Blah people
January 31, 2012 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Bloomberg columnist and The Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg explains: How to Listen for Racism on the Campaign Trail
Here are some things you could learn about black Americans from the recent statements and insinuations of Republican presidential candidates, Republican congressmen and Republican-friendly radio personalities:

Black people have lost the desire to perform a day’s work. Black people rely on food stamps provided to them by white taxpayers. Black people, including Barack and Michelle Obama, believe that the U.S. owes them something because they are black. Black children should work as janitors in their high schools as a way to keep them from becoming pimps. And the pathologies afflicting black Americans are caused partly by the Democratic Party, which has created in them a dependency on government not dissimilar to the forced dependency of slaves on their owners.

Judging by these claims, all of which have actually been put forward recently, here is a modest prediction: This presidential election will be one of the most race- soaked in recent history. It is already more race-soaked than the 2008 election, which, of course, marked the first time that a black man became a major-party candidate.
Juan Williams, political analyst for Fox News Channel, weighs in:
The language of GOP racial politics is heavy on euphemisms that allow the speaker to deny any responsibility for the racial content of his message. The code words in this game are “entitlement society” — as used by Mitt Romney — and “poor work ethic” and “food stamp president” — as used by Newt Gingrich. References to a lack of respect for the “Founding Fathers” and the “Constitution” also make certain ears perk up by demonizing anyone supposedly threatening core “old-fashioned American values.”

The code also extends to attacks on legal immigrants, always carefully lumped in with illegal immigrants, as people seeking “amnesty” and taking jobs from Americans.

But the code sometimes breaks down.
This comes just weeks after Rick Santorum allegedly backpedaled on on a statement made in a Fox News interview that he did not want "to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money." Santorum maintains that he actually said "blah" people: "I looked at that, and I didn't say that. If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out. And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn't."

[via The Atlantic and the consistently excellent Language Log]
posted by 2bucksplus (147 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
I looked at that, and I didn't say that. If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out. And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn't."
What word were you going to say, Mr. Santorum? Blond? Bland? Block?
posted by muddgirl at 9:34 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was saying 'boo-urns.'
posted by entropicamericana at 9:35 AM on January 31, 2012 [39 favorites]



Living in Atlanta, I think makes me more aware of "dog whistle" statements. The kinds of things that make you whip your head back and say, "WHAT did he just say?"

The column is spot-on. Newt Gingrich is a racist. He's also a sleeze, but it's the racist thing that creeps me out more. How people can even sit and listen to him, let alone VOTE for him is beyond my understanding.

I find the rhetoric from the Republican candidates deeply disturbing, and the fact that there are folks with whom this nonsense resonates makes me inutterably depressed.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:38 AM on January 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


I hate those frigging blah people.
posted by goethean at 9:38 AM on January 31, 2012


So I'm not the only person that remembers Reagan the racist scumbag? The way some people remember him, he should be on Rushmore.
posted by Splunge at 9:40 AM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Blah people; you know, people that just sort of mope around and lack any kind of enthusiasm. Wear a lot of neutrals. I think my first roommate in college was actually a blah person, he never wanted to go out or anything. He always thought the dining hall food was too spicy and actually preferred light beer.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:40 AM on January 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


Count von Count seen...well...counting the days until he can exact his revenge for this unfathomable slur againt his people.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:40 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Go back to Afriblah! OR South Blahsia or whatevblah.
posted by Mister_A at 9:42 AM on January 31, 2012 [14 favorites]


I know it's blatantly obvious, but while these candidates are racist, part of the reason for coming out with racist statements is that there is an extremely large racist contingent in the GOP.

I mean, quite apart from the whole "let's not say black but really mean those blacks" thing - which is utterly disgraceful, apparently Europe is all a bit milquetoast. Which is just comic.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:44 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


How people can even sit and listen to him, let alone VOTE for him is beyond my understanding.

Oh, this one is easy: there are a lot of sleazes and racists in the US.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:46 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don’t know why this is. Perhaps because Senator John McCain, the Republican contender in 2008, generally and admirably refused to race-bait.

This guy remembers an entirely different election than I do. Maybe McCain refused to race-bait, but he had grandmothers calling Obama a Muslim at town hall meetings. He put that ball into play. I'm not sure that's what I would call marl high ground.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:46 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


I hate those frigging blah people.

Not the preferred nomenclature. Lackluster-Americans, please.
posted by gompa at 9:46 AM on January 31, 2012 [39 favorites]


Colorblind racism: the new norm
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 9:48 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know who I hate? Knitters.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:48 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


The column is spot-on. Newt Gingrich is a racist. He's also a sleeze, but it's the racist thing that creeps me out more. How people can even sit and listen to him, let alone VOTE for him is beyond my understanding.

Because Obama is besties with Reverend White and Bill Ayers which proves that black people are racist and if they can be racist then Newt can't be racist because there is no racism.

Or at least, that is what I have gleaned from my friends facebook postings. Apparently, most people use the logical analysis of 3rd graders to determine policy.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:49 AM on January 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's easy: Are Newt Gingrich's lips moving? Just kidding, that's how you can tell if he's lying.

Seriously though, I don't know if Newt Gingrich is a racist or not, but he is the mostly sleazy conniving sociopath in politics these days and that's a major accomplishment given the average politician.

He'd throw his mother under the bus to get elected. In fact, his sister is a Lesbian, and he's clearly thrown her under the bus.

I came across this quote from a debate or something the other day:
“I’m standing next to a guy who is the most blatantly dishonest answers I can remember in any presidential race in — in my lifetime.... I don’t know how you debate a person with civility if they’re prepared to say things that are just plain factually false.”
Sounds like an accurate description of Gingrich right? Well, it's actually what Gingrich was saying about Romney. Unreal.

Anyway, I think that if Romney does with the nomination, this stuff might help him. I'm hardly following the campaign at all, just clicking the occasional link that I come across. I'm not hearing anything particularly bad about Romney, other then Newt's attempts to paint him as a plutocrat, which we all already knew. It's making Romney seem sane and moderate.

Unfortunately for Romney, he might actually lose to this psycho.
posted by delmoi at 9:49 AM on January 31, 2012


a dependency on government not dissimilar to the forced dependency of slaves on their owners

So all the tax subsidies and things that corporations get is creating a dependency on government and makes them just like slaves to us, then? This is terrible! We should stop this immediately and FREE THE CORPORATIONS!
posted by rtha at 9:51 AM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Modern GOP rhetoric is all about reality creation, example:

A Candidate is fucking a goat on stage during a debate

Moderator: Why are you fucking that goat?

"I'm not fucking a goat."

"Yes you are we can all see it."

"I don't think I'm fucking a goat. You are mistaken."

"This is incredibly offensive."

"I'm sorry you feel that way."

*Bleat!*
posted by The Whelk at 9:52 AM on January 31, 2012 [28 favorites]


Seriously though, I don't know if Newt Gingrich is a racist or not, but he is the mostly sleazy conniving sociopath in politics these days and that's a major accomplishment given the average politician.

