Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Via Steve Chapman’s Twitter feed, here’s the reaction to today’s decision from one of the Tea Party groups:

“The hideous abomination from hell must be eradicated.”

And here’s the reaction from DNC executive director Patrick Gaspard:

“It’s constitutional. Bitches.”

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79 Responses to “Discourse!”

  1. #1 |  Ariel | 

    “industrial capitalists involved the bosses engaged in the process of actually, y’know, making stuff, even if they exploited the shit out of the people that actually, y’know, made the stuff”

    I never thought I’d run across the equivalent to the creationist understanding of the 2nd Law, what Asimov called a kindergarten understanding.

    Thank you.

  2. #2 |  nigmalg | 

    That’s not racism. That’s having eyes and brains.


    Lets play adults for a moment and compare that to the various other racial or economic groups. Lets really give Obama the benefit of the doubt and categorize the vote of college professors. You calling the result for 96%?

  3. #3 |  MattMinus | 

    You’re misreading my statement.I’m not saying that voting for Obama was a consequence of having eyes and brains. I’m saying that, for an African American, reflexively voting against the Republicans is.

    IIRC, Soul Brother #1, Al Gore, got something like 92% of the black vote in 2000.

  4. #4 |  Mattocracy | 

    Although this has been touched on already, this comment thread pretty much reinforces the my notions of tribal politics. I’ve wondered how any liberal could support the idea of being forced to buy a service from politically connected corporations. But when it’s your team promoting it and the other team hates it, then it becomes pretty obvious how easily manipulated people are.

  5. #5 |  MattMinus | 

    @54 That’s an easy one. This is the narrow end of the wedge.

  6. #6 |  Rojo | 

    @ Pi GUy #48 and MattMinus #49-

    While I don’t think that voting for Obama anywhere near equates to having eyes and brains, even if you’re black (or even especially if you’re black, given Obama’s enthusiastic prosecution of the drug war and total obsequiousness to the banksters), that high number of black voters that voted for Obama is only a touch above the numbers that typically vote for Democrats over Republicans and is hardly ascribable to racism, as opposed to black voter perceptions of Republican racism.*

    I also would venture to point out that if we’re going to use the term “racism” to always mean “any negative perceptions of and/or allegiances to others based on race rather than on specific individual characteristics” (which I would agree is unfortunate) then we need another word for “systemic oppression based upon authority-defined hierarchies of race” or what used to be called “racism.” I’ll let you “libertarians” chew on that for a while. Actual libertarians, of which there are a number here, are invited to comment as well.

    *inb4 “Democrats manipulate black voters into voting for them!” Yeah, sure. And every politician seeks to manipulate every kind of voter into voting for them. Are black voters somehow uniquely manipulable in a way that say, white racists, are not?

  7. #7 |  Rojo | 

    @mattocracy #54 I hated the idea when it was a Republican idea and I hate it now that it is part of Obamacare. I was sincerely hoping that the Supreme Court would strike it down today.

    But I’m a leftist libertarian (aka an anarchist), not a liberal.

  8. #8 |  Other Sean | 

    Noseeum #46,

    Obama won by a popular vote margin larger than any since Bush I beat Dukakis in 1988, and the winner in that race was a sitting VP with massive name recognition who’d been a national figure in politics since the 1970s.

    You claim Obama would have had an extra 5% if it weren’t for some racism you discovered during a google search (but for which you tellingly provide no link). That would have given him about 58% of the popular vote, which is way more than ANY non-incumbent has received in the post war era.

    So to sum it up, your argument is: If Obama had lost that election, it would be because of racism. If Obama had won by a small margin, racism. And because Obama failed to win by a statistically anomalous and record-shattering share of the vote, it’s gotta be racism.

    Congratulations. You’ve created the ultimate in renewable resources. With that definition, you’ll never run out racism.

  9. #9 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    “I’m saying that, for an African American, reflexively voting against the Republicans is.”

    Really? You’ve REALLY bought into the ‘Republicans are anti-Black’ claptrap the Democrats have been selling for so long? And you claim to have eyes and brains?

