Bo Knows Why People Don't Like Him.
May 6, 2014 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Michael Tesler is a political scientist who studies the "Spillover of Racialization" during the Obama presidency into other areas, both political and non-political. He argues that racial attitudes drive public opinion of miderm vote preference, healthcare, and the Obama's Portuguese Water Dog, Bo.

In a recent WaPo post, Tesler argues that "68 percent of Democrats support a forced sale of the Los Angeles Clippers [by owner Donald Sterling] compared to just 26 percent of Republicans.

That wide partisan divide is not too surprising in light of other polls conducted this past year, which also suggested that Democrats and Republican have increasingly separate realities about race. The first figure below shows similarly sizable partisan differences in Americans’ reactions to Sterling’s punishment, the George Zimmerman verdict, and the Academy Award for ”12 Years a Slave”'
posted by MisantropicPainforest (158 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Poor Splash, relegated to the roll of Caucasian Placebo Water Dog.
posted by BrashTech at 7:23 AM on May 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


So wait a sec...this suggests that Republicans might be racists?
posted by Windopaene at 7:39 AM on May 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


(Nice reference in the title.)
posted by LooseFilter at 7:40 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hey now - Republicans aren't more racist: They're just more libertarian, pro-gun, and fans of Philomena.

(That 2 out of 3 of those viewpoints just also say something about how one feels about racism in America, is, of course, something they hope you'll overlook.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:44 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know several people who will swear up and down that they're not racist but will also insist that "Obama thinks he knows better than me". Those exact words.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:45 AM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


Reminder that the plurality of Americans don't associate with either band of evildoers.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:48 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


Pope Guilty, for all the dog whistles out there, "Obama thinks he knows better than me", doesn't ring true to me. I've said the same thing about Bush and Republicans regarding drug policy, reproductive health, education, terrorism and privacy. "Big Government/Liberals think they know better then me" is a common refrain in conservative circles, and I think we would have heard complaints about John Kerry or Hillary Clinton thinking they know better.
posted by spaltavian at 7:56 AM on May 6, 2014 [12 favorites]


Why is: "Obama thinks he knows better than me" racist?

Anti-intellectual maybe... but I don't see the racial connection.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:57 AM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


or what spaltavian said
posted by sparklemotion at 7:58 AM on May 6, 2014


i can believe it in regard to midterm voting and healthcare, but not the dog. people have negative attitudes toward bo because he's part of a black family?

many people who want donald sterling to keep his team are fans of other teams which benefit from maximum chaos in the clippers' c-suite.
posted by bruce at 7:59 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


What a bizarre criticism. Of course Obama knows better than me, especially in areas such as the minutiae of foreign policy. That's why I voted for him as my representative leader. Don't you want someone who knows better to be in charge?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:00 AM on May 6, 2014 [31 favorites]


i can believe it in regard to midterm voting and healthcare, but not the dog. people have negative attitudes toward bo because he's part of a black family?

Because the dog is black too.
posted by Talez at 8:00 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Many people jump to the "Republicans might be racists" conclusion, but I think this quote from the article gets closer:

That wide partisan divide is not too surprising in light of other polls conducted this past year, which also suggested that Democrats and Republicans have increasingly separate realities about race.

It's possible for different groups to have different opinions ("separate realities") about race without one group necessarily being racists. They may be misinformed, inexperienced and generally "privileged", but that doesn't equal racism, in any useful way.
posted by mikewebkist at 8:01 AM on May 6, 2014


Why is: "Obama thinks he knows better than me" racist?

Sure, it's anti-intellectual, but it has a racial context too. Some white people look at Obama and see a black college professor who outranks them. They don't believe knowledge or educational achievement should elevate any black person over a white person, regardless of how uneducated that white person may be.
posted by jonp72 at 8:04 AM on May 6, 2014 [20 favorites]


Don't you want someone who knows better to be in charge?

Sure do.
posted by codswallop at 8:04 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's possible for different groups to have different opinions ("separate realities") about race without one group necessarily being racists. They may be misinformed, inexperienced and generally "privileged", but that doesn't equal racism, in any useful way.

"I'm not racist but let me tell you something I know about the Negro"
posted by Talez at 8:06 AM on May 6, 2014 [23 favorites]


Why is: "Obama thinks he knows better than me" racist?

I've also heard variations of, "Obama's arrogant". Yes, I'm sure he is, as he thinks he should be the most important person on the planet, but that's a pretty odd criticism to make of a politician.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:07 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


Why is: "Obama thinks he knows better than me" racist?

Maybe it's racist, sure, I can see that. There are certainly contexts where if I heard someone say that I would impute a racial basis. (There are also cases where I would not.)

But no amount of racially motivated criticism will make Obama a good President.

I think this kind of commentary threatens to put people in an "enemy's enemy" frame of mind. Linking criticism of the President to racism (even when the shoe fits) becomes a weapon to suppress the many legitimate, non-racist criticisms. You actually see this all the time -- critics of the President (from "left" or "right") get painted as racist and then it is not necessary to think about or address the criticism. Even critics who are racist may be right. Maybe you think Republican Congressman X is racist, but maybe he gave a pretty good floor speech about ubiquitous surveillance.

I definitely don't subscribe to the view that racism is over because we have a black President. That's stupid. But as applies to the President of the United States himself -- the more salient fact about him is that he's the President. He's among the most powerful people on the planet. He has immediate directive control over millions of people and billions of dollars, he can project his voice wherever he wants, he is rich and he will only get richer. He is not usefully thought of as a victim. He is an actor and he needs to be held to account, not excused.
posted by grobstein at 8:10 AM on May 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


They may be misinformed, inexperienced and generally "privileged", but that doesn't equal racism, in any useful way.

They are misinformed because they reject information that conflicts with their racist views. Ditto why they are "inexperienced." They cling to their views because they enjoy the privileges of their relative position versus other races. And that, that is very useful to them.
posted by Wilbefort at 8:11 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


What a bizarre criticism. Of course Obama knows better than me, especially in areas such as the minutiae of foreign policy.

Are you kidding? Obama texts me every morning to tell me if the outfit I've selected has sufficient gravitas for the day's meetings. And he has never been wrong.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:11 AM on May 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


In my circles, it seems like most of the conservatives that hate Obama hated Clinton just as much. They just didn't have nearly as many code words available to them.
posted by DigDoug at 8:13 AM on May 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


What a bizarre criticism. Of course Obama knows better than me, especially in areas such as the minutiae of foreign policy. That's why I voted for him as my representative leader. Don't you want someone who knows better to be in charge?

No, the more important thing is that he seems like a drunk, I guess. But only a white one.

These people didn't vote for him.
posted by kafziel at 8:13 AM on May 6, 2014


"Obama thinks he knows better than me, but he's black, and I am better than black people" is basically how this criticism works.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:14 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yeah, maybe I'm not communicating the tone and the context very well. It's a phrase I have never heard any of these people use about other politicians, right or left, and it's always, always preceded by a specific denial of racism.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:14 AM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


Because the dog is black too.

My guess is that racists don't think black families should own fancy kennel-club breed dogs, even if one of them (the family) is the President of the US. (The dog study was the most interesting to me because who can dislike a dog?)
posted by immlass at 8:16 AM on May 6, 2014


They just didn't have nearly as many code words available to them.

I dunno, the just swapped the "crypto-Kenyan" comments for "crypto-Black" comments. If any of these people thought they could get away with suggesting that Obama had murdered someone, they would....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:17 AM on May 6, 2014


In my circles, it seems like most of the conservatives that hate Obama hated Clinton just as much. They just didn't have nearly as many code words available to them.

Not discounting your lived experience and impressions, obviously, but from one of the articles:

"the experiments embedded in that re-interview survey revealed that health care policies were significantly more racialized when they were framed as part of President Obama’s plan than they were for respondents told that these exact same proposals were part of President Clinton’s 1993 reform efforts."
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:17 AM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


(The dog study was the most interesting to me because who can dislike a dog?)

If Jesus came down from heaven and put his arm around Obama's shoulders the entire GOP would turn atheist.
posted by tommasz at 8:17 AM on May 6, 2014 [34 favorites]


Reminder that the plurality of Americans don't associate with either band of evildoers.

