Monday, March 29, 2010

The Whites of Their Ideals

As usual, Frank Rich steps up to the plate and knocks it into the parking lot. From his must-read op-ed in yesterday's New York Times:

"How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far...

If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan 'Take our country back!,' these are the people they want to take the country back from."

Rich's eventual point is spot-on: The tea baggers who hold out for some kind of revolution to return them to their rightful place as the entitled rulers of the land are doomed from the start. They've already lost, because the actual demographic make-up of the country is changing so drastically that those whose hegemony they're defending -- good, old-fashioned white people -- will soon be in the minority. They know this, and it scares the hell out of them.


Steven said...

Yeah....everyone who disagrees with me is a racist! There is no way a thinking person could ever come to a conclusion different than mine!! If your politics is even an inch away from mine, you obviously hate black people and side with terrorists and evil doers!!

Brian H. said...

whoa boy, did I ever get into a humdinger of a debate on my FB page when I posted this one! One young conservative friend of mine in particular took great umbrage at the thought that a larger part of the resistance to Obama could be rooted in race (or more accurately, demographics). It is a more subtle argument than just saying they are racists, and sadly, one that will be lost on many conservatives.

Chez said...

Way to drama queen out there, Steve. No, of course not every single tea bagger is a racist; no one said that and therefore you trying to turn that into a rebuttal argument is ridiculous. I've said this several times before but I guess I can do it again: The movement has a major racial and xenophobic component to it. There's quite a bit of evidence to that fact that's difficult to just shrug off. But hey, you're gonna believe what you want to believe.

DragonIV said...

Except Frank totally screwed up the Civil Rights Act breakdown of votes. It wasn't DvsR, it was NvsS. He's got to check his facts a bit better--that stood out like a sore thumb, and I'm a freaking liberal. :)

Steven said...


I think conservatives understand exactly what you, Frank and Chez are saying, and quite reasonably many find it insulting.

Saul Alinsky would be proud of the hit job being done to the many Americans standing up for what they believe in.

So you disagree, that's wonderful. I'm happy. In America, that is what we do.

It is possible for well meaning and intelligent people two come to different conclusions on issues.

But it is much, much easier to just dismiss those that disagree as racists and homophobes.

Chez said...

Just because you believe it's easy doesn't make it incorrect. One more time for the cheap seats: It's not about every single person who takes issue with Obama, health care or the Democratic Congress; it's about the movement and why it's happening now, at this particular moment.

Brian H. said...

Steve, I've already been there with someone using your exact same logic, and I know how it ends.

I can point out instance upon instance where the last administration spent money like a drunken sailor, whether it was Iraq, Medicare part D, tax cuts for the wealthy, etc.

Then, I'll point out that Fox news never co-sponsored nationwide protests about the Armageddon that would befall us all by incurring such huge debt.

I'll also wonder why all these people, most of them white, weren't outraged by such reckless spending, and weren't carrying signs accusing the president of being a Muslim, of not being born in the United States, of depicting him having a bone through his nose, etc., etc.

Instead of acknowledging these ideological inconsistencies in the body politic, you'll tell me that I'm the real racist, and that the health care bill is really unpopular (after a year of nonstop lies about it), and that because of their unconstitutional actions and "ramming the bill down our throats", the Democrats have to share responsibility for these threats, even though you don't condone them, and it's just a coincidence that the president is black.

I'm sure there's a whole lot I've forgotten, but I think I've given you the head start you're clearly going to need.

Oh, and in the interest of saving time: I'm an elitist.

Steven said...


The caveat that you (and by extension Cesca, Rich et al)aren't speaking in absolutes is wholly inadequate when coupled with near absolute tone with which you address the subject.

In the racially divided city of St. Louis, I attended the first Tea Party, and didn't see anything like what it is described on the left wing blogs. What I saw was a pretty well behaved group of people gathered for the purpose of redress against their government. I think that is a good thing, regardless of the ideology.

It is my opinion that you (and the others) have purposefully confused the fringe element with the mainstream of the libertarian/Tea Party movement.

It is a politically shrewd move. As long as the subject is stereotypical Deliverence guy holding a sign misspelling nigger, nobody has to address the unprecedented levels of spending, debt and government management of the economy.

