The Sniveling Apologizers at MSNBC Don't Represent Progressives

First, let me be clear that this is not intended for the hosts on MSNBC. It's management that's the issue. The way Phil Griffin has his hosts trot out for one apology after another is revolting. At least, he included himself in the genuflecting to the right-wing last time around. The whole display is pathetic.

Let's also be clear about another thing. Phil Griffin, who happens to be the head of MSNBC, is not a liberal or progressive. I worked at MSNBC, I talked to Phil Griffin many times, I know Phil Griffin. He is not remotely progressive. All he cares about is success in his own career. He even basically admitted in this recent interview that he would head a conservative network if it made more money. The idea that he represents progressives as he keeps groveling to conservatives is absurd and sickening.

First of all, the last two apologies were not at all necessary. Melissa Harris Perry called Mitt Romney's black grandson gorgeous (go back and check the tape). Yes, it would have been nice if someone on the set said, "God bless their hearts for being open minded in adopting someone outside of their race." This is about as minor an infraction as I could imagine. Instead we got a tearful apology that was hard to watch and hard to stomach.

Now, there was a tweet sent out about how some right-wingers might not like a biracial ad by Cheerios. Gee, I wonder why they might think that. Maybe it's because some right-wingers already had hateful things to say about that ad (yes, they don't represent all conservatives, but once again, this is the most minor infraction in television history). The MSNBC employee didn't make up that reaction -- it already existed online. How many times has Bill O'Reilly characterized all liberals as saying something based on what some readers in the Daily Kos or The Huffington Post comments section said? Only about a million times.

Maybe that person at MSNBC who sent the tweet got the idea from a recent ad that caused outrage on Fox News because it included a Muslim woman and her husband who is in the U.S. military. They said this ad was only blocks from the site of 9/11! That is 100 percent bigoted response from the right-wing to an ad that involves two people from different backgrounds. Bingo.

Maybe they would have gotten the idea that Republicans don't like biracial couples because of a poll in the Republican primaries in the South where 21 percent of GOP primary voters in Alabama and 29 percent of the Mississippi GOP primary voters said that interracial marriage should be illegal.

Can anyone in America say with a straight face it is unclear which party in America is more racist? One of the parties had this thing called the Southern Strategy, where they decided being racist toward blacks would get more white voters in the South. Care to guess which party that was? If you're still unclear on that or completely ignorant, maybe the last two RNC chairs could help you because they both apologized for their party's blatantly racist strategy.

Hey, anyone know whether Roger Ailes has ever apologized for running a station that argues we should take away voter rights in a way that disproportionately affects minorities? That's happening right now and only a million times more important than any tweet. You can turn on Fox News almost any day and see some fictional story about voter fraud, the whole purpose of which is to limit voting by the poor, the elderly, college students and minorities. Any apologies about that?

How about an apology for the fear mongering and race baiting about the New Black Panther Party? How about an apology for white Santa? And white Jesus? How about an apology for a guest on Fox Business talking about executing his political opponents? Oh, maybe he was joking. What do you think would happen if Ed Schultz joked about executing some Christian fundamentalists? They would fire everyone at 30 Rock and schedule an implosion of the building by lunchtime.

And oh yeah, anyone remember who worked for Richard Nixon when they came up with the Southern Strategy? That's right, Roger frickin' Ailes. Has he ever apologized for that?

MSNBC doesn't get it. Fox News and the right-wing are using this to set up a false equivalency. Yes, the Republicans race bait. Yes, Karl Rove did a push poll in South Carolina in 2000 asking if people would change their vote if they knew John McCain had an illegitimate black daughter (he doesn't). Wait, who does Karl Rove work for again? Yes, Bill O'Reilly is amazed when he goes into a black restaurant and they act like regular human beings. Yes, the Republican Party got 2% of the black vote in the last election because of their obviously hostile stance against African-Americans. But wait someone at MSNBC tweeted something mildly inappropriate.

If MSNBC cared about not presenting liberals as sniveling cowards, they would never go through these debasing apologies one after another. But they don't care about that because the guy who runs the network doesn't give a damn about how progressives look, because he isn't one of them.

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(Part of) The Reason Why Blacks Vote Democratic

In 1972 Richard Nixon won 18 percent of the black vote, according to New York Times exit polling.

In 2008, John McCain won 4 percent of the black vote.