And yet almost all "independents" vote consistently for one of the two major parties in election after election.
posted by deanc at 8:18 AM on May 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


If Jesus came down from heaven and put his arm around Obama's shoulders the entire GOP would turn atheist.

Jesus turns out to not be their messiah? Wouldn't that make them Jewish?
posted by Talez at 8:19 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


This thread is stunning in its complete disinterest in actually attempting to understand actual Republicans.
posted by mikewebkist at 8:22 AM on May 6, 2014 [13 favorites]


My guess is that racists don't think black families should own fancy kennel-club breed dogs, even if one of them is the President of the US.

I think it's more that a certain part of the population will find a way to hate and deride anything Obama does. Period.

The dog is a "fancy" breed, so that's what they hate on. Conversely, if the Obama's had simply gotten a rescue mutt, the uglier sorts would be muttering things about the dog being a "bastard just like Obummer". It's not the dog, per-se, it's just a point to attach hate. And, for many of them, it's his race that drives the hate.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:24 AM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


This thread is stunning in its complete disinterest in actually attempting to understand actual Republicans.

Please explain to me, then, what drives Republicans to dislike Obama's dog. For that matter, please explain to me why they don't like Ted Kennedy's dog. I'm not even a dog person and I'd like an answer to that one.
posted by immlass at 8:25 AM on May 6, 2014 [15 favorites]


The frustration with people saying that "Obama thinks he knows better than me" stems from a long running frustration of conservatism towards larger government. The point is that they dislike the prospect of 'elite' politicians and persons deciding what is best for them, taxing their goods, and outlawing immoral acts. During Obama's first campaign, it would be reasonable for a gay person to have thought "Why does Obama think he knows better than me in what would make me happy? I want to marry my partner, but Obama thinks that it's not right, so we can't get married." Now that Obama has moved from that stance, it doesn't apply anymore. But hopefully you can understand that example, and then see why others might still feel there are similar examples.
posted by jjmoney at 8:28 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


Please explain to me, then, what drives Republicans to dislike Obama's dog. For that matter, please explain to me why they don't like Ted Kennedy's dog. I'm not even a dog person and I'd like an answer to that one.

Middle America must hate Portuguese Water Dogs. That's the only explanation. I mean, who can blame them? Curly hair, webbed toes, doesn't shed. That's not a dog it's a platypus with a perm!
posted by Talez at 8:29 AM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


>immlas

We tend to like things associated with people we like, and dislike the things associated with people we dislike. In this case a set of the population was interviewed, of which a subset does not like Obama. Within that group there are people who will as a result view anything associated with Obama less favorably. It also happens, sadly, to be the case that a subset of people who dislike Obama also have latent racial animosity. As a result you will have a subset of those who dislike Obama having multicollinearity with the racial animosity parameter. Needless to say, multicollinearity in a maximum likelihood estimation is going to produce unclear results when assigning significance and magnitude towards certain parameters.

In the end it's not so different from kneejerk reaction of those who didn't like Bush to any Bushism. Even now Bush just keeps to himself and paints, and everyone looks at the paintings as a big joke and makes fun of him. We do that because we didn't like Bush.

I would be more surprised if those who didn't like Obama didn't let it spillover in evaluating other aspects of his life, since it seems to be a pretty standard human action.
posted by jjmoney at 8:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [20 favorites]


+1 to jjmoney
posted by mikewebkist at 8:34 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


This thread is stunning in its complete disinterest in actually attempting to understand actual Republicans.

Please explain to me, then, what drives Republicans to dislike Obama's dog. For that matter, please explain to me why they don't like Ted Kennedy's dog. I'm not even a dog person and I'd like an answer to that one.


Well, for one thing, there's no incidence of the word "Republican" in the story about the opinion differences about the dogs.
posted by Etrigan at 8:36 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


This thread is stunning in its complete disinterest in actually attempting to understand actual Republicans.

I live in an extremely small, extremely rural village in the upper midwest, in a county which skews ~80% Republican. Furthermore, I work in an industry where I overhear multiple casual conversations involving politics every single day. I understand Republicans very well. And this thread is pretty much spot on as to what they say to one another regarding African-Americans, Democrats, and Pres. Obama.
posted by Chrischris at 8:37 AM on May 6, 2014 [14 favorites]


Jesus turns out to not be their messiah? Wouldn't that make them Jewish?

No. Muslim.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:41 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you read Travels with Charley, you might recall Steinbeck relating how people in the South would react to seeing his large dark-grey standard poodle in the front seat: "Thought you had a (n-word) in there!"

So hating on the Obama dog, comments on its color, etc.; wouldn't surprise me. Naming black animals with the n-word was a common thing as recently as my grandparents' time.
posted by emjaybee at 8:43 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


agreed, emjaybee - i've lived in the south most of my life and have come across many a racist name for dogs.
posted by nadawi at 8:45 AM on May 6, 2014


We tend to like things associated with people we like, and dislike the things associated with people we dislike.

I'm one of those people who thinks Bush should be in prison on war crimes charges, but I never had a problem with his pets. That's just fucking stupid, and that people (any people, really, but in this particular thread, Republican people) don't like a dog only because of who the dog's owner is makes me disinclined to give those people any benefit of the doubt about serious things like public policy. Because really? I should trust your views about the best way to handle health care or Iraq or whatever when you can't even be fucking rational about a dog? Spare me.
posted by rtha at 8:47 AM on May 6, 2014 [28 favorites]


Anyone who's seen The Dam Busters knows about dogs and off-colour names. Not just a Southern states thing.
posted by topynate at 8:54 AM on May 6, 2014


It also happens, sadly, to be the case that a subset of people who dislike Obama also have latent racial animosity. As a result you will have a subset of those who dislike Obama having multicollinearity with the racial animosity parameter. Needless to say, multicollinearity in a maximum likelihood estimation is going to produce unclear results when assigning significance and magnitude towards certain parameters.

The robust standard errors in the logistic regression in Tesler's main article are actually lower when racial resentment becomes a more accurate predictor of healthcare views, which rules out multicollinearity being a significant problem.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:54 AM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


A ca. 2004 thread on Bush's dog Barney seems relevant. Democrats seem happy to project all sorts of anti-Bush fantasies on his dog. I particularly love the seemingly unanimous agreement with: "Barney's body language and the obvious dislike for GWB."
posted by mikewebkist at 8:56 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


I suspect that, at least for the purportedly racialized dog hate, what the survey is really measuring is a connection between the lack of political engagement involved in not knowing who Ted Kennedy is and a propensity for taking politics out on dogs, rather than any special hate for the dogs of black men.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:59 AM on May 6, 2014


topynate: "Anyone who's seen The Dam Busters knows about dogs and off-colour names. Not just a Southern states thing."

In the US, the dog's name was "Trigger"
posted by octothorpe at 9:00 AM on May 6, 2014


"Barney's body language and the obvious dislike for GWB."

That's not even the same thing as "I don't like Bush's dog".

(The point of my question, for the rest of y'all, wasn't how bigots don't like Obama's dog. I grew up in Texas, so I understand how that happens. My question is why "Republicans" don't like the dog if it's not racial animus about the owner. Etrigan's point is well taken and part of what I was getting at with the question.)
posted by immlass at 9:00 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


A ca. 2004 thread on Bush's dog Barney seems relevant.

It does seem relevant, because it stands as evidence that people on a left-leaning message board did not really hold any negative feelings about Bush's dog, despite having a strong dislike for that President.
posted by gauche at 9:01 AM on May 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


A ca. 2004 thread on Bush's dog Barney seems relevant.

You're comparing a random forum thread to professional opinion polling? That's quite a stretch for relevance.

Democrats seem happy to project all sorts of anti-Bush fantasies on his dog. I particularly love the seemingly unanimous agreement with: "Barney's body language and the obvious dislike for GWB."

By which you mean "a couple comments out of a 50+ comment thread largely discussing terrier breeds and FDR." And it says nothing about hating Barney or terrier breeds.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:03 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


It also happens, sadly, to be the case that a subset of people who dislike Obama also have latent racial animosity.

