25 May, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Alas, I'm in a good mood. Work is slow, the sun's been out, it's a mellow day, and hard to drum up enough angst to be the cantankerous cantinera you've all come to expect. But let's see what we can do.

I just have a quick question here: what the fuck is wrong with white people?

Newsweek published the results of a new poll, which shows John McCain doing quite well
among white voters, leading Barack Obama by 12 (52% to 40%), and leading Hillary Clinton by four (48% to 40%). This isn’t especially surprising — white voters overall preferred Bush to Kerry in 2004, Bush to Gore in 2000, Dole to Bill Clinton in 1996, and H.W. Bush to Clinton in 1992.

But Newsweek went further in analyzing the results, and found that Obama’s race “may well explain his difficulty in winning over white voters.”

In the NEWSWEEK Poll, participants were asked to answer questions on a variety of race-related topics including racial preferences, interracial marriage, attitudes toward social welfare and general attitudes toward African-Americans. Respondents were grouped according to their answers on a “Racial Resentment Index.” Among white Democrats with a low Racial Resentment Index rating, Obama beat McCain in a hypothetical match-up 78 percent to 17 percent. That is virtually identical to Clinton’s margin in the category, 79 percent to 13 percent. But among white Democrats with high scores on the Racial Resentment Index, the picture was very different: Obama led McCain by only 18 points (51 to 33) while Clinton maintained a much larger 59-point lead (78 to 18).

Who exactly are these high Racial Resentment Index voters? A majority, 61 percent, have less than a four-year college education, many are older (44 percent were over the age of 60 compared to just 18 percent under the age of 40) and nearly half (46 percent) live in the South.

I've never understood this mentality. I'm white. I was raised by Midwestern farm folk who were white. I lived in areas that were heavy on the whites. But race has never been a factor in my friendships, ethnicity doesn't mean jack shit except as incidental interest, and I don't lie awake at night worrying about brown people changing my country. Actually, I lie awake at night hoping brown people will change my country. I just can't wrap my mind around the racist mentality.

And I sure as shit can't wrap my mind around this:

The same poll, meanwhile, not [sic] that white people are also thrown by Obama’s name and confusion over his faith tradition. Only 58% of white voters correctly identified Obama’s Christian faith, while 11% still believe he’s a Muslim. Just as ridiculous, “18 percent of white Democratic voters say they judge the Illinois senator less favorably because of his name.”

We’ll have a lousy economy, more wars, and a right-wing Supreme Court, but at least our president won’t have a funny sounding name.

Carpetbagger trumped me on the sarcasm. All I can manage is a disgusted, "What the fuck is wrong with these people?"

Ah, well. Unlikely to solve that issue today. Let's move on.

Digby has a post up that's as entertaining as it is disturbing, comparing some media lackwits to stalkers:

I'm a pragmatic sort and I am more than willing to take advantages where they come. But the fact that journalists like [Kurt] Anderson are all swooning over Obama is a very mixed bag. Right now it will be helpful in that the press corps also swoons over McCain so perhaps we'll get a little balance. But boys like him tend to get very nasty when their idols turn out to be

This swooning between Obama and the press could very well end up being a classic Dangerous Relationship. One of the most important signs of a potential abuser is if they put you up on a

Being on a pedestal may feel great at the time, but all idols are bound to fall. The higher the pedestal, the harder the fall.

Take notice if a person has assigned you a position or qualities that are completely unrealistic given where you are in the relationship. For a new
lover to say, "you are the light of my life" or "you are everything to me"
in the first few weeks of dating is scary. They are impossible to live up
to. Your lover knows too little about you. Inevitably, he is projecting onto
you all kinds of qualities you may or may not have.

It is flattering to have all these fops of the village press corps drooling all over a big Democrat. But they have issues. Big ones. They have the attention spans of a six week old ferret and the fidelity of a cat in heat. It's extremely foolish to trust these abusers with our future. Caveat Emptor.

Well said. And when you look at the history of previous media swoons, yes, they do behave this way: they have their crushes, then when their crush disappoints them, they crush their crush. Pathological, that. Viewing the media as deranged stalkers actually explains quite a lot about our current political press debacle, comes to that.

My question is this: when are they going to fall out of love with Bush? Didn't he disappoint them long ago? Or are they that fucking stupid?


Moving on.

Glenn Greenwald is wielding the Spank-o-Matic to good effect today. He's got a wonderful piece showing just how much influence the telecoms are buying:

Just in the first three months of 2008, recent lobbyist disclosure statements reveal that AT&T spent $5.2 million in lobbyist fees (putting it well ahead of its 2007 pace, when it spent just over $17 million). In the first quarter of 2008, Verizon spent $4.8 million on lobbyist fees, while Comcast spent $2.6 million. So in the first three months of this year, those three telecoms -- which would be among the biggest beneficiaries of telecom amnesty (right after the White House) -- spent a combined total of almost $13 million on lobbyists. They're on pace to spend more than $50 million on lobbying this year -- just those three companies.


Last year, AT&T paid $400,000 to Black's firm. Black was taking money from AT&T to lobby on FISA and simultaneously advising McCain. McCain, needless to say, voted in favor of granting amnesty to AT&T and the other telecoms at exactly the time that his close adviser, Black, was taking money from AT&T to influence Congress on its behalf. And, of course, AT&T and Verizon are among McCain's top donors.

While we're subjected to all sorts of prattle from our pundit class and political leaders about how telecom amnesty is so urgent if we want to be Safe from the Terrorists, this is the sleaze that fuels how the process works. And the sleaze is spread around in a nice bipartisan way.

Equal opportunity sleaze: the American dream.

If you want some good suggestions on what to do about it, check out Digby's missive. The money of the masses may yet speak.

1 comment:

Efrique said...

It's not as simple a "race" story as the media would like to paint it. Thankfully.

If it were true, Obama would be facing huge problems in the Montana primary, and Clinton would be looking at another near-70-percent vote.

As this points out ... it aint so.

Whatever it is, it's not as simple as a matter of "white folks are racist". (Some white folks, in some areas, certainly. But that's not the simple story the media would like to sell.)