All politicians must now pass the BLM test, without exception. That’s a great thing. I wrote about neoliberal swagger, my term for the passive-aggressive and overt racism we see in our politics today. This piece is about neoconservatives, but I must warn at the outset that there is no glee for anyone to experience in this matter. The bottom line is that people are dying and whites are complicit in those deaths.
If swarms of bees, when they get angry, attack in waves, then we can trace the wrath behind this current wave of racism back to 2008 and Hillary Clinton’s loss to Barack Obama. I am well aware that what started it was never fully substantiated and, for as long as I can foresee, each and every one of us will have to evaluate these paragraphs from FactCheck.org for him or herself:
Both of those stories comport with what we here at FactCheck.org wrote two-and-a-half years earlier, on Nov. 8, 2008: “This claim was first advanced by diehard Hillary Clinton supporters as her campaign for the party’s nomination faded, and has enjoyed a revival among John McCain’s partisans as he fell substantially behind Obama in public opinion polls.”
Claims about Obama’s birthplace appeared in chain emails bouncing around the Web, and one of the first lawsuits over Obama’s birth certificate was filed by Philip Berg, a former deputy Pennsylvania attorney general and a self-described “moderate to liberal” who supported Clinton.
But none of those stories suggests any link between the Clinton campaign, let alone Clinton herself, and the advocacy of theories questioning Obama’s birth in Hawaii.
One of the authors of the Politico story, Byron Tau, now a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, told FactCheck.org via email that “we never found any links between the Clinton campaign and the rumors in 2008.”
As I just wrote, exercise your own judgment and your imagination. Whatever conclusion you reach, it cannot be disputed that the timing and trajectory of the racist snowball began in 2008 and is now, hopefully, nearing the bottom of the mountain. Note, I wrote nearing and not at.
Donald Trump is racist. He denies his racism while using every body language trick and audience at his disposal to show otherwise. I won’t dignify the filth that is his campaign with more than one example, The Absolute Insanity Of Donald Trump’s Big Alabama Pep Rally, In 17 Tweets, by ThinkProgress:
Here’s the newsletter being handed out to each car by a neo-Confederate activist pic.twitter.com/33CvKQfddA — Robert Costa (@costareports) August 21, 2015
.@realDonaldTrump’s plane doing a fly-over in Alabama before his big rally : http://t.co/RMwgWgrwEu pic.twitter.com/vSeHgDhmse — The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) August 21, 2015
Donald Trump Takes The Stage In MobileAlabama TrumpinMobile MakeAmericaGreatAgain pic.twitter.com/fO4a9a1iQT — The Patriot (@ThePatriot143) August 22, 2015
Four and a half hours before Trump speaks, there’s already a line outside the stadium pic.twitter.com/oGoCs6jInt — daveweigel (@daveweigel) August 21, 2015
Fumbling through a question on whether he would be meet with representatives of the Black Lives Matter movement, Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dismissed the possibility, saying, “Who knows who that is?”
The Daily Mail posed the question, “If organizers for the Black Lives Matter movement came to you and said, ‘We want to sit down [with you],’ would you do it?” In response, Walker said Friday, “I meet with voters. Who knows who that is?”
Walker later elaborated, “In Wisconsin, we’re the first and I believe the only state that has a law that requires an independent review anytime there’s an officer-related shooting that leads to a death. And that’s something that I think would certainly help in terms of both protecting those that have concerns about episodes like that as well as law enforcement.”
A friend of mine points out that Walker, and his patron saints, the Kochs, have been active on matters having to do with incarceration and criminal justice and Wisconsin is indeed the first state to enact a law mandating external review of police shootings. While I will give credit where it is due, I will also remind that Wisconsin, along with the rest of the Midwest, is the birthplace of white supremacist hate, and so it is no accident that it had to respond to the alarming rise in police deaths, culminating in the killing of Tony Robinson in Madison, Wisconsin. The newly enacted law Walker referred to was passed due to Robinson’s killing.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) worked for years with a group that specifically told politicians not to use the term “anchor baby” because the offensive term would alienate Latino voters.
The Hispanic Leadership Network issued a memo in 2013, in the wake of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s abysmal performance among Latino voters, outlining “tonally sensitive messaging points” on immigration. The memo, titled “Suggested Messaging Dos and Don’ts of Immigration Reform,” aimed to offer alternatives to the “negative and harsh rhetoric that has hurt conservatives in the past.”
