Tag Archives: “Dixiecrat”

Harry Reid is NO Trent Lott

So race and racism continue to dominate the national dialogue, such as the national dialogue is. (Hey, at least it got me off of the topic of how much I hate the fucking baby boomers…)

The Repugnicans are now asserting that Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s private comments about Barack Obama’s race — that Obama is light-skinned (true) and that Obama doesn’t speak with a “Negro” dialect (also true) — are equivalent to Repugnican former Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott’s public comment that the nation would have been a lot better off had segregationist Strom Thurmond been elected president in 1948. Lott, of Mississippi, which never has been known for racism, stepped down as Senate minority leader in 2002 because of his controversial remark. Repugnicans are calling for Reid to step down, too, and are asserting that if he doesn’t, it’s indicative of a double standard.

Gee, there’s no difference there at all! One guy said that Obama is a light-skinned black guy and that he talks like a white guy, both of which are, um, true, and the other guy said that the nation would have taken a much better course had a segregationist from Mississippi been made president in 1948. Presumedly, had we had a President Thurmond instead of a President Truman in January 1949, that whole stupid, unnecessary Civil Rights Movement thing might have been avoided, and Negroes today would still know their place! 

Oh, puhfuckinglease. There’s no valid comparison between Reid’s comments and Lott’s.

Harry Reid, who was born in 1939, for fuck’s sake, is as old as dirt and was born and raised in the very lily-white state of Utah, for fuck’s sake, and so he’s still saying “Negro.”

The word “Negro” grates on these much younger white ears, but, as Rachel Maddow recently discussed on her show, as “Negro” routinely was used by blacks themselves during the Civil Rights Movement, some blacks, especially older blacks, still embrace the term. So I’ll leave it to blacks to decide whether or not they find the term “Negro” offensive. (Personally, I find it at least antiquated if not offensive.)

Then you have Trent Lott, born in 1941 — more or less Reid’s contemporary — but he hails from the former slave state of Mississippi, where he was born and raised. In December 2002, at segregationist Mississippi Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday gathering (Thurmond would die the following year, thank God), Lott said this:

“When Strom Thurmond ran for president [on the Dixiecrat ticket in 1948], we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.”

So blacks are a “problem,” I guess, not too much unlike the Nazis’ “Jewish problem.”

Repugnicans: When you compare Reid’s comments to Lott’s, are you lying, as usual, or are you actually that fucking stupid?

Continuing on the topic of race, the racist Repugnicans (I know, redundant) are also having major buyer’s remorse over their knee-jerk, racist selection of Michael Steele as the head of the Repugnican Party in January 2009 in reaction to Obama’s election to the White House a couple of months before.

Just as the stupidly impulsive selection of Sarah Palin-Quayle as John McCainosaurus’ running mate was the Repugnicans’ knee-jerk reaction to Obama’s having choosen a male running mate over Billary Clinton — and cynically was meant to tell the nation, “See? We Repugnicans love women even more than the Democrats do!” — Steele’s stupidly impulsive selection apparently cynically was meant to tell the nation, “See? The Repugnicans love black people, too! (Nevermind that whole Hurricane Katrina thing…)”

Regardless of his skin color, the self-serving, book-promoting Steele (it’s not surprising that he’s self-serving, since he is, after all a baby boomer, and, true to his boomer self, Steele must have figured: Why take a big job if you can’t further personally profit from it by writing a book?) has been a fuck-up for the Repugnicans, but, as Politico notes, should the Repugnicans dump him, as many if not most of them want to do, it could make the Repugnicans look like the racists that they are. Reports Politico:

Among top GOP operatives in Washington, there is overwhelming majority sentiment that the Republican National Committee blundered a year ago when it tapped Michael Steele as its chairman.

There is equally strong sentiment among members of the RNC about what Republicans can do it about it now: nothing.

Steele’s status as a high-profile African-American at a time when Republicans are facing serious headwind because of their weakness among non-white voters was a big part of his appeal a year ago. And it is a part of the reason many GOP strategists lament that he is untouchable even though they think the party would be better off to make a change from someone they regard as an unfocused and gaffe-prone leader.

 “I don’t think there is any chance he’s going to be dumped before the next election for the obvious reason,” said one of the party’s most influential strategists and a key player on presidential campaigns.

Asked why that would be, the Republican, who is not on the party committee, shot back: “You’re not going to dump the first African-American chairman. That’s the only reason. Otherwise, he’d be gone.”

A longtime member of the party committee added: “The optics of pushing any chairman out don’t look very good, but [Steele’s race] puts a much finer point on it.”

Those optics are fairly straightforward.

The perception of an overwhelmingly white party launching a coup to take out a black leader when the country has its first African-American in the White House would be disastrous, say senior Republicans — a bigger distraction to the party than Steele’s frequent off-message detours are now.

As always, the politics of race is a delicate matter. Few in the party’s ranks want to discuss the matter openly. But in recent days the volume of the on-background second-guessing over the original pick of Steele has reached new levels.

Just in the past month, he’s drawn fire for giving paid speeches, not calling major donors, writing a book that criticizes the GOP, not alerting members of Congress about the book, promoting the book and, worst of all, saying in a national television interview that his party couldn’t retake the House this fall….

While it’s true that Jesus Christ himself couldn’t perform the miracle of making the Repugnican Party look good, again, regardless of his race, it seems to me that the bumbling Steele should be canned. His ouster wouldn’t make me believe now that the Repugnican Party is racist, since it was his selection in the first place that demonstrated how racist the Repugnican Party is.

