As if someone supports it today: Are people able to change, to grow, in the course of living their lives?
We were struck by Jonathan Martin's report in today's New York Times about the Fritz Hollings funeral. First Joe Biden, then James Clyburn, said the former governor and senator had changed during the course of his life.
More specifically, the two men said that Hollings had changed in his attitudes about "race." Since Clyburn is black and Hollings, like Biden, was white, Clyburn's statement might have been more significant:
MARTIN (4/17/19): On Tuesday, it fell to Mr. Clyburn to speak in more detail about how Mr. Hollings went from defending ''separate but equal'' as a young state legislator to, as governor, telling state lawmakers that ''we have run out of courts'' and supporting the integration of Clemson University.We don't know the story behind that statement, in which Clyburn—a civil rights activist in his youth—said, in a breaking voice, that he had grown along with Hollings.
''Thank God a man can grow,'' said Mr. Clyburn, his voice breaking. ''Fritz grew and I grew along with him.''
We do believe the obvious fact that people can change and grow. We also tend to believe that tribes cannot, especially at junctures like this one.
In this context, it's our own pseudo-liberal tribe which has us concerned. We seem to be fully capable of screwing almost everything up, and thus getting Trump re-elected:
MARTIN: Younger Democrats have little personal connection to Mr. Hollings and those who are aware of him recall that he began his career, like many other white politicians of his generation in the South, as a segregationist.We keep seeing it said that Biden is "facing intense questions about his 1970s opposition to school busing," At such moments, we typically turn to the analysts and author some comment like this:
Mr. Biden, who is himself facing intense questions about his 1970s opposition to school busing, handled Mr. Hollings's evolution on race delicately in his speech, referring only obliquely to the senator's earlier support for segregation.
''He was constantly evolving,'' said Mr. Biden, standing before a Citadel choir that was made up equally of black and white members.
As if anyone supports it today!
No, seriously! Which of the other Democratic hopefuls supports mandatory busing to achieve greater racial balance in today's public schools? No one advocates any such thing, but our purity police will be chasing Biden around, flogging him for having opposed what no one supports today.
At present, our underwhelming liberal tribe is rich with purity trolls. We're silly and foolish and nobody likes us, but we seem to be completely unable to come to terms with such facts.
We're not especially high on Candidate Biden ourselves. Though we think he has some obvious strengths, we also think he's too old.
That said, we'd enthusiastically support him if he won the nomination. But like everyone else in the Democratic field, he'll have purity police chasing him around, beating his shins with their hard wooden sticks, as was the case with Candidate Clinton, who had spoken the word "super-predators" on one occasion, two decades before, at a time when the deeply troubling, triggering word was in fairly widespread use.
(Just for the record, that complaint about Candidate Clinton may have come to our fevered brains live and direct from Vladimir Putin. Also from the assistant, associate and adjunct professors, of course.)
Our self-impressed tribe is deeply flawed. Sadly though, due to the impressive fervor with which we focus on loathing The Others, we seem unable to some to terms with this basic fact.
And not only that: And not only that! Candidate Clinton had also seemed to support the racist 1994 crime bill!
Do you know the racist crime bill we mean? The one former Black Panther Bobby Rush voted for in the House?
That complaint about Candidate Clinton may have come from Vladimir too! Friends don't let comrades read Facebook, especially in these sorry times.
Tribes don't operate this way, Bob. Just because that kind of a tribe wouldn't survive very long.ReplyDelete
You're an enthusiastic supporter of a zombie death-cult. Sad.
Aside from this article by Martin, where is the flood of questions about Biden’s opposition to busing? At any rate, the point of the question, presumably, is to gauge Biden’s support for civil rights back in the day when segregation was still the norm, not to see if he supports busing today.ReplyDelete
And speaking of purity trolls, Somerby fails to mention the purity test to which Hillary was subjected, by people on the left (Bernie supporters among others), who questioned whether Hillary was a true liberal. Many called her a “neo-liberal” and refused to vote for her.
It’s also important to distinguish the mainstream media, who constantly flog the “Dems in disarray” and “purity” mantra, from actual liberal voters. The voters gave Hillary the primary win, helped along by the majority of black Democratic voters, who tend to be more moderate or centrist than the Bernie faction.
