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What’s so bad about Alan Keyes anyway?

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I was one of the many progressives that had to reassess things a bit after the last election. The comments made about that reassessment…okay, they weren’t about the reassessment but they attached to the post…make need to ask the question in the title of Republicans in general.

Make no mistake, my goals haven’t changed because they’ve never been attached to any particular political party. And my views haven’t changed…I still see him as a prancing absurdity.

But it was said:

To state the blindingly obvious, Keyes is not even vaguely representative of the Republican Party.

and

Alan Keyes was a joke. Republicans, Democrats, Independents, etc. all knew that.

Equating him with the national GOP is insane.

And yet Alan Keyes’ positions are precisely those of the Religious Right., a significant part of the alliance that is the Republican Party.

Are these comments correct? I don’t think so…I think the Religious Right is a major, significant part of the Republican Party. I think it has a huge impact on the Party’s platform, statements and actions. So why have so many Republicans distanced themselves from him? Why is he so disrespected by his own Party?

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About Prometheus 6

  • http://www.thebmrant.com Matt

    Because he says stupid things like “gays are selfish hedonists” and lumps Mary Cheney in with that group. Part of the brilliance of the right is that they keep enough bigoted comments to themselves to get elected. Keyes is not so bright. Also, the guy can’t get through 1 sentence without invoking God.

  • jb

    It was a no brainer-win for the democrats to begin with. We, the Republicans, had to bring in SOMEONE so he wasn’t running alone. Whoever it was would have probably looked bad relative to the competition. He lost, no shocker — just let him be, now, instead of harping on his beliefs.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Well, when the guy is selected by the party to represent them in the race for a senate seat, why should anyone think that he doesn’t represent the party’s views?

    When you say the party had to bring in SOMEONE, why was THIS someone chosen over, say, a leser known but more moderate candidate who also would have lost?

  • MT

    To sum up Keyes is simply to say that he is not likeable.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    That question was asked and answered to my satisfaction before the election…because he’d do it and no one else would. It does bring another question to mind, though: why is symbolic opposition to Democrats in general so important? I think if you KNOW you’re going to lose, let it go and use the resources elsewhere. But that’s me.

    And I’m not discussion his beliefs either…that would probably be unproductive. This is more about how the Republican Party alliance is structured.

    It was suggested that Keyes wasn’t taken seriously, and truthfully there was a noticable negative reaction to his campaign in Republican circles. It was said that seeing him as representative of the natioanl GOP is crazy…yet a significant faction of the GOP coalition is the Religious Right, who most certainly will see Keyes as a shining example of a proper Republican…as, given the congruence of their views, they should.

    So I wonder why so few Republicans actually endorsed him?

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Not likeable.

    Is it that he lack traits that would make him likeable, or he has traits that prevent him from being likeable?

  • http://www.kolehardfacts.blogspot.com Mike Kole

    bhw- Actually, what is surprising is how little the major parties stand over their races and actually pick someone to run in them, especially where it is perceived that a blowout will take place. The prevailing attitude seems to be ‘you want to run? Fine- knock yourself out’.

    There were two such races in Indiana, where incumbent Democrats were clearly going to win handily. Senator Evan Bayh and Congresswoman Julia Carson have always won their seats easily, so the GOP has to decide: do we throw a very good serious candidate out there with a lot of money and other support against these juggernauts, only to have them lose? Or, do we take whoever comes down the pike to at least suck up votes from the straight ticket voters? The latter is chosen in the interest of preserving resources, mainly, but also to shield a good candidate from putting a loss on his resume.

    The way Congressional districts are gerrymandered, you often get a predictable outcome, forcing the other side to make these kinds of decisions, with candidates such as Keyes filling the void.

  • http://urthshu.motime.com urthshu

    I can only hope- as a republican, mind you- that it was a cynical ploy to marginalize the man. Regardless of whether it was or not, he is now. Good result all ’round.

  • http://hippydave.brendoman.com dave

    It is interesting…because I think having Alan Keye run against Obama pushed Obama further into the spotlight. It helped create this phenomena of Barack Obama, which is a positive thing for the Democrat party.

    As for Keyes and the GOP? Yes, Keyes and the Religious Right completely agree on issues. The reason the Keyes did not receive more support was that Keyes is not capable of being subtle. It also was pretty clear that Keyes would lose anyway, so they had little reason to put any support behind him.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Dave:

    The reason the Keyes did not receive more support was that Keyes is not capable of being subtle.

    Now that is an interesting response.

    My first reading was you mean it’s because he refuses to spin, just says things. But it also reminds me of how cranky the whole concept of “sending messages” makes me. Republicans send messages rather than simply stating what they mean unambiguously. It occurs to me that it’s a way of staying away from the inevitable fissures between the factions of any alliance.

    urthshu:

    That is the exact response that makes me ask the question.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    I confess to having one time been something of an Alan Keyes fan. I would have preferred him to Dubya during the 2000 primaries.