Of course, "subset" can include a group so large as to encompass the entire set. As, sadly, the subset of "racist Republicans" does, often enough. And this is not just idle sniping at Republicans. The GOP's strategy for far to long has relied on racism as a stick to keep the social conservative wing happy. As demographics change, that is going to be less and less workable, but the Republicans clearly have no plan for how to rework themselves on racial issues, except for codewords and sly winks, which fool no one.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:10 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


You're comparing a random forum thread to professional opinion polling? That's quite a stretch for relevance.

"professional opinion polling"? From the article:

To see just how far this spillover of racialization extends, I surveyed 1000 YouGov respondents...

YouGov's "panel" being:

a worldwide community of people who like to express and share their opinions, and earn points along the way.
posted by mikewebkist at 9:10 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bo knows racism.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:11 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


"professional opinion polling"

Yes. Despite your apprent incredulity, the business of opinion polling is in fact the surveying of respondents who like to express and share their opinions when asked by organizations such as YouGov. That's almost entirely what it consists of, actually.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:15 AM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


I always felt sorry for Hitler's dog. She didn't know she was Hitler's dog. She just wanted someone to scratch her ears and give her a treat.
posted by marxchivist at 9:15 AM on May 6, 2014 [19 favorites]


And yet almost all "independents" vote consistently for one of the two major parties in election after election

Of course, in a system that constrains people to two perceived and practical choices, most people are likely to be significantly closer to one or the other. I worry more about people donating their money and labor to Power and oppression or "identifying" with same.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:16 AM on May 6, 2014


Please explain to me, then, what drives Republicans to dislike Obama's dog. For that matter, please explain to me why they don't like Ted Kennedy's dog. I'm not even a dog person and I'd like an answer to that one.

Actually, the reason the Portuguese water dog was identified to different groups as either Obama's or Ted Kennedy's dog is that the experiment brings some new evidence to a debate that's been going on for years between political scientists about whether opposition to liberalism (and, by extension, racially liberal policies) can be traced to racism or whether racism is less of a factor than partisanship and ideology. If partisanship and ideology alone were what drives opposition to Obama, then Republicans and conservatives in the sample should have ended up liking Obama's dog the same as or more than Kennedy's dog. After all, Kennedy and Obama are both Democrats, which means you can't explain the difference due to partisanship. In addition, Ted Kennedy is more liberal than Obama and widely reviled by old school Republicans (Chappaquiddick, William Kennedy Smith, hello?), but this can't explain why people in the survey who identify as conservative like Ted Kennedy's dog more than Obama's. And, of course, what could be any less political or ideological than somebody's pet dog?

Tesler, the political scientist who did the experiment with Bo the dog, has generated some really important new evidence about the increasing "racialization" of American politics after Obama's election to the presidency in 2008. The sad part is that, before Obama's election, the consensus among political scientists was that American politics was getting less racialized. I fear that things will get uglier before they get better in this respect.
posted by jonp72 at 9:17 AM on May 6, 2014 [9 favorites]




This thread is stunning in its complete disinterest in actually attempting to understand actual Republicans.

Not really. It matches up largely with what happens when someone actually runs a survey of Republicans and conservatives on their mindset, which--surprise!--hinges quite a bit on race:
[Republicans] think they face a victorious Democratic Party that is intent on expanding government to increase dependency and therefore electoral support. It starts with food stamps and unemployment benefits; expands further if you legalize the illegals; but insuring the uninsured dramatically grows those dependent on government. They believe this is an electoral strategy--not just a political ideology or economic philosophy. If Obamacare happens, the Republican Party may be lost, in their view.

And while few explicitly talk about Obama in racial terms, the base supporters are very conscious of being white in a country with growing minorities. Their party is losing to a Democratic Party of big government whose goal is to expand programs that mainly benefit minorities. Race remains very much alive in the politics of the Republican Party.

These are strong common currents in the Republican base, but the thinking and passions are very distinct and telling among the key blocs - and those have consequences for those who to lead.
[...]
We expected that in this comfortable setting or in their private written notes, some would make a racial reference or racist slur when talking about the African American President. None did. They know that is deeply non-PC and are conscious about how they are perceived. But focusing on that misses how central is race to the worldview of Republican voters. They have an acute sense that they are white in a country that is becoming increasingly “minority,” and their party is getting whooped by a Democratic Party that uses big government programs that benefit mostly minorities, create dependency and a new electoral majority. Barack Obama and Obamacare is a racial flashpoint for many Evangelical and Tea Party voters.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:27 AM on May 6, 2014 [11 favorites]


i had a brush with a presidential animal once. storytime!

clinton administration, my mom in failing health, and i wanted something for her, specifically, a presidential proclamation that she was a great american mom, but how to get this? i was under no illusion that mail addressed to bill clinton would get anywhere near the oval office. was there any other way i could penetrate the world's tightest cordon?

they had a cat, "socks". i figured the cat had a handler and perhaps a mail secretary, and if i could get a letter into their hands "please show this to the president" who knows, it just might work. i wrote the cat. i didn't hear back from the white house personally, but several months later, an odd thing happened. i went down for a visit, and mom asked me "what do you think about this?"

she had received a large postcard from the white house with a picture of socks on it, and the words "thank you for writing to me. i am honored to be your 'first cat'". she's gone now, but the postcard is up on my bookshelf.
posted by bruce at 9:28 AM on May 6, 2014 [31 favorites]


Even now Bush just keeps to himself and paints, and everyone looks at the paintings as a big joke and makes fun of him. We do that because we didn't like Bush.

Who's everyone and we though?

If you look at the MeFi thread on the paintings, yes, there are jokes and yes, there's dislike, but there's also defense of the paintings from folks who, from what I can off-the-top-of-my-head recall about their posting history, certainly wouldn't be counted among the supporters of GWB.

And it's important to note that some of the criticism falls along the lines of "These aren't hideous, but his having this as a hobby doesn't excuse some of the vile things he did as President."

I can't produce much rigorous collected scientific evidence to support me on this, but it feels to me that while there was certainly a lot of "Chimpy McFlightsuit" and "Bush is a punk ass chump" type stuff from the left (notDemocrats on the national stage, who, after 9/11 all the way up until Katrina, trampled each other to be first in line to kneel before Bush and kiss the ring), most of us could point to policies that sucked and tell you why they sucked. By contrast, what I hear from conservative commentators, Republican governors, Senators, members of The House, and state-level Republicans is that Obamacare is equivalent to the Holocaust, Obama is a socialist totalitarian fascist, Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiatives are outrageously oppressive, Obama is uppity, he hates white people etc.

And I didn't get that during the Clinton years. The truly mouth-foaming things said about Clinton by the right (eg, the Vince Foster stuff) seemed to come from the fringe that no one of importance wanted to publically associate with. I recall lots of dismissive, eye-rolling commentary about "Slick Willie" (from the left and the right), but I just didn't see or hear this voices-dripping-with-venom, "I wish harm would come to this person" antipathy I see directed toward Obama from either "normal" folks or people with a national platform to project their voices.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [12 favorites]


a connection between the lack of political engagement involved in not knowing who Ted Kennedy

You need have no doubt that the older tea partiers know who Ted Kennedy was. Ted and Jane Fonda were their old demons before they decided Obama and Hilary were the Antichrist and the Whore of Babylon.
posted by tyllwin at 9:33 AM on May 6, 2014


And I didn't get that during the Clinton years. The truly mouth-foaming things said about Clinton by the right (eg, the Vince Foster stuff) seemed to come from the fringe that no one of importance wanted to publically associate with. I recall lots of dismissive, eye-rolling commentary about "Slick Willie" (from the left and the right), but I just didn't see or hear this voices-dripping-with-venom, "I wish harm would come to this person" antipathy I see directed toward Obama from either "normal" folks or people with a national platform to project their voices.

The Clinton years is when Rush Limbaugh hit his stride doing exactly this sort of thing, and the entire Republican Party looks like Rush Limbaugh now because it resonated so deeply with the Republican segment of the electorate.
posted by Etrigan at 9:37 AM on May 6, 2014


but this can't explain why people in the survey who identify as conservative like Ted Kennedy's dog more than Obama's

What about this explanation: the people being polled are under of the age of 30ish and don't have any real connection to the politics of Ted Kennedy and certainly not a present reason to dislike Ted Kennedy. As such, the "I dislike the man therefore I dislike the dog" impulse is not as great because Ted Kennedy is not presently disliked by the respondents to the same degree or the same intensity as Obama.

