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Harry Reid and the Left’s Insulting Identity Politics

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Last week, I took a lot of heat for my article on "Obama and the Left's Insulting Identity Politics." I asserted that the left was obsessed with racial justice, diversity, and identity politics. That from the DNC's selection of Obama as the primary candidate, to the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, to Obama's own selection of Amanda Simpson, the first transgendered appointee, time and again the left has let identity politics trump merit and used political correctness to stifle dissent.

Considering the first year of the Obama administration, pockmarked by episode after episode of amateurish, unthoughtful, and badly nuanced presidential politics, President Obama's own staff have made the case for me that an identity-based selection process is flawed, as well as pedantic and insulting to the intelligence of the American people. I asserted that Obama might be better suited by an appointment policy based on the merits of the candidates, and not their race or gender. In the ensuing discussion, I admitted that in order to "keep up with the Joneses" on the left, and not appear completely out of touch, the right has engaged in identity politics as well, most notably with the selection of RNC Chair Michael Steele, as well as, in an attempt to share the claim of a "historic presidency" with the Obama candidacy, with the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate in 2008.

The difference however, is that the right isn't a proponent of identity-based government legislation that intrudes on our lives, such as affirmative action and quotas, all of which actually wind up hurting race relations further, while not really solving anything. Meanwhile, the so-called true believers on the left actually practice a much more dishonest form of manipulation, setting race relations further and further back, by making a spectacle of every first "hyphenated-American" this or that, and promoting flawed and divisive legistlation pandering to minorities in an effort increase the size of their tent and get more votes.

While many agreed with my characterization of the choice of Michael Steele, few could admit that Obama has engaged in any identity politics of his own, or that the left as a whole seems to place identity over merit, or that this had anything to do with the selection of Barack Obama as the general election candidate. But a mere week later, Senator Harry Reid has proven my argument correct, having been quoted in the new book Game Change as saying that the country was ready for a black president, particularly one that was "light-skinned" and with no "Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

The problem with this glimpse into Harry Reid's wily and inappropriate mindset is that this view isn't unique to Reid. Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, was speaking for many in the Democratic party at the time, who no doubt had visions of high voter turnout and a historic presidency dancing in their heads and ultimately picked the novelty of Obama over the experience of Clinton. That, my friends, is using race to manipulate, and completely calls into question the so-called noble left's racial justice campaign plank.

And I totally agree with Michael Steele, that by the same standard that saw Trent Lott exorcised from his leadership role for toasting Strom Thurmond at his retirement party, Harry Reid should have to give up his post as Senate Majority Leader. The left predictably and hypocritically has tried to circle the wagons, with both DNC Chair Tim Kaine and Senator Dianne Feinstein on the Sunday shows suggesting that it was enough that Reid apologized to Obama. It's not. Yet another stunning example of the type of hypocritical double standard, embodied by the left, who insincerely and continuously attempt to use race and identity politics to stoke racial and classist angst merely to get more votes for a platform focused on reducing our freedoms, intruding on every aspect of our lives, and increasing our dependency on the state.

Republicans stand for a conservative interpretation of the constitution as a guide for governing, abiding by the wisdom of the framers. Perhaps the Democrats should drop the pretense of their faux morality and have the guts to run on their real platform of a continuous reinterpretation of our rights, in favor of centralized federal management and bigger government as the only solution to our ills.

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About The Obnoxious American

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “I asserted that the left was obsessed with racial justice, diversity, and identity politics.”

    So you have written yet another article about it. I am sorry but who is obsessed?

    The article is seriously flawed because the author, yet again as is an issue with many of his articles fueled by his poorly informed opinion rather than actual facts, does not know what he’s writing about.

    What exactly is wrong about Reid having that opinion of the political landscape? You don’t state what it is other than it’s bad.

    That you and Steele want the same standard shows how either disingenuous or ignorant you both are. Reid says he thinks the electorate is more likely to vote for Obama because he isn’t too black to upset white voters. Here’s what Lott said, which you fail to offer even a link to:

    “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, [Mississippi] voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.”

    Strom ran as a segregationist, which means he didn’t want whites and blacks mixing, even though he thought it was okay to have sex with black women. What problems were Lott referring to that we would not have had if segregation had been allowed?

    btw, you also fail to mention that the Bush White House was behind the push for Lott to resign his post to get their guy Frist in charge. Now why is that? Did you not know that or are you purposely misleading readers?

    Conservative George Will doesn’t think Reid’s comments were racist because he is an honest, intelligent debater. Why don’t you set the same standard for yourself and stop wasting everyone’s time?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I actually can see Obnox’s point on this one, much as I think he was way wide of the mark last week.

    This is on a par with Joe Biden’s (in)famous remarks when he was running against Obama in the Dem primaries.

    It’s indicative of a mode of thinking which seems to be found among a certain breed of political dinosaur. These guys know that they oughtn’t to be racist, but they don’t really get what not being racist really entails.

    And it’s not exclusive to the left either.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    There is an interesting part of Sen. Reid’s remark, that candidate Obama had no “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” I have seen nothing written about the words highlighted above in the quote. I recall listening to then Senator Clinton’s attempt to affect a “Negro dialect” before a largely Black audience, and she got some modest criticism for doing so.

    It seems likely to me that Senator Reid’s use of the words “unless he wanted to have one” must have had some intended meaning. The only meaning I have thought of is that he viewed then Senator Obama as affecting a “Negro dialect” when he thought it politically useful, but not otherwise. Is there some other meaning reasonably ascribed to the words?