    He was a different fellow then. He was a social conservative, but he did not act all crazy and hateful like he does now. If the Republicans had any clue that he was going to act as he did, they would never have nominated him.

    For a small example, he has refused even to congratulate his opponent on the victory- as if Obama was something evil. That’s not being a social conservative, that’s just being a babified little prick.

    Much of this stuff that Keyes was saying did not represent the thinking of typical conservative religious Republican voters. Jerry Falwell would never talk so mean and hateful as that.

    There’s a long way between saying that homosexual behavior is sinful, and publicly excoriating private individuals like this. Maybe Alan Keyes and Fred Phelps can get together and jack each other off, but neither one of them would be well appreciated talking like that in any church I ever attended.

    Somewhere along the line, Keyes has degenerated into something highly unpleasant that does not represent the thinking of any significant number of voters. His vote total suggest that only the most yellow dog Republicans voted for him, or people who simply didn’t know of him and pulled a straight party lever.

    Again in conclusion, the Republicans didn’t realize what they were getting into with him in Illinois. They know better now. Republicans would not nominate this schmuck for dogcatcher at this point.

  • Eric Olsen

    two things: because he lost badly and has no particular constituency: he’s about the last guy on earth African-Americans would vote for primarily because he is African-American

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Al , that’s about the clearest explanation I’ve seen. But you’re not a Republican, right?

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Eric, it’s really hard to claim a person that got 25% of the vote after so little campaign time against the particular opponent he faced has no constituency. It’s hard to say he did badly for the same reasons.

  • Eric Olsen

    P6, I don’t think it’s all that difficult: the hardest of the hardcore Republicans voted for him because he is a Republican. My mother, an otherwise intelligent and reasonable person, ALWAYS votes for the Republican for anything other than local offices (this because she may actually KNOW local Democrats and even LIKE them). THAT’s who voted for Mr. Keyes.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    My mother, an otherwise intelligent and reasonable person, ALWAYS votes for the Republican for anything other than local offices

    No thought or reflection?

    I’m trying to understand where the limit is.

  • Eric Olsen

    plenty of thought and reflection – always the same result

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    plenty of thought and reflection

    “otherwise” and “always” led me to think otherwise.

    I’m really curious about her judgement criteria and where she gets her information on which her judgements are made. Even brilliance can’t compensate for incorrect data.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    P6- I’m definitely not a Republican, and I note that I have never ever voted for anyone named Bush. I will admit to disliking W considerably less than John Kerry- but that’s hardly gushing praise.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    I will admit to disliking W considerably less than John Kerry- but that’s hardly gushing praise.

    Indeed.

    From a truly Libertarian viewpoint there’s little in all American politics that’s appealing.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Shrub won the election mainly because of his stance against gay marriage and abortion and for the ill-fated occupation of Iraq. The first two issues are Keyes’ only issues, basically. His stance and the stance most Republicans voted for don’t just happen to be the same. They are the same because Keyes’ represents a fairly large segment of the Republican electorate.

    If Jack Ryan, who held stances very similar to Keyes, had not self-destructed, had completed the run, he would have gotten more than Keyes’ 26-27 percent of the vote. He does not have the liability of being black and he was more successful with hiding his extremism, except from fellow travelers.

    As for Eric Olsen’s bigoted remark about African-Americans:

    two things: because he lost badly and has no particular constituency: he’s about the last guy on earth African-Americans would vote for primarily because he is African-American

    Tain’t remotely so. African-Americans have a history of voting for white candidates, they often being the only candidates capable of winning. Furthermore, black voters regularly vote against black candidates in situations where one, some or all the candidates are black. To obtain the support of African-American voters. merely being African-American is not enough. The positions of the candidates obviously matter. Keyes’ positions are his problem.

    However, many white voters will say they support a black candidate and then not vote for him. Revisit the poll data for Tom Bradley’s or Andrew Young’s attempts at higher offices, and you will see the discrepancy.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Diva, could you please break down for a Kentuckian such as myself in what way Eric’s comment was supposedly “bigoted”? Is it simply that he mentioned black folks, or just that Eric is melanin deprived? Or is it just that YOU have such negative opinions of black folk that you assume that everyone else does, too?

    Also, your response to the quote is framed as though it was disagreement. [“Tain’t remotely so.”] But in what way are you disagreeing with him? Eric said that black folk wouldn’t vote for Keyes just for being black; you said, no-no, black folks vote for white folk all the time. How’s that different?

    Oh, as just one little counterpoint to your argument about white folks not voting for black, I’ll note our local results in my recently concluded US Senate race.

    Franklin County, Indiana has no significant African-American population. We’re some cracker-ass crackers from Kentucky out here. Yet check out our returns in the election:
    Bayh, Evan (Democratic) 4597
    Barger, Albert (Libertarian) 821
    Scott, Marvin (Republican) 4396

    Evan Bayh won the state overwhelmingly, and Franklin County is not particularly a Republican bastion- yet the underdog black Republican candidate came within a couple of hundred votes of beating him in one of the whitest corners of crackerland.

