Pontificating from Behind a Fog of Racial Hucksterism

When we’re talking about racial attitudes and perceptions, how do we even know what the truth is any more?

Brian Beutler, The New Republic: The Right’s Racial Blinders, What really explains the politics of the Obama era

In reality, many if not most liberals correctly believe that the GOP’s organizing modus operandi is plutocratic in nature, but that a plutocratic agenda is politically unsustainable without being fused to a distinct populism of some sort. For both historical and natural reasons, the GOP’s populism is often the populism of white racial resentment. This is a cardinal fact. It also makes it difficult to trace a boundary between the right’s racial and non-racial public appeals.

How exactly does Beutler know this?

He cannot possibly know this, on several levels.

And yet he is absolutely certain that he knows the exact truth in an absolutely objective sense.

He cannot see through his own biases.

He is prejudiced.

And deeply, tragically, misled.

He is conditioned to see racial animus and/or manipulation because of the kinds of voices dominating discussion of racial issues from the left.

The Crazy Man

Chris Matthews: America Is “Swimming” In Racism:

The Shakedown Artist

Martha Mendoza and Jesse Washington, AP: Jesse Jackson to take on tech’s lack of diversity [emphasis mine]:

Jesse JacksonThe Rev. Jesse Jackson plans to lead a delegation to the Hewlett-Packard annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday to bring attention to Silicon Valley’s poor record of including blacks and Latinos in hiring, board appointments and startup funding.

Jackson’s strategy borrows from the traditional civil rights era playbook of shaming companies to prod them into transformation. Now he is bringing it to the age of social media and a booming tech industry known for its disruptive innovation.

As recently as 2011, Allstate, in alliance with Jackson’s RainbowPUSH organization, recognized HP for its commitment to diversity.

“While we certainly agree that diversity is an important issue in corporate America, we’re puzzled by Rev. Jackson’s sudden interest in HP,” said HP executive vice president Henry Gomez in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “Today, HP is the largest company in the world with both a female CEO and CFO and nearly half of our leadership team and Board of Directors are women and minorities. Additionally, nearly 50 years ago, HP established the first Minority Business Program in the United States.”

Gomez also points out that in 2013, HP spent nearly $1 billion with almost 500 minority business enterprises in the U.S. and an additional $500 million with businesses owned by women.

“We look forward to seeing Rev. Jackson at our shareholder meeting,” Gomez says.

Bringing his special brand of sober analysis to the discussion of race, the Rev. Jackson told Meet the Press that apartheid remains in the United States.

“We’re in the middle of the end of the apartheid struggle even now, but it’s just changed phases.”

The Spittle-Flecked Mad Man

Sadly, though I disagree with him, I think Martin Bashir was trying to make a completely defensible point.

And the historical parallel he drew was pitch-perfect.

On top of that, many of my fellow conservatives distorted was he was trying to say, turning it into a violent vulgarity he wasn’t actually guilty of.

What he was guilty of was the uncontrollable anger of the comically arrogant.

The spit fairly flew.

Is it any wonder conservatives interpreted his remarks in the worst possible light?

The Huckster

And the worst of all.

Michael Goodwin, New York Post: Despite past, Sharpton’s pull remains intact

Al SharptonAs usual, Al Sharpton has an answer. How is it possible, I ask him, that he carries so much tainted baggage from the past, yet still enjoys enormous pull with the political class?

“It’s because I have access to some of the voters they’re trying to reach,” he tells me matter-of-factly. “Union leaders, faith leaders, civil-rights leaders — that’s who they’re trying to reach through me.”

Nobody’s ever called politics a moral business, but a respect for appearances is generally required. That’s why pols run from controversial people and return contributions the minute a donor gets in a jam. They fear guilt by association.

Yet few, if any, shun Sharpton, whose notoriety hasn’t kept him from the power trough. Presidents, senators, governors, mayors — they all come to kiss the ring. So I press him on the baggage: The disgraceful Tawana Brawley episode, that stint as an FBI informer now being so colorfully examined — why isn’t he politically toxic?

Who knows why Democrats—including the president, still haven’t turned against him.

Back to Beutler

Which brings us to conservatives, who make absolutely no allowances for the possibility that racial resentment is the propulsive force behind a variety of their policies. Their denialism has complicated origins, which Chait examines at length. But over-aggressive liberal accusations of racism are at best a tiny part of it. To take just one example: there are a handful of reasons GOP governors might be reluctant to expand Medicaid in their states. But absent intense, racially charged pockets of resistance, the various logical foundations of their decisions would disappear and the position would collapse. Indeed, the non-expansion policy has to a large extent been dictated to them by the Calhounist faction of the coalition.

But if you point this out to conservatives—indeed, if you attribute on-the-ground politics of Medicaid to anything other than questionable fiscal considerations or abstract beliefs about the size of government—they will dismiss it outright and angrily as race pandering or racial McCarthyism.

Tell you what, Brian.

Clean up your own house. Demonstrate trustworthiness in talking about race and we’ll be surprisingly open to your input.

Until then? Not so much. Because, frankly, I don’t believe a word you say.

Looks to me like you’ve got your work cut out for you.


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