kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Name:
Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tolerance

Geraldine Ferraro has gotten in the news recently for some comments about Barack Obama. I can't really remember the last time I heard her name, although I'm sure her contributions to society have been vast, important, and possibly monumental. She no doubt was nominated for Vice President due to her outstanding career as a legislator and statesperson.

I think we need to be tolerant, and start giving people a bit more of a break. When Hillary Clinton was asked if she thought Barack Obama was a Muslim, rather than responding "no," she said "I have no reason to think so." As Keith Olbermann pointed out, perhaps that should have Obama's response when asked about Samantha Power's characterization of Clinton as a "monster."

I call for fewer apologies. Let people say what they think, and let the voters decide. Rather than censuring Ferraro, let's allow her to explain more fully her views. No more cries of "sexism" or "racism" without arguments or justification for the charge. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

And let's not excoriate Ms. Ferraro as a racist for saying this:

Ferraro, the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 1984 and the only woman ever nominated by a major party for either of the top two U.S. political offices, ignited a flap by telling a California newspaper that "if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."

"And if he was a woman he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept," Ferraro said.

Rather, let's consider than the genuine possibility that the pedigree of this comment may have even more years on it than one of racism and sexism, if such a thing is possible.

Let's consider that she is this:

An idiot.

30 Comments:

Blogger Bazarov said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Bazarov said...

Forgive me. That wasn't very tolerant of me.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, gosh, let's see now. Obama gets 90% of the black vote in Mississippi. If Obama were a white man, he would not get 90% of the black vote in Mississippi (or anywhere else). Thus, if he were not a black man, he would not be in this position. Is this not what Ferraro said? Am I missing something?

And yes, I know it's not just about the black vote in Mississippi. It's also about Oprah, and his exotic background as an articulate black man who went to Harvard, etc. His progressive anti-Bush policies surely accounts for a good percentage of white progressive support, but we've had white progressives before, and they often sank like a stone. What puts this black progressive where he is, is, quite undeniably, the black vote! I don't see how Ferraro was wrong.


-Duke

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama supporters have been portrayed by some as having a cult-like obsession. While I think that is an exaggeration, the fact that otherwise intelligent people such as Olberman (and now yourself) would seriously argue that "no" and "I have no reason to think so" are two different answers points to a certain disconnect with reality.

12:37 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

"If Obama were a white man, he would not get 90% of the black vote in Mississippi (or anywhere else). Thus, if he were not a black man, he would not be in this position. Is this not what Ferraro said? Am I missing something."

You might want to look at the percentage of the white vote Clinton got in the 1992, or 1996 primaries. Standardly, the Republicans (since the Republicans started to dominate the South, electorally) have rarely gotten 10% of the African-American vote.

9:36 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

I just checked CNN's exit polls for Mississippi. Kerry received 90%, on the button, of the African-American vote.

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/MS/P/00/epolls.0.html

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a USA Today article (3/11/08): "Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP, expects black voter turnout to be as much 50 percent higher than in the 2004 primary." There's been a lot of energy nationally, and I think African-Americans here are excited and energized, too," he said."

So the percentages are the same, but the turnout is much greater this time around. This, of course, is a good thing. But let's not be disingenuous and claim that Kerry and Bill got the same amount of black support that Obama is getting, especially if we're going to use that claim to attack Ferraro's assessment, which remains right on the money.

-Duke

10:54 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Are black people excited that a black, or quasi-black, or whatever, man might become President? Sure.

Are Democrats excited that they might end the reign of Bushness, and take over the Executive Branch? Sure.

Hence a large turnout, and an especially large turnout of African-Americans.

African-Americans have voted in the same percentage, so in that sense the claim that a white person "would not get 90% of the black vote" is simply false.

In any case, this is all a distinct point from the claim that Obama has gotten where he has soley because he is a black man.

As he (and as Roger Simon of Politico, not really a communist) pointed out, being black--not to mention having the name "Barack Obama" might not traditionally be seen as a huge advantage, given how successful black candidates have been at become Senators and Presidents.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice! Calling Geraldine Ferraro an idiot!. That should lay to rest all of those ridiculous accusations that it's the Clinton camp that has the "nasty, attack tone."

It should also lay to rest any (remaining) claims that there is no anti-Clinton bias in the media. For while Ferraro is excoriated for her analysis by the likes of Keith Olbermann and his cabal of latter-day Clinton haters, Samantha Powers is given a free pass, both in the media and on this blog. Somewhere, Ken Starr is proud.

Maybe the earlier comment was right after all. Maybe it is a cult. (If you were in a cult, how would you know it?)

1:27 PM  
Blogger Bazarov said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Bazarov said...

