Our own tribe's basket of condemnations!

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2016

Our census of the condemned:
We've had a wide array of reactions to Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" comment.

(The deplorables are also "irredeemable." You probably already knew that.)

Our reactions have taken us to Yevtushenko and to Dr. King. We've marveled at the ardor, and the lack of intellectual skill, we humans bring to the task of convincing ourselves that The Others, the ones Over There, are morally irredeemable while We, the fine folk Over Here, are morally good and pure.

"No people are uninteresting," Yevtushenko said. "Not people die but worlds die in them. Whom we knew as faulty, the earth’s creatures..."

In Stride Toward Freedom, Dr. King described his deep investment in the refusal to hate. He also wrote a fascinating passage about his refusal to hate the Montgomery city fathers who, he thought, had helped create the climate which led to the bombing of his home.

Presumably, the impulse to think the worst about Others is bred deep in the bone. Presumably, this instinct to think the worst was once a survival skill. It would have been selected for in the war of the all against all.

Today, the desire to think the worst about Others strikes us as deeply unhelpful. In a general way, we tend to agree with this part of today's New York Times editorial:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (9/14/16): ...Hillary Clinton, speaking at a fund-raiser on Wall Street, deposited “half of Trump’s supporters” into what she rather bizarrely called “the basket of deplorables.” The donors—the adorables?—had a good chuckle.

Mrs. Clinton went on to point out that there are other Trump supporters “we have to understand and empathize with,” people who are “just desperate for change.” And she later expressed regret for her remarks. But real damage had been done. In wooing one group of voters—in reading some members of her elite audience, and reflecting their feelings back to them, and perhaps revealing her own—she had written off another one as “irredeemable.”
The editors didn't attempt to describe the type of damage which was done by Clinton's "rather bizarre" remark. Perhaps they meant political damage. Perhaps they meant damage to the soul.

As Hemingway once did, the editors blamed the incident on The Rich. "This is what happens when candidates spend so much time in what F. Scott Fitzgerald called 'the consoling proximity of millionaires,' " they said in their editorial.

We don't know why they said that. In the end, Hillary Clinton was simply saying what many tribe members think. This includes some of the lifelong friends who we admire most.

There's no way to know what the politics of this incident will be. It may turn out that the incident has no particular political effect.

That said, we think the remark, and liberal reaction to same, display the impulse toward loathing we've long warned against. Perhaps more strikingly, we think the reactions of tribal sachems—Coates, Hayes, Milbank and Blow, among others—have displayed the lack of intellectual skill we bring to such debates.

Clinton started her remarks that night by saying she didn't want to be "grossly generalistic." She then proceeded to make exactly that kind of remark.

In fairness, she only condemned half The Others to Hell. More typically, liberal pundits have been suggesting that everyone is "irredeemable" in the vile group Over There.

As we've long said, we think the impulse to see things this way is destructive to liberal values and to progressive possibilities. But good lord! How hard we've worked in our attempts to prove that Clinton's remark was accurate! In the process, it's sad to see what our sachems have revealed about our own tribe's basket of skills.

In the next day or two, we'll take a look at some of the ways our tribal leaders have struggled to show that Clinton's remark was factually accurate. It's easy to show that she was right, Ta-Nehisi Coates even said.

In our view, we're a badly floundering tribe. But then, how do we think we got ourselves into this mess in the first place?

We'll quickly say it's all their fault. We don't think that view is right.

Tomorrow: Where to begin?

40 comments:

  1. Being an old white guy working in the burbs I am constantly attacked for being a Dem planning on voting for that C word, B word, etc. My standard response now is Trump is a deplorable basket case.

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    1. Was Hill's gaffe bigger than a deplorable bread basket?

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  2. While Howler predictably rushes to the defense of the common Confederate yahoo, I have to go along with Howler's black friend Ta-Nehisi Coates, if only this once. The surveys say Hillary was darn near right, certainly close enough for folk singing -- A tisket, a tasket.

    This is what makes her comment a genuine, authentic Michael Kinsley-certified gaffe. She told the truth and immediately regretted it.

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    1. The poll Coates offered as proof of racism said 33 percent of Clinton supporters felt the same ("racist") way about blacks. How do you explain that? Did you even click through and read the poll or you just took his word for it that the poll was proof Trump supporters are racists? Wussup bra? You didn't read the poll?

