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June 11, 2008

You Just *Maht * Be a Racist!!!

As rosy-finger'd dawn crept across the sky over her western Maryland home, the blog princess ventured a delicately lacquered toe from betwixt the marital sheets, her diminutive form fairly tingling with audacious hope. Now that Amerikkka had finally overcome the vestiges of 200 years of unconscious racism and put a black man into the presidential race, she could finally be proud of her country. The long nights of angst ridden nail biting were over.

Well, almost:

"Will Americans vote for a black man?" I've been asked this question by foreigners of various origins a dozen -- or maybe three dozen -- times since the U.S. presidential campaign began for real in January. Now we have the answer: Yes, Americans will vote for a black man. Which means that it is time to turn this rather offensive question around: Will foreigners accept a black American president?

I realize that this, too, may seem like a rather offensive question, particularly if one believes everything that one reads in newspapers. Germany, to take one random example, is at the moment experiencing something like its own version of Obamamania. The media appear to see the Democratic candidate as what a Der Spiegel journalist calls "a cross between John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr."; the German foreign minister has been heard chanting "Yes, we can!"; and Obama T-shirts can be spotted in the hipper quarters of Berlin. This sort of enthusiasm isn't unique to Germany: British, French and even Polish newspapers splashed Obama and his candidacy on their front pages this past week, most accompanied by laudatory articles that solemnly proclaimed, "America has changed."

If only that were true. In cultural backwaters and intellectual dead ends like the South, one finds that Hate and intolerance reign supreme:

A Confession: This kind of thing is really starting to bother me.

Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.

The unusual thing is, true Lightworkers almost never appear on such a brutal, spiritually demeaning stage as national politics. This is why Obama is so rare.

"Coweringly religious"? Also this kind of thing:

...I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal...

Holy crap, people. Get hold of yourselves.

Dang. You know of all the reasons to elect a president, "helping me evolve" from a vaguely unicellular life form onto a higher spiritual plane ... perhaps one in which I no longer have the urge to sneak over and make mad, passionate whoopie in my neighbor's Ojibwa crystal garden during the full moon never made the list before. But personal growth has always been a hobby of mine. The thing is, I can't help noticing that the last presidential candidate who spoke in even vaguely "spiritual" terms was accused of trying to usher in a thousand years of jackbooted theocracy. Now Brother Obama is promising to heal the oceans and partner with the faith community and there is nary a whimper of protest from the Reality Based Community. Wherever it is you want to go, he'll take you there. Just don't ask too many questions, criticize him, or question his qualifications - for any reason at all, even one that is objectively recognized as a valid objection, because if you do, you'll instantly be branded a racist:

Listen carefully, too, when foreigners start worrying about Obama's lack of foreign policy experience. Though this is a legitimate concern, I occasionally catch a racist undertone in this kind of conversation. "How could a black man possibly understand European/Middle Eastern/South Asian politics?" is what my interlocutors sometimes in fact seem to be saying.

The correct response, of course, is that plenty of white men don't understand European/Middle Eastern/South Asian politics, either. But not everyone, everywhere, is going to understand that. Foreign coverage of U.S. politics always reveals a lot about foreign countries, but never more so than in this election season.

Obviously it is racist to wonder whether Barack Obama has enough experience - or even the right experience - to handle the demanding duties of running the world's largest superpower. In deciding that such questions are racist, we are not allowed to look at the facts.

We are not allowed, for instance, to compare Obama's experience to that of other men who have won the nomination of their party in presidential elections:

Since the Civil War, 49 men have won a major-party presidential nomination. Only three of these nominees were less qualified, by traditional measures of leadership and experience, than Obama.

That puts Barack Obama at or around the 6th percentile of presidential candidates chosen by a major party in the last century and a half, experience-wise. But we are not allowed to notice this, because it would be racist to elevate experience over skin color.


None of those men was able to win the White House.

But we are not allowed to notice this, because it would be racist to elevate statistical evidence of voter preferences over skin color.

Americans have only elected 6 U.S. Presidents who had no previous executive experience. Notably, since the Civil War, we have only elected one: John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

But we are not allowed to notice this. You see, that would be racist.

One might be justified in asking, is executive experience a good predictor of presidential performance? Let's find out:

Based on the historical rankings of all the U.S. Presidents (the Wall Street Journal 2005 study) compared to their levels of experience prior to taking the high office, the evidence indicates that experience in general isn't in itself an indicator of how successful our Presidents have been in office. However, there is evidence that that the type of experience is extremely important. By dividing our Presidents into groups based on the types of experience they had prior to coming to office, here are some statistical observations:

* Presidents who possessed previous experience as a Government Chief Executive at the state or local level have above-average historical ratings.

* Presidents who did not possess previous experience as a Government Chief Executive at the state or local level have below-average historical ratings.

Click for bigger

But since Amerikka has a long history of deeply entrenched racism, the very notion that we can trust history is, in itself, deeply racist. So that's right out.

In the end, it is the duty of every American to root out the vestiges of skin color hatred. So,

while the following are clearly examples of issue-based rhetoric...