Yeah, it's weird - My ipmression of him is so hardwired as a pseudo-sociopath by now that my brain kind of trips up with him on thinking that he's actually racist himself, since I default to thinking that he's adopting racist postures just to court favor with the racists he's trying to get to vote for him, when it would make more sense that he's just racist.
posted by LionIndex at 9:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


This guy remembers an entirely different election than I do. Maybe McCain refused to race-bait, but he had grandmothers calling Obama a Muslim at town hall meetings. He put that ball into play. I'm not sure that's what I would call marl high ground.

This is probably what people are talking about, and is an interesting counterpoint to the "avowed muslim" question Santorum received in this cycle:
During the 2008 campaign, a woman asked GOP nominee John McCain a question and called Obama an “Arab.” McCain immediately corrected her, saying, "No, no ma’am, he’s a decent, family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is about."
It's kind of amazing that this election will be more about race than the last election (you know, the one that elected the first black president) as the first article speculates. Given these examples, though, it's hard to argue otherwise.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Newt Gingrich is a racist.

I think his opinions on race are a probably a bit more complicated that just 'he's a racist', but he's certainly willing to pander like hell to racists to win.
posted by empath at 9:57 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dog whistling also helps with getting past people's own defenses, i.e. the listeners can receive your message without having to admit to themselves that they're racist.
posted by whuppy at 9:57 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Heh.. i spent like 10 minutes trying to figure out how to say: "Newt's a sociopath, not a racist", and see that two other people got there first.
posted by empath at 9:58 AM on January 31, 2012


I'm just glad that everyone is starting to realize that white people are the real black people, having battled constant oppression for centuries, while black people are the real white people since they have it so easy. And that (depending on which wing of the GOP you're from) Jews are either the real Nazis or the real Palestinians.
posted by clockzero at 10:00 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


The sad reality as to why this shit plays so well in campaigns, is because there are an embarrassingly large number of white (and other ethnicities I'm sure) folks who honestly believe "I'm not racist, it's just that black people really ARE violent and scary! I mean come on, welcome to the REAL WORLD guys"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:00 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


He's also kind of hard to figure out if you attempt to tease out a logical strand that connects them.

But he has a single, over-riding ideal that never changes.

That he himself is an important, world historical figure.

I have no doubt that if Newt thought he could win the presidency by running to the left of Obama, and blaming rich whites for all the ills of the poor and minorities, that he would.

See his fairly left-wing attacks on Bain Capital for evidence.
posted by empath at 10:02 AM on January 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is just a continuation of Nixon's southern "law and order" strategy. I agree that Newt is a sociopath but it's not like the Republicans are using a new playbook.
posted by Ber at 10:02 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Newt's not a newt, either. He's always reminded me more of a poisonous toad.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:04 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, race baiting does quadruple duty for the GOP. Not only do they get to be "realists, who call it like they see it" they are "mavericks, who aren't afraid of the PC elite and upper west side liberals" and they also get to play the "Dems are the real racists" and the "Dems are so shrill, why are they so angry" card when anyone complains.

It is pretty much perfect. We need something like that for our side.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:07 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Blah people; you know, people that just sort of mope around and lack any kind of enthusiasm. Wear a lot of neutrals. I think my first roommate in college was actually a blah person, he never wanted to go out or anything. He always thought the dining hall food was too spicy and actually preferred light beer.

Tell my wife I said 'Hello.'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:08 AM on January 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


Look, all Santorum's saying is he doesn't care for blah people -- he prefers woo! people.
posted by escabeche at 10:11 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what amazes me about the Ron Paul people, that they are completely deaf to the "states' rights" dog whistling Paul does and become incensed that anyone thinks it could be about race.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:12 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


And how much of the X skin colour do Y is just a dog-whistle for classism?

Because at least skin colour, gender and even sexual orientation gets some protection via law.

Classism - not so much.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:12 AM on January 31, 2012


Perfect as a tactic I should have said. Very problematic because it stirs up hatred and resentment.

I hope we can drive republicans over the edge without haveing to resort to getting into some sort of hatefest.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:13 AM on January 31, 2012


I guess that I'm glad that people from Fox and Bloomburg are talking about this but did we really need help identifying the racism in Republican rhetoric? It's been the mainstay of their campaigns since the sixties. It's not like it takes much of a code book to decipher what they're saying when they call our first black president "the food stamp president".
posted by octothorpe at 10:13 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


that they are completely deaf to the "states' rights" dog whistling Paul does

VS the position that States should have no rights whatsoever and the Fed government should be all powerful, all controlling?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:14 AM on January 31, 2012


(Santorum later denied that he said the word “black,” arguing that what he actually said was “blah.” The denial is not credible.)

The words you're looking for are: "FUCKING INCREDIBLE!"
posted by Fizz at 10:15 AM on January 31, 2012


You know, this is the thing. I hear lots of stuff from progressive friends about not voting or voting for a Republican to 'send the Democrats a message.'

If you're doing this, you're voting alongside people who hate you who want to actively make policies that hurt you. Newt wants to lock progressive judges up. That crazy Florida Tea-Party Alan West dude wants all liberals out of his country. Anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-gay and frankly anything but pro-white straight male tenth generation American rhetoric gets the people who support these candidates whipped up into a voting frenzy.

The Democrats might have a haughty disdain for their progressive wing right now, but the alternative right now is nightmarish. They've moved so far beyond conservatism that they have transcended the liberal-conservative continuum. That very continuum is too liberal to them. They're on crazy end of some medieval-modern continuum.

Yes, the Democrats aren't ideal. No, they don't do everything we'd like them to do. As long as the alternative is crazy insane racist sexist homophobic fuck you I've got mine world, I'll vote for a broken Democratic party every single time. I'll take that over a group of people who issue or respond to these dog whistles.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:17 AM on January 31, 2012 [27 favorites]


cjourgensen, I'm going to steal your neologism "marl" when I want to put "moral" in air quotes.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:18 AM on January 31, 2012


looked at that, and I didn't say that. If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out. And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn't."

This is why voting for Newt is such a good idea. On the moon, we'll all have the same huge and tinge.
posted by Fizz at 10:20 AM on January 31, 2012


Black votes simply do not matter at all to these jackasses. It's all simple math to these guys. How many blacks vote Republican? Like 5%? Which will be a lower number with Obama up for re-election they figure, so why chase after maybe 3% of 25% -- a vanishingly small number of votes to sacrifice for one good o'l firebrand angst that'll fire up the wingnut base.