    The Democrat Party’s position on Blacks is the same now as it was when they were the backbone of the CSA; that the vast majority of them are childlike and must be cared for by their betters. This doesn’t, in fact, make them a LOT worse than the Republicans, but anybody who reflexively votes for Democrats because of being Black doesn’t exhibit much intelligence.

    For that matter, anybody who votes reflexively doesn’t exhibit much intelligence.

  10. #10 |  GeneralGarbage | 

    @59 – No one believes that. Simply put, the Democrats treat blacks as one of the interest groups that make up their coalition. The republicans don’t, and, in fact embrace a certain constituency that does have some racist components. They’re the party of dog whistles about “welfare queens in cadillacs” and “young bucks buying t-bone steaks with food stamps”. You’d have to be blind not to recognize this.

    Look at the way you frame it, treating blacks like an actual interest group and using your political power to deliver for them is “infantilizing”. Do republicans demonstrate a disdain for their interest groups, like the religious right, when they deliver for them. You’re basically saying that Republicans are offering them a big pile of character building NOTHING and then wondering why they don’t vote for you.

    The fact that you jump right to welfare as a “black” issue (or seem to, I could be misreading you) might kinda be part of the problem.

  11. #11 |  GeneralGarbage | 

    Also, too, given the nature of the parties in this country, it’d be unintelligent NOT to vote reflexively. I may not be thrilled with either party, but I know I don’t want the national republican program. Even if a republican senate candidate was a great man and his opponent was say Bob Torricelli, I’d vote Toricelli, because at the end of the day they’er both going to vote with their parties.

  12. #12 |  Rojo | 

    @59 your position that the Democrats are the same now as the Democrats of the confederate era and your implication that this somehow explains the racial politics of current electoral alignments displays a severe ignorance of American political history. In fact, following the Civil War, black voters mobilized solidly behind the Republican Party for many decades, at about the same numbers they do now for the Democrats, and did not begin to come over to the Democrats until the New Deal and then did not truly solidify behind the Democrats until Nixon and Atwater began their appeals to southern white racists as part of their electoral strategy. These dynamics had everything to do with black voter perceptions of their interests, just as all dynamics of voter behavior have to do with voter perceptions of their interests.

    Whether on not this or that party is bad for black people (I think they both are, as they are for every other sort of people other than plutocrats) has nothing to to do with these bare facts of the matter.

  13. #13 |  M. Steve | 

    @60 “You’re basically saying that Republicans are offering them a big pile of character building NOTHING and then wondering why they don’t vote for you.”

    So, vote buying.

  14. #14 |  Rojo | 

    @59 I’m going to add that if Republicans want to change those black voter perceptions of where their interests lie while also maintaining a commitment to “small government” ideals (that I don’t actually think they sincerely hold), a very good place to start would be with dismantling the drug war, the militarization of policing in this country, and other forms of legal authoritarianism, which visit their violence disproportionately on black folks. As regular readers of Radley’s blog know, the Republican aren’t really getting on that bandwagon. Putting a couple of “black faces in high places” ain’t gonna do it.

  15. #15 |  Other Sean | 


    Okay, but look how far back you had to reach for those memes. The bit about “welfare queens” and “young bucks in Cadillacs” comes from the late 1970s and 1980s. I don’t think anyone is disputing a fairly significant role for race in politics back then.

    But as we who lived through it know, a lot changed in the 1990s and after. In that time racism has not only become taboo, it’s become one of the biggest taboos in American life. Making racist statements is a surefire path to social isolation today. In the workplace, it’s a path to firing if you’re a drone, and to lawsuits if you’re a boss.

    The number of people who now espouse racism as an ideology is roughly on a par with the number of people who claim to have personally experienced an alien abduction.

    And it’s just not fair for the anti-racist movement, having won a near-total victory in the cultural war, to say: “Now that we’ve marginalized racism and driven what’s left of it underground, we reserve the right to see racism anywhere we please, to accuse anyone we like, TO USE CHARGES OF RACISM TO INTIMIDATE THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH US ON OTHER POLITICAL ISSUES, and to go on fighting our new phantom racist enemies as if it never stopped being 1954.”

  16. #16 |  GeneralGarbage | 

    @63 – Yes, all politics is vote buying.

  17. #17 |  M. Steve | 

    @66: An excellent argument against democracy.

