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Succeeding in Passing Liberal Legislation, Obama Fails to Address Real Concerns of Americans

While some left-of-center pundit have deemed President Obama’s record “historic” given the legislative initiatives he has passed, Noemie Emery reminds us that legislative success does not necessarily mean social and economic progress.

Not just that, the problem, she writes, “is that his successes were things few people wanted to happen:”

He is failing because he has been succeeding; at passing measures that voters don’t want.

Obama has built up his line of “successes” by picking out issues not high on the public’s agenda, and handling them in a manner that most of the people dislike. After the crash of 2008, voters were eager for economic expansion, while Obama reverted to his pre-crash agenda, on the grounds that the crisis was too good to waste.

He passed a $787 stimulus package, when the public was distraught over deficit spending. He wasted a year over health care, for which no one had clamored, producing a 2,000-plus-page enigma that had to be passed by bribes, threats, and buy-offs, which no one had read.

Before the bill passed, voters in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts slapped Democrats hard in the off-year elections in an effort to stop it. Since the bill passed, it has grown still more unpopular, and unpleasant surprises appear every day. (more…)

Overplaying the Race Card & Exacerbating Racial Tensions

Anyone who has ever attended a large protest rally is bound to encounter his fair share of kooks, loons and assorted fringe elements.  At the Santa Monica Tea Party I attended in April 2009, I talked with a 9/11 Truther, who seemed to have showed up not so much because he agreed with the small-government rhetoric of the assembled protesters, but because it was, well, a gathering of protesters.  And he wanted the chance to wave his sign.

Over a Politico, in a piece lamenting that despite promise that the of Barack Obama would “transform the charged, stilted ‘national conversation’ about race into a smarter and more authentic dialogue,” Ben Smith finds that instead “the conversation just got dumber.” He observes further that “while MSNBC scours the tea party movement for racist elements, which one could probably find in any mass organization in America.

Except MSNBC won’t tell you that.

They’ve been rooting around for racism not as a means to expose bigots, but as as a part of their campaign to discredit conservatives.  Their goal (as well as that of others peddling the racist narrative) isn’t honest reporting, but, to borrow a famous phrase, the politics of personal destruction.  Maybe they’re trying to convince themselves that conservatives really are the horrible, no good and very bad people they imagine them to be.

They want to match the reality of the world to the images inside their head.  And to do so, they have to pretend that it’s only at rallies protesting Democratic politicians and liberal policies than you find nutbags and kookooheads.  They have, as one scholar put it, “overplayed” the race card.  And in so doing, Democratic politicians and left-of-center pundits and reporters have, if anything, exacerbated racial tensions in this country — undermining, more than anything perhaps, the greatest promise of Barack Obama’s election in 2008.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds links an article on race and quips: “REUTERS: Analysis: Race issues beset Obama’s “post-racial” presidency. Well, he’s played the race card nonstop, but it’s no longer trumps.”

Wondering why the NAACP & Administration Rushed to Judgment in L’Affaire Sherrod

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - July 21, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging,Racism (Real / Reverse / or Faux)

I’m cutting Bruce a little more slack than he did himself due to the limitations of this medium.  I know from our (all all too) infrequent communications that he has been very busy with work and yet remains very eager to blog.  It is no wonder he jumped on the Shirley Sherrod story.  As he put it: “(My one attempt at a lame excuse is that my “window” to blog comes and goes and it just happened to open up when the Sherrod video was first going viral).

With a more flexible schedule than he (and delighted in the distraction of blogging/internet surfing as I struggle with the outline for the next chapter of my dissertation), I have more time at my disposal to flesh out stories.  (When I recognized there might be more to the story, I joined the Anchoress in wanting to see more of the story before passing judgment.)

So, Bruce’s is more than an attempt at a lame excuse.  Unlike the folks in the MSM, the NAACP or the Administration, we lack staffs to assist us in looking into these matters.  What he calls a “lame excuse” is in fact a very real acknowledgment of the nature of blogging.

