is still saying that you're a racist if you're an anti-Obama liberal.
But the responses to this recent article have been revealing in ways that I find typical of our contemporary epistemology of race....
No, the responses revealed that the 2008 Obot strategy of "racist-baiting" all critics just won't cut it these days.
Her argument comes down this: She says that her critics have unfairly demanded that she prove racist intent. (No, they haven't. Her critics have said that she was full of crap. That's very different.) She goes on to argue that you often cannot prove the existence of racist intent behind racist action.
Harris-Perry is engaging in a very clever variant of our old friend, petitio principii -- begging the question. Her argument requires us to accept as a given the very premises which are under debate. There is no racist action at work here -- just a whole lot of liberals making legitimate complaints about a bad, bad president, much worse than Clinton was. Obama sold himself as the Prog Messiah and then he turned out to be somewhere to the right of Bob Dole. Damn right liberals are gonna be pissed off.
I posit that the race factor worked, and continues to work, in Obama's favor
. (At least among liberals and centrists. Obviously, there is a fair amount of genuinely nasty racism at play on the right.) If Obama were white, the Democrats would be fielding another candidate right now.
I like what Naked Capitalism
has to say...
When Clinton got in big time trouble in the polls, he took aggressive corrective action, firing staffers (including Hillary as co-president), changed many of his policies, and became fixated on job creation. The economy was beginning to boom in 1996 when he was up for reelection. Whether you attribute that to dumb luck of how Presidential elections mapped against economic cycles versus sound policy moves, Clinton faced voters when most had reason to think their personal prospects were on the rise.
By contrast, as Obama’s economic policies have failed to pull the economy out of its crisis-induced deep malaise, he has done nothing different save get more pissy and double down on his failed strategy of selling out the middle class. His recent, and no doubt desperation-induced effort to rekindle the support of his badly abused base via gestures like a millioniares’ tax, are likely to go the way of past promises of change: they will be watered down to thin gruel so as not to ruffle his moneyed backers. It is remarakbly disingenuous for Harris-Perry to contend that dissatisfaction with Obama results from racism, as opposed to (among other things) ineffective policy responses to substantial and widespread economic stress.
Although this article is not worth taking seriously on its (de)merits, it has nevertheless created a bit of a firestorm, proving that the scurrilous use of the race card is an attention-getter.
I don't like all
of what Riverdaughter
has to say, but this part is worth quoting...
The biggest differences that I can see between the Clinton years and the Obama years is that when the Republicans amped up the crazy starting in 1992, no one had ever seen anything like it before. It wasn’t like Watergate when Nixon really did something criminal and both parties took him out. No, this was a political media Dresden that seemed determined to wipe Clinton off the map. He and Hillary didn’t always navigate the firestorm very well. They were the first that had to go through it. No other president in my lifetime has had every crevice of their personal and political lives examined in such humiliating detail. And what did the millions of dollars of investigations turn up? A blow job. That was it.
Actually, I would argue that the crusade against Jimmy Carter was the first case of "amp up the crazy." Few now recall some of the weirder things going on in the culture in those days, especially on late night radio, and especially in the wake of the Iranian hostage crisis. There was a guy named Ray Briem who had a radio program that played throughout the night and well into the morning. He was a bit like Limbaugh and a bit like Beck, though much more gentlemanly than either. His show traded in bizarre conspiracy theories involving the Trilateral Commission, and he routinely insinuated that Jimmy was somehow in league with those dreadful Russians.
There was a lot of mondo bizarro propaganda like that percolating throughout the culture back in the 1970s, especially as the televangelists found their muscles. Academics like to pretend that these appeals to conspiranoia have only a limited impact, but I disagree. I think that a well-funded campaign of incessant smear and fear can change the way millions of people perceive reality. A good portion of the "malaise" that Carter addressed in that infamous speech was fostered, even created, by that propaganda barrage.
Needless to say, the left press detested
Carter. Without exception. Like Clinton, the guy had no defenders anywhere in the press.
an interesting comparison. Instead of asking why liberals are so much harsher on Obama than on Clinton (even though they aren't and weren't), perhaps Melissa should tell us why left-leaning organs like The Nation
were so much tougher on Carter than on Obama? I never cared for Jimmy, personally -- and I strongly supported the Kennedy insurgency in 1980. But Carter looks rather good compared to our current president.
Let's get back to the present day. Naked Capitalism brings it all home:
The left is obsessed with what ought to be peripheral concerns, namely, political correctness and Puritanical moralizing, because it is actually deeply divided on the things that matter, namely money and the role of the state. The Democrats have been so deeply penetrated by the neoliberal/Robert Rubin/Hamilton Project types that they aren’t that different from the right on economic issues. Both want little regulation of banking and open trade and international capital flows. Both want to “reform” Medicare and Social Security. Both are leery of a welfare state, the Republicans openly so, the Rubinite Dems with all sorts of handwringing and clever schemes to incentivize private companies that generally subsidize what they would have done regardless...
This, I think, is why someone like Elizabeth Warren (recently endorsed by Progressives United) is so important. She articulates a political/economic worldview that stands outside the Rubin/Reagan/Randroid sphere. Barack Obama doesn't.
That's why we dislike him. Skin color has nothing to do with it.