Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's Not About Race

The New York Times published an op-ed piece by David Brooks entitled, "No, It's not about race." In it, Mr. Brooks argues, partly from personal observation, that the suggestion of racial motives being the cause of the discontent of many protesters is false. He very succinctly traces the history of Jeffersonian philosophy versus that of Hamilton, concluding that it is political ideology which separates us, not race.

Barack Obama leads a government of the highly educated. His movement includes urban politicians, academics, Hollywood donors and information-age professionals. In his first few months, he has fused federal power with Wall Street, the auto industry, the health care industries and the energy sector.

Given all of this, it was guaranteed that he would spark a populist backlash, regardless of his skin color. And it was guaranteed that this backlash would be ill mannered, conspiratorial and over the top — since these movements always are, whether they were led by Huey Long, Father Coughlin or anybody else.

What's your opinion? Do you think David Brooks has the right idea, or do you prefer the explanation of Maureen Dowd which we discussed recently? Personally I like both. Are they mutually exclusive, do you think? Couldn't both exist simultaneously?

Are you concerned with the consolidation of federal power, the way it's described here? Obama has "fused federal power with Wall Street," etc.? Is that the real problem many people have with this administration?

Please leave a comment.


  1. The only TV news I watch with any regularity is "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," on PBS. For political analysis, they pair Brooks up with Mark Shields, with Shields as the liberal analyst, and Brooks supposedly the "conservative" one. While the idea of Brooks being "conservative" amuses me, I find both of them quite engaging, and I have no doubts about the intelligence or sincerity of either of them.

    In this case, I find Brooks' analysis spot-on. He was actually talking about that tonight, but I didn't catch much of it, as I was busy in the kitchen.

    As for Dowd's, I have no doubt that some of the anger is based on racism. I am very convinced that the vast majority is not.

  2. Something to consider MikeB...

    Obama is half black and half white,

    For all of those who claim that Obama is black, an equal argument that he is white is just as valid.

    This isn't about the color of his skin.

  3. While beowulf echoes the safe line that most people who are anti adminstration regarding health care are not inherently racist, I have to stand back and look at the barrage of claims made by the extreme right and then echoed in the popular media.
    When we lived through the onslaught of conspiracy theories and smears against the Clintons, we saw the same barrage of claims of Marxism, Socialism mixed with smears about drug dealing, murder and having Monica Lewinsky's "semen stained" dress waved in our faces daily.
    Clinto, if he was Republican would have been lauded as a great centrist and we would probably have had a rational health care plan in place. One only has to look at the Health care Inititiatives of Richard Nixon to realize that the will was there back in the early 70's, before the corporate lobbies became so firmly ensconced.

    Now we are seeing with a much more embedded conservative media, after 8 years of compromised legislation under the Bush administration, a non stop barrage of obstructionist corporate manipulation.
    Every tactic that had been used against Clinton is being used with much more venom and we have now the added weapon of racist fear which is being exploited in every way possible by the opponents of the Democrats, for the sole purpose of disabling this administration and re esstablishing Republican Corporate dominance over the United States.
    Limbaugh is screaming for segregated school buses because of an isolated incident on a school bus and personally balming it on the president. This isn't baltant racist manipulation?
    The entire discredited "birther" movement is blatantly racist, but still you see the apologists tap dancing all around the issue trying to say that it isn't.
    The biggest birther blog has spent weeks demanding proof that the president is indeed circumcized, as if this is a matter of national security....
    I still believe that if I had set up a booth at the TeaBag March in Washington last week and sold Ku Klus Klan Hoods, I wouod be a rich man today!

  4. "I still believe that if I had set up a booth at the TeaBag March in Washington last week and sold Ku Klus Klan Hoods, I wouod be a rich man today!"

    Is this someone you consider an ally MikeB?

    I thought so.

  5. kaveman, I do indeed consider Microdot my ally. Do you dispute his point, which I believe is that these demonstrations are populated by racists, at least to some degree?