Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It Is Finished

I remember an old Bloom County cartoon predicting that America's first black president would be a conservative Republican, and I think it's awesome that he instead turned out to be a lefty guy with a name like Barack Obama. This almost compensates for the intense disappointment I feel at the lack of live on-air suicides at Fox News's election coverage tonight.

McCain has conceded, and his resulting speech sounded better than anything he said during his campaign. Had he talked like that all along, maybe he would've pulled better numbers out of this election.

I hope Obama and the Democratic Congress and Senate will undo some of the constitutional damage inflicted over the past eight years. As for the economic clusterfark he'll inherit ... well, at least I can hold out hope for our civil liberties.

Later, I'll worry about the things he'll do that I won't like. Tonight, I'm enjoying the moment in history.

69 Comments:

Anonymous smartass sob said...

I hope Obama and the Democratic Congress and Senate will undo some of the constitutional damage inflicted over the past eight years.


Ha! Dream on! Governments never give back any power they've usurped.

As for the economic clusterfark he'll inherit ...

George Bush inherited an ecconomic mess, too. Most people have forgotten that the stock market bubble began to burst during Clinton's last year in office and that this country was officially declared to be in recession about one day before 9/11 occured. I'm convinced that at least part of the reason for the war in Iraq was an attempt to stimulate the ecconomy. I'm sure the munitions manufacturers thought it was good for business.

...hope for civil liberties.

I wouldn't hold my breath, if I were you. According to Obama's victory speech we are not a collection of individuals. We're all one. I think we'll find that some are a bit more "one" than others.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

...hope for civil liberties.

Also, regarding civil liberties - have you forgotten that Obama's take on the Constitution is that it is flawed precisely because it restricts rather than inhances the power of the government? I have very little hope for what few civil liberties we have left - we'll have them only so long as it's convenient for the regime in power.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Thank you, Captain Buzzkill.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Take an aspirin - you'll feel better in the morning.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

I hope Obama and the Democratic Congress and Senate will undo some of the constitutional damage inflicted over the past eight years.

No, unfortunately, it will get much worse. They guy has said as much many times over.

But, hey, he's a black guy, that's all that matters anyway, nothing that he says, does, will do, has said, voting record, etc, matters a bit. He's a black guy, and we're all royally fucked, but it's ok because he's a black guy.

I cannot explain my disgust at the US right now that in 2008 people still vote based on skin color alone. But, hey, he's a black guy, so it's ok. So was Marion Barry, whom you may be young enough to not recall that the bitch set up, but he's a black guy so it's ok.

4:25 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

That said, I'm waiting for my pony delivery as I write this. I'm getting a Palomino. SASOB, what color pony are you getting? Since we gets all this free stuff and a pony too, I'm just sayin.

5:06 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

His cabinet is already looking like the America whose ass he will be kissing. A bunch of rich white guys.

Meet the new boss, a photo negative of the old boss.

5:44 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Meet the new boss, a photo negative of the old boss.

With a Chavez kinda spin to things.

So how about you CML, what kind of pony you holding out for? Office manager here says she wants a mini, as it's easier to take care of. Guy in the next office, he wants a Clydesdale, just because he's compensating. Ponies for everyone, free stuff, change! At no cost to you!! Hoverround chairs too!!

I'm still looking for the Palomino myself.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such negativity.

What would Oddball say to that?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwTGGHaCHAE&feature=related

- Tom

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Jeff P said...

Hey, I thought we weren't supposed to use the word "black."
Was there a meeting?

7:46 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

SASOB, what color pony are you getting?

I'm probably getting a donkey. Besides, I already have enough horseshit just being from the same state as Bush. Not to worry though - the Obamasiah will turn all that poop into gold. Can I interest you in buying some caca futures? ;-)

It really doesn't matter who we elect to office - after the bailout debacle this last month one can see who really runs this country and for whose benefit. If you still have any gold, you had better hide it well - and hope like hell Uncle Sugar doesn't know you have it.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I cannot explain my disgust at the US right now that in 2008 people still vote based on skin color alone.

How do you get THAT out of this? If anything, it's the opposite: had Obama been a white guy named Barry O'Bannion I doubt the election (in the popular vote) would've been as close as it was. America is fed up with 8 years of monstrously bad GOP leadership, and the Republican candidate this time promised more of the same. Any white Democratic candidate would've trounced McCain under these circumstances. I think Obama got less votes than he would've if he were white, but at least the overall American electorate did not elect McCain according to the nasty old formula "Any white guy is better than any black guy."

