Worrying Race Like an Old Bone

September 14, 2009 at 11:18 am (By Amba) (, , )

The discussion between me and my bro continues, although I don’t know that either one of us is saying anything new or different, prompted by MoDo’s column and James Pinkerton’s response to it.

David:

See, I think there’s a difference between shouting “racism” — which I agree these days is little more than just a sharp object to throw under the tires of your opponent — and realizing what it is and actually, quietly doing something about it.

There’s a difference between pointing at someone who’s intolerant and shouting Bigot!, and recognizing what you’re up against and either negotiating with it or (preferably) kicking its fucking ass.

There’s a huge problem, which I identified (a couple of days before Dowd): there’s a significant minority in this country that may just be too uncomfortable with a black man in the White House. You don’t shake your head and tsk-tsk at that, but you do have to either proceed carefully in tacking huge, ambitious projects with a narrow majority, or you have to kick ass and take names. Obama has vacillated somewhere in the middle, which I think has emboldened conspiracy theorists and wingnuts who now see themselves as the base of the Republican Party.

I think Obama missed a golden opportunity to kick ass, right then and there. He looked almost as shocked as Pelosi behind him did (I loved how Biden just looked down and shook his head in disgust).

I wish he’d looked at Wilson and said, “No, Congressman, I’m not lying. I’m telling the truth. And later in the speech I’m going to talk about ways to approach this significant issue without losing sight of the civility needed to reach a positive solution. I hope you’ll pay special attention to that portion of my talk.”

Or something like that. Call the bastard out! Be the velvet hammer! Then come out swinging in the aftermath of the talk.

Because if you don’t, you lend credence to people who cloak fear of The Other in all kinds of other goofy shit.

The only reason that discussion of racism would be useful would be to call the collective bluff of people who think a black man in the White House must be sinister. Go after their bullshit and compel them to – er – call a spade a spade.

Me:

Heh heh.

What’s really upsetting me is that it’s interfering after all, with his ability to function as President.  Others can refuse to deal with him because of it, and he can take cover and be failure-proof behind it.  In my opinion, it was a huge mistake (and pure Chicago-style politics:  whatever might give you a hold over your opponent) to ever use it, even by implication, to discredit opposition to the health plan.  The health plan is scary to conservatives ALL BY ITSELF and would be equally so with a white big-government-friendly liberal pushing it.  Implying with a broad brush that racism is behind the opposition (which a lot of Obama’s supporters are resorting to, even if he isn’t) drags race into the foreground instead of giving it a withering look and banishing it to the background where it belongs.  Frankly, I don’t give a shit whether, what, as much as 20% of the country can’t stand having a black man in the white house (sexual implication intended), as long as the Secret Service keeps them and their guns far away from him.  He should be ignoring them, writing them off as hopeless dinosaurs, and having an honest discussion (as he keeps claiming he’s having) with the people who have an honest disagreement with him.  But he is a Democratic machine politician, beholden to a base that wants a public option badly enough to force it on the near-half of the country that doesn’t.  Race aside, his mandate isn’t big enough for that and he’s going to have to compromise, or else things are going to get even worse than they already are.

It’s the failure to recognize the legitimate (even if you think it’s misguided) opposition to the health plan per se — in the belief that it is NOT gonna be deficit-neutral, for starters, no way — that I find dishonest and politics as usual.  Racists should be IGNORED, not used as human shields.  All this talk of race is a DISTRACTION from that and those who treat it as anything else are guilty of helping to inflame it.  I even think the convenience of that could be one reason the backroom boys and girls of the Democratic party decided to elect him.

David:

Or, it could be repeatedly used as a smokescreen by far-right Republicans (or Whatevers) behind which to hide a determination to make him fail at the good he could really do — not because he’s black, but because he’s a Democrat.

I really do think in a weird way that the invocation of race as an issue is something that the right is encouraging, because they see it as drawing the scared to their side — regardless of how kooky the scared may be. After all, what does it matter who’s on your side, as long as there’s more of you than there are of them?

There’s nothing more cynical than a machine politician. Problem is, machines come in all colors. I don’t think Republicans are focused on the evils of a public option — where were they over most of the past quarter century, as this problem was getting worse and worse? W’s prescription benefit was the only attention health care really got from Republicans — until now. That they missed their chance to craft reform without a public option — especially after the 2002 mid-term elections — and to create a new era of fiscal responsibility, has now caused them to want to undermine, at all costs, the only, or best, hope we’ve had at some kind of reform, in our lifetime.

Now it’s not gonna happen — not in any meaningful way. And if it’s not meaningful, it means it won’t keep the problem from getting worse.

But of course, if it gets worse on a Democrat’s watch, that’s OK.

Me:

This is why the people in what’s so often called, with contempt, by both sides, “the mushy middle” should not be written off.  They’re the only ones who care more about getting something done that everyone can live with than about beating the other side.

