The Race

Matthew Rothschild at the The Progressive throws down the gauntlet, Racism and the Race:

The race boils down to racism. All things being equal, Barack Obama would win the presidency hands down.

...This should be a banner year for Democrats, and by all accounts, it will be--at least down ticket. But it also should be at the top of the ticket.

...So if the conditions are so ripe for an Obama victory, why is the race so close? Because millions of white Americans, especially those who are forty-five and older, may not be able to bring themselves to vote for the black guy. It's that simple.

That's the view from above, then he gets to the real stuff:
The appeals to racism started subtly. Actually, they began not so subtly with Hillary Clinton, when she talked about "hard-working Americans, white Americans." But on the Republican side, for a while, coyness was the order of the day. The McCain campaign discussed race explicitly only after Obama said he doesn't look like other people on the dollar bill. The McCain folks were only too eager to say Obama was playing the race card. They also used all the talk about Obama being arrogant, or an elitist, or a celebrity as a cue for the unspoken epithet of "uppity."
My take on what Clinton was saying is that she was basically agreeing with what Rothschild is saying, as an electability issue, not that she was being racist.

With Election Day approaching, McCain surrogates or supporters may not be able to resist the temptation to fan the flames of racism. Expect the snippets of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright to resurface. Expect video of Michelle Obama sounding militant. Expect disgusting ads about Obama's admitted drug use as a very young man. Expect that picture of Obama in Muslim garb again.
Agreed. I'm expecting that by the end of the month or very soon in October, we will see some sort of resurrection of that or new material, along those Wright/Chicago lines.
This campaign will ultimately be a referendum on the intractability of racism. Obama has only two hopes. One is that the economic conditions will be so dire that white Americans who harbor racism will throw it overboard. And the other is that these white Americans might want to show themselves--or more likely their children and grandchildren--that they are not as hidebound as they sometimes seem.
Is hoping for the 'dire' the more likely of the two?

Tags: 2008 (all tags)

Comments

69 Comments

Re: The Race

I do not understand why it is productive for Matthew Rothschild, Jerome Armstrong, or anyone else to go down this road right now.

I'm sure lots of people believe in the meme that goes "the only reason Obama isn't way ahead right now is racism."  But allowing that meme to become the persistent drumbeat from the progressive blogosphere - at which point we'd surely start hearing it from MSNBC and the usual suspects - would be incredibly self-destructive.

Have this discussion after the election.  We're not going to guilt people into voting for Obama.

by Steve M 2008-09-23 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Oh Steve M. You obviously missed when Jerome said he didn't give a damn about what the "PC Crowd" had to say about his actions. When I responded that it shows given how racially inflammatory and insensitive he has been  he became hostile.

Jerome Armstrong has proven himself to be no progressive. He wants Obama to lose. Period.

by sweet potato pie 2008-09-23 07:13AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

I thought mentioning race being a factor in voters mind was a ban worthy offense around here.

Deal with defeat - Jerome Armstrong

Google that baby up and amuse yourselves a bit.

by spacemanspiff 2008-09-23 07:21AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

I don't understand what purpose this post has. There are underlying currents of racism in the election? OK, I suppose, although, as Nate from 538 pointed out, it will probably be counterbalanced by people voting for Barack because he's black. I mean, we're talking about getting near unanimous support from African-American voters. If Clinton was the nominee, there'd be underlying currents of sexism in the race. It is what it is.

This is part of the reason why I am glad that the Democratic Party is reaching out to places like Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana and North Carolina. I'm not sure I want my party to cow-tow to state electorates that can be swayed by racial attitudes. If we lose Ohio, West Virginia and Missouri permanently because we nominated a black candidate, I say good, because we've picked up their electoral votes elsewhere.

by UMassforObama 2008-09-23 07:08AM | 0 recs
We don't need the racists

They can go rot. Seriously. The rest of the country will move on.

by iohs2008 2008-09-23 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Because we are self destructive and small and bitter and selfish.  

People are so busy tilling their "I told you so"  soil they are not harvesting the crops in the field.  

This is a strange and circular argument, one that basically says don't put up a AA candidate because they can't win (just being honest, wink..wink) so don't try.  

And then we call the Republican party racist at it's core...funny..

by nextgen 2008-09-23 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

I am going to steal what you just said, repeat it to other people and claim I made the observation myself.

by UMassforObama 2008-09-23 07:15AM | 0 recs
The self-fulfilling prophecy:

Repeat it often enough, and it will come true.