To be sure, I would that Bruce had said something about wanting to see the rest of the video (when he first posted it).   That said, as quickly as we can get thing out there, we can retract and/or apologize for them.  And Bruce did that as soon as he became aware of the nature of his error.

The head of the NAACP, by contrast, who had more ready access to the full video (than did Bruce or Andrew Breitbart) (as well as to people, you know, members of the organization he heads, who attended the confab where Mrs. Sherrod spoke), doesn’t, as Ann Althouse puts it, “acknowledge this personal responsibility.”   (more…)

Shirley Sherrod and My Haste to Post

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 2:52 pm - July 21, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging

I want to apologize to my readers and to Shirley Sherrod.  I was one of the first bloggers to re-publish the excerpted video from Andrew Breitbart regarding Ms. Sherrod’s speech to the NAACP. 

Clearly, this has turned into a much more complex story than a simple case of “RAAAAAAACIST” based on one video clip.  I should have known better on Monday.

That being said, I should not have been so hasty to post the video and engage in the same type of sweeping behavior of labeling Americans as “RAAAAACIST” as, for example, the NAACP has to millions of American in the TEA Party movement.

I will make no excuses, I apologize and I regret that I didn’t let this story simmer for a little longer.  I got swept into the “gotcha” mentality of the moment on Monday when this video appeared.  I haven’t pulled it down because I do appreciate the commenters’ clarifying the situation as time went along and because I do not want to hide from my mistake.

(My one attempt at a lame excuse is that my “window” to blog comes and goes and it just happened to open up when the Sherrod video was first going viral).

The fact of the matter is there is too much of a rush to judgment in America (i.e. – the Obama Admin firing Sherrod immediately without investigating) these days and the consequences are personal to those individuals touched.

I cannot promise that I won’t make another rush-to-blog error in the future.  But I wanted to get it on the record that on this one, I goofed.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Why do some (supposedly) smart liberals have so much trouble with the mere expression of conservative ideas?*

For the longest time I’ve puzzled over this conundrum:  if liberal intellectuals are so smart and so well-read, why so some have so much trouble with the mere expression of conservative views.

Now, to be sure, there are many (many, many) pundits, politicians and academics on the left who welcome spirited discourse and engage regularly in exchanges with their ideological adversaries (on the right).  But, there is a significant mass of supposedly very smart liberals who regularly disdain a philosophy they show no evidence of understanding who regular seek to discredit its advocates with mean-spirited (and frequently) slanderous slurs, accusing their adversaries of sinister motives while working energetically to prevent the public expression of their ideas.

They don’t just see conservatives as wrong-headed, but as evil.  Having perused the archives of the Journolist, Jonathan Strong of the Daily Caller provides evidence of this narrow-minded animus:

On Journolist, there was rarely such thing as an honorable political disagreement between the left and right, though there were many disagreements on the left. In the view of many who’ve posted to the list-serv, conservatives aren’t simply wrong, they are evil. And while journalists are trained never to presume motive, Journolist members tend to assume that the other side is acting out of the darkest and most dishonorable motives.

Assuming the worst of conservatives, no wonder they regularly criticize FoxNews which regularly airs those views.  In his piece, Strong provides yet another piece of evidence that rather than confront the conservative ideas which Fox covers more thoroughly than do its broadcast rivals and cable counterparts, a fair number of supposedly broad-minded liberal journalists wish to have the FCC shut the news network down:

The very existence of Fox News, meanwhile, sends Journolisters into paroxysms of rage. When Howell Raines charged that the network had a conservative bias, the members of Journolist discussed whether the federal government should shut the channel down. (more…)

Shirley Sherrod in Context

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:18 am - July 21, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging,Racism (Real / Reverse / or Faux)

Like the Anchoress (whom I quoted when I addressed the matter), I wanted to hear more before rendering judgment on (former) USDA official Shirley Sherrod before passing judgment.  Once again, that blogress pretty much expresses my feelings on the matter:

In my post yesterday, I was pretty clear that the Breitbart tape wasn’t sitting well with me. Ms. Sherrod–still not a great speaker–clearly was on her way to relate a tale that indicted her own understanding, when that tape ended.

