Part 3—Walsh goes off: With apologies, it’s painful to write about Joan Walsh when she discusses race, or when she pretends to do so.
Our basic ground rules:
Because race has played such a savage role in our American history, we think people ought to be measured and mildly respectful when they address the subject. Also truthful, of course.
Alas! When Joan Walsh brooks this most potent subject, she very much tends to go off. Below, you see the way she started the first of her two recent pseudo-discussions of race. We’ll include Salon’s twin headlines, which Walsh may not have composed:
WALSH (10/1/13): The real story of the shutdown: 50 years of GOP race-baitingIn comments, conservatives rolled their eyes at the idea that Walsh of all people was discussing “race-baiting.” Given Walsh’s performances down through the years, we’d have to say they have a bit of a point.
A House minority from white districts want to destroy the first black president, and the GOP majority abets them
On the day the Affordable Care Act takes effect, the U.S. government is shut down, and it may be permanently broken. You’ll read lots of explanations for the dysfunction, but the simple truth is this: It’s the culmination of 50 years of evolving yet consistent Republican strategy to depict government as the enemy, an oppressor that works primarily as the protector of and provider for African-Americans, to the detriment of everyone else. The fact that everything came apart under our first African-American president wasn’t an accident, it was probably inevitable.
The fact that they have a bit of a point is bad for American interests.
In her piece, Walsh discussed, or seemed to discuss, the Republican Party’s relation to race over the past fifty years. As she started, she made a claim which she described as “the simple truth.”
We’ll do along with the part about “simple!” In this statement, Walsh is telling a very simple story, to the extent that we can determine what she’s actually saying:
The current government shutdown is “the culmination of 50 years of evolving yet consistent Republican strategy to depict government as the enemy, an oppressor that works primarily as the protector of and provider for African-Americans.”
Is that right? Is the current shutdown “the culmination of” the GOP’s depiction of the government as an oppressor which works primarily to provide for blacks?
That is a vastly sweeping claim, a claim with several moving parts. It makes us white liberals feel very good to hear a brave truth-teller say it. But it’s a little hard to paraphrase that claim, especially when we get to Joan’s mystical follow-up:
“The fact that everything came apart under our first African-American president wasn’t an accident, it was probably inevitable.”
Is that true? For starters, is it true that “everything” has “come apart” at the present time? More so than under the last Democratic president, the one who wasn’t African-American, when this very same Republican Party shut down this very same federal government?
Is Walsh making a true statement there? Or is she simply tugging her disc, turning race into a toy?
Personally, we don’t like people who make race a toy in the way this bad person does. As you may know, Walsh has been a bad person in many ways over the course of the past fifteen years, often in ways we pseudo-liberals were and are too dumb to notice and too meek to discuss.
That said, Walsh very much tends to make race a toy, dumbing us liberals way down in the process. A bit later on in this first of her screeds, she turns to the type of sweeping claim with which the world’s very bad people have always diddled the world’s swift-running herds:
Try to believe that a decent person would throw this gruel to us liberals:
WALSH: This is [Lee] Atwater talking to an academic interviewer in 1981, Year One of the Reagan revolution:In that highlighted statement, Walsh makes a remarkable sweeping claim. She says everyone knows that “Defund Obamacare” is really a version of “N—ger.” In this way, Walsh tells us what tens of millions of people are thinking. What they’re thinking is evil and bad.
You start out in 1954 by saying, “N–ger, n–ger, n–ger.” By 1968 you can’t say “n–ger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites … “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N–ger, n–ger.”
And then you say “Defund Obamacare,” and everyone knows why.
You have to be a very bad person to sell a big boatload of crap like that. And you have to be stupid to buy it.
The world of the right has been actively selling The Crazy for the last fifty years. Here on the left, we slept through the bulk of that period. At the end of Campaign 2000, for instance, Walsh was pretending that she hadn’t noticed what the press corps had just done for two years to Candidate Gore.
Walsh, who is a very bad person, was conning her liberal readers that way; her readers didn’t know that. She was also creating the path by which she would reach the top of the corporate-run liberal press world.
When very bad people ascend to such heights, they may peddle bullshit like this:
WALSH: Over and over, that’s how things got worse: Republicans who know better, who probably aren’t “racist” in the old-fashioned sense of believing in black inferiority and opposing the equality and integration of the races, nonetheless pander to those who are, for electoral gain. And when the election of our first black president riled up the racists and launched the Tea Party—supposed deficit hawks who tolerated skyrocketing government spending under George W. Bush—too many Republicans went along.How crazy is Salon’s Joan Walsh, who is also a very bad person? She’s crazy right out of her corporate ascot, as she proves in that mindless passage, for which we liberals cheered.
Today, the entire government has been taken hostage by leaders elected by this crazed minority, who see in the face of Barack Obama everything they’ve been taught to fear for 50 years. Start with miscegenation: He’s not just black, he’s the product of a black father and a white mother. (That helps explain an unconscious motive for birtherism: They can’t get their minds off the circumstances of his conception and birth.)
In that first highlighted passage, is Walsh saying that the Tea Party is a bunch of racists? Not exactly, though she pleasures us with the kind of textual juxtaposition we used to decry when President Bush would stick al Qaeda and Iraq together that way.
(By the way, did government spending “skyrocket under Bush?” Not exactly, no! It’s amazing how much less such spending skyrockets if you adjust for inflation!)
But the genuine lunacy of this post is found in that second paragraph. In that passage, Walsh goes back to mind-reading tens of millions of people she doesn’t know. This time, her mind-reading concerns the way this crazed minority just can’t get miscegenation out of their crazy heads!
That’s an ugly thing to do and say, although people like Walsh have always done it, down through the annals of time. It’s also amazingly stupid. The fact that we liberals find this pleasing says unflattering things about us.
It shows how much we love to hate. Beyond that, it shows that we feel right at home with sweeping claims that are amazingly stupid.
According to Walsh, the voters who comprise the Tea Party constitute “a crazed minority.” When these millions of people contemplate President Obama, “they can’t get their minds off the circumstances of his conception and birth.”
Only a very stupid person would make such a blatantly crazy claim—a very bad person who seems to be a bit of a nut herself.
For the past fifty years, major groups on the corporate right have been aggressively selling The Crazy. For most of that time, climbers like Walsh averted their gaze from this obvious fact.
Darlings, pushback just wasn’t done! These climbers sleep-walked their way through life and maneuvered their way to the top.
In the recent years, a few ridiculous people like Walsh have begun to create money-making news orgs aimed at us liberals. It’s bad for liberals and other living things when crazy people like Joan Walsh peddle The Crazy this way.
Is race becoming a toy on the pseudo-left? We plan to write about that general topic all next week.
But how respectful is Joan Walsh when it comes to the vast brutality which constitutes our history of so-called race? Or is race a bit of a toy for Walsh, a way to run us pitiful rubes, who seem to enjoy being run?
Monday: What Kevin Drum said