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08 September 2009


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I am also sure racism plays a part. However, the same crowd went insane over Clinton, too. Remember that some accused the Clintons of murdering Vince Foster (I seem to recall it even getting mention at the WSJ masthead). Then there was the Lewinsky thing. Etc., etc.

I think that many in the American right are hardcore sore losers. This is the pure, crystalline paranoid style in American politics . . . . (Hofstadter's essay is as illuminating as ever today)


This foolishness was not about socialism. It was just plain old racism

That's what i told my husband last night when we were discussing about the reasons these two schools in Florida didn't want their students to listen to the President.
If Obama was God, a half-black God btw, the wingnuts would still have something to complain - not because of what he represents but because of the colour of his skin.


There have not been many things which I have read which have had as much effect on me as your last two posts on the current political environment. Partly because they were well-written and partly because I don't feel as alone in my country after reading them.

Nevertheless, I will offer a small disagreement. I suspect Hilary Clinton would have received as much or more demonization as President Obama has. I think tribalism (which includes racism) would be a better word.



And in the meantime, per RTTNews - UK's Business Secretary Peter Mandelson urged China to take more responsibilities to bring the global economy back on the track of growth and said it should address human right concerns if it wants the 20-year EU arms embargo to be lifted.

So rich... West tells China save our economic kingdoms and we'll give you a "human rights" pass.

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA


I'd agree that there's an element of racism involved, but also suspect it has much more to do with the lust for power that was lost last November.

Frankly, it's frightening to see Americans so willingly led astray by the demagogues such as Limbaugh & Beck.


I agree, it was simply racism.

After the election, I thought the Republican party would search for a leader that could unite the party and grow it's base, but unfortunately the GOP is rejecting any expansion of base in favor of a Führer.


No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work.

The one thing one is born to (or not born to) is wealth, and it seems to me that all this brouhaha is being orchestrated - as it has in the past - by those who happened to be good in this department. They're doing it by stirring up the basest emotions among people (who ought to know better).

"An America in which I don't automatically get into Yale because my father is rich and went to Yale is an America I don't recognize" - you can imagine, e.g., a Bush thinking this.

Green Zone Cafe

The kind of thing like this (manufactured) school speech "controversy" looks really crazy when you're watching it in Iraq.

It really does seem like the USA is an insane asylum.

Duncan Kinder

Actually - not to deny racism, or paranoia, or what not - but that misses the point.

The point is that the right wing has learned that it pays for them to drown out the liberal signal by generating noise.

So, we have basically three choices:

  1. Generate a signal so powerful that it cannot be blocked;
  2. Reduce the rightwing's ability to generate noise; or
  3. Make noise generation cost the right wing rather than benefit it.

Of course, when confronted with a serious obstacle, such as the right wing noise machine has become, crushing it might not be the best approach. Maneuvering around it might be more effective.

That would reduce the needed power necessary to transmit a message; require the rightwing to operate in unfamiliar terrain; and would make noise generation a waste of time.

In other words, use guerrilla tactics rather than standard liberal top-down bureaucratic type approaches.

Nancy K

Colonel Lang, No matter what President Obama says or does, those on the far right fringe will hate him and what he stands for.
There are others, like my 88 year old aunt and my mother's 75 year old neighbor who hate and fear him because of his color.
Most of these people have Social Security and Medi-Care but they still call the president a communist and state they don't want any government involvement in their lives, however I don't see them giving up their SS or MC.
I though his speech was inspiring.
I agree with those who have mentioned the racist element. I think there are Americans who can't hear his words because they can't get beyond his color.

I live in Thousand Oaks CA and will be attending a Health Care meeting sponsored by the teabaggers. As a nurse and the mother of 5 adult children, 3 of whom do not have insurance. I understand the tragedy of becoming ill and not having any health insurance. I will be at that meeting as a supporter of a public option. At the last Health Care meeting her, a man had the tip of his finger bitten off after he punched another man in the face.
What is this country coming to.

Byron Raum

It's obviously all about the evils of socialism that Obama brings. His stated viewpoints are completely anti-thetical to capitalism. In a decent capitalistic system, we shouldn't have to think for ourselves - we should be able to pay someone to think for us. Obama wants to destroy free enterprise!