Then, she goes on to put the story in a larger context:

There is absolutely nothing simple about the matter of race in America; there is a ways to go before content of character will finally overcome color of skin. But I am not sure if further progress toward a truly color-blind society can be made until the manufactured cry of “raaaaacism”–by people who know that their are merely fanning flames or manipulating movements–has finally been rejected by both the right and the left. Race-baiters must be made to understand that their cheap tactic will no longer bear weight among fair-minded people, who are horrified by genuine racism but tired of its weaponized unreasonable facsimile.

In a nation that has come far enough to see African-Americans hold its highest offices, and wield enormous power–power given to them by people of all races and backgrounds, who can and will take it back at their own pleasure–the overplayed charge of “racism” among the chatterers is not only toxic, it is self-revelatory: it betrays their own tawdry cynicism, and their own racial fixations.

Read the whole thing.  Via Instapundit who has a great roundup.

Our reader ILoveCapitalism makes a good point that the extended video reveals that she hasn’t let go of her groupthink mentality: (more…)

Selective Investigation of Climategate Scandal

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:54 am - July 21, 2010.
Filed under: Climate Change (Global Warming)

Over at Sonicfrog, our correspondent looks into one of the reviews supposedly clearing “climate science of any wrongdoing in the Climategate scandal.”  He finds that, well, their inquiry was quite selective:

We already knew that the very small list of papers that were reviewed by the Oxburgh panel, twelve to be precise, were cherry-picked to provide as little damning evidence as possible – none of the papers reviewed were those that skeptics have issues with. We already knew that NOT ONE SKEPTIC of note was interviewed to discuss possible issues to be looked into. Well, now we find out that the papers that were chosen, were not only chosen by the University being investigated, East Anglia, but were given final approval by the very same Dr. Phil Jones, the man at the center of the entire Climategate controversy.

Read the whole thing.  To paraphrase Sonicfrog, wonder how Congress would react if BP were allowed to select the sites a commission investigated its safety record was allowed to investigate.

Liberal NPR Producer Acknowledges Her Own Hatred

We have seen how ready left-wing pundits (and Democratic politicians) are to brand conservative activists as racists.  We have seen gay activists label anyone who disagrees with their agenda as haters.   And yet, despite their rhetoric, they never manage to acknowledge the bile and bitterness on their own side  — or in their own hearts.

At least not in public.

But, in what they assumed was the privacy of their own peers, they have begun to ‘fess up.  One liberal journalist admitted that she would delight if she saw a certain conservative suffering from a heart attack:

But if that man was Rush Limbaugh, and you were Sarah Spitz, a producer for National Public Radio,* that isn’t what you’d do at all.

In a post to the list-serv Journolist, an online meeting place for liberal journalists, Spitz wrote that she would “Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out” as Limbaugh writhed in torment.

In boasting that she would gleefully watch a man die in front of her eyes, Spitz seemed to shock even herself. “I never knew I had this much hate in me,” she wrote. “But he deserves it.”

Spitz’s hatred for Limbaugh seems intemperate, even imbalanced. On Journolist, where conservatives are regarded not as opponents but as enemies, it barely raised an eyebrow.

Emphasis added.  She would delight in the pain of another.  Not Osama bin Laden, but Rush Limbaugh, a man who offers a different political perspective than she does–and draws a considerably larger audience.  A man whose radio program doesn’t rely on a federal subsidy to maintain its operations.

Remember Ms. Spitz draws her salary from a corporation which derives its income from our tax dollars.  If a conservative were working for NPR (well that political viewpoint would be enough to disqualify hrt from appointment in the first place) and said such a thing about a prominent liberal, she would be vilified in the media and fired from her job. (more…)