    Surely, this must have occurred to someone else.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Further to my comment #3, there a bit of an unset at NPR over a cartoon presentation on “How to speak tea bag.” In response, the NPR ombudsman noted that the creator of the cartoon “is talented, but this cartoon is just a mean-spirited attack on people who think differently than he does and doesn’t broaden the debate. It engages in the same kind of name-calling the cartoon supposedly mocks.”

    Relevant to this thread? I don’t know.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    No, Dan, I think you’re right. Reid seems to have been referring to the notion of Obama switching to ebonics to appeal to a particular voting bloc (which, as we know, he never does).

    I’ve been having a look around the web to see if Reid’s comments appear in their proper context anywhere – to see if they make sense any other way – but no-one seems to have taken the trouble to do this, at least not to my satisfaction.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    *yawn*. Comparing Harry Reid’s observations of political fact to Trent Lott is comparing apples to gasoline. Why? Because Trent Lott – a senator from MY home state – was well liked in racist circles. Here’s something I picked up about a speech Lott gave in Greenwood, MS – about thirty miles from my house:

    “In 1998 and 1999, Lott was criticized after disclosures that he had been a speaker at meetings of the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization formed to succeed the segregationist white Citizens’ Councils of the 1960s. In a 1992 speech in Greenwood, Miss., Lott told CCC members: “The people in this room stand for the right principles and the right philosophy. Let’s take it in the right direction, and our children will be the beneficiaries.”
    Asked to comment on Lott’s remarks at the Thurmond celebration, Gordon Baum, CEO of the Council of Conservative Citizens, said “God bless Trent Lott.””

    Are you familiar with the Council of Conservative Citizens? Google it sometime – it was a nationwide organization that was started after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and the stated purpose of this organization was to steer business away from black-owned businesses towards white-owned businesses. The CCC was started by Senator James O. Eastland, who was twice president pro tem, who lived not five miles from my house, who my grandmother worked for (selling moonshine), and who offered me an appointment to the Naval Academy (I declined). This man was the most powerful racist in America for a generation, and Trent Lott was his acolyte.

    SO UNLESS YOU CAN FIND SOMETHING HARRY REID’S DONE THAT COMPARES TO WHAT TRENT LOTT SURE AS HELL DID, THEN I SUGGEST YOU GET OFF YOUR DEAD HIND END AND FIND OUT WHO THE REAL RACISTS ARE, AND WHO’S REALLY CARRYING A DOUBLE STANDARD…that is, if you really do care about getting rid of racism and racists. Many, many conservatives don’t.

    I can count the number of times I’ve cussed on BC on one hand and still have fingers left over…but the willful ignorance of the Right Wing when it comes to who’s racist and who isn’t…is an outrage.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Reid’s comments are trivial and irrelevant. Lott’s comments were just a trivial and irrelevant. Neither of them was particularly racist and both are being taken largely out of context.

    But what does it matter? Reid is out of office in less than a year and Danny Tarkanian will be sitting in his seat, and he is certainly not a racist, though he might not be terribly fond of Turks.

    Dave

  • The Obnoxious American

    So let me get this straight El Bicho, because George Will doesn’t agree with me and because George Bush pushed for Lott to go, I’m somehow wrong? Sorry but that’s pretty flawed logic. I don’t always agree with George Will or George Bush. But whether or not Will agrees with me or whether Bush pushed for Lott to go matters not to the point I’ve raised – namely that the Dems love to play the race card, but are not morally superior by any stretch. And the fact that they try to appear as friendly to minorities, as evidenced by Reid’s schemy comments, is about as dishonest and sleazy as you can expect from politics. But go ahead and reassure me that Reid’s comments don’t matter. You’re just proving my point about the left’s hypocritical behavior.

    Glenn,

    Reid’s comments were indicative of the left’s will to use race to manipulate and that is the point of the article here (as well as the one last week). Perhaps Lott should go, maybe he was a stinking racist. I don’t make any claims to the contrary. But a) what he said at Thurmond’s retirement party (which is why he resigned not for any of the other reasons you mention) was just as bad as what Reid said, and you’re a hypocrit for suggesting one should go and one shouldn’t, and b) nothing Trent Lott did will change the fact that Reid’s “fact stating” in an excersize by a left wing pol, one of the leaders of the party, using race as a political tool. This is all the more inflammatory considering the left’s platform of racial justice. Is this too just political maneuvering? I think the answer to that has been and is now even more obvious.

    Shame I have to explain all this.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    It is so typical of OA to take some random, perhaps unfortunate comment by an individual and use it to accuse and excoriate an entire group.

    I look upon Reid’s comments as little more than an older individual who apparently hasn’t altogether escaped the past. As he was a supporter of Obama and that the entirety of his comments were meant to praise him, they cannot be compared to Lott’s comments.

    While his comments were perhaps not PC, they do in fact reflect the reality. Obama’s fairer skin, his mixed racial heritage and his educated, polished elocution went a long way in rendering him less threatening to white voters.

    Further, I’ve heard and read all this crap about how supposedly demeaning Democrats are to minorities ad nauseam. It is first, a blatant lie, and second nothing more than a rationalization by right wingers attempting to compensate for their own failures and bigotry as regards minorities. It’s a mantra that is oft repeated in the effort to convince themselves and others that they aren’t racists by pointing fingers at the opposition.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “It is so typical of OA to take some random, perhaps unfortunate comment by an individual and use it to accuse and excoriate an entire group.”