What happened to: yes WE can?

by iohs2008 2008-09-23 07:44AM | 0 recs
Not just in politics...

I'm beginning to think these "but a black guy can't win" rants are downright unAmerican.

Don't you think someone, at some point, said to the Wright brothers, "You're gonna go where in a what now? That's crazy! It'll never work!"

Or about how the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo astronauts? Yeah, they probably had their naysayers, too.

It's almost as if the history of America comes down to negative clowns on one side saying, "Yer crazy! That ain't gonna happen!" while on the other side, someone, maybe a little smarter, maybe a little more determined, quietly says to himself, "Watch me."

by BenderRodriguez 2008-09-23 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Not just in politics...

"Don't you think someone, at some point, said to the Wright brothers, "You're gonna go where in a what now? That's crazy! It'll never work!"

Or about how the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo astronauts? Yeah, they probably had their naysayers, too."

Thankfully the naysayers there did not have control over what Wright Brothers did. It was within their contro. Obama's election is beyond his control. He can do the best but people decide.

by Boilermaker 2008-09-23 08:55AM | 0 recs
lol

I just predicted in a comment on his other blog that Jerome was looking forward to saying "I told you so" on November 5th and then telling us why we should have given Hillary the nomination.

But looks like he can't wait until after the election day.

Yeah, of course he'll say he's just being "realistic". Thanks, Jerome. Your concern is appreciated.

by al1 2008-09-23 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: lol

Or, to paraphrase John McSame, Jerome would rather lose a critical election than be proven wrong when he said Obama is "the weakest Democratic Nominee in decades".

And, not that Jerome (or anyone else for that matter) gives a shit, but I;ve gone from a very frequent poster, to a seldom poster, to a rare visitor because of the bullshit way this site is being run.

First you had the joke of a delegate counter during the Primary wars.

Now you have the joke of an electoral map that was supposed based on the "latest polls", but that seems to only apply when the latest poll is detrimental to Obama's chances of winning.

There's never any constructive criticism, never any "yes, we need to do more of this". It's all doom and gloom, all the fucking time.

Crash the gates? Nah, they're much too scaaaaaary. We'll never get over them. We should have picked a different ladder. The guards are too mean.

by John in Chicago 2008-09-23 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: lol

Well, look on the bright side.  If Obama doesn't win this year, we'll probably look for a white, male southern (former) governor who recently gave a convention keynote address as a candidate next cycle.  That candidate will probably be able to pay his consultants pretty well and the liberal blogs will thrive under a McCain administration.

by the mystical vortexes of sedona 2008-09-23 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: lol

Well before that..a McCain Presidency will route the GOP in 2010. A Obama Presidency will route the Dems in 2010..with all its implications for re-districting. Why? I think whoever becomes President will be left holding the Shrub's bag.

by Boilermaker 2008-09-23 08:57AM | 0 recs
I am glad to hear someone saying this finally

If I see one more pundit with that "gee I really have no idea" look on his face asking "why can't Obama close the deal?" I am going to put my foot through the TV

by TrueBlueMajority 2008-09-23 07:09AM | 0 recs
Make is all about RACE

Is what the Republics want...

Get the issues off the table, keep talking about the amount of melanin in Obama's skin.

The correct frame is, will this turn into a generational change election, ala Jack Kennedy, where the next generation, with some of the FORWARD LOOKING
in the previous, decide to change the team make-up?

As the age demographic goes down, from 50 to 45 from 45 to 40 from 40 to 35, the Bradley effect and every other racial overtones diminishes...

by WashStateBlue 2008-09-23 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

This racism talk and "polls" is GOP code for "it's OK, other people are doing it."  Very subtle and coded, just like all the other GOP racism.

With that said, the impact of Wright and Michelle the militant is that it's past its half-life of effectiveness thanks to the primaries (unless there's a new wrinkle).  

by magster 2008-09-23 07:10AM | 0 recs
No, it's coming...

Those ads will blanket the south, VA, the bible belt in the midwest, but late in the game.

Expect a Rev Wright/Michelle is Angela Davis Festival starting Nov 1st.

by WashStateBlue 2008-09-23 07:13AM | 0 recs
Re: No, it's coming...

I'm not saying it's effect will be great, and, absolutely, it is aimed at the bottom of the low information voter pool...

