blankets and tested megadoses of LSD on prisoners and had an active biological weapons program for 30 years might have created a virus isn't really particularly crazy or bigoted. He just doesn't seemed to have thought through the impossibility of the actual logistics.

Not unlike the entire MagicIraqiDemocracyPonySquad who have been running the foreign policy apparatus for the last seven years.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:50 PM
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E.g., the woman at the fair who was telling her daughter that she couldn't have a blue toy, because those were for boys; she had to take the pink toy. PK leaned over to me and whispered "that woman is a bad mama."

How funny. I know that a lot of people would be uncomfortable with a boy who wanted pink things, but I can't believe that there are people in California who object to a girl having blue things in 2008.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:51 PM
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a boy who wanted pink things


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:54 PM
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166: Thank you, Apo.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:54 PM
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You know, if a major, white media figure were to go through Jeremiah Wright's various claims and be like, "supports Palestinian terrorism...well, that's a reasonable argument; government invented HIV...there isn't much to support that, but compare it to Tuskegee" I would be down with that. In the world that we have, it's much more important to rebuff the Cudgel of Cynical Race-Baiting (-2 against Obama no matter how hard you try, sucka)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:55 PM
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deranged anti-American conspiracy theories

Part of the problem is that we haven't spelled out why you think it's deranged. I think it's badly mistaken because we seem to know quite a lot about the origin and spread of AIDS and what we know is not consistent with Wright's understanding. But I'd call that "blinkered" or "badly wrong," but not deranged.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:55 PM
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168: And you, Sir Kraab.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:58 PM
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181: Willy, er, william wants a doll.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:00 PM
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Apparently there were rumors after the Vanport flood in the 1940s - 43? - displaced people from a mostly black Portland neighborhood that the government was hiding dead people in a cold storage facility somewhere in an attempt to keep the death toll numbers down.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:07 PM
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anti-American

You know, I missed this on the first read-through. For me, the key is that it's not anti-American to be furious at my country's betrayal of its citizens, as best I understand it. It's profoundly American.

Look, I think the 9/11 truthers are nutso, and that's putting it kindly (and also not meaning any insult to people with actual mental illness). But even they are building on a grain of truth. Our government has lied many times about what happened in military plane crashes, who fired first, who launched a war. I'm glad the American Revolution happened, but I wouldn't like to stand up in a court of law and defend the accuracy of the colonists' version of the Boston Massacre.

You say "anti-American conspiracy theory" as if it is an irrational betrayal of our country to interpret facts in the least-charitable light. But it's actually quite rational. The more deeply you love your country and want it to live up to its ideals, the more angry and disappointed you are every time it does not.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:08 PM
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hen is the point where we can, despite all of the above, be legitimately depressed at a black person in a position of moral authority promulgating deranged anti-American conspiracy theories?

I would be depressed if I hadn't heard such theories from older white folks.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:10 PM
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"blinkered" or "badly wrong," but not deranged.

OK. I gotta admit my desire to argue this point is pretty minimal. If we want to substitute "really stupid anti-American conspiracy theory" for "deranged conspiracy theory" it might make me 10% less depressed.

I don't view "American blacks are too angry" as making the Top Ten list of American problems

Where on earth did I say that, JRoth? The simple point is that it's depressing when an intelligent, educated person believes bigoted, stupid things that ascribe enormous moral blame to other people. The inability to apply minimal standards here astonishes me.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:11 PM
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Apparently there were rumors after the Vanport flood in the 1940s - 43? - displaced people from a mostly black Portland neighborhood that the government was hiding dead people in a cold storage facility somewhere in an attempt to keep the death toll numbers down.

As if segregating most of Portland's African-American population outside of city limits in a housing project on a flood plain weren't bad enough. Come to think of it, that sounds kind of familiar. (The flood was in 1948, BTW.)


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:19 PM
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baa, what do you make of the Tuskegee experiments or the decision to blow the Mississippi's levee below New Orleans during the '27 flood, just to name to two government conspiracies against poor and/or black people?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:21 PM
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(The flood was in 1948, BTW.)

I thought it was after the war. Those 3s and 8s look too similar.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:22 PM
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To, two, too, if only I'd put the latter in there I'd have hit the trifecta.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:23 PM
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190: how about "a stupid conspiracy theory on a level with the rest of the stupid conspiracy theories, from 'Global Warming is a big fat scam!' to '9/11 was hella an inside job, bra!' to 'Nixon killed Kennedy with Goldwater's wooden leg!' to 'du0d you don't have to pay taxes it's right there in teh constitution!'"?

Cuz then? Comity!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:24 PM
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180: California has an awful lot of Mexicans, Asians, and other immigrant groups that tend to be a lot more traditional about gender categories than hypereducated whites do. And a lot of working class whites, and a lot of conservative Christians.

Not unlike the entire MagicIraqiDemocracyPonySquad who have been running the foreign policy apparatus for the last seven years.

Yeah, really. It's deranged to think they invented AIDS, when they lied to convince the American public to back an unnecessary war? Huh? Is it more or less deranged than the fact that when Katrina hit, there were a lot of perfectly well-educated white people who believed that people were shooting at National Guard rescue helicopters from rooftops?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:30 PM
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The Wikipedia entry on Vanport is pretty interesting. I had not known that Emerson's second alma mater was originally Vanport College.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:32 PM
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It seems to me that baa's point here is something that is incredibly obvious and shared by everyone else as well. That is, "It is suboptimal for an educated person in a position of moral authority to have, and promulgate, beliefs that are erroneous and lead to unnecessary feelings of persecution and suspicion."

However, since he is part of the political movement that would like to see Obama defeated, preferably by McCain, we all want to argue against him. But this makes him think we are all the more irrational for arguing against his obviously true truism.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:33 PM
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Is it more or less deranged than the fact that when Katrina hit, there were a lot of perfectly well-educated white people who believed that people were shooting at National Guard rescue helicopters from rooftops?

It's more deranged than that. At that time, there was no evidence for or against the helicopter-shooting story, since all we were hearing from New Orleans were rumors. So, what we believed was based on which rumors we chose to trust.

Whereas there is actual evidence against the AIDS conspiracy. And now there is evidence against the helicopter-shooting story, too.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:36 PM
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Well, look, I'm also a bit shocked when people who I think of as my educated peers say things like "the government invented AIDS." But it's one of those things that, once I *think* about it, I realize I shouldn't be so shocked by.

It's shocking to me because I'm not accustomed to thinking of the government as plotting against people like me. But if I were--and rightly so--then it surely wouldn't be.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:37 PM
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Auto-banned, there are reasons of history and context that Wright might believe what he believes. And, moreover, there are reasons of future policy and community empowerment (go, I hate that word) that promulgating those beliefs aren't necessarily self-defeating. In sum, it's not as simple as either you or baa suggests. At least I don't think so.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:38 PM
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Pwned by B. Story of my life.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:39 PM
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200: I was going to say to baa, but didn't, that my personal reason for being depressed is that we've failed the African American community so completely that believing things that -- to us -- seem as evidently false as the AIDS conspiracy can be easily cast as a forthrightly wise decision.

Oooh I have the exact (banned) analogy:

Wright's embrace of the AIDS conspiracy is exactly equivalent to the vaccines-cause-autism nonsense, except that the trigger is racial rather than economic disempowerment.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:43 PM
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there was no evidence for or against the helicopter-shooting story, since all we were hearing from New Orleans were rumors. So, what we believed was based on which rumors we chose to trust.

And we'd choose to trust rumors that people were shooting at their rescuers because why?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:46 PM
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You think that vaccines-cause-autism is driven by economic disempowerment? I'm not sure I buy that - seems like it could be much more simply explained by people wanting to believe that something bad happened to them for a reason, and the presence of people unscrupulous enough to encourage that belief for their own financial gain (by selling books, chelation treatments, or the prospect of money via lawsuit).


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:50 PM
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And we'd choose to trust rumors that people were shooting at their rescuers because why?

That would be because we trust the news sources that were spreading those rumors.

What are you trying to imply here?


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:52 PM
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Addendum to 205: if you have access to the internet, it's much easier to get into contact with your fellow believers of weird things than it was before. Especially if you speak English.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 10:56 PM
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Actually I think the autism belief is driven by a not unreasonable anxiety, on the part of 21st century women who are quite used to taking their health for granted, thankyouverymuch, about the way that pregnancy and infant care are treated as Medical Issues. Depending on one's personality, the shift can seem scary, irritating, intrusive, etc.

Given what educated women know about the back and forth shifts in medical attitudes towards these things over the years--thalidomide is awesome! It's terrible! Epidurals are heaven! They're unnecessary medical interventions! Don't have kids young! Oh wait you're too old now and we need to consider IVF! etc.--it's not all that crazy to start to distrust medical advice. Throw in a lot of pressure to Do Everything Right For Your Baby (the most popular pregnancy book out there literally says "if you are about to eat something that is not best for baby, put your fork down," I am not shitting you), warnings about eating tuna and bacon and oh by the way don't dye your hair or drink any alcohol at all, ever, and no coffee either! and women who are accustomed to being high achievers are going to start worrying about things like mercury in vaccines.

IME, the anti-vaccine people aren't universally poor; they are (in my experience, mind) usually pretty damn smart, pretty well-educated, and often a bit off the beaten track in terms of following orders.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:00 PM
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205: in the guise of healthcare, and disability I do, yeah. Maybe "economic" is a bit of a broad term, but I think increasing numbers of autism diagnoses -- and the problems those diagnoses cause in terms of both schooling and health care -- have introduced a whole new (more affluent) class of people to the alienating effects of economic disempowerment.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:00 PM
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Pwned by B, but pwned B with my razor-sharp analysis of the underlying factors.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:01 PM
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"orders" s/b "advice," btw.

206: And the media thought these rumors were believable, again, why?

What I'm implying is that believing that poor blacks in a crisis will riot is racist. It's also not unconnected to history. Just like believing that the government invented AIDS might be arguably bigoted, but is connected to history. I was hoping that it would make the whole "putting yourself in someone else's shoes" thing a little easier, you see.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:02 PM
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209: But is it economic disempowerment, per se? Or is it rather being put in a position of being told "do as you're told and trust the authorities"? Which is disempowerment, for sure, but how is it economic?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:04 PM
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I think it's more that some of the classic signs of autism tend to pop up right around the age where kids get a vaccination. Habit and Hume do the rest, and it begins to look like dangerously trusting those fallible doctors (and no one sees how bad some of those childhood diseases are, so it looks like a really unnecessary risk.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:05 PM
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Ari, I'd be interested in black conspiracy theory stuff.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:10 PM
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Well, people in a crisis will in fact riot, as history has shown. This includes poor black people.

It was racist for the media to credulously spread the "Ungrateful insane people shooting at rescuers" story, given that there was no evidence for it and it wasn't true.

However, the people who believed the media were only thinking "Gee, I wonder what's going on in that crisis down in New Orleans. Time to see what the news media is reporting. Wow! Shooting at helicopters? Well, if NBC says it's true..." (finish the sentence depending on how likely you are to believe that something on the TV news must be true)


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:11 PM
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Having now seen some of the Wright clips on the Daily Show, I love (the version of) Jeremiah Wright (who appeared in those clips).


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:13 PM
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209: Hmm... but there have been lots of different bizarre medical theories that were not founded in reality but were rapidly taken up by those who felt done wrong. (there were also lots of cases in which the factory down the street WAS poisoning the water, despite all their denials.) I don't see the autism stuff as wildly different in kind than the "power lines cause cancer" thing.

208: Have other western countries with thimerosal-causes-autism groups embraced the same sort of parenting "advice" that you describe?

My favorite too-good-to-verify story is that Silicon Valley has much higher autism rates due to all the nerds interbreeding.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:13 PM
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212: well, I know. So it's social disempowerment caused by the lack of a social safety net in this country.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:14 PM
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baa has used the term "blood libel" in this connection before. Aside from baa, the only time I have heard the phrase used is in spurious accusations against Jews. Since baa is using the same term to refer to spurious accusations against the US government, I can only assume that he's an anti-Semite who believes that the Jews run everything.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:15 PM
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I think that the "you must do whatever is best for your child AT ALL COSTS lest they end up turning tricks" bit is probably driven by the fear of social disempowerment. I'm still struggling to see the connection to autism. I mean, the Danes and the British both have something approaching reasonable social safety nets, yet both had big thimerosal scares.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:17 PM
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219: no better anti-semite than a jew, as w-lfs-n has recently proved.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:18 PM
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Keir, the best book on the subject, by far, is this one. Also, if you e-mail me, I'll be happy to send you a copy of the essay I wrote.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:19 PM
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Okay, so we're agreed that the media was racist.

A lot of things were being reported. Some of them conflicted. A lot of the same people who believed in the shootings at helicopters *also* believed that people who hadn't left New Orleans were just being stubborn, that conditions at the Superdome weren't so bad (until pictures started coming in), etc. People tend to find reports and rumors that fit their preconceptions easier to believe, and ones that don't, harder. E.g., "Iraq is a quagmire" vs. "we're building schools."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:21 PM
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221: Wait, I'm the biggest self-hating Jew* around here. How dare you say otherwise?

* Actually, I quite like myself. I hate all the rest of those kikes. Well, truth be told, I'm not that great either.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:21 PM
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22: thanks.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:25 PM
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218: Okay, comity.

Yes, to a large degree, in other developed countries women of childbearing age are accustomed to having a great deal of physical autonomy, which is severely curtailed by Medical Necessity when they become pregnant. And people are similarly aware of the spotty history of medical interventions in pregnancy. And for all I know, somewhat discombobulated by shifting from "autonomous person with career, or career prospects" to "mommy."

Certainly I've heard European women complain that the maternity leaves, etc., that American women envy go a long way towards reinforcing the idea that parenting is primarily the job of women.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:26 PM
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There was an elaborate X-Files plot about the smallpox vaccine that may have come to a no doubt unsatisfying resolution during the years in which the show still aired but I'd forgotten it existed.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:31 PM
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||

This, from the first-season finale of the British comedy Spaced that I just watched while recovering from a bicycling- dehydration compounded by coffee, I post because it hearkens back to an exchange B and I some weeks ago that I can't now find.

I just had a moment of clarity, you know, I woke up. It's like... you know when you have an orgasm on your own? You know, you're sort of lying on the sofa watching some porn movie you bought on a drunken lonely night in Soho, and you're lying there and everything's going really great, you're getting totally turned on by these absurdly graphic images, everything seems so right, and suddenly - phht! Bingo! You wake up. And you're lying there sweating, desperately looking for the tissue which you know is still in your pocket, and the remote control which is somewhere on the floor, and it's like walking in on yourself, you know? It's just like "What you doing?"

|>


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:36 PM
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I don't know that I'd consider you masturbating to a porn film I was in as an "exchange."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:45 PM
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It seemed as if we both came out of it OK.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 11:55 PM
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I actually have no idea what you're talking about.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:04 AM
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219 et al:
You are all horrible people who should be shunned. If you only had your heads on straight, you'd realize Wright was guilty of "blood slander".


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:37 AM
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Oh, and you also have to assume USG==white people for it to make any sense. But I wouldn't want to be pedantic about it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:39 AM
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For "the U.S. government invented AIDS to kill black people" to then, upon questioning, include "and they kept the Congressional Black Caucus in the dark" is not so Olympian a leap.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:42 AM
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231: I proposed that feelings of guilt and shame should normally follow sex. You demurred. I said, "yes but, what about how dumb I feel after looking at porn?" and you said, well, we've all been there.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:45 AM
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the Danes and the British both have something approaching reasonable social safety nets, yet both had big thimerosal scares.

Small point: the British scare wasn't "OMG thimerosal mercury autism!!" but "OMG vaccination... er, something involving the intestine, little bits of vaccine leaking through, and getting to the brain... autism!!" which is slightly more pernicious because at least the US scare could be dealt with by taking thimerosal out of the vaccines.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:05 AM
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The thing about Wright isn't that he's angry, it's that he's a smart guy (who went to all-exam Central High in Philadelphia, for crying out loud), but is willing to say from the pulpit that the US government created the HIV virus. That's depressing, no?

baa, I'll admit I don't know you from Adam but aren't you a smart guy who voted for Bush? Aren't you a Republican?

Talk about depressing.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:13 AM
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Yesterday, I was with two women, one in her late 50s, the other mid-20s. The younger woman just would not believe the Satanic Ritual Abuse in Day Care scare of the early 80s. And why would she? It's not taught in school, and no one will own up to having believed in it: it demonstrates a certain moral and intellectual bankruptcy in our society that's much easier to ignore.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:20 AM
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Also, baa -- sure, I can concede that it's suboptimal for Wright to believe things that aren't true about HIV. But my only reason to give a damn that Wright's beliefs are suboptimal is whether their suboptimality taints Obama somehow, and I really can't see any argument that it does. They're in the class of suboptimal where plenty of perfectly respectable people have beliefs that crazy, and while they should be argued with, no one needs to shun them for it.

Heck, as several people above have said, look at you! You think the Iraq war was started in a sincere, well motivated attempt to improve the lot of humanity as a whole; you're associating in a friendly respectful fashion with a bunch of people who think it was a mass murder for narrow political advantage. One side of this disagreement is just about as wrong as Rev. Wright, but no one's going to treat respectful engagement across that line, or agreement on other points, as tainting whoever's right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:35 AM
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I remember reading The River a while back, and it presented a pretty good, non-insane circumstantial case for the hypothesis that AIDS originated (by accident) in an oral polio vaccine campaign in Central Africa. It's not exactly a government conspiracy, but still pretty explosive if true.


Posted by: Yuri Guri | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:03 AM
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I think I've seen that one respectfully debunked -- not that it's ridiculous craziness, but that the chimps related to the vaccine work were the wrong population for the strain of SIV that seems to have turned into HIV. But I'm straining to recall it; I may have the details mixed up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:08 AM
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240. Oh good. AIDS denialism, vaccination paranoia, imperialist conspiracies and racism all in one neat package.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:10 AM
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Yeah, why all the need to find a conspiracy? Food animals are a huge source of disease, and it's pretty well known that people eat other primates.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:16 AM
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It's closely related to the "crack was a CIA conspiracy" theory, which certainly has more than a grain of truth to it (specifically, that it would have been very difficult for crack to have taken off without a sharp initial fall in the price of powder cocaine and a reliable supply connection for Los Angeles gangs, that historically, this connection came from "Freeway" Rick Ross and his relationship with a number of Nicaraguan expats who worked more or less under a shield of CIA protection, and that the CIA really did not act in a way to make any neutral historian think that they gave a crap about the extremely predictable consequences of the way in which they chose to fund their illegal proxy war).


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:42 AM
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I reiterate my 92. Baa doesn't give a shit about Jeremiah Wright or Wright's beliefs about the origins of HIV; he only cares that cultivating an image of Wright as a scary black man makes John McCain slightly more likely to win the White House, and the only way to cultivate that image while talking to liberals is to harp on the one thing Wright said that any liberal is going to have a problem with (since everything else Wright said boils down to "racism and imperialism are bad").

The tragedy of this is that Wright himself seems to be a fairly interesting figure, and what he's said about the evils of American government deserves to be listened to by liberals of all stripes. But we're not going to listen to him, because we're spending all our time bickering with idiot conservative trolls over AIDS conspiracies instead.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:48 AM
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And really, I think everyone here should watch Wright's full, actual sermons, and watch his interview with Bill Moyers. The media is doing to Wright's interviews and speeches now exactly what they did to his sermons last time - pulling quotes out of context to make him look like a scary black man - and the utterly-useless "netroots" is going happily along for the ride.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:04 AM
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I reiterate my 92.

Yep. One looks at the Wright situation and asks, "What's interesting about this?" I think the common answer here is: The Republicans and their captive media are again playing the American people for suckers. baa doesn't disagree with that narrative, he just finds it more interesting to talk about the foibles of a Chicago preacher.

It's the old sleight-of-hand trick. When the Republicans went berserkly anti-American in the late '90s and tried to bring down a president, the most interesting thing to talk about was "Clinton got a blowjob."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:09 AM
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I found the second outbreak of Wright pretty depressing. I was staring to deal with people around here, and already before the Wright thing flared up the second time I was finding good Democrats uneasy with Obama. I could have dealt with it, but when Wright got back in the limelight that made it almost impossible.

There's no way Hillary will drop out now. This will go to the end, unless Obama drops out, which also seems highly unlikely. And Hillary is a crappy candidate.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:09 AM
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At the NPR -- Democratic blogosphere -- high-brow weekly level Wright can easily be handled, but I don't see how this can be dealt with at the mass media / political campaign level.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:11 AM
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248, 249: Wright isn't going to bring Obama down. The media narrative last time was that Wright was Obama's secret radical side; this time the narrative is that Wright is an egomaniac who's trying to bring down Obama out of spite. Both of these are bullshit, but the second one pits Obama against Wright and makes it easier for Obama to distance himself further from him.

Of course, "egomaniacal black leader who doesn't know his place" is a tried and true racist trope that's been applied to everyone in the civil rights movement. Fucking bigot assholes.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:25 AM
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If Obama dissociates himself vigorously maybe he can stay alive, though he'll still have to say why it took him so long.

I return to the two fundamental principles of American politics: most Americans disagree with me, and beggars can't be choosers. I've had friends who said most of what Wright says, but I spent decades on the true left, and we didn't play any real role in American politics after 1976.

Electability isn't the biggest selling point for me, but you can't ignore it entirely, and up until just now I thought that Obama was more electable than Hillary.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:33 AM
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baa has used the term "blood libel" in this connection before. Aside from baa, the only time I have heard the phrase used is in spurious accusations against Jews. Since baa is using the same term to refer to spurious accusations against the US government, I can only assume that he's an anti-Semite who believes that the Jews run everything.

No, quite the opposite. The goal is to plant seeds in people's minds that the person accused of the "blood libel" is anti-Semitic. Even though it's technically a brand new "blood libel" with no relation to Jews, the historical association of scary black religious leaders with anti-Semitism helps accomplish this.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:37 AM
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I think the whole Wright thing boils down to: Can America elect a black man president? This Wright business, in the end, is simply part of the political baggage that goes along with being black, and being a Democrat and running for president. We already knew that Obama had those handicaps, and the Wright matter really doesn't add any information.

If it weren't Wright, it would be something else. When people get bored with Wright, it will be something else. Can Obama handle it? I'm still optimistic, though, like stras, I'm a bit dismayed at the netroots on this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:39 AM
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Yeah, why all the need to find a conspiracy? Food animals are a huge source of disease, and it's pretty well known that people eat other primates.