“Don’t use the term ‘anchor baby,’” one of the memo’s bullet points reads. Two months after the memo was released, Bush co-chaired HLN’s annual Miami Conference to promote his book and discuss Latino political engagement. He had served as the conference’s co-chairman the two years before as well. […]
But that isn’t Bush’ only problem with racial insensitivity and other things this week:
UPDATE: There’s a saying that bad things come in threes… Well, here’s Jeb Bush’ third slur:
It’s not “The Hispanics, it’s Teh Asians!” These people know no shame.
Governor Bobby Jindal has never made any attempts to hide his racial animus toward African Americans in his state and outside of it. His record is so full of well-known examples of policy and statements, I won’t bother documenting them here.
Rand and Ron Paul have long histories of association with racist elements in our society. They each also have long histories of siding with policies that are intentionally discriminatory against people of color. When on the Rachel Maddow Show, Rand Paul said that, were the Civil Rights Act up for a vote, he would vote against it. He’s attempted to back-pedal since, but that was his position for years, and in the recent past.
Rick Perry most famously used to own and use a ranch with a very racist name painted on a rock at its entrance. Under his tenure as governor, he denied the appeals of many African American death row inmates, many who clearly were mentally-challenged, and some whose convictions were proven to be false.
Rick Santorum’s Blah people insult from the 2012 campaign debates in the context of welfare and who benefits from it, is still well-remembered.
Former governor Mike Huckabee’s record is rife with racist references from birth control to Jay-Z and Beyonce;
This is Huckabee’s second campaign for president. His first, in 2008, was a surprise hit among conservatives, especially those on the religious right. He won the Iowa caucus and, though defeated handily the rest of the way, ended up with his own Fox News show. That gig is on hiatus now, as Huckabee — with a bass guitar, easy smile and some deeply felt homophobia and thinly veiled racism — launches another long-shot bid.
Make no mistake, the Republican party represents racism in America today. It is where racists who are conscious about their racism go for political representation. There is no shame. There are no regrets. No matter what else they may say, Republican politicians use racism as a tool to attract voters openly. That racism can express itself in overtly hostile comments as much as it does via policy prescriptions designed to reinforce or perpetuate institutional racism. Many of those running in the 2016 GOP primary have long records of oppressive policies in the states where they served.
It hardly matters how Republican racism is expressed. Whether it is direct or through third party proxies, without any firm repudiation by those who enjoy its ill-gotten fruits, the blame can and should be assigned equally, among all participants in what is now referred to as the “GOP Clown Car.”
That isn’t to say that the left has cause to snicker without looking inward to its own problems. It most definitely does not. I wrote about Hillary Clinton’s meeting with Black Lives Matter, but she is hardly the only Democrat one can point to for racial insensitivity or “swagger” when it comes to owning up to America’s original sin or atoning for it. Former Governor Martin O’Malley was Baltimore’s mayor. How Baltimore looks today is a big part of his legacy. One only need to look at the policies Democrats have endorsed in the decades since Bill Clinton’s crime bill and what they might have said and done to express regret. How graciously those expressions of regret were delivered is as important as whether or not they were even made.
As I previously wrote in my piece on Hillary Clinton’s swagger, the new movements for Civil Rights are not supplicant movements. There no longer is a place for white politicians to put the onus on Black America to come up with the policies it wants. That is why a thorough discussion of Clinton’s reaction to activists is needed, along with a recognition of it as a part of the legacy it represents: white resentment over acknowledging and making good on American racism. White politicians should already know what wrongs have been perpetrated on Black America and they must be ready to demonstrate that knowledge, without exception.
The difference between right and left, at this moment, is that the right is attempting to turn back the clock and some of the left are trying to budge as little as they have to. While there is worst and least worst, in the end, neither should be acceptable to anyone. Real leaders, in any party, must have the courage to tell their flock the truth, and that must include risking losing some along the way. The right is nowhere near the point where the finer distinctions on the left are even in its consciousness and Scott Walker’s questions about Black Lives Matter are symptomatic of that. So long as conservative ideals are neoconfederate at the core, the GOP’s relevance in America’s leadership will continue to wane as it is pushed farther and farther to the margins it belongs in.
The next President needs to tell the truth about police violence and urgently enact a comprehensive agenda to address it. The tracking documents below show what many of the 2016 Presidential Candidates have proposed to address this issue to date. More candidates will be added as soon as they propose solutions for police violence. More tools will be released in the coming weeks to help people hold elected officials accountable to dismantling other harmful systems and building an America where all people can live, learn and reach their full potential (Download the Candidate Tracking Document).
*This site will be updated continuously in response to the ideas and insights of activists, organizers and concerned citizens nationwide. Click here to propose a new policy solution to add to the site.
Birtherism: TPM: How The Right Wing’s Birtherism Came Home To Roost
Posted: August 22, 2015