    So hypocritical BTone, you know as well as I if we were talking about Sen Harry Reid (R) you’d feel completely differently. But go one trying to convince us that it is in fact us on the right who are actually in support of more individual freedoms (FOR ALL) that are attempting to compensate. What a laugh.

    Just because the right knows that hate crime laws are reactionary and not needed (hate crimes were crimes to begin with) just because the right realizes that things like AA and enforced diversity isn’t a real solution to anything, doesn’t mean we’re bigots. It just means we’re smarter than you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    Why don’t you look up Harry Reid’s voting record as compared to Trent Lott’s…and see why the black community (with the exception of a few, most notably (gasp!) RNC head Michael Steele) is NOT up in arms against him.

    Harry Reid’s voting record shows he’s always been very supportive of minority rights. Lott’s shows just the opposite.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    Lott’s comments were just a trivial and irrelevant. Neither of them was particularly racist and both are being taken largely out of context.

    Yes, Lott’s comments were taken out of context…UNTIL you compare them against his voting record, against his college days when Trent Lott helped lead a successful battle to prevent his college fraternity from admitting blacks to any of its chapters. Add all these to his association with the Council of Conservative Citizens…and what do we have? Someone that only Dave Nalle could deny was a racist.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    A few points, first: if a Republican would of been caught saying the same exact words there would be hell to pay by the Left. And it’s amazing that within hours Obama made a public statement defending Reid, yet, when it came to the “crotch bomber” he waited 3 days. Hmmmm.

    Last, what a way to get your book marketed..”Game Change”, already number one.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Oh please. Smarter? Hardly. Greedy? Yes. Self-serving? Yes. Presumptive? Yes. Condescending? Yes. Clueless? Yes. Anal? Yes. Self-hating? Yes.

    I could go on, but smarter? No.

    B

  • The Obnoxious American

    Christine

    Absolutely right, and biting commentary. Glenn and BTone, that must have hurt :>

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    No, Christine’s point is a false argument. Answers about the crotch bomber required collating and considering the available intel, and speaking with the agents and bureaucrats involved. This takes days – and anyone who knows what it’s like dealing with different government agencies knows that getting detailed answers like this in only three days…well, it’s not a miracle, but it was certainly unusually fast.

    Reid’s comments, however, required a few Google searches to check the context as compared to his voting record…just as it only required a few Google searches to destroy your point about Trent Lott, and Dave’s claims that Lott’s statements were taken out of context.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Glenn, you may be right about accumulating intel. As we can see they (whoever is in charge) are NOT very good at it!! But then again, Obama could of made some statement (from Hawaii) to calm the nerves of the nation.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Christine’s absolutely right. After all this is a president who has weighed in on nearly everything, from Gates’s arrest to Kanye West’s designation as an “ass.” Yet he couldn’t directly weigh in for days on an attempted terror attack? Kind of crazy.

    And the left has been quick to say, well Bush did worse with Richard Reid. Not quite the same thing. First, Bush messed up too and it’s not like the left hasn’t harped on him for the last 8 years. That said, the Reid incident was a mere few weeks following 9/11, the threat wasn’t fully known, the protections and war on terror weren’t in place. And since when are we holding up Bush as an example of what a president should do?

    He failed when he didn’t speak to the American people for three days. He appeared to not want to be involved in this, which is a sign of weakness. Moreover he clearly applied a double standard to what Lott said vs what Reid said.

    What’s really funny are when people are talking about look at their voting record. Reid’s voting record IS the point. It’s all about pandering and manipulation. Reid’s not in office to do what’s consitutional, or right for the country, but rather to do whatever race baiting manipulation he can to get votes – from the selection of candidates, to the support of flawed, but racially (or genderly) sensitive legislation. Don’t you get that passing laws to “be down” is using race in politics? Check out the title of this article.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Aside from addressing the double standard issue, I don’t find Reid’s remark racist one bit. Clumsy, definitely. Poorly articulated, definitely. But what’s racist about articulating one’s opinion about the mood or sentiment of the country.

    If he were expressing his own personal opinion about Obama the candidate, that would have been a different story. But clearly he didn’t. In fact, his remark comes awfully close to Geraldine Ferraro’s infamous comment in the midst of the primaries.

    Was Ferraro a racist? I seriously doubt it. In fact, most of the outrage generated by her remark had come from Obama’s supporters. Outrage, because she spoke her mind and it did close, perhaps, to reflecting the truth. Some liberals have reacted to having been “found out.”

    Indeed, Obama was to an extent an “affirmative action” candidate, unproved and untried. Many, including myself, have had serious reservations. And yes, his being inoffensive, and not cutting the picture of a stereotypical, angry black, did help him with his nomination.

    The question is – why making such an observation is regarded as a racist remark, regardless who says it?

  • Doug Hunter

    “just as it only required a few Google searches to destroy your point about Trent Lott, and Dave’s claims that Lott’s statements were taken out of context.”

    Only for the feebleminded. Lott’s statement was a compliment given off the cuff at a birthday party and could easily have been referencing leadership qualites or conservatism or any number of things other than race. Of course those obsessed with race, like yourself, assume foolishly that everyone else is and try to make it about that.

    There’s only one racist political party out there, it’s the one who plays identity politics, creates race conscious legislation, and is constantly bringing our differences to the forefront. The other side seeks only a colorblind society.