But, the Republics will empty the chamber, no bullets will be left unfired...

by WashStateBlue 2008-09-23 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

It should be obvious, in the middle of what can only be described as a excellent week for Obama, some are afraid that we might just pull this off.  

Even with the "Black Guy"

2 weeks ago yes, today ....you have to wonder.

by nextgen 2008-09-23 07:12AM | 0 recs
The black guy?

What?

Joe Biden is Black?

Who knew???????

by WashStateBlue 2008-09-23 07:17AM | 0 recs
Re: The black guy?

Hysterical!

by spacemanspiff 2008-09-23 07:24AM | 0 recs
Re: The black guy?

Yea, he's "light skinned"

by nextgen 2008-09-23 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

It's not just the overt racists and bigots, it's subtler and worse, in a way, than that.  It's bunches of the "good people" as well.

It may be my age showing, and it really may be different with younger folks, but every time I see him out there with a terrific speech or a great public showing (and I've been a strong, strong supporter of his campaign right along), part of my mind is thinking "how many people are going to look and again go, oh my he is black isn't he."  

I think he will win this but the not knowing scares me.  There are areas I don't much trust my country in and this is one of the biggest.

by mady 2008-09-23 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

I guess my main problem with this post is that by claiming that Clinton was referring to an electability issue (let's also not forget that sexism might be a problem) Jerome is saying that it's okay for America to be racist and that we should just accept it.  That is Jerome's argument and the argument of many whites.

It's both telling and unfortunate that Jerome is accepting that racism is a problem but not using his platform to say enough and that we need to work beyond it. He seems quite comfortable that racism is a problem so that he can say "I told you so" even though Hillary not only being a female but a Clinton would probably be in Obama's situation.

by sweet potato pie 2008-09-23 07:17AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

That's my issue too.  

Imagine what life would be like for women, minorities, immigrants, amputees, heart patients, and old men if everyone adopted that type of response adversity.  

Heck we wouldn't have Viagra!

by nextgen 2008-09-23 07:23AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

I was an Obama supporter in the primaries, but I do agree that Clinton's statement about hard working white Americans was not designed to be racist. I think it was misguided, as she seemed to be suggesting that superdelegates should factor in white voters more than black voters in determining who the best candidate was, with the underlying assumption that black voters could be taken for granted because they always vote Democratic. But I don't think she was trying to be racist, and I actually think she added the word white after saying hard-working Americans to make it clear that she wasn't saying blacks don't work hard.

by democrattotheend 2008-09-23 07:20AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

I used to agree that Clinton might have run stronger vs. McCain, as you seem to think Jerome. Now, after seeing the kind of campaign the GOP runs yet again, I think it's foolish to believe it wouldn't still be neck and neck. This idea that a "generic Dem" would have an easier time is a fallacy, because it doesn't take into account the tactical elements of the race.

by animated 2008-09-23 07:23AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

As an African American, this really pisses me off.  It seems like certain people are gleefully posting this type of thing, but what is the point.

Maybe we minorities need to wait until the 45 and over crowd dies before we even think about running for President.  It's okay for us to be Senators (though not too many), Representatives (though not too many), Mayors (but only in "urban" cities), Council members ("urban" ciites only), but we don't want to get too ahead of ourselves.

I really just want to know, how high should I tell my sister or my nephew or the little kid in my neighborhood to aspire to?  

Unlike the white majority in this country, African Americans do not plan our day based on whether or not racism exist or will keep us down.  If we did, we would never leave the house.  What would be the point?  The fact is that it is amazing that we and other minorities have accomplished what we have despite racism and prejudice.

Again, I ask what is the point?

by lamh3176 2008-09-23 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Take heart.

Everyone I know over 50 here in WA is voting for Obama.

We want the smartest guy in the room period.

Generationally, sure, areas in the country are behind us.

But, as you said, as the boomers pass, what color or what reproductive or sexual choices you make will not matter.

I might not make it, just as Martin didn't, to see it come to complete fruition.

My daughter will.

by WashStateBlue 2008-09-23 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

I don't think there is any point to posting this, but I do think that, disgustingly, it remains a factor.  I hope this election ends that.

The problem here is whether it needs to be laid out again and again like this, or just dealt with as part of the process as Obama has been doing.  I think the latter, but others (Jerome's post) clearly disagree, and I have no idea if their motives are analytic or if there is something else there.

by mady 2008-09-23 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

The problem is Jerome's motives. That is why I don't trust him when he posts things like this. He is trying to set up an "I told you so." It is offensive as he is supposedly a progressive and instead of working to see that we elect a democrat President, he is willing to sabotage the first black nominee just so that he can say "I told you so."