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46 Comments

  1. PatHMV said,

    David’s advice as to how the President should have dealt with Rep. Wilson fails because the President himself had just finished labeling all of his critics as lying obstructionists. There’s not one serious criticism that the President dealt with seriously. He took the most over-blown complaints (almost all of which were intentional hyperbole designed to attract attention, not substitute for real debate) and treated them as the ONLY criticisms. Rather than look to what was actually underlying them (like the fact that the GOP complaint about illegal aliens has always been about the verification issue, and the GOP Congressmen, so far as I know, never said otherwise), he dismissed them as lies.

    The President has the atrocious habit of saying things like “I won’t sign a bill which raised the deficit,” while not addressing inconvenient facts like the CBO’s estimate of how H3200 in its current form will massively increase the deficit. As best I can tell, he plans to get around that simply by declaring all of these costs to be “off budget.” There are indeed serious Republican proposals and serious Republican criticisms out there. More importantly, there are masses of folks out in the general public who have legitimate concerns about this bill, based on their own reading of the thing. If the President were actually interested in a serious debate, he could have addressed those concerns.

    Look, Dems, imagine this scenario. President Bush senses that the Patriot Act is in trouble. He gets ready to give a speech to the joint session in prime time to rescue it. He goes over to DailyKos and pulls up the comments thread, where he finds people claiming that the Patriot Act will: 1) allow the government to take away your child forever, without any due process, 2) authorize a CIA assassination team to take out anybody who says a critical word about the administration, and 3) lead to hidden microphones being placed in the bedroom of every single American citizen out there. Now, if the President spent his entire speech rebutting those points, would any of you think that appropriate or wise? Of course not.

    The President is a as much a liar as he accused his political opponents of being. Which is to say, he is artfully misleading for political gain, just as some of his opponents were. If he wants the benefit of the moral high ground, he’s got to stay on that road.

  2. Randy said,

    Having read the comments sections of numerous well-known blogs these past few weeks, it seems to me that the previously veiled race-based opposition to this President has become more obvious. I’m not naming locales because people of good will post comments in those places as well. I do wish more of them would, however, disassociate themselves from the bigots, but that is their decision, not mine.

    More importantly, there are masses of folks out in the general public who have legitimate concerns about this bill, based on their own reading of the thing. If the President were actually interested in a serious debate, he could have addressed those concerns.

    It seems to me that he has attempted to. You don’t believe what he’s said (see above). That’s OK, but that’s different than not addressing concerns.

    More importantly, there are masses of folks out in the general public who have legitimate concerns about this bill, based on their own reading of the thing.

    I beg to differ. The number of people who have actually read any part of this thing is tiny. Most on either side are reacting to rumor and misinformation provided by others.

    Race aside, his mandate isn’t big enough for that and he’s going to have to compromise, or else things are going to get even worse than they already are.

    That may be true, but I don’t for a minute believe that the GOP leadership is seriously interested in compromise as long as the movement against it raises the odds of an electoral comeback in 2010.

  3. PatHMV said,

    Randy, where has the President addressed those concerns, other than to call critics out as lying, or simply asserting a conclusion unsupported by argument or analysis? I’m not trying to be argumentative; if he’s actually explained why he doesn’t think this plan will increase the deficit (for example), I’d really like to know. Has he explained why he thought the verification provision was unnecessary?

    As for having read the bill, when you read the fine print buried in the details of a lot of the coverage of the town hall meetings, you find that quite a few folks were asking questions of their congressmen based on specific passages of text. I think that in fact a large number of folks reacted to the claims that the town hall protesters were a bunch of idiots by making it a point to read the bill and try to understand what it says. It’s not easy to do, of course, as it’s full of cross-references to other statutes and what not, so you really have no idea, if you’re an ordinary person, what it does just by reading the language by itself.

    Here’s the thing. Both sides have plenty of ammo to hurl accusations at each other. And that practice is sucking up all the atmosphere for real debate. We’re wasting so much time debating over who really wants to debate that we’re not actually debating. It’s a waste of time and a distraction, as Annie notes, to have this discussion. It won’t accomplish anything. So I condemn the politicians on both sides who are doing so. And that most assuredly includes the President, along with some of his opponents.

  4. amba12 said,

    I don’t think Republicans are focused on the evils of a public option

    I DO think they are focused on the evils of a public option. That’s their ideology, their indoctrination, and their interest group: the alliance between big and small business and the working and “lower middle” class. They trust business. They do not trust government. That’s one legitimate strand of American history. We were born as a country in mistrust of government. It’s part of our genius. The mistake, probably, however, is not to mistrust bigness in ALL its forms — both corporate AND governmental — and to mistrust above all the alliance between them, whether it’s Ike’s “military-industrial complex” or the current Wall Street-K Street complex.

