Archive - Mar 13, 2008

Your Guide To Identity Politics (Standard Edition)

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Memo to racist Democrats: VOTE REPUBLICAN.

We've talked about Geraldine Ferraro, but what we haven't talked about is Geraldine Ferraro's constituency. It's an axiom of politics, or at least it should be, that no politician will ever do something until the cost of inaction exceeds the cost of action. Thus far, Hillary Clinton has not acted, unless she was involved in Ferraro's resignation today. A resignation that wasn't even FAKE contrite, and blamed Barack Obama for attacking her. Classy.

This means, therefore, that there's some benefit to the Clinton campaign to have Ferraro out there spreading memes of Obama not being deserving of his position in the race, and playing White Victim to False (not really) Charges of Racism. Which means that somewhere out there, there are people who need to feel reassured that, when they vote for Hillary Clinton because they're uncomfortable with the black dude, that it's OK.

These people exist. They're called "racists". But racism is a spectrum, as we all know. These people would never burn a cross, never scream "nigger" in a crowded theater, and, if asked, would show great admiration for Martin Luther King and equality... in theory. But put any of them on an elevator with Barack Obama for three floors, and they'll be checking their purses and/or wallets when the ride's done.

These are the people that bristle when you point out their racism. You will hear them say things like "just because I don't support Obama doesn't mean I'm racist", and that's true, up to a point. The point being where you're not supporting Obama because HE'S BLACK. Last week, Bloomberg (the news organizations, not the Republican mayor who wants to pretend to be beyond partisanship) found a few of these people. Bloomberg called them "Archie Bunker" voters.

I'm not comfortable with the terminology, because Archie Bunker carries with it connotations of beloved television history, and thus glosses over the fact that even by 1970s standards, anyone who acted like Archie Bunker was a huge fucking racist asshole. By current standards, Archie Bunker might not even keep a career in talk radio. But from the attitudes and background described, it's a pretty accurate description. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I can't support him. When he talks to you, it's like he's talking down to you. He doesn't have the experience to talk like that." - Richard Dorsch, Chicago, Illinois.

Let's examine that statement with the added benefit of demographics, shall we? Dorsch is 53, a paramedic fire chief. Now, he's from Illinois, but even so, odds are Barack Obama has never talked to him personally. And "talking down"? For Obama to be "talking down", he would have to think he's better than Dorsch, and Dorsch thinks that a sitting Senator and presidential frontrunner doesn't have the "experience" to think he's better than a 53-year-old paramedic chief.

And, you know, as someone who, as a matter of professionalism, needs to know what being condescending sounds like, Obama isn't talking down to people. Hell, neither are Clinton or McCain. Politicians can't get away with proper condescension. Even if they're thinking it, and a lot of them are, they get in trouble when they say it. Dorsch's impressions aren't coming from Obama. They're coming from inside a dude who freely admits his kids call him "Archie Bunker".

The other racist Democrat profiled by Bloomberg, Victoria Mikulski, puts it more bluntly than even Ferraro:

"If Obama gets in, it's going to be a black thing and it's going to be all blacks for blacks. Everything's got to be equal." I love that quote. It's so much bullshit in so small a space. It's a very compact, efficient racism. I can only assume that Mikulski saw "Soul Plane", thought it was a documentary, and came away convinced that a black president would be a lot like a black airline - white people would be mocked or excluded, and someone would give Snoop Dogg a job he clearly isn't qualified for.

Well, all you blue-collar, salt-of-the-earth, Archie Bunker Democrats? Vote for John Fucking McCain in November. Please. Even if Clinton's the nominee. Because whether Hillary realizes it or not, there's a name for a political party that panders to the hurt feelings of racist white people terrified that if you give black people an inch, they'll loot for a mile. It's "Republican". We need to win, but we need to win without you if the win's going to mean a goddamned thing.