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Jimmy Carter and others on the left who reduce criticism of Obama to racism are going to exhaust what left of the already diminished public sympathy with the civil rights community and the cause of the genuinely hard work to reduce racial disparities.  You'd think people would draw a deep breath and recall how much people on the right hated Clinton ten years ago.  After all, we haven't impeached Obama yet.  (One thing at a time--Ed.)  But I think the left can't help itself; when you have a bad hand, the race card is the only thing they have to play.  But it doesn't make for a winning hand any more.  It will be to Obama's detriment, and will probably hurt him at the polls three years from now.
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Conservatives, too, should resist the temptation to talk in these terms. When a caller to Dennis Miller's show yesterday wanted to engage in analysis of Kanye West's actions by explaining that THOSE were obviously motivated by West's anti-white racism, Miller (appropriately, in my view) bristled. "Isn't it enough," he asked, "to note that this is a really bad guy?" And isn't it? Why would what he did be any worse if inspired by a dislike of pretty young white women who beat out beautiful black women? For all I know, maybe it was. But why should I care? Why does the charge of racism trump the charge of boorishness?

In the case of Rep. Wilson (whom more accounts than not suggest is an otherwise decent and honorable human being), why would his being a secret "racist" make what he did any worse than it was? Why isn't it enough to say that it was rude and obnoxious behavior and he acted like a jerk? He seems to have agreed with that assessment of himself--whatever noble (indignation at the President's belligerence and lack of veracity) or ignoble passions (racism) may have stirred his soul. I do not know that Joe Wilson is not a racist, but no one has made a convincing case that he is one. I further know that if someone had made a convincing case, it would not change my opinion of his behavior . . . and he would not be long in office.

Racism is a stupid, backward, and embarrassingly un-reflective way of "thinking" and so people who expose themselves with public declarations of it are rightly condemned as beyond the pale and unworthy of respect in polite society. But when every form of bad behavior must be explained in terms of its secret motivation in racism, this means that the bad behavior no longer counts for anything in and of itself.

Presumably, then, if either Wilson or West conclusively could disprove the charges of racism leveled against them, then those who have been leveling those charges would have to be content to accept the behavior? Is it now o.k. to act like a jackass as long as you're not a racist about it?

Must race paranoia get in the way of every rational (and even irrational) conversation we try to have in this country? It must when hucksters like Jimmy Carter are permitted to believe that they can intimidate the opposition with it. Until fools like Carter are ignored instead of fawned upon by the press--which only loves a juicy sex scandal better than it loves a race fight--I am afraid that this sad state of affairs will continue. Though the political result of such reckless charges, as Steve says, may now (finally) be to effect the opposite of the intended result.

Racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist, racist. Did you have enough? Are you ready to give in to our agenda? We got more and we’re not afraid to use them.

Well when you think about pretty much any opposition to Obama's healthcare plan is racist - unless you are for single payer.

But seriously, Republican and conservatives need to do better at combating those kinds of charges. At the very least, those kinds of unanswered charges help polarize the African American community to vote upwards of 8 1/2 to 1 for the Democrats and shifts the conversation in unfortunate ways. I would feel better if we were taking about the House bill's provisons on abortion rather than whether Joe Wilson was a rude bigot or just rude.

Effective strategies aren't that clear to me. One would be a counter attack that focuses relentlessly on the intersection between policy and real life. Whne Democrats scream racism, explain how your plan (whatever it is and you better have one) cuts the growth in premiums and how the Democrats want to cloak the harm their policies would do to people with cries of racism. The standard response should be that cries of racism were a cover for hurtful policies and policies that hur African Americans along with everyone else.

BTW, as I recall, the Clinton Health Care Plan had affirmative action provisions in it for building hospitals in underserved areas. Obviously, poor areas should have their share of public health facilities. But anything like quotas really paves the way for corrupt practices and ultimately underserves the public. Does anyone know, does the Obama plan/various congressional plans have such afffirmative action provisions?