    Your masters are absolutely terrified of a colorblind society where merit rules, that would take away their most reliable voting blocs.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    it did come close to . . . (second paragraph)

  • The Obnoxious American

    Roger

    You miss the point of the article. Virtually none of the things people say that are then labeled as racist, are actually anything more than clumsy, stupid, off the cuff comments. That’s not at all the point of the article, which is that the left continues to use race as a tool to manipulate. Either to win votes from minorities with pandering legislation, or to stifle dissent.

    Interestingly, your point about Ferraro proves mine. A clear double standard has been applied to Reid when what Ferraro said wasn’t even as bad yet shelled her chances. But more to the point she got whacked not because of what she said, but because the party was interested in using Obama’s race to win. So Ferraro gave them an easy way to demonize Hillary.

    Interestingly, here is wiki’s quote of what Ms. Ferraro said, and it’s very very close to the point of my article:

    “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was responding to Dreadful’s comment, OA. Havent’ read the article.

    As I said, aside from the double standard issue, I see no issue except for Reid’s lack of intelligence to express his ideas clearly.

    As to whether he was being manipulative, as I believe you may have insinuated in one of your comments, I’m not qualified to judge. Personally, I don’t think he’s that smart to be accused of manipulation, but I reserve my judgment.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Roger,

    I think any reading of what Reid was trying to say is obviously manipulative in terms of using race to get votes. Reid basically acknowledged that Obama’s ability to sound white to white audienced but to also have the ability to turn off (or on) the “dialect” would help him gain votes.

    This episode shows the 2008 election for what it was – the selection and election by Democrats of a candidate chosen not because of his accomplishments or experience (there wasn’t much of either) but mainly because of his racial appeal, and the so-called historic nature of such a presidency. That’s effectively what Reid was saying when he was quoted. If that’s not using race to manipulate, then I don’t know what is.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s a minor issue to me. All politician’s are.

  • zingzing

    “identity politics”=the right’s obsession with race. you manipulate race as bad as anyone.

  • zingzing

    “If that’s not using race to manipulate, then I don’t know what is.”

    this, thus this.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    I am in favor of centralized federal management and bigger government as the only solution to our ills….

    Since the rights and protections of the individual is left up to which party won the majority in their state in the last election..

    We yo yo from one state to the next…California is trying to lower carbon emissions at the same time as taking marriage rights away from gay couples. Washington is working on recycling more. New York is doing nothing to get us to a green environment and we know what LA, SC, MO are resisting any change by declaring a opt out Health Care if there is a public option, bailout money earmarked for the poor, and an extension of unemployment benefits for the jobless. Give Texas and Arizona koodos, they are placing wind-farms in the equation!

    After having read this article, I would like to defend Senator Harry Reid by saying “I believe he had in mind the shallow and closed minded voting populace we have out here and realized that most identifiable white voters are prejudiced.”

    He knew we had to win..

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Oh, I forgot to mention the great states of Pennsylvania and West Virginia…they are holding on to that filthy coal!

    lobbying really hard!

  • The Obnoxious American

    “After having read this article, I would like to defend Senator Harry Reid by saying “I believe he had in mind the shallow and closed minded voting populace we have out here and realized that most identifiable white voters are prejudiced.”

    Thanks for proving my point Jeannie, your characterization of Reid’s mindset is precisely why the left’s practice of Identity politics is insulting and insincere. Note the very last paragraph of my article:

    “Republicans stand for a conservative interpretation of the constitution as a guide for governing, abiding by the wisdom of the framers. Perhaps the Democrats should drop the pretense of their faux morality and have the guts to run on their real platform of a continuous reinterpretation of our rights, in favor of centralized federal management and bigger government as the only solution to our ills.”

    After all, even you agree that Reid’s comments reflect not morality but pure political calculation. Using race no less.

  • zingzing

    oa, what do you think of the southern strategy?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    I agree with Cindy, Too much BOLD looks like a sock stuck in pants…

    I want to quote STM now..”G-day”:)

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    Somehow you missed the second and third paragraph in my article. Here it is, in bold, so you won’t miss it this time:

    ” I admitted that in order to “keep up with the Joneses” on the left, and not appear completely out of touch, the right has engaged in identity politics as well, most notably with the selection of RNC Chair Michael Steele, as well as, in an attempt to share the claim of a “historic presidency” with the Obama candidacy, with the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate in 2008.

    The difference however, is that the right isn’t a proponent of identity-based government legislation that intrudes on our lives, such as affirmative action and quotas, all of which actually wind up hurting race relations further, while not really solving anything. Meanwhile, the so-called true believers on the left actually practice a much more dishonest form of manipulation, setting race relations further and further back, by making a spectacle of every first “hyphenated-American” this or that, and promoting flawed and divisive legistlation pandering to minorities in an effort increase the size of their tent and get more votes. “

    You’ve succeeded in getting plenty emotional but in terms of proving the thesis of this article wrong? Not so much.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing

    I’d also recommend reading the last paragraph too (which I quoted for Jeannie). In fact, try reading the whole thing.

  • zingzing

    so what do you think of think of the southern strategy?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “even you agree that Reid’s comments reflect not morality but pure political calculation. Using race no less.”

    Well, it does reflect morality, sort of, because Obama was more acceptable for not being “the stereotypical negro.”