    It’s true that the Bush administration really screwed up by not controlling the size of government. Conservatives freely admit it. Some like the Bush administration’s foreign-policy hawkishness and therefore excuse the horrendous deficit-ballooning expense of the Iraq war, which was hidden off-budget just as Pat says Obama plans to hide the deficit-ballooning expense of healthcare. (Republicans have been foreign-policy adventurists, Democrats tend to be domestic-policy adventurists: the War on Poverty.) Libertarians, on the other hand, are becoming isolationists, or they’d probably call it realists, about the folly of our role as the world’s democratic policeman-evangelist. Others call that “American exceptionalism,” and when you think about what’s going to happen to the women of Afghanistan after we leave, it makes you wonder if you don’t like just a little bit the image of America rushing to the empowering rescue of damsels in distress

  5. Peter Hoh said,

    I don’t like the bill, but I must admit that it falls in line with what Obama and the Democrats campaigned about in 2008. It’s not like the president and his party campaigned for health savings accounts and then announced that circumstances have forced a policy change.

    This is a step down from single payer, which (at least in my state) has been on the Democratic Party wish list for a long time. This is not a radical proposal. It’s damned near what Romney did in Massachusetts.

    As for the opposition. . . . I think it’s a mistake to use race to explain the opposition to this bill and to this president. I’m inclined to agree with David that the right benefits more from turning this into a discussion about perceived racism and the reaction to claims of racism.

    In a post today, Ta-Nehisi Coates uses a passage from Greenwald as a starting point to make the argument that while race is A factor, it’s not THE factor. It’s worth remembering the way the right went after Clinton.

    And I know the left reacted to Bush in a similar fashion. When are we ever going to get off this crazy train?

  6. amba12 said,

    It’s damned near what Romney did in Massachusetts.

    And look how expensive THAT’s been.

    It’s worth remembering the way the right went after Clinton.

    I think I brought that up too, earlier in this discussion, maybe in the other post.

    And I know the left reacted to Bush in a similar fashion.

    Exactly! So it’s payback for payback for payback. I was wondering the other day if it all started with Bork. Or maybe it goes much further back than that.

    When are we ever going to get off this crazy train?

    How did the Hatfields and the McCoys do?

    It seems really . . . self-indulgent, given the real problems and dangers we face. In one of my fave Sunday-school metaphors, it’s as if both the mothers before King Solomon were ready to cut the baby in half.

  7. Peter Hoh said,

    And look how expensive THAT’s been.

    Which is why I’m opposed to it. But Romney never faced crowds calling him a socialist who was out to destroy America.

  8. PatHMV said,

    Peter… that last may only be true because he was trying to do it in The People’s Republic of Massachussetts. As it was, Gov. Romney did face opposition from fiscal and other types of conservatives, in part due to his “Massachussetts Plan.”

    Amba, I think it goes about 200 years farther back than that. Politics has always been brutal, nasty, and personal in this country. We think “Ma, ma, where’s my pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha!” is kind of “quaint” today, but it was a vicious personal attack back then, and certainly far removed from some high-minded policy debate we would like to believe our political campaigns should be. Politics in this country is bare-knuckle, full-contact. Neither side invented it, neither side started it. My own belief is that the Democrats really increased it the previous 8 years, but then I’m certain that many Democrats believe in all good faith that the Republicans got us started with the attacks on Clinton. But then I remember the 80s and Democrats like the late Ted Kennedy accusing Republicans of wanting school children to starve because Reagan promoted welfare reform. And before that was Nixon and his enemies list. And before that, LBJ was hardly a virtuous saint. And JFK was tragically killed before his own peccadilloes and personal failings could unravel him.

    I do think bringing race into it is a particularly dangerousthing to do, for the health of the body politic. Those Democrats, like Dowd, who misuse racial issues in this way make it that much harder to have any honest discussions about the racial prejudice which does remain in this country.

    I will say that the point made by somebody earlier, about the need of both sides to better police their ranks of the crazies, and particularly of the GOP side to purge racist-leaning folks from the movement, is right on. I recently discovered that a conservative blogger I occasionally have read is a staunch supporter of the Confederate heritage. Now there’s not much evidence that he himself is racist or things anybody with black skin pigmentation is subhuman or second class, but he speaks far too glowing of the Confederate heritage, as if there were some way to disentangle the “states’ rights” issue (which standing alone is legitimate) from slavery, which is the particular states’ right that the South chose to go to war over. So I won’t be bothering with his blog any more.

  9. PatHMV said,

    Let me be sure to clarify that I myself don’t think that Massachussetts is a socialist state; I was being tongue-in-cheek (as I’m sure my fellow regular commenters will realize, but I want to make clear for those who may read after us, many years down the road).

  10. Peter Hoh said,

    Pat, I got the PRM joke. But the thing is, he was promoted as a genuine conservative by many in the party. I don’t recall the populist conservative talking heads taking him to task because of MassCare.

