More smart people saying smart things

More smart people saying smart things August 30, 2012

Adam Serwer: “What to Make of Mitt Romney’s Birther Joke?”

I suspect many Republicans who continue to subscribe to the birther lunacy do so because it bothers liberals and because it’s an act of symbolic defiance of a president they dislike. The problem with birtherism, however, is that the underlying assumptions driving it have always been broader than the president. Birtherism is more than just a conspiracy theory about the president’s birth. Its underlying principle is a rejection of American racial pluralism. The refusal to believe — in the face of all evidence to the contrary — that Obama is an American reads to many as saying black people don’t really count as American unless they talk like Herman Cain or Allen West.

Charlie Pierce: “The America Paul Ryan Forgot: A Vision of Freedom, by Way of Free Government, by Way of the Morrill Act”

We are now in the middle of a strange political campaign in which the very existence of a political commonwealth seems to have been made into a matter of open debate. There are places that we all own together. There are things that belong to all of us. Yosemite belongs to us. So do Iowa State and Cornell and Purdue, and everything that is taught in all those places. The government is one of those things. So are the national parks. So are the land-grant universities, born 150 years ago this summer, and delivered by a guy who doesn’t even have a statue in the hall of statutes he helped to create. Knowledge, Justin Morrill believed, knows no class, no race. It is part of of what belongs to all of us, because none of us, not one of us, built anything by ourselves. We decided that question once before. It is to our discredit as a country that we’re arguing about it again.

Jana Riess: “Can You Be a Christian and Follow Ayn Rand?”

An affinity with Ayn Rand is something I came to expect from my atheist father — who, inspired by her writings (and the disco-era bestseller Looking Out for Number One), emptied our family’s bank account, abandoned his children, and drove off into the sunset to “self-actualize” in 1984.

Not a terribly surprising script. What does surprise me is when I hear fellow Christians try to reconcile Rand’s utter selfishness with the teachings of Jesus.

John Fugelsang: “Paul Ryan vs. Jesus vs. Ayn Rand”
"OT: A new, talky Worldtamer is up."

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  • Imply? He freakin’ SAID IT:

    “They were working, so they didn’t answer the phone when they took the
    poll,” Cain said Wednesday night on “The Daily Show.” “Believe it or
    not, some black people have jobs, and careers, and they run
    businesses. They didn’t take that into account.”

  •  I suspect it’s one of those 3 part plans:

    1. Repeal ACA
    2. ???
    3. PROFIT! (For the insurance companies, natch)

  • PJ Evans

     Your 8th grade class sounds like mine. (Although I will say that they made sure all the girls got the basic booklet on menstruation.) I don’t remember anyone getting pregnant before graduation, but there were a lot of people I didn’t know. And the school I actually graduated from (and which I don’t claim as mine) had at least one pregnant-and-married female before graduation.

  • PJ Evans

    It really makes me wonder if he believes anything at all other than in his money.

    As far as I can tell, it’s all about money, even when his wife is talking about how she doesn’t think she’s rich, and hey, he turned down a job that would have paid umpteen-million-dollars per year, and so on.

  • hagsrus

    “…the reason polls showed Romney getting 0% of the black vote was because
    the throngs of black conservatives were at work when they called…”

    So the phones were only answered by white people lazing around at home?

    Or did he mean that they knew where the black conservatives lived but didn’t have the sense to call during working hours?

  • He meant “Don’t worry, Republican Base, I too think that black people are lazy and vote democrat out of their laziness; those Respectable Negros like myself whoactually do work for a living are obviously republicans.”

    In other words, he was playing into racist stereotypes about black people while carving out an exception for black republicans

  • hidden_urchin

    Which is really useful if your goal is to create women who are terrified of sex.

    That reminds me of this post at SCCL:

    Raise your hand if the last paragraph made you cringe.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    According to a recent Gallup poll, only 11% think that Obama is a Muslim. And guess what? Some 32% of adults don’t know what Romney’s religion is, and 9% think that Romney is some religion other than Mormon.

    Not sure why you brought a Romney comparison into things because it doesn’t make people less wrong, but OK–at least do an equal comparison.

    According to your Gallup data, more than half of people polled correctly identified Romney’s religion compared to one-third who were correct about Obama (and I’m including people who named Protestant denominations of which he is not a part to be generous). Only ONE IN FOUR Republicans  were right about Obama. Republicans, btw, were less likely to be uncertain and more likely to be flat-out wrong.