The Republicans know that they have no black votes left to lose, so they shore up their base with this crap by pandering to the racists, who might still vote for the other primary candidate. Once they've got them on board for the fall general election, the racist noise will quiet down, so that they don't alienate too many of the plausibly-sane right-of-center non-racist white Republicans who will be the swing vote then.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:21 AM on January 31, 2012


*hue

I meant hue.
posted by Fizz at 10:22 AM on January 31, 2012


It would be a service to the thread, rough ashlar, if you read up on the history of the phrase "state's rights" in American electoral politics.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:22 AM on January 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


I found that the wall I'm hitting is that everyone knows that there's a hugely classist and racist agenda. However, there is a whole group of people who eat it up with a spoon. My extended family regularly supports this drivel, but when I call them out on it, and remind them that my mother in law is on section 8 (and had to win a fucking lottery to get a place), they say "oh, she's a special situation" as if though everyone isn't a special situation. They make a point to show how much they like my partner, as if that forgives their venom to anyone who isn't rich and white. The reframing of racist statements in a colorblind way just serves to make it more socially acceptable to be racist.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 10:30 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


rough ashlar that they are completely deaf to the "states' rights" dog whistling Paul does

VS the position that States should have no rights whatsoever and the Fed government should be all powerful, all controlling?


That's funny, most people don't actually come out and announce they will be arguing against a strawman.
posted by spaltavian at 10:42 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sometimes, when Gingrich is talking, I want to get a spray bottle and just give him a sharp spritz every time he uses an adjective or adverb or hyperbolic phrase
“I’m standing next to a guy who is the most blatantly *SPRITZ* dishonest answers I can remember *SPRITZ* in any *SPRITZ* presidential race in — in my lifetime *SPRITZ*.... I don’t know how you debate a person with civility if they’re prepared to say things that are just plain *SPRITZ* factually *SPRITZ* false.”
No! Bad kitty!
posted by muddgirl at 10:42 AM on January 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


Bad kitty!

Newt, I served with a bad kitty, I knew a bad kitty, a bad kitty was a friend of mine. Newt you're no bad kitty.

*SPRITZ*
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:46 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: a sharp spritz every time.
posted by cashman at 10:50 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


What every voter needs is a Republican Decoder Badge!
posted by Bromius at 10:52 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's nothing wrong with wanting to devolve more power to the states. I'm in favor of dramatically reducing the size and scope of the federal government in a lot of ways myself. The problem is that usually when people bring it up, they want to do it for really fucked up reasons.
posted by empath at 10:56 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


My ipmression of him is so hardwired as a pseudo-sociopath by now that my brain kind of trips up with him on thinking that he's actually racist himself

I don't actually think Gingrich has much in the way of actual 'opinions'. I think he's got borderline personality disorder and only formulates sentences as a way of causing reactions in other human beings.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:57 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think his opinions on race are a probably a bit more complicated that just 'he's a racist', but he's certainly willing to pander like hell to racists to win.

Same thing. No difference at all. If you participate in racism, you're doing racism. You're a racist.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:00 AM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


How many blacks vote Republican? Like 5%? Which will be a lower number with Obama up for re-election they figure

In normal years, black voters vote about 85% Democratic (IIRC). In the 2008 NES, 96% of black respondents said they were going to vote for Obama, and after the election 99% of black (voting) respondents said they actually did vote for Obama.

Both of those include a few weirdo responses like "other." If you throw those away and only look at Obama and McCain, 7 of 525 black respondents expressed an intent to vote for McCain, and 2 of 418 said that they actually did vote for McCain.

So, yes, I would imagine that Republican candidates are not going to go after a black vote very hard.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:00 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


And how much of the X skin colour do Y is just a dog-whistle for classism?

It's funny, I was coming in here to say that when people talk about how it's class, not race, the stuff in the article is the kind of shit they are enabling and they should maybe think about that before drawing their facile comparisons. But I see that we've entered the realm of unironic Confederate talking points. Thanks a lot, rough ashlar, we really fucking appreciate it.
posted by Errant at 11:01 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know this makes me a terrible person, but I sort of want the Republicans to run Newt against Obama. Then I'll just sit back and wait for Newt to implode. He always does. I'm hoping about a month before the election.

I also scan Google News a few times a day hoping that the buffoon has keeled over with a heart attack or something. Of course, he would need a heart for that to happen.

I am evil. I know I am.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:02 AM on January 31, 2012


If you're doing this, you're voting alongside people who hate you who want to actively make policies that hurt you.

You are still speaking of the Democratic party, right?

Unless you want to stake out a position that NO one with the party affiliation of Democrat has ever proposed or voted for "policies that hurt you" BOTH are just sides on one coin.

I'm not sure what a coin that does not make policies which hurt "the average joe" but Democrats AND Republicans have both voted for 'painful laws'.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:15 AM on January 31, 2012


Same thing. No difference at all. If you participate in racism, you're doing racism. You're a racist.

I'm not saying he's a good person, he's by all accounts a complete shithead, but calling someone a racist says something about their beliefs and motivations, which you don't or can't know.
posted by empath at 11:17 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


the history of the phrase "state's rights"

I am aware of the history.

How do you propose the issue of Wickard v. Filburn gets addressed without going to "States Rights"?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:17 AM on January 31, 2012


How do you propose the issue of Wickard v. Filburn gets addressed without going to "States Rights"?

What about the issue of Chewbacca v Endor?

We're talking about racism here, and how states rights is used as a code word for it. If you aren't using states rights as a euphemism for bringing back whites-only diners and segregated schools, then you are okay.
posted by empath at 11:20 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


rough ashlar: i believe you use the term "federalism"
posted by leotrotsky at 11:20 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying he's a good person, he's by all accounts a complete shithead, but calling someone a racist says something about their beliefs and motivations, which you don't or can't know.

I don't really care. He's helping to spread racism and reinforce racist beliefs. I don't give a shit why he's doing it, or if, deep down, he really does hate black people. He's acting like he hates black people, and I'm judging him based on his actions. His actions are fucking racist, ergo he's fucking racist. End of story.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:23 AM on January 31, 2012


cjourgensen, I'm going to steal your neologism "marl" when I want to put "moral" in air quotes.

I thought that was a clever geology joke. Marl being fairly crumbly and loose, situating one's self on the 'marl high ground' is a dangerous tactic prone to backfiring catastrophically.
posted by atrazine at 11:23 AM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wickard v. Filburn has been addressed in the proper way: it was decided by the Supreme Court and now it's effectively part of the Constitution. The proper way to address a decision you don't like is by a constitutional amendment. (But the Commerce Clause is totally irrelevant to this discussion of racism.)
posted by stopgap at 11:24 AM on January 31, 2012


Same thing. No difference at all. If you participate in racism, you're doing racism. You're a racist.

I'm not saying he's a good person, he's by all accounts a complete shithead, but calling someone a racist says something about their beliefs and motivations, which you don't or can't know.


blah blah (Jay Smooth) - "the 'what they are' conversation is a rhetorical Bermuda Triangle where everything drowns in a sea of empty posturing."
posted by cashman at 11:25 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised no one has recalled "Southern Strategy" author Lee Atwater's famous words yet in this thread:
You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."
Modern Republican Party rhetoric has just taken this abstraction to another level.
posted by Gelatin at 11:27 AM on January 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


The problem is that usually when people bring it up, they want to do it for really fucked up reasons.

And if one is attempting to be reasonable - shouldn't one try to determine if the issue is actually shifting power back to the state/local level or go with a snap "that's racist"?