William R. Cumming

The words of the criminal conviction standard of "No Reasonable Doubt" should come to mind. What you basically have is the wingnuts on the right trying to use the trial lawyer defense tactic of raising "some doubt" in order to prevent their own conviction as beign guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of trying to reverse the standards adopted in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the US and the Lincold Gettysbury Address of "whether government of the people, by the people, and for the people will not perish from this earth." That is the key standard because clearly the MSM and corporate world and the Republican Party no longer believe in the above and that power flows from the people not to the people from the government. The reason that this tactic or strategy is at least somewhat successful is that the Democratic Party is also led by those who believe they owe their jobs solely to there campaign contributors and that only by their incumbency can they contribute to the national dialogue. This is not a great receipe for the success of US and its citizery. Something has to give jus tnot sure what? My guess as the best hope is party re-alignment over several decades which I think began in election of 1992. The independent vote is the key and small slices of the electorate by voting or not voting are causing a perilous swing between the parties as they resolve the best politics is to vote "The Ins Out." IN other words don't leave the pigs too long at the trough. Unfortunately the timeing of as you reap shall you sow is sometimes justice delalyed, but never forever. Sharpen those pitchforks because the peasants will need to be armed when storming the Bastille.

Subkommander Dred

Thank you for posting this. I have my own issues with President Obama, but the assertion that he's some kind of wild eyed Marxist would be laughable if not for he fact that a very small minority of the citizens of this country are acting like spoiled (and heavily armed) brats. Unfortunately, that is one problem with America; Too many guns, not enough brains.

You hit it right on the head...these folks are sore losers. Their grandparents, several generations ago, are probably the same folks that called Dwight Eisenhower a communist.

Pete Deer
Charlottesville, Virginia


Although there was pressure on the school board to block the presentation dedicated to "working hard, taking responsibility, and graduating", it was defused by offering the opposition a 10 minute rebuttal to espouse the merits of [goofing] off, blaming others and dropping out. They're still looking for a spokesman. (Yes, a man because no intelligent woman would rise to the bait).


Just to show you how amazingly effective putting few firebrand idiots on the airwave. It is always possible to appeal to the reptilian side of a society.

Imagine how effective taliban is in largely illiterate society like afghanistan. Few words on God, honors, mysticism, pious talk, easy money, a dab of charisma, you can make any large group of people start doing something very stupid.

Anybody still think doing regime change in the US is not possible?


And there I was this morning, red banner in hand and the International all cued up...

While I do agree that there is an aspect of racism in some of the comments that have been made about the President and his speech, perhaps revanchism better captures the spirit of those opposed to the speech. I can understand how eight years of the being the majority would give some an unrealistic sense of still wanting to be in power, no matter the cost.


Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.


Col. Lang:

Green Zone Cafe, from the vantage point of Iraq, thinks we have become an insane asylum. If sanity is defined as having a common set of reality based facts that we all agree on, then he's absolutely right. We don't.

Doonesbury said it well on Sunday. Those of us who believe in facts and the reality they're based on are seen by the cartoonist as "Reasonists." In one fell swoop, Trudeau places us in the same category of irrational folks as the "Birthers," "Deathers," etc. who create their own facts and reality to fit their beliefs.

IMO, Trudeau's point is that if we're not careful us "Reasonists" will forget that we won't solve anything if we get caught up in trying to convince the other side of the insanity of their position.

I think Kinder's got it right. A new application for the COIN manual?


The same talking points Obama made in his school speech attracted many conservatives during his campaign. I've read letters to the editor from Republicans who welcome his speech as inspirational, after all no reasonable person can argue with its content.

The hysteria does seem to be a viscerally racist reaction. If this speech had been given by a white president, the same parents who pulled their kids from school today would have approved of the message.


Colonel Lang:

This is a case of ignorant parents keeping their children ignorant. I have been giving a lot of thought over the last several days about the level of political discourse, it appears from my little foxhole that both shrill voices of both the extreme right are drowning out the reasoned voices of the center.