    And not knowing Obama’s or Romney’s religion doesn’t make voters stupid, it makes them ignorant of that particular detail. There’s a difference between stupid and ignorant.

    There is a difference between stupid and ignorant. And when we’re talking about something that has been the subject of a great deal of media attention for five years, and which Obama has personally spoken about more than any other American President in history, to be wrong about that? I’m happy calling that stupidity–or affected ignorance, which is worse.

    You’re honestly holding the line that the vast majority of voters are making careful, thoughful decisions about their political allegiance, when the evidence shown to the entire rest of the world is of tribal lines and crass, studied ignorance? How on earth do you expect anyone to buy that?

  • superior editing service

    I’m a pedant. You may help from this site

  • Carstonio

    Sine there are many, many Americans who use Muslim and Arab like they’re synonyms, it’s likely that many of the “Obama is a Muslim” folks are using the term to mean ethnicity and cultural background instead of religious affiliation, or they don’t see a practical difference. 

  • Monala

    And the comments show that many people agree with him. As an African-American, I HATE this. I hate that we are forever stereotyped and misjudged by people who will forever deny their racism.

    A columnist once noted that if one-third of black Americans are poor, that means that two-thirds are NOT poor. If one-fifth of black adults are unemployed, that means that four-fifths are EMPLOYED. If 10% of black men have been incarcerated, that means that 90% have NEVER been incarcerated. And so on. In fact, there is no negative stereotype about African-Americans (with the  exception of out of wedlock births) that is not FALSE for the vast majority of black people.

    I’ll take my own family, and that of my husband. We’re both African-American, and if you take our entire extended families (parents, siblings, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and spouses of the same), that’s at least 100 people. All of us, except for four white spouses, are African-American. All the adults work, except for those who are retired after decades of work, and three people who can’t work because of disabilities (two of whom developed disabilities later in life and worked until then). None of us are rich, but none of us has ever been on welfare. None of us has ever been incarcerated. None of us dropped out of high school. Only 7 children were born out of wedlock, and all but one had their fathers actively involved in their lives. How many ordinary, non-wealthy white families in America can say the same?

    I don’t know all the extended families of our extended families  (e.g., cousins’ cousins, in-laws’ relatives, and the like), but I know some of them, and this applies to them, too.

    Oh yes, and we’re all liberal Democrats. So fuck you, Herman Cain.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’m sad to say, racism is alive and well in the United States, and worse still, it’s rapidly becoming mainstream and socially acceptable all over again.

  • Fusina

    Don’t click the link, it is an ad.  I didn’t, but I did google them.

  • Fusina

    Don’t click the link, it is an ad.  I didn’t, but I did google them.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Sine there are many, many Americans who use Muslim and Arab like they’re synonyms, it’s likely that many of the “Obama is a Muslim” folks are using the term to mean ethnicity and cultural background instead of religious affiliation, or they don’t see a practical difference.

    Assuming that’s the case, it strengthens the case for stupidity. One, Arab is not the same an Muslim, and that’s hardly an esoteric point. But two–how in the holy hell could anyone who doesn’t deserve the label “stupid” think Obama is Arabic?

  • EllieMurasaki

    White comes in lots of different shades–English, Scottish, Irish, Italian, French, so forth–but only a moron would think there are different shades of brown.

  • Carstonio

     While I don’t disagree in principle, I wasn’t suggesting that such people indeed see Obama as Arabic. Instead, it’s more like Ellie’s excellent point that they don’t make distinctions when it comes to brown.

  • And at least 2/5 of those shades of white you listed were seen as non-white in the U.S. about a century ago. Nothing to do with actual skin color, either, but then it never is. If it were, we’d be talking about pink and brown, not white and black.

  • The_L1985

    Class of ’02, Alabama. You just barely missed being uneducated.

    Also bear in mind that I went solely to private Christian schools until 10th grade, and went to CCD every week. By the time I went to the awesome artsy school that had a 1-day presentation on safe sex, the damage had already been done. It was at least 2007-2008 before I developed a sane perspective toward sex.

    And if I hadn’t gone to the artsy school…I would have gotten more of the same garbage as before, and would have graduated completely ignorant. (Again, I learned about my reproductive anatomy OUTSIDE of school.)

  • The_L1985

    Hey genius: Who’s responsible for the ACA again? Because without it, that surgery wouldn’t be happening.

    You do realize that there are millions of Americans who suffer from debilitating medical conditions and can afford neither treatment nor health insurance, right? Please tell me you’re not that willfully ignorant.