The snap "that's racist" shuts down discussion on what power the States should have.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:31 AM on January 31, 2012


Dog-whistling -- the use of coded, ambiguous language to appeal to the prejudices of certain subsets of voters -- is one of the darkest political arts. In this race, Newt Gingrich is streets ahead of his nearest competitor in its use.

Is this meta-dogwhistling to make me think of Community, and through that connection just assume that the author is hilarious?
posted by FatherDagon at 11:31 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


The snap "that's racist" shuts down discussion on what power the States should have.

Great. Quick, name a right that Republican nominees want states to have, that won't be exploited to discriminate against some federally protected group?
posted by muddgirl at 11:33 AM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'll throw gay people in addition, because they should be federally protected.
posted by muddgirl at 11:34 AM on January 31, 2012


And if one is attempting to be reasonable - shouldn't one try to determine if the issue is actually shifting power back to the state/local level or go with a snap "that's racist"?

The snap "that's racist" shuts down discussion on what power the States should have.


Conversely, your "states rights" bullshit is a distraction from what this article is about, which is about people dogwhistling racism in political campaigns. As it happens, though, you're performing an excellent demonstration of the concept, so again, thanks.
posted by Errant at 11:40 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


And if one is attempting to be reasonable - shouldn't one try to determine if the issue is actually shifting power back to the state/local level or go with a snap "that's racist"?

The snap "that's racist" shuts down discussion on what power the States should have.


It must be frustrating that we're not joining the ReLOVEution here, but your attempts at moving the goalpost and/or derail is laughable. It's almost impossible to believe that a politician who reached adulthood in Jim Crow Texas has no idea how the phrase "state's rights" plays. The fact that he has stated multiple times he wouldn't have voted for the Civil Rights Act essentially cements it, and the fact that multiple newsletters were released under his name that ranged from dog-whistling to outright racism (and classism and homophobia to boot) is icing on the cake.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:43 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


The snap "that's racist" shuts down discussion on what power the States should have.

I've never taken the opportunity before to ask someone who says something like this exactly what they mean.

So: What do you mean, specifically, when you say this? What power(s) should states have that they do not now have?
posted by rtha at 11:44 AM on January 31, 2012


Because at least skin colour, gender and even sexual orientation gets some protection via law.

Classism - not so much.


I'm confused, are you arguing that rich people should be a protected class because they are somehow opressed or disenfranchised by the masses?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:45 AM on January 31, 2012


I think there's a deeper issue than the politicians here. Its that in this country, which many of us love (or loved and then split off to Canada), there appears to be a very large minority of haters. Something like 20%-30% of voters will vote for a republican regardless of the shit he says.

That last sentence is the deeper issue in the discussion here. That steady minority of voters, at some level, actually agrees with the racist, homophobic, bullshit statements. Their are problem politicians pandering partly to a problem people party perfectly prepared to pick on people who aren't white, straight, protestant, and hateful.

TL;DR: We aren't post racial in the least and its been slowly killing us for years as a 'civilized' society.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:46 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, rough ashlar thinks that it's pointless to talk about race, and instead we should talk only about class, because when we live in a communist utopia there will be no racism.
posted by muddgirl at 11:46 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


But the Commerce Clause is totally irrelevant to this discussion of racism.

I asked about a discussion of the rights of the States - States rights.

The Commerce clause strikes at the heart of States and their rights, does it not?

(Now, if I go a-looking for where the Commerce Clause was used in a racism case and find one - what is done then?)

i believe you use the term "federalism"

And that is a fine term - so lets say "the republicans" start using that term to describe the rights of the states? At what point will THAT be called "racism" in an attempt to shut down the discussion?

(And when politicians lips move - should they be believed? Only Romney and Paul got the 10,000 signatures needed. Yet the people making the appeal to be on the ballot - Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum and Newton Gingrich all have "supported" the rights of the States, yet when they didn't get enough these "pro rights of the States" candidates are filing to challenge those rights. Perhaps at Newt's campaign stops/when Rick leaves the hospital people should start asking him why Virginia's States rights aren't good enough for him?)
posted by rough ashlar at 11:49 AM on January 31, 2012


So: What do you mean, specifically, when you say this? What power(s) should states have that they do not now have?

That's the thing about states rights. They want to talk about it as an abstract, because if they say, specifically, what they're talking about, they have to talk about the actual real life consequences of their suggested policies, which is ground they don't want to fight on.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't really care. He's helping to spread racism and reinforce racist beliefs.

Okay, fine. Stop there. You've already said enough, and it's 100% accurate. You don't need to get into speculation as to motivations and beliefs.
posted by empath at 11:52 AM on January 31, 2012


Perhaps at Newt's campaign stops/when Rick leaves the hospital people should start asking him why Virginia's States rights aren't good enough for him?

Yes, this is exactly the point people are making. When politicians talk about states rights, they don't really mean it. They are using it as code to talk about what they really want to talk about, which is rolling back things like the Civil Rights Act, labor laws, environmental regulations and so on. And if states wanted to enact even more stringent Civil Rights protections, etc? they'd all of a sudden want federal power to stop it.
posted by empath at 11:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


And that is a fine term - so lets say "the republicans" start using that term to describe the rights of the states? At what point will THAT be called "racism" in an attempt to shut down the discussion?

"State's rights" was coined specifically by Republicans to denote racial issues and cause strife. Which you would know if you'd done the research I asked you to do earlier. Now, are you done with your hypotheticals?
posted by zombieflanders at 11:59 AM on January 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


What power(s) should states have that they do not now have?

Do the States have the power to legalise Marijuana? Arguments exist that they have always had that power - others claim they do not now have that power. The verbage of your question lets "us" go round and round on the matter.

(perhaps less loaded - how about selling or even giving away raw milk? Seems to be a question of state VS fed rights there.)

Some States are doing that/have done that, yet elements of the Federal government do not agree. Who has the power in this matter? The State who says 'do this and we are cool with it', the Feds who seem to not agree, or perhaps the county Sheriff (can the Sheriff really tell the Feds to go pound sand and , in theory, acts as the elected will of the people?)

Just because some States have passed laws (thus using the power they have) do they actually have the power if Federal laws are being used to shut down what the State has done?

If "We" want to play this game - defining what power is will have to be done at some point. Is power 'the law passed' or the guy with the gun and the jail cell? Another question about power - if you have it and do not use it, do you really have the power?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:02 PM on January 31, 2012


And that is a fine term - so lets say "the republicans" start using that term to describe the rights of the states? At what point will THAT be called "racism" in an attempt to shut down the discussion?

They do, at least the "Libertarian" wing does, of course, they do use the term to mean the opposite of what Federalists stood for.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:04 PM on January 31, 2012


right that Republican nominees want states to have, that won't be exploited to discriminate against some federally protected group?

How about raw milk and the ability to sell it. This has been framed as a State VS Fed battle.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:06 PM on January 31, 2012


Do the States have the power to legalise Marijuana?

Speaking of Ron Paul (who is not a viable Republican nominee), do states have the right to allow 'partial-birth abortions'?