If you were in a cult, how would you know it? People like me would tell you.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

benjamin dover,

Idiot hardly covers it - the proper term is "racist democrat". Although, that would hardly suit your agena.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of idiots, the previous poster ought to learn how to spell/type.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Bazarov said...

I love infighting, no matter how cheap :)

9:44 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

"Samantha Powers is given a free pass, both in the media and on this blog. Somewhere, Ken Starr is proud."

Power made a brief remark, and resigned within 24 hours of it hitting the front page of "The Scotsman." Now, I know a lot of people read this paper, but somehow the story got picked up anyway. How that is a "free pass" escapes me.

Ferraro made virtually the same comment, word for word, about Jesse Jackson, and had been--and continues to say--saying it for weeks, and finally "resigned" from a campaign she was somehow not part of, claiming to be the victim.

Power is an academic, Ferrarro is a pol. Perhaps one of them is more accustomed to dealing with the media?

Obama is, in my view, a better candidate than Clinton or McCain. It hardly requires the commitment to a cult to hold that view. Does he have flaws? Of course. Are they crippling? Perhaps; I've got until November, if he gets the nomination, to determine if I will regard him as inferior to McCain. And there would be, of course, no third option.

At one point, Obama wasn't "black enough." He was also rumored to be a Muslim. Now he's too black, and while now a Christian, he's the wrong kind.

If that was particularly relevant in my assessment of him as a Presidential candidate, then I would worry a lot about what his former pastor said. I think there might be more substantial issues involved in this race than what has been the focus of the racist Democrats and the friendly media, to date.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think there might be more substantial issues involved in this race than what has been the focus of the racist Democrats and the friendly media, to date."

The lecturing tone with which you conclude your latest post is somewhat negated by the fact that your entire blog is dedicated to fairly unsubstantial—even incendiary—issues. Where's the discussion of Obama policies? Where's the comparison between Obama and Clinton's foreign and economic policy? Where is the _actual_ argument about who would be the better president and why?

Instead, all we get from you is that your voting for Obama because you're afraid the right-wing will attack Clinton, and that Ferraro is an Idiot. (Oh and by the way, you did not call Powers an idiot, for saying something arguably worse than Ferraro. That is a free pass.)

In 2000, we had an election that pitted someone who was appealing to the masses against someone who was seen as "wooden" and "stiff." I need not remind you what happened. In many ways, you are a true Obama supporter, appealing to emotion rather than concentrating on facts. Like him, perhaps you are afraid that, if the actual policies are compared, he would not measure up to Clinton. That's fine, but please spare us your condescending lecturing.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More hypocrisy from this blog and the media:

Back in August, Obama told the AP that he's the "only candidate who, having won the nomination, can actually redraw the political map." The reason? Black voters. "I guarantee you African-American turnout, if I'm the nominee, goes up 30 percent around the country, minimum," he said. "So we're in a position to put states in play that haven't been in play since LBJ."

So Obama himself is injecting race into the campaign, and is stating, in no uncertain terms, that his success is due to black support. Yet when Ferraro said essentially the same thing, she is called a racist and an idiot.

Even if you disagree with this analysis, it is clearly an issue that needs debating, an issue that is at the forefront of this campaign. To dismiss it with ad hominem (or, rather, ad feminam) attacks does, once again, suggest, if not malice, certainly disingenuousness and cult-like obsession. I understand the irony of calling your intolerant blog "Tolerance" (not that funny), but there's another level of irony that undoubtedly escapes you: whereas the first word of your posting does not apply to you, the last one certainly does.

10:05 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

"all we get from you is that your voting for Obama because you're afraid the right-wing will attack Clinton, and that Ferraro is an Idiot."

I don't even know where to start. A few things: I said one of the reasons I would support Obama was that a Clinton administration might well face the kinds of attacks reminiscent of the Arkansas Project. Now this becomes the sole reason.

Ferraro managed, in one sentence, to suggest that all of Obama's accomplishments, however thin, were irrelevant. This is old time politics, from an old-time politician. The entry, by the way, was about Ferraro, not Power; let me just go out on a limb and suggest that an academic in an interview saying Clinton is a "monster" is perhaps a bit different than a lifetime politician saying that Obama, and presumably any black person who has success, could only have arrived at such a point due to race. Period. I would think those who object to this kind of thing being said about Clarence Thomas might well object here, as well; their silence has been rather noticeable.

I'm glad, whoever you are, that you read my blog. I'm sorry that what I say isn't dealing with the topics--e.g. Samantha Power--that you wish, in the way that you wish.

Obama never denied black support was crucial to his candidacy; I bet he would also say that a number of other demographic groups are, and that some of these groups are energized and excited by his campaign. This is "injecting" race, and gender, and traditional liberal values, into a race against two people who have been at this game for a long time.