Fat Pig Whom No Republican Is Allowed To Criticize:

"In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, 'Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on... I wonder if Obama's going to come to come to the defense of the assailants the way he did his friend Skip Gates up there at Harvard."

Yeah, it would be terrible for liberals to have to play the "race card", huh?

There is no "combating" name-calling: that's why they do it, other than not having any real argument to make.

I have reached the LOL stage with respect to "raaaaaaacist": laugh out loud. That's all the response it deserves. Contra myself, maybe that is the way to combat it after all.

Come on, we all know racism is the only reason anyone opposes Obamacare. Therefore, why doesn't the President do the right thing and admit he was born in Indonesia, thus making him ineligible to be President, thus putting Vicepresident Joe Biden in the White House? Since Mr Biden is white, all opposition to Obamacare (perhaps we will call it Bidencare) will cease.
N.B. Porkbuster; it is very bad manners to call a person (even a fat one) a "pig". You might try learning some manners. If he lied, then call him a liar, but he is still a human being, just like you.

Steve -- 1) It's hard to know whether this will hurt Obama in an election. 2) I totally agree: the left "can't help itself." 3) Instead of "civil rights community," which has a positive ring to it, why not call them the Black Politburo? My term for the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus, which certainly can be extended to include much of the "civil rights community." A milder term would be "race industry," but that's a little vague for my taste. Tough times call for tough words!

It's a tricky time. Obviously, there's still a lot of racism out there, particularly among the right-wing:

http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/09/17/limbaugh-we-need-segregated-buses/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyj1DSEQuy0

...and Wilson has been (still is?) a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group that views slavery as a benign institution, as well as being a gung-ho supporter of the Dixie Rebel SC flag.

Racism operates on a continuum from overt to covert. While hardly anyone in polite society is willing to utter the n-word, at least in mixed company in public, that doesn't mean that the only racists remaining in society are those who do so. That should be obvious to anyone with a pulse. Had Wilson actually said "You lie, BOY!" I'm sure there would still be some within the respectable right who would want to argue that we couldn't truly know Wilson's motivation.

Carter probably should have skipped the speculation, though. Putting the focus on Limbaugh's call for segregated buses would probably have been more productive, seeing that Limbaugh is the current leader of the GOP, and twice the repulsive schmuck in the eyes of moderate Americans (and that doesn't include the NLT and Powerline demographic) than Carter is.

Rush is a racist because Craig enjoys reading websites that purposely distort quotes from leading conservatives in the hopes that their readership is too stupid to understand the concept of sarcasm. Rush did not say that he supports the idea of segregated buses . . . he was saying that not much gets said about the defacto (and in this case, violent) segregation that is tolerated by liberals if the victim of it happens to be white. He was condemning with sarcasm the appalling and patronizing idea that segregation is o.k. as long as blacks are the ones seeking to enforce it.

I get and sympathize with Limbaugh's point even as I grow weary of this method of trying to express it. Maybe (probably) it was racism that motivated those kids on the bus to beat up the white kid. But I don't necessarily get outraged by a disinclination to call them out for it. Would the charge of "racism" mitigate or make worse any of what they did? Why is unquestionably bad behavior now suddenly a matter for political debate? There should be no debate about it. I would be content if everyone just quit talking about racism and other private motivations for bad behavior and simply worked together to punish the bad behavior in a sensible and just way. THAT would be post-racial. But then, I never supported hate-crime legislation (and neither did Rush) . . . and yet, there it is. Why does it surprise liberals when it cuts both ways?

Isn't it the height of paternalistic patronizing to suggest that black people can't hate? I think it suggests that they are less human. And yet, what good is served by pointing out this hatred? It creates an impression that all whites hate blacks and all blacks hate whites . . . it suggests that we are never better, can never be better than that. Can we agree now that the idea of "hate crimes" is just stupid? All it does is generate more hate, obfuscate bad behavior and criminal acts, and encourage more division in society.

