Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Presidential Race

Irwin says Joe Wilson wouldn’t have said what he did to a white President.  Pres. Carter echoed that belief, if not in so many words, last night on NBC.  Let’s suppose it’s true.  Then what?  Do we really want a President who cannot be criticized as aggressively as W. was by, say, Al Franken?  Is there any doubt that the angry and obnoxious things said about the last administration would have been attributed to bigotry had the President been in an historically oppressed class?

A wise young man said to me last summer that all Presidential candidates should be WASP males.  Not because WASP men make the best Presidents, but because they make the best targets when they are not the best Presidents (or candidates).  Look at all the ink spilled on the race or sex of Senators Clinton and Obama and Gov. Palin.  Not a dime’s worth of it had anything to do with health care or Iraq or Afghanistan.  It was all a lot of self-congratulatory feel-goodism: “Look how cool we are letting these ‘others’ take a shot.”  Three cheers for US. 

Of course, there’s some irony in the claim that BHO would not be receiving the abuse he is receiving if he were not black.  After all, he wouldn’t be President if he weren’t black.  He might have got there some day, after he had actually shown some skill as a legislator or character in crisis, but in 2008, he had no such credentials.  The nomination was Hillary’s to lose, and she lost it, but her inevitability strategy would have worked just fine, I think, if she could have counted on her due share of the black vote.  And only a black man could have snatched that from her.  (After that, all BHO needed to get elected was to not be a Republican.)

So the election was distorted, first by Hillary’s sex, then by BHO’s race.  And as the twig is bent, so grows the tree.  The political hurly-burly, the part of our process that ain’t beanbag, must now be fought with kid gloves lest someone be accused of bad thinking.  What do we think of these pics?  Over the line?  No? So can we put BHO in them?  Nope.  New rules apply. 

Liberals make a big mistake, I think, by demanding special consideration for their man.  It’s hot in the kitchen, and if the American people get the sense that we have to turn down the heat for a black President lest we be accused of turning it up on him, we will be reluctant to go down this road again, especially since we have already assuaged our collective consciences for all that slavery by sacrificing Hillary to the gods of political correctness.  (Irony there, too: so much of feminist politics is a coat-tail play on the mistreatment of African slaves; it’s time we were reminded of the relative magnitude of the atrocities to be rectified, and BHO’s victory over HRC did that very well.)


  1. Larry- I'm glad to see that you have decided to comment on an irrelevance.

    I fear that you have missed my point. I do not object to criticism of any political figure when the criticism is appropriate as to the forum that it is given in, and is not racially or religiously offensive.

    Wilson's remarks (in addition to being wrong) were inappropriate because they broke the decorum of the United States Congress at a Joint session of that body before a speech given by the leader of our country.It was clearly racially motivated.

    That was a breach of Congressional rules and he was appropriately censured by his colleagues. After all, his apology came not voluntarily, but only after he was told to do so by the Republican leadership.

    People who fail to condemn or rationalize his tactics only feed red meat to the crazies that are out there. Perhaps you didn't see some of the racially biased and offensive signs that were on view at the 9/12 march on Washington. ("Bury Obamahealth with Kennedy") There is a vast difference between the racist posters at that rally, and the pictures that you link to on this blog. The Bush pictures made fun of his IQ (or lack thereof. They were not racially or religiously motivated.

    Some other specific comments;

    1. I think that an articulate white candidate who articulated the same positions as BHO, in the same way could have beaten Hillary.

    2, The election was distorted by the ineptness and incompetency of Bush/Cheney and McCain/Palin

    3. this liberal is not demanding special consideration for BHO. I am asking and hoping for an appropriate level of discussion carried on in a civil manner.

    4. Now I will go to your previous posting and post my comments.

  2. Irwin -

    They taught me in law school that lawyers only use the word "clearly" to describe things that are not clear. So far, that lesson has proved correct. There was nothing racially offensive in Wilson's remark standing alone. It was, as you say, inappropriate to the forum. But you then argue, in effect, that if a (southern, white?) Congressman behaves inappropriately to his forum toward a black man, the Congressman clearly does so out of racial motivation. That's a bit much to swallow. And I don't see why it's so important. There is racism abroad in the land as surely as there was gambling in wartime Casablanca. And this is news because...?

    On your specific comments:

    1. BHO's position and style - and maybe some mysogyny - got him the white vote. But he'd never have captured 90% of the black vote from her, and never won SC, etc., if he were white. Wouldn't have happened. It does not demean him to say that he played the cards he was dealt. His race probably didn't help him in the general. And he clearly out-hustled her in the caucus states. But in the southern Democratic primaries, his race made all the difference.

    2. That horse really is dead. You can stop beating it any time you wish.

    3. Demanding civility and shouting "racist" at the uncivil are two different things. Which are you doing?

  3. I said that Wilson was a racist based not only upon his comment, but by previous remarks that he has made, organizations that he belongs to, and other racists positions that he has taken.He is as much a racist as Rush, Glenn and Sean.

    I am doing both. We would do much better with civil discourse, and my claim of incivility is quite specific to Wilson's statement, not to all statements made in opposition to BHO.


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