  11. PatHMV said,

    Peter, I don’t remember enough of the details to be certain. My general sense during the primary season was that fiscal conservatives weren’t really happy with any of the choices, but figured him to probably be the best of a bad lot. I think the people pushing him as a genuine fiscal conservative were mostly those who worked for him or wanted to work for him. But I could easily be wrong; I really didn’t pay terribly close attention during the primary.

  12. PatHMV said,

    I agree though that the attacks against him in the primary did not, as best I can recall, focus very much on Romney-care. I know I didn’t like it when I first heard about it. I do no for certain that at least one Democrat criticized Gov. Romney for his health care policy.

    Oh, by the way, those of you distressed about the low tone of this current debate? Be glad that nobody’s resurrected this low point in news coverage by Fox News, wondering if the British National Health Service was becoming a training ground for terrorists (a substantial number of terrorists in one particular plot, it turns out, had all worked for the NHS). So yes, it COULD be worse, and don’t you forget it!

    On the merits of Obamacare, which does bear some resemblance to Romneycare, let this be a lesson on the dangers of projecting costs.

    Oh, and our guest-blogger at Stubborn Facts, C3 (an old Centerfield guy) had some good posts on health care and insurance policy a while back.

  13. amba12 said,

    I highly recommend that Tully post, the next-to-last link above, and all the comments on it, including the quotes from Dave Schuler. Yeesh. The truth ain’t pretty.

    Now I’m going to read C3’s . . .

  14. realpc said,

    What if a woman became president and called everyone a sexist who disagreed with her? Yes there are negative stereotypes but a strong individual can ignore them and demonstrate that they are not necessarily true. Even a real racist would probably approve of Obama if he were doing an obviously good job. And I don’t think there are all that many true racists anymore. I think genuine racism was an ugly fad that has largely blown over.

    Except that there are many blacks who fit themselves to the stereotype, and thereby reinforce it. And many women who do the same thing. Like me, when I cry and get hysterical, and still want to be respected as an equal human being, not as just a weak woman.

    Every American who is not a white male faces the challenge of stereotypes. We want to be seen as something beyond the stereotype, but we can’t help falling back into morphic resonance with it. And then we get mad at people for stereotyping us.

    Anyway, Obama is not a typical black American, hardly even looks black and was not raised in a black family.

  15. lfineaux said,

    realpc — you don’t live in my world. Real racism still exists, though it is dying out. Slowly.

    It reared its ugly head as recently as Thanksgiving 2007 in my family. I’d worked hard to get all five children and step-children together to celebrate. I got four out of five, so not bad.

    Two days before Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law, a fairly outspoken racist but not nearly so much as his wife announced that they and his wife’s sister and husband would be joining us for Thanksgiving.

    This pissed me off in so many ways. Where I’d just barely figured out how to seat 10 people without buying another table and separate the party into two rooms, I’m now supposed to add four more? The rudeness struck me as unforgiveable.

    But, it was the introduction of the racism of this group of four that worried me the most. I worked pretty hard at raising my children to not be racist — to judge everyone they met on their character and not their appearance. My husband pretty much lost all of the racism he’d been taught growing up in his years of military service. So much so that one of his ex-wives was of another race and thus, his son is also.

    One of my daughters also married a man of another race. (It’s enlightening to know that he was 30+ years old when he felt his first whiff of racism – and that it happened in Richmond VA.) I ended up telling my husband that his brother and his brother’s wife’s family could eat at our house ONLY if they promised not to use the infamous “N” word.

    We had a helluva fight, needless to say.

    So, you see, for some it is not a fad that has largely blown over. It has masked itself to a certain extent and it’s not nearly as prevalent as it was 20 years ago. But it is still there.

    And racism is very much alive in the black community. While there is more acceptance of black women marrying white men, black men who marry white women are ostracized. This is partially due to a shortage of marriageable black men due to a cultural acceptance of crime, thus putting a greater than proportionate black men in jail. It also has roots in the black community’s anger toward white people that includes the rejection of a “white” education.

    I live in a town that is 53% black and which is governed by a black mayor and majority black city council. I don’t have a problem with that — they’ve got the numbers so they can elect their own.

    I’ve dined with the mayor’s family and mourned the death of his sister, who I thought was one of the sweetest, most open and loving women I’ve known. I consider his wife a friend. She supported me through a family crisis with both concrete help and a shoulder to cry on. I’ve altered clothes for her because while she has a gorgeous figure, it’s not one that ready-made clothes fit.

    I certainly do not agree with this mayor’s policies. He has changed from being a voice against police brutality to one of “this is my police department and I’m in charge”. He issued instructions that deliberately target white gun-owners for traffic stops and has publicly said that one has NO rights when stopped by a police officer.

    He’ll never get my support on that and it doesn’t have a damned thing to do with his race. It stinks of “payback” for perceived wrongs more than it does of equality of all before the law.