Julie, you act as though this is the first time Rush has said anything that could be construed as racist. It isn't. This is also the guy who told a caller to "take that bone out of your nose" (guess why) and said "have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted
criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?"

Perhaps Rush wasn't endorsing segregated buses; although with a collection of ideas like his, one might wonder why he would possibly oppose it.

Here's how Rush started his show:
"Greetings, my friends. It's Obama's America, is it not? Obama's America -- white kids getting beat up on school buses now. I mean, you put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety, but in Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, "Yeah, right on, right on, right on!" And of course, everybody says, "Oh, the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he's white.""

Yes, "everyone" thinks that and says that. "Obama's America."

Please, Julie...

Craig's bike has gears that allow him to spin backwards. Neat trick. In the meantime, don't write to me if you want a point by point analysis of everything Rush Limbaugh has ever said on the question of race or anything else. It may come as a shock to you, but I don't speak for him and neither does anyone else here. Call his show.

In the meantime, nice job of dodging everything I said by mounting a defense amounting to a screed against something you claim he said. Now that we know where you get your information and, moreover the spirit with which you go about looking for it, I'll go back to ignoring you.

Julie, the quotes I provided are well-documented, and seen in their full context are clearly to be taken "as is."

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2549

"It may come as a shock to you, but I don't speak for [Limbaugh]..."

So, you're saying this immediately after lodging a defense of his recent comment and plainly stating that you "sympathize" with him?

RawStory did not distort his quote about segregated buses, nor take it out of context. They shouldn't have run it as the headline, however. Limbaugh constantly jumps back and forth between his own views and spouting straw men about the beliefs of those who he perceives are out to get him and/or "destroy America." I've listened to his show enough myself to know this. He was very likely in straw men mode when he said that about segregated buses. Okay then, he was suggesting that liberals and blacks, and Obama, are calling for such a thing. Still absurd, and unconstructive, any way you slice it. Do you think a man who views criminals as primarily a black monolith would really have much objection if such segregation were reinstated?

"Isn't it the height of paternalistic patronizing to suggest that black people can't hate?"

Who said that they can't? In this particular case, though, the police seem to doubt the race angle. But conservative calls for color-blindness are typically soaked in disingenuousness.

So go back to ignoring me, Julie, the same way that Limbaugh carefully screens his calls. I know, I should count my blessings that NLT even allows comments, a fairly rare situation at right-wing blogs.

Just quickly, and to clarify: I did not defend the comment. I said, quite clearly, that I grow weary of that sarcastic method of self-expression. Why? Because it's becoming fairly obvious to me that it's not especially helpful. Here we are (again) arguing about something that is plainly not at issue because guys like you think you can bully the argument with sexy distortions. Craig, if you seriously believe that Rush Limbaugh would applaud the re-institution of segregation . . . you are hardly even worthy of contempt. If you believed that, you would be a mad man and, I guess, that would be an excuse. But I do not believe that you really believe that. I think you know perfectly well what you are attempting to do. And it is amusing to watch because you are among the most vocal critics of bombast . . . when it comes from the right. You are guilty of demagogic and misleading disingenuousness on a scale that surpasses the bombast of any comment that Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity or Beck might regret. Like all obsessive personalities, you have become that which you claim most to hate.

As I said, I did not defend the comment you cited. I only said that I sympathize with the substance behind it . . . which is a different thing. I did defend Limbaugh against your sarcastic and deliberately misleading characterization of the substance of what he said, because the argument on behalf of true equality is more important than Rush Limbaugh and because it is unjust and the height of viciousness, to claim a man is a racist and then support your argument with stuff as thin as what you provided. And I defend him from that charge still. I do not believe that the man is racist--however ill-considered his comments may sometimes be. The one thing does not equal the other. And the fact that you have to lie now in order to make your pathetic case--and that you do it in the hopes only of scoring a few points for your side of a political argument by scaring people away with false specters--ought to shame you. But it does not. You are beyond shame. And THAT, Mr. Scanlon, is more shameful even than the racism you feign to find appalling. The sad thing is that I almost believe that you would be happy to discover that real racism is alive and well on the scale that it was in, say, the 30s and 40s. I think you would be delighted to use another person's misery and ill-treatment in order to advance your agenda. But you would not be the first . . . there is a long track record of this stuff on the left.