I was taught in my 7th grade history class that AIDS was caused by those primitive Africans having sex with monkeys, and then those disgusting gay male stewardesses having sex with primitive Africans.

technically it wasn't part of the syllabus, but the teacher spent about 20 minutes explaining this to us as part of a side note on the history of colonialism.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:43 AM
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198 However, since he is part of the political movement that would like to see Obama defeated, preferably by McCain, we all want to argue against him. But this makes him think we are all the more irrational for arguing against his obviously true truism.

I think this is about right. I really am amazed that the truism has gotten such resistance. Hey, I don't think that believing in goof-ball anti-American conspiracies makes Wright a bad guy. Lots of good people believe goofy, kind of hateful things. It's just sort of sad. And one should expect better given Wright's background. That the only lens people can view this through is political calculation, also sad...

245: he only cares that cultivating an image of Wright as a scary black man

Stras, you need to give your personal manias a holiday. I don't care a whit about tainting Obama, whom I in fact quite like. I don't for a moment think that I am acting politically in my postings here. This is friendly conversation, entertainment. Nothing we say here has significant effects the outside world. Seek to fulfill your moral obligations in a non-blog-comment venue.

239: you're associating in a friendly respectful fashion with a bunch of people who think it was a mass murder for narrow political advantage.

Right, and I do find this depressing. Or rather, I find the most extreme versions of this view depressing when held by non shut-ins.* And this isn't just a matter of across party-line issues. There are certainly views on the conservative side I find equally depressing (Everything is going fine in Iraq if only the media would let us win, ID is being denied publications in Cell by nefarious professional atheists, no government program ever has positive effects, etc., etc.). Surely there are versions of views you in fact think are directionally correct, or are held by political allies that you find depressing, right?

It's a totally secondary question whether you have friendly and respectful associations with people hold views you think are crazy (in the sense of: depressing that an educated person holds them). I would have thought the answer is obviously yes.

*I don't find depressing the view that it was a terrible decision that had horrible consequences and that it could never have possibly worked, and that the architects should be judged accordingly, e.g.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:43 AM
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255:I don't care a whit about tainting Obama, whom I in fact quite like

See? See? I need say no more.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:48 AM
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I had no idea Rick Ross was a real name for a drug trafficker. I thought the rapper was just some loser named Rick Ross who pretended to be a drug trafficker. Instead, he is apparently some loser named Bill Roberts who is pretending to be a drug trafficker named Rick Ross who has been in jail for 12 years.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:51 AM
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The juxtaposition of baa's comment with mcmanus's delights me.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:54 AM
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Electability isn't the biggest selling point for me, but you can't ignore it entirely, and up until just now I thought that Obama was more electable than Hillary.

Obama is still more electable than Clinton. Hillary Clinton was never electable; this entire race has been defined by the oddity of having one of the worst possible candidates literally wedded to the party's dominant political machine, so that we've been talking about a Clinton nomination for years as if it were a foregone conclusion without touching much upon the massive weaknesses of an actual Clinton candidacy until those weaknesses were manifest. Whether Obama is electable comes down to whether America can elect a black man; he's the most electable black candidate to take a shot. Clinton, on the other hand, doesn't merely face the obstacle of America's sexism and misogyny, but the fact that she's just not a very good candidate: she's uncharismatic, she's an unimpressive public speaker, her campaign staff is made up of bickering imbeciles who've been kept on largely because they've demonstrated personal loyalty to the Clinton family, and her political instincts are abominable. If Obama can't win this year, no one can, so get ready for President McCain (and thereafter, President Whatever-Lunatic-VP-He-Picks).


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:59 AM
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255, 256: Some of baa's best friends are Barack Obama.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:00 AM
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If Obama can't win this year, no one can,

I don't believe that, and hardly take your opinion to be a trustworthy one. It may be that I'm being too pessimistic, but Wright's more recent appearance really seems to have done a lot of damage. Deliberately, perhaps. His "God Damn America" clip was manageable, I thought. But Wright won't quit.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:04 AM
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Some of baa's best friends are Barack Obama.

Humor is serious business!


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:04 AM
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but Wright's more recent appearance really seems to have done a lot of damage.

Whose vote would be affected by Jeremiah Wright who didn't already know about Wright before this? What's come out about Wright in the last couple days that we didn't already know?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:09 AM
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The simple point is that it's depressing when an intelligent, educated person believes bigoted, stupid things that ascribe enormous moral blame to other people. The inability to apply minimal standards here astonishes me.

An old guy I know through work -- annoying, sure, but more or less responsible, sane, smart, etc. -- was trying to lobby the state government to pass a law against bodysnatching last year, inspired by a high-profile case two years before in another state. I think we've all heard stories of people old enough to remember World War II who refuse to buy Japanese cars but have no problem with German cars. (It occurs to me that "I think we've all heard ..." is weak sourcing, but anyways.) In January, I got an e-mail that combined elements of this and this, and the person who sent it doesn't even have the excuse of old age.

The point is, if I went around getting depressed about all the people who believe bigoted, stupid things, I'd be very, very depressed. To put it charitably, I honestly don't understand why you think this is so remarkable.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:10 AM
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I don't for a moment think that I am acting politically in my postings here.

Oh, bullshit. When you're talking about politics in a political thread on a quasi-political blog, you're engaging in politics. It may be small-bore, goofing-off-on-the-internet level politics, but it's politics nonetheless, and to claim that you're utterly bereft of political motivation while harping on Jeremiah Wright's AIDS conspiracies on a liberal blog is completely disingenuous.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:13 AM
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The point is, if I went around getting depressed about all the people who believe bigoted, stupid things, I'd be very, very depressed.

How many Americans believe Saddam had weapons of mass destruction? That Iraq was involved in 9/11? And how many are dead because of those stupid, bigoted beliefs? Anywhere from several hundred thousand to a million. To my knowledge, no one is dead because of the stupid AIDS conspiracy theory.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:18 AM
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When you're talking about politics in a political thread on a quasi-political blog, you're engaging in politics

No. You're posting on a blog. Maybe it's as political as donating $0.01 to the RNC. You know that when I write "plant a tree" here, nothing actually happens outside, right?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:18 AM
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Whose vote would be affected by Jeremiah Wright who didn't already know about Wright before this?

The answer to that is "People who didn't already know about Wright before this, but now know about Wright, and whose vote would be affected by him."

How many people is that? My guess is 42,856.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:25 AM
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No. You're posting on a blog.

The act of "posting on a blog" does not exclude the act of "engaging in politics." If, while in conversation with BitchPhD, BitchPhD convinces me that one of my previously-held political beliefs is wrong, Bitch has actually had a tiny but not altogether insignificant political impact on the world. This is politics.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:25 AM
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It may be that I'm being too pessimistic, but Wright's more recent appearance really seems to have done a lot of damage.

It seems as though you've got a personal anecdote or two on this that you haven't shared.

I say give it a week or two. Obama's candidacy always depended on overturning the dominant media narrative, and it also depended on overcoming the racial divide.

This sort of thing was inevitable, and it was the basis of Hillary's quite legitimate contention that Obama hadn't been "vetted" (read: fucked) by the media.

For my part, I think the Democrats have done the right thing in picking Obama (if that's what they do). As a wise man once said, the Democrats have got to stop cringing. But we'll see ...


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:32 AM
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To my knowledge, no one is dead because of the stupid AIDS conspiracy theory.

Not that one in particular, but certainly because of stupid AIDS conspiracy theories in general - the one about how the antiretrovirals are really an evil western plot, the one about how they are really an evil western plot and you need to rape a virgin, the one about how condoms are really full of tiny holes (thanks, your popeness!). However, most of them are Africans, and so I can see how you'd miss it.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:49 AM
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If, while in conversation with BitchPhD, BitchPhD convinces me that one of my previously-held political beliefs is wrong, Bitch has actually had a tiny but not altogether insignificant political impact on the world something is terribly, terribly wrong.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:50 AM
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No. You're posting on a blog. Maybe it's as political as donating $0.01 to the RNC. You know that when I write "plant a tree" here, nothing actually happens outside, right?

Same way the voice on television saying "I'm lovin' it!"* has no effect on hamburger sales. That's why corporations spend so much on advertising--because they have too much money and have to get rid of it somehow.

*aack!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:54 AM
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I'm inclined to the baa view of blog comments. You're not "making a difference," except maybe in some exceptional case; you're shooting the shit with other smart people. Thinking that it's all political makes things horribly dreary and self-important.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:57 AM
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The first six words of 238 have sparked remarkably little comment.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:02 AM
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271: I'm well aware of the "HIV is harmless, AIDS is caused by recreational and retroviral drugs" bullshit pushed by Peter Duesberg. I was referring specifically to the "HIV was created by the government" conspiracy theory believed by Wright.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:02 AM
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I'm inclined to baa's view of blog comments, but also somewhat inclined to stras's view of baa.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:03 AM
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274, Ogged, it doesn't matter if you're "making a difference." Baa held that the activity occurring here isn't political, even when it's expressly the discussion of politics by politically-engaged people. This is an absurdly blinkered view to hold. The exchange of political thought is, by definition, political.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:04 AM
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And in response to 272, that's already happened, on a number of occasions. I specifically picked B because she's changed my mind several times.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:06 AM
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277 was fun to write, but it's glib and not really true. I do tend to think that political talking points are intended to be repeated in a one-to-one way, and spreading memes is of couse relevant even on the scale of the individual.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:06 AM
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Same way the voice on television saying "I'm lovin' it!"* has no effect on hamburger sales.

Tangentially, does anyone else find people who refer to McBleedinDonalds by marketing-inspired pet names ("the golden arches", for fuck's sake, but at least it's not "Maccy D") deeply annoying?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:06 AM
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274: "Saving the world by whining about it using big words" was my daughter's apt characterization of the blogs she saw me reading and commenting on.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:08 AM
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It sometimes seems as if we are making a difference in ourselves. This could be preparation for politics, but I don't think it is politics.

I am, in fact, lovin' it--it allows me to forestall, for a minute, the dread of having thirty hours to complete a second draft of a hundred-forty-page screenplay for a contest submission. But the analogy in 273 is still pretty fuckin' banned.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:09 AM
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281: When our kids were young we tried to counter-propagandize by calling it "McYuckos". A modestly successful campaign. This has been my world-changing meme initiation attempt for the day.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:12 AM
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274: You do know ad agencies pay people to pretend to like their clients' products and talk about them to other people, both on blogs and in real life? They like going after audiences of what they like to call "cultural creatives", because they have influence beyond their immediate social circles. Most of the people they pay are fortunately not very good at it, and come across as slightly insane, but the intention is there, because hearing about stuff from what they believe to be an independent source influences people's opinions. The individual event isn't expected to make a difference. It's the aggregate number of times the target hears whateveritis mentioned.

Obviously I'm not saying baa is a paid shill for his pov, but to say he isn't making a difference is wrong.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:14 AM
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The exchange of political thought is, by definition, political.

I don't think it is. I place a very high premium on collective action, on campaigns, on organized boycotts rather than the cultivation of virtuous personal shopping habits, on the effects of mass media.

Shooting the shit becomes political when it happens in the context of institutions: the union hall, the consciousness-raising group. Maybe the blogosphere as a whole is an institution where that happens. Shit! I maybe just changed my own mind.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:15 AM
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282: Again, you don't have to be "saving the world" to be engaged in political activity. For fuck's sake, just about everything we do is political in some sense - surely talking about politics can be considered to be "political" in a rather obvious and uncontroversial sense.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:15 AM
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Thinking that it's all political makes things horribly dreary and self-important.

I don't really disagree with this, but as a purely factual matter, stras is correct. Political scientists understand that there are different levels of political influence exercised by individuals, and those who talk about politics are, in important and measurable ways, more influential than those who do not. (But yes, yes, I don't doubt that I occasionally reside among "the horribly dreary and self-important.")

One might reasonably use baa's argument to propose that voting is not a political act of any significance - and there would be something to be said for this view. But I would disagree.

As for baa his own self, I don't think he's one of the people trying to dupe the unwary, as stras proposes. I think he's one of the unwary.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:16 AM
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283: I'm not analogizing. I'm saying words have power. If I haven't arrived at a satisfactorily abstract level of expression, bite me.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:19 AM
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Yes, everything is political, we're all sexist and racist, and you can't do anything without re-inscribing patriarchal, capitalist norms. But baa is right to compare anything said here to contributing a penny to a political cause. And Stormcrow's kid gets it exactly right.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:20 AM
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284, 285: Wendy's on the other hand. You can't find a more scrumptious politically correct burger within a quarter mile of every freeway interchange (but also handy to bus and subway stops!). And they really hate analytic philosophers there as well.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:20 AM
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I think that Baa realizes that by now we're a hopeless audience for his politics. If he were actually trying to do something politically effective, even at the blog level of effectiveness, he's be posting elsewhere. This place started out pretty darn centrist, but Bush changed that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:20 AM
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But baa is right to compare anything said here to contributing a penny to a political cause.

If that, yeah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:23 AM
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292: It'll be fun when we have a Dem president and divide into apologists and critics.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:24 AM
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I think that Baa realizes that by now we're a hopeless audience for his politics.

How hopeless could it be, given that he got us to spend at least half the thread talking about AIDS conspiracy theories instead of any number of other issues that Wright raises, from the intractability of American imperialism to the pervasiveness and dominance of white racism?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:29 AM
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281: "Mickey D's" I think is the name you're thinking of.
285: Does it make me a bad person if my first thought was how easy that job sounds? I should sell this persona to a corporation.

I am taking the middle ground: yes, commenting on blogs can count as meaningful politics, but nothing terribly interesting follows from that. I am sure people's votes in this primary cycle have been swayed by discussions. But I don't think, e.g., 'let's not mention that HRC has a policy we don't like because that's not politically savvy and could hurt her' makes any sense because even if whatever I'm doing is political, I'm not on her campaign.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:29 AM
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You say "anti-American conspiracy theory" as if it is an irrational betrayal of our country to interpret facts in the least-charitable light. But it's actually quite rational. The more deeply you love your country and want it to live up to its ideals, the more angry and disappointed you are every time it does not.

This is an excellent point.

I don't want to imply that I consider the New Republic an authoritative source for matters related to race, but there was an article some years ago (by Glenn Loury, perhaps?) that proffered a similarly charitable explanation of why conspiracy theories seem to find so much credence in the African American community.

The argument (and this was back before contrarianism got totally out of hand at TNR) was that the conspiracy theories were evidence of an abiding faith in America. After all, if you are an African American, and you look upon the endemic poverty and lack of opportunity among your coracialists, you might conclude one of two things: that the vast majority of Americans are pretty much indifferent to their plight, and don't feel particularly moved to mobilize resources to remedy this insult to justice; or that the vast majority of Americans are sympathetic to your plight, but that a nefarious, powerful clique is conspiring to Keep the Black Man Down. Charitably interpreted, to believe in the existence of the nefarious racist clique is to show faith that the majority of Whites aren't indifferent to the enduring misery of African Americans. That such a belief is widely agreed to be ludicrous says as much about Whites as it does about Blacks.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:31 AM
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Tim, this is true, but, I think, something of a dodge.... I don't expect the same of educated patricians, and I have been amazed and depressed (there's that word again) at the pitiful run of fig leafs that have been offered up as excuses here.

I'm pretty sympathetic to your broad point--it's sad that Wright holds and espouses crazy views on AIDS--but I want to resist your characterization along two axes. First, I think it's much more common than you think for respectable people to hold very crazy views and incur no respect penalty at all. It struck me this morning that the closest thing I've seen to blood libel in the US has been the characterization of Arabs or Iranians by people like Krauthammer and Peretz, both of whom are well-educated. The actual claim made is that the "Arab mind" (or Iranian mind) is such that it only understands the application of force, it is wholly committed to our destruction, and it cannot be deterred by threat of annihilation. This really does seem to sit on all fours with the classic blood libels: People X are, by their nature, bad, and, sadly, the only thing we can do about the problem is kill them (which, fortunately, we're pretty well positioned to do). This--People X are so irrational that we need to kill them--is unbelievably crazy. Yet Krauthammer is, to the world at large, a well-respected columnist for WaPo, and Peretz is in bad odor only among some subset of younger Dems. I think this is because we're just used to respectable people with such opinions--Krauthammer has been like this forever AFAIK, and I only really noticed (or, perhaps, cared) recently--and we haven't, as a society, suffered so much that we reevaluate their position in our society. That's not true for Wright, both because we're not used to crazy black people as well-respected people, and because black craziness (generally, though not here AFAICT) tends to have immediate implications for the US.

Second, while his beliefs are wrong, it's not clear to me how unexpected it should be that he would hold wrong and crazy beliefs like this. Communities under pressure come up with weird explanations. So, for example, I have in the past been sympathetic to people suffering from Krauthammer-like paranoia because I think that, in the shade of the Holocaust, it's pretty understandable to be a mite bit jumpy. Further, for the black community, it seems to me, racism is such an amorphous and diffuse problem that it is hard to describe it and its effects, so it isn't well-cabined as an explanation. You get bad explanations that use racism as the important constituent part, and from there you get very bad explanations. But, again, this seems to me not to indicate a particularly bad mind, but rather a bad set of circumstances.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:32 AM
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I can't believe people are approving of Reverend Wright's current publicity antics. They're a disaster for Obama. Making the Obama candidacy a platform for refighting 20th century race battles guarantees a loss. Bob Herbert is right:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/opinion/29herbert.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:33 AM
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I am taking the middle ground: yes, commenting on blogs can count as meaningful politics, but nothing terribly interesting follows from that.

I don't know if it counts as meaningful politics; all I'm saying is that it's politics, and you can't pretend to leave your political identity and political motivations at the door (as baa seemed to suggest) when you're talking about politics.

But I don't think, e.g., 'let's not mention that HRC has a policy we don't like because that's not politically savvy and could hurt her' makes any sense because even if whatever I'm doing is political, I'm not on her campaign.

I completely agree; in fact, I don't see how this is a "middle ground" at all, since I wasn't arguing that people should self-censor themselves for maximal political impact in comment threads.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:34 AM
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300!

PGD you seem to be proving stras's point, a bit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:35 AM
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295 gives us too little credit. Imperialism mostly went over the side of the boat, but the discussion was quite obviously about the dominance of white racism. You say HIV, I say Tuskegee, etc.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:38 AM
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299: Well, as a senior citizen, Rev. Wright is among the demographic of black people most likely to view it as absurd to think a black candidate could win an election like this. So maybe he wants to prevent the unelectable candidate from being nominated too, just like Hillary.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:38 AM
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300: But then I'm not sure what you're recommending as a course of action. That when baa posts something, we say 'You shall not fool me into giving a tenth of a cent to McCain'? That we keep in mind motivations that are important enough to import into a conversation, but not important enough to self-censor?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:43 AM
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I can't believe people are approving of Reverend Wright's current publicity antics.

I don't see any publicity antics. I see a decent man who was viciously smeared by an intensely racist and right-wing media trying to give his side of the story after weeks of having to take it in silence. I also see that same racist right-wing media, along with its predictable liberal dupes, making him into the same racist caricature they made of him before using the same techniques (taking quotes out of context to reinforce bigoted stereotypes). I can blame him for a certain naivete (for thinking/hoping he'd get a fair shake this time around), but not for having the self-respect to speak for himself.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:43 AM
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301: huh?

If Obama can't win this year, no one can,

Gore would have won this thing in a walk, would have been stronger than either candidate in terms of electability.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:45 AM
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304: How about "don't feed the trolls"?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:45 AM
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I can blame him for a certain naivete (for thinking/hoping he'd get a fair shake this time around), but not for having the self-respect to speak for himself.

Gawd, that's sad. Maybe he needs to STFU for a greater good. He ought to know that; he's not that out there.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:46 AM
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Gore would have won this thing in a walk, would have been stronger than either candidate in terms of electability.

Everyone seems to say that until they actually look at Gore's numbers. His negatives are huge.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:46 AM
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297: I remember that Glenn Loury article. It is one of the saddest things I have ever read.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:49 AM
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If Gore were to win the 2008 election, no one could doubt his electability.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:51 AM
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304: How about "don't feed the trolls"?

Huh, when I first read this, I thought it was the suggested strategy for Rev. Wright. Instead it's just a suggestion to not talk to baa.

I like it better the first way.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:51 AM
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The thing is, if you read all of Wright's sermons and the whole speeches, it would be very easy to believe that the guy doesn't think of himself as giving soundbites because in context none of what he is saying is really all that crazy (aside from the HIV belief.) Oppressors come in all races and colors, America must look upon her own sins and repent, call the nation to be better than it is.

But "God damn America" makes a good soundbite. I can believe a highly educated guy might be hoping that people can read.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:52 AM
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309: pollingreport.com, from October, 2007 Gallup:

Gore: 57 favorable, 38 unfavorable

From April 24th Newsweek:

Obama: 53 favorable, 40 unfavorable

Obama is down from 61/28 in early March in the same poll. Freaking me out a bit.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:53 AM
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If Gore were to win the 2008 election, no one could doubt his electability.

And the same thing can be said for Obama.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:54 AM
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It only just occurred to me how much "Is Rev. Wright as patriotic as you?" is like "When did you stop beating your wife?"


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:54 AM
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315: No it can't, because he's black.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:58 AM
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Instead it's just a suggestion to not talk to baa.

Damn right it is. Liberals waste a lot of time talking to the right, when liberalism itself has already drifted too far towards conservatism as it is. This primary is a choice between a moderate and a domestic moderate/foreign policy hawk, which is pathetic for a party that's theoretically supposed to represent an alternative to the party of the Right. If liberals should be talking to anyone more, it should be to the Left. But whenever elements of the Left show up, they're dismissed as dirty hippies or, in this case, scary black men.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:01 AM
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295: The Wright stuff bothered me before Baa said a word, because of a conversation I had a couple of days ago with a loyal Democrat here. Baa isn't going to move me. I don't even take him to be a representative undecided voter.

This obviously isn't about what we think about Wright. It's about how it affects Obama's image.

