Monday, September 29, 2014

Half-Fox and Half-Free, Ctd.


Politico Magazine (h/t Alert Reader "Steve") does a splendid job deconstructing our current problem with race and politics...

...and discovers what any Liberal would have told you decades ago, and what every Liberal blogger has been saying since the dawn of blogging.
But the legacy of the all these landmarks is much more complicated and tinged with—make that drenched in—irony than the conventional story of courage and triumph lets on. It is time to state the obvious. Forget about weak explanations for today’s deep political divisions like “the culture of Washington,” gerrymandering or the rise of cable TV: The civil rights movement, while a victory on many levels, was also the origin of our present morass. It spawned a powerful national “white resistance” countermovement that decisively altered the racial geography of American politics, pushing the national Democratic and Republican parties off center and toward their ideological margins, undermining the centrist policy convergence of the postwar period and setting the parties on the divisive course they remain on today. Many will blame today’s unprecedented political polarization on recent events, such as the rise of the Tea Party or Obama’s election in 2008, but they will be wrong. The seeds of America’s dysfunction were planted 50 years ago. And the ugly politics of race had everything to do with it.

Though Johnson’s nomination was never in danger, the fact that at the height of LBJ’s popularity, an unrepentant segregationist could attract the support of between thirty 30 and 50 percent of registered Democratic voters in three Northern states was nothing short of a revelation to political strategists in both parties. Seeing an opportunity, an increasing number of Republicans began to embrace more conservative racial politics designed to appeal to Wallace supporters throughout the country. “If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, it is his right to do so,” said Ronald Reagan during his 1966 campaign for California governor, in which he also decried welfare and opposed government efforts to encourage neighborhood integration.

In the popular vote, Nixon edged Humphrey by the narrowest of margins, 43.4 to 42.7 percent. As Republican leaders looked to the future, however, they weren’t focused on that slim gap, but rather the whopping 57 percent majority represented by the combined votes cast for Nixon and Wallace. Republican strategists believed this figure represented a dominant conservative majority that could ensure GOP control of the White House for years to come. Nixon and the Republicans had claimed the lion’s share of the South’s electoral votes for the first time in history. In a scant eight years, the Party of Lincoln had gone from being the more racially liberal of the two major parties to something more closely resembling a coalition of white racial conservatives, with the South as its natural geographic home, at least when it came to presidential politics.

... These politics were on full display in the 2012 Republican primaries, a half a century later, with the candidates seemingly trying to outdo one another in impugning the poor and African-Americans in particular. Newt Gingrich accused Obama of being a “food-stamp president” and opined that, “poor people should want paychecks, not handouts.” Rick Santorum was even more explicit when he offered up the following quote: “I don’t want to make black peoples’ lives better by giving them someone else’s money.”

Even Mitt Romney played the race card, blaming his defeat on the policy “gifts” that Obama had bestowed on the very “dependent” segments of the population he had alluded to in his notorious “47 percent” video...
To which I what?

Seriously, so what?

Every bit of this ugliness has been on public display and available for public comment for decades. 

And yet tomorrow and the next day...and on my next birthday...and the day after that...and on election day...and the day after that...this country will still be politically divided amount three groups.

  • Exhausted Liberals, for whom this is all brutally self-evident and has been since forever.
  • Conservatives, go to bed at to the reassuring, brain-killing hum of Fox News them over and over again that the real racists are those damn Liberals who keep talking about race. 
  • And the Centrist/Independents...who hide in the No Labels political sock drawer and reflexively shriek "BothSides!BothSides!BothSides!" anytime anyone starts bringing up the sordid history of modern Conservatism. 

 This berserk monster that the Right built and then set loose in order to win elections has been running amok in plain sight for my entire life

… What Mr. Ryskind seems constitutionally unable to understand is that there is a vast difference between the criticism of a man or a party, and the setting up of criteria or patriotism which equates differences of opinion with disloyalty.

We have need in the country for an enlightened, watchful and articulate opposition. We have no need for semi-secret societies who are absolutist, dictatorial, and would substitute for a rule of law and reason an indiscriminate assault on the institutions of this republic that should and must be held sacrosanct. …

“[The far right cannot] discount the fact that sitting it their parlor is the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, every racist group in the United States and not a few of some Fascist orders that have scrambled their way up from the sewers to a position of new respectability.”
And this is the thing that haunts me. 

