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Progressive Condescension

This exchange between Senator Barbara Boxer and National Black Chamber of Commerce President, Harry Alford (and my new hero) is priceless. She really cannot understand why Mr. Alford does not back off once she quotes from a memo of the NAACP and cites the opinions another group of black businessmen about the impact of Cap and Trade. All of the independent research and work that he and his group have been conducting for the last 13 years on the impact of global warming legislation on business are supposed to be thrown out the window because Barbara Boxer is now setting him straight on the way black people are "supposed to think." But he will have none of it. I really cannot think of a more vile representation of the condescension that characterizes so much of "Progressive" ideology. Do note, also, the way that Mr. Alford repeatedly refers to her as "M'am" . . . she didn't dare tell him to stop and please use the title she had "worked so hard" to get.
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Discussions - 13 Comments

Julie, thanks for posting this, and kudos to Harry Alford for calling out Barbara Boxer's condescension and racialism.

Are the Republicans capable of using this to show how the pampered Bobo class Boxer stupidly but authentically represents doesn't care about people who really have to work--black or white?

Cap and trade should be a great issue for Republicans. It operates as both a regressive tax and liberal corporate welfare.

The racial stuff is more complicated. Boxer was throwing it in Alford's face that his was not the "real" black postion on cap and trade. I would need charts to go into all the ways Boxer's performance was disgusting, but I doubt that she will pay much of a price among African American voters in 2010. The strength of the African American community's alliance with Democrats (or maybe antipathy to Republicans is a better way to put it), means that white liberal Democrats can behave this way and get away with it. It also means that African Americans who cross the party line can be portrayed (implicitly or explicitly) as racial sellouts. I very much hope I am wrong about the politics of all this. I've read a few things about Chuck DeVore and he seems like a good guy.

Great post, Julie -- thanks. Pete's comments (#3) are also on-target, unfortunately.

Rumor has it - and it is only rumor.... Larry Elder, radio talk show host and author of three great books, is going to run against Boxer for her senate seat.... Elder is black - won't that be a hoot. Here's to you Larry - you have got my vote hands down.

"Are the Republicans capable of using this to show how the pampered Bobo class Boxer stupidly but authentically represents doesn't care about people who really have to work--black or white?"

No! The Republicans, in general, are too worried about not appearing too conservative and are working hard on appearing liberal and Democrat!!!!!!

Today, Mark Steyn's article is called
The Gelded Age. He is talking about a weird mustang protection act. When I first saw the title, I thought Steyn must be writing about the new Progressive vision for America.

Harry Alford and other small businessmen really ought to keep their heads down or they will be regulated and taxed out of existence. Boxer makes his, "Excuse me,(what about truth?)" seem rude. Aggressive conservatism is always made to seem rude. Maybe not rude. Rude has to do with manners, and we are not really talking about good manners, but about political "correctness", which term is not much used anymore, while the sentiment is evident. "Offensive" -- aggressive conservatism is offensive. Maybe that is why the Boxer/Alford exchange is so great, because they are both sitting there being offended at one another.

Maybe Harry Alford's is the line to take, "You are being condescending to me."? No. That sounds like what I used to say to my husband when he told me not to worry myself about politics. There has to be a better way.

Excellent post. I just finished watching a post-hearing interview with Mr. Alford. He was still very angry.

Kate: The reasons for it being unwise for you to talk in the manner of Mr. Alford to your husband do not apply in this case. Mr. Alford and Ms. Boxer are meeting on equal terms as citizens in a public setting--he as a witness, she as an alleged public servant (and, much to her disappointment I guess, not a monarch). I think his spirit in this instance is refreshing and it ought to remind all of us that when we are dealing with our elected leaders, they deserve respect (of course) but we do not bow to them or allow them to condescend to us as if we were subjects. We do not have a duty to obey their will . . . or to subtlety influence their will when it is stupid. It is perfectly right and good for us to tell them that it is stupid. Whether it is always prudent to speak the truth with that kind of force is another matter . . . yes. Every situation that could summon righteous indignation needn't. But sometimes it may be inexcusable not to summon it. I think Mr. Alford's sense in this case was exactly on target.

Yes, but clearly Senator Boxer sees herself as authoritative, if not noble. Which is stupid, unless the principles of the Declaration do not apply, which is bringing another argument from a comment thread to apply here.

I was not saying (or should not have been saying if I did say it) that Mr. Alford was wrong, but rather was looking at a problem that Republicans, conservatives, have when confronting people like the Senator. The exchange delighted me, but now I worry for Mr. Alford.

I would not worry about Mr. Alford. That is a Man.

The office holders are vindictive parasites though, so regardless of how much of a man one is a little worry is probably reasonable.

Whoa. No liberal defenders of Boxer in the comments yet. Even a spammer beat them to it. Did they get this weekend off from their assigned blogs?

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