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May 28, 2008


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What affronts me about this campaign is the need to read very off-hand remark through the filter of one's emotional or partisan commitments before you try to understand it. The RFK thing is the tip of the iceberg, and you could point to the "fairy tale" remark about the war as well. I'm not sure who I can really look to anymore (other than Digby or Greenwald), because even someone like Atrios has his views shaded by his preference for Obama. Maybe Avedon Carol. Whatever happened to just analyzing things and giving honest feedback regardless of who it helps or hurts in a fracking primary? I thought that was the 'sphere was upposed to be about. Disheartening.

scott - i am most humbled that you read this entire post (if you didn't, allow me to indulge in the ruse).

I hear you...the lines b/w critique and debate and complete partisan bloviating are getting blurrier by the day. I'm sick of myself and most everyone in my Google reader these days...

It is refreshing to read someone confident and self-aware enough to admit that "I feel like in this election I'm becoming unable to see any fault on Clinton's part...I seriously question most of my knowledge and my interpretations."

It really gets boring to read stuff by either Obama or Clinton supporters who just happen, through amazing feats of coincidence, to have intellectually come to the exact same positions as their campaigns-of-choice on almost every issue. (Comments at Talkleft breathlessly calling Obama a "LIAR" for confusing two German concentration camps were really just too much...as are those who seem to really think that HRC is hoping to swoop in via assassination).

In any case it's depressing that this primary -- historical and at a time of Democratic ascendence -- has come to this. I know many disagree that this campaign is very unprecedented in its divisiveness....but it has been the longest, probably the most evenly matched, with extremely sensitive issues of identity at the forefront, and ever greater levels of information-source ghettoization. Will it matter in the fall? I hope not, but I become ever less optimistic by the day.

Greg - "information-source ghettoization" - this is an excellent way of putting it (and thanks for the compliments, btw!)

Last night I was ranting to my boyfriend, and he was like, what are the examples that pp use to describe Clinton's racist campaign tactics...and I was like, uh, well...there's JJ, fairy tales, assassination...and I felt awfully ignorant in comparison to my outsized outrage...I can barely remember the details or sources of most of these "fights" we're all in right now...

And over at The Hillary 1000, I'm acting out, being totally obnoxious to (insufferable Unity zealots...oops, did I say that out loud? I mean) commenters who dare critique Clinton supporters. I'm turning into the equivalent of an Ezra Klein commenter...

(I'm sure there's way more obnoxious threads out there, but that's about as rude as I ever saw)

Excellent post, Red. I have to admit, even though I saw this narrative headed here while all the "old white guys" were still in it, and while I was still so complacently and detachedly supporting Edwards, I have been sucked into this maelstrom of Clinton vs Obama vitriol.

I can't remember where I saw it posted weeks ago, but some blog was on the money with the notion of "bad faith," i.e. supporters of the opposing candidates, without fail, defaulting to the most cynical, frankly hateful, interpretations of what the other candidate or their supporters said.

As ugly as this has gotten, though, I still don't see McCain winning in the fall. Being deeply superficial, I just don't see him succeeding in the world of TV and Youtube over either Clinton or Obama. Maybe that's the problem. For many, including me, the primary is the "real" election this time around.

Jim - thanks! Bad faith is an excellent critique.

I'm chuckling about McCain...he didn't knock it out of the park on SNL a few weeks ago? ;)

Wonderful, honest and thoughtful post - thank you. I am a British born black female, formerly rational Clinton supporter who was flabbergasted that anyone would think Senator Clinton, of all people, was a racist(if you did, you really don't know what racism is). However, I am now an ostracized, lonely soul who dreams of pouring concrete into Donna Brazile's mouth! Who would have thunk it!

Neither Obama nor Hillary can be called right or wrong. Both are in degrees right or wrong.

I have also been a partisan Hillary supporter and often wondered whether I excused her too often while blaming Obama for literally everything.

The thing I got from this introspection was that Hillary may have been wrong couple of times and is often clumsy (not always poised) in her statements. But she is a fighter and a person whom you can trust. She has earned this trust the hard way by working for it for 8 years in senate. She is not a saint by any standards and sometimes uses tolerable dirty tactics (like all politicians do), but then she has never claimed to be a Saint.
With Obama you had this person who claimed to be holier than thou. He claimed to be morally superior to Hillary though he is a politician from Chicago. He and his wife talk about "family values" and sacrifice etc etc as the cure to all ills. He keeps claiming erroneously that he is above dirty politics etc etc. Obama and his supporters try to portray Obama as a Saint when there is enough evidence that says that Obama is just another Chicago Politician. It is this self righteous intolerable of any dissent and moral preaching campaign that has put me off thoroughly against all things Obama. Obama is a hypocrite.