I am not versed in statistics or polling or anything of the sort in this field, so I wouldn't begin to criticize the method. But is it possible this is something akin to being overdetermined: they don't Obama's dog because they don't like Democract's dogs, liberal's/not-progressive-enough president's dogs, don't like the dog of the guy who made the ACA or who abandoned single payer, don't like the dog of the guy who opposed gay marriage or now supports it, don't like the dog of the guy who is too weak/aggressive with international support, current dissatisfaction with national government leading to the dislike of the figurehead of the state and his dog, etc. Trying to isolate racism to exclusion of other explanations seems selective. I get the sense that some people want to advance the "criticism of Obama is racist" argument to silence critics and therefore are ignoring other possible explanation.
posted by dios at 9:41 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's also the fact that Ted Kennedy was probably dead when this survey was taken. Tesler doesn't specifically give a date, but Bo was the First Dog as of April 2009, Kennedy died in August 2009, and that particular article was published in April 2012.
posted by Etrigan at 9:46 AM on May 6, 2014


What about this explanation: the people being polled are under of the age of 30ish

Doesn't work. The respondents are matched to the demographics of the entire population.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:49 AM on May 6, 2014


Was visiting family last summer. They had a black dog and a white dog. The black one was called Obama "because he's uppity."

It wasn't a great visit.
posted by Shutter at 9:53 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


but I just didn't see or hear this voices-dripping-with-venom, "I wish harm would come to this person" antipathy [towards Clinton that] I see directed toward Obama from either "normal" folks or people with a national platform to project their voices.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:32 AM on May 6


But there is a false equivalence there because Clinton was very much to the right of Obama. Obama explicitly is critical of the upper class and wants to raise taxes and is raising national debt. Obama passed national health care. Obama supports many progressive social policies. Clinton lowered taxes, balanced the budget, and a moderate on many social issues. So if the hatred is being driven by policy objections, you would see less degree of hate to Clinton than Obama.

But there was plenty of vitriolic hatred for Clinton just as there was for Bush. The "left" hated Bush every bit as much as the "right" hates Obama; this is transparently obvious to anyone in the middle who thought the Bush hatred was as pathetically strident as the Obama hatred is. But you certainly cannot use the label of racism to describe the hatred of Clinton or Bush, and you cannot deny that it was there.

I can think of two perfectly race-neutral explanations why hatred of Obama seems more than the hatred of Clinton: (1) Obama is far more politically offensive to people on the right than "Third Way" Clinton was and (2) our political discourse as a whole has increasingly become strident and disgusting over the last 2 decades as it has become increasingly common to characterize the opposition as not just wrong but evil, largely driven by cable news and blogs in my opinion--and it's only going to get worse. The very existence of this thread is evidence of (2).
posted by dios at 9:55 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


“Qui me amat, amat et canem meam”
St. Bernard.
posted by Floydd at 9:57 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Clinton was very much to the right of Obama.

And yet Obama is to the right of Nixon.
posted by ambrosia at 9:57 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am not versed in statistics or polling or anything of the sort in this field, so I wouldn't begin to criticize the method. But is it possible this is something akin to being overdetermined: they don't Obama's dog because they don't like Democract's dogs, liberal's/not-progressive-enough president's dogs, don't like the dog of the guy who made the ACA or who abandoned single payer, don't like the dog of the guy who opposed gay marriage or now supports it, don't like the dog of the guy who is too weak/aggressive with international support, current dissatisfaction with national government leading to the dislike of the figurehead of the state and his dog, etc.

While it's not clear if this is being controlled for in this specific poll, these differentiations are definitely included in a lot of other polling, such as on Obamacare (i.e., opposed because too liberal vs not liberal enough).

Trying to isolate racism to exclusion of other explanations seems selective. I get the sense that some people want to advance the "criticism of Obama is racist" argument to silence critics and therefore are ignoring other possible explanation.

I don't think anybody's trying to isolate racism in exclusion of everything else. It's being noted as a strong motivator, which is valid marker. "Because they're racist" isn't a descriptor I often see leveled at liberals and progressives criticizing from the left.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:57 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Doesn't work. The respondents are matched to the demographics of the entire population.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:49 AM on May 6


Ok, its because he was dead then or whatever. The present, current existential threat to your policy preferences if you are on the right and answering the survey is Obama, not dead, out-of-office Ted Kennedy. However you want to account for that (age of respondents, the fact Ted is dead, not currently in power, etc.) it seems you would have to account for the fact the degree of hatred for the man is more or less or equal before you reach any conclusion as to whether the spillover to the pet is more or less or neutral because of some second order characteristic like race.
posted by dios at 9:58 AM on May 6, 2014


If Jesus came down from heaven and put his arm around Obama's shoulders the entire GOP would turn atheist.

Jesus turns out to not be their messiah? Wouldn't that make them Jewish?
posted by Talez at 8:19 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Taking a cue from 2008, I prefer to call them 'secret Muslims'.

Shhh.... secret!
posted by hal_c_on at 10:03 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


What about this explanation: the people being polled are under of the age of 30ish and don't have any real connection to the politics of Ted Kennedy and certainly not a present reason to dislike Ted Kennedy.

While I'm willing to concede that Chappaquiddick is completely irrelevant to voters under 30, even if they're die-hard Republicans, at the time the poll was done, Ted Kennedy was still alive, he was the senior Senator from the state the GOP loves to call "Taxachusetts," and he was one of the longest-serving Democrats in the Senate. In addition, both Ted Kennedy and Obama actually did own Portuguese water dogs. So it made sense in the context of the experiment.

Tesler's findings show that there was a correlation between question items measuring racial resentment and dislike for Bo Obama, but he didn't find the correlation between racial resentment and dislike for Bo's counterpart, Splash. Age and unfamiliarity with Ted Kennedy may have played a role in influencing some of the answers, but I haven't seen data on that that's as strong as the correlations between questions on racial issues and how people felt about Bo Obama.
posted by jonp72 at 10:05 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can think of two perfectly race-neutral explanations why hatred of Obama seems more than the hatred of Clinton: (1) Obama is far more politically offensive to people on the right than "Third Way" Clinton was and (2) our political discourse as a whole has increasingly become strident and disgusting over the last 2 decades as it has become increasingly common to characterize the opposition as not just wrong but evil, largely driven by cable news and blogs in my opinion--and it's only going to get worse. The very existence of this thread is evidence of (2).

This is just a mirror image of your accusation that people are trying to make it all about racism. It's clear race plays a big part, hand-waving it away as "both sides do it" is ridiculous.

So if the hatred is being driven by policy objections, you would see less degree of hate to Clinton than Obama.

But there was plenty of vitriolic hatred for Clinton just as there was for Bush. The "left" hated Bush every bit as much as the "right" hates Obama; this is transparently obvious to anyone in the middle who thought the Bush hatred was as pathetically strident as the Obama hatred is. But you certainly cannot use the label of racism to describe the hatred of Clinton or Bush, and you cannot deny that it was there.


Again, this attempt to paint both sides as equally guilty is unsupported. There are no e-mails from both the base and elected officials that show Clinton as a bone-in-nose witch doctor, or being all excited over watermelon and fried chicken and chitlins despite Clinton being from the South and Obama...not. No one has demanded to see Clinton's birth certificate, or his transcripts, or evidence that he's a good Christian. Bush was mocked for his "down-home" affectations and his apparent anti-intellectualism because it was (a) something he purposely played up, and (b) these were qualities explicitly embraced by his party. And while Bush and Obama have both been portrayed as monkeys, there's a reason (other than facial mannerisms) and historical context behind it being used against Obama.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:09 AM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


That's a huge assumption that Republican respondents to a poll in 2012 have equal dislike (or even recognition) for the then-dead Ted Kennedy as Obama. But it is a necessary one for your conclusion. And a very wrong one, I would submit. But as the person asserting the conclusion, I submit the burden of proof is on you to have a poll showing that can be measured.
posted by dios at 10:09 AM on May 6, 2014


our political discourse as a whole has increasingly become strident and disgusting over the last 2 decades as it has become increasingly common to characterize the opposition as not just wrong but evil

Hey, there are a lot of people in this thread feeling sympathy for the dog.

