Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

09/08/2009 (10:10 am)

As the Race Meme Rises…


Back in April when President Obama’s “likeability” rating touched 80%, I predicted, agreeing with Jonah Goldberg, that when that rating fell as it inevitably would, the fall would be blamed on racism. It was an easy prediction, and now it’s happening.

The LA Times today notes a precipitous fall in the President’s support among whites, over a photo of the First Family sporting the caption, “The Obama family returns from Camp David. It’s unclear whether President Obama’s ratings slip is based on policy or personal issues.”

Among white Democrats, Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 11 points since his 100-days mark in April, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It has dropped by 9 points among white independents and whites over 50, and by 12 points among white women — all groups that will be targeted by both parties in next year’s midterm elections.

“While Obama has a lock on African Americans, his support among white voters seems to be almost in a free fall,” said veteran Republican pollster Neil Newhouse.

The writer goes on to list all the controversies stoked by conservatives that he thinks have nothing to do with policy: the inflammatory comments of Van Jones, the invitation of a terrorist-defending attorney to a White House Ramadan celebration, Obama’s plan to address the nation’s schoolchildren, concern over whether Obama was eligible to run for President. He ties these to pre-election controversies over Obama’s association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright… and then subtly slips a Race Bomb under the sofa. He does not actually say “race” — plausible deniability, I suppose — but there it is, in black and wh… oops, I mean in full colo… wait, no, I mean as plain as day.

One black congressman, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), was quoted last week alleging that opposition to Obama’s healthcare policies was “a bias, a prejudice, an emotional feeling.”

“Some Americans have not gotten over the fact that Obama is president of the United States. They go to sleep wondering, ‘How did this happen?’ ” Rangel said, according to the New York Post.

Of course, it’s not unclear at all why his popularity has fallen. Even the so-called “personal” issues are not about race, they’re about radicalism. The public is beginning to recognize that we elected a full-blown radical, and that what he intends is a radical shift that they did not, and do not, approve. At the core, the public hates his policies.

This actually gets explained in the LA Times article — neatly split between pages 1 and 2 on the web display (the added emphasis is mine.)

Democratic pollster David Beattie conducted a survey last month in one competitive congressional district that found that more than a quarter of independents believed Obama had not proven his natural-born status. The same sentiment was expressed by nearly 6 in 10 Republican women — a group that Beattie said would be important for a Democratic victory.

He declined to name the district because the polling was private, but said that such questions about Obama’s background seemed to be a “proxy” for voters’ growing unease with Obama’s ambitious agenda, which has included a potential push to create a government-sponsored health insurance plan.

Surveys show that the vast majority of Americans like Obama personally, but that they are increasingly skeptical of policies that seem to expand the scope of government.

“We’re having an economic culture war,” Beattie said.

“The criticisms of Obama are about the fundamental role of government in our economy.”

The decline was inevitable because his policies are starkly socialist, and America is far from a socialist nation. Sooner or later the dislike of his policies would morph into a dislike of the man, and the numbers would show up in the polling.

The resort to racism was inevitable because leftists in America generally believe their relevance lies in their defeat of racism, sexism, homophobia, and militarism. These are the “Liberals Lost in Time” (LLITs, I call them), who continue to talk, write, and argue as though they were battling 1960s attitudes and laws. It’s pitiable in a way, that some adults can only sustain a sense of purpose by continuing to pretend that they live in an embattled past, glorying in the camaraderie of an entirely imaginary struggle against a long-dead foe.

It seems to be the case that primarily whites are responding to the appearance of radicalism in Obama’s back yard, but the LA Times is (again, predictably) raising the wrong question. The question is not, “Why are the whites leaving,” it’s “Why are the blacks not affected?”

There is no “white bloc” vote, but there most certainly is a black one, and it’s at the same time the most potent predictor of political leaning in American politics, and the least sensible one. Democratic policies have ripped the black community to shreds, enslaving multiple generations to the dole, encouraging the breakups of families, planting genocidally-minded clinics among them to reduce their numbers, blocking students from escaping failing inner-city schools, ensuring massive dropout rates from colleges. One would think that black voters would tire of being condescended to by self-righteous activists they know to be motivated by white guilt, and would recognize the routinely devastating consequences of the policies arising from this pathetic, twisted zeitgeist. However, so long as power in the black community flows from church leaders in bed with Democratic city ward masters, inner city blacks will continue to vote for those politicians most thoroughly committed to their continued poverty. The enslavement of the blacks continues unabated in the Democratic party.