    I don’t know that it proves a lot, but Marvin seems to have done quite a bit better with white folk in Franklin County where he never even campaigned than with black voters.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Eric Olsen’s remark is bigoted because it implies African-American voters support candidates because the candidates are African-American. As I said, being black does not automatically translate into being supported by black voters. The candidate’s stance on the issues matters. Only by making the underlying biased assumption can Olsen follow it up with his remark about Keyes being an exception. He is saying; ‘If a black candidate other than Alan Keyes ran, he would get support from African-American voters because he is black.’ Not so.

    Black voters, Hispanic voters, Asian voters, women voters and gay voters have largely not had the opportunity to express the kind of bias at the polls straight white voters do — favoring people with their characteristics. Since anti-gay bias and white and male privilege guarantee most candidates will be straight white males, they have had to vote for straight white male candidates if they were going to cast viable votes at.

    I would tutor a Kentuckian on other matters of common sense, but I don’t have time.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    typo = ‘viable votes at all.’

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    I see. So a white guy is a “bigot” if he notices that black voters often are particularly supportive of black candidates. Or are you going to pretend that this isn’t actually true?

    Thing is, you’re diluting the word “bigot” into meaninglessness. If merely noticing real obvious group behavioral patterns around you constitutes “bigotry,” then your definition of bigotry makes it no longer a bad thing.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    Al – All us white folk are bigots! Didn’t you know that???

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Andy:

    I think that’s a bit strong…

    Mac, I noticed Eric’s misconception. I think it correctable; he seems to deal if you make your point sufficienctly real to him.

    I’m in here poking at the guts of the Republican beast, in learning mode right now. One thing at a time for me…and I’m sure another chance to discuss it with a little nuance will pop up.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    P6, poking at the guts of the Republican beast is a fine thing to do. However, you might do better if you pick out for dissection someone who is actually popular among Republicans and the electorate. Alan Keyes is just not representative of Republicans or the electorate at large.

  • boomcrashbaby

    P6, Alan Keyes is the Republican parties version of the reclusive, black sheep, never married, eccentric uncle who lives in the next town over. They don’t much care for him, and will certainly talk about him behind his back, but they keep on inviting him home for the holidays and feeding him.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Al, you should note I’m not exploring Keyes at all. I’m exploring the Republican response to his candidacy. I’m trying to understand the dynamics of the Republican alliance on the ground…the alliance of the leadership is purely about power relationships and makes me sick to my stomach sometimes.

    Keyes is a good place for me to start. He’s on the Republican fringe, but at the center of the Religeous Right. Be it his positions or his personality, he represents just a bit more than a centrist Republican can tolerate.

    And I think it’s at least a bit of both. You got a Conservative religious leader calling the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee evil last week. I need to understand why a Republican who isn’t in the Religious Right would find that acceptable, moral.

    I’ve provisionally concluded the word “moral,” “like “truth” and a couple other similar terms, are just used differently by some 51% of the population than by me. Frankly, it’s probably a lot more than that, but I how the rest of them map their world with their words. You lot in the 51% are just weird to me sometimes. I need to understand your mapping to effectively pursue my goals (which are roughly the same as they were this time last month).

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    After this season, and those dumbass comments about Mary Cheney, I doubt Keyes gets any holiday invites from Republicans.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    boomcrashbaby:

    On one level I think Keyes is more like one of th eold folks who helped found the church and now keeps bitching about how the new pastor is running things. But he’s a church elder so you can’t just say “shut up.” On another level he’s like McDonald’s…you just might get an upset stomach, but basically you know what you’re paying for when you walk in the door.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    P6- I question this: He’s on the Republican fringe, but at the center of the Religeous Right. I have never, ever seen Keyes being supported by an big chunk of evangelicals, nor anybody else. He has never, ever been elected even as dogcatcher.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    The Religious Right isn’t a political party. It’s a social movement that uses politics as one means to an all-justifying end.

    Just my opinion.

    Alan is right in the mix. You can’t slip a postcard between the political or social positions he takes and those of the Religious Right. And I’m saying he;s in the center of the Religious Right because I don’t believe he’s said anything like abortion doctors should be tried for murder or single women shouldn’t be allowed to teach (we now have an incumbent Senator who holds exactly those positions…but he delivered them suavely, you know?).
    And there are those who yet find his anti-abortion rhetoric stimulating.

    It’s more than political contests, Al. A lot more.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    I happened across the blog of a Keyes supporter last week. I don’t remember the person’s name, but he is a Blogcritic. (I’d clicked on the blog because he said something more strange than normal for Right Wingers in comments.) I think what an entry on his blog said might shed some light.