    I hope you’re not suggesting though, OA, that America is free of prejudice, regardless of what quarter it emanates.

    But as I said before, the ways of politics, the machinations and manipulations, are of no interest to me – not from any intellectual, conceptual standpoint. They’re part of the game.

  • http://therefoundingfather.blogspot.com/ THE REFOUNDING FATHER

    T.O.A.,

    I think you are spot on with this quote: “Perhaps the Democrats should drop the pretense of their faux morality and have the guts to run on their real platform of a continuous reinterpretation of our rights, in favor of centralized federal management and bigger government as the only solution to our ills.”

    They might as well just add FDR’s Second Bill of Rights to the Constitution.

    – THE REFOUNDING FATHER

  • The Obnoxious American

    Sounds outdated for one. Here’s wiki’s definition:

    “In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to a Republican Party (GOP) method of winning Southern states in the latter decades of the 20th century and first decade of the 21st century by exploiting opposition among the once segregationist South to the cultural upheaval of New Left, Vietnam protests, the Hippie culture, Gun control, Abortion and to desegregation and Civil Rights.”

    I have to say I am not aware of any incidence of the GOP using desegregation as a campaign platform, either in the 21st century, or in all of my time paying attention in the 20th (which I’ll admit is limited). That said, I seem to remember something about the Dems filibustering civil rights legislation that the right was forwarding. Hmmmm.

    Now, aside from the specific issue of desegregation, the rest of the issues are bona fide GOP platforms. We ARE against Gun Control, we don’t support Abortion (though for me this is more of a moral question than a question for the state). We are for family values, which I suppose is the opposite of “Hippie Culture” (Chuckle).

    Not really sure what your point is here. Should the GOP not use the campaign platforms that they stand on, to motivate the base? Of course they should, just like the left does. This doesn’t mean they should be manipulating the masses with race as Reid is wont to do. And if they did, I wouldn’t support it. And obviously, I call it like it is and I have a long track record of supporting what is right for the country, not the party. If there is a specific instance that you are referring to that is racially distasteful (and I am not suggesting there haven’t been on both sides of the aisle), I’m not approving of it.

    None of this conversation changes the points raised in the article.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The problem is – the original formulation of “our rights” tends to reflect “privileged morality.” By all reasonable accounts, the concept of morality aims at the universal.

    So “bigger government,” while not ideal by any means, can definitely be viewed (by the enlightened some) as a remedy – to restore the nation to its true bearings and godly intent.

    And since we claim to derive our heritage from God’s intents and purposes, shouldn’t we at least try to live up to our concept of manifest destiny by being true to these words?

  • zingzing

    oa, the southern strategy was used by republicans to exploit racism in the south to gain votes. i wouldn’t say its in effect today, at least not as explicitly as it once was, but basically, when johnson signed the civil rights bill, he stated “we’ve just lost the south” and the republicans jumped on it. they manipulated racial tensions (and backed the interests of racists) in order to gain votes.

    and it worked. and thus, the south is now solidly republican instead of (as it was) democratic. good use of racism for political ends!

    i’d say that’s a bit worse than electing a black man into office.

    but i’m sure you can figure a way that it’s not.

    either way, this stuff has been going on forever. so, is your sudden indignation mere ignorance, or for political ends? and if it’s the latter, doesn’t that make you just as guilty as those you are criticizing?

  • The Obnoxious American

    Roger,

    I’m not quite sure how the cause of “promote and defend democracy throughout the world” is assisted by a giant government that taxes it’s citizens out of wealth, while detailing the rules around every aspect of their lives. Unless there is some other manifest destiny you’re referring to.

  • zingzing

    and i’m not sure how small government translates to starting multiple wars, but you know, politics…

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing

    We can go back through history and delve into the wrongs promoted by both parties and as I intimated by the left’s opposition to civil rights legislation is just as bad as the rights exploitation of racism in the 60s and 70s as well as both parties support for slavery for much of this country’s history.

    None of this history means that what Reid said or what the Dems continue to do is right and I have every right to call them on it. And frankly so should you.

  • Zedd

    I think the word “Negro” is funny. Are there any still around?

  • Zedd

    While I don’t think it was appropriate for Reid to make that comment, it certainly doesn’t compare with someone who said:

    “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either”

    Referring to a candidate whose position was:

    “All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches”.

    It’s quite a bit different. No argument to be made really. Let’s close shop fellows!

    But they both referred to the “Negro”. I don’t know why that’s so funny to me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “The giant government,” to use your own turn of phrase, OA, has been made necessary precisely because the idea of “universal rights” have taken a backseat.

    And I’m not even talking about the world at large. The locus is none other than US itself.

    You may object, of course, to taxation rates on the wealthy. But what I find more disconcerting is the whole masses of, yes, Americans, living their lives in “quite desperation”, not to mention relative poverty and state of dependence. Definitely not anything to brag about.

    So the notion of “rights” is rather empty in that context. As long as poverty, material and intellectual, is a permanent feature of American life, as long as our own citizens are destined to live their lives unenlightened and in darkness – and yes, in the midst of richest nation in the world and the world of aplenty – then yes, appeals to rights do indeed sound shallow and hollow.

    Nothing more than ideology.