1964 is a very long time ago, and in the last half-century, like most of us, I have read I don't know how many hundreds of articles all pretty much like this one, all reaching the same loathsome conclusion.

And yet, here we are in the Year of Our Lord 2014, still being buried up to our knees every day under the same, steady cataract of predictable Conservative lies, and then buried up to our eyebrows under a second, smothering avalanche of predictable, Both Sider denial.

So once again last I am compelled to point out that trying to persuaded Conservatives with reason at this lat date is like trying to persuade the Moon with a two-by-four: you're swinging at air and you always will be,

The only way to break the lethal stasis that is poisoning our capacity to govern ourselves is to begin swinging our biggest rhetorical guns around and point them straight at Conservative-enabling Centrists every single day.

That is where they are at their weakest, so that is where we must be strong.


gruaud said...

I liked your conclusion, DG. This seems to be the only viable strategy left to us exhausted liberals.

casimir said...

Mr DG - I presume for the sake of simplicity you simply chose to ignore the big fat Bothsiderism defecated right into the middle of the Politico gentleman's first paragraph ...

Robt said...

An experienced ware houseman can load a trailer utilizing every cubic foot of the trailer to get it's product to it's destination.
The tough part is unloading it, because it is so packed tight and one does not care to damage anything.
This post was masterfully packed.
The problem arises with receiving.
Yes the political parties, in this case the GOP have chosen certain swaths of Americans to use as their base.
The creation of Zombies......
a preconditioned base where all that is required to trigger their anxious obedient folly followers.
The GOP for instance, selects a topic as Benghazi. They flog it public ally with an abundance of hate,. With a mystery of fear. Then repetition is cycled. Sure they cannot withstand a proper confrontation with a serious journalist that is knowledgeable on the issue. So you demonize your confonters as some low lifes. Point to them and tell your already willing base that these Americans are your enemy. It is performed so well, that all it takes are "Key" words to trigger the automatic hate/ fear response.
So these Americans are pre disposed to the siren sounds and reflexively think and act on these tkey word triggers pulled. This is why they can be so difficult to reason with, for one.
America is just as tribal in some respects as the Middle Eastern people.
This is how a ideological movement of the GOP who feverishly idolize "State Rights" over everything come to obedient silence when their Conservative SCOTUS over rides the State rights of Florida in a national election to Stop Counting the Votes,. Over the Florida Supreme Court ruling to count the votes.
Which raises a question,
It has been written that in the south before the Civil War. # to % percent of the White population were plantation slave owners. And very wealthy.
So how did the South recruit all the other whites to fight for these wealthy and all their brazen brutal elitism? What motivated all the non slave owners to fight for things they would never realize in their lives?

Lex Alexander said...

Memo to Politico: Only one party has been pushed toward its political margins by civil rights and the countermovement thereunto. Both sides HAVEN'T done it. Only one.

Neo Tuxedo said...

Robt asks, "[H]ow did the South recruit all the other whites to fight for these wealthy and all their brazen brutal elitism? What motivated all the non slave owners to fight for things they would never realize in their lives?"

Because there have always been the people Davis X. Machina wrote of at Balloon Juice, "each of who[m] will volunteer to live, with his family, in a cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it."

gocart mozart said...

The Politico article is a good summary of racial politics, not that it will do any good. I read a few of the comments and DAMN!

Don't venture into the Politico comments, it's a mess of stupid self-delusion from the pits of hell.

Fiddlin Bill said...

The Politico article explicitly blames the civil rights movement for the disaster that is the current GOP, with the both-sider ploy tossed in in the form of an assertion that the Democratic Party is also more Left than it "should" be (a patent falsehood: the last real Labor Democrat, Harkin, is retiring, and I wish he'd told the Clintons they weren't welcome at his retirement bbq last month). This blame is journalistically incompetent. It's she wore a short skirt stuff. Meanwhile, an ex-Secret Service Agent has called for the appointment of Alan West to head the Service, on the grounds that his military expertise will be more valuable than that girl who's currently running the show.

Unknown said...

The L.A. Times was not, in fact, very far right-wing in 1964 -- which probably accounts for Serling getting a spot on the op-ed page. The transition to respectability under Otis Chandler was well under way by then.