The conventional explanation for this has something to do with civil rights and Democrats and the "Southern strategy" followed by Republicans. And, to a large extent, the explanation is probably right.

But part of the reason African-Americans have been trending Democratic recently has as much to do with chance as with fundamental political shifts.

Democrats have had the good fortune of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The two most influential, recognized Democrats of the past two generations are incredibly popular amongst blacks. Bill Clinton was so well-regarded by African-Americans that Toni Morrison called him "the first black president". Today Barack Obama is even more popular amongst blacks than Clinton (the fact that, unlike Clinton, he actually is "the first black president" might have something to do with this).

Republicans haven't had such luck. No Republican presidents have been relatively popular amongst blacks since Eisenhower's time. And even he lost the black vote by a 3:2 margin.

Imagine if Republicans nominated Colin Powell in 1996. He might have cracked the black vote and won 25%; that was how well Michael Steele ran in his 2006 Senate campaign. Or he might have utterly broken the alliance between blacks and Democrats and taken more than 90% of the black vote.

That would have changed politics forever. But as luck would have it, the exact opposite happened. Barack Obama, not Colin Powell, was nominated by the Democrats and elected president. Today it looks like Democrats have won the black vote for another generation.

-- Inoljt, http://thepolitikalblog.wordpress.com/

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The Demise Of The Southern Strategy

As you may have read, the Republican Party elite is split on whether Chip Saltsman, who's running for the chairmanship of the RNC, was right to send committee members a CD including a song titled "Barack the Magic Negro." Those opposed see the political danger for the Republican Party in continuing to be the party of race baiters; those who think it's perfectly fine are likely to propel Saltsman to chair of the party. But the fact is, as Paul Krugman explores in his latest must-read OpEd, the GOP's reign as the party of racial backlash has led them to the wilderness in which they currently find themselves, it is not the source of their deliverance.

Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party's champion, to the Bush administration's pervasive incompetence, to the party's shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision.

If the Bush administration became a byword for policy bungles, for government by the unqualified, well, it was just following the advice of leading conservative think tanks: after the 2000 election the Heritage Foundation specifically urged the new team to "make appointments based on loyalty first and expertise second."

Contempt for expertise, in turn, rested on contempt for government in general. "Government is not the solution to our problem," declared Ronald Reagan. "Government is the problem." So why worry about governing well?

Where did this hostility to government come from? In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political consultant, explained the evolution of the G.O.P.'s "Southern strategy," which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: "You're getting so abstract now you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites." In other words, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People.

Krugman warns us not to allow the GOP to excuse away the failures of the Bush administration as bad luck or a result of championing a guy who wasn't truly conservative. The fact is, as Krugman points out:

...despite the claims of some on the right that Mr. Bush betrayed conservatism, the truth is that he faithfully carried out both his party's divisive tactics...and its governing philosophy.

Why is this relevant as we approach the beginning of Barack Obama's historic first term? Because in Barack Obama, Republicans have a Democrat who is not declaring that the era of big government is over. In Barack Obama, Republicans may have their worst fears realized: a president who empowers and funds government and proves that when run well, government can do great things for its citizens. Before the President-elect is even inaugurated, however, Republicans are already raising the spectre of Clinton's first 2 years as a cautionary tale for Obama. Yet Obama and Democrats in Congress should not be deterred. As Krugman rightly points out:

But America in 1993 was a very different country -- not just a country that had yet to see what happens when conservatives control all three branches of government, but also a country in which Democratic control of Congress depended on the votes of Southern conservatives. Today, Republicans have taken away almost all those Southern votes -- and lost the rest of the country. It was a grand ride for a while, but in the end the Southern strategy led the G.O.P. into a cul-de-sac.

Mr. Obama therefore has room to be bold. If Republicans try a 1993-style strategy of attacking him for promoting big government, they'll learn two things: not only has the financial crisis discredited their economic theories, the racial subtext of anti-government rhetoric doesn't play the way it used to.

And bold Mr. Obama must be.

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The Politics of Representation/Representational Politics

I shall demonstrate elsewhere that what is often called the black soul is white man's artifact.

- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

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The Politics of Representation/Representational Politics

White civilization and European culture have forced an existential deviation on the Negro. I shall demonstrate elsewhere that what is often called the black soul is white man's artifact.

- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

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