    Ah, but now back to my brother-in-law. He divorced his wife and moved back here. He’s a regular visitor now and has not used that “N” word while I am within earshot. And, because he is a died-in-the-wool union member, he’s defended Obama several times when I’ve criticized him. But he’s also criticized the massive spending this administration seems to have no problem with.

    But… do you have any idea how racist it sounds to say that Obama is not a “typical black”? Good grief……..

    Do you have any idea how sexist it sounds to classify tears as a sign of weakness when more often they are a sign of anger? When tears are due to sadness and grief, men cry just as much as women in my experience. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a situation where tears were a sign of weakness — frustration and anger at lack of power to change a situation, yes. But is that a weakness?

    What Maureen Dowd’s column illustrates is that is now politically fashionable to label anyone who opposes anything Obama says or does as racist. Now THAT is a fad. And it’s a dangerous one, as it attempts to eliminate any need for restraint on Obama’s part. It gives him a personal power that the Presidency does not accord to anyone else.

  16. lfineaux said,

    Shorter version — I should just agree with PaTHMV:

    “I do think bringing race into it is a particularly dangerousthing to do, for the health of the body politic. Those Democrats, like Dowd, who misuse racial issues in this way make it that much harder to have any honest discussions about the racial prejudice which does remain in this country.”

  17. PatHMV said,

    lfineaux (cool name, you from Louisiana?), your longer post was quite good in its own right.

    This latest flap is really difficult to deal with, for me. A number of my black friends and acquaintances on Facebook were making “right on, Maureen Down!” comments today, and suggesting that “these people” (referring to President Obama’s critics) were all racists, no matter how much they deny it. I’m just not going to engage them on this. Emotions are too raw on this subject, confrontation of the issue would most likely merely inflame tensions, and would probably cost me a friend or two.

    I’m happy to condemn as racist folks who use the N-word, and people like one of my former co-workers, who refused to buy Pampers for his toddler, because their waist bands had drawings of babies circling them, and some of those babies were (gasp!) black. And yes, there remains some social impacts and racial disparities resulting from generations of enslavement, followed by more generations of discrimination. But the latter is not the same as the actual, direct racism of the former, and requires entirely different solutions. But you just can’t have that conversation these days.

  18. lfineaux said,

    Of course, the shorter version has never been popular with me.

    Much of the racism I see is directed at the perception that the black community cannot or does not wish to see that any wrongdoing can be done by a black person. This is, of course, a gross oversimplification, but it is grounded in reality. Both Bill Cosby and President Obama have spoken of this poison in black culture. I applaud their efforts to overcome it.

    That they speak against it recognizes that it exists and a considerable (perhaps the majority) of white racism is directed toward this protectionist insularity of the black community.

    My mother was the youngest child of a white sharecropper and experienced the prejudice of the elite toward those less fortunate. Race didn’t matter. Yet, she recognized and identified with the black sharecroppers (often neighbors) who experienced what she experienced as well as racism.

    Her older brothers and sister were not so kind. They were truly prejudiced. Yet, they could not overcome the “fairness” issue that my mother so took to heart. Yes, they could call “all blacks” by a racist name and figure that as a whole they were not quite worthy of respect.

    Yet, they could not carry this out on an individual level. When a black family’s house burned, they were there to help rebuild it and furnish it. These were their neighbors, after all. They weren’t likely to invite them over for dinner, but they took food to them in times of distress. None of my mother’s family of racists would condone a lynching as they were adamant supporters of the rule of law.

    So, there are degrees of racism and not all racism is as damaging as others.

    During the early 90s, I worked for the most hateful, racist, despicable human being I’ve ever known. For three months, while my husband was recovering from surgery to treat his colon cancer, this job of mine (gained through a temp agency) was our income. So I put up with it, but did everything I could to undermine him.

    He ran an auto repair shop. He told me on one occasion to add $50 to the labor charge for work on a black man’s vehicle. When this black man came into the shop, the owner greeted him like he was a long lost friend and the black man reciprocated. I was horrified at my boss’s suggestion to add $50 to the bill for labor. But I did just that. What my boss didn’t know was that I subtracted $60 for parts costs. Hey… he was a very stupid man and he thought I was great because I didn’t allow him to overdraw his bank account. (This was because I refused to let him write checks and ultimately got his signature withdrawn from his own account… Yes, I can be merciless when it’s required.)

    I also put up with a few “backrubs” from this jerk. I hate him with every bone in my body and as soon as my husband got an “all clear” to go back to work, I told the SOB exactly what I thought about him and quit in delirious joy.

    I think that what I am trying to get across is that racism is grossly misunderstood by elite whites. Too many have never been exposed to the dirty reality and thus they can claim that disagreement with a black person might be racist. That is so not the case.

    In one of my jobs with a non-profit organization from 1998 to 2003, I witnessed the worst kind of white privilege racism yet… to my mind. The white CEO of the non-profit deliberately and without subterfuge courted a black legislator to funnel funds from what the CEO called the “black legislator’s slush fund” to her non-profit. In doing so, she trashed every black-run non-profit in competition with her. And, dammit if she didn’t get the funds.

