25 September 2009

Radicalism and Punditry

You can't visit the NY Times opinion page without someone opposing Obama (a good chunk of Americans) being called a racist (a very serious accusation), and they're dropping in credibility faster than the SPLC. Reason examines this phenomenon in American history in a very interesting piece:

A similar dynamic is at work in 2009. When pundits weave a small number of unrelated incidents into a "pattern" of crime, then link it to the rhetoric of Obama's opponents, it becomes easier to marginalize nonviolent, noncriminal critics on the right, just as a red scare makes it easier to marginalize nonviolent, noncriminal figures on the left.
Admittedly, there been an uptick in crazy lately. After all, shoddy economies and Americans coming home in body bags tend to produce a more extreme politics, and right now America has both. But, the lame attempts to discredit Obama critics as being a pack of racist, barnyard yokels is pretty transparent partisan politics.


Nicholas Blendy said...

It's certainly possible to oppose the Obama Administration for numerous policy-based lines of argument.

But I haven't noticed you writing on your blog that the President is an "Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug" and then refusing to disavow it on national television. Does this make Mark Williams a racist? I can't read dude's heart, so I don't know, but I know the language he used certainly implies such a sentiment.

Does this mean everyone on The Mall on 9/12 was a racist? Obviously not. But you own the people who associate with you to a certain degree just like the Left and the anti-Bush crowd owned those awful, awful Code Pink people. No one gets to cry about whether this is fair or not, it's just the reality of the world.

The opposition to President Obama is very real and it does the NY Times and the Democrats a disservice if they continue believing every opposing viewpoint is from a racist. And they'll wake up in mid-November 2010 absolutely stunned the Democrats lost one or both Houses of Congress with what's become all too typical tone deafness to the voices of The People.

Anonymous said...

The difference between the right and the left can be seen in how protests from both sides have recently been handled. I have not seen riot police at any Townhall event, nor have I seen tear gas or pellet bags used yet, from the left, at the G-20 conference in Pittsburgh, well, I'll just let those actions speak for themselves. Summary: conservatives seem to protest a lot more civilly than liberals do. Shouting is nothing in comparison to destroying people's shops and looting.

America, as a whole, really could care less about the war. I deployed twice to Iraq while I was in the Navy and came home to see our fellow citizens acting as if nothing was going on in the world. They still act that way. As long as someone else is willing to 'die for the country' those who stay behind have no interesting in foreign policy or any conflicts our nation is involved in. I say bring back the draft.

Kanani said...

Well, they avoid the topics that need to be addressed, by slathering on a label of racist to anyone who disagrees with his policies.
But anyone who accepts his use of metaphor and simile in lieu of substantive policies is indeed a fool.

Lisa said...

It's not the right doesn't call Obama a Socialist or Marxist and accuse him of manufacturing death rolls. . .

I'm afraid there's more than enough incivility to go around. Obviously one's race does not erase the imperative to analyze policy. Reasoned debate should always be welcome.

But in our highly partisan world, if I had to choose one side which most often seeks refuge in the smear campaign, that would be the conservatives. I would guess that is b/c they are reactionary and fear change, so anything different is The Enemy.

MAS1916 said...

You know you have a liberal defeated in an argument he/she throws up the charge of 'Racism.' Like the story of 'the boy who cried Wolf,' thinking people are numb to it and don't pay much attention any more.

Lefties of course do pay attention, but there are far fewer of them then there were a year ago. And with numerous Obama agenda items on schedule to come crashing down this fall ( http://www.conservativeblog.thewebinfocenter.com/conservative-blog/obama%E2%80%99s-house-of-cards-%E2%80%93-the-first-things-to-fall-this-fall ) there will be fewer lefties going to the polls in 2010.

J. said...

Yep, LT, you've nailed it. We libs have nothing in our observations that the 70,000 nutcases who showed up on 9/12 in Wash DC were largely from the South, white, and uneducated. But Racist!! Impossible. Outlandish. Why next thing you'll imagine is that we think Rep. "You Lie!" Wilson is a racist.

Actually, we do, but more because he's a native of SC who likes to fly confederate flags over federal buildings... oh, and there's never been a Repub who yelled out against a white president who was giving a speech in the Congress.

Mike said...

I think this whole post is racist, and if you persist in your defamatory and demagogic actions against our Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama, I will have to report you to DHS.

NateSF said...

You have to take this all in perspective. Assuming that the general public forms thier own ideas based on research they perform themselves from unbiased sources and then forms a rational conclusion on how national policy should decisions should be made is unrealistic. That requires too much effort, and assumes they actually give a damn about anything outside the tiny bubble they live their lives in. They would much prefer to sit back at the end of the day and watch the news not as a source of information, but as a source of subliminal entertainment.

It is much more fun to watch Glenn Beck scream and yell about how ACORN is promoting sex crimes and voting fraud, or listen to Rachel Maddow's snarky comments about how the insurance industry has won again by killing the public option for health care reform. You then chose a side of the debate and discuss it with like minded people and demonize the opposing faction. Potentially concerned citizens are converted into politcal spectators swaying to the pundit's tune. Democracy withers and nothing really improves.

Obama is black. He's new. He bit off more than his party could politically chew. That's it. I don't envy him in having to deal with the lack of solidarity in his party, but so far he's been a poor cat herder. If he wants to get any work done he really needs to take control and stop deferring to the people in his party with political seniority that have nothing but a failing track record for reform.

Lisa said...


You're far too reasonable to appear on this site -- how did you penetrate the filters :) Really, I like the LT, and think he's more provocateur than nattering nabob.
[Sorry LT, don't mean to out you amongst your more rabid fans :)]

You have hit the nail on the head: Thinking is outre in the U.S. today. Pick yer talking head and ensconce yourself with the faithful. Politics and journalism have become largely faith-based initiatives.

Both sides can be viewed as singing, "We Shall Overcome," but sadly the thing they wish to overcome is the other side, and not any actual problems facing our nation. Sandbox politics, it is.

Cindy Margott said...

The opposition to President Obama is very real and it does the NY Times and the Democrats a disservice if they continue believing every opposing viewpoint is from a racist.