In reality, Obama has to stay at arms length for Wright even on the issues where Wright is correct. back to the first principle of American politics: most voters don't agree with me about things.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:01 AM
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314: you're freaking me out a bit, because I'm afraid the superdelegates are going through exactly this wishy washy handwringing which will prolong the primary indefinitely and really make the nominee unelectable. Oh well, charmingly naive of me to think that we could actually try to run a decent campaign without the party elders failing us yet again; this is why I had given up on Democratic politics until January & never should have stopped.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:05 AM
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Wrongshore, do you honestly believe that Al Gore wouldn't be tarred and feathered the moment he started running for president? On global warming alone, he's said way too many things over the past four years that no presidential candidate could possibly get away with - advocating for higher gas taxes, for instance - that would be demagogued in ads across the country as the Evil Tree-Hugger coming to steal your car. And that wouldn't just kill a Gore candidacy, it would kill any movement for real action on global warming. And Gore knows this, which is why he isn't running for president right now.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:06 AM
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Liberals waste a lot of time talking to the right

Consider the possibility that there are fewer liberals than you think.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:09 AM
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319: Sure, but anecdotes aren't data. Until I see numbers, I'm not going to spend that much time worrying about it. The shouting heads spent days hyperventilating over Bittergate, and all available evidence indicates that this did not, in fact, change anyone's mind.

Again, how large is the set of voters who (1) didn't know about Wright before, but (2) are going to change their vote because of him? Given the saturation coverage of Wright the first time around, I'm betting that set's fairly small. But I'll wait for the numbers.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:10 AM
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Also, as far as I'm concerned the Wright "controversy" is a way to go after Obama because he, and his preacher, are black. Obama is manifestly not a scary black man, does not hate whitey, does not "pay the race card" etc. so we're going to go after him for hanging out with a scary black man who "plays the race card." That's why this gets the coverage that it does--it's racially motivated guilt by association & I don't want to be a part of it & I'm going to get annoyed when baa tries to persuade me otherwise. I doubt my adding to the denunciations of Rev. Wright would have any meaningful effect--a one-penny political contribution is a reasonably apt description--but I have no fucking intention of contributing even that much.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:13 AM
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I'm not seeing how 322 is a response to 318.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:13 AM
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But whenever elements of the Left show up, they're dismissed as dirty hippies or, in this case, scary black men.

But he's not being dismissed by the liberals I know. He's being dismissed by the media and maybe by the lower-income rural rustbelt white voters that media are clamouring to speak for at the moment. Most of the people here and most of the bloggers I read agree with a number of his points and understand the rhetorical techniques used in context even if they produce some rather unpolitic soundbites.

But John's right in 319, most people do not agree with us on these issues, and the more forcefully and hyperbolic we are in the presentation of the issues, the more likely people are to dig in their heels and resist instead of gradually coming around.

To be honest, I think the long game requires some militancy and some extremists fighting for the good side, so to that extent I like Rev. Wright saying the more extreme things that always tend to get glossed over in the media. There may be a short-term backlash, but his comments can't be unheard, and they will eventually prep the ground for wider acceptance of the racial divide in this country. But in the short run, when we have a potential transforming candidate like Obama, it's hard to think the short-term backlash won't hurt him.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:14 AM
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Amish Lovelock has laid down the party line to which we all need to adhere in all our blog comments, if we are to be victorious:

The Democrats are Strong! Invincible!

Sailing the seas depends on the helmsman, waging the Democratic revolution in America depends on Barack Obama!

Loyalty to Obama! Loyalty to Barack Obama Thought! Loyalty to the Obama Revolution!

The Democrats Serve the People!

Dare to Think my Democratic Brethren! Dare to Act! Smash the Republicans!

Long Live the Democratic Party! Long Live Obama!


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:16 AM
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320: Dean has set an early June deadline for selecting the nominee. He will poll superdelegates at that time. I think that deadline will be met. There's no more excuse after the last primary. The DNC has publicly committed to it. It would be idiotic not to meet it. That should leave time for reunification.

Obama is an untested brand. I don't blame the supers for looking carefully at the impact of this stuff on his popular support over the month or so left in the race.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:16 AM
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Yeah, and if they overturn the primary result, I'm changing party registration & not giving a cent to the Democratic party for 10 years, which is also my right.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:18 AM
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Obama is an untested brand.

So's "Hillary!," it does even worse in pre-release testing, and that's the only other option.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:19 AM
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Most of the people here and most of the bloggers I read agree with a number of his points and understand the rhetorical techniques used in context even if they produce some rather unpolitic soundbites.

You're reading different bloggers than me, then. Drum, Yglesias, the Tapped crowd, the TNR people, all of them have been jumping up and down about how bad and irresponsible and crazy Wright is. When Wright first emerged, he got more or less the same reaction from the same people; Ezra Klein repeatedly referred to his sermons as indefensible. There's been no attempt to push back against the media from the soi-disant wonkosphere.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:22 AM
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Yeah, and if they overturn the primary result, I'm changing party registration & not giving a cent to the Democratic party for 10 years, which is also my right.

The primary result is a statistical tie, basically. Especially if you go by the popular vote (even leaving out the Lukashenkoesque numbers in Michigan, of course).


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:23 AM
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Sure, but anecdotes aren't data. Until I see numbers, I'm not going to spend that much time worrying about it.

If you don't want to talk to us, why don't you STFU and go somewhere else? No one here is going to have numbers for you, I can assure you, and you don't have numbers either.

Again, how large is the set of voters who (1) didn't know about Wright before, but (2) are going to change their vote because of him?

What makes you so sure it's small?

In some respects, the place where I am is atypical, since it's in a relatively conservative area of Minnesota, and Minnesota probably will go for Obama. (The most conservative Congressional district in Minnesota would be at about the 80th percentile of liberalism among Texas Congressional districts.)

In other respects, it's the kind of battleground area the Democrats need to win -- it was almost 50-50 Bush/Kerry.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:26 AM
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The primary result is a statistical tie, basically.

Um, no it's not. Obama is ahead, and ahead by enough that it's mathematically incredibly unlikely for Clinton to catch up in pledged delegates by Puerto Rico. And by "incredibly unlikely" I mean "she'd have to win 80% of the remaining delegates in each primary."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:27 AM
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The primary result is a statistical tie, basically. Especially if you go by the popular vote

Yeah, caucuses don't count. This primary has turned into an enormous fucking nightmare. If Obama doesn't win the nomination, I'm writing in Rev. Wright.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:27 AM
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Dare to Think my Democratic Brethren! Dare to Act! Smash the Republicans!

Dare I say it: comity?

More seriously, I doubt the sets of voters "willing to vote for black guy" and "scared off by black guy" intersect that much. And you have to consider whether the group this intersection defines is bigger that the set of voters "black and pissed off by Hillary Clinton race-baiting".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:28 AM
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That's it! I'm making shirts that say "I ♥ Jeremiah Wright."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:29 AM
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There's been no attempt to push back against the media from the soi-disant wonkosphere.

Yeah, it's a real mystery why the Left is so enfeebled these days. Better to be right than to win, eh?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:29 AM
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329: Interesting to see how highly you value the purity of your personal indignation. Of course, voting is an expressive act that has as much value as blog commenting, so hopefully one can rely on the outlier nature of Unfogged commenters.

330: Latest AP poll has Hillary ahead of McCain by 9, Obama ahead by 2 (statistical tie). In In the Hillary/Obama race, Obama has has dropped from ten points ahead among Democratic voters to a tie. I do think Hillary is more tested. Her negatives are high but barely move over time -- the country knows where it stands on her.

I'll admit I don't know which candidate is more electable. We have insurance in case Obama really craters over the next month or so, which is good. If it stays close, or things keep bouncing around, either candidate looks electable but vulnerable -- though for totally different reasons. In that case, I think Obama would probably be the better President.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:29 AM
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331 gets it right. Here's a good example. Note the use of the word "nutty", the Nation of Islam reference, and the sad, no doubt reluctant acknowledgment that although possibly Wright was being unfairly caricatured at first, these new interviews show that he is indeed someone deserving of full denunciation.

Capped off with the requisite "Elitists like myself may respect Obama's association with Wright, though I don't understand why we do, given his nuttiness, but anyway, elitists like myself are not to be trusted."


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:30 AM
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The primary result isn't a "statistical" anything; it's not like it's a poll with a margin of error. It's a vote that has been done. If it has a margin of error that's due to inaccuracy in vote counting, not statistics. And it's not a tie, either, especially if you leave out the straw polls in Michigan and Florida.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:30 AM
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What makes you so sure it's small?

Because, as I said, of the saturation coverage of Wright the first time around, which lasted a lot longer than this.

If you don't want to talk to us, why don't you STFU and go somewhere else?

Where did I say anything like this? All I said was that I was unconvinced by anecdotes. Do you tell everyone to "shut the fuck up" when they say they find data more convincing than isolated experience?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:31 AM
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I'll admit I don't know which candidate is more electable.

If this were the sum total of your statements in this thread, I would be so proud of you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:31 AM
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Sure, but anecdotes aren't data. Until I see numbers, I'm not going to spend that much time worrying about it.

There are tons of numbers. Just go to pollingreport.com for all the numbers you could ever want. They'll show you Obama losing support over the last two months as the attacks take hold. Let's see where his bottom is.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:32 AM
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I do think Hillary is more tested.

That's a remarkably compelling argument.

Her negatives are high but barely move over time -- the country knows where it stands on her.

Last WaPo poll I saw referenced had her negatives at 54%. If they don't move at all, she'd suffer a crushing defeat.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:33 AM
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to repeat: Latest AP poll has Hillary ahead of McCain by 9, Obama ahead of McCain by 2 (statistical tie).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:35 AM
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Yeah, it's a real mystery why the Left is so enfeebled these days. Better to be right than to win, eh?

It's a real mystery why the Democratic Party has its collective head up its ass these days, given its absolute petrified terror at the thought of ever hitting back. Better to keep losing while being wrong than to risk being right while trying to win, eh?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:35 AM
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Let's see where his bottom is.

Let's let race-baiting determine the outcome of a staggeringly important election. Christ, this country is in the toilet.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:35 AM
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To add to 435, Clinton's negatives have moved - they've jumped by at least ten points over the course of the campaign.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:36 AM
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to repeat: Latest AP poll has Hillary ahead of McCain by 9, Obama ahead of McCain by 2 (statistical tie).

But if the numbers reverse, as they have in the past, you will, of course, concede you were wrong, and HRC is the dead candidate walking. Is that your position?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:37 AM
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333. So where's your district on this, Emerson?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:37 AM
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Just go to pollingreport.com for all the numbers you could ever want. They'll show you Obama losing support over the last two months as the attacks take hold.

Do they?
http://www.pollingreport.com/wh08dem.htm
http://www.pollingreport.com/wh08gen.htm
I see some fluctuation, but nothing that looks like a decline.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:37 AM
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Stras, I don't remember much of anything you've ever said here being based on data. Certainly not what you're saying here today. The data isn't in yet anyway, so we're all talking about what we think. As far as I know, you don't even have anecdotes; you just pull everything out of your butt.

I've been going around the area here talking to people, and the news has been mostly good, but the bad news, from a Democrat and maybe two, is about Wright. So I reported that. The reason why the most recent flareup bothers me is that Wright himself seems to want to keep it alive, and because so far Obama hasn't responded effectively.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:38 AM
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Latest AP poll has Hillary ahead of McCain by 9, Obama ahead of McCain by 2 (statistical tie).

But, as it's been pointed out before, that means very little, since we can assume either candidate's support for the other in the general. That AP poll tells us jack about the future; it only tells us that at this moment Hillary is ahead of McCain by 9, Obama ahead of McCain by 2.

Also, I really do ♥ Jeremiah Wright.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:40 AM
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But, as it's been pointed out before, that means very little, since we can assume either candidate's support for the other in the general.

However, we can't assume either candidate's supporters' support for the other candidate in the general.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:41 AM
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PGD, I mentioned party registration & donation, not voting, & I really don't care what you think about it. If the Democratic party is going to crap on its liberal activists base & do nothing or help as the country goes toward disaster, liberal activists are not going to feel much obligation to identify themselves with the Democratic party. I'll continue to vote for the better candidates in national elections; if there is a contested primary & I have to re-register as a Democrat to vote in it I probably will. You can thank Ralph Nader & the GOP for sucking somewhat more than the Democratic leadership for that much.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:42 AM
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353: Emerson, why do you always have to try to make this personal? I'm not the first person on the internet to say "anecdotes aren't data." I'm not the second or the third. I'm not even the twelve millionth. So go and hyperventilate at someone else.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:42 AM
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re: 352

Bloody hell, the date representation on there took me a couple of minutes to work out. Perspicacity, dammit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:43 AM
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Actually, I had just been looking at the AP and Gallup polls, and not at the positive/negative numbers. When I looked more closely, the numbers are really soupy -- AP shows a big Hillary swing vs. McCain relative to Obama, but no trend in the Democratic primary. Gallup shows a slight Hillary trend in the general, but a big swing toward Hillary in the Democratic primary. Newsweek shows nothing in either. Other polls don't show much either. Some polls show a big bump in Hillary's negatives over the last month or two that doesn't show up in the general election polling. I wonder if that's the Unfogged demographic turning against her; it wouldn't affect the general if they still vote against McCain.

Sigh. What a big mess. I guess the bottom line is I'm glad we're not annointing Obama just yet, and he's going through this testing process, fucked up though it may be. This is the country we live in. Either candidate is better than McCain, and I don't believe in the virtuous loss this time around. McCain has some dangerous foreign policy views.

Also, re some comments above, Obama has not won the nomination. The supers are just as legitimate a part of the process as the caucuses.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:49 AM
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356: Oh, OK, I get it. I was just shocked if you'd vote for McCain.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:51 AM
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Also note: if Clinton supporters won't vote for Obama in the general, the superdelegates MUST take that into account & may be justified in overriding the pledged delegates because of it. If Obama supporters won't vote for Clinton in the general, they value their own emotional expression over the party & have forfeited their right to influence the Democrats.

It's not surprising that people whom the Democrats purport to represent find themselves screwed over on grounds of "electability" that they'll wonder if maybe they should actually bolt so they figure into the electability calculus too. It's misguided, because liberal defections' throwing the election in 2000 did nothing whatsoever to make the Democratic party more responsive to their concerns, & there actually there seems to be nothing that liberals can do not to have Democratic party insiders fuck them over, but it ought not to be surprising. And threatening to bolt in the general isn't the same thing as bolting; I mean, hell, if Gallup calls me tomorrow--if the superdelegates are cpntemplating overturning the pledged delegate total because Hillary has a slight lead in the latest head to ahead, it seems like the rational thing to do is to lie to the pollster & say I intend to vote for McCain over Clinton.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:53 AM
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if the superdelegates are cpntemplating overturning the pledged delegate total because Hillary has a slight lead in the latest head to ahead, it seems like the rational thing to do is to lie to the pollster & say I intend to vote for McCain over Clinton.

The intersection of electability and rational choice theory makes John Emerson's head hilariously explode.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:55 AM
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351: My town is very white, Midwest, very educated, many poor, very rural, not overwhelmingly Republican. "Very educated" just means high HS graduation rate. It straddles two counties, one of which has a different, richer demographic and one of which has a poorer, less educated demographic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:56 AM
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Also, re some comments above, Obama has not won the nomination. The supers are just as legitimate a part of the process as the caucuses.

They're as legitimate, but the specific way they should function is unclear, which is what is at issue. At a minimum, part of the process appears to be threatening the supers with punishment, as in: "Obama's supporters are younger, seem to self-organize better, and will fuck you for much, much longer; decide how long a career you see yourself having before you choose a candidate."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:57 AM
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Wright won't quit.

He's too legit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:57 AM
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357: Whine, whine.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:58 AM
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Obama has not won the nomination. The supers are just as legitimate a part of the process as the caucuses.

Not long ago, Jon Stewart had a funny bit showing successive clips of Clinton remarking on the voters' place in electing a candidate. Unsurprisingly, her estimation of the importance of the voters in this race has diminished over the months.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:00 AM
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You're reading different bloggers than me, then. Drum, Yglesias, the Tapped crowd, the TNR people, all of them have been jumping up and down about how bad and irresponsible and crazy Wright is.

Kevin Drum has 6 posts in April in which the word "Wright" appears, some of these aren't about Wright (just mentions Wrightgate in a list of stupid scandals) and in others it appears only in a quote, and 12 in March, to which the same provisos apply.

Yglesias had 7 posts in April in which the word "Wright" appears, some of which aren't discussions of him (in one of them "Wright" refers to Kai Wright), and I'm including what comes up as double post in his archives. He had 8 posts in March in which the word "Wright" appears, I didn't check if he had any where he spelled "Wright" as "Right" or some other variant.

I don't think any of the posts I just skimmed are accurately described as "jumping up and down about how bad and irresponsible and crazy Wright is," and even if one (or more) post by each of them is (I'd be curious about which one or ones, though) it's absurd and false to characterize them as writers as "jumping up and down about how bad and irresponsible and crazy Wright is" given how little they've said about him in light of their total writings over that time period and how much of a topic of conversation he was in the general media atmosphere during that time.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:01 AM
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364: And the alternative is: "I made you. I have power now and can fuck you now." Personally, I'm going for future fucking because if forty years from now we're still arguing over the Christian right & Vietnam & whether the candidate can win the Kerry map, I'm going to hurt someone.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:01 AM
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"The supers are just as legitimate a part of the process as the caucuses"

No, they're really not. I could go to a caucus, but it's a bit of a pain; I can't become a superdelegate. The fact that the Democratic party saw fit to make caucuses the only means by which voters could participate in many states does not justify them in turning around & overriding voters' choices entirely. It's smoke filled room bullshit & it's less legitimate than caucuses & I will register as a member of a party that pulls this crap only when absolutely necessary not to lose my ability to participate in a contested election.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:05 AM
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369: forty years of future is a lot of fucking future for fucking in.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:05 AM
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The primary result is a statistical tie

Can I ask an ingenuous question about this? I'm studying statistics and I don't understand what people mean by a "statistical tie" when the entire population of interest (primary voters) has been sampled. The only thing I can understand it to mean is that there's presumed error in vote counting and recording, and the difference between them can't be determined with 95% confidence not to be the result of this error, but I don't know how you can tell that without knowing the proportion of votes that are wrongly counted or recorded.


Posted by: young whippersnapper | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:06 AM
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I'm feeling like you guys haven't fully embraced the party line here.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:07 AM
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The party already pulled this crap, Katherine. Some of the delegates are chosen by caucuses, some of the delegates are chosen by primaries, and some are uncommitted (super) delegates. Withdraw your support from them now, if you didn't do so back in October or whenever they made the rules.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:08 AM
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And the alternative is: "I made you. I have power now and can fuck you now."

They're welcome to try. Obama has a funding machine and backup from old guard Dem pols, both of which--to me--imply power now. I like the Obama side's chances; I just hope they're making the threat.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:09 AM
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Can I ask an ingenuous question about this? I'm studying statistics and I don't understand what people mean by a "statistical tie" when the entire population of interest (primary voters) has been sampled. The only thing I can understand it to mean is that there's presumed error in vote counting and recording, and the difference between them can't be determined with 95% confidence not to be the result of this error, but I don't know how you can tell that without knowing the proportion of votes that are wrongly counted or recorded.

You're right, as was Sifu when he said that earlier.

However, if I were looking at the primary results as if they WERE a sample of a larger population, then I would be back in the realm where the concepts of "margin of error" and "statistical tie" make sense. And if a "superdelegate" really wants to use electability as his only concern for who to support, then he would look at the primary results as being merely imperfectly representative of the Democratic electorate as whole.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:10 AM
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There would be no reason to have superdelegates if they weren't going to decide close races. This is a pretty close race. Over the last month the supers have been quite significantly moving Obama's way.

I've pointed out elsewhere, and here too, that we're at risk of seeing two very good things (the first serious black Presidential candidate, and the first serious female Presidential candidate) turn into one very bad thing: one or the other of the two most important Democratic constitutencies feeling cheated.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:12 AM
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There's been a commonly held expectation by rank & file party members that the primaries & caucuses determine the nominee & the superdelegates would simply ratify that choice--that's the only reason people put up with the absurdly large % of them (if they were even aware of it.) If that expectation proves incorrect, I'm a lot less willing to put up with the existence of superdelegates, just as people's willingness to put up with the existence of the electoral college declines when electors either reach a different result from the popular vote, or start totally freelancing & ignoring the popular vote results in their states.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:13 AM
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Proposal: That the "blog comments are too politics! Are not!" argument is a small version of a larger question about whether and to what extent we view what we say/write online as "public speech".

By which I totally don't mean to get into the dull conversation about internet regulation and shit. But I actually wouldn't mind having a conversation about, like, to what extent do you shape what you say here according to a public/private distinction, and in what areas?

Like, for instance, I'm inclined to not give a rat's ass about the norm that one shouldn't swear or be rude to people in public, and I'm inclined to view telling other commenters to stfu as the kind of rudeness that's acceptable among friends. Basically, if that's misunderstood, I figure there's little actual harm done other than that I get a reputation for being a bitch, which doesn't particularly bother me. So that's a public norm that I'm indifferent to.

But I do have a very strong sense that it's Not Okay to talk/write in public about one's private feelings that (say) poor people are kind of stupid, or fat people are kind of gross. I'm willing to acknowledge that a lot of people think that stuff, but I'm not willing to actually *discuss* those beliefs except in order to condemn or dismantle them. I can't quite articulate why, except that it seems to me that making that kind of prejudice public is, in fact, the norm (complaints about the p.c. thought police notwithstanding), and does do actual damage, and I think it's bad to contribute to that damage, or to pretend that public (or potentially public) discussions about that stuff are just harmless fun.

I'm willing to make some exceptions, of course, in situations where I think the context of the joke is well established, or the tone manifestly clear, e.g., D2 calling people fat cunts, which anyone capable of understanding the kinds of sentences that get written on this blog should be able to recognize as a pissy joke rather than actual hatred of fat people or women.

I suppose the distinction I'm meandering my way towards is one between

(1) public norms that I think protect purely private hurts (e.g., hurt feelings from some internet person telling you you're an idiot, which I think are pretty fleeting)--I don't care about those.

(2) public norms that I think protect broader, more publicly damaging hurts (e.g., hurt feelings about being fat, which I think are really ingrained and socially destructive)--I do care, a lot, about those, and I try to enforce them here (not that I'm in charge, but to the extent that I can).

I would imagine that everyone makes that "purely private" vs "publicly damaging" distinction, but it's pretty clear to me that we draw those lines in different places.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:14 AM
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I'm feeling like you guys haven't fully embraced the party line here.