Julie, well said.

Craig, you seem like a smart enough guy. I think you could really contribute some good (even if snarky and critical) stuff from the liberal perspective if you dropped the troll act.

Julie, what happened to ignoring me? That didn't last long!

Limbaugh is obviously, blatantly trying to stir racial tensions, or worse, create them out of whole cloth. Watch out good, wholesome white Americans! Black kids are going to beat up your kid on the bus because we made the horrible mistake of electing Obama. They feel that they can get away with anything now, because that radical black guy's got their back! Actually, his show intro - go ahead, take it in its full context (just like his "phony soldier" comments) - was considerably worse than his awful and nonsensical projecting about segregation, and it was wholly devoid of any ambiguity. It's "Obama's America" when black kids are beating up white kids on the bus. That's Rush, the "we believe in a color-blind society" conservative for ya! I know little facts like this don't make much difference to you or Rush, but both a witness and the police have said that it doesn't appear to have been a racially motivated attack - it was bullies trying to dictate where other kids sit; surely not an unknown phenomenon in any school. But "color-blind" Rush chalks it all up to "Obama's America." (Of course, the ludicrousness of his accusation would still be a factor even if this was/is a racially motivated attack. As though Obama is causing racially motivated attacks?)

But I'm happy to drop the argument over his ambiguous (and, at best, silly) remark on segregation, as he has a long history, going right up to that same show date, of making racist comments. He makes them because he's a racist; yes, even if he has smiled and shaken Michael Steele's hand.

This gets at your (and Limbaugh's) twisted benchmarks for identifying racism. If someone isn't openly, directly calling for segregation, if someone isn't calling them n****rs, and/or proudly dragging them behind their trucks, then a person can't truly be racist!

Does hypersensitivity to perceived racism exist? Of course, no doubt it does. Is racism in America (be it white-on-black, black-on-white, or whatever) dead because Obama got elected (as so many on the right have suggested)? Hardly.

But are these words part of an "argument on behalf of true equality" that require "sexy distortions" to be seen for what they are, which is racist?

"The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."

"They oughtta change Black History Month to Black Progress Month and start measuring it."

"Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."

But what "agenda" do you think I'm advancing by pointing out Limbaugh's racism? It's not like doing so - even on his latest remarks about the bus incident - is strictly for leftists only:
http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2009/09/rush-limbaugh-hits-racial-bott.html

What's truly amusing is how you apparently need to go into high dudgeon to help prop up The Anointed One of conservatism. I'm "beyond shame" and I want to go back to the days of regular lynchings for the sake of my "agenda." Sure, oh so very plausible. Let me guess, Ashbrook's already booked Limbaugh for their next Ashbrook Memorial Dinner??

That must be comforting, Julie, to have the support of "ugg boots on sale" !

Wow, a fan. Can't say I approve of the plagiarism.

Reading through all this bickering is kind of amusing, especially when we consider this basic fact: everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, including Mr Scanlon, Keith Olbermann, Rep. Clyburn, and even Jimmy Carter, knows full well that 1.Rush Limbaugh is not a racist, and 2.opposition to Obama has nothing to do with race. The Obama administration has lost the battle of ideas, and Obama's cult of personallity is wearing thin, so the racism ploy gets trotted out. Actually, Jimmy Carter probably did everyone a favor by stating it on TV, since if a member of the Obama administration had tried anyhing so stupid, the administration would have lost all credibility.

I was reminded of this thread when Glenn Beck demonstrated his style of deep thinking and enriching discussion (not to mention his complete inability to answer an entirely fair question):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKZ1qbDyKOM&feature=player_embedded

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