8:53 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

How do you get THAT out of this? If anything, it's the opposite: had Obama been a white guy named Barry O'Bannion I doubt the election (in the popular vote) would've been as close as it was.

It's easy. As Ferraro said, and was abused for pointing out, Obama's color had a lot to do with his success in the democrat party primary series. Throughout that time, a number of people either flat out owned up to not knowing anything about his politics, and simply voting for him because he was black, or to not agreeing with his politics but hoping to make a "statement". Either way, the underlying reason that he was the successful democrat nominee either resides in large part or entirely upon his skin color, given that his politics are far to the left of the democrat party as a whole.

In the general election, you have the frustration at Bush, which I don't disagree with. However, there remained a number of people who clearly said that they were voting for him because he was black. This was interesting in that they claimed that some of the more onerous things he wouldn't do, but that he would do what he said that they agreed with.

Anyway, if you look, today, what you see is not "Yay, we elected the most left leaning president ever, who has proposed programs which, by agreement of all the independent agencies, will cost between one and a half and two times what McCain proposed", what we get is "Yay, we elected a black guy."

It is to me just as disgusting as someone celebrating "Yay, we just elected a white guy." Celebrate the politics of the guy (in the unisex sense) if you want, to celebrate the color shows we have further to go than we had before.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I suspect the number of people who voted for him solely because he's black was offset by the number of people who refused to even consider voting for him solely because he's black. I still think a white candidate would've done better against McCain. But Obama still managed to get elected.

And this DOES say good things about the American electorate. The country still has multiple flaws, but at least we're indisputably no longer a racist nation where no non-white has a chance in hell of getting elected.

I suspect Obama in office will drift closer to the center than where he is now. I don't expect him to be any more than a fair-to-middling president (though even that sounds damned good after eight years of Bush).

Remember Hillary insisting that SHE should get the Democratic nomination because Obama would not be able to get votes from "working white Americans?" She was wrong.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

I think Obama got less votes than he would've if he were white, but at least the overall American electorate did not elect McCain according to the nasty old formula "Any white guy is better than any black guy."

On this, we disagree. A number of people who didn't particularly like his politics voted for him simply due to his color. People that wouldn't vote for him due to his color already wouldn't have voted for him based on his politics (white racists tend to not vote for leftists). People that would vote for his politics wouldn't generally change their vote based on his color, though there may be a couple. Therefore, I disagree he would have more votes if he were white, he would have less.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous a moose said...

(white racists tend to not vote for leftists)

To add, black racists would tend to vote for leftists, regardless of their color.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous a moose said...

If you still have any gold, you had better hide it well - and hope like hell Uncle Sugar doesn't know you have it.

I have no idea what you're talking about.

Hey, did I tell you that I took up gardening? I have a couple new beds in the back yard I just decided on a whim to dig last night. Of course the neighbors said that I was crazy for being out there in the middle of the night with a shovel, but I explained about the best time to plant winter wheat, etc. It's really interesting too, a high impact waterproof case like, say, a Pelican gun case, for example, is said to act like a fertilizer retaining bulkhead, so it's recommended to plant two or three in every garden. This is especially true when they're weighted down by something metal, preferably nonconductive metal. I explained all this to the neighbor when he was asking about the cases, I think he understands now.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

The news outlets are all obamagazing over the history that is being made. Every interview you see is with someone gushing over how wonderful is is that the line of presidents is no longer a bunch of white guys. Hollyweirdos are acting like a bunch of baptists at Sunday service, wailing and waving their hands with joy going on and on about how the stain of racism has been dry cleaned from our soul.

So yeah, this is all about race.

6:24 AM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

@Jeff P: "Hey, I thought we weren't supposed to use the word 'black.'"

The appropriate terms are, of course, melanistic and amelanistic. Just go into some bar in bubba-ville and start telling people you think they're probably amelanistic, and see how far that gets you. Of course, calling people in Watts "melanistic" will probably get you shot, too.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

"So yeah, this is all about race."

I think I'm more with Jennifer on this, but I will acknowledge that race has a lot to do with the current euphoria. However, I don't think it's any worse than re-electing George III because of knee-jerk anti-Democrat feelings.

Then again, it probably *is* something to take note of, when somebody who is Constitutionally only 3/5 of a person manages to become President...

2:43 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

when somebody who is Constitutionally only 3/5 of a person manages to become President...

Have you read the Constitution in the last 100 years or so, Anne? There've been a few changes made to it. ;-)

3:26 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Three-fifths of a person is still two-fifths more than Bush. Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Three-fifths of a person...