Oh, that's one right he is OK with handling on the federal level :(
posted by muddgirl at 12:06 PM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


How about raw milk and the ability to sell it. This has been framed as a State VS Fed battle.

How so? Raw milk is still legal within states that permit it. Intra-state comerce is not tampered with in this discussion. Where's the battle?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:10 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know it's blatantly obvious, but while these candidates are racist, part of the reason for coming out with racist statements is that there is an extremely large racist contingent in the GOP USA.
posted by Renoroc at 12:11 PM on January 31, 2012


I am just popping in to say we need to put a stop to Obama's extreme leftist policies to stop our great country from sliding into European-style socialism, and start to rebuild that shining city on the hill of which Reagan spoke.

/CRAZYBURGER
posted by freecellwizard at 12:12 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


When politicians talk about states rights, they don't really mean it.

And how often when a politician talks about ANYTHING they actually mean it?

Is the only time politicians are seen as "honest" is when they are talking "in code" or about the issue "you" care about?

Perhaps they are only seen as "honest" because they have the same party affiliation as your own?

The next meta question would be - if they say something biblical/racists/stupid/whatever - do they really believe what was just said or is it part of some grand plan to get votes?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:15 PM on January 31, 2012


Is the only time politicians are seen as "honest" is when they are

...saying any goddamn thing they think they need to say in order to get elected. Including coded racist messages, like this post is about.
posted by rtha at 12:17 PM on January 31, 2012


It doesn't matter if you don't "believe" in racism, engaging in the act of promoting racism is itself racist.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:18 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is the only time politicians are seen as "honest" is when they are talking "in code" or about the issue "you" care about?

Honest is never really the right word to use when talking about politicians. I think perhaps 'consistent' is a better word and the best that can be hoped for. Politicians are not consistently in favor of states rights, because states rights are not an issue that voters care about. States rights are a convenient cover for talking about issues that people do care about, and they're jettisoned as soon as they're inconvenient (see pot legalization and gay marriage)
posted by empath at 12:23 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


WTF does raw milk have to do with coded racial messages on the Republican campaign trail which is the topic of this thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:27 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


The "racism" net is being cast so wide that everyone is included. It's like the Internet monitor that gives your boss an excuse to fire an employee on a whim. Or, it's like telling parents to listen for song lyrics containing secret, Satanic messages. They'll hear whatever they want, and they want to hear something bad.
posted by michaelh at 12:34 PM on January 31, 2012


engaging in the act of promoting racism is itself racist.

So then are local "Black owned" or "Hispanic owned" phone directories racist - or are they a historic response to past discrimination and therefore OK? What if the business put a fish or a rainbow in their advertisement - that is considered a 'dog whistle' and is that un-cool too?

Now what if you shop as such a place - are you supporting their racism?

Perhaps some felt has the better outlook
Princeton:
I guess we're both a little bit racist.
Kate Monster:
Admitting it is not an easy thing to do...
Princeton:
But I guess it's true.
Kate Monster:
Between me and you,
I think
Both:
Everyone's a little bit racist
Sometimes.
Doesn't mean we go
Around committing hate crimes.
Look around and you will find
No one's really color blind.
Maybe it's a fact
We all should face
Everyone makes judgments
Based on race.
Princeton:
Now not big judgments, like who to hire
or who to buy a newspaper from -
Kate Monster:
No!
Princeton:
No, just little judgments like thinking that Mexican
busboys should learn to speak goddamn English!
Kate Monster:
Right!

posted by rough ashlar at 12:37 PM on January 31, 2012


So then are local "Black owned" or "Hispanic owned" phone directories racist

We've talked about this.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:42 PM on January 31, 2012


Fuck that song, it does nothing but provide racists with a source of normativizing for their values. Your response to noticing that something you think or feel or believe or do is racist should be to figure out how to excise it, and shit like that encourages people to just go "oh well, it's okay to be a little racist!"

And yes, I have known several people who did exactly that.

You know how racism and rape are similar? The people who do each think that everybody else does, too, and jokes and minimizing of the thing in question- racism or rape- is taken as validation of that. Part of delegitimizing it is getting people to stop viewing it as a trivial thing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:43 PM on January 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


The "racism" net is being cast so wide that everyone is included.

And how often do the people who cast such a wide net correct themselves when they are guilty of "racism"? Or instead find transgender people "squicky" and engage in discrimination?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2012


Oh joy, the false equivalence of and eventually failed attempts to prove persistent "reverse racism" have begun.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


And how often do the people who cast such a wide net correct themselves when they are guilty of "racism"? Or instead find transgender people "squicky" and engage in discrimination?

rough ashlar, do you have a point to make? If you do, asking leading rhetorical questions isn't spelling it out for me very well. Maybe I'm just stupid, but for my sake, could you just say what you want to say, here?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:47 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's weird - My impression of him is so hardwired as a pseudo-sociopath by now that my brain kind of trips up with him on thinking that he's actually racist himself, since I default to thinking that he's adopting racist postures just to court favor with the racists he's trying to get to vote for him, when it would make more sense that he's just racist.
Ultimately, it doesn't really matter if they're "really" racist or just "pretending" to be racist for some reason.

I think there are some people who just lie so much it makes you wonder if they can actually keep track of the truth. Sarah Palin seems like that kind of person. Is Newt the same way? who knows. If he's that kind of person, then it would make sense that he would 'actually' be racist the same way palin actually believes people are conspiring against her or whatever she goes on about. It wouldn't surprise me if Newt bought into Charles Murray style racist pseudo science.
Heh.. i spent like 10 minutes trying to figure out how to say: "Newt's a sociopath, not a racist", and see that two other people got there first.
I'm not saying he's not racist rather it we have no way of really knowing. If people spend time making persuasive arguments in favor of something, obviously most people start to believe it. Even if he didn't start out racist, his spouting racist bullshit for decades would probably turn him into one.

The weird thing is the idea that it's somehow more likely that he's not a racist, as if 'not a racist' were the default state for 68 year old hard-core republicans from the south.

Anyway, that's all beside the point. Newt Gingrich acts and talks like a racist, so he's a racist by definition. Why would you expend any energy trying to argue otherwise?
This is what amazes me about the Ron Paul people, that they are completely deaf to the "states' rights" dog whistling Paul does and become incensed that anyone thinks it could be about race.
People who want to legalize marijuana aren't being racist when they talk about "States Rights". Ron Paul wants to legalize marijuana, therefore his talking about states rights is not a sufficient condition for him being a racist.
I'm not saying he's a good person, he's by all accounts a complete shithead, but calling someone a racist says something about their beliefs and motivations, which you don't or can't know.
Like I said, I disagree. Someone is a 'measurable' racist if they engage in measurable racism which includes making racist statements. What you can't measure doesn't matter. If someone is secretly racist, and never does or says anything racist, then it doesn't actually have any negative consequences for the people that person is racist against.

It doesn't matter what you believe it only matters what you do. At least in terms of the actual negative consequences of racism, which is the only thing that matters.