  • zingzing

    oa–you’re correct in saying that history doesn’t make anything right. (although if you really look at it, it’s not left vs right that made civil rights, it’s north vs south. and those dems that filibustered? yeah, they were in the “conservative coalition.” and several of those dems that voted against the legislation became republicans shortly thereafter.)

    but politics is politics and gunning for votes is the name of the game. it’s a shitty game, but to suggest that the left is more guilty than the right is wrong. you have your base, we have ours. it’s not our fault that minorities side with us. you make plays for your groups, but because they’re mostly white, it’s more rare that your plays can be construed as race-based.

    what are “faith-based initiatives” but a play for religious votes? why promote a totally repugnant, charisma-free former business leader who likes to shoot people in the face if you’re not looking for business and gun nut votes?

    it’s the same damn thing.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    I’d say the difference is that the GOP is running on actual platforms that mean something. The left is using identity politics merely to get minorities to their side. Perhaps you can suggest that there is no difference. But there is a distasteful difference.

    Also I don’t think most minorities “side with [you]”. Lots of hispanic and black people share their religious ideology completely with the GOP. It’s primarily those who view America as an ATM and provider of benefits and entitlements, you know, the leeches, of any racial or other background, who side with you.

    Roger,

    As far as those Americans living in quiet desperation – what are they waiting for? The whole point of this country is opportunity. Not hand outs. But you can’t have both and if the left succeeds in what they want to do, opportunity will wane for even more Americans. Should that happen, expect lots more desperation, and not all of it quiet.

  • zingzing

    oa, the gop’s platform is just as much designed to get votes as the dems’ is. hence their sudden religion when they discovered the religious right. and the left believes in their platform. we get minorities to vote for us by actually giving them a role in the party. what’s wrong with that?

  • zingzing

    but it’s obvious that we don’t give them a role in the party just to get them to vote for us. and what part of our platform do you think we don’t believe in?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    OA. This country has bred a loser mentality in great proportion of the population. I find it disconcerting to say to least, and a symptom of a major malaise. You, on the other hand, are coming out with platitudes.

    It’s our own people you’re talking about, not just strangers. Should it be a course for concern?

    Sticking to your own point of view and your own ideology, however well intended, just doesn’t account for this phenomenon. Apparently, a great many of our people do not share your sense of upbeat and optimism. Something had gone awry, my friend, and your patriotic appeals to the goodness and virtues of America apparently are falling on deaf ears.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    Not really. Some aspects of any political platform are pandering, but I’d argue that any republican that does so, ceases to adhere to the spirit of the party and I won’t make excuses for it – it’s wrong.

    It should be about sticking to the constitution not redefining it. That’s the central point. Beyond that, you have a lean towards smaller government and encouraging the private sector. These are real platforms.

    Universal Healthcare? What’s that but a give away, using someone else’s dollars. Cap and Trade? What’s that but a major tax – even libs admit it wont help with Global Warming. Environmentalism? You mean the half baked science that results in socialism?

    Yes, the left has a real platform, but to get there they run on pandering. As I said at the end of my article:

    “Perhaps the Democrats should drop the pretense of their faux morality and have the guts to run on their real platform of a continuous reinterpretation of our rights, in favor of centralized federal management and bigger government as the only solution to our ills.”

    Or to quote Alexander Tyler:

    “”A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can exist only until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse (defined as a liberal gift) out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship.”

    Now which party does Tyler’s quote most closely resemble? One guess.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Roger #51,

    I’d argue that a large part of this is due to the points raised in Dave Nalle’s recent article on the history books. When I was growing up there was much more education around freedom the private sector, etc. Things have changed, what they teach has changed, and now people believe in big government. This is why Nalle’s article was so important.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Perhaps the Democrats should drop the pretense of their faux morality and have the guts to run on their real platform of a continuous reinterpretation of our rights . . .”

    But why should they drop it if it is not pretense. And it’s certainly arguable that it’s not a pretense for all.

    Indeed, perhaps “reinterpretation of our rights,” as spelled out in the Constitution, ought to be the main order of business. Why? Because any talk of rights why the people has been neglected, undereducated and ill-prepared to deal with the challenges of the 21st century is empty.

    And who’s to say that this project, or platform as you call it, is not prompted by some (no doubt foreign to you) concept of morality?

    Centralized government is definitely not a solution, but something has got to be done to save the people. The capitalist system and the wealthy – John Wanamaker and the like – have obviously failed.

    It’s the people, OA, their well-being and their welfare – what is any country’s most valuable asset. Yet your learned discussion conveniently bypasses this all-important point. You speak of rights and of individuals, and of individual rights, spewing out a two-hundred-year obsolete ideology, ignoring all the while that ours is a sinking ship.

    Sorry, OA, I have no tolerance for this kind of thinking. Good luck to you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    OK, perhaps we’ve reached a middle ground. You argue that the ignorance of the masses has been rooted in poorly administered public education; my contention is that it’s more a result of our all-materialistic value system. But honestly, OA, I don’t really believe that the essence of our public education is to rely on the government. However poor, any education instills in a person a sense of self-reliance, confidence, and all those good things. Granted, there are always some who won’t respond, but there are also those who do. But you choose to lay the blame on the education system rather than the system itself. There are no longer opportunities to succeed, OA, not on a scale you envisage, and certainly not for all those who would welcome success. People don’t believe in America anymore. Perhaps that’s the point I’m pressing.

    So it’s not a matter of big or small government, not a matter of public or private sector, just a matter of loss of faith.