Ok, you may have a point.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:09 AM on May 6, 2014


And yet Obama is to the right of Nixon.

No, he's not. This meme needs to die.
posted by kafziel at 10:09 AM on May 6, 2014 [14 favorites]


And yet Obama is to the right of Nixon.

The weird myth of "liberal Nixon" needs to die. Dude was a paranoid, racist asshole who actively tried to sabotage the Paris peace talks and prolong the Vietnam War for political advantage and tried to replace the entirety of government assistance with a stingy mincome scheme that would've massively harmed millions of Americans. He was a shit dude and his recent liberal rehabilitation is baffling and stupid.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:11 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or, you know, what kafziel posted. High-five.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:12 AM on May 6, 2014


Again, this attempt to paint both sides as equally guilty is unsupported.

And one might point out your attempt to paint an entire "side" based on limited fringe garbage (anecdotes about email forwards and racist characterization) is equally unsupported. If your contention is that represents mainstream thought of people on the right, then seems to me you have already assumed your conclusion, so there is little room for me to dissuade you of it.

See if we can agree on the following principles:
1. There has been ever increasing and disgusting stridency and hatred of political opponents over the last two decades.
2. That increasing stridency and hatred that existed prior to Obama was not racially motivated.
I defy anyone to disagree with those premises. If you agree with those premises, then trying to discount that trend and claiming it is all or primarily racism seems to me to be the "hand-waving" that you allege.
posted by dios at 10:17 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


dios,

I forgot to mention in the FPP that Tesler's work on healthcare was published in The American Journal of Political Science, which is probably the #2 journal in the entire field of political science. I didn't link because it was gated. This doesn't mean his work is beyond criticism, of course, but it also doesn't mean that his body of work is some one off blog post or an anecdote.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:22 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying Nixon was a liberal. I'm saying the Republicans have shifted the Overton window so far to the right that Obama adopting a policy that originally came out of the Heritage Foundation is suddenly a big government takeover of medicine leading to an inevitable socialist takeover of everything.

I have no interest in rehabilitating Nixon, who was in most respects complete shitheel. But I am glad he created the EPA, signed the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act, something no modern Republican would come near doing.
posted by ambrosia at 10:23 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


The weird myth of "liberal Nixon" needs to die.

Agreed. The man's policies were more liberal than Obama's, but the man himself was not. Not at all. His governance was more liberal because the left was strong enough to hold him to account. The man himself was a virtual fascist. Obama is not, but Obama can and does utterly ignore anyone to his left, and constantly compromises with those far to his right. Which is maybe sadder.
posted by tyllwin at 10:26 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


mefi has actually discussed the nixon thing quite recently.
posted by nadawi at 10:29 AM on May 6, 2014


But I am glad he created the EPA, signed the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act, something no modern Republican would come near doing.

Nixon allowed all those things to happen, rather than 'create' them in any meaningful sense, so that he could have a freer hand to murder Vietnamese and Cambodians.

a policy that originally came out of the Heritage Foundation

If you're are referring to the ACA, the only commonality between that and the Heritage Foundation's proposal is to have a market exchange for buying health insurance. That's it.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:29 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


This doesn't mean his work is beyond criticism, of course,

Then what does it mean? Of course the reason you just wrote that instead of addressing the substance of my comments is to imply that he must be right because of his credentials and that my criticism must be wrong because I not been so published.

That was transparent on your part, hence your need to try to disclaim it as such. Regardless, I did not read his ACA work--whatever that was. I am focusing only on the dog thing that you chose to highlight.
posted by dios at 10:30 AM on May 6, 2014


And one might point out your attempt to paint an entire "side" based on limited fringe garbage (anecdotes about email forwards and racist characterization) is equally unsupported.

These aren't anecdotes, this is stuff that happens and is reported on constantly. Just do a search on racist e-mails or speeches and Obama and you'll get dozens, if not hundreds, just from elected officials and party operatives alone. To attribute it to a "limited fringe" is denying what actually happened.

If your contention is that represents mainstream thought of people on the right, then seems to me you have already assumed your conclusion, so there is little room for me to dissuade you of it.

You can switch on any of a number of mainstream conservative news sources and be confronted with fairly in-your-face racism on pretty much any given day. It isn't witch doctor e-mails, but it is yammering on about "Obamaphones" and "handouts to minorities."
posted by zombieflanders at 10:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]




Nixon allowed all those things to happen, rather than 'create' them in any meaningful sense, so that he could have a freer hand to murder Vietnamese and Cambodians.

Goddamn. Were you trying to provide an example of how political opposition is so disgustingly strident?
posted by dios at 10:34 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Then what does it mean?

You said that it was "limited fringe garbage (anecdotes about email forwards and racist characterization)."

MP said it wasn't, and offered as simple evidence that it had appeared in AJPS (which generally understands the difference between anecdote and data).

It means that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:37 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


This thread is stunning in its complete disinterest in actually attempting to understand actual Republicans.

They keep explaining themselves to me, in detail, ad nauseam, in newspapers that they own and on televisions stations that they own, and they keep saying racist things. So either they are failing to explain themselves very well or my attempts to understand them must deliberately forget the institutionalized racism.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:37 AM on May 6, 2014 [13 favorites]


zombieflanders: you are taking discrete events and extrapolating more general truths from them. How are those not anecdotes? That's pretty much the definition of them.
posted by dios at 10:39 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Enough anecdotes and you have a representative sample.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:41 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


You said that it was "limited fringe garbage (anecdotes about email forwards and racist characterization)."

MP said it wasn't, and offered as simple evidence that it had appeared in AJPS (which generally understands the difference between anecdote and data).


There is no correlation between those two points. Or at least I didn't understand it as such. I understood his point being that might criticism of the "dog connection" in the link is inadequate because the guy who wrote the link has other papers have been published.

The issue about limited fringe garbage was a reference to entirely different strand of the discussion as to whether or not specific criticisms of Obama raised by a user here was somehow evidence of generalized racism.

So your point does not make sense to me.
posted by dios at 10:43 AM on May 6, 2014


Enough anecdotes and you have a representative sample.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:41 PM on May 6


This is some serious begging the question.
posted by dios at 10:45 AM on May 6, 2014


you are taking discrete events and extrapolating more general truths from them. How are those not anecdotes? That's pretty much the definition of them.

A constant procession of "discrete events" is a pattern. Are you denying that such a pattern exists, is tolerated by conservatives, and is rewarded with huge amounts of support from both the conservative base and conservative institutions?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:46 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


Or to put it another way: do you see the power structures within the conservative movements making concerted efforts to punish or otherwise end a constant stream of racist speech (both explicit and thinly coded) directed at Obama and/or his supposed constituency?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:49 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


what drives Republicans to dislike Obama's dog.

Portugese water dogs are a fancy, "frou-frou" breed. They're on a level with fucking poodles - maybe very smart dogs, but the only people who want to own them are usually neurotic and want the dog to match their purse.

However, the actual study was not talking about Republicans, but existing racists.
posted by corb at 10:51 AM on May 6, 2014


Or to put it another way: do you see the power structures within the conservative movements making concerted efforts to punish or otherwise end a constant stream of racist speech (both explicit and thinly coded) directed at Obama and/or his supposed constituency?
posted by zombieflanders at 12:49 PM on May 6


I have no idea what the "power structures within the conservative movements" are, and I probably wouldn't care to know what they do if I did. I don't read or follow what partisans are doing because it makes me want to vomit. Nor do I know what you are referring to by "constant stream of racist speech". But even in my limited understanding, there has been criticism of inappropriate explicit racial attacks against Obama and that has been rejected. I have never heard of it being embraced--and I can be pretty sure if it ever was, I'd see a post here on Metafilter here saying "see? I told you so".