IMO, Jerome is participating in voter suppression ala the GOP and it's appalling.

by sweet potato pie 2008-09-23 07:41AM | 0 recs
Obvious, isn't it?

"He is trying to set up an "I told you so.""

A lot of people invested a great deal in the notion, early on, that Obama was unelectable, partly because he's black.  And they weren't that shy about telling us that, either.  I certainly didn't think he was electable.  

But so far he has proved me wrong, and I am fucking glad that I was wrong.  I hope he proves  a whole lot of people wrong this November.  

It's never been good enough for him to be just ahead in the polls.  That doesn't fit into some people's worldview, so they need to explain it away somehow as not being real.  Well, this November, we'll see.

by Dumbo 2008-09-23 10:20PM | 0 recs
Re: The Race
Gosh, the good people of Massachusetts elected Deval Patrick governor. Guess they weren't racist. But wait HRC won the primary over Obama so they must be racist.
Or perhaps they took Dr. King's admonition to heart and judged Obama by the content of his character.
by usedmeat 2008-09-23 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Your point...

Oh yeah you have none, you're just the usual assholes who like to post crap when you have nothing else meaningful to add.

whatevah!

by lamh3176 2008-09-23 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Man thats a dark analysis. I have to believe that the American people are better than that.

by wasder 2008-09-23 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

I guess Obama must be winning.  The detractors are getting more shrill.

by NMMatt 2008-09-23 07:27AM | 0 recs
Race? Or could it be ...

any number of reasons not to vote for the guy.

No real experience at anything except running for office.  No executive experience unless you count his years with Ayers "reforming" Chicago schools. But he don't want to talk about working with "some guy from the neighborhood".

Doing 180s on stuff he campaigned about. Fisa with TELCO immunity, public campaign financing, anyone?

Sweethearts with Franklin Raines and other bad actors in the current financial scandal.

None of this could be influencing voters, could it?
It has to be racism, yeah, that's the ticket.

by usedmeat 2008-09-23 07:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Race? Or could it be ...

You can't possible actually state any of those things and also say that you've been awake since he RNC.  But, hey, if it helps you sleep at night.

by trustno1 2008-09-23 09:13AM | 0 recs
Well the Obama candidacy has always been

about hope.  Hillary Clinton was the more electable candidate, but Obama has the potential to be a terrific president and is hands down better than the alternative.   What do we do about the situation?  The only thing that we can do it.  We have to out-work the other side.

by activatedbybush 2008-09-23 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Well the Obama candidacy has always been

about hope. Yeah! Team Obama is hoping the voters won't notice he's an empty suit.

by usedmeat 2008-09-23 07:46AM | 0 recs
Most of us have already noticed that

Obama is black (we have the TV) and we either don't care or consider it a bonus.

I don't see how pointing it out will change anyone's mind at this late date.  BTW, during canvassing I have had five McCain supporters say they think it would be good for the country to elect a black man but they are social conservatives and always vote Republican.  (Just pointing out that while most racists vote Republican, most Republicans are not racist)

by GFORD 2008-09-23 07:46AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

I get really tried of BO supporters screaming racism all the time.  I guess instead of accepting BO is a pretty weak general candidate is too fing hard.  So it is much easier going around screaming racist.

We all konw BIll Clinton is a racist.  And of course Hillary is a racist too.  McCain big time racist.   BO isnt doing as well as he should.  Well voters are racist too.

Maybe if we stop calling Reagan Democrats racist all the time then maybe they might be more open to voting dem in the GE.  Because we do this every four years and it drives these voters away because funny thing, they dont like be called racist and they dont think they are racist.  But they do think liberals calling them racists are forcing their poltical correctness on them.

Just one dems opinion

david

by giusd 2008-09-23 07:46AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

So you don't think racism and sexism exist in this country?  And if they do, you don't see how they just might affect how people vote, regardless of the qualities of the candidate?

I hope you are right.

by mady 2008-09-23 07:52AM | 0 recs
We know sexism and racism abound.

Team Obama and the media used sexism to good effect to knock HRC out of the race.

by usedmeat 2008-09-23 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: We know sexism and racism abound.