To me, it’s racist to make any hiring decision regarding a person primarily because of his or her race (with very few exceptions, such as, say, casting a movie or a play). I see little difference between hiring a man because he’s black and not hiring him because he’s black. In either case, if race is your main criterion, you’re a fucking racist.

Anyway, Politico notes of Steele:

Still, barring a major revelation that would prompt the votes of the two-thirds of committee members necessary to get rid of a party chair, Steele will almost certainly serve out his two-year term, which ends a year from now. But should he decide to pursue re-election, the same dilemma will probably loom in January 2011…. 

Note that in all of this discussion over race, President Obama is, as usual, for whatever reason or reasons, keeping out of it…

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On the anniversary of Obama’s election

Today I received an e-mail from Organizing for America*, the remnants of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, titled “One year ago.” It’s meant to be nostalgic.

 Ah, yes — memories:

It was almost one year ago, on November 4, 2008, that I walked into my neighborhood polling place knowing that I’d vote for either Democrat Barack Obama or independent Ralph Nader, for whom I had voted in 2000 (when he ran for president on the Green Party ticket). Even as I walked through the polling-place door, I still wasn’t 100 percent sure which of the two candidates ultimately would get my vote.

In the end, I ended up darkening, with my black ballpoint pen, the oval next to the name “Barack Obama.” I knew that he’d win California anyway, and in the end I found the opportunity to vote for the nation’s first non-completely-white president to be rather irresistible.

Today, I wish that I had resisted.

Barack Obama has turned out to be pretty much another Bill Clinton — a “centrist.” Which means a coward. An appeaser. A politics-as-usual kinda guy.

There was nothing “centrist” about the eight long years of nightmarish rule by the unelected BushCheneyCorp. When the Repugnicans have the power, they don’t hesitate to use it. Remember when Gee Dubya was “re”-elected in 2004 with only 50.7 percent of the popular vote, but the members of the Bush regime called this a “mandate” from the American people nonetheless?

Here is Obama, having been elected by 53 percent of the people, which by the opposition’s definition, anyway, is a huge ol’ fucking mandate, and here is Obama with both houses of Congress dominated by his party, yet what accomplishments has he made?

That “Saturday Night Live” skit in which Obama reassures his opposition not to worry because thus far into his presidency he’s done nothing — it’s pretty accurate.

While the Democrats, led by the Obama White House, aren’t owning their power, I see that the wingnutty Repugnicans (which, in most cases, is redundant) were even successful in forcing out the Repugnican candidate in a U.S. House of Representatives race in New York state (the special election is on Tuesday and she dropped out of the race yesterday) because they consider her to be too moderate — and I think: Damn, why can’t we progressives force out those “Democrats” who are too moderate?

Instead, we have “Democrats” like Harry Reid and my U.S. senator, Dianne Feinstein, whom I have always thought of as Mrs. Joseph Lieberman.   

Base sends GOP warning shot in NY-23,” a Politico headline reads, and I think, Why isn’t the base firing warning shots at the “Democratic” obstructionists in Washington?

Why can’t we progressives be as aggressive as the wingnuts are? Especially when they’re wrong about just about everything and we’re right about just about everything?

It’s too early to know whether the wingnuts’ victory in New York state in pushing out the Repugnican candidate they deem to be too moderate will help or harm the Repugnican Party in the short term, I suppose, but, it seems to me, pushing out the woman candidate (Diedre Scozzafava) for yet another conservative white male candidate (Doug Hoffman) will harm the Repugnican Party over the long term because, although the stupid white men are trying to fight it, rule by stupid white men is going the way of the dinosaurs in an increasingly diversifying nation. 

That Hoffman is running on the “Conservative Party” ticket doesn’t seem to bode well to me. It was when the Southern racists broke off from the Democratic Party, apparently starting with racist Strom Thurmond’s running for president on the “Dixiecrat” ticket in 1948, that the Democratic Party lost the South.

Should the wingnuts succeed in gaining some third-party strength, it seems to me, this will only help the Democratic Party. As The Associated Press notes, in the 1992 presidential election, billionaire businessman Ross Perot’s third-party ticket (the “Reform Party”), which had a bent to the right, won 19 percent of the popular vote; “Perot vastly altered the dynamic of that contest,” the AP notes, adding, “Democrat Bill Clinton was the beneficiary of that three-way contest, taking away the presidency from [Repugnican] George H.W. Bush with just a plurality of the vote.”

Any third party that might emerge over the coming years that comes even close to the success of Perot’s Reform Party in 1992, it seems to me, probably would stem from white angst and thus probably would siphon away Repugnican votes.

That scenario probably wouldn’t give progressives much leverage, however, because the Democratic presidential candidate could win with a plurality, like Bill Clinton did in 1992.

Those of us on the far left and the far right aren’t really represented in Washington, D.C., however, and I’d be fine with a four-party (or multi-party) system: the Democratic Party could be for those who are center-left, the Repugnican Party could be for those who are center-right, the wingnuts could have their own party (the “Conservative Party” or whatever the fuck they want to call it), and we progressives could have our own party, too — the Green Party, preferably. 

Or maybe it just needs to be a fight to the bitter end, a (bloodless, hopefully) rematch of the Civil War. That seems to be what those on the far right want, and as a member of the far left, I say: Let’s give that to them.

*Remember when the remnants of Howard Dean’s failed campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination became Democracy for America? Damn, are the Obama people copycats… They act like Obama did it all on his own, when, in fact, Obama only rode in on the wave that Dean and his supporters created…

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