    He accused the Democrats of lowering the margin of success for the Republicans via murder. No, not that babbling David Flanagan was doing about ‘thugs for Kerry.’ (Who, BTW, haven’t rioted yet.) The fellow was saying Democrats caused fewer Republicans to exist to vote for Bush. He said that whatever number of abortions he claims have occurred since Roe v. Wade would be part of the total for Bush but for the ‘people’s being aborted. (Of course that is presumptuous. If the fetuses had gone to term, there is no reason to believe they would all be Republicans.) However, I think this is an example of how a Keyes supporter fits into the GOP. His rhetoric about abortion is extreme, but he shares he president’s opposition to abortion. If one looked at the other votes on the ballot of a Keyes’ voter, they would mainly be mainstream Republican, which is still Right.

    Keyes is also anti-taxation. But, I think most of those one issue voters would go Libertarian. The Constitution Party is also virulently anti-abortion, but it is the hobbyhorse of the neo-Confederate movement now. So, its supporters would not vote for Keyes. His votes have to come from the GOP.

  • Eric Olsen

    Mac, you really are on a rampage, aren’t you? It is rare that you flat-out call me “bigoted.” I refrain from tarring you with the same brush although the landscape is dotted with acid rain-like evidence, primarily the assumption that any criticism, questioning, disagreement – ie, any affront to your phychic hegemony over your immediate environment – is always racially motivated.

    P6, I am unclear how it is a “misconception” that Keyes is not an attractive candidate to most blacks, and that he would not receive the benefit of the doubt that some black voters might give to a black candidate primarily, and please note the use of the word “primarily,” because he is black.

    Are we saying that a substantial – and I don’t know what percentage “substantial” means exactly – of black voters do not tend to give black candidates the benefit of the doubt?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Shrub won the election mainly because of his stance against gay marriage and abortion and for the ill-fated occupation of Iraq.”

    Two of those three reasons don’t make sense. Slightly more Americans are “pro-choice” than “pro-life” so I don’t see how taking the minority’s stance on this divisive issue helped him much with the swing voters who actually decide elections. And the occupation of Iraq was most definitely a negative for him. People who felt the war in Iraq was the main issue in this election voted overwhelmingly for Kerry.

    I will agree, however, that the gay marriage issue helped him quite a bit, especially in Ohio…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Eric Olsen’s bigoted remark”

    On Mr. Olsen’s behalf, I demand an edit!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Are we saying that a substantial – and I don’t know what percentage “substantial” means exactly – of black voters do not tend to give black candidates the benefit of the doubt?”

    Q: How many white candidates have won seats in the House in those districts that have been gerrymandered to be majority black?

    A: Not many (if any).

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    I again reiterate that to assume that African-Americans are voting for candidates based on their race is evidence of racial bias. In fact, it is the ‘the blacks are the real racists’ argument that racially biased white people fall back on often. Interestingly, though Eric Olsen backs the GOP, a party whose support is nearly 90 percent from white voters, and in which black office holders are about one percent. Yet, it would never cross his mind to say white voters, particularly white Republican voters, support white candidates.

    Voters determine the outcome of elections, not the population at large. Since a substantial proportion of the electorate is motivated to vote by opposition to abortion, it has a very significant effect on the outcome. The Republicans benefit from those voters.

  • Truth Minister

    It could’ve been Marion Barry…

  • Truth Minister

    Re:Comment#29, Kinda like you bcb?

  • Eric Olsen

    I don’t back the “GOP”: I voted for Bush, the first time I have voted for a Republican for president.

    I have no doubt that a significant number of whites would be predisposed to vote for a white candidate primarily because he/she is white.

    Are you suggesting whites do it but blacks don’t? Pretzel logic.

  • boomcrashbaby

    Regarding comment 42. Yes, TM, a black sheep like me, but with a completely ideological difference.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    It is not merely an “assumption” to think that black folks will tend to vote for black folks. This is a murky and significantly subjective understanding, but it can readily be backed up by looking at all kinds of voting patterns.

    Note that no one has even said that there’s anything necessarily bad about that. It’s perfectly natural that Joe Lieberman got a lot of his limited support from within the Jewish community. Nor is it bad that Jesse Jackson got a lot of his support from the black community. I bet analysis would show that JFK got a lot of his strongest support from among Irish Catholics.

    Now, it gets bad when people get just stupid with it. It’s just stupidly dysfunctional that black folks in DC keep electing Marion Barry. Of course, it was even far worse when white folks kept voting for George Wallace.

    Of course, Eric’s point was exactly the opposite in this case, that no one one voting for Keyes on the basis of his race. Saying this obviously proves that Eric is a vile racist.

    Bad, bad, white man.

    Plus, he voted for BUSH. How much more proof do we need that Eric Olsen is EVIL???