Hank Foresman (COL USA RET)


While I find the rhetoric behind the opposition to Obama's speech disingenuous and contemptible, I find myself generally in favor of keeping guns, drugs and politicians away from school zones. For me, it is a public health question.


What's your sense of the impact of a more kinetic, ct approach on the commitments of our NATO allies? Also, I am wondering if we could be sure of our legal status if we scale back our support for Afghanistan's central government. Finally, I am also curious about whether or not such approach and its effects would make certain logistics more susceptible to international political intrigue?

I ask these questions, knowing very little about Afghanistan or Central Asia and finding myself agreeing with you in the main, but just wonder about what new 'challenges' such an approach would bring. You have stated that you oppose withdrawal, so can I assume that you are okay with some population-centric, institution-building window-dressing as long as we are not carried by any illusions?



This is more than the racism of the "separate but equal" racists, it is also the 'separate but equal' crowd who willfully segregate themselves from society, whether the are homeschooling children, living in gated communities, or restricting access to only the 'true' source of information - such as the bureaucrats who restrict access to your blog due to the danger of thinking outside of the required orthodoxy. Afterall, knowledge is power. Even that great southerner, Francis Marion, recognized such. I believe he quite vociferously supported public education - http://www.amazon.com/Life-General-Francis-Marion-Revolutionary/dp/0895871963#.


your last two sentences are exactly spot on.

isn't it amazing how the village magpies just cannot understand the rightwing hoohaw against obama and what drives it. watched a coupleof minutes of hardball last nite to see mike barnicle, chuck todd, politico's jonathan martin all chin-scratching in permanent perplexion over republican behavior, when your simple declaration covers it all.

Norris Hall

The furor over the Presidents attempts to indoctrinate students with socialists propaganda boiled over today immediately after the President's speech was aired.
In Sacramento , conservatives , outraged by the speech, set fire to a Public Light Rail railcar yelling "Down with public transportation!"
In Ft. Wayne, Indiana, young people teepeed a public park. "Socialism is wrong", said one young person as he smashed a drinking fountain with a hammer.
In Dallas, Texas, angry patrons burnt piles of books at the public library and spray painted the words "public libraries are socialists" on walls.
Police and firefighters In Boise, Idaho, were pelted with eggs by enraged mobs. "Those public servants are putting private guards and "for profit" firemen out of business." cried one angry participant.
And at Cape Canaveral Florida, unhappy residents picketed a NASA office with signs reading:
"Get government out of Space" and "Bring our flag back from the moon"

robt willmann

Along with racial bigotry there is the program in some mass media to attack President Barack Obama for something, every single day.

As Green Zone cafe wrote above, this "controversy" over Obama's speech to schools is manufactured.

I wish I had the time to do a comparative study on the content of syndicated radio talk shows and cable television, but I am able to listen some when driving, and no matter what Obama does, it is attacked each and every day. The points made on different radio talk shows often are identical.

This is driven on nationally syndicated talk shows by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Mark Levin. They also promote their own books, through one another's shows.

For whatever reasons, the components of mass media that are doing this are aligned with the Republican Party, since when Bush jr. was president, he could do no wrong, except for the immigration bill, and then the criticism was not as vitriolic and personal as it has been about Obama.

These same radio talk show people, and Fox News, who claim to be "conservative", never want to say anything about or have as a guest Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX, 14th District), a true conservative if that word has any meaning, as well as a physician. Rep. Paul beat the others to the punch with a book entitled "The Revolution, A Manifesto", and has a new one out this month, "End the Fed", as in the Federal Reserve Bank (ISBN number 0446549193). Anyone want to guess the probability that Rep. Paul and his new book will be promoted on any of the national radio talk shows or on broadcast or cable television?

Barack Obama is not nearly as adroit as Bill Clinton or some others in extemporaneous speaking. This makes it tough when the Big Wurlitzer gets cranked up against him, as noted by Duncan Kinder above.

Ironically, all the mass media as one chorus promoted the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and still are, but I suspect that the part opposed to Obama are going to continue to attack him each and every day, until his last day in office.

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