Wouldn't y'all Yankees like to have them Bushes back? :-)

6:23 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Think of it this way. How long has it been since a black man could get the kind of education neccesary to be president. Maybe for the last fifty or sixty years? That means that only in the last twenty years has it been practical for a black man to become president. So out of the last lets say 5 election cycles when it was possible for a black man to meet the educational qualifications to be president we've gotten one. Blacks make up about 1/5th of the population so it seems that it was simply due to happen around this time anyhow.

So what's the big deal?

6:04 AM  
Anonymous a moose said...

Then again, it probably *is* something to take note of, when somebody who is Constitutionally only 3/5 of a person manages to become President...

I have no problem with people being happy that a black guy was elected president. What I have problems with, and what is so depressing to me, is people voting for him simply on the basis of his skin color, which has to have been what happened. When you look at his positions in regards to the centroid of the US politically, he couldn't have carried the percentages he did without that effect.

For example, despite the assumption that black people in general are a homogeneous group, they aren't, politically. However, black people went for Obama at a rate of 95%. 95% of black people are not as liberal as his agenda.

As for those who projected some centrist administration, his choice for Chief of Staff speaks volumes. Come on, really, a guy in a public forum figuratively stabbing a knife into people that have a different point of view, and this guy's the top adviser to the president? A guy that sends dead fish to someone? This is the guy who will be running the white house on a day to day basis?! This does wonders to show how centrist he plans to be.

Remember, he didn't claim to be centrist, that was the projection people put on the void he did present.

Maybe the reason to celebrate his color is that's the only thing to celebrate.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Blacks make up about 1/5th of the population

No, they do not - not in the US, anyway. One fifth of anything is 20 percent. African-Americans are only a fraction over 12 percent of the population here - that's only a little more than 1/10th. The number who are adults eligible to vote may be even a smaller proportion of the population.

As for education there have been well-educated black people in this country since before the Civil War. There weren't many - that's true - but they existed. Of course, if one is legally ineligible to vote or hold office, or if one is considered un-electable because of one's race, education doesn't really count for much.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Come on, really, a guy in a public forum figuratively stabbing a knife into people that have a different point of view, and this guy's the top adviser to the president? A guy that sends dead fish to someone?

Sounds a bit like the mafia. Remember the horse head in "The Godfather"? :-)

9:30 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I have no problem with people being happy that a black guy was elected president. What I have problems with, and what is so depressing to me, is people voting for him simply on the basis of his skin color, which has to have been what happened.

I disagree. I think he would've won even if he were white, because a good chunk of America was royally sick of everything the GOP now stands for. Ignore Obama's color and just consider the fact that (for all that those of us here likely won't like his policies) he's an intelligent, educated guy who knows how to pronounce "nuclear," has a "charismatic" quality and is NOT a member of the GOP. In 2008, a Democratic candidate with those qualities would've trounced McCain. And I suspect a white Democratic candidate would've won more of the popular vote, though there's no way this can be proven either way.

I will also admit, I've been lurking on some white-supremacy sites and am very amused by the mass wailing and gnashing of teeth. "Aaaigh! It's not a white man's country anymore!!!"

9:34 AM  
Anonymous A MOose said...

I will also admit, I've been lurking on some white-supremacy sites and am very amused by the mass wailing and gnashing of teeth. "Aaaigh! It's not a white man's country anymore!!!"

They're idiots.

he's an intelligent, educated guy who knows how to pronounce "nuclear," has a "charismatic" quality and is NOT a member of the GOP.

If you allow for nuclear in Spanish, the same logic applies to Chavez. Looking at what he's done, most people would say that the overall is not as good.

In your example, the people who vote for him on this basis don't look at his politics. That's the problem. While I realize it's not a new problem, being a continuing problem doesn't change that it is a problem.

What I can say is that the black populace is not so homogeneous, as I said previously. To say that they voted on a 19:1 basis against the GOP when the white population voted 52:48 or something like that, then deny the basis of the vote was race and insist it was purely politics, just flies in the face of the numbers.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

If you allow for nuclear in Spanish, the same logic applies to Chavez. Looking at what he's done, most people would say that the overall is not as good.

And I'm not saying Obama's going to be some awesome libertarian messiah of a president. Quite the opposite. But I AM saying that if you compare him to McCain, especially McCain in 2008 with a GOP albatross slung around his neck, there are plenty of reasons to think Obama-the-Democrat would've won no matter what his color. ANY reasonably competent Democrat would've beaten John "I vote with George Bush 90 percent of the time" McCain this year.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

So what you're saying Smartass is we shouldn't expect a black man to be elected again for another 20 years at least. If they make up 1/10th then we should only expect every tenth president to be black. That's one black president every 40 years or so.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

I disagree. I think he would've won even if he were white, because a good chunk of America was royally sick of everything the GOP now stands for.