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September 8, 2009 @ 11:14 am #

The thing is you can’t prove a negative. If you look at the Alinsky model, it instructs followers to attack the opponent wherever they can. Calling someone a racist is a guaranteed winner – there’s no way you can prove that your opinion is performance based and has nothing to do with race.

Given that the whole Alinsky principle is based on “divide and conquer”, and does so by splitting off segments of society to alienate and galvanize into motion against the entrenched power, the race issue is one of the first ones they worked on in the US. By convincing blacks that they are not responsible for their own progress, and that the only reason _they_ are not the masters in our culture is due to the oppression of whites, they are given an excuse to fail and an excuse to hate. It has become their fall-back position, and they can’t let it go, because to let it go would be the first step towards actually overcoming it. It’s much easier to blame someone else for their failures and rake in whatever they can from the government so that they don’t have to work hard. They’d rather have all the stuff that successful people have, but they don’t want to work for it – so they’d rather have less, and not work – and complain.

Fortunately, I think that many blacks are moving up into the middle class, who will see him for what he is – and therein lies our hope. If they see Obama for what he is, and separate the perfomance from the skin color, maybe they’ll actually break away from the “he’s one of ours” mental approach. It will be tough – I can understand the appeal – but I also hope that racial bias from blacks as well as whites might result.

September 8, 2009 @ 11:16 am #

“He does not actually say “race” — plausible deniability, I suppose — but there it is, in black and wh… oops, I mean in full colo… wait, no, I mean as plain as day.”

ROFLMAO great line, Phil.

“Even the so-called “personal” issues are not about race, they’re about radicalism. ”

Honest question, Phil – if the economy had completely turned around by now, and the unemployment numbers were sinking fast…would Obama’s approval ratings be significantly higher, or still low because of the “radicalism”?

I suspect the lagging economy has far more to do with it…and I agree with you that Obama is attempting far too much, too fast.

September 8, 2009 @ 2:09 pm #


There’s no question that if the economy were settling down, Obama’s popularity would not be taking quite so hard a hit. But let’s not forget, Bill Clinton faced a similar flood of negative reactions in 1993 over his attempt at national health care, and the economy was not terrible, and was improving. Some things are just, plain unpopular, and national health care is among them. The LA Times article is actually not far off target in listing the “not policy” issues, and I don’t think they’d be different in a good economy, I just think they’d have smaller legs, so to speak.

Of course, what you’re asking is something like imagining that the sky were pink, the clouds were cotton candy, and that money I dropped into a magic piggy bank turned into millions and millions of dollars to spend wherever I like. The economy is lagging, in large part (though not entirely), because of Obama’s radicalism, and if that radicalism were capable of producing a stable, improving economy, a lot of people would be a lot less angry about his exhibiting it, now, wouldn’t they?

And then, there’s the question of where I would stand — because frankly, I think I’m in a small minority here, but I’m not willing to strike deals with the devil even if it improves the economy. To me, individual liberty is important enough that I’d be standing up for it and shouting myself hoarse over Obama’s applause, even if he were (somehow, magically) improving the economy by removing liberties and savaging the Constitution. But I do think I’d be leaning into a pretty stiff headwind if that were the case. Again, pink sky and cotton candy — liberty and prosperity go hand in hand, in practice — but you asked.

September 8, 2009 @ 2:11 pm #

Oh, ps:

I’ll tell you a secret about that line you liked so much: I actually progressed through those metaphors in the order they’re listed, and only noticed the unfortunate relation to race after I started typing each of them. It was a real series of flubs. I just decided to deliver it as it occurred.

September 8, 2009 @ 11:54 am #

Darkhorse, you asked Phil the question, “if the economy had completely turned around by now, and the unemployment numbers were sinking fast… would Obama’s approval rating be significantly higher, or still low because of the ”radicalism”?”, and I would like to take a shot a answering the question. I don’t think you can separate the two; his radicalism is throwing fuel on our economic problems. I think there are a lot of us who believe that Obama’s policies/radicalism are doing a lot more harm the good. This has nothing to do with race.