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    When it is possible for women, gay, black, Hispanic, Asian, Indian and disabled candidates to be elected as easily as straight white men, then Al Barger might have a leg to stand on, until then he doesn’t. The most revealing fact remains: To be elected in America, it is beneficial to be a straight white man. No amount of attempting to obfuscate can cover something that obvious up. The caterwauling about the relatively small number of black elected officials notwithstanding, this is still a very racist country. One of the places it shows is at the polls.

    As for Eric Olsen voting for the party of Trent Lott. . . .

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    but when those minorities say the same things that straight white men say…the things that might get them elected as easily as straight white men…(and remember that straight white men line was yours diva)…people like you mac diva, will call them an uncle tom!

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Boy, turn your back a minute…

    P6, I am unclear how it is a “misconception” that Keyes is not an attractive candidate to most blacks, and that he would not receive the benefit of the doubt that some black voters might give to a black candidate primarily, and please note the use of the word “primarily,” because he is black.

    The misconception is that Black folks vote for people primarily because they are Black to any degree worth mentioning.

    Consider the cases. RJ asked how many white candidates have been elected in districts gerrymandered to be Black…I ask how many have run? Black folks actually prefer integrated neighborhoods (another longish discussion) which means they’ll be choosing largely between white candidates. And in other cases the Black candidate that gets favor is a Democrat, running the Democratic platform that is generally accepted, as evidenced by Black Conservatives losing when running against white Democrats (and let’s keep our focus and not discuss the pros and cons of each platform).

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    It would be a bad thing to say that black folk pick politicians to vote for primarily on the basis of race, though perhaps sometimes it seems a bit that way.

    I prefer to make the more generous presumption that black voters mostly don’t put that much emphasis on race as a factor in whom they choose to vote for. For an anecdotal type example to support that position, I note that black folk did NOT come out in support of the silly Al Sharpton campaign.

    However, it’s perfectly natural and reasonable that you give your own some benefit of the doubt, whatever “your own” means to you. Hopefully, cultural identification shouldn’t trump issues in picking candidates, but it’s totally reasonable to favor your own a bit.

    Personally, I’d prefer a nice well mannered Midwestern or Southern gentleman over a big city roughian or Northeastern blueblood. Of course, issues would be real important.

    However, other things being approximately equal, I’d much prefer Harold Ford Jr as president, or even -dare I say it- my former electoral opponent Evan Bayh, rather than smug patrician John Kerry or even Rudolph Giuliani.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Oh, as to Diva’s attack on Eric Olsen’s evil racism, she says

    As for Eric Olsen voting for the party of Trent Lott. . . .

    Thing is, he had to vote either for the party of Trent Lott, who is insensitive toward blacks, or he’d have been stuck supporting the actual party of the Klan, the party of Robert Byrd…

    Which is worse?

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Al:

    It would be a bad thing to say that black folk pick politicians to vote for primarily on the basis of race, though perhaps sometimes it seems a bit that way.

    Sentiment appreciated, but it would not be a bad thing. It would be an inaccurate thing. It would simply be wrong. Calling it a “bad thing to say” leaves the idea that it’s correct but merely politically incorrect.

    Besides, you said this:

    It is not merely an “assumption” to think that black folks will tend to vote for black folks. This is a murky and significantly subjective understanding, but it can readily be backed up by looking at all kinds of voting patterns.

    …which would, by your own statement, make you “bad.”

    The big deal though, is this “reason” has been given for opposing all manner of Black activity. “Reason” in quotes because it’s more justification than motivation.

    However, it’s perfectly natural and reasonable that you give your own some benefit of the doubt, whatever “your own” means to you. Hopefully, cultural identification shouldn’t trump issues in picking candidates, but it’s totally reasonable to favor your own a bit.

    Quite reasonable.

    But if a Black person said this, he’d be excoriated for racism. We’ve just come through decades of being told to stop being so damn Black, don’t be a monolith, when we all see monoliths and people acting on the assumption that Black folks are the ones insisting on seperatism. We SEE mainstream (read: white) folks favoring their own while we are branded as antisocial disruptive elements for even considering the possibility of doing what you so lightly proclaim to be natural.

    And if you want to talk issues, Black folks have issues that cross class lines. We are a natural constituency (or as natural as anything spawned by our confused assumptions).

    sigh

    This is why I hold back and address issues one at a time. As humans (well, you…I’m a special case) we all hold positions that are somewhat inconsistant. Obviously I’m capable of railing against those racial inconsistancies at length. But it has to be done both carefully and precisely if one is to avoid a permanent hardening of positions because this is fundamental to the American world view and self-image.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    As for Eric Olsen voting for the party of Trent Lott. . . .

    Thing is, he had to vote either for the party of Trent Lott, who is insensitive toward blacks, or he’d have been stuck supporting the actual party of the Klan, the party of Robert Byrd…

    Which is worse?

    Depends on if you’re living in the past, I guess.

    Trent Lott is a current problem, and the descendants of the KKK (the various Southern cultural organizations initialed CCC) currently align with the Republican Party.