There is also the fact that no party has held the presidency for more than two terms in a row since the days of FDR. The odds of it happening this time were really low to begin with.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous a moose said...

But I AM saying that if you compare him to McCain, especially McCain in 2008 with a GOP albatross slung around his neck, there are plenty of reasons to think Obama-the-Democrat would've won no matter what his color.

And what I am saying is that people didn't take the time, because if you do actually look at the respective positions, McCain was much closer to the center of the US political landscape. The 52:48 split among white voters is probably mostly due to frustration about GOP without looking at Obama's specifics. That doesn't explain 95:5. It's sad and an indication of how much people want to play race, and I look forward to the day when people honestly realize what his politics are and vote accordingly.

He's also pushed evasiveness to new highs. Reagan was good at that, but he did a nudge nudge elbow thing or feigned confusion. Obama does it by putting it right in front of you, but couching it in terms that cause you to have to pay very very close attention to catch him. I admire him being good at it. Personally I despise people who weasel like that, but he's good at it and I have to admire him for it.

Sounds a bit like the mafia. Remember the horse head in "The Godfather"? :-)

Precisely. Give Don Vito access to nukes and you get my concern.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

And what I am saying is that people didn't take the time, because if you do actually look at the respective positions, McCain was much closer to the center of the US political landscape. The 52:48 split among white voters is probably mostly due to frustration about GOP without looking at Obama's specifics. That doesn't explain 95:5. It's sad and an indication of how much people want to play race,

Why must it be? It could just as easily demonstrate how much people worry about whether a candidate has a (D) or an (R) after his name.

You can't deny one thing: rightly or wrongly, America had a VERY low view of the GOP this year. That's why Democrats also picked up seats in the House and Senate. That's why states like North Carolina and Virginia voted for a Democratic candidate for the first time in my life. Americans are fed up with the GOP and fed up with George Bush, and McCain was closely associated with both. He also chose an ignoramus for his VP candidate.

Obama ran a batter campaign. And his policies don't even matter; he won the all-important "Who would you rather have a beer with?" test. He didn't do stupid things like lose track of how many houses he owns whilst simultaneously pretending he can relate to the problems of ordinary Americans. And he ran on a platform much better than "Vote for me because the other guy's a socialist terrorist radical AAAIGGH be very afraid."

You're spending too much time looking at this from the perspective "Oh God, how could Obama win?" Better to ask yourself "Oh God, how could anyone expect a GOP sellout with close ties to an immensely unpopular president expect to win?"

Seriously, Moose, I think you're making this far more about race than it actually is.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

So what you're saying Smartass is we shouldn't expect a black man to be elected again for another 20 years at least. If they make up 1/10th then we should only expect every tenth president to be black.

No, that's not what I said at all. Where do you get that? I made no inference regarding how often one should expect anyone to be elected based on the proportion of their race in the general population. I merely corrected your figures. Women make up half the population of this country - should we, therefore, expect every other president to be female? The frequency with which any particular group gets a member elected to the office is influenced by many more factors than just their relative proportion of the population or electorate.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

McCain was closely associated with both. He also chose an ignoramus for his VP candidate.

Palin is no ignoramus - at least no more so than the general crop of politicians. You and I might not like her religion (I detest Pentecostalism,) but that woman is one sharp cookie. Frankly I found her quite refreshing to listen to, even though I would probably find myself in complete disagreement with her on a number of things. Look at it this way: given Palin or Biden as a choice for president? I'd choose her without hesitation.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

And he ran on a platform much better than "Vote for me because the other guy's a socialist terrorist radical AAAIGGH be very afraid."

That's right. He ran on a platform that was, in essence, "Vote for me and I'll give you candy." ;-)

I think Obama got elected primarily because of the state of the ecconomy and the general perception that the GOP is to blame for it - although the Dems had as much to do with our ecconomic troubles as the Republicans. Fortunately for Obama McCain couldn't or wouldn't hammer him on the part the Dems have played in the current mess.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous a moose said...

Why must it be? It could just as easily demonstrate how much people worry about whether a candidate has a (D) or an (R) after his name.

Right.

Seriously, Moose, I think you're making this far more about race than it actually is.

No, I don't think I am. 95:5 is pretty damning evidence. However, it's done now, and hopefully we can get by this shit in the future.

In the meantime, we are left to hope he will do less damage than McCain would have. The numbers prior to the election said it would not be so, and he would increase the debt, stifle the economy, and infringe upon the one or two enumerated rights that the republicans hadn't overrun already. However, as you say, facts are worthless to voters, which is my entire objection to begin with and the path to ruin in the long run.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

That doesn't explain 95:5.