    It is written.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Roger,

    People never believed in America, it’s about what Americans believe in. You can whistle past the graveyard all you like, but the fact is, Americans coming up during WWII had it more difficult than we can even imagine, yet they presevered. We have it way easier than they do and all we can do is imagine more and more reasons why we can’t succeed. And this same victim mentality is one espoused by the left. Look at the discussion in Dave’s article about the importance of unions. Ford invented the car, not unions. I’m not saying unions don’t have their place, but when we teach kids several pages of history on unions and skip over the history of individual American ingenuity, I think the victimology starts to pervade society as a whole.

    Also, in your prior post you say

    “Indeed, perhaps “reinterpretation of our rights,” as spelled out in the Constitution, ought to be the main order of business. Why? Because any talk of rights why the people has been neglected, undereducated and ill-prepared to deal with the challenges of the 21st century is empty. “

    Have you read the constitution? What part of “All men are endowed by their creator certain inalienable rights” don’t apply to the 21st century? What part of that doesn’t directly apply to the so-called neglected? And who is supposed to be paying these poor neglected folks attention?

    Sorry, but the solutions to any minority’s ills is right there in the constitution and the bill of rights, as envisioned by the framers. Just like it was a solution for the minority who came to American and started this country.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sorry, OA, but I don’t always believe in the Bible. Besides, you’re talking ancient history when you’re referring to the WWII period. We were still innocent then, babes in the woods. Little did we know the sins of our past were going to come to haunt us with a vengeance. And now we’re paying the wages.

    And no, OA, I’m not talking about minorities. I’m talking about Joe-Six-Pack, be he black, white or red. So let’s face it, we have produced, by any number of causes, a dysfunctional population – good for nothing. You say it doesn’t matter now. I say nothing else matters more. So unless you’re going to argue now it’s “people failure,” I’m going to argue it’s system’s failure,” constitution or no constitution.

    And yes, beliefs matter. Americans don’t believe any more in this country. Not just the minorities but most of us in fact. The only ones who still do are those who have raped her, and the apologists like Nalle and yourself.

    Again, I’m not attacking you, OA. Just voicing my honest opinion.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Are you suggesting that I’m regarding the constitution as some bible, handed down from God? I don’t give it that much reverence, but I do think that the founders did think pretty heavily on it for years. As such we should give it a lot more respect – it’s not a living document but rather a well thought out system – the best system human kind has ever seen. So yes we should give it some respect and not use temporary political power to try and remake the country in the image of Saul Alinsky.

    As far as the malaise you mention, that’s your opinion, and I can’t really argue with you on it. But what your talking about is really an attitude, an outlook. I suspect that a booming economy and not a booming government or even educational system, is the real solution to the malaise you speak of. Tax increases and the various other policies promoted by Obama and his admin will not take us to a booming economy, but the government will surely boom.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not handed down from God, but a bible in a matter of speaking.

    As to the rest of your comment, I have only this to say. To tie the well-being of a people to a booming economy is a very myopic viewpoint. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not arguing for the people’s health and general well-being as measured by their consumption patterns. I couldn’t care less about Americans as consumers. In fact, it’s precisely in bad times that the strength of the nation and the people counts the most – not when everything is honky dory. So really, I don’t understand your standards of well-being and we’re obviously taking at cross-purposes.

    Some other time, perhaps.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Roger, your #57 and # 58 were very eloquent responses to OA.

    I thought about my call for big centralized government last night and came to the conclusion that I was wrong… we need separate States here…but if we truly educated our people..boy, that would be nice :)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna
  • The Obnoxious American

    Roger

    I’m not sure what you are expecting from government, but people certainly won’t and shouldn’t get an emotional sense of well being from it. That’s simply not government’s role.

    Please expound on the specifics you are looking for, if not economic stability (which the current admin has hurt) or law enforcement/national security (of which Obama has hurt the second).

    Frankly, and with all due respect I think you’re being a bit too high falutin, a bit too cerebral here. Government has a role and it also has it’s limits. When people try to view government as something more than that is where we run into the problems we’ve seen throughout history.

    I’ll get my general sense of well being from my family, my faith and my friends. If you can’t get that or are looking for that from Obama, then I feel bad for you my friend, and wish you the best of luck on your journey.

    Jeannie,

    Sounds almost like a conservative viewpoint. Nice to see you coming around.

  • Arch Conservative

    OA there are too many among us today that belive it is the government’s role to provide for their every last need and desire. The idea that an able bodied, able minded adult, should do for themself rather than rely on the federal government makes their heads ache.

    They believe in entitlements, equality of outcome and other such nonsense and seek to villify anyone who does not share their worldview as calluous and lacking compassion.

    It’s hard to take such people seriously, infatilized whining little, narcissiscts that they are.

    Despite the mountains of evidence of the federal government’s role in degrading the quality of life in this nation we have some of our very own on this website making mind numbingly imbecilic assertions that the solution to all of our problems is a larger federal government. The utter stupidity of some of my fellow Americans never ceases to amaze. How completely simple minded must one individual be to fail to recognize the the extremely corrosive influence those who have been corrupted by the power of national politics and corpratism have had on this nation and it’s people over the last 40 – 50 years?

    As for Harry Reid. I don’t believe the man ever had any dignity. He’s pretty mcuh gotten a pass on something that would have costed him seat if he’d had an R instead of a D after his name. I think he said it because he knows he aint a comin back next year so he figured he might as well go out with a bang. i hope this means we have more fireworks to look forward to from him between now and November.

  • pablo

    Obnoxius 66

    “Have you read the constitution? What part of “All men are endowed by their creator certain inalienable rights” don’t apply to the 21st century?”