    When truly lucrative housing initiatives were up for grabs (of the type that ACORN funds and of the type that have resulted in for-profit partners being prosecuted), this CEO adamantly refused to cooperate with black-run non-profits or black-run construction/development companies.

    The corruption in housing developments that were supposedly for the disabled or disadvantaged was tremendous. And it was all a result of the types of programs that supported so-called community housing development.

    I stayed there as an employee because some of the programs run by that non-profit were tremendously valuable. One took people released from the state’s mental health hospital and put them in independent housing with support services and medication support. This was tremendously successful and cost much less than institutionalization.

    Another program was designed to train police officers on how to interact and de-escalate confrontations with mentally ill people. More than 100 Shreveport police officers went through this program and I think it is still showing benefits as the older policemen who went through it are now training younger ones.

    Another program offered training and respite services for foster and adoptive parents. This one was iffy at times, as too many foster parents tried to take advantage of the respite services for both foster and natural children. Overall, it was a plus, I think.

    One thing it did highlight was community intolerance to race. Unfortunately many of the foster children were black, and the respite facility was in a white neighborhood and the neighbors didn’t like that. That they resorted to vandalism disgusted me and that the zoning commission finally disapproved the facility disgusted me even more.

    The need highlighted by this program almost persuaded my husband and I to become foster parents. We especially wanted to be an emergency foster home for infants. I talked in length about this with the head of the regional agency in charge of qualifying foster homes and she told me that regardless the quality of care we might give, our health concerns and age would disqualify us.

    My point is that racism has many faces.

  19. Randy said,

    Pat: Were the questions about coverage for abortion answered by the changes in the legislation announced this week? Were the questions about coverage for illegal aliens addressed by the changes in the legislation announced this week? Were the questions about “death panels” and living will advice addressed by changes announced earlier? Sounds to me like these questions and many others are being answered and various modifications have been inserted into the legislation. Not addressing you personally but just a general observation: I really don’t see what purpose is served, other than a partisan political one, by maintaining that there has been no response to both real (and in some cases, IMO imagined) concerns and questions that have been raised.

    WRT cost containment, the White House has provided their opinion on how it will be attained, The CBO has provided their opinion. Who you, I, or anyone else chooses to believe is up to you, me, and anyone else. While I personally doubted that the White House objectives were realistic when announced, I’m reasonably convinced they are next to impossible now because of demagoguery surrounding the issue.

    For that matter, it seems to me that the Law of Unintended Consequences will determine the ultimate winners and losers in this debate. For example, the GOP did nothing about the approaching collapse of Medicare while it exercised complete political power. Now that a Democrat actually proposed what the GOP has long said was necessary in order to contain costs, they’ve turned right around and wholeheartedly embraced the idea that the government has no business containing health care costs. Once this particular issue dies, Medicare’s slide to insolvency will continue apace with the GOP having now firmly staked out a position defending and promoting it. They can’t have it both ways, Pat.

    As to Romney: I agree with you. I recall many on the right criticizing Romney for Mass-Care. It didn’t rise to the vitriol we see today, but the average person’s sense of financial security was much greater in Spring ’08 than now.

    Like most here, I’m not impressed with the legislation. I’m just saying that I don’t see the complete indifference that you and Amba apparently see.

  20. amba12 said,

    Of course, the shorter version has never been popular with me.

    Thank God! Look what we’d miss!

  21. lfineaux said,

    One of my complaints about charges of racism is when black people think a specific action is racist when that same specific action is taken against white people in similar circumstances.

    Twice, I have been stopped and the actions of the cops would have been perceived as racism had I been black. Both times these actions resulted in my being seriously pissed off. However, I’m a white female and who would say these stupid actions on the part of various local PD’s was the result of racism.

    The first time this happened to me, I was profiled as being a drug runner. I was on the way home from visiting my son in a southeast Texas mental hospital. I was reporting on the visit to my mother via cell phone. Previous experience provided me with the knowledge that if I went around the upcoming corner, my coverage would disappear. So I pulled over.

    First, I got the “good cop” treatment, explaining that my taillights might make others think the pull-off was in fact the road. I complied with this officer’s request to put the car in park and engage the flashers. This actually seemed good advice and common sense to me and I was embarrassed I hadn’t thought of it.

    Less than five minutes later, the bad cop showed up. He demanded to know who I was talking to, who I worked for, and why I was on this road in the first place. I explained that I was talking to my mother and I was on the way home from visiting my son. I refused to answer the question of who I worked for as I didn’t see how it was pertinent to anything. He threatened to arrest me for not answering that question and I suggested he go ahead and do so.

    All this time, my mother is one the line hearing this conversation. She hands the phone to my brother who is an attorney and he advises me that I do not have to answer such questions.