I think it is important we have that conversation. How much this government expansion costs in terms of taxes, debt and freedom is just as important as the conversation about the plight of the uninsured, profits of health care companies and overall skyrocketing cost of health care.

Alanna said...

When your country is born with a latent poison in its veins - namely, slavery - this is the amalgam of what's left after you run it through the strainer. I believe we are seriously stumbling towards an ideological civil war.

L. said...

Frankly I feel I need to take my country back as well. It's clear that I've lost the country that was once mine.

I mean, it's to the point where people hardly ever refer to me by my official title 'Our Most Glorious and Supreme Leader for Life Leigh'. It's sickening.

SteveR said...

Steven doesn't want to disassociate himself from the movement of which he is a part. He believes himself to be a reasonable, intelligent person, therefore his beloved movement is entirely comprised of people like him.

To believe that his movement is comprised of people of differing levels of intelligence or bigotry would require independent thought. It would also require him to adopt a certain distance from his movement, leading to the admission that it isn't perfect.

He needs to believe that his beloved movement is completely and homogeneously righteous and correct, all members marching in lock-step, without one racist or homophobic anomaly to disrupt the righteous unity.

Because that's their vision of America.

Chez said...

I agree with you about the necessity of the conversation, Steven. But here's the thing: Where were you -- where was the "Tea Party" at all -- when the previous president was spending billions and billions on an unnecessary war, running up the federal debt, bailing out banks, and engaging in an expansion of government that included the trouncing of actual civil liberties (including the monitoring of private citizens)? Where were you then?

Steven said...


I appreciate the question.

You won't find a defender of the 400 billion deficits of the Bush years in me. I left the Republican over them.

The logic I'm hearing is: Bush was fiscally irresponsible. Nobody took to the streets over that. Barack Obama is black. People are taking to the streets over his irresponsibility. Therefore, what has changed is race of the president, and thus these protests are really about race. If I am incorrectly stating your position, I apologize.

But race isn't all that changed. The size and scope of federal spending and deficits has grown beyond comparison with the Bush years.

Since Bush left office, we have had an 800 billion dollar stimulus package, and the president is calling for another. The deficit has tripled to 1.6 trillion. Pay as you go has turned out to be nothing but lip service.

We have added the largest entitlement program since medicare, and been bald faced lied to about how much it will cost.

The CBO numbers account for only 6 years of new expenditures and 10 years of new revenue. They don't include the new 200 billion everyone says is needed to pay doctors so they will continue to see medicare patients. They account for a future 500 billion dollar cut to medicare (believe that, I have bridge for sale.) Furthermore, every government program costs more than the politicians say it will.

Of course, for some simple-minded people race is the concern. For others, it is probably a part of why they protest. I would be a fool to argue against that.

But I would say that most people who believe as I do are good people who disagree with the direction the government is taking the country.

As to the last question: Brother I was at work. I am self employed and don't have time to protest. I did it once and I didn't catch up for three days. I guess I would care less about this stuff if I wasn't one of the ones that had to pay for it.

Steven said...


I am perfectly aware of the ego-centric nature of man kind.

Of course I don't believe all these people are there for the same reason I am.

Furthermore, I am not "part" of the movement. I am self employed, I am far too busy to be a part of any movement.

Jeremy said...

The sign that the "lovely lady" is holding up calls him a "lyin' African", they refuse to accept that he's an American citizen, and a vocal group of them scream racial epithets at lawmakers.

But no... it's not about race for any of them. (Not even the ones who jump up and down and make the biggest scene for the camera and are, therefore, the face of the group. They are just misunderstood when they make lynching jokes and hold up signs with blatantly racist imagery.)

Mart said...

The cost off war was off the books and Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy have an ever growing impact on the deficit. What does a government do when the financial industry is broke, and local and federal tax revenue is falling through the floor? If the government stops spending jobs continue to crater at an accelerating rate. The Bush and Obama bailouts of the banks and Obama's stimulus packages kept the bottom from falling out. Yea we have debt problems, but nothing that is out of reach of spending less on defense and resuming taxes on rich people to their historical at war norms.

Ref said...

Yeah, I'll believe that "They're not racists" crap when Dickless Armey and all these Republican congressmen start calling the so-called fringe out on their obsessions instead of pandering to them.