    Robert Byrd was a past problem, and the descendants of the KKK (the various Southern cultural organizations initialed CCC) currently repudiate the Democratic Party.

    I say the first is worse and suggest you really need to let go of all that history. :-)

  • Eric Olsen

    specificity is good, glad P6 is attempting to enforce it – therefore, back to my original point: Alan Keyes received very little support from African-American voters, because his policy positions do not match the vast majority of theirs

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    specificity is good, glad P6 is attempting to enforce it

    Then you won’t mind my pointing out that this:

    Alan Keyes received very little support from African-American voters, because his policy positions do not match the vast majority of theirs

    was not your original point.

    Your original point:

    has no particular constituency: he’s about the last guy on earth African-Americans would vote for primarily because he is African-American

    runs you afoul of folks with an eye like like Mac’s and mine. Your restatement runs you afoul of Black Conservatives.

    Tough, ain’t it?

  • Eric Olsen

    not really: one flows from the other

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    How so?

    Not that “one flowing from the other” = “these two statements make the same point,” but the very idea makes me curious.

  • Eric Olsen

    he has a very small “natural” constituency because his agenda does not appeal to the great majority of African-Americans who aren’t to the right of Ann Coulter, and I would guess that those white voters who ARE to the right of Ann Coulter are less inclined than most to vote for a black candidate

  • Eric Olsen

    and as I said at the beginning, the 26% he DID get I would guess are largely those who vote for the R

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Eric. Please.

    You talked about Black people voting for a candidate primarily because he’s Black. What you’re saying now is nothing like that. You mention issues now but that was not your first response.

    Do you understand how this can be seen as an example of avoiding responsibility for your own statement?

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    P6, you seem to be trying to play a silly game of “gotcha” here. Eric never said the word “primarily” nor did he imply it, best I can tell.

    Are you trying to claim that black folk give no consideration to the race of candidates, that they completely and scrupulously discount the race of the candidate? Seriously.

    Re: comment 51, NO one would “excoriate” you for “racism” for saying that being black would get a candidate an extra credit point or two. Where did you get that from?

    Likewise, in the likely event that Bill Richardson runs for president in four years, no one will criticize him for concentrating some extra campaigning in the Hispanic community. It’s his obvious core constituency.

    Now, he probably wouldn’t get much support from the more conservative Cuban community, I’m guessing. The actual political beliefs will likely be too different. But for any Hispanic who tends toward moderate to liberal Democrat politics, he’d probably be looking pretty good.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Al:

    P6, you seem to be trying to play a silly game of “gotcha” here. Eric never said the word “primarily” nor did he imply it, best I can tell.

    Wow.

    I didn’t think I’d have to do it because it’s on this very page but I give you, unedited, in its original packaging, comment number 12:

    Comment 12 posted by Eric Olsen on November 7, 2004 03:55 PM:

    two things: because he lost badly and has no particular constituency: he’s about the last guy on earth African-Americans would vote for primarily because he is African-American

    (See other comments from the same name, url or both. Experimental: IP)

    What benefit do you get from being so blatantly wrong? Seriously. I kept track of your own statement that you later self-defined as “bad.” I’m tracking Eric and everyone I discuss this with just as closely.

    Are you trying to claim that black folk give no consideration to the race of candidates, that they completely and scrupulously discount the race of the candidate? Seriously.

    I quote, you say the words I quote aren’t there.

    My statement was direct and needs no further interpretation if you’re inclined to understand rather than simply debate.

    Re: comment 51, NO one would “excoriate” you for “racism” for saying that being black would get a candidate an extra credit point or two. Where did you get that from?

    The excoriation would be for suggesting white folks do it.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    I think I’ll play gotcha:

    Comment 36:

    P6, I am unclear how it is a “misconception” that Keyes is not an attractive candidate to most blacks, and that he would not receive the benefit of the doubt that some black voters might give to a black candidate primarily, and please note the use of the word “primarily,” because he is black.

    Gotcha!

  • Eric Olsen

    allow me to summarize: I assert that there is a not insignificant number of black voters who, given the choice, would prefer a black candidate primarily because he/she is black.

    This group would form a core constituency for many candidates.

    Due to his policies and positions, Keyes would be about the last candidate who would benefit from such thinking – my original point.

    The same applies to whites and other racial and social groups.

    I have now linked together my various statements into one convenient package. They do not contradict each other, I can’t imagine they are particularly controversial, and if anyone can show me anything that contradicts any of it, I will be happy to see it and change my view.

    None of this means that I do not see and cheerfuly acknowledge the wide range of political views and voting habits among African-Americans – I personally know a fair number of Republican, conservative blacks. But I am talking about numbers and the numbers say at least 80% are more or less liberal and lean Democratic, and these are the kinds of numbers that lead to such terms as “voting bloc” and “natural constituency,” for which at least 80% of African-Americans Keyes would not be.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Eric:

    First of all, assertions only work in programming. You don’t get to assert stuff about Black folks when you know so little about us. No harm meant, but by now we HAVE spoken fairly extensively about issues.