    Uhhh thats from the Declaration of Independence pal, are you sure your an american?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t know how plainer can I be, OA. America has created great masses of dysfunctional people. Your very complain about all those who are lazy and on the dole is an indictment to that very same effect, although you choose to place the blame on the people rather than the system. Yes, we built up people’s expectations as to the greatest society on the face of the world and then we failed to deliver.

    I don’t see anything cerebral about what I just said. It’s only your unwillingness to try to look at the state of the nation objectively – because it’s so much easier to affix the blame on others – that you think ’tis so.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And no, I have never said that government is any kind of solution. One way or another, this miserable state will continue regardless who is in the Oval office.

    These are but the wages of the capitalist system which has made us into mindless consumers rather than good and informed citizens, by elevating material values and the material basis of success above all other values.

    And the dumb public had bought it lock stock and barrel.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Bing, #63,

    I bet if you or your family were buried alive in rubble you would want your government to save you!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Roger, #66,

    Not Everyone!

  • The Obnoxious American

    Pablo,

    You got me buddy, I always mix them up.

    Arch,

    100% totally agree, couldn’t have said it better.

    Roger,

    A wise man once said that Capitalism is the worst system, aside from all of the others. You can hate capitalism all you like, but the alternatives your suggestions lead to would make capitalism look like a cheery day in the park. And the last 150 years has been a testament to just how productive man can be when he is allowed to earn his own way, set his own direction, in a free, capitalist society (women too). God bless America!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    A wise man once said that Capitalism is the worst system, aside from all of the others.

    Um, Obnox, that was Churchill and he was talking about democracy, not capitalism. Although he’d probably agree with you. :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    If you’re correct, OA, then it definitely needs some fixing.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    I find the content in many of these comments to be truly incredulous…

    No Government! Don’t make us a nanny state! Don’t tax us! We don’t want Health Care Reform!

    Meanwhile, people are trying to dig their screaming loved ones out from underneath the rubble in Haiti with their bare hands..they don’t even have a national guard.

    ?

    Don’t many of you see this?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    And the last 150 years has been a testament to just how productive man can be when he is allowed to earn his own way, set his own direction, in a free, capitalist society

    Exactly, Obnox. How productive man can be. Thing is, not everybody can.

    Just as not everybody can thrive in a hot climate, so not every human is equipped to capitalize (so to speak) on capitalism.

    Thing is, in modern, large-scale political/economic systems whether it be communism, democratic capitalism or social democracy, it always seems to be the same people who manage to thrive (well, provided they don’t get shot!).

    We may be created equal but we do not all possess the same abilities – and under these modern systems, a lack of abilities can absolutely handicap someone. I think we probably agree as to how this is best to be addressed; we just don’t agree on the method.

    All you can really say about democracy and capitalism, for the sake of your argument, is that they are the best systems we have invented for large societies – so far. I say we should keep working to evolve them into something better.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    A chain is as strong as the weakest link…

    I know, many slogans and pithy comments from Jeannie..balances

    The clearest thought sometimes requires the fewest words.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Perhaps we do possess more or less the same abilities – the highest percentile of the Bell curve excluded.

    Consequently, I’d rather argue that as a society, we haven’t done our best for a great many people to develop those abilities.

    And I’m far from delimiting the notion of success here to mere material well-being, but to a kind of excellence in any area of endeavor.

  • Arch Conservative

    “I bet if you or your family were buried alive in rubble you would want your government to save you!”

    Well when you put it that way…..Point me to the line for my daily rationing of government cheese………

    Seriously jeannie…..do you even think about what you’re saying……

    I can’t even bring myself to insult you anymore because I feel so damn sorry for you

  • The Obnoxious American

    “All you can really say about democracy and capitalism, for the sake of your argument, is that they are the best systems we have invented for large societies – so far. I say we should keep working to evolve them into something better.”

    Sure Doc, but Socialism, Communism, totalitarianism, these were all tried before to miserable results. So why is the left so enamored with going backwards?

    “A chain is as strong as the weakest link…”

    Jeannie, Thank god we’re not chained together.

    And to your point about Haiti, you mean the people dying under the rubble waiting for US Soldiers to appear? Are you even watching the coverage? Most of the people who have been saved, have been saved by other survivors, not by the governments of any nation.

    “Consequently, I’d rather argue that as a society, we haven’t done our best for a great many people to develop those abilities.

    Roger,

    Society’s role isn’t to develop talent. It’s up to the talented to make their own way. Opportunity knocks, it does not get sent via the government when you get your welfare check. Further to your point there is NOTHING in the Obama platform that would do anything to develop abilities in people. In fact, this entitlement based society that Obama and likeminded souls favor would directly inhibit the development of talent in society, as evidenced by other societies doing the same thing throughout history.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re mincing words, OA. What have entitlements got to do with it? It’s a misguided policy.

    Opportunity knocks? Not lately, unless you want to ignore our unemployment levels. But to the point – no, not developing talent, but having educated, well-trained and skilled people does benefit the society in any number of endeavors – from industry to culture.

    Just as a corporation or a business is better off for having a skilled cadre or work force, why shouldn’t it be the case for society. People are the major resource, OA, not just machines, capital, or technology.

    And this is just from the pragmatic standpoint. I’m not going to argue the case on moral grounds, because you don’t recognize those kinds of arguments, at least not yet.