"no one is racism"
"but sexism is the reason Hillary lost"

lol, the old troll 1-2 punch.  anyone else miss the primaries?  yeah, me neither.

by the mystical vortexes of sedona 2008-09-23 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: We know sexism and racism abound.

*racist

by the mystical vortexes of sedona 2008-09-23 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

This is a strawman argument and frankly pretty week.  I never said there was no racism.  You said that and you are doing what i refer to as racial blackmail by accusing me of suggesting racism doesnt exist.  

I find this weak and lazy logical.  Please.  There is a difference between thinking racism doesn exist and someone screaming racism where ever they dont want to take responsibility for their actions.

david

by giusd 2008-09-23 07:16PM | 0 recs
Race? Or could it be ...

any number of reasons not to vote for the guy.

No real experience at anything except running for office.  No executive experience unless you count his years with Ayers "reforming" Chicago schools. But he don't want to talk about working with "some guy from the neighborhood".

Doing 180s on stuff he campaigned about. Fisa with TELCO immunity, public campaign financing, anyone?

Sweethearts with Franklin Raines and other bad actors in the current financial scandal.

None of this could be influencing voters, could it?
It has to be racism, yeah, that's the ticket.

by usedmeat 2008-09-23 07:51AM | 0 recs
There's just something about Obama I don't like ..

I keep hearing this comment from people who don't want to vote for Obama in spite of his obvious assets.  They say, "There's just something about Obama I don't like...."  There's never anything specific, and they genuinely seem not to know what it is.  I think it's racism.  Not overt, but racism none the less.  Pretending that it doesn't exist is just sticking your head in the sand.  I don't understand the hostile comments directed at Jerome for bringing the topic up.  It deserves to be discussed.  For years Republicans have been the party of hatred and intolerance.  I am not surprised by their attempts to direct their hatred and intolerance at Obama.  They would do it to any Democrat.

by Metropro 2008-09-23 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

So another reporter writes an opinion piece about how everyone's a racist.

And another blogger repeats the opinions of some unknown reporter in an effort to buttress his own misguided beliefs.

Why is the election so close? How about this: LBJ was the last Democrat to win in a landslide. President Clinton, in his re-election bid, running as a popular, successful incumbent, beat the moribund Dole-Kemp team by fewer than 7 percentage points.

And though I wasn't alive in 1964, I have to assume some of LBJ's success was due in no small part to the sadness millions felt about JFK's assassination.

The only Democratic president to win comfortably entirely on his own merits was FDR.

My guess is that if everything breaks right, Obama could win by as much as 7. I'm guessing, though, that on election night, he'll win somewhere in the 50-46 or 51-47 range, with the rest going to the dumb-dumb twins, Nader and Barr.

I'm sure Chuck Todd or the 538 guy could give us all numerous reasons why Democratic presidential candidates don't win by huge margins, but the fact is, they don't.

Last time I checked, Al Gore was plenty white.

by BenderRodriguez 2008-09-23 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Here's the thing about Jerome. He simultaneously has honest, grave concerns about this election that we ignore at our peril and he just loves to pee on the cupcakes at the internet progressive birthday party.

Whenever reading one of his baiting-laced posts, keep in mind: just because Jerome may come across to you as an asshole doesn't mean he is wrong. You could be a fool.

On the other hand, even if Jerome is right, and you are a fool, that doesn't mean he's not an asshole.

It often seems as if that's a character he's chosen to play here, to be the guy with a glass of ice water, continually throwing it in our faces in an attempt to keep us from disappearing up our own asses. And as much as Jerome's borderline contemptuous style gets under my skin, he's right that Obama's situation looks precarious today--more precarious than it has any rational right to be--and the next six weeks aren't going to get easier for anyone.

by Cole Moore Odell 2008-09-23 07:56AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Jerome may be a "realist"--he certainly shares that leaning towards caution with my father, a 40-year campaign veteran who is hardly ever wrong--but the asshole-to-realist ratio is rapidly changing from 50:50.  For instance, he's spent god knows how many posts talking about national and tracking polls when he knows that it comes down to the states.  Yet, for some reason, this year and this year only is the election of

Most notably, he's the owner/mod one of (if not the) largest progressive sites in the country, so he should be trying to help as much as possible.  Sadly, he's shown every indication that, since HRC lost the nomination, he feels no compunction in refusing help to the Democratic nominee for President.  Even worse, he's shown absolutely no support for down-ticket races at all, despite the need to push for 60!