    By now, I’m pissed off and refuse to cooperate with this office at all. I tell him over and over again that if he has charges against me he should arrest me. Of course, he knows he does not have any charges that could stand any kind of scrutiny, so he continues to try to bully me.

    Except I refuse to be bullied. He eventually gives up, I finish the conversation with my mother and go on my way. It should be noted that the highway I was on was one considered to be a corridor for drug smugglers and this cop obviously thought I was one.

    A few months later, I hear a “horror” story of a black man being treated the same way I was. He was not detained or arrested, but the fact that his “motives” and “actions” were questioned was deemed a horrible miscarriage of justice.

    In fact, he appeared, as did I, to be a drug courier. Neither of us were, but we were profiled based on behavior.

    Now I am not famous for observing speed limits. My motto is that they are recommended minimums. I’ve been stopped a lot. And in most cases it was because I was greatly exceeding the speed limit. The last time was only a few weeks ago and it’s going to cost me $196 bucks. I hate that, but if a black person had been caught doing the same as I was (74 in a 55) he’d get the same fine. It wouldn’t be a sign of racism… would it?

    Perhaps it is. The cop who gave me the ticket for 74 surely clocked me at 80 as that is what I was going when I spotted him. I’m quite sure he saved me at least $100 bucks for citing a lesser speed. He also gave me a pass on not being able to furnish an up-to-date insurance certificate. When I assured him that I was still insured with the same company as my 2007 certificate showed, he said he believed me. (It is true, btw and I’m horribly incompetent in keeping valid insurance cards in my car.)

    He said that his greatest concern was that I could show ownership of the car. The state in which my car is registered does not require a certificate of ownership be carried in the vehicle. However, the state in which I was stopped for speeding does. I am frantically going through my glove compartment looking for some evidence of ownership when the trooper declares that my 2 year old insurance certificate would qualify as proof of ownership. I’m thinking… “why?” I can insure something I do not own, can I not?

    Anyway, about that time I discover that the title to my car is in the glove compartment instead of the filing cabinet where it belongs.

    What struck me was that this young white cop was willing to believe all the true, but bizarre stuff I told him. My car is registered in one state, my driver’s license is issued by another and he’s stopped me in yet a third state. He questioned, but ultimately believed my rather bizarre story about why I have an Arizona driver’s license and own a car registered in Texas. Perhaps there is a line beyond which too bizarre not to be true crosses.

    I think that a black woman of my age and disposition (qgreeable, but not submissive) would be treat the same by white cop. What worries me is that a black cop might not be so forgiving regardless of race. Do I have any substantive evidence to base this on…. no. But I worry that black cops think they will be seen as lenient that they go overboard — especially where black suspects are concerned — to be “by the book”.

    It is in Equality Before the Law that blacks suffer the most. However, when a black is treated the same as a white before the law and that results in punishment of a black… that is not actually racism, but equality. I hate to say it, but many black politicians and promoters of black equality do not want equality before the law, but special consideration because of race.

    And… I have many more stories.

  22. lfineaux said,

    Years ago, I read Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States”. What I remember most is his example of how white and black people were used “against” each other to maintain the superiority of the elite.

    Being a populist first, a libertarian second, a classical liberal third, and a conservative fourth, I have no trouble visualizing this effect. of setting the two lowest classes in “warfare” with each other to keep either from actually bothering the elite.

  23. amba12 said,

    You betcha.

  24. PatHMV said,

    Randy, yes, of course, some changes have been made. But note that in each case, the Republicans in Congress tried to make the changes at the proper time, in committee, without any real public involvement, relying only on the legislative process and reasoned arguments. The Democrats rejected those (on abortion and verification of citizenship status). It wasn’t until “death panels” and “you lie” that the Democrats made any changes. They refused to cede any ground based on reasoned arguments, which left demagoguery as the only available weapon to demand changes.

  25. PatHMV said,

    Randy, I do agree that the GOP as a whole has a credibility problem on this issue. However, a number of GOP leaders did in fact try to introduce health care reform efforts in Congress during the Bush Administration. They were shot down by a combination of Democrats (who wanted to preserve the issue until they returned to power) and K-Street Republican types, who were fighting for the interests of big business. The GOP was in the same position on health care reform that it was with efforts at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform. There were good people there, fighting to improve things, but getting squashed by the joint power of ideological opponents and the more corrupt wing of their own party.

    But that’s the past. While it hurts overall party credibility, it shouldn’t be used to deny credibility to those within the GOP who really were introducing reform measures, nor to those who weren’t even in Congress at the time.

    As for the issue over the deficit, President Obama has made a flat declaration about it. I haven’t seen any analysis, don’t have any idea whether there’s any analysis. With disparities that large, there’s some fundamental differences in any model the WH is using and the model the CBO is using. It would be nice to see the President make some effort to explain why he thinks his opinion is right, and the (non-partisan) CBO’s is wrong. And that’s where the indifference lies, Randy. The President makes pronouncements only. He doesn’t actually engage in debate. He never says “I understand your (serious) point X. Here’s why I’m in favor of point Y instead….” He says “Point X is just fears and lies. My plan says flatly Point Y. Period.” And that’s it. No, here’s why this is a complicated issue and my plan is better.

