Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Sunday, October 05, 2008


(Via Instapundit) I mentioned yesterday that criticism of Obama is somehow defacto racism. Today's example comes from the AP (as highlighted here):
Palin's words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee "palling around" with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn't see their America?In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as "not like us" is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.

Of course Palin was specifically talking about a group of spoiled white kids. But that doesn't matter here. Criticism of Obama is always racist somehow. Should be a fun four years coming up.


Blogger James Colby said...

You seem like a guy trying to be reasonable so I'll share another point of view with you. I agree with you and disagree, but mostly disagree.

The simple truth is you'll never get a respectable response to a despicable attack, and it's just not reasonable to expect one.

I agree with you that this attack by Sarah Palin perhaps was not racist. It's also not worth defending. I think any reasonable person would agree that accusing Obama of "palling around with terrorists" is not only untrue, but it's just a reprehensible thing for anyone to say, much less a candidate for VP. It is far worse than being accused of racism. Therefore, in the specific case of this untrue and downright slanderous remark, isn't an untrue response perfectly appropriate?

That being said, you probably know of some situations where perfectly reasonable criticisms were met with accusations of racism, I have from time to time also. But it's not fair to say any criticism is met that way. Saying he needs more experience, usually is not called racist. Saying he will raise your taxes, is not called racist. Saying he will waive the white flag of surrender is not called racist even though it is untrue and uses the word "white". There are many criticisms out there that are not met with accusations of racism and I thought that was worth mentioning, because you seem to imply otherwise.

There are things for example, a lady posted a comment to another one of your posts..."Obama scares me. He really scares me". For me, the comment seemed so ridiculous that it must be sarcasm from an Obama supporter satirizing a racist voter, but after seeing some recent McCain rallies, I guess I don't know. The comment certainly "feels" racist, but it certainly may not be. I suppose there is another reason someone could fear him, although I don't know why. Perhaps she will read this and add her 2 cents worth.

A bigger thing to consider though, is if people don't want unfair accusations of racism, they should avoid the fair criticisms. It's like in football, if you tend to hold alot, the refs are going to throw the flag for holding a few times when it might not have really been an accurate call. You wanna avoid the unfair calls, cut down on the fair calls. It is racist to call Obama a muslim, which several official Republican National Committee websites have done, one even kept it on their home page for 6 weeks. It's racist to accentuate his middle name, which a uniformed police man did this very week while introducing Sarah Palin to which she said nothing to condemn the statement(this was also a violation of the Hatch act). John McCain has been introduced with the line "you can have your Tiger Woods, we've got Senator McCain". Those are racist acts, you should find a way to get that.

The #1 Conservative talk show host in America calls him a "halfrican" and regularly plays the song "Barack, the magic negro" on his show, and countless Republicans I know personally tell me that none of that is racist. I was at the fair this summer and the official local Republican booth was selling 3 dollar bills with a picture of Obama wearing an arab head dress and the serial number was "IBD14UOK", a obvious joke about ebonics and clearly racist in multiple ways. In all of these situations, Republicans are telling me that none of this is racist and that's a problem, just like alcoholism, if you don't admit the problem, you can't make it better.

The really sad truth is that I could write a book with all the examples of racism I've seen from Republicans in this campaign. With all that, maybe you should ask your party to get out of the racism business before crying about being accused of it one time too many.

2:52 PM  
Blogger -Peder said...

James, lot to respond here to so I'll make my points brief. I don't think 'palling around with terrorists' is coded racism in any way shape or form. I also don't think it's unreasonable given Obama's relationship with Ayers. Reasonable people can disagree about Obama's knowledge and degree of friendship but I don't think it's out of bounds.
Also I understand your 'holding' analogy but I don't think it really works. I'll condemn actual racism in connection with Obama and I certainly concede that there has been some. But that doesn't mean that other behavior should be tagged that way.
Let's turn it around. The behavior of some ranking Democrats towards Palin has been disgustingly sexist. Does that mean that we can call any action against her sexist? I know that the sexism card hasn't always been played accurately either, but by your logic that's only fair.

5:17 AM  
Blogger James Colby said...

We do agree to a certain extent on something here. That statement is not overtly racist. I would also go so far as to say that most people saying it do not mean it in a racist way, perhaps some do, but most of them don’t, so we agree.

My point was that the statement was ridiculous and reprehensible and therefore did not deserve a fair and accurate response. So anytime someone makes a ridiculous statement about Palin like she bans books with witch doctors, feel free to call it sexist even though it’s not. Stuff like that deserves an unreasonable response.

While were on that, let’s look at the honesty involved in that statement she used. I work with some great people, but there are a few I don’t like, and I don’t know what they did 40 years ago, but if I knew they did some bad things, who cares? But that doesn’t mean I won’t be friendly with them or even spend some time in their living room if that happens to be the location of an event I want to attend. I don’t have a beer with these people, we don’t go hiking together and there isn’t the slightest bit of evidence to suggest we do. So saying I pal around with them, now that’s just a lie. The same is true about Palin’s statement, there is no evidence that Obama pals around with Bill Ayers, none at all, which makes her statement a lie, an intentional one.