September 8, 2009 @ 12:07 pm #

Hey Dale,

I agree about the Race thing, completely.

But there is very, very little that Obama has (so far) done that isn’t a continuation of what the previous administration was doing. I don’t think you would call GWB a radical for scooping up banks, passing the first stimulus package, etc. They both might be making mistakes…but I daresay, if the economy continues to turn around (which my job indicates it has begun already), the only people who will be yelling “Radical” will be those who could have the word applied to them in the opposite direction.

Not that the masses will be right to suddenly approve Obama, of course. I am just very cynical that Phil and the LA Times have the pulse of the people right here.

September 8, 2009 @ 12:20 pm #

Darkhorse (and Phil makes this point somewhat obliquely) hits upon what I think is the real issue here- that the Pres’ falling numbers have more to do with the current environment and his own actions than any native racism.

The thing is the charges of racism carry a lot of different benefits for those making them. On the one hand, you marginalize his mainstay critics among the opposition party by saying anyone opposed to him is a racist or rather more insidiously is acting from racist attitudes. This is a powerful rhetoric because not only does it free them from having to argue any argument point for point, it merely says that no matter what argument we make, the reason we are PUSHING it so fervently is because of our underlying racism, that we ourselves may not be aware of. Do you realize how powerful that is? No matter what you say or do, no matter what argument you make, no matter what supporting evidence or wise insight, it is to be dismissed as “fruit of the poisoned tree” (as Joe might say) simply because the person making it is (by your argument) a latent, unknowing racist. There is no good reasoned defense against that but contradiction. “No, I’m not.” “Yes you are.” “No I am not, blah blah.” “Yes you are, you are just not consciously AWARE that you are.”

Secondly it works to actually shore up wavering support in his own party. Racism, or rather the fear of racism or being called a racist, has huge power on the left. If you are wavering in your support of Pres. Obama due to his support for… TARP let’s say, a news story or editorial (most people cannot tell the difference, and I would argue sometimes there is none) from an influential paper like the NY Times or the LA Times saying in a veiled way (so as not to come out an accuse you (so as not to make people angry), but merely to suggest) that some of the reason for your discontent may be latent racism, it can serve the purpose of making people reflexively fall back in line over shame over their own perceived racism, or perhaps rethink their own position (not in of itself a bad thing, per se.)

As far as the issue of Blacks voting for Democratic leaders as a bloc, it is not exactly surprising. Modern education and society has done a very good job of trying to force everyone to self identify along tribal/racial lines as much as possible, and nowhere has this effort been more successful than with Blacks. (note: I do not think this a concerted effort by old liberals sitting in back rooms with fans pushing pot smoke around, rather this is under the auspice of Multiculturalism, and the idea that you can teach self respect by teaching people to have personal pride in their own culture or race, irrespective of their own accomplishments. It is a form of nationalism, but in many ways much more natural for people to accept and find sensical.)

September 8, 2009 @ 12:59 pm #

Darkhorse, I think you inadvertently pointed to part of the problem. There were things that former President Bush was doing that should have been considered radical. We conservatives allowed him to get away with it because we know he was under fire for his war effort. We didn’t like it, we just thought there were more important things at the time. However, if Bush had tried to go as far as Obama is going WE WOULD HAVE COME UNGLUED.

September 8, 2009 @ 2:24 pm #


I have to agree with you, the Bush policies (really, the Paulson policies) in response to the banking collapse were radical, and we opposed them. I have the unfortunate luxury of being able to point to articles I wrote at the time to prove my bona fides in resisting the plan. However, it was so late in Bush’s administration, and he’d already shown himself so able an extender of government power, that it was all just so much noise, and there was very little we could do besides gripe.

I’m also with you in observing that if Bush had tried to do what Obama is trying to do, we would have gone berserk in opposition. Heck, I was pretty upset by the Medicare drug benefit. It’s odd to say, but in a way Obama benefits from the fact that some of us who paid attention during the election season are seeing exactly what we expected in Obama.

