August 27, 2008

The ugly truth

Republicans seem particularly fond of taunting any Obama supporter by noting that by all rights, Obama should have an enormous lead in the polls. How come it's so close, they ask.

Deep down, they know the answer, if they are capable of honest self-introspection, usually a rare trait in such types. They also know that since it can't be proven, they can adopt their favorite pose: smug and silly self-satisfaction.

Yes, they know why it's close, and rather than being rightfully sickened, they're instead pleased as hell with the situation.

Jacob Weisberg in Newsweek:
What with the Bush legacy of reckless war and economic mismanagement, 2008 is a year that favors the generic Democratic candidate over the generic Republican one. Yet Barack Obama, with every natural and structural advantage, is running only neck and neck with John McCain, a subpar nominee with a list of liabilities longer than a Joe Biden monologue. Obama has built a crack political operation, raised record sums and inspired millions with his eloquence and vision. McCain has struggled with a fractious campaign team, deficits in clarity and discipline, and remains a stranger to charisma. Yet at the moment, the two appear to be tied. What gives?

If it makes you feel better, you can rationalize Obama's missing 10-point lead on the basis of Clintonite sulkiness, his slowness in responding to attacks or the concern that he may be too handsome, brilliant and cool to be elected. But let's be honest: the reason Obama isn't ahead right now is that he trails badly among one group, older white voters. He lags with them for a simple reason: the color of his skin.

Much evidence points to racial prejudice as a factor that could be large enough to cost Obama the election. That warning is written all over last month's CBS/New York Times poll, which is worth studying if you want to understand white America's curious sense of racial grievance. In the poll, 26 percent of whites say they have been victims of discrimination. Twenty-seven percent say too much has been made of the problems facing black people. Twenty-four percent say that the country isn't ready to elect a black president. Five percent acknowledge that they, personally, would not vote for a black candidate.
...
Such prejudice usually comes coded in distortions about Obama and his background. To the willfully ignorant, he's a secret Muslim married to a black-power radical. Or—thanks, Geraldine Ferraro—he got where he is only because of the special treatment accorded those lucky enough to be born with African blood. Some Jews assume Obama is insufficiently supportive of Israel, the way they assume other black politicians to be. To some white voters (14 percent in the CBS/New York Times poll), Obama is someone who as president would favor blacks over whites. Or he's an "elitist," who cannot understand ordinary (read: white) people because he isn't one of them. We're just not comfortable with, you know, a Hawaiian.

Then there's the overt stuff. In May, Pat Buchanan, who frets about the European-Americans losing control of their country, ranted on MSNBC in defense of white West Virginians voting on the basis of racial solidarity. The No. 1 best seller in America, "Obama Nation," by Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D., leeringly notes that Obama's white mother always preferred her "mate" be "a man of color." John McCain has yet to get around to denouncing this vile book.

Many have discoursed on what an Obama victory could mean for America. We would finally be able to see our legacy of slavery, segregation and racism in the rearview mirror. Our kids would grow up thinking of prejudice as a nonfactor in their lives. The rest of the world would embrace a less fearful and more open post-post-9/11 America. But does it not follow that an Obama defeat would signify the opposite? If Obama loses, our children will grow up thinking of equal opportunity as a myth. His defeat would say that when handed a perfect opportunity to put the worst part of our history behind us, we chose not to. In this event, the world's judgment will be severe and inescapable: the United States had its day, but in the end couldn't put its own self-interest ahead of its crazy irrationality over race.

Choosing McCain, in particular, would herald the construction of a bridge to the 20th century—and not necessarily the last part of it, either. McCain represents a cold-war style of nationalism that doesn't get the shift from geopolitics to geoeconomics, the centrality of soft power in a multipolar world or the transformative nature of digital technology. This is a matter of attitude as much as age. A lot of 71-year-olds are still learning and evolving. But in 2008, being flummoxed by that newfangled doodad, the personal computer, seems like a deal breaker. At this hinge moment in human history, McCain's approach to our gravest problems is hawkish denial. I like and respect the man, but the maverick has become an ostrich: he wants to deal with the global energy crisis by drilling, our debt crisis by cutting taxes, and he responds to threats from Georgia to Iran with Bush-like belligerence and pique.