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    2. Click through and read that poll and you can see how Coates played your ass.

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    3. "Nearly one-third of Clinton supporters described blacks as more "violent" and "criminal" than whites, and one-quarter described them as more "lazy" than whites."

      Thickens the plot a little bit no? These are the surveys that say Hillary was right? Talk to me buddy.

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    4. As long as there is one bigoted Democrat, none of Trump's supporters are deplorable. That seems to be your argument.

      How many supporters of Hillary are KKK leaders? How many beat up protesters at her rallies? How many chant "lock him up" at her rallies or tweet using the c-word about Ivanka?

      No one will talk to you here because you are ridiculous.

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    5. Facts are the facts though homie. Despite my shortcomings they offered a poll as proof of racism that said not one but one out of three of us are racists. Sorry to kill your buzz dear friend.

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  3. First, as ever, Bob's own take no prisoner's vitriol aimed at those
    he disagrees with makes him a dubious standard barer for Dr. King.

    Second, Clinton's comment taken in it's entirety makes it a lot
    harder to rage at, and it ended with an appeal for understanding
    among the hurt and misguided among the Trump flock. Isolated to
    the basket phrase, it is too juicy for paster Bob and others to resist.
    Whatever. Clinton's sin here, and it is almost universal, is that her scorn is pretty much aimed at the lower class, bottom feeder haters who Bob Dylan explored long, long ago in "Only a Pawn In There Game." Consider how among rich comedians the deplorable Dennis Miller has received the same pass Bob has his extended his thuggish boss. So many commentators, like the genuinely funny Samantha Bee, have split this one down the middle. Isn't it hard not to?

    Which takes us to practical terms. Is this effective against Trump or not? I think it's hard to say. I sense a lot of push back from the left on this and of course, it's not all wrong. This extends to the coverage of the whole campaign, which, were it actually fair, would have had Trump laughed off long ago as the bad joke he is. We should note that Bob, for all his talk about US not taking it, is the nervous type. Some have said this is "Hillary's 47%" . Let's hope so, because despite Bob's pearl clutching, when Obama showed backbone on the issue, he was home free.
    The honorable thing for our side to do is note those on the right who have forsworn Trump, putting Country over Party in a way we may never be asked to. They deserve our thanks.

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  4. Clinton is inviting Republicans to disassociate themselves with the riff-raff that populate Trump's campaign and rallies. Some will do that and others won't. Some people have some sense of shame about associating with white supremacists, homophobes and ignorant people enthusing over con artists. Others don't.

    Clinton is willing to stop pretending Emperor Trump has new clothes. You can follow her or pretend it isn't polite to point out such a fact, as Somerby seems to want to do. There is a very great distance between pointing out that many Trump supporters are "deplorable" and the extreme incivility displayed every day by Trump and his folks. Equating them is yet another false equivalence.

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    1. This is not a gaffe. This is what candor looks like.

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    2. What is your basis for seeing them as deplorable racists? The basis provided by Blow and Coates said 33 percent of Clinton supporters were also deplorable racists. How do you explain that? Why would those journalists use data that suggests large numbers of Clinton supporters are racists too? It's strange right? You can't really dismiss Trump supporters as racists with that poll ... So why do you think they used it? Do you think 33 percent of Clinton supporters are racist? If you don't then you can't think the same of Trump supporters. I don't want to kill your buzz it's just that the poll they provided as proof of racism say we are also racists.

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    3. How many Clinton supporters have beaten up protestors outside her rallies? How many are members of the KKK?

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    4. 10:21:

      "Nearly one-third of Clinton supporters described blacks as more "violent" and "criminal" than whites, and one-quarter described them as more "lazy" than whites."

      We are racists and that is proof. Not sure how many beat up but they are racists right? That has to be true. 33 percent of us who vote for Clinton are racist. Ask Coates or Blow - they'll tell ya the same thing. Word up.

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    5. "33 percent of us who vote for Clinton are racist."

      Deplorably!

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    6. That strategy requires that Republicans care what Hillary "invites" them to do, which requires Republicans to view opinions of Hillary or Democrats as morally valid. They don't.