September 8, 2009 @ 3:22 pm #

Horatius wrote:

I do not think this a concerted effort by old liberals sitting in back rooms with fans pushing pot smoke around, rather this is under the auspice of Multiculturalism, and the idea that you can teach self respect by teaching people to have personal pride in their own culture or race, irrespective of their own accomplishments. It is a form of nationalism, but in many ways much more natural for people to accept and find sensical.

This article, which is the best explanation I’ve seen for the astonishing uniformity of the black vote behind the Democratic party, suggests that there actually may have been old liberals in back rooms filled with cigar smoke. Worth a read.

September 8, 2009 @ 3:46 pm #

I’m thinking of making up some bumper stickers:


September 8, 2009 @ 4:20 pm #

John –

Well if you’re going to be a racist, might as well be open and honest about it!

September 8, 2009 @ 5:47 pm #

>>There’s no question that if the economy were settling down, Obama’s popularity would not be taking quite so hard a hit.>>

If that is a true fact, doesn’t it negate the race issue? (Not that those who use the race issue would give it up!)

September 8, 2009 @ 7:15 pm #

Dear darkhorse:

There’s a difference between noticing the primary reason why a president was elected and being a person who judges others by the color of their skin.

Personally I treat all people based upon what they do and say, but clearly the people who voted for Obama voted for him simply because he he had black skin. 95%+ of the blacks (and a goodly portion of guilty white liberals) in America voted for him simply because he had black skin, and he wasn’t George Bush. The man obviously has no other ‘qualifications’ other than being a ‘charismatic speaker’ (e.g. good liar).

As this Black Blogger wrote recently:

I don’t know where President Obama is finding all these black folk he’s putting in positions of authority, but they’re not only making us all look bad, he’s damaging race relations beyond what anyone could even imagine.

September 8, 2009 @ 7:56 pm #

I agree with a few things the article has to say but I am not sure I agree that it is a concerted effort on the part of liberals to keep Blacks firmly tied to them. I think a lot of the things have to do with consequences (as the article points out) rather than specific goals.

I do not thin we can discount the fact that many within the educational system as well as society at large have encouraged tribalism (I called it nationalism but tribalism probably strikes closer to the mark.) I am supposed to think of myself as a white, Italian, Catholic Male. However, I do not self identify myself in that way. If asked what I am I might say Catholic or American, but I do not self identify really as white or italian (or rather mostly italian.)

This is what I saw more than anything in friends and coworkers who were black in the run up to the election. They did not even seem to really care what policies Pres. Obama espoused or the fact that he was a Democrat, but rather focused on the fact that he was the first BLACK candidate with a serious chance of winning.

Indeed when I debated with them and pointed out specifics of his policies, many of them did not really like some of the things he stood for (i.e. no school choice, card check, even naionalized health-care.) However, they were willing to vote for him (in some cases for the first time in their lives) in order to accomplish something as a RACE. That is not thinking along political lines but Tribal.

I remember talking with my grandparents and them pointing out that Pres. Kennedy was the first Catholic president, I remember being somewhat befuddled as if, what did that matter. My grandfather, who more than anyone in my life taught me through his actions to judge people by what they do rather than where they come from, or even what they say, seemed to think this actually mattered.

I do not think this way.* However it is a very powerful force among those who do.

That is what I think has more bearing than anything else on why the Democrats seem to have such a lock on minority votes, because many of them think this way and are encouraged by society into very much an Us vs. Them mentality.

I wonder it this has to do with a greater penchant on the left for “groups.” A more “community” based way of approaching problems. Conservatism, by and large, seems to be more rooted in individualism. The government should stay out of the way of the individual and then they can solve their own problems. Certainly the article Phil posted seems to suggest something along these lines. I think both methods have their merits, but I also think that that way of looking at the world (either one) clouds and filters everything you perceive. Your perception then determines your actions or reactions.

Pres. Obama is a very good example of the community based way of thinking: He was a community organizer. His fetish with appointing Czars. His whole “Yes WE can!” shtick. The bizarre idea for a Citizen’s Defense Force.

Darkhorse or Joe may wonder why we suggest Pres. Obama of very strong Socialist/Communist leanings, but you have to remember Marx based most of his ideas around the idea of Group-think in the form of “Class Struggle.” Most socialist regimes based a lot of their struggle along tribal or class lines. As I said before, tribalism is a very powerful force for people as long as they identify strongly (or can be made to) with the “tribe’.