Hillary also won the popular vote handily in the general election, and the Democrats re-took the House In 2018, which makes this sound foolish: “We're silly and foolish and nobody likes us”
Anon 3:20, maybe you read the post too fast, or aren't a good reader, but TDH has 2 paragraphs in there about how Clinton was beat up on by her out of context 1990's reference to "predators". Unfortunately, also, she didn't win the popular vote handily enough in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania or Florida. And things look iffy for 2020.Delete
I'm sick of the crap.ReplyDelete
...stll, Bob, instead of enthusiastically defending Creepy Joe from a minor zombie attack, would you direct your attention to the goebbelsian treatment of Julian Assange, please?ReplyDelete
Isn't it the Trump administration who is now is going after Assange? As far as I know it's the left, like Counterpunch which is up in arms about Assange's treatment, and they think Trump is terrible.Delete
And what of it? My point, as the point of this blog, is criticism of the establishment media.Delete
Mao's saying Trump is now a Leftie. When you lost the guy who is paid to french kiss you...Delete
After surveying the current crop of Democratic candidates, the purported “loathing of The Others” is nowhere apparent.ReplyDelete
Looking through their platforms, listening to them speak, we’re just not seeing this “loathing.”
The only loathing of the "others" is done by Donald Trump and his supporters in their irrational hatred of all things progressive, which are the only people who have historicaly made progress possible in this country.ReplyDelete
Somerby is going with the idea that Biden, who has changed with the times to keep himself in the electoral mainstream throughout his career, should be as acceptable, nay as tear-in-the-eye inspiring, to all sober, fair-minded voters, as Sanders. That would be Sanders who on issue after issue has been on the right side of history, ahead of the curve for decades as an activist and a politician, and who is currently campaigning on a policy set that promises a better future for the 99% but one which today's Establishment is resisting. Sure Bob.ReplyDelete
Methinks you need to do more research on Sanders's history, including his trips abroad in his younger days. If you don't think the opposition will hound the electorate with his, to say the least, questionable stands and ideas, you should think again. He would almost certainly insure a Trump victory.Delete
Well, CMike, you maybe ought to wait and see how the primaries play out. A lot of Democratic voters aren’t wild about Sanders. There are many moderates. And that’s the thing: Sanders isn’t really a Democrat, nor has he been one. He is trying to remake an established party in his own image. He could run as an independent, but he wants the organization of the, ahem, mainstream Democratic organization to help his candidacy. If he wins, I and many others will support him. But you need to acknowledge the existence and opinions of millions of actual voters.Delete
He could run as an independent, but he wants the organization of the, ahem, mainstream Democratic organization to help his candidacy.Delete
Ralph Nader ran as an independent, specifically as a Green party candidate, in 2000. I thought the near unanimous opinion of liberals and leftists, thereafter, was that left of center candidates should run in the Democratic primary to avoid splitting the vote in the general election.
Now there's a whine that Sanders is taking, "ahem," advantage of the Democratic party, one of the two parties in our two party system, by running for the 2020 Democratic party nomination for president.
As to the offering that I "need to acknowledge the existence and opinions of millions of actual voters"- that one is about as necessary as a "you need to recognize the sky is blue" alert.
As to 5:21 PM's point claim that Sanders would be unelectable in the general election, but that some other potential Democratic party nominee would be, assumes lots of facts not in evidence.
I'd make Trump the favorite in 2020 right now because of the split in the Democratic party between corporate/neoliberal Democrats and New Deal/Great Society Democrats. Sanders, who labels himself a democratic socialist but is clearly a social democrat, is in the mainstream of the latter camp.
50 years ago, I heard Philadelphia pollster Sindlinger say, "The American voter is a selfish pig." I think he's right. Sanders has a good chance of being elected, because he promises more free stuff than any other candidate.Delete
American voters were all ready selfish pigs back in 1969? Probably had been since they had gotten in the habit of dining out on free soup during the Great Depression, I guess.Delete
Just curious David in Cal, how would you describe the average hundred millionaire or billionaire of today, including those who have inherited their fortunes? I'm guessing your dollar worshiping religion will have you going with, "By definition, they're the selfless and especially hard working types" or are you going to concede, "The only Americans who ever put in a full days work were slave plantation owners and Robber Barons"?
CMike - Maybe my comment was unclear. What I think "selfish pig" means is that voters are most concerned about how policies will help them. So, things like global warming, Trump's taxes, Clinton's blow job, or Obama and Hillary's Libyan disaster are not that important to voters. OTOH when Democrats talk about giving money to black people, that gets votes.Delete
BTW I don't mean to fault people for being selfish. Unfortunately that word has a negative connotation. But, really, I am just trying to describe what I see as reality,
David in Cal, thanks for replying in a measured tone as the level of ridicule I had directed your way was a bit excessive. (I was surprised to see you use the word "selfish" as a pejorative given that Randian objectivists celebrate that impulse as a virtue.)Delete
Giving free things to corporate executives isn't going to get enough Republican voters to win elections, so Republican pols give Republican voters something else.Delete
That's what wins elections for Republicans.