... which attack the candidate's arguments


... rather than veering off into small-minded personal attacks


... or even worse, crude sexual stereotypes


... or demeaning put-downs intended to minimize a candidate's accomplishments:


... we can all be thankful that, at least in regard to the way Hillary Clinton was treated, there was no sexism in this campaign. Because the last thing we need in a presidential race is a double standard:

The Democratic presidential contest was jolted Tuesday by accusations surrounding race and sex, set off by remarks from Geraldine A. Ferraro that Senator Barack Obama had received preferential treatment because he is a black man.

Fortunately, thanks to the herculean efforts of the lamestream media, We the People know that when Hillary Clinton is repeatedly depicted as a deranged Glenn Close clone who might just deploy the tactical nukes when she gets her period, this is most emphatically *not* to be construed as sexist.

But any implication that Barack Obama, who, by any objective or empirical yardstick one cares to name, is the least experienced candidate nominated in modern history, is...., well, the least experienced candidate to be nominated in modern history is obviously racism. In fact, even implying that other people are racist is racist! And if you're female, appearing to notice racism will even get you called a whore! (but that, of course, is not sexist because as we all know, the sexually liberated and tolerant Left are never sexist):

Fred Hiatt’s Concubine Speaks. You Listen.

After all, it's the easiest smear! To paraphrase Glenn Reynolds in advance, "I told you if Barack Obama was elected, the country would be filled with racists.... and I was right!"

Posted by Cassandra at June 11, 2008 05:34 AM

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I'm going out for a cup of coffee. Black coffee. And when I return, your attitude had better be much improved, America.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 11, 2008 09:57 AM

I guess I picked a bad day to stop sniffing glue.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at June 11, 2008 10:11 AM

This election has been nothing if not entertaining :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 11, 2008 10:41 AM

"What do you make of this, Johnny?"

"I can make a hat, a brooch, a pterodactyl..."

Posted by: Jim Armstrong at June 11, 2008 11:38 AM

I still can't get over how he wants to call for a constitutional convention in Iraq, just months after they will have elected provincial governments. And address the humanitarian issues in the country, while rapidly removing from the country the only force currently competent to do that -- the one that, you know, actually is doing it now.

But we'll be better people when we stop that. Spiritually advanced, I mean. Not cowering or religious.

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2008 12:22 PM


Posted by: The Sternly Wagging Finger of International Consensus at June 11, 2008 12:36 PM

Oh, and when Amerikkka overrides the demokkkratikkkally elected government of Irak and calls for yet another constitutional convention, that will not be imperialism or paternalism.

Let me make that perfectly clear.

You racist.

Posted by: The Sternly Wagging Finger of International Consensus at June 11, 2008 12:39 PM

But personal growth has always been a hobby of mine.

Mine, too.

I've been trying for almost forty years to regain the weight I lost in Vietnam...

Posted by: BillT at June 11, 2008 02:03 PM

A "Lightworker??" What is this, magick? Or a presidential election? Sheesh. Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Posted by: April at June 11, 2008 04:17 PM

"Holy crap, people. Get hold of yourselves."

Preach it sister. SOMEONE needs to be saying this.

Posted by: Kimberly at June 11, 2008 04:50 PM

Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker...

Typo. They actually identify him as a *Lightwalker* -- a vampire without the annoying actinic allergy...

Posted by: BillT at June 11, 2008 05:31 PM

I don't know, Bill, *Lightworker* seems more accurate. At least if you go by his *work* record to date.

Posted by: DL Sly at June 11, 2008 05:49 PM

That was Jim Webb, Bill. :)

Posted by: Grim at June 11, 2008 05:49 PM

I suppose that it would be impudent to ask, whom was the last black president of France, Prime minister of the U.K. ,chancellor of Germany etc ? When have any European countries had a minority in the premier office ? I rather enjoy being impudent and not a little bit rude. The world as whole would be quite a bit better off if we ignored race and sex in our elected leadership.

Posted by: Edward Lunny at June 11, 2008 06:23 PM

That was Jim Webb, Bill.

Wow -- I didn't think he was so spiritually advanced.

Oh. Right. He's a Democrat, so it's a given...

[Gotta find time to catch up on this week's talking points]

Posted by: BillT at June 11, 2008 06:46 PM

Mistress Mandy says that there USED to be a picture of Jim Webb in our home office. Autographed and proudly displayed.

Not no more.

Posted by: Mistress Mandy at June 11, 2008 06:53 PM

I've been a racist for years.

It came with my AARP paperwork! ;-)

Posted by: JHD at June 11, 2008 07:20 PM

Me too JHD. And now that I think about it, maybe I should write to the editor in the AARP Bulletin to insist that there be no racism on the streets... only at SCCA sanctioned events on road courses like Road Atlanta, Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, etc.

Posted by: bthun at June 11, 2008 07:44 PM

Lightworker? What does he do? Phoebus Obama.
Don, where's that glue?

Posted by: Cricket at June 11, 2008 08:46 PM

"Will Americans vote for a black man?"

Oh, I'd vote for a Black man.

Just not the one who's running now.

Posted by: camojack at June 12, 2008 12:35 AM