You may or may not agree with Obama's policy prescriptions, but they are, by and large, serious attempts to deal with the biggest issues we face: a failing health-care system, oil dependency, income stagnation and climate change. To the rest of the world, a rejection of the promise he represents wouldn't just be an odd choice by the United States. It would be taken for what it would be: sign and symptom of a nation's historical decline.

10 Comments:

At 8/28/2008 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, you think that his total lack of exerience has nothing to do with it?

You think that his stating that "Iran is a tiny country and no threat" has nothing to do with it?

You think that his desire to redistribute wealth by taxing the country to death and killing small business, has nothing to do with it?

Of course, the color of his skin does cost him some votes. At the same time, the color of his skin gains him some votes as well.

Of course, the color of his skin has something to do with it - and this fact as shown when Pastor Wright came to the forefront, and Obama's slide started. It is not the color of his skin, but his association with radical racists that has made race an issue.

The fact is that we are choosing the 'Leader of the Free World' and as Joe Biden says, "the job does not afford on-the-job-training.' I think that this issue has a lot to do with the polls.

 
At 8/28/2008 6:50 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

I too am puzzled by the closeness of the race. Two months ago, honestly I thought Obama would be a shoo-in.

So in the part that you have in BOLD print, you are basically saying that we should elect him because he is Black. And if we don't elect him, then surely it will be just because he is Black? (I mean it couldn't be his razor thin qualifications or lack of substance, could it?)

Personally I think voters should make their decision based on what is good for America and our national interest and not what "the rest of the world" wants. (Where has that gotten us?)

If Obama has such great "policy prescriptions" for the 21st Century, then he had better communicate them in this speech tonight. We want substance, specifics, down to the wonkish detail. If he wants to score points, he needs to knock off the feel-good platitudes and hot air and revival meeting crap. Dick Morris said in his column today that he said that when Al Gore talked substance in his 2000 acceptance speech, he gained 17 points. Morris basically said that Obama needs to be more boring like Al Gore. He said that when Obama shows some substance, he will make up the ground that he is lost.

Why else doesn't the Obama Camp want to have town-hall meetings with McCain or any type of forum where he goes off script?

And before you say I am a closet racist, for the record.. I would have eagerly supported Condie Rice for President had she run and she is Blacker than your guy is. But you see, there is a difference, Condie is actually "qualified".

Looks like the Cold War is back. In the future, when Putin starts playing hardball with us, how will President Obama respond, with a speech about "Hope" and "Unity"??!!

 
At 8/28/2008 7:53 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 11:11

Just suck it.

You're ship has sailed, my friend. Your goofy and wrong notions are at long last revealed as the bullshit they've always been.

Iran isn't a big threat at the moment. That's a fact. Sorry if it runs contrary to the fear-mongering from those who lust for war and enormous profits that you shill for.

And what the hell do you say about the FACT that wealth HAS been "redistributed" more than any time in the past 80 years, only it's been a massive and overwhelming shift of money FROM the poor and middle class TO the very wealthiest in the country?

Take your "redistribution of wealth" bull and shove it up your ass. Seriously.

What's "killing small business"? Taxes? YOUR party has been running things for decades now. What the HELL are you talking about?

It's the looting of this country by the insane tax policies you support and by privatization and by war profiteering and absolutely reckless fiscal policy which is killing small business.

That's about to end.

And if you think Obama is a "radical racist" then suck it.

You've forfeited your right to be taken seriously.

How much training did George W. Bush have?

Evidently not enough. I trust Obama's judgement over McCain or any other Republican any day. He was right on so many things, and McCain/Bush has been so wrong.

So wrong in fact, that Bush is now doing exactly what Obama has called for, such as time-lines and "talking to our enemies" that Bush himself called "appeasement" not long ago.

Your right wing hooey is done. It's been an utter failure.

You had your shot. You blew it big time. The country can't stand it anymore.

It's over. Say bye-bye.

 
At 8/28/2008 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - you get awfully bent out of shape when someone just answered the question that you asked.

Your point is that if Obama does not win, those that did not vote for him must be racist, and I pointed oput that there are plenty of reasons not to vote for Obama.