*by and large, I will admit to a certain amount of Catholic tribalism in this area. When Catholics are critisized I do tend to reflexively take the opposite view. However, I always try to step back and look at the situation through the filter of not only it’s own merits but whether the subject is actually what one would call a good example of Catholic. I know that Pelosi, nominally a Catholic, is an vacuous moron. Her vacuity, favoritism, sheer incompetence, pettiness, ill-grace, and general lack of merit have nothing to do with being Catholic. It is only when the subject is criticized merely for being a faithful Catholic that I indulge myself. By the way, this would also apply to criticism of Americans for that matter. I do not say that tribalism is inherently a bad thing, it is merely reflexive and slavish tribalism.

September 8, 2009 @ 8:33 pm #

Ironically, many people, myself included, thought that Mr. Obama would temper his radicalism with the knowledge that black presidents would be judged by his example. Jackie Robinson’s behavior had to be exemplary, because he was aware that he was the vanguard, and all others would be judged according to his performance on and off the field.

Apparently, Mr. Obama’s self-regard precludes any thought of those who may follow in his footsteps. I do not believe he cares if he sets back race relations, or poisons the well for future black candidates, as long as he can enact his agenda. It really is all about him, and only him.

September 8, 2009 @ 9:39 pm #

Interesting link to the article by Ocheing. J.C. Watts was very enlightening in that (1) he considered voting for Obama and (2) he noted that at least Democrats “reach out” to black people.

How, as anything resembling a conservative (and I never considered Watts a RINO), can one have seriously considered voting for Obama? That shows the power of the group/tribal identification.

And just how is the Republican party supposed to “reach out” to black people? George Bush appointed two black Americans to two of the most powerful positions in the world and demonstrated a heckuva lot more faith in them than any of his Democratic predecessors ever did before or since. That very real gesture – not a throwaway – bought him zero, zip, nada credit with black voters.
It really does seem to be all about the giveaways. And Republicans are never going to out Democrat the Democrats.

I believe we are at least a generation away from a conservative or Republican ever getting more than a tiny fraction of the black vote.

The only possible hope I could see would be a tough candidate of the Thomas Sowell school who said something along the lines of: “I am conservative. I represent conservative values which are a long term solution to our problems as a nation and as a race. I will represent those values faithfully, and I will never, ever lie to you or tell you what you want to hear. If you try to do you your best and have a problem, you will have an advocate in the White House…etc.”

Still don’t think it would work, the patterns are too deep to break, but it might catch a few ears.

September 9, 2009 @ 12:15 pm #

>>I wonder it this has to do with a greater penchant on the left for “groups.” A more “community” based way of approaching problems.>>

It’s the “divide and conquer” method. Instead of encouraging the “melting pot” idea – that we are all _Americans_ – first and foremost – leftists have devised “multiculturalism”…as if that had any particular benefit. All of our ancestors came from somewhere else – they came here and left the old country behind. They became _Americans_. By pushing the idea of “multiculturalism”, we are something else first. By splitting off social groups and encouraging identification with that group, by playing up the idea that “majority rules” somehow unjustly penalizes them, they form politically active splinter groups, which also reduces the “middle” or average citizen group. It reminds me of the Tower of Babel – with a similar result.

The communists have never met a politically active group it didn’t love. They will infiltrate and divert any politically active group, no matter what its original intention. The Feminists are a prime example. There was a time when I would have considered myself a feminist. That was a time when their goal was equal pay for equal work. In the early to mid sixties, the goal changed. It became a gender oriented group with no purpose other than promotion of the sex as “equal” to and in fact, superior to the _other_ sex. It stirred up animosity between men and women, increased antagonism against traditional marriage because women were “suppressed”, agitated against the concept that women were just sex objects (and oh my – how _that’s_ improved things for young women!) and generally promoted the leftist ideals that are family destructive. Because the destruction of the family (as a means of destruction of religion) is their goal. You can’t have the State as the primary “tribe” as long as there is another they belong to. So, they will promote identification of individuals with tribes, promote themselves as the protector of tribes, and then install themselves as the power which balances the rights of each – while at the same time, using the multiplicity of the tribes to prevent any of them from getting united to create a challenge to the oligarchy that rules them.

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