Most blacks tend to vote Democratic anyway. If Obama were an Alan-Keyes-type Republican endorsed by Dick Cheney, who trounced McCain the white Democrat in 2008, I'd agree that race was a major factor. But "Gee, a lot of black guys voted for the Democratic candidate" is SOP in America. No surprise, and not proof of a racist conspiracy.

Similarly, I don't think anti-black racism is the main reason so many white rural voters went for McCain, because white rural voters tend to vote GOP anyway. But if the rural whites went for McCain the white Democrat rather than Obama the Keyes-style Republican, that too would be a different matter.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Alan-Keyes? That guy's off his rocker, no matter which party he affiliates with. I seriousy think he's mentally disturbed.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Fortunately for Obama McCain couldn't or wouldn't hammer him on the part the Dems have played in the current mess.

He couldn't very well, could he? After all, they both signed off on the Bail-out last month.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Most blacks tend to vote Democratic anyway.

And had they voted in their typical proportion in this race, subject to the antiBush vote previously mentioned, I wouldn't have a problem. They didn't.

I guess it's like this, suppose Jennifer decides that since it's Palin vs Barr, she's in a quandary. Barr represents her thinking, but Palin is a woman. Her resolution is to vote Palin. Is Jennifer being sexist in doing so? I would say yes, because I don't believe Palin reflects her politics. Would I call it "wrong" that Jennifer decides to vote based on sex rather than her personal political beliefs? Yes. Can I do anything about it? No. Is it "wrong" in an absolute sense, no, Jennifer has the right to vote as she pleases. Do I have to like it? No.

Alan-Keyes? That guy's off his rocker, no matter which party he affiliates with. I seriousy think he's mentally disturbed.

I actually met him once, back about 15 years ago or so? Probably his 92 Senate race. At the time he didn't seem so unbalanced when you spoke to him personally, but I got the feeling it was kind of an act going on to fleece the public. Then again, since I wasn't registered in MD back then (military, registered in another state), it could have been that I didn't mean much to him either. I can't remember what the function was now that put me in a position to meet him.

He seemed to really go off the deep end when he undertook his 96 presidential bid, to me. I don't know if I'd call him mentally unbalanced, but I'm basing that on the man I met back then. That guy was good at telling people what they wanted to hear, the way that Palin is good for that. Both of them, well, people that get excited about that kind of person get excited about them.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I guess it's like this, suppose Jennifer decides that since it's Palin vs Barr, she's in a quandary. Barr represents her thinking, but Palin is a woman.

Except that WAS NOT the case here; Obama, by virtue of being a Democrat, more closely represents "traditional black American" thinking than McCain does.

I just don't see why you're so shocked to find that a voting bloc which traditionally votes Democrat voted for a Democrat. BFD.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous a moose said...

I just don't see why you're so shocked to find that a voting bloc which traditionally votes Democrat voted for a Democrat. BFD.

I'm not shocked, I'm disappointed. In the polls up to the race, it was quite clear people were ignoring politics in favor of race. Why are you so amazed that it would disappoint me that people vote based on racist ideas? I see a headline "Hispanics push for two seats on cabinet" today. What stupidity is this? Do you think it's the right approach to define the singular first important characteristic as being race? Personally, I'm amazed you're defending it.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm not defending it; I'm saying you're making a much bigger deal of it than it is.

Serious question: do you think McCain, the GOP candidate closely tied to our immensely unpopular GOP president, would've won if only Obama were white?

12:40 PM  
Anonymous a moose said...

Except that WAS NOT the case here; Obama, by virtue of being a Democrat, more closely represents "traditional black American" thinking than McCain does.

It dropped this first:

No, it WAS the case. You're assuming "traditional black american" is more than a hypothetical construct, it isn't, any more than "traditional gay man" is. If they voted lock step dem, Prop 8 in CA would not have passed. You're assuming a stereotype is valid in general to justify your position rather than looking at the facts. The problem is in the specific case, the fact is that the stereotype was valid. In normal world, it's not valid, and therein lies my disappointment.

Serious question: do you think McCain, the GOP candidate closely tied to our immensely unpopular GOP president, would've won if only Obama were white?

I don't know. It would have been a hell of a lot closer. Honestly I don't think Obama would have made it through the primary had he been white, so the whole question would be moot. Though he's charismatic, he doesn't have the experience and his record is a problem, and people would have attacked him much more strongly during the primaries. As it is, when Ferraro tried to point this out, there was a frothing mass of self flagellation on behalf of the dems.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

@Moose: "Her resolution is to vote Palin. Is Jennifer being sexist in doing so?"

