Friday, April 09, 2010

Has the Daily Howler gone over to the Dark Side?

Shorter Daily Howler 04/09/10: No, no, Democrats shouldn't ever say anything against white racism! We'll lose for sure if we do that!

Catherine O'Donnell, Survey finds that racial attitudes influence the tea party movement in battleground states University of Washington News 04/07/10.

A new University of Washington survey found ... that those who are racially resentful, who believe the U.S. government has done too much to support blacks, are 36 percent more likely to support the tea party than those who are not.

The survey found that 30 percent of respondents had never heard of the tea party, but among those who had, 32 percent strongly approved of it. In that group, 56 percent of Republicans strongly approved, 31 percent of independents strongly approved and 5 percent of Democrats strongly approved.

Among whites who approved, 35 percent said they believe blacks to be hardworking, 45 percent said they believe them intelligent and 41 percent said they believe them trustworthy.

Whites who disapprove of President Barack Obama, the survey found, are 55 percent more likely to support the tea party than those who say they approve of him.
"Are we in a post-racial society? Our survey indicates a resounding no,"Parker said.
As evidence supporting that notion continues to mount, Bob "the Daily Howler" Somberby continues to insist that liberals are losing votes by talking about it.


He focuses on particular instances, but generalizes broadly about the supposedly condescending attitudes of liberals toward those nice white folks actively participating in the Tea Party movement. Which of course is a stock rhetorical defense that racially prejudiced white people toss out to deflect any criticism of white racism. Somerby is very reluctant to share what he thinks would be an acceptable method of criticizing white racism. His real point seems to be: don't criticize it.

In the post linked above, he thinks Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis should resign his Congressional seat because he criticized white racism in the Tea Party movement.

Somerby declares, generalizing freely, "how we liberals love our race-baiting!"

He says a column by Joan Walsh criticizing white racism in the Tea Party movement "should go directly to the Smithsonian, where it could live for all time in the display about the dumbest ways to do politics."

This Somerby declaration is just depressing:

Conservatives may want to “take the country back” from Obama, Pelosi, Sotomayor and Frank—but do they want to take it back from blacks, from women, from Hispanics and gays? Just this week, a large crowd of conservatives loudly cheered the idea of a Palin-Bachmann presidential ticket. (Palin and Bachmann are women.) When asked by Sean Hannity at that same rally, Palin said she supports Michael Steele. In Florida, Republicans have fallen in love with Marco Rubio; in the process, they’ve thrown away Charlie Crist, the whitest male pol on the planet. Do you know how dumb it is to keep insisting that they hate women, Hispanics and blacks when their biggest favorites are drawn from these camps? Do you understand the insulting message this nonsense sends to Walsh’s shocking “white people?” When we tell them they’re stone-cold racists—that their limbic brains don’t work right—we’re telling them to join the other side, We might as well send limos around to drive them to the tea party.
Somerby has descended into "concern troll" clowning with this kind of approach. By his own standards, why would he say that Sarah Palin and Marco Rubio are the favorites of Republicans? And if he seriously thinks that white people cheering minority spokespeople who echo the most conservative whites' ideology is a sign that white racism is no factor, then he's confessing that he knows practically nothing about real existing white racism.

In this column, he's taken to discussing it the way the most conservative whites who are most opposed to civil rights legislation of any kind respond to any suggestions of racism in them or any of their supporters: relying on quibbling abstractions, accusing them libruls of being condescending and the real racists "how we liberals love our race-baiting!", arguing that, hey, some of their best friends are minorities and stuff.

He seems to be declaring Digby part of the enemy pundit camp in the following passage. (I've discussed his recent debates with Digby in several posts the last few days.)

We’ll admit it—we didn’t know! We never could have imagined how nasty and dumb we liberals are — how much we love to play race cards, how much we love to mock teabaggers, a term Digby applied to Pam Stout again, just yesterday. (Darlings! Glenn Beck makes her think! She gets more like Sally Quinn every day.) Just a guess: Digby doesn’t watch Beck a whole lot. Yes, he’s one of the biggest nuts and/or frauds ever seen on TV — but he can’t be dismissed quite that simply. Most of his work comes from fever swamps — but some of his We’ll admit it—we didn’t know! We never could have imagined how nasty and dumb we liberals are—how much we love to play race cards, how much we love to mock teabaggers, a term Digby applied to Pam Stout again, just yesterday. (Darlings! Glenn Beck makes her think! She gets more like Sally Quinn every day.) Just a guess: Digby doesn’t watch Beck a whole lot. Yes, he’s one of the biggest nuts and/or frauds ever seen on TV—but he can’t be dismissed quite that simply. Most of his work comes from fever swamps — but some of his work is quite erudite. People who aren’t quite as bright as the self-admittedly brilliant High Lady Quinn-Digby may not always see the problems with Beck’s claims. They will be much less likely to see the problems when nasty, name-calling “Quinn lite” types keep calling them naughty names.

Our side is nasty, brutish and stupid. (And short — in attention span.) We seem determined to lose at politics, as we so skillfully did four decades ago, the last time we pretended we cared. Some of us were raised by racist fathers, against whom we grandly recoil. Just a question: Is there any chance that the “my tribe and no other” gene of the fathers may be swimming around in the daughters? The fathers ridiculed The Other on the basis of race. The daughters also love to exclude. And we love to play our own race cards! Just go back and review the work of the honorable Mr. Cohen.
Liberals are "nasty, brutish and stupid"? Some of Glenn Beck's "work is quite erudite"? Compare that to what Dave Neiwert, someone who actually knows a lot about the real existing Radical Right has to say about Beck: Maybe the scummiest Glenn Beck show ever: Smears Obama's parents, says Mom 'abandoned' him for 'Marxist political theory' Crooks and Liars 04/07/10.

I suppose it's possible that Somerby has been so immersed in analyzing the flaws of mainstream pundits and reporters that he's just unfamiliar with the nature of Radical Right pseudoscholarship. But he gave quite a bit of attention in 2004 to how the media dealt with the Swift Boat Liars for Bush slanderous "scholarship" against John Kerry. It's hard to even imagine that he's actually unaware of the obsessive footnoting and citing of real and imagined authorities that is typical of crackpot pseudoscholarship. And that's exactly the nature of Beck's supposed erudition.

I'm thinking that the Howler's 04/09/10 post may well be his personal declaration of, I used to be a liberal, but .... Sad to see.

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