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    7. Dave the Guitar PlayerSeptember 16, 2016 at 1:01 PM

      The way I see it, being racist is deplorable and given the campaign we have seen so far, clearly those among all groups who are "deplorable" clearly favor Donald Trump. This does not make the racists who would rather see Hillary in the White House less deplorable, but clearly shows that Donald Trump is pandering to this deplorable interest group as an important voting bloc. This, in itself, is deplorable.

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  5. And she said they were "irredeemable".
    How could she?
    After all, they still believe Obama wasn't born in the USA, even after proof has been shown to them many, many times.
    Oh yeah, unswayed by facts is actually "irredeemable".
    Good on Hillary for speaking the truth, political correctness be dammned.

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  6. Bob is down to two types of posts.
    One complaining about liberals being too scared to tell the truth. The other complaining about liberals for telling the truth.

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    1. Well, based on my rough rule of thumb, your comments is a year ahead of Somerby. Or two.

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    2. The liberal journalists Bob mentioned - who claimed Clinton was telling the truth -offered evidence of Trump supporter's racism that claimed Clinton supporters are also racists. Which is really dumb. Rush Limbaugh will point that out to his listeners bra. I know you hate Bob. I hate him too.

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    3. When Rush tells his listeners that Coates used a statistic that said Democrats were also racist in huge numbers, it is a situation where Rush is telling his listeners the truth! And Coates is not being fully honest with us, his readers! Don't you think that is worth discussing?

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    4. "Nearly one-third of Clinton supporters described blacks as more "violent" and "criminal" than whites, and one-quarter described them as more "lazy" than whites.

      Wud up - what's up with that?

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  7. Jeff Sessions has praised Trump's conservative street cred because he called for the death of five men.

    Who were discovered to be innocent.
    Who were black.

    Anybody calling Jeff Sessions a racist?
    Too rich?
    Too powerful?

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    1. "Nearly one-third of Clinton supporters described blacks as more "violent" and "criminal" than whites, and one-quarter described them as more "lazy" than whites."

      http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0ZE2SW

      Whaddup bra??

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    2. Why do you need to change the subject "bro?"

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    3. Wudddpp broseff??? Talk to me. It's not the subject sorry bout that. Appreciate the time.

      "Nearly one-third of Clinton supporters described blacks as more "violent" and "criminal" than whites, and one-quarter described them as more "lazy" than whites.

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    4. That's a poll, which, like any should be AT LEAST treated with a grain of salt. But Sessions racism is right out front, and no doubt applauded by you. As an asshole, you probably follow asshole poles.

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    5. Didn't mean to weigh in on sessions flap podner. Don't know nothon' about it good buddy. No doubt about that applause. No doubt. . How could anyone doubt that?

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    6. Greg, are you suggesting Anon 10:30 follows Stanley Kowalski?

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  8. Moral judgments about the deplorability of Trump voters will never be taken seriously by conservatives because they are leveled by people who have no moral concerns about mothers routinely killing their children. Racist, bigot, whateverphobe just sounds like noise.

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    1. You might want to read "What's a Matter With Kansas" by Tom Frank.

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    2. An analysis of that topic as a political issue wouldn't matter to someone who views those tens of millions of killings the same as if a million mothers killed their older children every year. It isn't conservatives who are driving the social acceptance of killing innocent humans for convenience. Those whose votes are based on that reality are not being manipulated, they hold a belief that killing human beings for convenience is evil.

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    3. Mind like an iron trap - rusted shut.

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  9. Replies
    1. Yes, obviously. It was the premise of the show.

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  10. A brutal new batch of polls for Clinton shows Trump winning in several swing states. Polls released over the past few days show Hillary Clinton losing to Donald Trump in several key swing states, in a trend that should set off alarm bells for Democrats.

    Maybe we can reverse the trend by calling Trump supporters deplorable racists based on a poll that says we are also deplorable racists, just less so. Reaaal smart guys.

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    1. Trump is going to win because no straight white male wants to hear that carping voice in their living room calling them racists and sexists for 4 years.

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  11. I would question those polls and their ability to have processed the deplorable thing at this point. The media wants a close race.

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    1. Pro Tip: think concern trolling.

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