As for the RFK statement. Hillary is clumsy sometimes. She is not the most graceful putting high sounding words together. She is sometimes more blunt and direct. Many times before this I have thought that Hillary may have been at fault for some of the charges against her but in this case I am convinced she is innocent. Team Obama have played extremely dirty with her by trying to attribute malicious intent to her statement.

Phylise and Tessy - Welcome!!

[Kevin] was further troubled by the racially segregated - and polarized - link networks he was seeing in response to her comments; i.e., whites were linking to other whites in support of their perspectives, and bloggers of color - including many African-Americans - were linking to one another in opinion solidarity.

Hmm, which passage from Kevin's post suggested to you that he was troubled that bloggers of color were linking to one another?

By the way, greetings, Redstar! I'm here by way of Racialicious trackback. I clicked because I saw someone say that Latoya's argument was "strongly undermined by her strident vocabulary", which I hope you realize is a standard boilerplate dismissal of people of color, which we in the melanin-rich blogosphere call The Drowning Maestro. On the whole, I appreciate where you're coming from here, though. Just sayin.

Hi Kai!

Re: Kevin - I meant he was troubled by the segregation/polarization, not that POC (and whites) were only linking to one another. Is that not clear in that sentence?

As for the dismissal, my bad...I fear I am turning into an academic (not surprising given I'm a PhD student) and wishing for cool-headed arguments...this is my own worst nightmare since I am fairly strident in my own writings...

...and truthfully, I was actually more turned off by LaToya's referencing of her boyfriend's grandmother, but didn't think that was a "fair" critique...it reminded me too much of the way we on-line tend to use personal anecdotes to support our arguments in a rather idiosyncratic way ("well my dad thinks this...my brother had this happen to him so it must be true..." etc.) but reading the description of her elder's knowledge and experience I felt like it was legit invocation and I was just being unjustly cranky about it...so I settled on LaToya's tone because I felt like she was trying to present an historical argument as authoritative/factual when it should be acknowledged to be a subjective interpretation - as any of ours would be.

Let me ask you...how can I separate out a double standard from the way I also recoil from a similar tone I find when I'm feeling talked down to by men (using argumentative types over at my Hillary site, for example, "well of course if you were choosing the most qualified foreign policy candidate you'd have voted for Biden..." - as if Biden=best for foreign policy is an objective view)...

Kai (and for anyone else following the discussion) - I read the DM definition...I think there's a better way for me to try to get at what I'm expressing re: Latoya's post...I'm going to edit my post..

Phylise -- this "Clinton is not a racist" line that I sometimes hear bugs me because it is such a strawman. No one (as far as I have heard) has called Hillary or Bill Clinton racists. What critics have said is that the Clinton campaign has a) deployed racially problematic rhetoric including dogwhistles and b) benefited from the racist rhetoric of others (ex. Ferraro) with either meek rebuke or none at all. Racism (like sexism, etc) does not have to be bigoted, hateful or deliberate. Often it is accidental. Often in politics, it is used subtlely by people who would never consider themselves racist but are nonetheless blinded by their sense of self-virtuousnes or are simply ignorant of their own privilige. For example Clinton's statement lauding hard working whites -- which is clearly racist because, at a minimum, it implies blacks aren't hard working -- does not make her a racist, it makes her someone who said something racist, deliberately or not, and I believe she apologized and clarified which is appropriate. Setting up a dichotomy with a bright line between racist versus non-racist ignore that virtually everyone has atleast some shade of racism -- and minimizes the extent and impact of the problem.

Hi Redstar, I'm back after like a week of craziness (!), and I just wanna say I think your re-wording of the Latoya criticism is nicely done and comes off much cleaner to me than the original which I gave you a hard time about. Thank you for giving a shit. As for Kevin, I guess my interpretation of his text was that he was troubled that white folks seemed to be linking almost exclusively to one another in an argument about racism; which is a slightly different point than being troubled by segregation in a sort of general symmetrical way.

Anyway, keep on doing what you're doing, I think you're a terrific writer and thinker and we need more of that!


Kai - I'm blushing!! Thanks!!! Likewise!!

Btw, I heard you on NPR recently and felt very cool because I was like, oh, I "know" that guy. ;) Thanks for pushing on me.

Re: Kevin's post - interesting point. I hadn't thought about it that way...

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