Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Still Waiting, Ctd.


And if Jonathan Chait has anything to say about it, looks like we'll be waiting awhile longer. 

Joan Walsh, with whom I once spent a mescaline-fueled weekend of passion and violence in an abandoned mining camp outside Nederland, CO in 1983 who writes for Salon, documents how Mr. Chait beats the issue of race with the "Both Sides Do It" stick until it is mushy enough to be palatable to America's most beloved political demographic: The Centrists.
Jonathan Chait’s epic race fail: How a story about racism and Obama goes horribly wrong
New York magazine's cover story suggests liberals are paranoid, MSNBC is like stop-and-frisk -- and other oddities

Though Chait acknowledges that appeals to white racism have undergirded the modern Republican Party since the civil rights era, he insists liberals are bullies who refuse to “acknowledge that the ability to label a person racist represents, in 21st-century America, real and frequently terrifying power.” He singles out MSNBC for special scorn (full disclosure: I’m a contributor there), while never once mentioning Fox by name. “MSNBC has spent the entire Obama presidency engaged in a nearly nonstop ideological stop-and-frisk operation,” Chait writes.

See what he did with that “stop-and-frisk” reference? In case you’ve missed it, police departments in some cities have been accused of infringing the civil rights of blacks and Latinos by physically stopping them, and invasively frisking them, with little and sometimes no evidence of wrongdoing. It’s kind of a big deal to civil rights liberals, of every race. So Chait tweaks them by accusing MSNBC of stopping and frisking conservatives “ideologically” – as in metaphorically and without consequence, which technically means not stopping and frisking them at all.

If you liked that comparison, you’re going to love the whole piece.

Well, that’s if you can get past the opening anecdote, which features a clash between Bill Maher and Bill Kristol in which Maher claims the rise of the Tea Party is about having “a black president” and Kristol gets really mad and sad, and the whole mess is supposed to sum up the ugliness of American political debate. Clearly the angels are crying over poor Bill Kristol being hurt by charges of conservative racism made by a liberal comedian on TV. I think Reince Priebus ought to set the whole Kristol-Maher exchange to that Sarah McLachlan music the SPCA uses, and raise money for the RNC.

Here’s what Chait admits Republicans are doing wrong, with regard to race: Enacting restrictive voter laws in states where black turnout has risen. Refusing to expand Medicaid, which disproportionately hurts African-Americans (who vote Democratic). Lying about Obama cutting Medicare, which scares older whites (who vote Republican). Explaining the GOP’s opposition to a Western-style social safety net, he even admits: “The factor that stands above all the rest is slavery.”

And here’s what Chait claims liberals are actually doing wrong with regard to race: mostly telling the truth about all of those things, while occasionally exaggerating it.
Acknowledging that one of our two major political parties has gone mad, and that it has spent generations carefully constructing a media/electoral machine that is fueled by pandering to the lowest instincts of racists and homophobes and fundies is too horrifying for many people to admit. This is because such an admission would carry with it the terrible moral obligation to fucking well do something about it, starting with calling things by their true names.

This is not a burden that many people want to bear, and so they will pay people to tell them that it just ain't so.

These people are called Centrists, and without their compliance the power of the Right would be radically diminished.


gratuitous said...

I really don't get what Chait is trying to say. He recounts episode after episode of Republican racism, acknowledges the racist aspect of the episodes, but somehow concludes that this big, steaming pile of historic and ongoing evidence isn't nearly as persuasive or conclusive as a few isolated "liberal" incidents that prove who the real racists are.

Chait's usually smarter than that, but maybe he's making a career change?

Anonymous said...

Chait's quasi correct though.

The word racist is an amazing weapon. Many people I know make use of it liberally as a method of shutting down an argument by taking out the person and branding them something so vile it invalidates not only their opinion on everything, but renders them so awful a human they must be shunned and mocked. Not only does it win arguments, it kicks in the balls and dehumanizes as well.

There's nothing wrong with using it like this, the right has plenty of weapons they use as well (see socialist among other things), but racism is the best sword in the armory, and it's all ours.

I just hope we can elevate Christian to be as potent of a slur as racist in my life.

Unknown said...

But being a "Both Sides Do It" Centrist is so...so...


Monster from the Id said...

"I just hope we can elevate Christian to be as potent of a slur as racist in my lifetime."

But of course, all bigots are right-wingers. No bigotry to be found among the pwogs, nosirree Bob!

Thanks, Anon, for reassuring me that I acted wisely in leaving the pwoggy fold.

Red or Blue, Kool-Aid is Kool-Aid.

Anonymous said...

Oh no! Not all bigots are right wingers. The right does not have a monopoly on bigots, idiots, lunatics, or no-true-Scotsman types.

However, it's OK if a Democrat does it. Because the Democratic party is the party of the coasts, mega cities, and the highest income areas. The Republican party is the party of flyover, Christianity, and the white trash stain on our nation (but I repeat myself).

If you're with the program of fucking flyover to feed the coasts, I don't care how much of a bigot you are. On the other hand if you aren't with that program and want to defend bumfuck middle of nowhere, I'll call you a bigot no matter what you do.

Winning is everything, this is a civil war.

Jim from MN said...

Here is my tea party parrot (his name is Asshole) speaking his piece: "Both sides do it BAWK! BAWK! "Both sides do it BAWK! BAWK!"

Pinkamena said...

Known trolls posts obvious bait. Known fool falls for it.

Twas e'er thus.

Unknown said...

Let us all please, when after a decent interval Chait inevitably writes something sensible again, remember that the sensible Chait is the aberration and this mealy-mouthed, intellectually stunted appeaser is the real thing.