I'm still on the fence. What's the party's position on burning shit down?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:14 AM
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Yes: there is no reason to have superdelegates. There is no reason to have them count for 20% of the delegates. If they are going to start exercising their power to override the pledged delegate count, it's a corrupt process, I am ceasing to register a Democrat & re-registering one only for short periods necessary to vote against people like Rahm Emanuel in primaries, & the national party is not getting any money from me.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:15 AM
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There's been a commonly held expectation by rank & file party members that the primaries & caucuses determine the nominee & the superdelegates would simply ratify that choice

If that were really guaranteed to be the case, why would they exist at all, though?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:15 AM
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And if a "superdelegate" really wants to use electability as his only concern for who to support, then he is a moron.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:16 AM
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I think that the commonly held rank and file expectation varied with the needs of the candidate that the rank and file member supported.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:16 AM
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one or the other of the two most important Democratic constitutencies feeling cheated.

You're miscounting/mischaracterizing the constituencies, I think. And the supers still have a job to do: pick a constituency.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:17 AM
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355
However, we can't assume either candidate's supporters' support for the other candidate in the general.

Poll question I'm too lazy to look up right now: how do the three candidates compare right now? I mean, are there any polls that ask for the respondents' first choice between Clinton, McCain and Obama, and if so, what's the answer?

Hypothetically speaking, suppose the breakdown is 35 Clinton, 25 Obama and 40 McCain. If Obama gets the nomination, I'd almost consider the general election over. Some Clinton supporters might not vote or might switch to McCain if their favorite candidate doesn't win, but fully half of them? no way.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:17 AM
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willing to say from the pulpit that the US government created the HIV virus

I think what he actually says is that he wouldn't put it past them, not that he's certain they did it.

One thing I like to do when reading an article about Rev. Wright is to substitute Jesus' name for his and see how it reads.

Jesus of Nazareth, it's clear, is pathologically narcissistic, unable to retract even his most outrageous contentions... This narcissism is defined and amplified by a compete lack of self-awareness that is terrifying to observe.... It isn't just that Jesus is self-centered, although that seems to be the case; it is also that his worldview doesn't recognize firm boundaries between religion and politics, or really between religion and anything.

Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:18 AM
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"I think that the commonly held rank and file expectation varied with the needs of the candidate that the rank and file member supported. "

Really? What is that based on?Before this election, did most rank & file dems realize that superdelegates even existed, let alone that they comprised 20% of the total delegates & could award the nomination to the party machine candidate if s/he got 40.1% of the convention delegates & his/her opponent got 59.9%? I didn't realize that, & the only thing that reassured me when I found that out were the reassurances that superdelegates were not stupid or bold enough to do any such thing. I realize the math is less stark in this case, but I don't consider it legitimate for them to decide the nomination, & if they override the result of the electorate actually voting THIS late in the game, they have done so much to damage the nominee's chances in November that the "adult supervision for superior electability" argument also falls to pieces.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:26 AM
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387: Yeah ! That Christ guy is a prick !


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:26 AM
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386: Cyrus you keep asserting the same thing, and I think you might think it's an argument, but it actually isn't.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:27 AM
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376: And in that case, it would no longer be a statistical tie. What is the exact percentage difference in the combined primary and caucus votes for Obama and Clinton thus far?

If we assume that primaries themselves produce a population like those used in pollster's striated samples of likely voters (which is a very reasonable assumption, I'm sure you'd agree, or at least it should be if the pollster's don't suck), then the margin of error should be decreasing roughly with the square root of the number of voters/poll respondents.

The typical poll asks about 1000-4000 people, as that's about where the balance of cost for more polling versus improved accuracy tends to work out best, and gives a margin of error around 3-4% (or up to 5% for the 500-700 person polls which are disturbingly common). As there are 30 million Democratic primary votes thus far, that's about 10,000 times as many poll respondents, which has a very convenient square root of 100, so the primary results should have a margin of error about 100 times smaller than that of the common media polls: one around 0.05%.

Given that Obama is leading by somewhere between 0.5% of the vote and 2.1% of the vote depending on what estimate one uses, it's safe to say that it's not even a statistical tie if one assumes poll-like error.

(I ignored the Michigan-included accounts, though even adjusting those to reflect a 20 point win by Clinton would leave him ahead by more than 0.05%).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:27 AM
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You know, I hate to interrupt Democrats in the middle of one of their favorite pastimes - moaning about how doomed Democrats are - but it really needs to be pointed out that John McCain has been generally shit at fundraising since he got the nomination, while Obama's been rolling in cash. Whatever happened to the woeful financial determinism that motivated Democrats-Are-Doomedism back in the day?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:32 AM
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Yeah ! That Christ guy is a prick !

Yeah, but if the Democrats nominated him, it would put Missouri, Colorado, and North Carolina in play for sure!

Mississippi and Alabama, alas, would remain out of reach after the devastating attack ads did their work ("Consorts with prostitutes. Advocates "turning the other cheek" to terrorists [still shot of the burning WTC hovers over the screen]. Voted to spend your more of your tax dollars on welfare. Jesus Christ...Out of step with Mississippi values.)


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:36 AM
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That was just a fundraising ploy, jones. Pay up, guys! The only thing standing between the Democrats and victory is your tight grip on your wallet!


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:36 AM
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392: y'ain't interrupting me. I'm sanguine, and participating mostly to mock the innumeracy and/or failures of imagination of electability doomsayers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:37 AM
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393: The campaign song is already written:

Christ for President

lyrics by Woody Guthrie

Let's have Christ for President.
Let us have him for our King.
Cast your vote for the Carpenter
that you call the Nazarene.


The only way we can ever beat
these crooked politician men
Is to run the money changers out of the temple
And put the Carpenter in
O It's Jesus Christ for president
God above our king
With a job and a pension for young and old
We will make hallelujah ring


Every year we waste enough
to feed the ones who starve
We build our civilization up
and we shoot it down with wars
But with the Carpenter on the seat
away up in the capital town
The USA would be on the way prosperity bound!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:39 AM
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moaning about how doomed Democrats are

I'm in a rare optimistic mood about the Dems' chances today. The political laws of gravity dictate that Obama was going to go through at least one extended press corps pile on, and all things considered, it's better that it happens now, after he has the nomination effectively wrapped up and before the general election campaign gets underway in earnest.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:39 AM
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393: Dude, the moneychangers in the Temple bit would pretty much guarantee the base would disappear.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:40 AM
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moaning about how doomed Democrats are

I'm in a rare optimistic mood about the Dems' chances today. The political laws of gravity dictate that Obama was going to go through at least one extended press corps pile on, and all things considered, it's better that it happens now, after he has the nomination effectively wrapped up and before the general election campaign gets underway in earnest.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:40 AM
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I agree with 397, but find 399 ludicrously Pollyanna-ish.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:47 AM
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So Easley's endorsement of Clinton is good for Obama, right? It'll focus some media attention on N.C., where Clinton in fact has no chance (the only state she ever won where she was behind in polling at any point was N.H., and the N.C. trend is very much stronger). And this will somehow or other make her less appealing to super delegates, I don't know how. Local North Carolinians, what do you say?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:47 AM
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If Obama doesn't get 50.1% of the pledged non-super delegates before the convention he really has no greater claim to the nomination than HRC. All else is spin. One could imagine 5 competitive candidates and certainly the claim that the plurality leader with 31% had a moral claim to an uncontested nomination would be absurd. Obama had plenty of time & money etc and could put Clinton away. We should have a brokered convention.

Dean with the early polling, not allowing the fight to go to the floor, is obviously in the tank for Obasma, and makes his decisions on Mi & FL untrustworthy.

Obama/Dean could have had a Mi & FL redo, but refused. Those might have been enough, even with a loss, to put Obama over the top.

I don't know if Edwards has enough to put Obama over the top. If so, I take his decision not to endorse very seriously. I despise Dean for not allowing Edwards to use his delegates to negotiate platform or other concessions from Obama at the convention.

I joke around a lot, but I have never voted Republican, and you can pretty much mail me in until I die. I will vote a straight Party line in November.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:48 AM
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If Obama doesn't get 50.1% of the pledged non-super delegates before the convention he really has no greater claim to the nomination than HRC.

Nor either of them than Johnny Two Fists off the street, if he can get sufficient vote support from the delegates. Or, hell, McCain, who presumably has the backing of the Leiberman-friendly Dems. Those are the rules. What's your point?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:52 AM
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I have little patience with those who are now making a moral claim that a "plurality" (excluding supers) should decide. Those were not the rules, and in a goal of a strong unified party, should never be the rules.

It may not have been a statistical tie, but I would call it a political tie. I don't know if I would call them two very strong candidates or two very flawed candidates, but we Democrats have a problem that will not be solved with anger & self-righteousness.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:57 AM
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You can call it a space tie or a metric tie or a cuban neck tie or whatever the hell you want but it isn't, actually, a tie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:58 AM
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I have little patience with those who are now making a moral claim that a "plurality" (excluding supers) should decide.

Why would anyone care?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:00 PM
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But the narrative demands that it be called a tie, Tweety, and the narrative is so much more important than pathetic irrelevancies such as, say, actual people.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:01 PM
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403:Uhh, my point is as posted. Obama has no greater claim to the superdelegates at 40 whatever percent.

A year ago, it certainly wouldn't have been considered a huge challenge for the frontrunner to reach 50%. There have been very few years it hasn't happened.

After Souh Carolina, I no longer have any confidence in Edwards in the general, but I kinda with there was another possible candidate or two out there. I remember The Best Man. An outside compromise might honestly be best.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:03 PM
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But it *is* a tie! Not in actual numbers of delegates, but in the metrics where it matters.

I have no problem with the supers choosing who they want in this case. That's their job.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:05 PM
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409: what metrics are those? Ineffable wonderfulness? Gender? Creepy Pastorization?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:06 PM
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409: Failure-to-reach-required-majorityness.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:08 PM
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I have no problem with the supers choosing who they want in this case.

I have no problem with this either, mainly because they are going to want Obama.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:08 PM
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Creepy pasteurization makes yucky cheese.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:08 PM
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and the narrative is so much more important

What, your narrative that Obama only needs a plurality of his own party? Those aren't the rules.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:09 PM
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If Obama doesn't get 50.1% of the pledged non-super delegates before the convention he really has no greater claim to the nomination than HRC.

This is the same thing as saying that Obama needs to get 32.35% of the delegates awarded in the remaining contests. If those contests take place, there is no chance of this not happening, and since there is no chance of it not happening, it would be good for the Democratic Party's chances at winning the Presidency if those contests didn't have to happen.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:10 PM
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I have no problem with the supers choosing who they want in this case. That's their job.

I'm pretty the job entails more than "choose who you want." At a minimum, it's the "job" of people in the coalitions to make arguments--both pleasant and threatening--about why the supers should prefer one candidate or the other.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:10 PM
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411: okay, so in terms of actually having the nomination, it's a tie between Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Gravel, and everybody else on the planet. Point, I guess, taken.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:11 PM
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I'm nearly certain that Obama IS going to have a majority of pledged delegates before the convention. It only becomes a mere plurality if you throw in the supers. People argue that "Obama can't win without the supers"--this is true meaning that he can't win if every superdelegate votes for Clinton, but he would win if they didn't exist or split 50-50, whereas she needs them to overturn the pledged delegates.

I mean, I know there are a few contests left and I suppose she could technically win each one 85-15, but that's not going to happen.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:12 PM
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412: well, me too. But the point is that even if they were for whatever reason convinced Clinton would do better in the general and went for her instead, I wouldn't think something unjust had happened. The people spoke and gave us no clear winner. The supers are in that case supposed to step in and break the "tie".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:13 PM
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Those aren't the rules.

So sayeth the man bitching about the "injustice" of what was done to MI and FL. What the fuck would you know about rules?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:14 PM
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The "tie" concept is tricky. I think there needs to be at least 50 more comments to flesh it out.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:15 PM
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If the supers decide the nominee, basically that's what they're there for. Getting things over with by the end of June strikes me as a very good idea. McCain is getting too much slack.

Democrats should just forget about the two candidates and start going after McCain. In my case I definitely prefer Obama, but can live with Hillary, and my Obama preference is weak and getting weaker. the election should be about McCain / Bush anyway.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:15 PM
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I was just thinking. (It happens.) Everyone frets that this drawn out Democratic primary will leave the ultimate nominee beat up going into the general. But maybe the flip side is that, once we finally get into the general, everyone will be bored of all the negative talking points on Obama and Clinton. Won't this make it easier to get folks really wound up about whatever scandalous dirt is sure to come out on McCain when it really matters?

Silver lining?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:16 PM
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"409: Failure-to-reach-required-majorityness."

Which would also be true if Clinton got 40.1% of the pledged delegates, popular vote, etc. & Obama got 59.9%. Would that be a "statistical tie"?

You can argue "close enough that I don't mind the superdelegates deciding instead of the voters", but personally, I mind, and it's not a tie.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:17 PM
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417: no, it's not. Gravel can't win even if all the supers unexpectedly break his way.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:17 PM
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415:Let it run its course. If Obama gets to a majority, I have no problems.

Honestly, just as people say HRC created her problems with a "big state" strategy, so did Obama create his own problems with his insurgent activist campaign. Looking back, I no longer consider him a massive underdog, and I suspect he could have done much better in the states Clinton won if he had wanted to.

But Obama was an authentic "change" candidate, and wanted to exclude old Democrats as much as recruit new ones.

Either will likely be a damaged nominee and President.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:18 PM
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Meanwhile...


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:20 PM
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Whatever. Most of my time these days is spent just trying to resign myself to a McCain presidency, so don't listen to me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:20 PM
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423: no, because the press mainly likes to repeat the same storyline over & over & over again no matter what the evidence is. The more the negative talking points about Clinton & Obama are repeated, the more justified they feel in repeating them again. They're not bored with calling John McCain a "maverick" are they? They've said it so many times that it MUST be true.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:20 PM
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Gravel can't win even if all the supers unexpectedly break his way.

HRC keeps reminding us that even pledged delegates should look to candidate they personally feel is the best candidate. (Or at least she was doing that; is she still?) So keep hope alive on Gravel.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:21 PM
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I am not counting super-delegates. If Obama reaches a majority of pledged delegates, there is no problem. Whatever, 2025? 2250?

If that majority includes superdelegates before the convention, I have a problem, tho not a huge one. I would prefer the negotiating process took place on the floor & bars & hotel rooms at the convention. That will be how, if it is to be done, the two opposing factions will gain peace with each other. One side, in these close circumstances, walking into the convention and telling the other to STFU is not a good idea.

I do not like the Obama-hack Dean shortcircuiting the process.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:28 PM
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I don't understand why people are so down on the superdelegates. I, for one, love the fact that Bubba Jones, Secretary of the Hazard County Democrats, gets a vote that is worth 50,000 times more than my vote. We really shouldn't let our sense of fairness get in the way of good old fashioned cronyism.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:30 PM
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One big concern is that even if Obama's campaign has begun to crater and never recovers, meaning he's decisively down in the nationwide polls against both Clinton and McCain, there's a good chance that he will win a majority of pledged delegates anyway. Like w/d said, he only needs to average 33% in the remaining contests to achieve a majority of pledged delegates, and at this point it's hard to see him doing much worse than that even if he is irreparably damaged. Which I don't think is likely.

I wish that storyline about how the press loves Obama so much had never caught on. Obviously, they don't love him any more than they love any other successful Democrat.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:34 PM
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431: I'm not counting unpledged delegates either, and Sen. Obama needs to win 32.35% of the delegates awarded in the remaining contests, Sen. Clinton needs to win 70.10% of the delegates awarded in the remaining contests, and Edwards needs to 395.34% of the delegates awarded in the remaining contests in order to have a simple majority of pledged delegates (1622) prior to the convention. All percentages based on DemConWatch's current non-Michigan & Florida tally.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:35 PM
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In the same way that running a black against a woman is a good thing that could turn into a bad thing, this attempt to have the most democratic primary season ever looks like it might create resentment because it's not quite completely democratic.

I am 100% in favor of the superdelegates deciding this early, if need be. It will give the losing side a chance to cool off before the election. The losers will be mad no matter when it is that they lose. Better sooner than later.

I still think that the difference between the two isn't worth getting heated up over.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:36 PM
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432:Oh, c'mon. I can't imagine Ted Kennedy or Pelosi or Charlie Rangel not having a vote or influence at the convention on the direction and leadership of the Party, and honestly, I don't mind them having just a little bit more influence & power than myself. They know more.

The superdelegate seem to be a fine compromise between the machines/smoke-filled rooms and full democratic practice.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:40 PM
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Sorry, I had Edwards delegates as 9, not 19, which messed things up. It's actually 33.58%, 71.32%, and 394.12% respectively, with the simple majority being 1627 not 1622.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:42 PM
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The superdelegate seem to be a fine compromise between the machines/smoke-filled rooms and full democratic practice.

I think this is right - but it will be proven wrong if they don't act as Emerson proposes. The legitimate function of the superdelegates is to do what is best for the party, and it's pretty clear that it's best for the party to have a nominee ASAP after the primary season is over.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:43 PM
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Most superdelegates are more along the lines of "Bubba Jones, sec. of the Hazard county democrats" than Ted Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:45 PM
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LOLOLOL!

Our only hope is that sharks attack dozens and dozens of people this summer and John McCain can be proven to be directing their actions.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:47 PM
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I just found out that one of my mother's good friends was a DNC delegate in 2004. A lovable but extremely annoying person. A busybody, but a Democratic busybody.

Not a superdelegate, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:48 PM
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440. No laser beams! Can I please get some frickin' sharks with some frickin' laser beams!!1!1


Posted by: Dr. Evil | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:51 PM
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however, I completely agree with Emerson that whatever they do they should do on June 3 if not before so people can unite behind the nominee. If it is Clinton I will change my registration, seethe, plot my revenge etc. & I certainly won't be signing up with her campaign but I can also practice holding my nose & muttering "first female president, judicial nominations". More time is helpful for all of this.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:52 PM
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439:Most? How many superdelegates are there?

I can instantly come up with ~300 from Congress. Add Governors, big-city Mayors (Daley should not stay home), state-party chairpersons, elder-statepersons like Jimmy Carter and I see at least 400, maybe 500.

Aside:I would rather Jimmy Carter not have to run for delegate and take a position away from a party activist.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:54 PM
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Can superdelegates fly? And, if not, what is so super about them?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:58 PM
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386

"Hypothetically speaking, suppose the breakdown is 35 Clinton, 25 Obama and 40 McCain. If Obama gets the nomination, I'd almost consider the general election over. Some Clinton supporters might not vote or might switch to McCain if their favorite candidate doesn't win, but fully half of them? no way."

29% switching to McCain would do it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 12:58 PM
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I read somewhere that the elected officials were made into superdelegates just to try to get them to come to the convention.

Superdelegates: 31 Governors, 48 Senators, 222 Representatives, 19 Distinguished Party Leaders, 398 DNC Members, 76 Add-Ons.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:00 PM
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398 DNC Members, 76 Add-Ons

So there are your mayors, state representatives, local chairmen, obese ministers and what-have-you.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:02 PM
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Can superdelegates fly?

Or are they just super-fly?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:03 PM
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Expert explains what led to Great White's attack on swimmer

Just like a whitey.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:03 PM
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Why do I feel the "We MUST get this over with soon" is based on an expected outcome rather than fears about the general?

Dean certainly has a right to take a poll and the supers can do what they want, but Dean is so compromised I don't consider the result binding on Clinton. Clinton has said she will take it to the convention.

Like the Wright thing, a politician always knows that shit happens. The dead boy could be found in Obama's hotel room. Or Iran could close the Straits of Hormuz, starting a war, and Obama could be stuttering and stammering. If so, it might be nice to have a viable candidate in a position to criticize her opponent.

I certainly don't know that what Obama will look like in August, and I am not as sure as y'all that ending this early is best for the party.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:03 PM
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793. I think it's actually about half elected officials, elder statesmen, etc.; half DNC members. They're basically tied among the elected ones, Clinton's lead comes entirely from the DNC members. I'm not cool even with the elected ones; because of the difficulties of primary challenges the presidential primary is about the only realistic way for voters to change the direction of the party in any reasonable time frame & I'm not real pleased about current elected officials who've performed so very very very poorly being able to prevent that. (There are some individual elected Democrats I trust & like a lot--Kennedy is among them, though Pelosi is not--but they are a distinct minority of the elected Democrats. I'm not okay with Rahm Emanuel having so very much more say than his constituents who I think support Obama by about 80-20 & 90-10 & I would guess much prefer Obama to Emanuel himself).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:06 PM
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I certainly don't know that what Obama will look like in August

He'll still be black, probably.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:08 PM
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Basically, the longer Clinton campaigns against Obama, the longer McCain gets a free ride, and the less work McCain will have left to do when the real campaign starts, since Clinton is doing his work for him at the moment. Most of Clinton's attacks on Obama so far, except on Medicare, can be safely picked up by McCain.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:14 PM
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I must be in a particularly Panglossian mood today, because not only do I agree with all the optimists here, I think Obama's denunciation of Wright is just about perfect for all concerned. Wright's legitimate views get an airing, and Obama gets to further distance himself from his old pastor without appearing disloyal.

How much Obama Kool-aid have I imbibed? So much that I find myself more-or-less agreeing with Andrew Sullivan.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:15 PM
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Since I'm playing with #'s now, if Sen. Obama never gains or loses another unpledged delegate, he would need 72.3% of the remaining delegates awarded in contests to take a simple majority. Sen. Clinton needs 105.39% if she never gains or loses another unpledged delegate. Of both the delegates yet to be awarded and the ones yet to announce whom they're supporting, Barry needs 41.84% from one source or the other, while Hillary needs 60.99%


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:15 PM
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He'll still be black, probably

Tweety, are you going to rewrite the one drop rule?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:16 PM
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Andrew Sullivan is such a disgusting little weasel.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:20 PM
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458: This is assuredly so.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:24 PM
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458, 459: comity!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:24 PM
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This argument that superdelegates are good because they will make decisions based on what's best for the party is kind of laughable. If that were the case they would have come out en masse for Obama a month ago given the implosion that will occur if they overturn the will of the voters and hand the nomination to Clinton, or, alternatively, given that delaying their endorsement of Obama has caused the sort of damage cited by JE in 454. Superdelegates are by and large making their decisions based on self-preservation, insider dealing, and fear of the Clinton Machine. Superdelegates are not Philosopher Kings.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:25 PM
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458:I really wish you hadn't reminded me of that.

I did have a line about I wanted the nomination to go to the convention so the Democratic delegates, including the good Obama delegates, could see the Andy Sullivan wannabes sitting next to them on the floor and rethink their support for Obama.