Well, I guess that depends on just what Jennifer's *full* political agenda is. In the normal context of political discussion, her (potential) feelings about the two-century disenfranchisement of half the population based on accident of birth just don't get expressed much. However, when faced with an immediate chance to have a concrete and visible impact on what may well be a much deeper and more-important issue than "minor" things like War and the Economy (at least in some people's minds)...

I think you are too quick to label "...ist" without looking at the big picture. People traditionally at the bottom of the social structure generally don't get quite as excited about details of Economics and Civil Rights as those in the middle and upper classes, because historically it has rarely made any difference to them in the short term. They stay poor, mostly disenfranchised, and discriminated against.

Symbolic gestures, however, often have an immediate and visceral impact. Granted, it may be a shallow and short-lived impact, but it is easily grasped. As the reaction around the entire world shows, there are few things more positively symbolic than a black man becoming President of the United States.

Regardless of political stance, competence, etc., the mere election of Obama *is* a very strong political statement. It is tied to race, of course - and the national history of that race is what makes it so powerful - but I'm not sure calling it "racism" is quite correct. Technically correct, I'll grant...but correct in terms of the commonly-understood meaning of the word, I'm not so certain.

If you are a member of a historically-oppressed (and, to a lesser extent, still-oppressed) group, is it really "...ism" to promote members of your group - or is it a survival tactic of human group dynamics? Probably a bit of both, but not so cut and dried.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Seriously, Moose, it seems to me you're trying awfully hard to make a mountain out of an anthill. First of all: "why Obama won the Dem primary" is a different issue from "Why America overall voted for Obama over McCain."

Second: a charismatic Democrat beat a GOP candidate when America was fed up with the GOP, and you're so determined to prove this must be some racist conspiracy that you're now trying to argue that American blacks don't generally vote Democrat, or that this doesn't have anything to do with their voting for THIS Democrat? You don't need "racism" to explain why the GOP guy lost this time: it's because a lot of Americans are fed up with the GOP. Hell, even Jesse Helms' old Senate seat went to a Democrat this time.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous a moose said...

Probably a bit of both, but not so cut and dried.

If I vote for someone because they are black, simply because they are black, it is no different than voting for someone that is white, simply because they are white. To call it a 'full political agenda' doesn't change that fact. If I were to join the KKK or the Aryan Brotherhood, it's undoubtedly part of my full political agenda to advance a particular social agenda. It doesn't excuse it. You're imposing your personal value structure to somehow imply that this abuse is "right" when that abuse is "wrong". I'm just pointing out that it's wrong.

I find it interesting people are fighting that idea so hard. Next joe from Reason will show up and start redefining "is" to fit whatever he wants to have it mean today.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous a moose said...

Seriously, Moose, it seems to me you're trying awfully hard to make a mountain out of an anthill.

Perhaps. I shall ponder that. I would think it useful to examine what prejudices lie within yourself to cause you to reject the idea so strongly, also.

To be clear, I'm saying that it's wrong to vote for someone based on appearance (or gender, for that matter, or sexual preference, or hair style, or any number of things that don't make any difference whatsoever). I'm saying that undoubtedly happened in this election, the numbers show it, and that's sad. You seem to live in some kind of rose garden of denial on that, which mystifies me as I thought you had clearer vision than that. Perhaps I'm coming off as making too much of it as I respect your intellect so my brain goes to "It's obvious, so she must just not see it, she can't just be justifying this stuff as a partisan thing." Perhaps I'm wrong, but I guess it doesn't matter. The wonder of the world is that we can disagree.

With that, I kind of feel like I'm talking to my desk at this point, so I'll shut up now.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm saying that undoubtedly happened in this election, the numbers show it, and that's sad.

And I'm saying I disagree. If anything, considering how monumentally unpopular the GOP is now, I think (as I've said before) that a white male Democrat would've pulled even higher numbers over McCain. When Hillary made her pathetic last-ditch effort to get the nomination because "working Americans, WHITE Americans," wouldn't vote for Obama, that's exactly what she was gunning for.

America immensely dislikes our current president, and the candidate closely aligned with our current president lost. Occam's razor suggests you don't need to add racism to that explanation.

If I vote for someone because they are black, simply because they are black, it is no different than voting for someone that is white, simply because they are white. To call it a 'full political agenda' doesn't change that fact. If I were to join the KKK or the Aryan Brotherhood, it's undoubtedly part of my full political agenda to advance a particular social agenda.