    I’m not calling you out per se. Buit your assertion is (sounds harsh, but it’s the right word) myopic as Robert Borosage’s speech in June. The annoying part of that speech lauded The Greatest Generation (sic) like this:

    Last weekend, we celebrated the sacrifice of the Greatest Generation in World War II. That generation, raised in the Depression, steeled in the war, shared service and sacrifice. The wealthiest paid taxes of over 90 percent to help pay for that war. African Americans left segregated communities to fight for this country. Japanese Americans left intern camps They came home and passed the GI bill opening up college and training to an entire generation. They subsidized housing to create the American dream. They organized unions to insure that profits and productivity were shared. For 25 years, they built the broad middle class that made America strong, and we all grew together.

    Except Black folks didn’t get to grow:

    The landmark Social Security Act of 1935 provided a safety net for millions of workers, guaranteeing them an income after retirement. But the act specifically excluded two occupations: agricultural workers and domestic servants, who were predominately African American, Mexican, and Asian. As low-income workers, they also had the least opportunity to save for their retirement. They couldn’t pass wealth on to their children. Just the opposite. Their children had to support them.

    Like Social Security, the 1935 Wagner Act helped establish an important new right for white people. By granting unions the power of collective bargaining, it helped millions of white workers gain entry into the middle class over the next 30 years. But the Wagner Act permitted unions to exclude non-whites and deny them access to better paid jobs and union protections and benefits such as health care, job security, and pensions. Many craft unions remained nearly all-white well into the 1970s. In 1972, for example, every single one of the 3,000 members of Los Angeles Steam Fitters Local #250 was still white.

    But it was another racialized New Deal program, the Federal Housing Administration, that helped generate much of the wealth that so many white families enjoy today. These revolutionary programs made it possible for millions of average white Americans – but not others – to own a home for the first time. The government set up a national neighborhood appraisal system, explicitly tying mortgage eligibility to race. Integrated communities were ipso facto deemed a financial risk and made ineligible for home loans, a policy known today as “redlining.” Between 1934 and 1962, the federal government backed $120 billion of home loans. More than 98% went to whites. Of the 350,000 new homes built with federal support in northern California between 1946 and 1960, fewer than 100 went to African Americans.

    These government programs made possible the new segregated white suburbs that sprang up around the country after World War II. Government subsidies for municipal services helped develop and enhance these suburbs further, in turn fueling commercial investments. Freeways tied the new suburbs to central business districts, but they often cut through and destroyed the vitality of non-white neighborhoods in the central city.

    Robert Borosage meant no harm, but he spoke from a viewpoint from which Black lives aren’t even visible.

    You don’t get to “assert” about Black folks. You get to bring an opinion, share it, explore it, test it, hold it if proven true. But you don’t get to assert.

    And I understand you’re one of the good ones. But I’ve shown you what contradicts your assertion before you tied up your neat package.

    I assert that there is a not insignificant number of black voters who, given the choice, would prefer a black candidate primarily because he/she is black.

    Only in Washington DC.

    Look I know this is difficult because the only thing worse in the mainstream worldview than being flat broke is being called “racist” and feeling you have no way to dispute it. But I’m not saying racist…I’m saying you just don’t know.

    And I’m also saying you could have just said, “my bad, I said that wrong” instead of justifying a statement that I ga-ron-tee you I could have dealt with more harshly.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    You can speak however harshly you wish, but that doesn’t mean that you have a valid point.

    On the other hand, if you wish to assert that Eric Olsen is a no-good pig humpin’ BUSH SUPPORTER, I’d have to back you up. Facts is facts, after all.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    And my point can be as valid as I wish but that doesn’t mean you have to admit it.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Alan Keyes received very little support from African-American voters, because his policy positions do not match the vast majority of theirs”

    Also, the other guy was black too!

    If Alan Keyes was running against a white Democrat, he still would have lost, and probably would have received a minority of the black vote, but he would surely have done BETTER among blacks than he did against a black Democrat.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Likewise, in the likely event that Bill Richardson runs for president in four years, no one will criticize him for concentrating some extra campaigning in the Hispanic community. It’s his obvious core constituency.”

    Bingo.

    Mel Martinez barely won the Senate seat in FL against Betty Castor. If white boy Bill McCollum had been nominated instead, I doubt he would have beaten Castor. Why? Martinez, being a Cuban-American Hispanic, was able to attract votes from the mostly Democrat Hispanic community in FL, as well as receiving massive turnout in Miami-Dade County, which has a large Cuban-American population.

    Martinez and McCollum have very similar policy positions. But Martinez polled better in the state because, well, he’s a Hispanic guy in a state with a ton of Hispanic voters.