Pissing in everyone's cornflakes for 4 paragraphs and spending literally one sentence on what he would be doing if he cared is not "realism".  The fact that he's not bothering with helping (even with some commentary) on Senate/House/Governor races seems to me like Jerome's interest has turned from pushing for progressive to complete and utter hatred for the success of the Democratic Party because of their support (however "stolen" he believes it to be) of one candidate over his.

by zombieflanders 2008-09-23 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Point taken. And I think it's instructive to see the infinite ladder of backup plans Jerome has constructed for eventually being able to say "I told you so":

1) Obama won't win the nomination. But if he does...

2) He won't win the presidency. But if he does...

3) He won't be able to govern. But if he can...

4) A mile-wide meteor will hit the earth. Zombie space monkeys will spill forth and eat the brains of the survivors.

by Cole Moore Odell 2008-09-23 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

How does ignoring Jerome, or not for that matter put us at peril?

I think you are giving him too much credit for some noble attempt to keep people grounded.  Instead his post are just passive aggressive, "he's not hillary" reminders.  

"more precarious than it has any rational right to be"

Silly talk, any of you who thought this contest was going to be anything other than a 52/48 margin  must have been asleep for the last 10 years.  

Jeromes warnings mean nothing so we are put in no more or less peril by ignoring him.  

Obama will win or loose, nothing those building their case for the latter do today will change that outcome.

by nextgen 2008-09-23 07:23PM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Go back to the polling before the primary and look at the numbers. McCain was always going to be by far the toughest Repub to beat, and guess what - Obama consistently was running even or ahead of him, while Clinton was consistently running even or behind.

How on earth do you account for that if race is the main factor here?

Again, I'd argue it's not Obama - it's the kind of race the GOP runs. And there was a reason they were salivating to run against Clinton, too - there was no lack of material to draw from there.

If you are thinking a Clinton run this year or in 2012 would be a cake walk, keep dreaming. In the meantime, it would be great if those who have the platform to do so would use your unique position to write things that HELP the Dem ticket, rather than create doubts. Of course, it's your right and your responsibility to call it like you see it. But just as every phone call and every donation helps, every column that focuses on new ways to defeat the Repub agenda gets us one step closer to that goal.

by animated 2008-09-23 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

"But just as every phone call and every donation helps, every column that focuses on new ways to defeat the Repub agenda gets us one step closer to that goal."

Yup, well said, and I'm afraid that that's one reason why I just don't bother coming to this site very often nowadays. Jerome seems to be right out of constructive ideas this cycle. It's one thing to offer constructive criticism and suggest how a campaign might do this or that better, but his agenda in 2008 seems to be to focus relentlessly on the negative. He comes across as a defeatist, and on a partisan blog 6 weeks from an important election I find that simply unforgivable.

by al1 2008-09-23 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Best analysis of Jerome I've seen yet.

I've got $10 down with some friends on Jerome never actually offering advice or support for the major tickets in this election.

by zombieflanders 2008-09-23 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

I think number 2 is crap (pun intended). In the privacy of the voting booth racists are going to vote their racism. They can tell their kids anything they want outside the booth, i.e., lie their asses off (lying is nothing to the low moral makeup of a racist). But pulling the lever for a Black guy...showing high idealism isn't likely even if Big Liar John's campaign and/or their surrogates go mainstream vulgar racist, succumbing to their primal urges.

by gak 2008-09-23 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

"The appeals to racism started subtly. Actually they began not so subtly with Hillary Clinton ...."

Good freakin' grief.

This morning I read a LTE in the local rag blaiming Bill Clinton for the current financial crisis because he had 'insisted' that minorities stakes in home ownership be increased and mortgages be increased for minorities.

Perhaps we should all step back and let crap like this from both this diarist's chosen 'expert' to quote and the LTE I quote be placed where it belongs, in the trash bin.

by emsprater 2008-09-23 08:45AM | 0 recs
Lay out the paths to vote for a black man

How do you get people to do things they have not done before?  Generally speaking you show them how to do it.  We need show people how they might vote for Obama, tell them it is ok and that things will be better if they do.  

I think we need give people models for how to vote for Obama, outlining the steps that people can take to do it.  I think we need some kinds of vehicle to model in a positive fashion the internal process, the thoughts and feelings that white voters, older women and blue collar men and women in particular, could travel to decide to shift their votes to Obama.  

It's not at all clear how this deliberation to vote for Obama would be conducted, publicly or privately, withn many of the social circles we're trying to connect to.  