The weasel word you use is "thinly coded." If you want to talk about explicit, I am pretty sure we can find evidence of explicit racism--which is disgusting and should be condemned--being condemned by people who have position in the Republican movement (though I have no interest in going out there and finding it). But if you start going to this thinly coded stuff, you have introduced a variable that cannot be analyzed because I have seen people arguing all criticism of Obama is thinly coded racism.
posted by dios at 10:56 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


But if you start going to this thinly coded stuff, you have introduced a variable that cannot be analyzed because I have seen people arguing all criticism of Obama is thinly coded racism.

There's a saying, if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, its a duck.

The position you are taking is that coded racism is something that is by definition outside the bounds of knowledge and slips through the fingers of social science, that it 'cannot be analyzed'.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:00 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I have no idea what the "power structures within the conservative movements" are, and I probably wouldn't care to know what they do if I did.

I can't read this without hearing Lucille Bluth saying "I don't know what that is nor do I care to find out."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:02 AM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


But if you start going to this thinly coded stuff, you have introduced a variable that cannot be analyzed because I have seen people arguing all criticism of Obama is thinly coded racism.

Welfare fraud (previously known as "welfare queens" and "young bucks"), the insinuation that minorities benefit from Obama, "states rights" (famously described by GOP powerbroker Lee Atwater as a genteel replacement for racial epithets) when it comes to revocation of civil and human rights, Santorum's "blah people" slip-up, arguments that the Civil War wasn't mainly about slavery, etc. All very popular, and have thus far not removed those who uttered them from the various radio/print/TV/online sources where they emanate.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:07 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


The present, current existential threat to your policy preferences if you are on the right and answering the survey is Obama, not dead, out-of-office Ted Kennedy.

Once more, with feeling. Ted Kennedy was still allive at the time that Tesler did the survey with the Portuguese water dog.
posted by jonp72 at 11:10 AM on May 6, 2014


Once more, with feeling. Ted Kennedy was still allive at the time that Tesler did the survey with the Portuguese water dog.
posted by jonp72 at 1:10 PM on May 6


No reason to be a jerk about it. Could you please tell me your understanding?

Because the article I saw was dated April 10, 2012.
Under the picture showing the comparison of Kennedy's dog Splash and Obama's dog Bo is the following notation: (Note: Probabilities are based on logistic regression coefficients. Predicted probabilities were calculated by setting favorability ratings of Buddy Clinton, and thermometer rating of whites (second panel only) to their sample means. Source: YouGov Survey, March 31-April 2)
The conclusion I reach from that is that the YouGov Survey was done on March 31-April 2, 2012 on YouGov.

Kennedy died on August 25, 2009, two and a half years earlier.

As opposed to just telling me that I am wrong, can you explain why you are being so dogmatic about that?
posted by dios at 11:17 AM on May 6, 2014


"Obama thinks he knows better than me"

I dont doubt that those people are racist, but that quote alone isn't evidence either way. It's coming from the "drown the government in a bathtub" crowd. People here in Canada say the same thing about Justin Trudeau.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:19 AM on May 6, 2014


The survey was conducted "March 31-April 2". There is no period of March 31-April 2 in any year wherein both of these things were true: A) The Obamas publicly owned a Portuguese Water Dog named Bo, and B) Ted Kennedy was alive.
posted by Etrigan at 11:21 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Welfare fraud ..."states rights".
posted by zombieflanders at 1:07 PM on May 6


So, by your argument, unless Republicans decry states rights, then they are racists? You cannot envision a scenario in which they might support states rights for Madisonian "laboratories of democracy" reasons instead of racism? Also, opposition to welfare and welfare fraud is only racist in your worldview and not a policy disagreement (perhaps based on rank selfish feelings)? In other words, you argument is unless Republicans explicitly reject those things, they they are endorsing or tolerating racism?

As I said, that's a weasel word that is too pliable to discuss and you have moved the goalposts.
posted by dios at 11:24 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


dios,

are you familiar with the Obamaphone?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:26 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel like we are asked to understand Republicans while many Republicans feel no obligation to try to understand racism.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:27 AM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


It's funny/telling that you can misread an axis labeled "racial resentment" as "strength of conservative ideology" and the results still make perfect sense.

It's depressing how many people in this thread seem to have done that.

And doing that as an attempt to prove that there's no racism to see here? That's just bein' dios.
posted by bleep-blop at 11:29 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


So, by your argument, unless Republicans decry states rights, then they are racists?

Interesting omission of the rest of that phrase, which I will recreate here in full:

"states rights" (famously described by GOP powerbroker Lee Atwater as a genteel replacement for racial epithets) when it comes to revocation of civil and human rights

You cannot envision a scenario in which they might support states rights for Madisonian "laboratories of democracy" reasons instead of racism?

When they're talking about it when it comes to, say, anti-voter-fraud laws which have universally been found to be discriminatory? Yep!

Also, opposition to welfare and welfare fraud is only racist in your worldview and not a policy disagreement (perhaps based on rank selfish feelings)?

Another excellent omission of what I said, this time of the racially-coded usage by Reagan still in use today. And yes, considering welfare waste, fraud, and abuse has largely been shown to come from people taking advantage of those on welfare than those on welfare themselves, complaining about it being the problem with welfare seems misplaced.

In other words, you argument is unless Republicans explicitly reject those things, they they are endorsing or tolerating racism?

As I originally outlined it rather than your rephrasing attempts? Yes.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:30 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Racism expressed in whatever way against Obama, or the general topic of racism among Republicans is pretty boring.

The way people attempt to pretend that racism either doesn't exist, or that if it does it doesn't matter, is much much more interesting.
posted by cell divide at 11:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


You cannot envision a scenario in which they might support states rights for Madisonian "laboratories of democracy" reasons instead of racism?

See people say that but then you get shit like:

States' Rights Democratic Party
Prop 14
George Wallace
Lee Atwater

They've effectively turned states' rights into a bright shining codeword for "how do we fuck black people?"
posted by Talez at 11:35 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Clinton was very much to the right of Obama.

And yet Obama is to the right of Nixon.


Therefore:
Clinton = Goldwater
QED
posted by JackFlash at 11:52 AM on May 6, 2014


2. That increasing stridency and hatred that existed prior to Obama was not racially motivated.

I don't know that you can make that case. You're right in that Clinton was white and all of that - but jeez, the willie horton ads, the welfare queen stuff. Opposition to Democrats has always had a tinge of opposition stemming from an inbuilt racism.

The only difference I see with Obama is that he riles them up enough to get them to finally say out loud what they only thought before.

Portugese water dogs are a fancy, "frou-frou" breed.


They really aren't. It's a working and hunting breed with a long history.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:54 AM on May 6, 2014 [12 favorites]


You're right in that Clinton was white and all of that - but jeez

This is exactly right, and there is a longstanding word in American racism for what Clinton represented, racially, and I heard it a lot about Clinton in the 90s when I stayed with a college friend outside Atlanta.
posted by cell divide at 11:57 AM on May 6, 2014


And yet Obama is to the right of Nixon.

Not only is this not true, the only president who could was even arguably as liberal as Obama is Carter. That does not mean Obama is particularly left (that's a relative scale anyway) or that he has been able to do particularly liberal things, as most presidents have not faced such a tenchent and united opposition. Clinton arguably did, but he attempted "liberal things" far less than Obama.
posted by spaltavian at 11:57 AM on May 6, 2014


You cannot envision a scenario in which they might support states rights for Madisonian "laboratories of democracy" reasons instead of racism?

I sure can! In such a scenario, they'd also be very supportive of the state's right to control marriage. Something like DoMA would be anathema to them. They'd oppose any sort of broad federal restrictions on abortions, or drugs, too, I'd think.

But I actually meet such conservatives only in theory. They exist, but in tiny trace amounts.
posted by tyllwin at 11:58 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


FYI: Ted Kennedy owned Splash, Sunny and Cappy, three Portuguese Water Dogs, which inspired Obama to get a similar dog. In fact, Bo was a gift from Kennedy to the Obamas, bred by the same breeder as Kennedy's own dogs.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:59 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Kennedy died on August 25, 2009, two and a half years earlier.

As opposed to just telling me that I am wrong, can you explain why you are being so dogmatic about that?