But I figured it'd make people mad.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:27 PM
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But I figured it'd make people mad.

Just a little embarrassed for you, by this point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:31 PM
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I don't understand why people are so down on the superdelegates. I, for one, love the fact that Bubba Jones, Secretary of the Hazard County Democrats, gets a vote that is worth 50,000 times more than my vote.

Somehow I can't get worked up over the superdelegate system. I think I might be bothered a little more if the shoe were on the other foot, but as it is, I think the system has a lot to recommend it.

1. Our system for nominating candidates is already more open and democratic than almost anywhere else on the planet. You don't have to be a party activist to have a say, and in some jurisdictions you don't even have to belong to the party.

2. Since I am a an advocate of ideologically coherent parties, I think a little institutional influence is a positive good. The super delegate system grafts that influence onto the electoral process, but limits the scope for overturning the process.

3. Nearly all of the superdelegates are present or former elected officials, and thus have some accountability to the electorate, or have contributed significant service to the party.

4. The elected delegates are Bubba from Hazard, too--even more so. I'll never forget watching the CNN coverage of the Dem convention in NYC and seeing the human interest piece on how the delegates from the backwoods were getting the rube treatment in NYC. There on camera stood the delegate from my hometown, lamenting that the $50 Rolex she had bought in Times Square turned out to be a fake.

5. The superdelegates are a nice insurance policy against a brokered convention, which would likely be fatal to the party's general election chances in this day and age. Just wait and see if this thing stretches out to August.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:35 PM
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One good thing about this thread is that nobody has agreed with rush Limbaugh's and Andrew Sullivan's take on Wright's motives.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:36 PM
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Andrew Sullivan is such a disgusting little weasel.

His support for Obama is the only thing that has caused me to seriously consider voting for Hillary, on the theory that anything he believes is likely to be wrong, and any opinion he holds is unlikely to be shared by a majority of the electorate.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:37 PM
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McManus makes a good point in 444.last.

Just thought I'd acknowledge that.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:38 PM
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Headline on Congressional Quarterly today:

"Democrats Are Pushing Toward Big Congressional Gains -- Unless the Losing Side In the Presidential Nominating Race Gets Angry and Stays Home"

Article talks about how Dems have an outside shot at 60 Senate seats if people turn out.

One way or another this has to be over by early June, as Dean says. Taking it to the convention gives just two months to forget all this crap.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:39 PM
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Since I am a an advocate of ideologically coherent parties, I think a little institutional influence is a positive good.

You already get that from the fact that campaigns cost tens of millions of dollars and can only be funded by a handful of bloated one-issue plutocrats.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:40 PM
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463:If you say so, Tim. Me, I'd bet 10-20% of Obama supporters won't be Democrats twenty years from now.

In fact, I'm speculating that a centrist Obama Presidency will lose Black Democrats to the Republican Party, after 8 years of disappointment and frustrated expectations.

I'd love to specualte on a determinedly progressive Obama Presidency, but after Arthur Laffer showed affection and trust in Austan Goolsbee, I don't think there is enough evidence.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:40 PM
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Since I am a an advocate of ideologically coherent parties, I think a little institutional influence is a positive good.

Not sure that the second clause follows in a straightforward fashion from the second. There is a wide difference between institution and ideology.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:41 PM
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465: Sullivan really is an astonishingly transparent bigot. He also combines, within one person, everything I hate about the professional opinion industry and its eagerness to promote superficial novelty over intelligence, insight and accuracy, together with everything I hate about the most base cluelessness of upper-middle-class white America. And yes, I know he's British, but he's been here long enough to count.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:46 PM
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Not sure that the second clause follows in a straightforward fashion from the second.

It doesn't necessarily follow, but I believe it does in this instance. Because the nominating process extends a very broad franchise (even to people who don't identify with the party), it will necessarily require reaching out to diverse constituencies, especially in a two-party system. The party machinery, by contrast, will triage issues and constituencies--not necessarily in a consistent or sensible way, but it will tend to narrow the boundaries of what it means to support the party. In countries where the party machinery is in full control of the nominating process, you get very coherent platforms*, but little democratic influence. In open primary + runoff systems, you get little coherence. Our system splits the difference, and I think that's for the best.

*Wait! Isn't a perfect counterexample to this theory the Democrats prior to 1948? Uh, yes, I guess I'll have to concede that my theory has less than perfect explanatory value.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:48 PM
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together with everything I hate about the most base cluelessness of upper-middle-class white America

You'll feel differently once you've used your stand mixer.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:49 PM
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Uh, yes, I guess I'll have to concede that my theory has less than perfect explanatory value.

That's magnanimous of you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:49 PM
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In fact, I'm speculating that a centrist Obama Presidency will lose Black Democrats to the Republican Party, after 8 years of disappointment and frustrated expectations.

Funny that this didn't happen after the centrist Clinton presidency, which I would describe not so much as "eight years of disappointment and frustrated expectations" and more as "an almost calculated, deliberate, and protracted demonstration on the part of white Democratic Party elites that African-Americans mean almost nothing to them."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:50 PM
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Knecht, have you been conscious for the last 8 years? It's not like my deep antipathy & bitterness & distrust & feelings of betrayal re: the Dem. leadership postdates my support of Obama. And "ideological coherence" has not been the party's strong point either. God, it would be refreshing if the superdelegates supported Clinton for her more ambitious health care plan in a way, but in reality, if they support her it will be out of some combination of self interest, personal ties & abject fear of the electorate; in reality members of Congress are busy explaining to the press why they're not REALLY going to pass national health care no matter which candidate is elected & both their plans are far too ambitious. Whereas the candidates both have ambitious health proposals & global warming plans & both promise to end torture & restore habeas & both say they want to end the Iraq war in part because they were playing to caucus goers & primary voters & didn't want Edwards to get too far to their left on policy.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:52 PM
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I also don't foresee Clinton concentrating very hard on winning over bitter young liberals so they don't stay home should she win the nomination, somehow.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:55 PM
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390
386: Cyrus you keep asserting the same thing, and I think you might think it's an argument, but it actually isn't.

I do? My apologies. I can't really remember any previous examples of me saying what I said in 386. (Except for the part about being too lazy to do my own research. I know I say that all the time, and I know it isn't an argument.)

That was my reaction at first, but then I realized you probably weren't referring to what I said about three-way matchup polling, but to my optimism about November more generally, right? So, fair enough. I realize this is entirely ex recto. I've done some Googling, but I can't find any polls that ask for peoples' favorite candidate among all three that are left. There's no way in hell that situation will come up, so as far as I can tell, no one's done polls that asked that question.

Here some other election-related things I believe for which I have little or no evidence: McCain's support has nowhere to go but down, opposition to Obama from Clinton supporters within the Democratic Party and vice versa are both overrepresented among high-information people who follow politics closely, and either Democrat being tied-or-very-nearly with McCain is a very good sign considering that they're still being dragged down by their primary opponent.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 1:57 PM
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after Arthur Laffer showed affection and trust in Austan Goolsbee, I don't think there is enough evidence.

How droll to pair the first part of this sentence with a statement about sufficiency of evidence.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 2:10 PM
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Well, haters, Obama has thrown the good reverend under the bus. Hope you're happy.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/us/politics/29text-obama.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin&oref=slogin


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 2:24 PM
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Of course he did. Obama and Wright are enemies -- what Wright did was a hostile act, and Obama is simply retaliating. It's not impossible that Wright will singlehandedly sink Obama's candidacy.

Stras appreciates seeing Wright grab his 15 minutes to stick it to the man, but if you're actually trying to work in real politics (as opposed to blog comments) you don't have that luxury. Obama is auditioning to be the man.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 2:34 PM
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482. Wright's second round of interviews certainly makes your statement plausible. I admired Obama for not intitially caving in to the pressure, but there is more going on here than simple politics.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 2:40 PM
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OK, this request comes incredibly late, but:

What the hell did Wright say at the NPC that was so bad? I'm not playing faux-naive; I really don't know. The first few things I saw about it weren't negative or panicky, so I just sort of assumed he "told it like it is," in a way that might discomfit whitey, but not in a way that would make Obama say, "That's not the man I met 20 years ago."

Did he repeat the AIDS thing? Is it the bit about chickens coming home to roost? Or is there worse out there? I can't bear to watch the Youtube; just hit me with the lowlights.

PS - NC down to 49-44. Work your magic, Apo.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 2:40 PM
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484: He repeated everything, confirmed that Farrakhan was one of the greatest thinkers and leaders of the 20th and 21st century, then implied Obama secretly agreed with him but couldn't say so because he was a politician, and finally made a joke about hoping Obama would appoint him vice president.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 2:48 PM
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Security was provided by the Fruit of Islam, invitees to the event included the New Black Panther Party.

Reverend Wright has also announced plans to come out with a book later this year -- prior to November, I presume.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 2:49 PM
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Security was provided by the Fruit of Islam

Not true. This disinformation brought to you by anonymous sources to the Washington Post who surely have no political agenda whatsoever and would never cynically exploit reporters' willingness to believe the worst about an angry black man.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 2:53 PM
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Obama and Wright are enemies

This I will believe when Wright calls Obama a "magic negro" or the equivalent. The good reverend has certainly forced the hand of his parishoner.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:04 PM
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Wright calling Obama an uncle Tom or a "magic negro" or whatever would actually help Obama. Wright deliberately chose to accentuate everything that would be maximally harmful for Obama with white voters.

I think Wright believes everything he said, he's not making shit up, but there's some kind of hostility going on there. Wright is too intelligent not to understand exactly what he's doing.

I suspect Wright may always have resented Obama in some sense -- preppie from Hawaii coming in and getting Chicago street cred by associating with Wright, then distancing himself once he had to move up in national politics. Wright has never had any choice except to be who he is, while Obama has been able to choose many different identities. Wright is sort of saying, "you wanted to be a black nationalist with me, Barack? Fine, live with it now!".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:09 PM
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How was Wright's National Press Club speech arranged? Was he invited? By whom? When was it scheduled?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:11 PM
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"you wanted to be a black nationalist with me, Barack? Fine, live with it now!".

Ticket punching has its perils, too.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:12 PM
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OK, is 484 a put-on? Did he really say that about Farrakhan? I don't really like the Farrakhan-as-Untouchable thing, but I certainly don't think that kind of praise is reasonable.

I really do think it's good to get this stuff out there sooner rather than later. I don't see any possible way it would never have come out, and there's still 6 months for it to become Old News. Haters will tar him with Wright, but haters were never voting Obama. (Almost) everyone who's willing to vote Obama will be won over by BHO's rhetoric, commanding presence, and MOR policies, and Wright will be half-forgotten - "But what about his crazy pastor?" "Yeah, but what about McCain's crazy pastor - that Habee guy? All I know is, Obama was against this stupid war."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:15 PM
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I don't think Obama was simply ticket punching, he was working something out he needed to do for that time in his life. If you read "Dreams From My Father", he was actually a little bit messed up as a kid (more from oversensitivity than external circumstances, but whatever). He needed to find himself, and Wright was part of the process.

But he's outgrown that now. If Wright had some modesty and humility, and a deeper sense of generosity, he'd understand that. The guy's a prick.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:16 PM
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484, as I said in 216 I liked the version of Wright in The Daily Show clip package, but:

His views on Farrakhan and Israel? "Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter's being vilified for and Bishop Tutu's being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I'm anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago. He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century; that's what I think about him. . . . Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery, and he didn't make me this color."
He denounced those who "can worship God on Sunday morning, wearing a black clergy robe, and kill others on Sunday evening, wearing a white Klan robe." He praised the communist Sandinista regime of Nicaragua. He renewed his belief that the government created AIDS as a means of genocide against people of color ("I believe our government is capable of doing anything").

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:23 PM
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492: What Wright actually said was that Farrakhan "is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century."

After which he apparently traded a high-five with a minister behind him on the podium.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:24 PM
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It's ludicrous to say that Farrakhan is one of the most important voices in the 21st century.

20th, sure.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:26 PM
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490: Per Salon's War Room, "[h]is speech opened a two-day symposium about the black church."


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:27 PM
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20th, sure.

Naw, that's ludicrous too.

You know, Wright could easily have made a speech that made the most important substantive points he wanted to and also actually helped Obama.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:36 PM
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321: Stras, let me try again with my 311. If Bell Biv DeVoe were to win the 2008 election, no one could doubt their electability.

Love you.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:38 PM
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498: Nope, Obama needed a clean break from Wright, and Wright gave him the opportunity. Absolutely nothing Wright said - except maybe an abject apology for his past statements - would have been more helpful than this.

Obama has to be able to cleanly dispose of Wright in some fashion. That may not be possible in any event, but it's hard to come up with a more favorable scenario for Obama than the one Wright provided.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:43 PM
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497: I see that others have speculated about the invitation. Press Club response.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:47 PM
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more favorable scenario for Obama than the one Wright provided

Public silence. BHO's disavowal will not be broadcast on FOX, but Wright's most embarassing will.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:47 PM
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Silence just leaves things at status quo, which was a bad deal for Obama.


Posted by: Pollyanna Pangloss | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:55 PM
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500: Love what you're smoking, wish I could get some too.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:57 PM
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Absolutely nothing Wright said...would have been more helpful than this.

The way we usually express this in English is "It would have been more helpful had Wright said absolutely nothing."


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 3:58 PM
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More helpful:

--America has a bad history. I grew up under segregation.

--Despite that, I served my country in the military, as our privileged leaders did not do.

--My comments were taken out of context and are part of a complex perspective on a great but deeply flawed nation, etc.

--white preachers have also made the Biblical point that 9/11 had antecedents in our own behavior.

--I believe in black self-help, so does Farrakhan and NOI so we make common cause around this. Our communities need all of us.

--I greatly respect Barak as a person, we are close spiritually. Despite this I know we disagree on many of our political views, as I do with many of my parishoners.

No abject apologies, dignified, creates distance.

Contrast: here, let me repeat all the wackiest stuff I ever said, in the most inflamatory manner possible, and then tell you that Barack agrees with me. Maybe he'll make me Vice President! Yipee!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:02 PM
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Shorter PGD: I was born a poor black child.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:04 PM
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But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS, when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century, when he equates the United States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses.

How completely unfair! There are always lots of excuses! Who does this Obama guy think he is?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:07 PM
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501. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Obama is not a post racial candidate, he is a secret angry black man, behold his pastor. Pay no attention to the allegiancies of those who try to point this out. There is no secret agenda. These are not the droids you're looking for.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:12 PM
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Obama is trolling America.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:12 PM
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Love what you're smoking, wish I could get some too.

My point isn't actually, "It's all good." More like the reverse. It's all bad, but some things are less bad.

The Wright thing was going to bleed Obama for the next six months regardless. The opportunity for Obama to credibly - but not cravenly - separate himself from Wright was helpful. Wright Souljah'd himself.

And from there, we'll just have to agree to disagree, because I think 506 illustrates my point, not yours. Surely any liberal who wants to defend himself by saying "taken out of context" is screwed in this media environment - and Wright isn't just any liberal.

I have to admit I'd be perversely amused to see him say, "Here's what I really meant when I said 'God Damn America.' "


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:16 PM
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There are a lot of crackers in this thread.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:18 PM
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512: Add in some cheese and wine, and you've got a gathering of Obama supporters.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:19 PM
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510: don't you mean Wright is trolling America, while Obama frantically backs away?

511: yeah, good effort. The last sentence especially. I respect what you're up to. But sometimes the simple explanation is best.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:19 PM
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There are always lots of excuses!

"I was crazy from the crack that the CIA gave me! I didn't mean it!"


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:24 PM
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"Excuse and embrace" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "reject and denounce."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:30 PM
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Knecht, have you been conscious for the last 8 years?

Regrettably, yes. And I gave up hope sometime in late 2004 that I would wake up and find it had all been a Bobby Ewing-style bad dream.

Fortunately, drinking dulls the pain.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:30 PM
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Speaking of not knowing when to shut up--it seems that CACI International has decided to publish a book, through Regnery, defending its honor about the Abu Ghraib scandal. You morons, everyone but me & a couple of other diehards have totally forgotten your involvement in the Abu Ghraib scandal.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:34 PM
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I thought CACI International sold trashy clothes for preteens at the mall.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:40 PM
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this is what I'm saying.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:43 PM
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The Wright thing was going to bleed Obama for the next six months regardless. The opportunity for Obama to credibly - but not cravenly - separate himself from Wright was helpful. Wright Souljah'd himself.

I think PolFoot has it right here.

Wright's speech was amazingly weird. If he had gotten up on stage and said "Booga-booga! Bacawk! I am the Lizard King. I can do anything. (proceeds to spend 20 minutes reading excerpts from "Dhalgren")" it would have looked about the same to the national press.

Then Obama just has to say "Come on, you don't seriously think I ask for advice from that guy, do you?"

It does appear to be a risky and impossible strategy, though, since he was a member of the church in question for two decades. Maybe the consensus will start to be that Wright must have been a fine minister back in the 90's, but now he's senile, or something.

I don't like this story at all, no matter how it develops.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:43 PM
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From the AP story:

Obama stated flatly that he doesn't share the views of the man who officiated at his wedding, baptized his two daughters and been his pastor for 20 years. The title of Obama's second book, "The Audacity of Hope," came from a Wright sermon.

Hard to distance.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:48 PM
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they're also both black! It's just like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde!


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:51 PM
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plus they're both Muslim. Wake up, white people!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 4:59 PM
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It's a coordinated Sister Souljah conspiracy, of course. Wright is throwing himself under the bus for Obama.

Obama is being inoculated for the general.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:25 PM
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Then Obama just has to say "Come on, you don't seriously think I ask for advice from that guy, do you?"

Because the last several months have shown us that people won't believe ridiculous things about Obama?


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:33 PM
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525: It's a coordinated Sister Souljah conspiracy, of course.

By whom? W.A.S.T.E? The Phoebus cartel? Keyser Söze? British/WWF Vampires?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:43 PM
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Obama stated flatly that he doesn't share the views of the man who officiated at his wedding, baptized his two daughters and been his pastor for 20 years. The title of Obama's second book, "The Audacity of Hope," came from a Wright sermon.

If this isn't by Nedra Pickler, I'll eat a metaphorical hat.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:45 PM
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Aaaand, it's by Mike Glover. Hat eaten.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:46 PM
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5264: This is more to reassure the media that there is not a crisis going on.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:47 PM
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nope! The AP is totally in the tank lately--the recent piece on the DNC McCain ad is much worse. All msm horserace coverage sucks. Most blog horserace coverage sucks too.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:48 PM
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Obama has had at least two mentors I know about, Wright and Joe Lieberman? Now I want Obama to condemn Lieberman in the same strong terms.

Then I want Obama to admit to discarding his most loyal allies like so much trash after he has used them & they can no longer further his personal ambitions.

Then Obama can call himself the "Change candidate" for a totally new kind of politics.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:50 PM
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5264:

Sweet jesus I hope this thread doesn't go that long.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:51 PM
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Obama truly has no more loyal ally than Joe Lieberman. I would shed copious tears if that happened, bob.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:52 PM
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I don't share the views of the man who officiated at my wedding.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:53 PM
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533: oh, how embarrassing those situations can be!


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:54 PM
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526:What ridiculous things, like that he attended a church for twenty years and didn't have a clue who his pastor really was?

You're right, if people will believe that, they will believe anything.

I don't know who this guy is.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 5:59 PM
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Sweet jesus I hope this thread doesn't go that long.

Dude, Unfogged can go on for 200 comments about pizza!

The Bill Moyers interview with Wright is pretty fascinating, by the way. I imagine that's neither here nor there, however, given that nobody watches Bill Moyers. Main stream media coverage matters, but I still can't bring myself to partake of it. A failing, in a way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:04 PM
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533: Sweet jesus I hope this thread doesn't go that long.

Analytic philosphers who recycle pwn fat chicks who don't have condoms available on a first date. What do yinz think?

And can someone fill me on the deal with bitters? I don't get it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:05 PM
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538: The Bill Moyers interview with Wright is pretty fascinating

The whole progression of tone from Moyers to NAACP to National Press Club was fascinating in a way as well.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:10 PM
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To my mild surprise, there's nothing online about the man who officiated at my wedding - he was the 23-y.o. mayor of the small town where we were married, having succeeded an ~82-y.o. mayor. He lived with his mom, and looked more or less like Bart Simpson on class picture day - hair plastered down, not-quite-fitting suit, etc. Nice enough guy.

He told us he'd met Cory Booker at some young pols event, and that Booker would be big someday. This was 2001.

Anyway, this guy was a Republican, so I officially renounce and reject him, and all of his works.

Except the work where he married us. That one was good.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:12 PM
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539 could be the entirety of one of the RSS feeds. Maybe with a green icon.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:14 PM
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540: Huh. I confess I've only vaguely followed the latter (and have really just skimmed this thread). I take it it means that Wright's rhetoric, or the coverage thereof, has been increasingly inflammatory.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:31 PM
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I think the guy who married me was a Democrat but mainly because he was (1) Jewish, (2) from Scarsdale. No clue who baptized me, but I threw up on him, which I think beats denouncing & rejecting.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:33 PM
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544: Seriously? Story, please! (There are Republican Jews in Scarsdale these days, hélas.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 6:36 PM
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who his pastor really was?

This, to me, goes over the line of buying into the bullshit, which is too bad because what I usually like about bob is how he sees right through the bullshit. But come on, this business of taking the worst interpretation of the most extreme things he says and blaring that that's "who he really is" is just insulting. I remember the whining about Donnie McClurkin, well, now Obama is being attacked for his associations with a pioneering pro-gay liberal pastor and we just nod approvingly? Fuck's sake.

If we weren't allowed to question all the Skull and Bones bullshit last time, Obama's church is sure as hell off limits.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:04 PM
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Then I want Obama to admit to discarding his most loyal allies like so much trash after he has used them & they can no longer further his personal ambitions.

Joe Lieberman is like your faithful hound. The Ol' Yeller of American politics, that's Holy Joe. Shame on you for shooting that rabid Nutmegger, Obama. Shame, shame.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:05 PM
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Here, Yeller. Come back, Yeller.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:11 PM
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Just replace "Tray" with "Joe"


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:13 PM
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Do I *really* have to get up to date with this Obama/Wright nonsense? Please someone tell me it'll blow over soon.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:16 PM
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545: which one? Neither's all that entertaining. I don't remember the baptism, but I had bronchitis I think--it was not an emergency baptism but some of the guests might have thought so. The guy who married me was a cantor at my husband's cousin's temple; the only funny thing there was that he was an Irishman whose first name was Kerry.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:17 PM
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551: Oh, I read too quickly. I thought you barfed on the rabbi at your wedding. But as a wee baby you puked on the priest who baptized you. Ah.
The (Italian) priest who baptized me and all of my brothers spent an awful lot of time hanging out with with the matron of one of the local ritzy Irish Catholic families. They went on vacation together. She and the priest had matching cars (we all assumed this was for "whose car is in the driveway?" reasons). The youngest son in this ruddy, ginger, and freckled Irish family is small and black haired.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:25 PM
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546:Wait a minute.