They need a path.  They need to choose the pathways that work for them, and the campaign and all the groups and activists working for an Obama win, need to provide some.  And I don't mean a list of issues, but rather pathways rooted in the factors of people's lives (economic and familial demands and obligations), their concerns for the wider world and its impact on their lives and loved ones (war, peace and security), altogether with thoughts and feelings that are rolled up with voting for a black man.  

The depth of transition such a vote represents for these constituencies needs to be recognized, acknowledged on some level and validated.  Of course we don't want to condone racism in any way but for many individuals their feelings don not necessarily represent racism or bigotry in their own sense of themselves and that's really where we have to connect to bring them along.  There misgivings need to be legitimized on some level and their move to Obama affirmed in some way.  

I'm going to exaggerate to make a point:  we need to model some Dr. Phil moments where people "confess" there misgivings, then "rise above" and on some level "reconcile" themselves to a selection for president about which they have some misgivings, misgivings that they may not necessarily feel that good about, but which are simply feelings that makes them uneasy on some level.  And last we need a public affirmation of their decision to vote for Obama.  

Dare I say Obama needs to "hug" these voters like Bush hugged the little girl? But, it needs to be done metaphorically without provoking any adverse responses to a physical act that may trigger negative images among some.  My sense is that the message needs to go to the relationships the women in particular are trying to manage in a more challenging world.

What do we need to break the racist code, and bring people along? Is my scenario practical? Can it be done?  Can we do it now that it is September?    

Fogie (foe-gie)

by Fogie 2008-09-23 09:46AM | 0 recs
One way:

"The white one doesn't care if you lose your house."

by Dumbo 2008-09-23 07:42PM | 0 recs
Jerome, you're really pathetic

seriously, what is this FIXATION with getting BO defeated?  

WTF?  This blog has declined tremendously due in part to the popularity of Dkos, but also this lame-ass, hand-wringing which is so transparently ulterior in its motive that I would call it what it really is: CONCERN TROLLING.

In fact, I would argue, Jerome, it is far worse than concern trolling since it has a Machiavellian twist to it.  See, Jerome stands to gain 'face' with the Clinton Crowd or the DC Book Club crowd if BO loses.  Jerome is then seen as a true 'seer' and he can then go huckster some book to a navel-gazing liberal Democrat who continually asks 'why?' and Jerome is OH SO READY TO SELL THAT PERSON A BOOK WITH SUCH SAGE ADVICE.

Jerome, I know liberals and you, my friend, are no true liberal.

(h/t to the late, great Lloyd Bentsen).

p.s. - Jerry, I make a shitload more cash than you do and I never had to sell-out quite the way you have.

by yankeeinmemphis 2008-09-23 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

The article's thesis boils down to this:

Because Obama should be winning by 20 points right now, but isn't, it's because white people are racists and don't want to vote for him.  

The author is stating a causal fallacy.  He attributes a causal relation between Obama's race and his narrow lead when he really has no basis for making that causal connection.  

No doubt that race is a factor in this race.

But, for anyone to proclaim that, without a doubt, that Obama would be up by much more if he were white, is just out of his/her mind.  

And frankly, people who believe such crap really have low opinions about the morality of white people.  

by ProfessorReo 2008-09-23 11:18AM | 0 recs
Best post

of the thread

by Neef 2008-09-23 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The Race

Referendum on the intractability of racism?  What the hell does that even mean.  People don't care about color when their money is being swallowed by energy costs.  We have real problems in this country and the people who want Obama to lose want to talk about anything but the issues.  However, the issues are all the people at home care about because thats what is affecting their lives today.  The color of Obama's skin has nothing to do with my pocketbook.  If I'm anti-war skin color means nothing to me.  If I'm pro-choice skin color means nothing to me.  If I'm pro-tax reform, skin color means nothing to me.  I could go on and on, but I hope you guys get the point here.

by clays in charlotte 2008-09-23 04:54PM | 0 recs
Clinton's language.

My take on what Clinton was saying is that she was basically agreeing with what Rothschild is saying, as an electability issue, not that she was being racist.

I agree.  I think almost everybody agrees.  She was sending an electability message based on his race.  But we have to agree to disagree FOR NOW about the acceptability of this on a number of levels.  Let's maintain the uneasy truce about this, for now, but much more can be and some day will be said on both sides, I am sure.  Just not now.

by Dumbo 2008-09-23 07:21PM | 0 recs
Those of us with elderly relatives know

how pervasive racism can be with some people, especially the elderly.  My own mother has come around to Obama, even though she spent the first half of this year calling him by unacceptable language.