  18. #18 |  Rojo | 

    Well, since everyone’s ignoring the leftist libertarian anyway and making their usual back and forth arguments at each other, I’m just going to put this here:

    Enforced property rights over the means of production can not exist without the monopoly violence of the state.


  19. #19 |  noseeum | 

    @Other Sean at #58. I did provide a link! LOL. That’s priceless. I’m not adding the link again.

    Despite the ample evidence to the contrary, I’m going to maintain a shred of hope that you can use your mouse to scroll up and its button to click.

  20. #20 |  Meister574 | 

    # 41 I will agree that race is a small reason why people do not like his policies and do not like him. But it is also a small reason why some people do support his policies and do like him. Some will always be against him because he is black and some will always be for him because he is black, so I think the race issue is a wash.

    As for your argument against “Dems do it, too”, Pelosi did help prevent investigations into wrongdoing by Bush2. But only because that would have lead to limiting the power of their guy when a Blue Team prez is elected. I also love how you defend Pelosi not doing something that she probably should have done and criticize Boehner for actually doing it when it comes to “Fast and Furious” and Solyndra.

    But as an example of where Dems hated Bust but like Obama for the same things is foreign policy, especially the War or Terror. Gitmo is still open, Libya was attacked for less justification than Iraq was, drone strikes on individuals, and he gets praised for pulling out Iraq on the timeline set by Bush. And then there is the drug war. At least Bush never said he would not raid medical marijuana dispensaries. And lets not forget some of the most egregious laws past as part of the drug war was during the Clinton Administration.

  21. #21 |  noseeum | 

    @Meister574, you are correct. Obama had a positive bump from African American voters and a negative drop from white voters. In the book, “the end of race,” the authors analyzed both the positive and negative impacts and found the net effect was a loss of 5% of votes due to Obama’s race.

    Obviously there can be disagreements with the authors’ conclusions, but there is clearly evidence that obama’s race may have negatively impacted his electoral performance.

  22. #22 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 


    “Well, since everyone’s ignoring the leftist libertarian anyway and making their usual back and forth arguments at each other, I’m just going to put this here:Enforced property rights over the means of production can not exist without the monopoly violence of the state.”

    I’m glad you noticed the quote I borrowed from Kevin Carson, Rojo. To be fair, commenter Dave Krueger did give me kudos for posting that and said that he agreed with the quote. Dave is a long time commenter and knows his stuff! And actually not everyone ignored you. Ariel (#51) took the time to mock you and compare your comments about the relationship between employer and employee to a “creationist” understanding of the economic system. Guess you need to go read some Henry Hazlitt so you can fit in brother!

    This behavior is fairly standard among neoliberals (or right-libertarians or conservative libertarins or just plain ole liberalsl). They chortle and accuse you of not understanding economics simply because you disagree with neoclassical economics. How dare you look outside the orthodox capitalist explanation of how the world works. Don’t you remember the TINA principle?

    So why do otherwise anti-authoritarian people continue to parrot the capitalism and freedom hype? Well if they conceded that wage employment is an example of domination, which it is, then they would have to admit that they have been wrong about the nature of capitalism. And of course that is hard to do. If they were to thoroughly examine the power dynamics in the workplace, particularly in large, authoritarian private bureaucracies (a suitable definition for most corporations, whether they are for-profit or not-for-profit) they may come away thinking that the employee and his employee do not have equal bargaining power. And of course they don’t. Hayek wouldn’t admit this. Mises wouldn’t do it either. Friedman wouldn’t budge. Rothbard wouldn’t either (though he engaged with the left before he turned conservative and started cheering on the police state in his later years). They have chosen sides, Rojo. That is all there is to it.

    So let them choose sides, Rojo. Give right-libertarians their due though. They are usually dependable allies when it comes to foreign policy, the drug war, and many other areas. And if they stick to their classical liberal guns, their insistence on removing the state from the economy will reap some benefits for workers. As you suggested, without state violence, it would be much more difficult for bosses to interfere with worker organizing. Sure, these bosses could simply set up private states and hire private cops to intimidate workers (think of the company towns of old). This would no doubt be a problem in and “anarcho”-capitalist society. However, the new private states would meet fierce resistance in a truly libertarian–read libertarian socialist–society.