"Who he [Wright] really is" refers to no charcterization of Pastor Wright or his remarks that I have made or would make. I have not discussed that, to my recollection. I have not weighed in on "Did the CIA create the Aids virus".

It does refer to Obama's own words and tone in the "distancing" speech, linked and annotated eleswhere ad nauseam. It is Obama who apparently says he has seen Wright from both sides now, from up & down and still somehow and didn't really know Wright at all.

And if Reverend Wright thinks that that's political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn't know me very well. And based on his remarks yesterday, well, I might not know him as well as I thought, either. ...Obama

I am calling total bullshit on this. I would if anything, take Wright's side in any Obama vs Wright cagematch. I think at minimum, Obama for years would simply nod at Wright's fire & brimstone sermons, and certainly heard things as a parishioner he could have objected to if it wasn't to Obama's Chicago political to remain silent and associated with someone more overtly confrontational than himself to take the heat and build the loyalties.

In other words, what this Wright episode tells me about Obama, again, is that Obama will fake the moral highground while letting others take the heat for hard decisions or brutal policy. He will much better at it than Nixon.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:32 PM
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Please someone tell me it'll blow over soon.

I'm afraid that its being an issue that it's an issue is now an issue. In other words, it's meta-metastasized.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:34 PM
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Come on, Bob. I'm not one of the people around here who say you're crazy, but Jesus.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:35 PM
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And I believe Wright about the "political posturing"

Do I believe Obama agrees with Wright about the Aids Conspiracy? Obama believes in nothing but Obama, and when it suited him, I believe Obama just nodded. I wish there were video or tape of some of those Sunday sessions.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:39 PM
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555: he'll convince you no matter how long it takes!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:41 PM
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The Times' just-published editorial about this is actually quite good.

It was the most forthright repudiation of an out-of-control supporter that we can remember. We would like to say that it will finally take the racial charge out of this campaign. We're not that naïve.

It is an injustice, a legacy of the racist threads of this nation's history, but prominent African-Americans are regularly called upon to explain or repudiate what other black Americans have to say, while white public figures are rarely, if ever, handed that burden.
Senator John McCain has continued to embrace a prominent white supporter, Pastor John Hagee, whose bigotry matches that of Mr. Wright. Mr. McCain has not tried hard enough to stop a race-baiting commercial -- complete with video of Mr. Wright -- that is being run against Mr. Obama in North Carolina.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:43 PM
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555:Perhaps we could check with Wright's parishioners?

Look, John, this isn't new. I remember the thread about Obama's henchmen security roughing up the blogger while Obama blessed the crowd.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:43 PM
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558 is encouraging.

But Pastor Hagee's bigotry VASTLY EXCEEDS that of Mr. Wright!

What is Mr. Wright's bigotry? The opinion that the United States government has not earned the trust of African-Americans? Is that bigotry if you define the United States government as being synonymous with "all white people"?

The desire to convince people that some of Louis Farrakhan's statements could be taken seriously if they were said about "Zionism" rather than "Judaism"?

Meanwhile, Hagee believes CATHOLICS, for God's sake, are evil. Not to mention Mormons. And Muslims. And obviously Jews, whose eradication is necessary for God's plan (hopefully soon). Just because some Jews are trying to manipulate him into helping them settle the Holy Land doesn't mean that he isn't trying to manipulate them into settling there as well, so they can die.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:52 PM
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Who are the nice-guy politicians, Bob? And what country do you think you're living in? Even if I'd agreed with Wright about everything, I'd have understodd that Obama was either going to have to renounce him or else concede election to Hillary or McCain.

I've explained many times that I'm not enthusiastic about either candidate but will support either over McCain. If you see a way to better than that, tell us what it is. I just don't accept your belief that Obama is far worse than Hillary.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:52 PM
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I'm not one of the people around here who say you're crazy, but Jesus.

I denounce Emerson's claim to be Jesus.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:52 PM
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Fatman, people here aren't the audience you want to convince. We're basically all spectators, except to the extent that we're doing day to day political work.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:54 PM
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It seems like this "Katherine" person is a Washington insider of some sort. As are the young bloggers who are friends with some of the bloggers here. There may be others who have some negligible influence over the DNC's decision to either attack McCain/Hagee or not.

Remember, it was established yesterday that we ARE acting politically by commenting here!


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:56 PM
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Hagee doesn't like Jews? Hmm, I may vote for McCain.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:57 PM
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Hagee doesn't like Jews?

That's blatantly false. Hagee loves Jews. With paprika and a side of potatoes.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 7:59 PM
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Hagee loves Jews. With paprika and a side of potatoes.

They are good that way. The man's got taste. Still, for full blood libelicisousness, I prefer to marinate my Jews in the blood of Christian children.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:02 PM
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But seriously.

The use of the word "bigotry" is just unnecessary.

Even if you think black anti-white prejudice is just as destructive as white and-black prejudice, and should be condemned in the strongest terms possible...

Where is the bigotry? Conspiracy theories maybe. Conspiracy theories about the evils of Jews or ice people? Nope.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:04 PM
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Sorry, "libeliciousness." Huh, that looks wrong, too. I wonder why I can't spell such an easy word.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:04 PM
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Apparently I was misreading bob, because his extended take makes much more sense to me. Obviously the distancing act was bullshit, because obviously Obama is just a politician.

But that's half of why I like him, because he's usually so good at it. I guess it's because I'm still young and conservative, I haven't gotten old and idealistic like bob, yet.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:05 PM
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561:Oh hell, it is about tone, about distance, about objectivity. The blogosphere has making me sick since Matt Y had a private interview with Obama and came out whirly-eyed. Yes, Obama had to denounce; we don't need to use words like authentic & sincere in describing the act, since we can't read minds. You don't play poker with a guy called "Texas", and you never think you know what a politician really thinks & feels. Dissembling is their genius, and the ones with a shot at the Presidency are incomprehensiby good at it.

hilzoy has apparently driven another regular away.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:07 PM
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Look, Fatman, I believe that Wright gets to say whatever he wants. But calling Farrakhan one of the great men of the 20th and 21st centuries is begging to be called a bigot. And although I think that Wright may actually have done Obama a favor in the end by making the Press Club statements -- because Obama handled the situation about as well as he could -- those comments certainly don't seem like the sort of thing one says when one's friend/parishoner is running for president.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:09 PM
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Nope, Obama needed a clean break from Wright, and Wright gave him the opportunity.

This seems plausible but, the more I think about it, this is saying that the Status Quo was very bad for Obama.

If you believe this is the best course that events could take for the Obama campaign, you are saying that the situation required risky but bold action. Because this is risky. It might work, but it might completely blow up, and that's not usually the move that prohibitive favorites want to make.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:10 PM
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Fair enough, this oped is the best Obama could possibly have hoped for from the NYTimes. But still, "bigotry" is an incredibly damning word to use, in this tossed-off fashion, like "Oh, yes, he must be a bigot. Louis Farrakhan represents nothing but bigotry, and any failure to admit that is itself bigotry."

The Nation of Islam has done a lot of good for poor black people, along with a lot of ignorant demagoguery. It's easier for American liberals to acknowledge the good points of Hamas these days than it is for them to acknowledge the good points of the Nation of Islam.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:16 PM
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This seems plausible but, the more I think about it, this is saying that the Status Quo was very bad for Obama.

It just means that he's black, and will be on a knife's edge until he wins.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:18 PM
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I denounce Emerson's claim to be Jesus.

Yeah, Emerson, that's over the line.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:19 PM
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The Nation of Islam has done a lot of good for poor black people, along with a lot of ignorant demagoguery. It's easier for American liberals to acknowledge the good points of Hamas these days than it is for them to acknowledge the good points of the Nation of Islam.

Which means it's probably good for Obama to distance himself. Honest to gawd, it's the anti-Obamaites (not Fatman) that seem whirly-eyed here. AFAICT, the Obamaites want him to win.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:20 PM
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||
Ah, fatherly advice. Surely it will be easy for you to get a job next December, since it's mid-year and there won't be many applicants. Or you can get a job in business and come back in a couple of years.
|>


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:21 PM
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It seems like this "Katherine" person is a Washington insider of some sort.

I wish. (No, really.) She's a lawyer who's done extensive pro bono work on behalf of the Gitmo detainees.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:23 PM
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Fatman, The Nation has done a lot of good for many people. But that doesn't mean that Farrakhan isn't a bigot. Does he have reason for his bigotry (if we want to play out the string and bring this full circle to some of the claims about Wright's rhetoric)? Sure, of course he does. Again, though, Farrakhan's still a bigot. And that Wright chose to embrace him on this day suggests that Wright doesn't much mind being called a bigot. Because, I'm guessing, the discussion he hoped to prompt was more important to him and his community than his personal reputation. Was that discussion also more important that having one of his parishoners elected president? I wonder if he thought that through. Having said all of that, I have no idea what he was thinking.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:23 PM
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hilzoy has apparently driven another regular away.

You mean Donald? Donald is pissed because Obama refused to compare American military action to terrorism.

Bob, you and Donald both seem to have a problem understanding that there's things that just won't fly in a presidential election. Like Emerson said, of course Obama has to renounce Wright. Same deal for comparisons of American soldiers to terrorists.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:27 PM
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Bob never says what he'd prefer or what positive program he'd like to see. It's part of his shtick. I remain mystified that people respond to him.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:29 PM
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Bob never says what he'd prefer or what positive program he'd like to see.

Blood in the streets, I thought.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:32 PM
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Bob never says what he'd prefer or what positive program he'd like to see.

A million Peace Corps types in the ME by January 2002.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:39 PM
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575: It just means that he's black, and will be on a knife's edge until he wins.

Yes. Exactly.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:47 PM
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A million Peace Corps types in the ME

They're recruiting from his age group.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:54 PM
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Older volunteers kicked ass. It's amazing how much more you get done when people respect you. (And, of course, when you actually know stuff.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 8:58 PM
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587: I've often wondered when that dynamic would kick in for me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:01 PM
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Blood in the streets, I thought.

Yes, he's been clear enough that many people have to die for the greater glory of Stirling Newberry.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:02 PM
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I think Stirling Newberry went to my high school.

Take that, McManus!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:03 PM
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The question no one is willing to answer is this: is Chris Rock still funny even after a 589-comment Unfogged thread? I'm leaning towards "no".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:04 PM
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591: oh, sure, blame the victim.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:11 PM
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I'm the victim, Sifu. I'm always the victim.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:12 PM
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Admittedly, I haven't (yet, if ever) read all 592 comments, but yeah, Chris Rock is funny, and bob mcmanus is nowhere near as crazy as some people like to pretend that he is.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:19 PM
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594 was me. Geez, I stay away for a day or two, and my cookies don't bake?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:21 PM
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Mmm, cookies.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:22 PM
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bob mcmanus is nowhere near as crazy as some people like to pretend that he is

That's your enemy-of-my-enemy mentality talking. Although McManus isn't crazy, he's just a dedicated troll with a shtick.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:26 PM
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Mmm, baked.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:27 PM
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Ari, for real, you need to "work through" your "issues" with baked goods.

Or else maybe you just have a sweet tooth, but there's no percentage in that.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:28 PM
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The blogosphere has making me sick since Matt Y had a private interview with Obama and came out whirly-eyed.

On this, Bob and I are in complete agreement.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:31 PM
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He told us he'd met Cory Booker at some young pols event, and that Booker would be big someday.

I have to say, one thing I don't like about Obama is that he took Cory Booker's rightful place as the Black Messiah. You can't really blame him for that, of course, he grabbed his opportunity. But Booker is an incredible human being. He makes Obama look like just another pol. I still hope to see a President Booker someday.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:49 PM
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You know what's been bothering me for days now? The post title should really have a colon in it. This comma is a sad sort of replacement.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:54 PM
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Donald is pissed because Obama refused to compare American military action to terrorism.

It's not even that American foreign policy can be compared to terrorism. It's more than America has, over the course of many decades, actively supported terrorism throughout the Mideast and Latin America. In Nicaragua, in Cuba, in Iran, in Afghanistan, in Colombia, and on and on, America has repeatedly given money, weapons and training to what can only be honestly described as terrorist organizations - groups that targeted civilian populations as a political and military tactic. Even if one can't wrap one's head around the fact that the logic that justified Hiroshima and Nagasaki is the exact same logic that justified 9/11, it's a matter of historical fact that the United States has been one of the greatest state sponsors of terrorism on the planet.

Do I really expect Obama to get up in front of a camera and admit that America is a terrorist state that brought the 9/11 attacks on itself? Of course not. But it pisses me off to see him up there weeping crocodile tears and pretending to be outraged over statements of historical fact. I can't say this disappointed me, because I didn't expect any better of Obama - I was never one of the ones that "believed" in him; he's my lesser evil candidate, and that's that - but being reminded of it with such a bald display still pissed me off. And to see the soi-disant liberals of the blogosphere nod in solemn agreement, while no more surprising, is stomach-turning.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:55 PM
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I still hope to see a President Booker someday

At least now he knows to start repudiating his black nationalist acquaintances, like, starting yesterday.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:56 PM
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I don't actually represent anyone at Guantanamo, that's Napi, I just edited a book on it & read a bunch of the hearing transcripts for amicus briefs that never really went anywhere. My firm does a lot of pro bono work representing Iraqis against various nefarious contractors. Definitely not a D.C. insider though (but I think that was a joke).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 9:59 PM
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Booker has already proved his pro-white bona fides by overthrowing one of America's most entrenched examples of the all-powerful bigoted black power elite. Even Glenn Reynolds can't help but respect that.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:00 PM
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Should be

Even Glenn Reynolds can't help but root for that.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:00 PM
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Should be

Even Glenn Reynolds can't help but root for that.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:01 PM
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Even Glenn Reynolds can't help but respect that.

...at least until Booker poses an electoral threat to a Republican, at which point the surprise emergence of a photo of a 14-y.o. Booker wearing a Malcolm X tee-shirt will cause Reynolds to realize, more in sorrow than in anger, that he misjudged the man's character.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:05 PM
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But it pisses me off to see him up there weeping crocodile tears and pretending to be outraged over statements of historical fact.

Don't be a big dummy, Stras. Someone with whom he has a close personal relationship is doing a lot to torpedo the man's chances of become president--anyone in Obama's place would be genuinely upset, and Obama has tried as hard as politically possible to distance himself without actually repudiating Wright.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:05 PM
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603: see, this is why I contributed to Ron Paul. He pretty much said this.

604: there is nothing bad, and nothing that requires repudiation, in Cory Booker's past. If he had a disreputable acquaintance, he remained close simply for the purpose of enlightening and uplifting those less wise than himself.

Seriously, check out the guy's bio. He is a truly noble and courageous person who has engaged deeply in all the right ways. I think his biggest flaw as a pol is that he won't be opportunistic enough; he'll feel too much responsibility for fixing Newark to grab for statewide and then national office.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:07 PM
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609 is so right.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:09 PM
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Booker has no weaknesses. If he once associated with a disreputable character, it was simply for the purpose of uplifting those who are less wise and enlightened then himself. And unlike most "enlightened" politicians, Booker has cultivated his humility.

Seriously, check out his bio. The man is incredible, the best we have. My worry about him as a pol is that he won't be opportunistic enough -- he'll feel too much responsibility to Newark to grab for statewide and then national office.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:13 PM
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So wait, did someone actually say that Obama took Booker's rightful place? Because we can only allow one of them in the door, or what?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:13 PM
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I love the phrase "more in sorrow than in anger". I think it can never be used unironically again, though.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:15 PM
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whoops, 611 and 613 were a double post, I thought 611 was lost in the aether.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:21 PM
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see, this is why I contributed to Ron Paul. He pretty much said this.

And we all saw how well that worked.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:24 PM
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So wait, did someone actually say that Obama took Booker's rightful place? Because we can only allow one of them in the door, or what?

Only one can be the presidential candidate at a time, yes.

In fact, only one can fill the role of "first black president", too.


Posted by: Golem | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:28 PM
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Seriously, check out the guy's bio. He is a truly noble and courageous person who has engaged deeply in all the right ways.

I'm surprised, but gratified, to hear you saying this about Obama, PGD.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:31 PM
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Sigh. The goo-goos never fail to impress.

Booker is as deeply embedded in the big donor culture and crony network as anyone else. You think he is winning battles with Jon Corzine and Chuck Schumer? You think those battles are even being fought? Sigh.

Just wait until he develops a foreign policy. My expectations are not high.

Also, he should probably be punched in the face.


Posted by: man mcbobus | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:35 PM
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Someone with whom he has a close personal relationship is doing a lot to torpedo the man's chances of become president

Bullshit. The notion that Wright is trying to "torpedo" Obama's campaign is as fabricated a media narrative as the notion that he was some dangerous crazy in the first place. Wright was trying to salvage his reputation and that of his church and community - a community that's been smeared as "black separatist" by every media outlet from Fox News to TNR - and he had every right to do so. As I said before, he's only guilty of naivete: he clearly thought he was offering a corrective to a narrative created by pulling isolated quotes out of context, but the media did the same thing all over again, pulling soundbites out of context to reinforce their preexisting racist narrative.

I really wish everyone would watch the full sermons, speeches and interviews without preemptively ascribing to Wright motivations that have been glibly assigned to him by hacks in the press. The racist stereotype of the self-aggrandizing, uppity negro who doesn't know his place has been used to smear every black leader from Martin Luther King to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and I'm really fucking tired of seeing it applied to Jeremiah Wright by liberals who shouldn't be this fucking clueless.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:39 PM
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What would be the point of watching, as it pertains to this discussion? If we watch and say that he was acting loony, you'll just tell us that we're racist.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:43 PM
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Stras, I've watched hours of Wright video. And like I said upthread, I think he gets to say what he wants. I also think I said that his comments at the Press Club were, I'm guessing, designed to prompt a discussion that he thinks is important for his church and his community. All of that said, why do you think he chose to embrace Farrakhan in his remarks? And why do you think he chose to give that snide answer about Obama being a disingenuous politician?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:47 PM
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I've watched hours of Wright video

Anti-semite.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:51 PM
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Now I am. Seriously, once I found out that Wright is Jewish, the scales fell from my eyes.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 10:57 PM
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I'm surprised, but gratified, to hear you saying this about Obama, PGD.

I've always liked Obama, and always said so. But Obama is no Cory Booker. Take away the half-black exoticism and Obama would be a thoughtful lefty Harvard grad with a nice rhetorical gift. He's remarkably intelligent as well. He's basically from the classic goo-goo mold, with the minority twist. Booker is all that, but much more as well.

Of course I was joking with the "Obama has taken Booker's place" thing...there's plenty of time for President Booker.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:01 PM
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You've still got a lot of scales to go, you Annunaki lizard you.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:01 PM
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Booker is all that, but much more as well. not currently running for President.

I mean, come on now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:04 PM
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I have an active fantasy life.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:04 PM
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Shorter 626: Obama is only where he is because he's black. (Written with a smile, PGD, because I still feel bad about the other night.)


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:07 PM
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Any politician is only where they are because of some random X that is not their doing. Hell, any person. Question is what they have to offer beyond that, and it's very clear Obama has a lot.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:37 PM
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Agreed. And your comment made that clear. I was just messing around.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-29-08 11:59 PM
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Again, this entire affair was going to happen in one form or another to any serious black candidate. If Obama dated any white girls in high school or college, I guarantee you'll know her name by November, too. The North Carolinians here, at least, will remember the two Senate races between Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt (who makes Obama look like Malcolm X). Helms was and is hated by 50% of the state, but managed to win twice on the backs of campaigns that consisted essentially of his organization walking around saying "black black black black black black".

PGD, if you think Cory Booker wouldn't face this *exact same* sort of bullshit, you're certifiably nuts. Racial politics in America are what they are.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:05 AM
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As I said before, he's only guilty of naivete

Naivite is often extremely destructive. In an educated adult in a major city who's participated in public life, naivite is culpable though not really very likely, especially when that person is thrust on the national stage. But I suspect that it's worse than that.

I spent decades (1965-2002) in the radical 2%, defending the Wrights of the world, and I've had friends much like him, but those were decades of almost complete futility. I've accepted that realistic possibilities in American politics are very limited and unappealing, but no one can say that I made up my mind too quickly.

If Obama had failed to separate himself from Wright he'd would have been quickly gone. As it is, I'm sure that Hillary's more determined than ever, and a lot of fencesitters are going to stay on the fence a lot longer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:34 AM
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I didn't use to like John Cole at all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:39 AM
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All of that said, why do you think he chose to embrace Farrakhan in his remarks?

Because he honestly thinks Farrakhan has done good for his community, despite Farrakhan's loony beliefs? I can easily see how someone like Wright, who has worked with the poor and the desperate for many years, would have genuine admiration for a man like Farrakhan, who's actually done a great deal to help a lot of people who would otherwise have been abandoned by their society and their government. Farrakhan may be a racist and an anti-semite, but he's done more good in his life than I'm ever likely to do.

And why do you think he chose to give that snide answer about Obama being a disingenuous politician?

I didn't see that as snide at all; nor did I see it as an attack on Obama. I saw it as Wright saying that he and Obama have different roles to play, and have to say different things for different reasons. Which, of course, they do. Again, aside from Wright's endorsement of the AIDS conspiracy theory, I've yet to hear anything from him that I find genuinely objectionable. America brought 9/11 on itself? Well knock me over with a feather; that sounds a lot like what super-sensible Matt Yglesias says every damn week when he talks about how terrorism is a response to American foreign policy. Obama has had to distance himself from Wright for political reasons; everyone knows this. That Wright acknowledged this wasn't a jab at Obama; it was just giving voice to what everyone who's followed this story knows to be obviously true.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:04 AM
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My worry about him as a pol is that he won't be opportunistic enough -- he'll feel too much responsibility to Newark to grab for statewide and then national office.
+
I have an active fantasy life.