For some reason, I thought the survey was done in 2009 before Kennedy's death. I stand corrected. Nothing DOGmatic about that.
posted by jonp72 at 12:00 PM on May 6, 2014


And the comment about a president knowing better than someone reminded me of people talking about Bush Jr., saying fondly that they could see drinking a beer with the guy. Fear and distrust of "the elite" spread (or was pushed) as another vector to judge politicians, not merely as Washington Big-wigs who are disconnected from We The People, to the point that people would prefer to see someone who could (theoretically) be a peer in positions of power versus someone who (broadly) had more education.

Which frightens me to no end.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:03 PM on May 6, 2014


I know several people who will swear up and down that they're not racist but will also insist that "Obama thinks he knows better than me". Those exact words.

The word you are looking for is "uppity", commonly used in a two-word phrase.
posted by JackFlash at 12:05 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Bo was a gift from Kennedy to the Obamas

This changes everything.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:06 PM on May 6, 2014


"The Clinton years is when Rush Limbaugh hit his stride doing exactly this sort of thing, and the entire Republican Party looks like Rush Limbaugh now because it resonated so deeply with the Republican segment of the electorate."

Well, kinda.

One of the best things one of my journo profs did, and this is one of those rare moments where his libertarianism was a big boon to the class, was show us a fair amount of Limbaugh and talk about his rise prior to and with Fox News.

The thing that many people on the left miss, and that conservatives take no end of delight in realizing, is that Limbaugh is entertainment first, politics second. He's into skits and fake callers and parody songs and all sorts of other stuff, so that when he gets excerpted and excoriated, it's almost always something that was a few minutes out of a larger routine. I think he's a vile demagogue, but it's kinda like how Ty Cobb was a terrible person but fantastic at baseball — Limbaugh is (or was, I haven't listened in years) great at radio, and still OK at TV.

So, yeah, it resonated, but it's also something that's taken far less seriously by people on the right than people on the left. To a lot of conservatives, Limbaugh is like a funny drunk uncle that says shit that he shouldn't get away with, whereas a lot of the folks on the left take him like a prophet of American conservativism, a modern-day Father Coughlin, which he's not.
posted by klangklangston at 12:09 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


So, yeah, it resonated, but it's also something that's taken far less seriously by people on the right than people on the left.

I would tend to disagree, steelesteeleston.
posted by Etrigan at 12:19 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


This changes everything.

weneedtogodeeper.jpg
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:20 PM on May 6, 2014


"But there is a false equivalence there because Clinton was very much to the right of Obama.

No, he wasn't.

Obama explicitly is critical of the upper class and wants to raise taxes and is raising national debt.

Special pleading: National debt is more impacted by the massive increase required by the stimulus to head off the biggest recession since the Great Depression.

Obama passed national health care. Obama supports many progressive social policies. Clinton lowered taxes, balanced the budget, and a moderate on many social issues. So if the hatred is being driven by policy objections, you would see less degree of hate to Clinton than Obama."

This is not an accurate summation of relative positions, see previous link to 538's DW nominate chart.

But there was plenty of vitriolic hatred for Clinton just as there was for Bush. The "left" hated Bush every bit as much as the "right" hates Obama; this is transparently obvious to anyone in the middle who thought the Bush hatred was as pathetically strident as the Obama hatred is. But you certainly cannot use the label of racism to describe the hatred of Clinton or Bush, and you cannot deny that it was there.

When measured against public opinion, we actually see less partisan division over Clinton, and Bush was the single worst president of the last 100 years, likely the second-worst president we ever had. Those aren't reasonable comparisons.

I can think of two perfectly race-neutral explanations why hatred of Obama seems more than the hatred of Clinton: (1) Obama is far more politically offensive to people on the right than "Third Way" Clinton was

Previously dismissed as not reflective of actual record.

and (2) our political discourse as a whole has increasingly become strident and disgusting over the last 2 decades as it has become increasingly common to characterize the opposition as not just wrong but evil, largely driven by cable news and blogs in my opinion--and it's only going to get worse. The very existence of this thread is evidence of (2).

That doesn't correlate at the same rate as racialized resentment. While it may be a factor, it is not as good of an explanatory factor as racial resentment. And no, this thread is not evidence of (2) unless you're begging the question.

There was plenty of asinine hate for Bush, but again: Worst president in 100 years, including illegal wars, economic collapse and pernicious, intentional incompetence.
posted by klangklangston at 12:21 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


There was plenty of asinine hate for Bush, but again: Worst president in 100 years, including illegal wars, economic collapse and pernicious, intentional incompetence.

Dubya was so bad that the word "malcompetence", defined as deliberate and malicious incompetence, had to be coined to describe what a complete shit he was.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:25 PM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


Hang on, that was Astro Zombie!
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:26 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


"They really aren't. It's a working and hunting breed with a long history."

I know. That drives me nuts — poodles are working hunting dogs too.
posted by klangklangston at 12:28 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


To a lot of conservatives, Limbaugh is like a funny drunk uncle that says shit that he shouldn't get away with, whereas a lot of the folks on the left take him like a prophet of American conservativism, a modern-day Father Coughlin, which he's not.

I see this kind of sentiment expressed a lot, but if it's true, why are there multiple examples of prominent Republicans apologizing to Limbaugh for disagreeing with him or opposing him? Where is the left-wing equivalent that Democrats with national ambitions proudly and publicly associate with in order to show their base how strongly they adhere to liberal principles?

I mean, you've got Democrats running away from organizations like Acorn that do demonstrable good when there's the merest hint of a suggestion of a possibility that there's something slightly tainted about them...there's no way they'd line up to align with a liberal "entertainer" who does to conservatives and the majority what Rush does to liberals and minorities.

(On the other hand, in support of your point -- somewhat -- there's the fact that Rush alone on the right, as far as I could see, sincerely defended Richard Sherman in the wake of his post-game interview incident. He continually asserted that Sherman was, in fact, not a thug. I still have a hard time figuring that out. Conclusion, land of contrasts, etc etc.)
posted by lord_wolf at 12:43 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hang on, that was Astro Zombie!

One of the very few things I ever did under that name that has an ongoing legacy.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:43 PM on May 6, 2014


The "midterm", "Bo", and "argues that" links all have distinct methodological flaws, that resemble those we discussed a few weeks ago in the thread on Tea Party racism. The main issue is that these articles look only at correlations between racial views and policy preferences, where it could simply be that conservatives are both more racist and have more conservative views, but not necessarily that the racism drives those views. Thus it could be, based on those data, that conservative dislike of Obama is due to his liberalism, not his race, and their views on racial issues (such as the Clippers) are now more polarized not because of increased racism, but because of increased ideological polarization, which because the right and left are more unified, increases the racial differences as they piggy-back on the increased ideological separation. Likewise, we can't tell whether they dislike Bo because of Obama's race, or just because they dislike Obama more than Ted Kennedy.

However, while this was a methodological conundrum for social science through the 60's, it was largely been solved decades ago, and the "healthcare" link does it right. First, you just control for the confounder -- here, ideology -- which means you can say that for two people with exactly the same degree of conservatism, the more they have "racial resentment" over and above that ideology, the more they object to Obama policies. In addition, you include interaction terms, to see whether the effect of racial resentment is boosted by mentioning Obama. Tesler finds that this is true: even controlling for partisanship, ideology, and the interaction of partisanship with Obama (ie, whether mentioning Obama boosts people's ideological polarization, which is certainly true), you get in addition to all that, another additional boost to the correlation between racial resentment and policy views when mentioning Obama.

This is solid social science -- not state of the art, but it (along with the many other studies of this type, including those discussed in the Tea Party thread) firmly puts the burden of proof on those who claim that race plays no role in these things. It really does seem to matter, and this goes way beyond mere anecdote or correlation. And though this is by no means rocket science, it is science, and it does help to understand the basic social science methodological toolkit before dismissing the results, just as it matters for articles on biology or physics discussed here.
posted by chortly at 12:44 PM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


With all this discussion of presidential pets, I recently discovered that Socks Clinton was euthanized in 2009, at the age of 20.