I think neither Clinton nor Biden make any secret of their long alignment with the plutocracy. If the plutocrats choose the nominee, I don't much care who it is.ReplyDelete
As for the mainstream media pundits, guess who they work for? If acknowledging that Clinton or Biden are working for the mega-rich, domestic or foreign, requires denial, they will deny.
How is this not “purity trolling” the Democratic nominee, the very thing Somerby denounces, which contributed in the last election to Trump’s victory?Delete
How is this not my dick in your mouth?Delete
"[A]lignment with the plutocracy..."? All candidates need to raise money, even from the wealthy.ReplyDelete
The wealthy buy the elections and have for sometime now. That is why, for example, we pay too much for health care and have an industrial military complex that gorges on our tax money. The rise of the internet is powerful. Increasing numbers of average Americans can no longer stomach voting for parties that only pretend to represent their interests as Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Obama did and Trump now has. Because of the the information flow on the internet, citizenz have a chance to upend this 2 party farce, this money mad purchasing of elections. It's a great, great exciting time!Delete
Unfortunately, purity is pretty much all Democrats have. Take Pete Buttigieg, for example. Aalthough he's a most impressive person, it's ridiculous for someone to jump from Mayor of small city to President. However, his lack of background doesn't invalidate him among Democrats. OTOH if evidence suggested he might conceivably have been a racist, that would sink his candidacy.ReplyDelete
I like Joe Biden, but nothing in his background suggests that he has the leadership and administrative skills to be a good President. His lack of accomplishments should be his main defect, not his decades-old racial stance.
"... purity is pretty much all Democrats have."Delete
And bigotry is the only thing Republicans have. Unless you're telling me the electorate is crying for mercury in their drinking water. And if that is the case, please provide a citation to that claim.
No fair. Republicans also have the corporate media's thumbs on the scales.Delete
Republicans have a booming economy, very low unemployment, lowering crime rate, substantial defeat of ISIS, ending US participation in several foreign wars.Delete
Republican bigotry is a myth perpetrated by Democrats. E.g., Trump referred to Mexican rapists ONE SINGLE TIME. Democrats have mentioned this single comment ONE ZILLION TIMES.
I'll leave aside that the Right-wing corporate media has spent 28 months searching high and low for ANY* reason but bigotry to explain Trump's election, and has failed EVERY time.Delete
*rigged economy, draining the swamp, Russia, Hilary's emails, etc. You name it (aside from the nation's white supremacy fetish and misogyny), and the media has looked to confirm their theories and failed.
Instead I 'll 100% agree with you on the booming Republican economy. You really can't mention enough how great the economy is doing.
Let me just note Trump's proposed budget slashes the social safety net, including a $220 Billion cut to the already under-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which feeds the needy.
I hope you'll join me in protest to these cuts, especially when the nation can so easily afford it due to our booming economy. Perhaps, we could protest together. It would be great to finally meet you. Maybe you can explain in person how Conservatives have a different ideology from Liberals, but they really aren't heartless, evil people.
That's right David. Thanks to Republicans, the nation has more than enough money to care for every man, woman, and child in need.Delete
It was truly Orwellian watching Donald J Chickenshit campaigning calling our economy the worst ever throughout, and then miraculously within months of his inauguration boasting about how we have the greatest economic situation in the history of the world. And his loyal sycophants cheering both times.Delete
Save your strength for being outraged at the captain Klink's report, dembot.Delete
Aw poor little Biden is thinking about the seat of the most powerful country in the world and people are looking into his past? Aww poor guy. Poor Joe.ReplyDelete
You can forgive your neighbor for having a bad week and not saying Merry Christmas when he sees you. It doesn't make sense to forgive politicians in the same way.
Biden represents the 1990's, when he wrote punishment culture into law to appeal to racists.
This was a period of party weakness, the Democrats did not have enough reforms to grow the party, and what reforms they accomplished were just as authoritarian as what we are aware we should be afraid of now. People are starting to turn the page on that kind of politics.
Whether he's changed is his problem. Refusing to give him quarter is about saying we are different.
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