Here you go, PGD: Frank Lautenberg resigns from the Senate, and Corzine appoints Booker his replacement in order to kick a rival upstairs and avoid a fratricidal primary election. (Does NJ have gubernatorial appointments or special elections? I dunno. This a fantasy, damn it.) Booker develops a national profile. The press swoons. He gets tapped as a VP nominee. He serves two terms as VP to a Dem president, and then as the presumptive successor coasts to the nomination, and rides to victory on the record of the previous eight years.

Pull the blinds and get the box of Kleenex before you get too worked up, OK?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:19 AM
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PGD, if you think Cory Booker wouldn't face this *exact same* sort of bullshit, you're certifiably nuts. Racial politics in America are what they are.

No, he wouldn't. I mean, people would try stuff based on everyone Booker ever shook hands with, but it wouldn't stick in the same way. Because Booker isn't truly close to the Wright types.

Look, it's impossible to understand this situation unless you see that the Wright/Obama relationship is a product of the key moment of inauthenticity in Obama's life -- the way he had to reach and stretch to create some kind of "black American" identity recognizable in the Chicago ghetto. That was an identity that he didn't have naturally, but badly wanted. Combine this with a yearning for a paternal figure, and you get the Wright/Obama relationship. Read "Dreams From My Father", it's all there.

So you get what is actually a somewhat artificial yet deep connection between a sophisticated, universalist cosmopolitan like Obama and this sort of separatist black nationalist preacher like Wright. As I said above, this may have been a source of buried resentment from Wright's side.

There isn't a similar artificiality in Booker's past, because he's always been secure in his beliefs, values, and identity. Stuff that people would go after Booker for are A) the gay rumours (no wife, no apparent romance), and B) the slightly Kucinich-esque spiritual beliefs, although I think Booker actually makes those work in a fascinating way.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:54 AM
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Take away the half-black exoticism and Obama would be a thoughtful lefty Harvard grad with a nice rhetorical gift.

The decline in the thoughtfulness of your comments continues. Here you take the shallow view of "rhetoric" as something like "being able to talk good," instead of what it is when practiced well, which is an attunement to the mood and language of an audience, which is another way of saying "getting it." Obama gets it, and that he's able to demonstrate that he gets it to people who aren't like him makes him an extraordinary politician and potentially an extraordinary leader.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:01 AM
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Look, it's impossible to understand this situation unless you see that the Wright/Obama relationship is a product of the key moment of inauthenticity in Obama's life

OK, chief.

although I think Booker actually makes those work in a fascinating way.

As, I think we can all agree, did Kucinich.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:02 AM
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Because Booker isn't truly close to the Wright types.

And that wouldn't make a dime's worth of difference. You seem to believe that this is really about Wright and Obama's relationship. It isn't. It's about white America's lizard brain reaction to Wright and Obama's skin color. The specific issue is just a surrogate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:06 AM
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I hate those community organizers. So inauthentic & cynical...

Booker's great. I hope he runs for national office. I'm certain he will face race-baiting crap if he does. (You can always claim that people are immune--I would argue that Obama's white mother & entire background render him as close to immune as possible from the scary black man stuff, and yet, no they don't.). Didn't he already decline a Senate run though? If he's dedicated to turning Newark around before seeking national office, it's truly admirable, but I don't know if one guy however talented can turn Newark around.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:06 AM
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639 is dead-on. I found myself in a sorta-argument with someone a few weeks ago in which she tried out the "Obama's just a good talker" line and I was like, "What exactly do you think politicians do? They're not running to be ditch-diggers or dentists or something. The skill they have to demonstrate is that they are good at making decisions, explaining their decisions, and getting consensus enough to get their platform issues on the table. Those are all 'talking' jobs. Rhetoric is not beside the point."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:11 AM
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Booker's great. I hope he runs for national office.

Boy, that seems unlikely. Kurt Schmoke was another Great Black Hope, with a resume pretty similar to Booker's. I think taking a shot at improving a blighted community, while good, great, and necessary--certainly it speaks well of Booker--is maybe not the best way to advance a political career. And Newark seems like a much tougher place to "fix" than Baltimore.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:18 AM
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Stras, we're talking about a national Presidential candidate. No one who talks the way you do, or Wright, or me when I'm letting it all hang out, could be a national Presidential candidate.

Kucinich was actually pretty mild compared to Wright, and he wasa joke candidate. (And no, no one who said the things Kucinich said would be a serious candidate, even if he were a big tall good looking regular guy with no New Age baggage).

In the context of Obama's campaign, Wright's most recent speech was malicious to the point of sabotage. Obama had to Souljah him if he was going to continue to play. I don't know why you're saying the things you're saying.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:21 AM
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638: I'm willing to grant that Obama probably joined Trinity in part to burnish his credentials in the community he wanted to represent. (Note all the qualifiers larding the previous sentence, qualifiers which I've employed because I have no idea why Obama made the decisions he made eighteen years ago -- when he was twenty-something years old.) But, even if we assume that his decision to join Trinity was partly instrumental, can you explain to me how that's inauthentic? (Not that I really want to get into a discussion of authenticity, or anything.)

At the same time, you seem to have accepted the deep truth that Wright has always been some kind of poisonous figure. Why? He clearly has some views that I find either silly or politically damaging for Obama. But on balance Wright's an important leader in his community, don't you agree? So again, why are you now convinced, other than the magic of the Clinton camp's talking points, that Obama's membership in Trinity provides a window into his flawed character? If I'm not mistaken, Wright, other than some occasional flights of fancy, is genuinely pluralistic -- pro gay rights, works well with progressive Jewish and Islamic leaders, etc. He's also a brilliant man who helped Obama at a critical time in his life. And if we accept, even for a second, that Obama has a spiritual life, Wright is an important reason why. (Not that I personally care about that last point, but many people do.)


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:33 AM
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You seem to believe that this is really about Wright and Obama's relationship.

I do, and it is. It took somebody as extreme as Wright to potentially blast through Obama's teflon. Wright's a perfect storm for Obama's post-racial campaign strategy. Obama obviously never had the pure racist vote, but that goes mostly Republican anyway. This could get into a larger number of swing voters.

We'll see if his gifts for communication can get him through this.

I hate those community organizers. So inauthentic & cynical...

Obama's in no way cynical, and his inauthenticity in the Chicago black community stemmed from his personal background and not from being a community organizer. His inner feelings of inauthenticity as a young man (which he outgrew) also came from his family background and upbringing. Like I said, he wrote an entire book about this, which I highly recommend.

The decline in the thoughtfulness of your comments continues.

I suspect this has a lot to do with running afoul of two Unfogged committments -- unquestioning Obama worship and a peculiarly ambivalent relationship with claims to academic expertise. But since thoughtfulness in small communities includes careful attention to collective mores and taboos, I'll resolve to do better.

Here you take the shallow view of "rhetoric"... Obama gets it,

I get what you're saying, and I get what's special about Obama. If you look back at my comments just a few weeks ago about his first Wright speech, you'll clearly see that I always have. I've read both his books and he's clear about it (in the second especially). He's trying out a theory of change that would be revolutionary if it succeeds. It's not original to him, but he has a very deep understanding of it and has been executing it very well. You're right that that comment in particular did not make that clear -- although it was what I was trying to get at with "thoughtful".

and that he's able to demonstrate that he gets it to people who aren't like him makes him an extraordinary politician and potentially an extraordinary leader.

And this shows the key thing you don't get. Obama has *not* proven that he can connect on the mass scale he is going to need. If he had, he would already have won this primary against someone like Hillary. He did manage to connect with the black community (who are not like him, but he became like them) and with the highly educated (who are like him). If he can extend this base sufficiently, then I agree that he can potentially be an extraordinary leader. He could defuse attack politics and raise the whole game to a higher level. The current primary season is a test of his ability to do so.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:35 AM
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If he had, he would already have won this primary against someone like Hillary.

God, I hate this argument. Hillary Clinton is a prominent senator whose husband is a popular fucking former president, for fuck's sake.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:40 AM
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Hillary Clinton is a prominent senator whose husband is a popular fucking former president, for fuck's sake.

And the two of them have been the dominant figures in the Democratic party for somewhere between 13 and 15 years. If you wonder why people like O'Hanlon still have media credibility....


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:43 AM
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He could defuse attack politics and raise the whole game to a higher level.

This will never happen. And if it's what you're hoping for, I can see why you've been so down on Obama lately. What might happen, and what I'm hoping for, is for Obama to forge a new Democratic coalition that then, over time, pushes him and the party to the left. Aim lower, as Emerson says, and even then expect disappointment. This is the key to good mental health in the Democratic Party.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:43 AM
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Obama has *not* proven that he can connect on the mass scale he is going to need. If he had, he would already have won this primary against someone like Hillary.

This seems similar to the argument that he can't win California because Hillary did. Local coverage during his senate run in Illinois often noted that he was able to win over downstate (read:redneck) crowds. That's not to say that there aren't people better positioned to get those people's votes, but he's able to connect with that crowd enough to be considered, unlike, say, Kerry or Gore.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:43 AM
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Obama obviously never had the pure racist vote, but that goes mostly Republican anyway.

The pure racist vote isn't the issue. It's the very large middle who tell themselves and anybody who'll listen that they aren't racist and yet always, in the end, find a reason to vote against a black candidate. This was always going to be a challenge for Obama and it will, for the foreseeable future, be a challenge for any national black candidate.

What you've run into here is not running afoul of Obama worship (insert eyeroll and masturbation pantomime), but of consistently parroting any Republican talking point on Obama that comes out of the funnel, in your best concern troll voice.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:44 AM
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I have seen some very gratifying responses to Obama out here in Wobegon, which is 50-50 D/R, 97.5% white (i.e., there are about 40 non lily-white people in town), and rural. But a couple of distressing ones based on major-media attack journalism. And Wright does worry me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:47 AM
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Now that everyone, including me, is jumping on PGD, I'll say this: while I agree with Ogged's 651, I'd really like to see Obama turn this long death march of a news cycle around. It has been weeks since he's been on the offensive. And his ability to continue to appeal to downstate Illinosians (sp?), or rural Nevadans, or whatever other unlikely population has voted for him in the past, is being tested right now. It would be wonderful if he could walk on water or multiply fishes and loaves or something equally miraculous to turn this grim situation around. But that's asking an awful lot. And his relative grace under pressure has been pretty impressive in itself.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:52 AM
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He could defuse attack politics and raise the whole game to a higher level.

This will never happen.

Yes it will, tho can't say when. Attack politics doesn't work very well without mass media;on its ownself mass media (as commonly understood) is dying and committing suicide;and Obama at least at one point gave hope he would run against the MSM. Has he appeared on Fox yet?

Now it may not move to a "higher level." I don't know that the users of MySpace and IM are like the high-info denizens of the blogosphere, but the message will not be controllable. The citizens of the very near future will not be passive consumers of politics.

Incidentally, that is why Ermerson's dream of a "Fox on the Left" is already irrelevant.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:08 AM
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For all Obama's problems in the primaries, he's doing better than Clinton, so if his failure to close the deal raises doubts then what does her doing worse, running like a Republican & making a large % of the party hate her say?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:10 AM
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655: Yes, he already appeared on Fox. And no, he didn't take on the network. It was disappointing (see above about memtal health and membership in the Democratic Party).


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:11 AM
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656: That's easy. She's a monster.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:12 AM
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656: I've always thought Obama was at best a 50/50 shot in the general. But once Edwards dropped out, he was the only game left, since HRC represents the worst of all possible scenarios: a candidate that inspires very little enthusiasm (and even outright antipathy) among Democrats and, as their perennial symbol of evil, would boost turnout among Republicans.

It would be like running Teddy Kennedy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:17 AM
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And his relative grace under pressure has been pretty impressive in itself.

Very much so, yes. This has been one of the traits that has most impressed me about Obama throughout the campaign.

I really believe that, of all the candidates this year, I would want him getting the metaphorical 3 AM phone call.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:22 AM
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It is already moving along quite satisfactorily. The posts of the major blogs are usually on message or in conversation, whatever the topic, but the comment threads are probably about 1/3 on message, swerving in weird directions.

Thoma posts on monetary policy, his house neo-Malthusian "troll" finds a way to use it, his house heterodox "troll", Anne quotes from Stiglitz on the war, etc. This is a most excellent development.

And the comment threads are what is important. The point isn't to lead, but to follow.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:23 AM
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Y'all really don't get HRC or her appeal to the demographic that supports her. Or maybe you do intellectually, but not emotionally, just as I can't connect with Obama.

She is very old school Democrat, much more so than her husband. It would be difficult to define, but I can drop names like Walter Reuther, Lewis, Hoffa, Mondale, Humphrey. The lack of "flash" is an advantage and asset.

It is a "conservative" thing, but maybe if you are older or poor, simply not losing ground can be much more attractive than revolution. The Party hasn't really protected its folk that well for the last generation.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:34 AM
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I must admit I have a hard time believing that Obama could've chosen a less objectionable black church than Trinity. Maybe if he chose one with a preacher who refused to be videotaped. The point isn't what Wright says, the point is how he says it. The point is that he's black and that means he's different from white people.

I hope that a lot of people out there have absorbed the maxim, popular when it comes to white politicians, that one's faith cannot be a matter of free personal choice and it's cheap and wrong to attack somebody for their church.

It's unbelievable. We've got gobs of Catholic politicians pledging fealty to the Pope, who is arguably more out of the American mainstream than Rev. Wright is (against contraception and war? There's something to offend everyone!). We've got Billy Graham, spiritual adviser to the greats, grumbling about Jews controlling the media. But even to question these connections is to hate religion and religious people in general. This double standard is the most racist thing in the campaign so far, in my view.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:35 AM
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Is Obama gonna treat the older folk like he treated Wright? Will they ask for security and justice, and will Obama answer "I don't know you" three times?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:38 AM
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Y'all really don't get HRC or her appeal to the demographic that supports her.

No, I get why Krauthammer (and, IIRC, Kristol) likes her. I don't pretend to understand why people who spent much time railing against the war do.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:39 AM
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This double standard is the most racist thing in the campaign so far, in my view.

Eh. It is what it is, and Obama had to know about it forever.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:41 AM
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Well, of course, but that doesn't make it any less infuriating.

I think PGD is wrong (wow, what a fresh viewpoint) about Wright being "so extreme" that he risks sinking Obama. They would've found a scary black person that Obama was associated with somehow, who they could use as shorthand for the crucial point that Obama is black and black people are scary.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:46 AM
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663

"I hope that a lot of people out there have absorbed the maxim, popular when it comes to white politicians, that one's faith cannot be a matter of free personal choice and it's cheap and wrong to attack somebody for their church."

Huh? Romney got attacked for his faith a lot and he at least had the excuse of being born a Mormon. Obama chose his church.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:47 AM
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I don't know what to make of this.

Supposedly some of the malicious robo-calls in Carolina came from a group connected with John Podesta.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:48 AM
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669: I just saw that John, and was going to post it. The organization is shady top to bottom and has been up to no good in many more states than NC and VA. In addition to Podesta, there's Joe Goode, Executive Director, who was a pollster for WJC during his first WH run. The president of the group has maxed out for HRC in this cycle. Golly.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 11:00 AM
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Romney got attacked for his faith a lot

Really? All I ever saw was a bunch of debate over whether he would be, not any actual attacks.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 11:04 AM
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671. He didn't last long enough for it to become a media issue. Plenty of talk behind closed doors.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 11:08 AM
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664 deserves a :-)

I hear that Obama is going to introduce mandatory euthanasia for annoying old people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 11:12 AM
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Oudemia, that news is so awful that I'd actually suggest going a little slow. To all appearances, though, Hillary has gone entirely over to the dark side.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 11:14 AM
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673: I lent Obama my own personal copy of Wild in the Streets! Watch out, Oldsters! Fourteen or fight!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 11:17 AM
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Is Obama gonna treat the older folk like he treated Wright?

Yes. They will supply the title of his next book: The Audacity of Hey You Kids Get Off of My Lawn!.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 11:22 AM
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Obama's secret solution to Social Security? Soylent Green.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 11:25 AM
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Romney got attacked for his faith a lot

Really? All I ever saw was a bunch of debate over whether he would be, not any actual attacks.

There's a point at which the snide meta-analysis of possible attacks and actual attacks converge, and I think the Romney campaign found it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 11:49 AM
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674 - You're missing the important side to this story, John, which is that only by suppressing the African-American vote can America elect a true progressive.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 11:52 AM
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"Really? All I ever saw was a bunch of debate over whether he would be, not any actual attacks."

Huckabee: "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?". Being Mormon may have cost Romney the nomination.

And Huckabee himself was attacked for his religion.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 12:17 PM
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Being Mormon may have cost Romney the nomination.

This is sufficiently vague as to be irrefutable. Well done.

Also, is your point that the attacks on Obama/Wright are analagous to the attacks on Romney and Huckabee? And if so, could you draw out the analogy a bit more clearly?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 12:21 PM
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Being Mormon may have cost Romney the nomination.

I agree with that, and I thought about the Huckabee thing after posting. But mostly what I saw was a bunch of careful tiptoeing around the issue, in stark contrast to the all-Wright-all-the-time coverage of the past month.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 12:21 PM
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Nah, I think Romney could have surmounted the questions of his religion. However, he was too robotically unctuous even to get close. Everybody in my family really wished him well, but, by the end, wished him gone.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 12:26 PM
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At the same time, you seem to have accepted the deep truth that Wright has always been some kind of poisonous figure.

He's not poisonous (he is becoming that now, but that's because of personal choices he's made that appear almost to be motivated by resentment of Obama).

Why? He clearly has some views that I find either silly or politically damaging for Obama. But on balance Wright's an important leader in his community, don't you agree?

Yes. But he's a black nationalist, which is an ideology that A) doesn't travel well in the white community, and B) isn't intended to travel well there. It's almost designed to give offense to whites, or at least to signal secession from them.

So again, why are you now convinced, other than the magic of the Clinton camp's talking points, that Obama's membership in Trinity provides a window into his flawed character?

It's not a flawed character, and my analysis comes from Obama's own book, not anybody's talking points. (I urge you to read both his books if you haven't already, BTW). Obama was who he was, and who he was was deeply foreign both to the Chicago black community, and also was troubling to him because it did not provide him with the kind of identity and roots he wanted. In other words, I meant "inauthenticity" as a fact about both his relationship with the community he was in and his own feelings about himself at the time. It led him into a church he probably didn't fully believe in in many ways, although as people are saying above that is not uncommon in religion.

Now, the search he made then is in conflict with the cosmopolitianism he was born into, worked his way back to as an adult, and needs as a Presidential candidate. It's just a fact that this is a problem, we'll see how it works out.

If I'm not mistaken, Wright, other than some occasional flights of fancy, is genuinely pluralistic -- pro gay rights, works well with progressive Jewish and Islamic leaders, etc.

This I didn't know, and is certainly not typical of Farrakhan fans. Maybe that helps explain why Obama went to him in the first place...I remember the social service stuff from the book, but not the gay rights and so forth. I'll look back at it.

He's also a brilliant man who helped Obama at a critical time in his life. And if we accept, even for a second, that Obama has a spiritual life, Wright is an important reason why.

This was Obama's angle in his first, generous speech about Wright, but Wright was not willing to let it rest at that. So the first speech, brilliant as it was for us to read, didn't do the trick. Politicalfootball's point was that this is a valuable impetus for Obama to just make a simpler, cleaner break. Given the speed of the news cycle, maybe that will eventually take care of things.


I really do like Obama, although I care more about winning in November than about him. It's clear as soon as you read him that he's fully aware of the dangers of both racial identity politics and educated-elite snottiness, the two most destructive forces in left-wing politics since the late 60s. Unfortunately, his background lends itself perfectly to a nightmare combination of those two. And some of his internet supporters (not you, Ari) draw on all the self-righteousness associated with that. When I read or listen to him, I see some electability issues as a candidate, but I also get excited about the potential of having him as President. But exposure to his turns me into McManus, although apparently less artful at trolling (probably because I'm trying to be sincere about it).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:25 PM
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My point was white candidates get attacked for their religion also.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:28 PM
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whoops, "exposure to his *acolytes* turns me into McManus"

On the elite snottiness/identity politics things -- those really are his vulnerabilities, he understands this very well, and his rhetorical and campaign strategies are very well designed to move beyond them. But Hillary is hitting him on one, and Wright on the other. If he can restore his sagging poll numbers and end up popular through it all, then he'll be in very good shape. This is a good test.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:31 PM
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"... But mostly what I saw was a bunch of careful tiptoeing around the issue, ..."

The Republican candidates were asked at one of the debates whether they believed in evolution.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:39 PM
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My point was white candidates get attacked for their religion also.

That seems inarguably true. And, insofar as attacking Obama through his pastor is really a way to tie him to something unrelated to the practice of his religion, the same seemed to happen (if at a lower level) to Huckabee.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:41 PM
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687: I meant the issue of Mormonism, not religion generally.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:41 PM
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if at a lower level

A way, way, way lower level. Sufficiently lower that I'm not sure the two are really equatable.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:45 PM
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But he's a black nationalist

No, he's not. Not every left-leaning black preacher is a black nationalist.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:45 PM
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I wouldn't say that Romney would never have been attacked over his religion, had he performed better in the race, but unless I missed something big, there's just no comparing the treatment of his faith with the treatment of Obama's. Find me an example of a white candidate being seriously pressured to personally reject and denounce his spiritual leader. Show me the white candidate whose opponents sniffed that they wouldn't have had the poor judgment to go to his church. I think you'd have to go back pretty far, maybe to the era of open anti-Catholicism.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:52 PM
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"Nah, I think Romney could have surmounted the questions of his religion ..."

Straw that broke the camel's back and all that. It isn't that it is impossible for a Mormon to win but that in this case being a Mormon hurt Romney badly. All the Republican candidates were flawed. McCain is really disliked by a lot of Republicans but they were unable to agree on an alternative allowing McCain to win with plurality support. Romney was the natural alternative but was unable to unify the anti-McCain forces in large part (in my view) because of his religion.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:53 PM
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I'm still curious about Huckabee's kept-under-wraps sermons. What pressure would have had to have been brought to bear upon him for him to release them?

Jesus, that seond sentence is horrible. Too late!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 1:54 PM
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was unable to unify the anti-McCain forces in large part (in my view) because of his religion.

I spent a lot of time lurking on Republican websites during their active primary. The complaints about Romney were mostly uncertainty about his committment to anti-abortion policies and pro-gun policies. His more liberal positions on the culture-war issues in the past made all his present-day avowals of hard-right views hard to believe. He just seemed to be an opportunistic liar. I really think the evangelical conservative base would gotten over Romney's heretical views if he'd been a little more convincing.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:00 PM
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"I wouldn't say that Romney would never have been attacked over his religion, had he performed better in the race, but unless I missed something big, there's just no comparing the treatment of his faith with the treatment of Obama's. ..."