DEATH PANELS!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:53 PM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


Noted in passing: During his tenure, Bill Clinton was constantly referred to as "America's First Black President."
QED
posted by rdone at 1:38 PM on May 6, 2014


(On the other hand, in support of your point -- somewhat -- there's the fact that Rush alone on the right, as far as I could see, sincerely defended Richard Sherman in the wake of his post-game interview incident. He continually asserted that Sherman was, in fact, not a thug. I still have a hard time figuring that out. Conclusion, land of contrasts, etc etc.)

I have yet to meet a racist who couldn't distinguish the occasional exception. "One of the good ones..." is a trope for a reason.
posted by Etrigan at 1:42 PM on May 6, 2014


"I see this kind of sentiment expressed a lot, but if it's true, why are there multiple examples of prominent Republicans apologizing to Limbaugh for disagreeing with him or opposing him? Where is the left-wing equivalent that Democrats with national ambitions proudly and publicly associate with in order to show their base how strongly they adhere to liberal principles?"

Because he's got a hugely powerful microphone. He's got a bigger audience than any pundit, or any other radio host, and that goes double within the conservative demographic. Even now, off his peak, he regularly hits about 14 million listeners per week — getting a favorable mention there is worth millions of dollars in earned media.

And political parties and media aren't symmetrical. Bless MSNBC's heart (or Current/Al Jazeera), but there's no Fox News for the left. Limbaugh came out of the Robert Morton Downney jr. school of shock-jockery, and you'll find a lot more in common between him and Imus or Stern than with Glenn Beck or Hannity in terms of how the show is structured, his relationship with his callers, and how he produces ancillary media (song parodies, etc.).

This isn't really to excuse his bullshit — he knows that he just makes stuff up, his callers know too, but the whole schtick is about kidding on the square.
posted by klangklangston at 1:44 PM on May 6, 2014


This isn't really to excuse his bullshit — he knows that he just makes stuff up, his callers know too, but the whole schtick is about kidding on the square.

That is almost exactly what Michael Steele said:
Rush Limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it's incendiary. Yes, it's ugly.
And then he got his ass kicked and said:
I respect Rush Limbaugh, he is a national conservative leader, and in no way do I want to diminish his voice.
Limbaugh retreats to "But I'm just an entertainer" when he's called on his more egregious bullshit, but he definitely believes himself to be more important than "just" an entertainer, and so does the modern GOP.
posted by Etrigan at 1:55 PM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


Dubya was so bad that the word "malcompetence", defined as deliberate and malicious incompetence, had to be coined to describe what a complete shit he was.

I always thought that "malcompetence" referred to bad consequences where it was no longer possible determine whether the consequences resulted from malice or incompetence, because the consequences were such a neverending parade of suck that the whole "malice vs. incompetence" debate was rendered irrelevant and beside the point. In this sense, it was similar to philosopher Harry Frankfurt's definition of a "bullshitter" not as a liar, but as someone who is completely indifferent between lies and the truth.
posted by jonp72 at 2:23 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I sure can! In such a scenario, they'd also be very supportive of the state's right to control marriage. Something like DoMA would be anathema to them. They'd oppose any sort of broad federal restrictions on abortions, or drugs, too, I'd think.

I think you're looking for is the Libertarians. We're right over here, and have cookies!
posted by corb at 2:41 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know. That drives me nuts — poodles are working hunting dogs too.

Yea, and land rovers are 4 wheel drives for people who want to offroad and go exploring and camp and stuff, not luxury cars for people to stack baby seats in the back of.

Things change over time, sometimes rapidly. It isn't some baseless accusation to say that the dogs are now associated with rich kennel club frou frou-ness.

The entire "rich people dog" thing is sort of a derail though, since pretty much all the comments are based in seriously racist lol black dog black president amirite shit anyways.
posted by emptythought at 3:59 PM on May 6, 2014


I think you're looking for is the Libertarians. We're right over here, and have cookies!

Warning: Libertarian cookies may be dangerous to your health (blame the elimination of the FDA and the ability to recall food that the libertarian utopia brings).
posted by el io at 5:03 PM on May 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


I'm guessing that with a resume as thin on actual accomplishment as BO's, a white Barry Obama would never have gotten the Democratic nomination in the first place.

At least, I hope so.

(On Tesler's resume we read, under his books: Most Racial: President Obama and the Growing
Racialization of American Politics.
Proposal under review at the University of Chicago Press.

Which pomposity I find hilarious.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:36 PM on May 6, 2014


Congrats on the use of the diminutive of the man's first name as a method of criticism, really illustrates the mindset being discussed here. Extra kudos for the old "thin resume" canard that, depending on what yardstick you use, puts him equal to pretty much every nominee from both parties for the last decade and a half (with the exception of Gore). Minor quibble: you forgot to mention his middle name is "Hussein" and that his preacher was racist, y'know, just for the extra flavor.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:51 PM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


Extra kudos for the old "thin resume" canard that, depending on what yardstick you use, puts him equal to pretty much every nominee from both parties for the last decade and a half (with the exception of Gore).

I voted for him twice, but let's face it, Obama's resume was pretty thin in 2008. I could maybe see putting Romney's in the same space (four years as Governor), but Bush was a two-time elected Governor of a large state, and McCain and Kerry had each been in the Senate for at least as many terms as Obama had years. It takes a pretty generous yardstick to say his resume was equal even to half of the major-party nominees of the last decade and a half.
posted by Etrigan at 6:05 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you go the executive experience route that was so popular in 2012, McCain and Kerry both had the same level as Obama. Ditto for Bush and Romney if you use either legislative experience or time as elected official. These were the criticisms leveled by Republicans, it's not my problem if we never heard them make both at the same time.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:15 PM on May 6, 2014


If you go the executive experience route that was so popular in 2012, McCain and Kerry both had the same level as Obama. Ditto for Bush and Romney if you use either legislative experience or time as elected official. These were the criticisms leveled by Republicans, it's not my problem if we never heard them make both at the same time.

Really? Executive experience was a thing in 2012, after Obama had four years in the White House and was facing a dude who had the same amount? I can believe it might have come up in 2004, when Bush was coming up on a decade of it and Kerry had none, but I really don't remember the resume attack generally, and specifically the executive experience route, on Obama after 2008.

There was plumping up of Romney's resume in 2012 with the whole "He was the Republican governor of a Democratic state and got stuff done" thing, but I never felt like that was trying to one-up Obama's experience per se (plus I agree that he's the one whose resume was comparable to 2008-Obama's anyway).
posted by Etrigan at 6:24 PM on May 6, 2014


Warning: Libertarian cookies may be dangerous to your health (blame the elimination of the FDA and the ability to recall food that the libertarian utopia brings).

But el io, the collective memory of society will punish those who would bake your cookies with flour laced with Arsenic.
posted by Talez at 6:31 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that there isn't a host of people all begging to lace cookies with arsenic, only stopped by the FDA. Or maybe I just attend the wrong family gatherings.
posted by corb at 7:58 PM on May 6, 2014


If David Koch could make a dollar by selling you a cookie laced with arsenic and then run a PR campaign saying that Arsenic is needed in trace amounts by the human body he would.
posted by Talez at 8:04 PM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's not a matter of adding arsenic, it's a matter of not having to pay to make sure there isn't any arsenic, as you well know by now.
posted by kafziel at 8:29 PM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]




Hey, you know what doesn't have arsenic in it? THIS POST.
posted by Etrigan at 8:42 PM on May 6, 2014


I'm guessing that with a resume as thin on actual accomplishment as BO's, a white Barry Obama would never have gotten the Democratic nomination in the first place.

Yes. Black people only achieve anything because they are favored by society due to their dark skin and white people are the real victims of racism.

Remember, Barack Obama has a deep-seated hatred of white people and white culture.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:24 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


(On Tesler's resume we read, under his books: Most Racial: President Obama and the Growing
Racialization of American Politics.
Proposal under review at the University of Chicago Press.

Which pomposity I find hilarious.)


That is standard language. Why do you think it is pompous and hilarious?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:28 AM on May 7, 2014


But el io, the collective memory of society will punish those who would bake your cookies with flour laced with Arsenic.

Surely you mean the individual memories of rational economic actors
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:59 PM on May 11, 2014


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