    I have come to the conclusion recently that the state and capitalism (which has been propped up by the state for hundreds of years) both need to go. That is what anarchism means to me and this is what it meant historically.

  23. #23 |  Other Sean | 

    Noseeum #69 & #71,

    Oh, I saw that Washington Post book review the first time around. But you claimed to have “ample evidence” of racism and you certainly supplied no link capable of delivering that.

    Saying “two guys from Yale agree with me and have secret proof in a book they wrote” is not the same as actually providing evidence. That crap might have worked in some pre-internet era, but now when people ask for evidence and argument they don’t just settle for appeals to academic authority. Especially not when the book in question uses obviously pseudo-scientific methods to find confirmation for totally untestable hypothesis.

    How do we know the hypothesis is untestable and the methods are pseudo-scientific?

    Well, the authors claim to have “discovered” that 5% of white voters who were supposed to vote for Obama did not. Since there is no way they could possibly have known how that 5% would have voted in a counter-factual history, the book is already a pile of nonsense before it begins.

    But to make matters worse, they go one step further, claiming that racism is clearly the reason why that 5% voted against expectations – expectations which, let’s remember, exist only in their own hindsight.

    The arrogance of their “research design” is breathtaking. In effect these two authors are saying: “We know how everyone is supposed to vote down to fractions of 5%, and when people don’t vote as they are supposed to, we know exactly why they didn’t.”

    Even your own words betray the weakness in that story. You said “Obviously there can be disagreements with the authors’ conclusions, but there is clearly evidence that obama’s race may have negatively impacted his electoral performance.”

    OBVIOUSLY there can be disagreements…but there is CLEARLY evidence that Obama’s race…MAY HAVE negatively impacted…

    So on the one hand, you want to use weasel words like that. But on the other you want to pretend your opinion is based on a rigorous academic study that accurately measures both voting preferences and the motives behind them.

    I’m sorry, but that’s worse than a bad argument. It’s no argument at all.

  24. #24 |  noseeum | 

    @other Sean. Haha. Hahahahaha.

    Whoo. Sorry. Allow me to catch my breath after reading your nonsense. I love when people do that in comments sections, “oh no. I saw what you posted, but I’ve spent so much time researching how invalid that research it I felt it wasn’t worth even noticing. In fact, that link is so useless it’s as if you hadn’t posted a link at all! And that’s what I meant the first time. If you couldn’t catch my brilliant satire that’s your problem.”

    You have continually insulted a position you have applied to me which I’ve never stated. Each post of mine has refuted your own baseless, unsupported assertions. I have not stated my own opinion. I have simply stated that there is ample evidence that race negatively impacted Obama in the election and provided a link to some of that said evidence.

    Contrast this with your bloviating:
    “In fact, Obama’s race has been nothing but a key asset to him at every step of his political career. Geraldine Ferraro had it right: if he was a white man or a woman of any color, he would never have been a presidential contender as early as 2008.
    Even in the general election, there was no trace of the feared Brady Effect. The notion that being black has been an obstacle to Obama’s political ambitions, to his popularity, or to his governance is just laughable.”

    Stand back folks. Don’t want to get blinded by the glow from Other Sean’s well researched thesis and supporting documentation!

    You have the gall to assert that the first black men ever elected president in the US not only DIDN’T suffer at the polls from racism but that he in fact BENEFITTED? And you say Geraldine Ferraro was right? With no support for such a ridiculous assertion other than your own hot air?

    I repeat my initial response. Get your head out of your ass.

  25. #25 |  Other Sean | 


    I see you lost your cool a bit there. For what it’s worth I’m not trying to offend you, I just wanted to argue an point. Can you do me the favor of answering one small question…

    Since each election is a unique contest that cannot be repeated, there is no way to empirically discover what a particular 5% of white voters in 2008 would have done if, say, John Edwards had been the nominee. That experiment cannot be run because it will never be 2008 again.

    Nevertheless your two authors claim to have conducted “research” that shows an extra 5% of white voters should have voted for Obama. Since your argument depends directly on the thesis of their book, just tell me:

    What methods do you think they used to reach that conclusion, and why do you accept those methods as though they were empirically valid?