---

Regarding states rights. I don't really care either way, all that maters to me is individual rights. Let's take gay people as an example. The states shouldn't have the right to restrict behavior above what the federal government does, i.e. banning gay sex, as Texas did until 2004, when the federal government shut them down. On the other hand in 2004 Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, but federal law doesn't recognize though, thus violating 'states rights' to issue legally valid marriages for purposes of US law.

So ideally you would have a situation where there's a conflict between state and federal laws, it should be resolved in the most individual autonomy.
---
Name that Racist or Racist Group. 1 point for each correct answer. No Googling, that would unfair or racist or something.
Flagged as noise.
posted by delmoi at 12:50 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fuck that song, it does nothing but provide racists with a source of normativizing for their values.

Good, now that this is out there - what about the 1st part when the reaction to past racism is racism? Or is a 'hispanic owned' business directory is just a "dog whistle" to know that the person on the other end will speak Spanish and therefore OK? (VS saying in the ad "speaks spanish")

Is that acceptable or should it be fought with the same level of 'fuck that'? Last time 'round there was a lot of "no that's ok". But if a song pointing out humans group other humans by way of external features into groupings they already have formed coping strategies for is 'fuck that - thats racism' - do you have that kind of reaction to business attempting to use that same human nature of grouping when the group they are targeting is "your" own group?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:58 PM on January 31, 2012


Apparently "Whites Only" signs in the south was just an example of "human nature of grouping when the group they are targeting is "your" own group?"

*rolls eyes*
posted by delmoi at 1:01 PM on January 31, 2012


Stop asking people to prove hypotheticals, rough ashlar. Make your point or move on.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:02 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


WTF does raw milk have to do with coded racial messages on the Republican campaign trail which is the topic of this thread.

That Obama guy ... he's not exactly raw milk, if you know what I mean...
posted by chortly at 1:04 PM on January 31, 2012


This shit is just going to get worse and worse as we get closer to being a majority-minority country.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:05 PM on January 31, 2012


Also I realize I wrote "I don't know if newt Gingrich is really a racist" when I should have said something like "I don't know whether he is internally a racist" or something. But saying "newt Gingrich is a racist" is a completely accurate thing to say, given the most reasonable definition of being a racist -- which is someone who acts like a racist.
posted by delmoi at 1:05 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


But if a song pointing out humans group other humans by way of external features into groupings they already have formed coping strategies for is 'fuck that - thats racism' - do you have that kind of reaction to business attempting to use that same human nature of grouping when the group they are targeting is "your" own group?

It's an amazing coincidence that the guy who just loves states rights for the sake of states rights also wants to bring back segregation.
posted by empath at 1:15 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am just popping in to say we need to put a stop to Obama's extreme leftist policies to stop our great country from sliding into European-style socialism, and start to rebuild that shining city on the hill of which Reagan spoke.

/CRAZYBURGER


Well, you can call it crazyburger-level sarcasm if you want, but you have in fact summarized the response of the other major American political party to the Democratic President's State of the Union address last week.
posted by aught at 1:17 PM on January 31, 2012


Also I realize I wrote "I don't know if newt Gingrich is really a racist" when I should have said something like "I don't know whether he is internally a racist" or something.

In 1958 George Wallace ran a racially concilliatory gubernatorial campaign in Alabama (refusing the support of the KKK and accepting that of the NAACP) based on economic rehabilitation of the state for all its citizens and was subsequently soundly trounced by John Patterson in a run-off. He vowed never to be "out-segged" again. 1962 he pledged ran a racially charged campaign and received the largest electoral victory in Alabama history, famously pledging in his inaguaration "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

So was Wallace internally a racist?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:17 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


You are still speaking of the Democratic party, right?

Unless you want to stake out a position that NO one with the party affiliation of Democrat has ever proposed or voted for "policies that hurt you" BOTH are just sides on one coin.

I'm not sure what a coin that does not make policies which hurt "the average joe" but Democrats AND Republicans have both voted for 'painful laws'.


No, I'm just talking about the Republicans.

The "unless you stake out a position" argument is straw man. Yes, some Democrats do take positions that I am opposed to and cause some harm to the world and me. However, as a party, they don't commit this kind of dog whistling. I don't have to agree with every single member or every single policy of the Democratic party to recognize that, for the most part, the policies currently endorsed by that party tend to benefit me more than the Republicans.

Not every Republican is bad. Not every Democrat is good. However, the current rhetoric of the Republicans, as evidenced in this article, is steeped in racism, homophobia, sexism, classism, and general asshattery.

That's how they appeal to their base. I think its a fair, logical connection to say "if a Republican is more likely to get votes by appealing to racism, then that Republican firmly believes there are a significant number of people who will be won over by that appeal to racism." That's kind of marketing 101.

Anyhow, in that regard, Democrats /= Republicans.

Furthermore, just because both parties have voted for painful laws does not make them equal. In the last bunch of years in particular, the Republicans have, again and again, come down on the side of classism, racism, sexism, homophobia and general asshattery time and again. We could point to the anit-immigrant shenanigans in Arizona, the anti-Union asshattery in Wisconsin, and the attempts at passing draconian laws regarding control of women's bodies in any number of states with Republican majorities as evidence of this. Not to mention the ongoing battle for gay marriage which is increasingly breaking along party lines.

No, the Democrats aren't perfect, but to say that they harm people in the same way that Republicans harm people is a false equivalency. The Republicans (as a party) actively want to deny rights to anyone who isn't wealthy, white, straight and male.

Saying "both parties have done bad things" does not create an equivalency. Indeed, the phrase for that is "false equivalency."
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:17 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Indeed, the phrase for that is "false equivalency."

Repeated for truth. And also because the general public's susceptibility to false equivalencies is one of the major threats to public discourse in the U.S.
posted by aught at 1:21 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Both sides are bad, so vote Republican.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:23 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ron Paul wants to legalize marijuana, therefore his talking about states rights is not a sufficient condition for him being a racist.

I'd say its independent.
1) he's a racist with the newsletter issue 20+ years ago.
2) He's a pandering poly-tick as staffers are now on the record claiming it was said to get money.

Neither of those 2 are helpful to his position.

He could also have been racist and now is not/is working hard to not embrace such thinking- change of heart and all that. But that doesn't work with the "I'm honest" vibe he's trying to sell either as he's not come forward and owned the issue.

Newt's a sociopath, not a racist

Like I don't know Newt's heart WRT racism - I don't know Paul's. But rather than worry about racism - why not worry about "hey is that guy a sociopath" or perhaps the more correct "He's a politician of course he's nuts. Is he LESS nuts that the other possible choices given the system is one of limited choices." (now am I being 'racist' or whatever the word is for language use of "Nuts" instead of "Dangerous Sociopath" to describe the mentally ill? Or am I discriminating VS the mentally ill by lumping in politicians with 'em?)