  26. amba12 said,

    It wasn’t until “death panels” and “you lie” that the Democrats made any changes. They refused to cede any ground based on reasoned arguments, which left demagoguery as the only available weapon to demand changes.

    Yes, there you have it. Thank God for free speech and a public that still takes it as its right and duty to speak out. Too bad it had to take such an ugly form, but whose fault is that? There’s such arrogance and condescension in the notion that “We know best, so you don’t need to know what we’re doing.”

  27. PatHMV said,

    Randy, here’s a good post specifically about the issue of the deficit and whether President Obama really believes his own talking point on that subject.

  28. Icepick said,

    Get used to Democratic partisans calling opponents racists at every turn. It’s the new black!

  29. amba12 said,

    It’s the new black!

    ROTF . . .

  30. Peter Hoh said,

    Yeah, Icepick, I’m used to it happening from some partisans. All, not so much.

    And while we’re at it, have you gotten used to some Republican partisans claiming that Obama is at war with America?

    At Althouse, we have a GOP partisan who sees proof that Obama is a sociopath when he makes an offhand remark about Kanye West. It’s just lovely. Really.

  31. Peter Hoh said,

    Dang, forgot to include this link to a thoughtful post.

  32. PatHMV said,

    Are you now, or have you ever been, a racist?

    Please give us the names of the other people who attended the party at which criticisms of the President were made. Racism is infecting our politics and the government, and we will root it out.

    I’m tempted to ask Ms. Dowd if, she, at long last, has left no sense of decency…

  33. Randy said,

    Speaking of race, here is the exchange between Mark Williams, one of the leaders of the Tea Party in Washington, D.C. last weekend, and Anderson Cooper on CNN last night:

    Cooper: Mark, what you’re saying makes sense to me here … but then I read on your blog, you say … you call the President an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug, and a racist in chief.

    Williams: Yeah!

    Cooper: Is that the kind of …

    Williams: That’s the way he’s behaving!

    Cooper: But … but …

    [David Gergen and James Carville start laughing in astonishment…]

    Williams: I mean if he cares to be the President of the whole country ….

    Cooper: Do you really believe he’s Indonesian? Do you really believe he’s a Muslim? Do you really believe he’s a welfare thug?

    Williams: I… I… he’s certainly acting like it.

    Gergen: You think he’s a racist in chief? Racist in chief? Is that what you call him? A racist in chief? It’s unbelievable.

    Williams: Until he embraces the rest of this country, what else can I conclude?

    I don’t watch Anderson Cooper on CNN. I don’t care for him or his network. Long before the tea party movement, I was familiar with Mark Williams, and found him dubious at best.

  34. Randy said,

    For those interested, an article on Bloomberg.com, U.S. Health-Costs Panel to Rebut ‘Stingy’ Budget Office Savings

  35. Randy said,

    I should probably cross-post this comment about studies of the costs and benefits of Medicare Part D (the prescription drug benefit) here.

  36. Peter Hoh said,

  37. amba12 said,

    If only I could lock the door and not come out until they’d all, the lot of them, killed each other off.

  38. Randy said,

    I see that Jimmy Carter entered the fray today as well. That was so helpful, wasn’t it?

  39. Peter Hoh said,

    Following on the heels of getting on Osama’s book list, yeah.

    Democrats who’d like Carter to shut up have created ShuffleOn.com

  40. Randy said,

    LOL! (BTW, Did you verify that site before posting? In reality it diverts to a porn site ;-)

    Anyway, Limbaugh’s defenders are today saying he was only being ironic, riffing on a “In Robert Bork’s America…” theme. Suggest anyone who has questions should read the transcript and/or listen to the audio. Both are widely available. (Me? I think he got carried away with hyperbole and crossed the line into Sharpton-like race baiting. JMO. YMMV.)

  41. Randy said,

  42. Randy said,

    And now, via Matt Welch, we learn that the Don’t Tread on Me flag “, historically, is inseparable from white racial resentment of blacks.”

    Who knew?

    (I’m tempted to say one can’t make this stuff up but it is obvious someone is doing so!)

  43. amba12 said,

    Let’s tie Jimmy and Rush in a bag together and throw them in the river.

  44. amba12 said,

    Oh, crap. I hope they/re making that up about the Don’t Tread on ME flag. It’s worse than hearing that “Horse with No Name” is about heroin. (Duh.)

  45. Peter Hoh said,

    They need each other, like Wright needed Obama to be defeated last November.

  46. Rod said,

    And to think, the election of Obama was supposed to signify that America had “grown up” racially. Some days it seems nobody really wants to let go of this crap. Rod

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