Romney didn't give his speech on religion because he wanted to, like Obama he was forced into it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:03 PM
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Romney was the natural alternative but was unable to unify the anti-McCain forces in large part (in my view) because of his religion.

I second that, actually. Of course Romeny's also and insincere automaton. But if he's protestant, he probably wins Iowa and the world looks different.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:04 PM
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"I meant the issue of Mormonism, not religion generally."

Maybe in the MSM, not in the Obama is secretly a Muslim email sort of channels. With the difference that Romney really is a heretic (to many Christians).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:13 PM
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I would call abject fear of the electorate resulting in constantly, unnecessarily selling out & supporting disastrous policies the most destructive force in recent Democratic policies, not black nationalism or "elitism". For fuck's sake, what's in the water in D.C.? I'm thinking of moving there but not if it's going to make me a villager.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:16 PM
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Can't resist 700's! siren call.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:16 PM
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"A way, way, way lower level. Sufficiently lower that I'm not sure the two are really equatable."

If Huckabee were now the presumptive Republican nominee and tapes of his sermons were leaked and they contained the same sort of inflamatory material as Wright's there would have been the same sort of fuss.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:17 PM
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It might be noted that Wright is not a candidate, but Huckabee was.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:22 PM
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I urge you to read both his books if you haven't already, BTW

I was impressed that PGD took the time and trouble to read Obama's autobiographical work, but Sifu one-ups PGD's scholarship in the t-shirt thread.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:26 PM
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If Huckabee were now the presumptive Republican nominee and tapes of his sermons were leaked and they contained the same sort of inflamatory material as Wright's there would have been the same sort of fuss.

I think the issue is what counts as inflammatory, and to what extent that depends on the number of parishioners in the ideological/cultural pews. Huck gets more leeway because there are a lot of people like him, and even more people who know or are related to people like him. Witness the uptick in Jesus talk by the media. Obama's problem is the same as Romney's was: mainstream exposure is limited and not longstanding.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:28 PM
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"I spent a lot of time lurking on Republican websites during their active primary. The complaints about Romney were mostly uncertainty about his committment to anti-abortion policies and pro-gun policies. His more liberal positions on the culture-war issues in the past made all his present-day avowals of hard-right views hard to believe. He just seemed to be an opportunistic liar. I really think the evangelical conservative base would gotten over Romney's heretical views if he'd been a little more convincing."

Maybe, but I think a lot of that was just a more socially acceptable way of expressing an underlying religious animus. Or to put it another way, Romney's religion made many people less willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Just as many whites will deny they are racist but will look for excuses to vote against a black candidate.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:30 PM
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It is a "conservative" thing, but maybe if you are older or poor, simply not losing ground can be much more attractive than revolution. The Party hasn't really protected its folk that well for the last generation.

Are you the biggest idiot ever? You don't think Clinton had something to do with how "The Party's folk" have been unprotected over the last generation? You think Bill Clinton's goal was to prevent actual people from losing ground, as opposed to preventing the Democratic Party from losing ground?

Or are you just explaining the mindset of misled people who are afraid not to vote for Clinton? In that case, OK.

If Huckabee were now the presumptive Republican nominee and tapes of his sermons were leaked and they contained the same sort of inflamatory material as Wright's there would have been the same sort of fuss.

Are you the biggest idiot ever? Yes, if Huckabee turned out to be the pastor of a black nationalist church, there would be a furor, maybe even led by powerful people in the Republican party. But if it was merely the sort of thing that Jerry Falwell and John Hagee are known for, well, both parties have been happy to accept that as a legitimate part of the Republican coalition for almost three decades now.


Posted by: Fatma | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:31 PM
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and, the media is engaged in (1) race baiting (2) left baiting and the Democratic party is handwringing &/or explaining how it's a "good test" for Obama rather than defending him in anyway. The press works to Clinton's advantage in this campaign--they don't like her, but her campaign likes their bullsh*t gameplaying. I fucking hate politics more right now than I ever have.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:32 PM
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Yes, if Huckabee turned out to be the pastor of a black nationalist church

Oh God, that would have been awesome.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:34 PM
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yes, if Huckabee really is the pastor of a black nationalist church I will briefly stop hating politics.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:35 PM
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the Democratic party is handwringing &/or explaining how it's a "good test" for Obama rather than defending him in anyway.

Eh. It's probably best to let Obama's campaign direct responses. As a general rule, I find most pro-Obama responses from Important People to be pretty tone deaf.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:37 PM
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"It might be noted that Wright is not a candidate, but Huckabee was."

That's true, Huckabee being basically his own pastor makes comparisons difficult. So suppose he had a mentor in his church with similar inflamatory views. Still an issue I think, particularly if said mentor was not keeping a low profile. And Huckabee's lack of belief in evolution had already come up in the primary.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:37 PM
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I've never actually seen Mike Huckabee and Jeremiah Wright in the same place at the same time. Hmm. Gives one pause, doesn't it?

(Please note: I do not believe that Trinity is a black nationalist church. Nor do I believe that Jeremiah Wright is a black nationalist. The above is a marriage of convenience, for the purposes of cheap joke.)


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:38 PM
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And Huckabee's lack of belief in evolution had already come up in the primary.

Yes, it was definitely a plus, reassuring a good portion of the voters that he should be their first choice and was not an opportunist.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:41 PM
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711: Echoing Fatman, are you really arguing that Huckabee's religious extremism hurt him? Surely his evangelism, tempered by a folksy personality that allowed him to seem reasonable in a field of lunatics and automatons, was the only thing that made him a viable candidate at all.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:48 PM
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"yes, if Huckabee really is the pastor of a black nationalist church I will briefly stop hating politics."

Well Huckabee did defend Wright. But what I meant of course was material that was as inflamatory not that it was literally the same.

And what's the official unfogged line on whether Wright is a black nationalist?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:49 PM
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Wright is not a black nationalist. I can't say that this line is official. But I'll by happy to spend a good deal of time arguing with anyone who suggests otherwise.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:51 PM
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706: "Biggest idiot ever" CAGEMATCH


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:56 PM
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Surely his evangelism, tempered by a folksy personality that allowed him to seem reasonable in a field of lunatics and automatons, was the only thing that made him a viable candidate at all

This is obviously true, so it didn't hurt him compared to a candidate who had all of his other characteristics except wasn't an evangelical, but it nevertheless did hurt him relative to other, less religious candidates named John McCain. There are plenty Republicans who wouldn't vote for Huckabee because of Huckabee's sincere religious beliefs, and they were right to do so, since from what he said he would govern entirely according to his religious beliefs, which would lead to him doing some very immoral, stupid, or both things.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:56 PM
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So suppose he had a mentor in his church with similar inflamatory views.

Suppose he actively sought, and received, the support of a preacher who fervently called for the destruction of Israel, and who regarded support for the candidate as a means of bringing that about ? Suppose he actively sought the support of someone who called the Catholic Church the Whore of Babylon ?

Counterfactuals can be difficult, even silly, but this one's not so hard.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 2:57 PM
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There are plenty Republicans who wouldn't vote for Huckabee because of Huckabee's sincere religious beliefs

What sunk Huckabee wasn't his religious beliefs, but his willingness to raise taxes while he was governor of Arkansas.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:00 PM
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"Echoing Fatman, are you really arguing that Huckabee's religious extremism hurt him? Surely his evangelism, tempered by a folksy personality that allowed him to seem reasonable in a field of lunatics and automatons, was the only thing that made him a viable candidate at all."

Well obviously it hurt him with some voters. Whether it hurt on balance is trickier. I think it gave him a certain base but made it hard to move above the base. Like Jesse Jackson. Enough to affect the primary but not enough to win the nomination much less the general. He was never really a viable candidate, for one thing if I recall correctly he never raised much money.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:00 PM
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"Biggest idiot ever" CAGEMATCH

Thank god Jonah Goldberg doesn't comment here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:01 PM
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I would call abject fear of the electorate resulting in constantly, unnecessarily selling out & supporting disastrous policies the most destructive force in recent Democratic policies, not black nationalism or "elitism".

I totally, 100 percent agree with you at least since 2002, possibly even going back to 1999. But my point was about the long run -- the 20-30 years after 1968. The divide here, between people whose political consciousness was formed in the reactionary Republican realignment period (the damned dirty hippies phase, you might say) and people who were shaped during the current Republican hegemony, is very important within the Democratic party.

Both Hillary and Obama understand this. In fact, if anything Obama is the one more personally concerned to move beyond a confrontational rhetoric and to be conciliatory to Reagan Democrats.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:01 PM
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722: for so many reasons.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:01 PM
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... "Suppose he actively sought the support of someone who called the Catholic Church the Whore of Babylon ?"

I believe Huckabee was not a big hit with Catholic voters.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:05 PM
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"The divide here, between people whose political consciousness was formed in the reactionary Republican realignment period (the damned dirty hippies phase, you might say) and people who were shaped during the current Republican hegemony, is very important within the Democratic party"

Yes, it is. A lot of young voters' support for Obama is less "ooh, he's so shiny and charismatic" than "Oh my God, can we please fucking stop this disaster, please, please, please." Same thing that's driving the huge gap in party identification between the Democrats and the GOP among the 18-29s.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:09 PM
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And I see no evidence whatsoever that Hillary "I care more about Grand Theft Auto than Abu Ghraib" Clinton understands this. Signs from Obama are mixed & somehwat encouraging. Signs from Edwards were mixed & somewhat encouraging. Elizabeth Edwards totally got it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:17 PM
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727: oh, you're right from that perspective. I meant, they both understand the post-68 realignment period and remain cautious because of it. Hillary is only comfortable being truly left/populist on domestic economic policy (she's as almost completely unplugged from the anger over Iraq, which is IMO the best reason to oppose her). But Obama has let his anti-Iraq vote and his general "differentness" make him the left candidate in the primaries, while avoiding getting too far out to the left in his rhetoric or appearing angry.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:30 PM
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But Obama has let his anti-Iraq vote

whoops, I meant his anti-Iraq war *speech*. He's been pretty cautious about any anti Iraq war *votes*.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:31 PM
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He was never really a viable candidate, for one thing if I recall correctly he never raised much money.

Just so. Religion didn't do him in. If anything, it helped him. That was my point.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:33 PM
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But I'll by happy to spend a good deal of time arguing with anyone who suggests otherwise.

Let's not, though.

But Farrakhan is a black nationalist.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 3:38 PM
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"Stopping the war" at what price?

If you don't think there will be huge additional costs to ending the war in Iraq, economic and political, I suggest you glance at some histories of the Truman and Nixon/Ford administrations. Once you can wrap your minds around a Republican administration that felt forced to impose national wage/price controls, you can start to imagine the scale.

This is not a reason to continue the War. This is a call for liberals to take a stark confrontational pre-emptive stand on who will pay the deferred costs of the Iraq War, the costs of withdrawal, and the massive costs of transition.

The difference between the Clintonites and Obammers is that former, being older, have enough understanding of history to know that the pony isn't under the pile. Just more shit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:01 PM
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"Just so. Religion didn't do him in. If anything, it helped him. That was my point."

His inability to raise money was connected to his religious views because his views were seen (rightly or wrongly) by political professionals as making him unviable. His religious views are also relatively unpopular with the rich.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:09 PM
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Come on, James, you seriously believe Huckabee was unpopular with rich Republicans because of his religious views and not his views on taxes? Not to mention the fact that he'd probably manage lose a general election against Kucinich?


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:15 PM
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Ya know, it's fun bein me, because I have the chutzpah to say a Nobel Prize winner, Joe Stiglitz, is full of shit. Iraq/defense spending is not totally fungible, and cannot simply be turned into surplus (as if it weren't mostly debt anyway) or infrastructure.

What happens when a war ends? Weird shit like the formation of OPEC and the end of Bretton Woods that doesn't fit the economists models. Count on it.
Count on the post-Iraq period being worse than the War era, except for the dying & torturing stuff.

I lived thru both the 60s & 70s, and would rather have the 60s, tho it is a close call. 5 million at war versus 100 million with a declining standard of living and the loss of hope & pride, followed by reaction.

I know which the Obama supporters have chosen. It feels easy for them.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:16 PM
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The divide here, between people whose political consciousness was formed in the reactionary Republican realignment period (the damned dirty hippies phase, you might say) and people who were shaped during the current Republican hegemony, is very important within the Democratic party.

I'm not sure that's 100% right. I was the reactionary Republican during realignment, and I'm pretty firmly in the Obama/anti-HRC camp. I'm not saying you're way off base; I just think something more is happening, as well.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:27 PM
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Come on, James, you seriously believe Huckabee was unpopular with rich Republicans because of his religious views and not his views on taxes?

I absolutely do, unless you mean "super rich."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:30 PM
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You don't think Clinton had something to do with how "The Party's folk" have been unprotected over the last generation? You think Bill Clinton's goal was to prevent actual people from losing ground, as opposed to preventing the Democratic Party from losing ground?

This is just childish, stras-esque bullshit. In the last 35 years, there's been exactly one period when "The Party's folk" weren't losing ground economically. That includes poor and middle class whites, Latinos, and blacks (despite stras's oh-so fucking oblige-ing consideration for the poor ignorant dears, who shouldn't be so crass as to recognize when they do better economically). And when was that period? Anyone? Any Fucking One?

Stupid assholes. No wonder Nader was able to throw the election. No wonder Dems get their asses kicked up and down.

"Hey, stupid working class people! Forget your own experiences! I have much better ideas for you! They involve improving the Procedures of Governance!"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:32 PM
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"Come on, James, you seriously believe Huckabee was unpopular with rich Republicans because of his religious views and not his views on taxes? ..."

But his views on taxes were driven by his religious views. There is a strain of Christian thought which is relatively hostile to the rich (camel through the eye of a needle and all that) and which naturally does not appeal much to rich people.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:35 PM
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731: Yes, that's true. I don't think anyone would argue otherwise. But Wright isn't Farrakhan.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:44 PM
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739: He couldn't raise money, among other reasons, because he was not the establishment candidate for the Republicans. And Republicans give money/raise money for the establishment candidate. Romney was that candidate. And he raised oodles of money. Despite the fact that he was/is a Mormon.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:50 PM
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because he was not the establishment candidate for the Republicans

But part of the reason he was not the establishment candidate is that the establishment thought he was a hick. And that's connected to his religion and its importance to him and to his base.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 4:54 PM
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JRoth, Clinton had decent economic policies overall & certainly better than what followed, but he didn't create the tech boom & presidents have limited effect on the economy. It's totally understandable but not actually, you know, right, to assume that because times were better under Bill, they'll be better under his wife if we elect her. Presidents have more control over foreign policy than economic policy, and a lot more say over whether we invade Iran than the unemployment rate.

If we're going to talk about candidates based on their supporters: Obama may have Andrew Sullivan & some other annoying people, but if you look at their Senate endorsers, he does way, way, way better among the real old-school liberals.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:00 PM
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Tim, then why didn't the establishment think the same of Romney's religion, which is far more outside the mainstream of the Republican Party? In short, I just don't see how religion was the variable that killed either candidate's chances.

The Republican primary was a mess; McCain was the last man standing after the others kept splitting and re-splitting the primary electorate. I'm not saying religion was meaningless. I just don't see how it was the key variable.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:03 PM
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If you don't think there will be huge additional costs to ending the war in Iraq, economic and political

My guess is that those costs are smaller than they are for continuing the war.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:04 PM
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Romney never said things on the line of the Constitution needing to be in accordance with God's law, did he? He never seemed like a religious candidate, just a candidate with a religious affiliation people talked about a lot.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:05 PM
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Ya know, my father and his two brother were in the Philippines, N Africa & Anzio, and turret gunner outa Sicily. Was that the worst time of their lives?

How about after thirty years, losing their union jobs in the early 80s, and becoming a bartender and janitor, two of them going bankrupt, one moving in with his kids;all three dying before 65.

Ya, they were Republicans, but having lived thru the depression and WWII, they understood the fucking Empire in a very clear "Before & After" way.

I can trace a pretty clear history of family blue-collar pink-collar declining fortunes like a trailer trash Magnificant Ambersons or Buddenbrroks. The youngest generation starts their working lives in fear of bankruptcy.

And this motherfucking privileged cosmopolitan Hawaii-bred Ivy league Chicago lecturing son of a bitch tries to tell me to STFU, get over the past, and make nice with the assholes? And his supporters think I love war?

Fuck you.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:08 PM
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no, we think you irrationally think that wars magically make the economy good because WW2, Korea, & Vietnam occurred during a period of economic expansion. I don't know if you've noticed, but the Iraq war not so much.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:15 PM
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And this motherfucking privileged cosmopolitan Hawaii-bred Ivy league Chicago lecturing

How dare you.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:23 PM
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Tim, then why didn't the establishment think the same of Romney's religion, which is far more outside the mainstream of the Republican Party?

Bain Capital. He's one of them, like GWB. As with Obama, it's not the religion itself that matters, but that the religion can be used to stand in for other things that are best left unsaid.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:26 PM
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hey look, voters consider McCain's ties to Bush more worrisome than Obama's to Wright or Ayers, or Hillary Clinton's to Bill Clinton's. No fucking shit, press corps.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:28 PM
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741

"He couldn't raise money, among other reasons, because he was not the establishment candidate for the Republicans. And Republicans give money/raise money for the establishment candidate. Romney was that candidate. And he raised oodles of money. Despite the fact that he was/is a Mormon."

Romney's religion wasn't a big deal among the elite (although a lot of his money came from Mormons starting with himself) but was with many non-Mormon voters. Huckabee's religion was a problem with the elite.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:33 PM
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749:Oh I dare.

The guy who writes two autobiographies before he's 30, one of which involves his granny being scared of blacks and Obama's search for identity?

Up from Slavery it ain't.
It ain't even Six Crises

But Audacity of Hope provides what passes for gravitas, experience & wisdom among millenials.

Rev. Wright should be very disappointed.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:38 PM
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746

"Romney never said things on the line of the Constitution needing to be in accordance with God's law, did he? He never seemed like a religious candidate, just a candidate with a religious affiliation people talked about a lot."

Actually Romney wanted to appeal to religious voters, he tried to suggest the important thing was he was a man of faith and the details of his faith didn't matter but a lot of religious voters weren't buying it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:38 PM
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747

"... And his supporters think I love war?"

You seem to think it has a bunch of (dubious) silver linings.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:41 PM
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"But Audacity of Hope provides what passes for gravitas, experience & wisdom among millenials."

I'm slightly old to be a millenial but I thought it was lame. Dreams From My Father is better but very much the work of a late twentysomething who takes himself too seriously. As a late twentysomething who takes herself too seriously I sympathize.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:46 PM
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Those are memoirs, bob, not autobiorhapsodies.

(initially misspelled that last word, then changed it to be even more misspelled)


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:47 PM
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Jesus Christ, Bob. Beggars can't be choosers, as I keep saying. Do you think I'm going to read a book by the least evil? And why the fuck did you do it?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:51 PM
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But Audacity of Hope provides what passes for gravitas, experience & wisdom among millenials.

It Takes a Village to remake The Prisoner properly.

You seem to be basically arguing that Clinton is Nixon and that's good because you need a socially-inept power-hungry control freak to beat John McCain. But it then follows that if Clinton decides to attack Iran, that's ok, because she's a paranoid control freak Democrat and not a Republican.

Which makes it sound an awful lot like cutting your own head off to prevent hanging.

So my question is: what are you smoking this week?

max
['I hope it isn't dried banana peels. No, wait, I hope it is dried banana peels, on account then you can stop.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:06 PM
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759:I am not a Clinton or McCain supporter, even tho I may be an opponent of Obama.

2) I am not that interested in any of the candidates. They can't and won't make themselves President. There was an obviously an opening and constituency for an antiwar candidate, I predicted that sure as sunset the Democrats would find one, and one was found. That Obama is black is of little interest to me.

I am much more interested in the people than their leaders.

3) I am a committed philosophical pessimist, strongly conservative in many ways. The world in general cannot be improved. It can only be made equally bad in a different way, or worse. As you move into smaller subsets of the world, the the illusion of improvement becomes possible, but this is only she shifting of well-being from one part of the world to another, e.g., from the rich to the poor or the poor to the rich, from the provinces to the empire, from the dead to the survivors. There is never a net increase in well-being.

Optimism is a logical error, and hope the greatest of life's evils.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:44 PM
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bob, what you are dealing with here is entirely people who see Obama as the lesser of three evils. No whirly eyes. Not a one.

All you're doing with your "Stop being idealistic! Stop being idealistic! Stop thinking anyone on earth cares about anything!" is making non-idealistic people think "Well, being idealistic and delusional has got to be better than being nihilistic and delusional like bob here. Maybe I should worship Obama after all."


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:53 PM
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761:Well, seems to me the idealists and believers have done more damage to the world than the nihilists and skeptics, by a huge margin. Obviously since optimism and hope are the overwhelming preference of mankind, it probably feels better. I wouldn't know. I neither expect or hope for any change.

All man's miseries derive from not being
able to sit quietly in a room alone.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:49 PM
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Nihilists and skeptics have never done anything TO the world, good or bad. But someone has to be put in charge.

I agree with 762, basically.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:51 PM
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I love you, McManus. You're the Ecclesiastes of Unfogged. Keep preaching, although you expect no thanks, and shall receive none.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 10:03 PM
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"You folks need to let go of this."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:31 AM
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765: Kerry's not half bad on TV when he's not the presidential candidate.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:01 AM
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In the spirit of reaching comity, I am hoping President Obama's first act will be to pass a law allowing us to grind up Bob McManus and other senile old people so that we may better feed some of the large numbers of young American children in poverty.

Yummy.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:06 AM
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If you don't think there will be huge additional costs to ending the war in Iraq, economic and political, I suggest you glance at some histories of the Truman and Nixon/Ford administrations. Once you can wrap your minds around a Republican administration that felt forced to impose national wage/price controls, you can start to imagine the scale.

Truman was governing after a war that devastated almost every major economy in the world, and saw the US economy, while untouched by bombing etc, turned over in large part to war production. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING NOW YOU SILLY MAN.

Also, what happened to the economy in the 1970s didn't happen because the US got out of Vietnam. (It was in Vietnam for most of the Nixon administration anyway.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:39 AM
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