Why shouldn't Newt be seen as 'mad, bad and dangerous to know' based on past statements/past actions and inconsistent postitions? When he says 'black are lazy' - then later says 'naw, I didn't mean that' or the Santorum 'blacks' no I said 'bla' - nail 'em for not saying "Yea, I said that and I'm a person of my word". Let 'em *OWN* their position and then they can live or die on that position. (one hopes die and take the position with 'em)

And perhaps if Newt owned the 'lazy' statement what would come out of the discussion is the disenfranchisement of the education system along with the disconnect that happens to the worker who is "on paper". Thus if you are seeing a future where you are unlikely to be able to change your station due to a past stupid legal issue you can end up in a place where you develop an attitude of "why try" and seen from the outside as 'lazy'. Instead of "fuck you your a racist" as the high point of a discussion.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:23 PM on January 31, 2012


So was Wallace internally a racist?

We can judge a man by their actions, not by their heart-of-hearts or whatever. Wallace was primarily a sociopath, as I think we can assume Newt is. That both Wallace and Gingrich were willing to use racist words and actions to propel their campaign is enough for most of us to say "yeah, that guy's racist".
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:25 PM on January 31, 2012


Maybe McCain refused to race-bait, but he had grandmothers calling Obama a Muslim at town hall meetings.

I seem to recall McCain quickly saying, "No, that's not true," to those people. Although, the better answer would have been: "That's not true, but it shouldn't matter if it was." Of course, that's a step too far in "defending" your rival, I suppose.
posted by asnider at 1:27 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


However, as a party, they don't commit this kind of dog whistling.

I would just like to ask if you have been to many deep south political rallies for white candidates of either party (particularly local ones)? I wouldn't think so from this statement. It takes a dog to be able to hear the whistle.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:29 PM on January 31, 2012


Your argument is that only racists hear racist messages? Seriously?
posted by Errant at 1:32 PM on January 31, 2012


No, my argument is that the Democrats wrote the script. George Wallace was a Democrat. If you go to a small town in Alabama to a "fish fry" for some white county commissioner or state legislator you are just as likely to hear the coded language regardless of party. The difference is on the national stage, but on the local level the dog whistling is certainly there.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:35 PM on January 31, 2012


Man once you realize "both parties are just as bad" is a G.O.P. talking point you start seeing it everywhere.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:39 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


"both parties are just as bad" is a G.O.P. talking point

It fits into the efforts to reduce voter roles and making voting more difficult, yes.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:41 PM on January 31, 2012


No, my argument is that the Democrats wrote the script. George Wallace was a Democrat.

Oh for fucks sake, you realize that all of those Democrats are now Republicans, right? That was what the southern strategy was about.
posted by empath at 1:41 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


And Lincoln was a Republican. So what? The states rights position was racist code in the 1860s and it's racist code now. If the article was "how to tell if George Wallace really meant it when he hired KKK speechwriters", you might have a point. The article is about the national conversation. If you're saying that both sides use racist pandering to appeal to racist constituents, sure, I'll buy that. It's not a coincidence that you largely have to find Democrats in red states to make that point, though.
posted by Errant at 1:42 PM on January 31, 2012


I seem to recall McCain quickly saying, "No, that's not true," to those people. Although, the better answer would have been: "That's not true, but it shouldn't matter if it was." Of course, that's a step too far in "defending" your rival, I suppose.

I think that this one's been pretty well addressed.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:44 PM on January 31, 2012


I think that this one's been pretty well addressed.

When did McCain claim that Obama was a motherfucker Muslim? I'm not exactly a fan of McCain, so I'm willing to accept that he may have sowed the seeds, but I haven't seen the evidence.
posted by asnider at 2:02 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


And Lincoln was a Republican. So what? The states rights position was racist code in the 1860s and it's racist code now. If the article was "how to tell if George Wallace really meant it when he hired KKK speechwriters", you might have a point. The article is about the national conversation. If you're saying that both sides use racist pandering to appeal to racist constituents, sure, I'll buy that. It's not a coincidence that you largely have to find Democrats in red states to make that point, though.

And Thomas Jefforson owned slaves! And he was the founder of the Democratic-Republican Party! this proves that... like... something...

Seriously I have no clue what you people are even arguing about at this point.
posted by delmoi at 2:15 PM on January 31, 2012


I'm black. I work. I pay taxes. I don't have any children (except my 5 year old blond, blue-eyed stepdaughter-to-be), I don't have police record. Although the news would have people thinking that I somehow couldn't have possibly gotten through life without either getting shot or doing some dirt. The sad thing is, friend and family-wise, I'm not unique at all.

I know what certain people think they see when they look at me. And if the GOP wants to pander to their fears, whatever. I'd rather Republicans just come out and own their racism.

Because whatever potentially valid ideas the party has or could ever have are lost on me. Go ahead, insult everything I am and everything I've worked for! Anything I could aspire to be. (Hint: it's not a basketball player, rapper, comedian or actor).

They don't need me...I certainly don't need them.

I will resist them in every way possible.
posted by black8 at 2:15 PM on January 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Race threads on metafilter are always train wrecks. Here are some more links, in any case:

1. Think Progress clip reel, which includes some lesser known congressmen being pretty egregious.

2. Top 10 most racist moments in the GOP race.

3. A similar piece to the FPP by Juan Williams.
posted by johnasdf at 2:17 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anyway, the point I was making earlier was that not everyone who talks about "States Rights" is a racist. Some of them just want to smoke weed in California or Oregon.
posted by delmoi at 2:20 PM on January 31, 2012


Anyway, the point I was making earlier was that not everyone who talks about "States Rights" is a racist. Some of them just want to smoke weed in California or Oregon.
delmoi

This is true, but this is kind of the problem I was referring to in my first comment.

I know a good chunk of the "states' rights" people are generally well-meaning and basically just want pot legal. A lot of the younger Paul supporters fall into that camp.

But as noted above, "states' rights" has for a long, long time been code for bigotry of all kinds, and still is. The problem is that these well-meaning people uncritically latch on to these bigots who seem to be espousing the same ideas as them without really examining what's actually being said or why. Hence, Paul.

This leads them to being very defensive when the larger problems of their position are pointed out, that there would be ramifications for what these "state's rights" people are saying far beyond pot being legal. To the generally well-meaning people it's absurd, because they're not racist, while to the people who they support (and anyone who knows anything about the ugly history of "state's rights") the racism and other bigotry is the point.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:52 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Commerce clause strikes at the heart of States and their rights, does it not?

It does not. The Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. The Tenth Amendment reserves powers not delegated by the Constitution to the states or people, but nothing under the Commerce Clause is included, because it's already reserved to the federal government in the Constitution.
posted by Gelatin at 3:00 PM on January 31, 2012


The column is spot-on. Newt Gingrich is a racist. He's also a sleeze, but it's the racist thing that creeps me out more. How people can even sit and listen to him, let alone VOTE for him is beyond my understanding.

Because a significant fraction of the American public holds racist sentiments. The Civil Rights era did a whole lot to fight against that, but there's been a big backslide recently (the economy tanking hasn't helped).
Those people still don't feel comfortable saying such things outright yet, but they're gaining traction.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:08 PM on January 31, 2012


But as noted above, "states' rights" has for a long, long time been code for bigotry of all kinds, and still is. The problem is that these well-meaning people uncritically latch on to these bigots who seem to be espousing the same ideas as them without really examining what's actually being said or why.