  26. #26 |  noseeum | 

    Again, I haven’t said I accept their argument. I provided it here as evidence, of which you stated there was none. If one were to argue a case on whether or not racism had an impact on the election, one could provide this book as evidence. I.e. evidence exists. You’ve yet to provide evidence to back up your assertion that Obama has somehow always benefitted electorally from his race. Considering the history of our nation, I think the burden of proof would be on your position. Even so, statistical analysis of election results is accepted political science. These guys aren’t interviewing KKK members and turning that into an argument.

    It’s pretty much an obvious thing to say more black people voted for Obama than a white nominee would have gotten. It’s also obvious that less white people voted for Obama than a white nominee would have gotten. If it’s one in one million on either side it doesn’t matter of course. The question is whether the variance is statistically significant. And in a be positive or net negative way.

    You’ll have to read the book to see what you think. It’s fairly dry and deals mostly with statistics, so it’s not the most fun thing to read.

  27. #27 |  Other Sean | 

    The mere existence of a book arguing some thesis is not evidence of that thesis – it’s just evidence that the authors happen to believe it.

    Same goes for the idea that “statistical analysis of election results is accepted political science”. The fact that thousands of other humanities professors use the same methods to write books and papers does not make those methods valid – it only makes them popular. My key question stands unanswered: how can these authors claim to do something no one has ever done in the history of scholarship? How can they claim to PRECISELY describe a version of history that didn’t actually happen? How can they claim to know the vote totals for a non-specific white Democrat who didn’t actually run for president in 2008?

    Like most social disciplines, political science only works in hindsight, and then only in the dubious fashion of “show me what happened, and I’ll tell you a story about why.” It has no record of reliable predictions, and most of the time it avoids making clear-cut falsifiable statements.

    Despite this tendency, many political scientists did ventured to predict a surprise defeat for Obama because of racism unreflected in the polling data. When that didn’t happen, when he won by a very comfortable margin in both popular and electoral votes…did they admit they were wrong, as any good scientist would do in the face of contrary experimental results?

    No…they simply changed their thesis and said “Well, we were still correct in principle, because Obama should have won by much more than he did.”

    But don’t you see! That is the very opposite of science, because they could have said the same thing if Obama received 63%, 70%, 82%, or even 98% of the vote. There is no condition under which they would be obliged to change their thesis. As long as Obama didn’t get ALL of the votes, they could still continue to claiming that ANY votes he didn’t get were withheld from him because of racism.

    So, no, it’s not at all “obvious that less white people voted for Obama than a white nominee would have gotten.” That’s something you believe, but as yet no evidence has been offered to support it. It’s just something people expected before the election, and it’s something many people still believe afterwards.

    There’s a word for things like that: they’re called opinions. They’re not called research, or science, or obvious, or facts.

  28. #28 |  noseeum | 

    Dude, if you can’t accept the fact that there is one person in the world
    that would never vote for a black person because of their race -just one. That’s all it takes to make my statement true- then you are delusional. I can’t debate someone who won’t accept reality.

    I guess I should have known that from your first statement saying Obama actually benefitted from his race.

    I hope you enjoy the fantasy world you’re living in.

  29. #29 |  Other Sean | 

    Oh, you can absolutely have that: I agree there had to be one person who didn’t vote for Obama solely because of his race. Probably there were hundreds of thousands who voted that way and for that reason. It stands to reason just based on the traffic at websites like stormfront.com. What we don’t know is how many of those votes he would have gotten otherwise.

    Of course, there also must have been a bunch of people who secretly thought McCain was a Manchurian Candidate brainwashed back when he was a guest at the Hanoi Hilton. Maybe there were a million people who explicitly thought Palin was a traitor to womankind.

    You see what I’m getting at? Lots of people vote they way they do for lots of different reasons. None of which can be measured.

    But let me ask you this: given that free media coverage is critical in the early phases of a political campaign, and given that “black man runs for president” is an inherently intriguing story line for any news producer, don’t you think it’s possible – in the primary if nowhere else – that Obama’s race helped him garner a level of free publicity which rapidly put him on an equal footing with Senator Clinton, a universally recognized Democrat with 16 years in the national spotlight?