Actually, there IS a difference, though I suspect you'll argue that point as well: being a member of a traditionally oppressed group and trying to become not-oppressed is rather different from being a traditional oppressor trying to maintain that. That's why David Duke is considered a racist when he argues for "white rights." The KKK and the Aryan Nations aren't trying to overcome several centuries of legal oppression; they're trying to bring back the good old days when such oppression was enshrined in law.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Moose, when someone does a "good" thing for a black person because they are black; like give them preferences in education opportunities, give their companies contracts over white owned or vote for them that's always a good thing. When someone does the same for a white person they are a racist SOB and that is that.

You need to get your thinking back to the 21st century dude. You are thinking so 22nd century. Not to mention what Obama's "civilian security force" will do to you if they read your posts...

1:32 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Actually, there IS a difference, though I suspect you'll argue that point as well: being a member of a traditionally oppressed group and trying to become not-oppressed is rather different from being a traditional oppressor trying to maintain that.

Well I'll certainly argue that point. Sure, there is a difference between a group that is oppressed and one that is oppressive, but one doesn't have to be an oppressor to be a racist. Thinking of oneself in terms of being a member of some racial group and acting as such is racist - it doesn't have anything to do with whether your group is the oppressor or the oppressee. Otherwise you might come up with such nonsense as "only whites can be racist," which is something I've actually heard said more than once. It's usually used to justify special treatment - a double standard. But a double standard based on race is the essence of racism. And that is true whether it is in one's thinking or one's actions.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

@Smartass: "Thinking of oneself in terms of being a member of some racial group and acting as such is racist..."

Absolutely, in the strict and narrow sense of the term "racist". However, like so many other words in this Madison-Avenue world, that word carries connotations and overtones that may not quite fit the situation.

Someone insisting on using the ladies room because it meshes with the socially-accepted norms for her gender is technically being "sexist". But most people mean something a little more sinister than choosing which restroom to use, when they accuse someone of being sexist.

I'm arguing something of the middle ground, here. I think that Jennifer is correct in that the Democrats could have run the proverbial "Yeller Dawg" and still carried the election (at least, I hope people were paying that much attention to the last decade or so).

I think that Moose is correct, in that a number of people probably did vote for Obama "because he's black". But I think the issue is more nuanced than Moose is making it. Some people see the racial equality "thing" as a significant factor coloring many or all political decisions. Society *has* been shifting, and a black president was definitely bound to happen - and when it did, many people would claim it was a racist vote that did it. Pretty much the same would have been true if Hilary won the nomination...except it would be a sexist vote, instead.

This is a nominally Libertarian forum. The concept of the mythical "Free Market" applies to political capital as much as to economic. Whether actually true or not, people are presumed to vote their own interests. I don't know what world some of you live in, but in my world many *legally* insignificant features in fact play a fairly major role in most people's daily lives. Race, religion, gender, physical health, mental health, addiction, etc. It would be naive indeed to expect individuals not to consider those issues when casting their ballots.

Does that make me a sanctimonious, racist, sexist sow? Possibly - but I think those terms lose their usefulness if applied too broadly.

Moose, you are definitely correct in that your "accusation" struck a nerve (or several) - which merits introspective examination. I realize it wasn't meant, nor delivered, as a personal accusation. That it felt even a little like one pretty much proves your last point.

However, what actually set me off more was the broad brush with which you blithely tarred most of the country. Once, I believed the old "Sticks and Stones..." bromide. However, that was before Coors and his cronies in the Republican Party showed me how it was done. Labels are important, and misusing them to frame an issue in a lopsided manner is an incredibly powerful tool of social manipulation. Your relatively-innocent, and typically cogent, observation neatly reframed this discussion into one about prejudice, without ever using the term. I doubt that was deliberate on your part...but it was an extremely powerful move, nevertheless.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

but it was an extremely powerful move,

You don't happen to play chess, do you, Anne? :-)

5:46 PM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

@Smartass: "You don't happen to play chess, do you, Anne?"

It's been a while...but I really did/do enjoy the game. :-)

6:17 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Someone insisting on using the ladies room because it meshes with the socially-accepted norms for her gender is technically being "sexist". But most people mean something a little more sinister than choosing which restroom to use, when they accuse someone of being sexist.

At one time in this country the socially accepted norm was to have "whites only" and "colored" public restrooms - I remember seeing such as a young boy. Was that racist or just "technically" racist?

I think you are leaving out the important concept of context here. There are actual physical differences between the genders, just as there are between or among racial groups. But in the context of fitness for public office those differences have no meaning - no bearing, if you will. In the context of which bathroom to use the differences between genders do have importance (although there are those who would say it doesn't matter.) But in that same context or situation the differences between races are not relevant.