Basically, this. It's ok to want to have a conversation about states rights and mean that in a real, anti-federalist sense. But the way to do that is to decode the racist messaging in that conversation, make it overt, and then address it. You don't get to pretend that "states rights" isn't a dogwhistle and that everyone who says that it is is trying to avoid the decoupled political message, because you haven't decoupled it yet and the encoded bigotry is not a thing of the past.

Does it suck that one's preferred political stance is intimately associated with a particularly pernicious and persistent brand of racism? Yeah, I think that probably does suck. But it doesn't suck more than that racism, so do the work. Otherwise you sound like these people who claim that the Civil War wasn't about slavery and that slavery was incidental to what was really happening, and then before you know it you're standing on a street corner with an "OBAMA = HITLER" sign and wondering why no one will talk to you.
posted by Errant at 3:21 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Commerce clause strikes at the heart of States and their rights, does it not?

It does not. The Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. The Tenth Amendment reserves powers not delegated by the Constitution to the states or people, but nothing under the Commerce Clause is included, because it's already reserved to the federal government in the Constitution.
The original point of the commerce clause was to have the U.S government do what the EU government does now, regulate trade between states. Set standards for random stuff so that it can be traded easily, that kind of thing (which the EU does). It's been expanded to include random stuff that the government wants to pander on, for example the commerce clause allows the federal government to ban marijuana production because people might smoke marijuana in lieu of taking other drugs. That might sound odd but remember the raich case was decided based on the Wickard v. Fillburn case which was about someone growing wheat for personal consumption. The idea is, even if you are not going to sell the wheat, your use of it impacts the economy because you no longer need to buy it. From the decision:
More concretely, one concern prompting inclusion of wheat grown for home consumption in the 1938 Act was that rising market prices could draw such wheat into the interstate market, resulting in lower market prices. Wickard, 317 U.S., at 128. The parallel concern making it appropriate to include marijuana grown for home consumption in the CSA is the likelihood that the high demand in the interstate market will draw such marijuana into that market. While the diversion of homegrown wheat tended to frustrate the federal interest in stabilizing prices by regulating the volume of commercial transactions in the interstate market, the diversion of homegrown marijuana tends to frustrate the federal interest in eliminating commercial transactions in the interstate market in their entirety.
A lot of people think that the U.S government has gone way beyond what the original founders expected that clause to mean, by applying it to anything that 'affects' commerce, which is almost everything people do. But things like, a law banning carrying a gun withing X feet of a school have been overturned on the basis that there is no relation to interstate commerce.

Also, it's the 14th amendment that allows the government to ban racial discrimination.
posted by delmoi at 4:54 PM on January 31, 2012


I seem to recall McCain quickly saying, "No, that's not true," to those people. Although, the better answer would have been: "That's not true, but it shouldn't matter if it was." Of course, that's a step too far in "defending" your rival, I suppose.

A woman at a townhall called Obama an "Arab" and McCain responded by saying that he was in fact "a decent family man." Apparently being an Arab and a decent family man are mutually exclusive.
posted by brundlefly at 6:02 PM on January 31, 2012


A woman at a townhall called Obama an "Arab" and McCain responded by saying that he was in fact "a decent family man." Apparently being an Arab and a decent family man are mutually exclusive.

I don't think I saw that. But, yeah, that's pretty damn low.
posted by asnider at 6:27 PM on January 31, 2012


Also, it's the 14th amendment that allows the government to ban racial discrimination.

Yes and no. The 14th Amendment lets the federal government prevent racial discrimination by the states, but federal laws prohibiting racial discrimination by private businesses (well, places of public accommodation, anyway) are based on the Commerce Clause. See, e.g., Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 US 241 (1964).
posted by jedicus at 6:47 PM on January 31, 2012


The simple fact of a black president is destroying the GOP.

It's beautiful.
posted by bardic at 8:16 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Voter Thanks Newt Gingrich For 'Putting Juan Williams In His Place'
posted by homunculus at 11:10 PM on January 31, 2012


some of my best friends are blah
posted by lukievan at 7:09 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't call it a comeback!

Alright, I see a lot of back and forth about whether Newt is a racist/sociopath/etc and arguments about what his intentions are in his heart. It doesn't matter and I'll tell you why:

Newt Gingrich used to shop at my grocery store.

I admit I didn't know it was him at first: in person he's something of a quiet man; the last time I encountered him, he was wearing blue jeans, sneakers, and a red Washington Redskins shirt. He didn't come in very often, but I'd run into him now and again. He was polite when he'd ask where things were, and came across as a bit shy. He's far less angry and jowly looking in person. He seemed bashful but gracious when recognized, but largely people just left him alone. I'm sure it would have been fun to get in his face about something political, but this was about 7 years ago, and Newt was something of a "Oh yeah, that guy" trivia at the time, and this being the DC area, it's a bit lousy with politicians anyway.

Also, he likes Reese's Peanut Butter cups.

Now, as a politician, certainly he knows how to compose himself in public, and knows how to be personable, and the shy t-shirt and jeans shopping in a grocery store persona could very well be a pose. He very well could BE a sociopath.

But it doesn't matter!

It absolutely does not matter in the face of the things he says on tv, and the things he is proposing for the country. It doesn't matter what evil lurks in his heart when his record is plain as day, his platform is infinitely visible, and whether he's spitting poison as a cheap ploy or because his heart is darker than pitch, the end result will be a bad lot of shit for women, the poor, black folk, and whomever else his fans don't care for; regardless of whether it's coming from the heart of Newt the man, or the cartoon speech bubble of Newt the TV character, because either way, enough people agree with it that there's a chance that this guy could become president, and ideology or schtick, it'll make life worse for a lot of people.

I think Newt is a terrible politician, a terrible candidate, and would make a nightmarishly terrible president, regardless of how nice he was to everyone at the grocery store.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:09 AM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


In other Santorum news: Santorum Tells Sick Kid Not To Complain About $1 Million Drug Costs Because People Pay $900 For An iPad
posted by homunculus at 7:05 PM on February 3, 2012


Santorum wins in Minnesota and Missouri and is leading in Colorado.
posted by octothorpe at 7:46 PM on February 7, 2012


There's Racist Dog-Whistling, and Then There's... Racism
posted by homunculus at 1:48 PM on February 15, 2012


Wow homunculus, I was surprised to see that on Little Green Footballs. And then I clicked over to their main site and it was full of stuff critical of the right. Did that site go through a complete turnaround in the past few years? Because back in the day, it was full of really hateful shit.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:03 AM on February 16, 2012


Yea, Charles Johnson (LGF) did a 180 a few years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 3:04 PM on February 16, 2012


Wow, guy must have had a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:15 PM on February 16, 2012


My understanding is that he made friends with some Muslims that reached out to him. He's basically a pro-Obama conservative, now, as rare as that species is.
posted by empath at 8:27 PM on February 16, 2012


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