I appreciate that you disagree - but to call me a racist for not supporting a man that has serious flaws (in my eyes, and many others) is indeed quite narrow-minded.

I can certainly appreciate why you have such a difficult time getting anyone to comment on your site.

 
At 8/28/2008 10:34 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

The Rev Wright thing is old hat and it feels "trivial" at this point. But I think "anonymous" is correct in that this issue of a lack of experience is not going to go away. It is the reason for Obama's slide in the polls and not all the fireworks in Colorado, not all the fancy speeches, and not even the great Joe Biden can change that- it is a reality. By the way, where did my first post on this go??

 
At 8/29/2008 1:00 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I'm tired of your stupidity. I'm sick of it, actually.

And first of all, you act as though I wrote that piece. I did not. You write, "So your point is..." No, that's the author's point. I haven't said a thing about it.

You pretend like you're Oh-so-civil, when in fact you contantly are dishonest, juvenile, and every comment you leave is so uninformed, so extreme right wing, that there's no other way to respond but with the derision and contempt it so richly deserves.

How many times should I or anyone else be expected to spend hours responding to you as if you were a child, explaining exactly why your notions are wrong?

If you can't tell (which you can't by definition), then I'm not here to straighten you out.

If you think that trickle down economics has worked just swell and should continue... that's your problem.

If you think that we can squander literally trillions of dollars on a completely useless war, and cut taxes at the same time, which has never been done before in history, and apparently be so blindly ideological that you never spend a second wondering just who the hell is going to pay for it all, then that's your mental problem.

A child could figure this out. But not you.

You apparently live in some never-never land where you can just keep cutting taxes, spending trillions and borrowing trillions more from the Chinese, as if there's no tomorrow, AND think we can do it all while cutting taxes.

That's insane. You've lost your ability to reason.

And I'm done... past done, with idiots like you who wreck our country and it's discourse by contantly braying about LITTLE STUPID SHIT that doesn't matter.

With the country's fate in the balance, and crisis all around, what do you want to discuss?

Why Rev. Wright.

That's bullshit, and it's not serious, and I'm sick of it.

You're not serious. You're not even making sense. You don't care about the country, only that your FAILED and selfish ideas continue to be followed and that the old white power structure remains in power and the rules remain rigged in their favor.

Screw that.

You say there are serious questions about Obama.

If there are, you haven't brought up a single one. Care to try again?

And just how blind are you that for every one of your little petty and grossly exagerated concerns about Obama that there's not a dozen that apply to McCain?

You don't make that much. You're far from rich. Does it give you some sort of psychological boost to contantly argue in favor of policies that favor those who could buy and sell you 500 times over?

Your life is more difficult, your standard of living lower, and your kids prospects much dimmer because of the way the elite have rigged the country, yet you fight for them every step of the way.

That too, is insane.

Why you have your head up their ass is a complete mystery. Must be some psychological deal where you think you're in the same class if you adopt their politics.

The people you so fervently defend and champion probably spend more than you made last year on call-girls alone.

Wake up.

 
At 8/29/2008 1:20 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico.

Of course, I didn't write that piece. Just posted it for people to consider.

Since you're rational at least, and not some robot who spews right wing talking points, I'll tell you that I think the premise of the piece is a big dangerous for the reason you mention, namely that it implies that if Obama were to lose, that it wouldn't be for reasons other than race.

Of course, that's not fair or honest.

I think maybe what the author is trying to say is that, considering the two candidates, it's pretty clear that Obama would be superior, or at the least, McCain would be a step backwards and a continuation of the blatantly failed policies and attitude of the previous mis-administration.

I think what he's saying is that if it were NOT for those refusing to vote for, or looking for excuses not to vote for Obama because of his race alone, that Obama would win handily.

I think he's suggesting that the only reason it's close is due to racist resistance, and that if that weren't there, Obama would be far ahead in the polls.

So following from that, if he does lose, it will necessarily be due to racism.

Hope I explained it in a way that makes sense.

Perhaps the best way to put the point is that it's saying that if Obama were white, he'd be way ahead in polls and would likely win the election in a landslide.