As a libertarian I am not nearly as concerned with racism or sexism (or any other discrimination) on the part of private individuals as I am with government institutions engaging in it. If African-Americans want to vote for a man primarily because he is black, well fine - I think they should be able to do so. I think it's wrong, but I don't see how one would prevent it. I think it would be wrong to use governmental force to prevent it. Likewise, I think the same way if whites want to vote for someone simply on the basis of being white.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

It's been a while...but I really did/do enjoy the game.

Yes, I thought you might. Same here.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

@Smartass: "I think you are leaving out the important concept of context here."

No, I'm arguing that context is inherently subjective. What seems trivial to an upper-middle-class White Anglo-Saxon Protestant male may in fact be a defining aspect of life for a multi-ethnic crack-addicted single mother trying to survive on the streets.

Now, I will admit to aguing "ad absurdem" in attempting to make some of my points (like restroom sexism), but when trying to refine the nuanced meanings of broadly-applied terms, I think carrying things to their logical extremes is sometimes justified, as an example of "where this can lead".

7:01 PM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

I know, Caveman - you'd say I'm arguing "ad nauseum" intead.

'Nuff said.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

No, I'm arguing that context is inherently subjective..

But it isn't - the context is objective. It is only one's perception or evaluation of it that might be subjective. There is a difference.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

...context is inherently subjective.... as an example of "where this can lead".

As an example of where such reasoning could lead: one might have an individual claiming racism, or sexism - or other injury - based on his or her "subjective" situation, or rather, on his or her evaluation of it. In other words, one is a victim when one thinks that one is a victim. Clearly that would not work very well in a legal system.

But as you say, "enough said," - at least for tonight.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Actualy Anne, I think you are aguing ad liberalium...

6:35 AM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

@Smartass: "As an example of where such reasoning could lead: one might have an individual claiming racism, or sexism - or other injury - based on his or her "subjective" situation, or rather, on his or her evaluation of it. In other words, one is a victim when one thinks that one is a victim. Clearly that would not work very well in a legal system."

That is, however, exactly how our current legal system *DOES* work, in terms of occupational-harassment lawsuits. It is dependent on the perception of the plaintiff, not the perception or motives of the defendant.

Hard to believe, but (currently) true.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

References:

http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/race-color.html#VIIAL:

...the conduct must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of employment in the mind of the victim and from the perspective of a reasonable person in the victim’s position.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Of course it is Anne, and Libertarians have always been known for their ability to accept things as they are and go along to get along...

4:47 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

That is, however, exactly how our current legal system *DOES* work, in terms of occupational-harassment lawsuits. It is dependent on the perception of the plaintiff, not the perception or motives of the defendant.

Hard to believe, but (currently) true.


Yes, I am completely aware of that fact - it is more or less what I was thinking of when I wrote what I did. Whether something "works" or not really depends on what it is one wishes to accomplish. I grew up thinking that the purpose of the legal system was to administer justice based on objective and rational standards. I have, however, been dis-abused of that notion many times over the years.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

@Smartass: "I grew up thinking that the purpose of the legal system was to administer justice based on objective and rational standards."

Me too. However, a little thought (and a lot of painful experience) shows that can't possibly be true. Otherwise, it would be a "justice system" instead of a "legal system". A legal system is obviously set up to impose, administer, and enforce "The Law", rather than "Justice". We can hope and pray that the two have some relationship to each other, but "The Law" exists primarily to allow, support, and enforce the existence of "The State".

In some societies, it's pretty blatant in this regard. In our society, there is an ebb and flow to this blatancy. We are a relatively young society, founded on basically-untested ideals. Embedded in our law is the memory of the costs of oppressing large segments of society - revolution, rebellion, and civil war. While the administration in power tends to think itself the "voice of the state" (hence, the Constitutional attrocities of the Homeland Security nonsense), we have a history of the populace at large occasionally disagreeing - sometimes rather violently.

Clearly, a successful legal system will somehow balance the (probably overreaching) desires of "the state" for security through control with the more difuse needs of the general populace. The way we seem to go about it is basically a "drunkard's walk" algorithm, however, which definitely can lead in unexpected directions for a while...

BTW - it is not actually clear that we have a "successful legal system" yet. I consider Rome's legal system to have been pretty successful, but we have barely reached our second century. Not that I'd actually want to live under Ancient Rome's legal system; I'm just saying that by the above standard, it cleary was pretty successful for quite a while.

12:03 AM  

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