But she changed in July.  Her reason for switching to Obama?  "I'm afraid we're going to have another Depression if we get McCain in there.  I won't be able to refinance or sell my house!"  

That was July.  Too bad my Mom isn't Treasury Secretary, eh?  Paulson's such a genius.  Give my ex-racist 88-year old Mom a check for 700 billion dollars and see what she could do.

In a way, I'm kind of hoping that McCain sinks as low as to go all-out racist in his campaign, as some people seem to fear.  It would be the final destruction of the Republican Party.  Remember Bush Sr.'s campaign manager Lee Atwater's words:

   Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"--that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

   And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me--because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."[5]

So even in Lee Atwater's world, there were limits to how far you could go.  There had to be some level of coding to protect the consciences of those who didn't want to vote for a black but also didn't want to admit to their own racism.  And the level of coding has increased over the years.  

Should the McCain campaign become too overt, it could backfire, ESPECIALLY in the light of a rising tide of panic over the economy.  People might just not be willing to stomach it and be ready to call it what it is.  

I want to win this year, but part of me can't help hoping to see them try this just to see if they do fail as badly as I think it will.

A more likely strategy is to try to bait Obama with coded racist messaging that just barely crosses the line, enough to give Obama an opening to complain.  Then they can hope that Obama's complaints about their tactics end up hurting Obama more than them.  I find this more likely than a more overt strategy that is less ambiguous.

by Dumbo 2008-09-23 07:37PM | 0 recs
The Race & Race & Age

I'm finding it increasingly insulting - especially coming from those who know nothing about the majority of whites they presume to call racist - that race is being used more and more as a knife blade in this election.

This is demeaning, narrow-minded, simplistic and overtly racist on its face, particularly when other measures of electability are not presented honestly - or at all - with the race explanation/excuse.

Ya know, there are a lot of quite intelligent old white people across this country (myself included, along with a good number of friends, family members and neighbors) who do not even see race when discussing issues relevant to this campaign. Most of us boomers happen to take great pride in what we did to move Civil Rights forward and take humbrage in the narrow-minded scapegoating of whites for Sen. Obama's low polling numbers.

In fact, the biggest hurdle for most of us boils down to two words: experience and qualifications. And this applies to candidates from both parties.

These are not simple or easy times for anybody. But for Americans 50+, they are especially tough, due to salary stagnation, job losses, pension and retirement concerns, health care costs and concerns, loss of homes and home equity, limited opportunities to recoup our financial losses or our equity, and limited options for job or career growth or advancement, among many other legitimate-yet-barely-addressed complexities.

You seem to believe in the simple black and white world view (pardon the pun) that there is something wrong with us (racism) when we don't share your enthusiastic zeal toward Sen. Obama and his historic candidacy. But, the world is much more complex than that for us, for our children, for our families, for our grandkids and extended families.

If you aren't old enough to have had a job/career/pension for 30+ years, or to know what it's like to have your financial and career options narrowed to near non-existence because of age and economic meltdown, you're not old enough or experienced enough to be telling me (or my friends, family and neighbors) that we're racists because we have serious doubts about Sen. Obama and his ability/experience/qualifications to manage/lead/direct the world's most powerful country and our very troubled times.

You can compare Sen. Obama to Bill Clinton as much as you want, but the times are far different and 100 times more dangerous today than they were in 1992 when Clinton was elected.

You aren't going to ennoble the conversation and dialogue, or advance Sen. Obama in our world by constantly resetting the debate to the lowest common denominator of racism to as The Reason That Sen. Obama Can't Gain More Traction In The Polls And Thus Walk Away With The Election.

You may not like hearing this, but we are far more sophisticated than you believe or give us credit for. We actually can walk and chew gum at the same time and are quite adept at holding intelligent, meaningful debate and discussion ABOUT ISSUES and candidates.

So racism is a red herring. It is increasingly irrelevant; it is dangerous demogoguery that inhibits real discussion about what is at stake. It insults people who deserve to be treated with legitimacy and respect; it minimizes and denies the very real concerns we have about Sen. Obama's experience and qualifications to lead and govern during perilous times.

by mabelle55 2008-09-23 08:29PM | 0 recs

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