    Race/ethnicity/religion is an important factor in the minds of the voters, in the aggregate.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “I’m tracking Eric and everyone I discuss this with just as closely.”

    Thank you, John Ashcroft…

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    If Alan Keyes was running against a white Democrat, he still would have lost, and probably would have received a minority of the black vote, but he would surely have done BETTER among blacks than he did against a black Democrat.

    Surely? What makes you say so?

    Why should anyone take your postulate as reality?

    “I’m tracking Eric and everyone I discuss this with just as closely.”

    Thank you, John Ashcroft…

    Any time dawg.

    In fact, EVERY time.

  • Eric Olsen

    I buy the notion that one can’t fully comprehend an experience, especially subjectively, without living it. But people of good will can come close using fact, empathy and imagination – this is part of why art is so powerful. I recall a very interesting post by Mac Diva asserting that a white novelist could offer insight, and have something of value to say about the black experience.

    Specifically, I am unclear what information this statement applies to: “But I’ve shown you what contradicts your assertion before you tied up your neat package”

    What contradicts my assertion? All I can find is Mac Diva calling me a bigot and asserting that black voters don’t vote for black candidates on the basis of race – I am to accept that this is so because she says it is, and she must know because she is black?

    “To obtain the support of African-American voters. merely being African-American is not enough. The positions of the candidates obviously matter. Keyes’ positions are his problem.”

    Agreed – this contradicts nothing I’ve said. So what am I wrong about?

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    I buy the notion that one can’t fully comprehend an experience, especially subjectively, without living it. But people of good will can come close using fact, empathy and imagination

    I totally agree. Otherwise this conversation would be an immense waste of time, and I have no time to waste.

    Still, remember this (from this thread)?

    But understand that you and I are dealing with different aspects of that legacy.

    What problems does racism cause you, a reasonably well-educated white male from a fairly upper middle class background?

    What problems does racism cause me, a 6’2″ 185 lb Black male, self-educated, no degree, had to work up from messenger to Assistant VP at a bank, father a farmer, mother a laborer that eventually got a nice safe civil service job?

    Feel me?


    What contradicts my assertion? All I can find is Mac Diva

    I understand Mac. I have felt what she feels. But I’m pointing you to what I said, not to what she said:

    Consider the cases. RJ asked how many white candidates have been elected in districts gerrymandered to be Black…I ask how many have run? Black folks actually prefer integrated neighborhoods (another longish discussion) which means they’ll be choosing largely between white candidates. And in other cases the Black candidate that gets favor is a Democrat, running the Democratic platform that is generally accepted, as evidenced by Black Conservatives losing when running against white Democrats (and let’s keep our focus and not discuss the pros and cons of each platform).

    Back to the point, you could have asked her for some kind of support for the statement. She, in fact, could have asked you for support for yours. And I don’t say you need to accept being called a racist any more than I accept being called the equivalent term for Black folks.

    But when you suggest being Black doesn’t give enough authority to one’s voice to compel you, how should we respond to an unsupported assertion? You assume you can assert. Why can’t I? You assert and we must prove you wrong, I assert and must prove myself right? When the topic is essentially me?

    No, you just are not entitled to make such assertions. Investigate, suggest, hell I’ll help you work it out…that should be obvious. But I’ll categorically reject your “right” to establish the starting point for interpretations of me and mine.

    And (this is all theoretical at this point) if you continued I would eventually get angry and respond accordingly.

  • http://www.visioncircle.org DarkStar

    Keyes ran for a House seat in Maryland and got slaughtered. He didn’t make it out of the GOP primary.

    Black politicians complain that Blacks will vote for white candidates over Black candidates when the white candidate is the incumbant.

  • Eric Olsen

    Okay, it was an unsupported assertion – are there statistics, poll results or anything other than personal assertions that indicate whether or not people tend to vote for those with whom they racially identify when policy, party, etc are controlled for?

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    After this election you still have faith in polls?

    Heh.

    Tell you what. Instead of simply noting that my statement disagrees with yours, do for my reasoning what you asked me to do for your unsupported assertion: check it for illogic and contradictions.

  • http://www.prometheus6.org/ P6

    Darkstar:

    Black politicians complain that Blacks will vote for white candidates over Black candidates when the white candidate is the incumbant.

    That’s because white people’s ice is colder than Black people’s ice.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    I’ll have more to say on the other thread. For now, I think an aspect of the issue is being put to test. Bush appears to have latched onto the GOP of Illinois’ (yes, that is who nominated Alan Keyes, not Martians) stealth theory of protective coloration. I suspect we are going to see some utterly reactionary people being appointed to positions in the administration under the cover of ‘we got colored folks.’ In fact, it has already started with an attorney general who opposes civil liberties and civil rights. But note, the backers of these con-servatives are largely far Right white people, not people of color, as Eric Olsen originally implied.

  • Eric Olsen

    actually, I said the opposite: that Keyes does not appeal to the vast majority of African-Americans due to his policies

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