Furthermore, you call Bill Ayers a terrorist. That part I agree that reasonable people can disagree upon. Sure, he fits some people’s definition of a terrorist, including the FBI at the time, and it’s not that I disagree, but I feel that label should be explained when used in cases like this. You call the man a terrorist and people think McVeigh, Bin Laden or Atta. Ayers did some things that were very dangerous but to me, the fact that no one ever got killed by them or even hurt means he shouldn’t be described in the same way as Osama Bin Laden. Use the word “terrorist” if you want, but if you want to be honest with people, give an explanation.

The whole point of the statement “pals around with a terrorist” is intellectually dishonest anyway. Personally, I happen to “pal around” with a few Republicans, they are really good friends of mine. My Father was a Republican too. None of that means I am one, nor does it mean I agree with them or would allow them to advance their Republican agendas should I ever be elected to public office. Same is true with some soccer fans I hang out with, doesn’t mean I’m ever going to watch a game. Also I know some alcoholics, a tax evader(he is also a Republican) and a client of mine used to sell drugs. So really, what’s the point of the statement? It does nothing to define Obama, but Palin acts as if it does, the question is are your Republican leaders that stupid or do they simply think Republican voters are that stupid?

I’m curious if you have an example of disgustingly sexist behavior by ranking democrats towards Governor Palin? I’m not saying it didn’t happen; I just missed it if it did.

12:28 PM  
Blogger -Peder said...

James, I'm going to label anyone who tries to push a political agenda by planting bombs for civilians a 'terrorist'. The only difference between Ayers and McVeigh was one of ability, not intent or morality. If Ayers had repented it would be one thing but he hasn't. I don't know how close Obama is to Ayers but I wouldn't maintain a working relationship with him. I wouldn't let him host anything for me and I wouldn't serve on a board that he headed.
Your worries that Palin's comments will tip some poor soul over the edge are heartfelt, I'm sure, but I don't share them. Don't get me wrong, violence done to Obama at this point would be one of the worst things to happen in our country's history. I just think that any would be assassin would have been convinced well before any relationship with terrorists was brought up.
On the other hand is this from Paul Begala - "George Bush and the Senate Republicans tried to ruin this country in his first term. They tried to ruin the whole world in his second. 20 days from now, let's not give them and John McCain a third chance." Get that, they're going to ruin the world! Sounds like they must be stopped at any cost! Hyperbole, of course, and to be expected during a campaign.

6:36 PM  
Blogger James Colby said...

I guess we have very different way of judging people. Based on your last comment you will cut a guy some slack if he had repented, but the fact that he never killed anyone does not make him any better than McVeigh. You and I see that very differently. Of coure, saying a man pals around with a terrorist has a much stronger impact than accusing a man of having a relationship with a guy who, 40 years ago was a terrorist that never killed anyone. With those comments and the swift boating of Kerry, your party is firmly establishing itself as a group with zero intent on being honest with it's voters.

I'm not here to defend Ayers, I've read alot about him, some things showed he took great care to ensure he didn't kill anyone, some things(including his own writings) show that he may have intended otherwise in operations he was planning but never executed. I think the guys actions can't be tolerated and he should have spent some time in prison. But just because I don't like a guy doesn't mean I shouldn't try to be accurate.
By your reasoning, VP candidates Joe Lieberman and John Edwards should have frequently brought up the fact the Laura Bush killed her ex-boy friend even though there is no evidence to show it was anything other than an accident. Or should Biden find one person that served with McCain in Vietnam who bombed civilians without being ordered too and call that guy a terrorist? You know that happens in war, it almost can't be avoided. But no, they don't do that, because even though you can fit a mans actions into the definition of the word terrorist, reasonable people like to consider the reality of what happened.

Do we call G. Gordon Liddy a terrorist, he hosted McCain in his home in 98 for a fundraiser? Aside from his actions against the american people in the 70's, this man repeatedly advised citizens to shoot federal agents in the head on his radio show in the 90s.

How about the woman who supports McCain financially and as a delegate(yes they have met), who also has been convicted of killing an abortion doctor(civilian violence for political reasons), surely she is a terrorist. I could list more if you like.

Maybe it's because it's dishonest, maybe because it would lead to blowback, but according to your reasoning, you would not condemn it. We need to raise the level of discourse, not lower the bar.

I don't think Palin's comments will incite actual violence, I'm saying that sort of thing at the podium or being yelled out at rallies cannot be tolerated if you hope to be considered a mainstream candidate. Sure, it happens in the fringe, but let's keep it there.

Begala's comments seem to me like a call to vote, not a call for anything else, hyperbole is right, but it doesn't carry the same weight.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Mommy said...

Wow and I was just going to comment on "racist". You see, I had people tell me that if I was for Hillary I was a "racist" - being a "middle-class white woman from the suburbs" and all I must be totally afraid of black people, right? When my step-son said this to me(in jest.) I told him - I am not racist, are you a Misogynist? He and my step-daughter had no IDEA what that word was...I wondered if that was a good thing, or a bad thing, and if one day no one will know what a racist is either.

11:34 AM  
Blogger James Colby said...

It's a lovely thought, I and I think most of us would love to see our culture evolve to that point. The pessimist in me sees this another way. I think most people in this nation don't know the word "misogyny", but they do know the word "sexist".

My point being that the sentiment still exists, it's only our vocabulary that is diminishing.

12:56 PM  

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