So..... the only other rational explanation is that racism is still very much at play.

And therefore, if Obama loses, it will be impossible to say it wasn't due to racist motives, and therefore a great shame and blot on America's record.

The country has a chance to be color blind. And if it is, it would elect Obama.

To follow that reasoning, it also says that if people try to suggest that Obama lost purely due to policy differences, or some other set of legitimate concerns, that it would be false and only ignoring the obvious, that it was race.

Think about it. If you stripped away all the phony and FALSE information that people report as reasons for not preferring Obama, or for being fearful or skeptical of him, there really wouldn't be too many legitimate reasons to vote against him.

You could disagree with his policy on the war, though it's only the logical and sane path. It's not some peacenik plan to just yank everyone out of Iraq tomorrow. Not by a long shot. And he wants to pursue the fight in Afghanistan.

You might have legit differences over health care, but the majority of people know the system is really messed up and they are in favor of some form of universal health care. Obama's plan doesn't go as far as Hillary's even.

His taxation policies would be hard to fault unless you're Phil Graham or Donald Trump. (or Jim Mowen, but he's out there.)

Lowering taxes on the middle and lower class while closing loopholes and bringing back taxes on those who have reaped a record increase in income over the past 8 years. (while 90% of wage earners have seen their income drop.) isn't exactly radical.

It's only extremists who think we can spent trillions and never pay for it... EVER that think taxes should be lowered.

Everyone else realizes that we have to square our books, and expecting the very richest to pay their fair share again isn't exactly some radical scheme. It won't affect the economy in the least, except to stimulate it.

Let's just face facts. We've seen what happens when Republican ideology is put into practice.

It's an utter failure and everyone suffers except the very wealthiest, who after all, are the only ones the party responds to or even cares about.

So.... why wouldn't a large majority of the public vote for Obama?

They overwhelmingly favor his policies. Young voters overwhelmingly support him.

Everything is right there for the makings of a landslide.

So... honestly. Why isn't he further ahead?

Racism and utterly false LIES that have been spread about him, and that some people are stupid enough to believe.

But you know what? Most of these people who say they believe such non-sense as that he's a Muslim, etc. actually KNOW it's a lie.

They don't care. Because it's their excuse for being racist.

They can say they're not voting for him because he's a Muslim, or any one of the dozens of outlandish lies spread about him much easier than being honest with themselves and admitting it's because he's black that they're fearful and skeptical.

But it's racism. And I think even you know that.

 
At 8/29/2008 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame TID that you need to be so hateful when someone just answered a question.

I thought that Liberals were to be tolerant of all perspectives and thinking. You seem very judgemental and meanspirited at someone who did nothing more than state the concerns with Obama.

I though dissenting views were welcomed by the Left?

You seem more judgemental and intolerant than those right-wing fundamentalists!

 
At 8/29/2008 12:38 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico,

Yes, questioning Obama's level of experience is legitimate. I dont' believe it disqualifies him, especially contrasted with McCain's experience in being consistently and quite dissasterously wrong on so many issues.

You obviously made that comment, which makes a good point, before McCain picked a woman who was a mayor of a tiny town in Alaska two years ago.

This woman is a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

I think McCain himself essentially ended the experience argument.

P.S. Your previous comment was published yesterday. I didn't have time to read it and put it up earlier. Sorry for the delay.

 
At 8/29/2008 12:38 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 8:17

Who, besides you, says I have to be "tolerant" of all views here on my own blog?

The fact is that I don't have to be tolerant of stupid and dishonest views at all. The fact that I even publish them is a testiment that I'm fair-minded.

I can express my views just like they can.

And for the record, stop cheapening the word "hate" by using it when it's completely false.

The fact you fling it around like you do shows that you're the same asshole that left the idiotic right wing crap to begin with. Now you pose as someone chastising my reaction.

We don't need jerks like yourself who take some sort of twisted pleasure out of making ridiculous statements, getting a reaction, and then pretending to be above it all and wagging your finger at the reaction.

If you want to continually come here and make comments that are downright stupid, unserious, and only designed to incite, don't act like some gigantic pussy when you get the response you know full well you'll get.

You're not only a jerk, you're a collossal phony.

 

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