"The lecturing tone with which you conclude your latest post is somewhat negated by the fact that your entire blog is dedicated to fairly unsubstantial—even incendiary—issues."

My entire blog is dedicated to a variety of things, as indicated at the top. Sometimes politics, sometimes old girlfriends. It is probably going to require that "lecturing tone" to point out that what I say here is hardly an exhaustive treatment of political issues as a whole. Mostly just remarks, frequently smart-ass remarks, about "whatever pops into my little brain."

Relax a bit. Cheers.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two points, and then I'll drop the discussion.

You said: "the claim that 'a white person would not get 90% of the black vote' is simply false."

My original claim, of course was about the Democratic primary, not the general election. OF COURSE the democrat usually gets 90% on the black vote in the general election. But in the primary, I reiterate that if Obama were not a black man, he would not have gotten 90% of the black vote in Mississippi. In fact if you can find a single example, in ANY contested primary (that is, with more than one viable candidate), where a white candidate has gotten 90% of the black vote, I'll concede the point.

In light of that, Ferraro's analysis is STILL right on the money. There is nothing to indicate in her statement that she was speaking of the entirety of Obama's accomplishments (going to Harvard, getting into the Illinois legistlature, etc.) That was inferred by those who sought to find racism in it. But clearly she was only speaking of what he has achieved in this election, i.e. his frontrunner status. And of course, she was absolutely right: undeniably (and, as the previous poster pointed out, by his own admission), Obama would not currently be the Democratic frontrunner without the black vote.

-Duke

2:50 PM  
Blogger kmosser said...

You might note I said

"I call for fewer apologies. Let people say what they think, and let the voters decide. Rather than censuring Ferraro, let's allow her to explain more fully her views. No more cries of "sexism" or "racism" without arguments or justification for the charge."

I didn't accuse her of racism. I do think what she said was foolish--idiotic, indeed--to suggest that the only variable in play is race. That if Obama were a female, or white, he would not have been where he is.

We can consider this as a sociological thesis, and try to disambiguate the variables. Perhaps he wouldn't have gotten into Columbia, or Harvard, without racial preferences. Perhaps his "unusual name" brought him to the attention of voters. The Republlican implosion that led him to running against Keyes in the Illinois Senate was luck. I doubt if anyone but a sociologist would think, at this point, anyone was still doing serious analysis. It's guesswork.

Ferraro seems to think that being black, or part black, or whatever, is a huge advantage in electoral politics. Historically, this doesn't seem to be born out.

One might argue that blacks are voting for Obama only because he is black. One might also consider the kind of support Clinton had among that community when she announced.

I have no doubt that many people vote for Obama because he is black, although I'm not sure of what numbers of people vote for him solely for that reason.

It's a great argument I've heard from conservatives, for the most part: if blacks vote for him, they are racist. If whites vote for him, they are doing so to assuage their guilt. First he's not black enough, now he's too black; then he's a Muslim, then a Christian, then the wrong kind of Christian.

He wants to end the war as quickly as possible. He wants to eliminate some of the regressiveness in the tax code, and let some of the Bush tax cuts expire. He wants to observe Constitutional niceties against illegal wiretaps and torture. He seems to think that building coalitions with like-minded Republicans and Independents makes more sense than regarding politics as a zero-sum game. He thinks teaching to the test is not the sole end of education, and that education is important, thus deserving more than lip service often given by the current Administration.

These are some of the reasons I voted for him. Well, and of course, since he's colored.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your China blog and photos. Especially the photo looking out from your apartment. The laundry hanging out to dry.
Groovy picture. Have you ever seen the movie '25th hour'? Should watch it. JBR

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geraldine intentionally and carefully chose her words. Probably was coached on how to say it. She went all of the airwaves blabbing how she fought for blacks and loves blacks and isn’t a racist. I personally saw several different TV shows cover her. So it is splashed all over the headlines. Mission Accomplished!!! What the closet rascist democrats and or republicans dare not say to one another. The fear mongering put out by the Clinton camp, “Obama got where he is because he is black”. It is part of the thrown everything at him including the kitchen sink attack. Below the belt? Yes. Disingenuous?> Yes. Low down old fashioned mudslinging? Yep. And it worked, Clinton got their message out LOUD LOUD LOUD and not so clear. Unclear and all the better. Thus the discussion, on radio TV airwaves, blogs, and newspapers continues. So who won this round?
I think the insurmountable Obama preacher problem will be the death blow the media smell blood and refuses to let the go. (This is rascism the old fashioned media can use against him, propaganda 101), and the Bill-O, Rush crowd can hardly controlling there glee. Hillary they can beat, Obama not so sure.

OldCajunMan

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to throw down and get back to work, WTF.
It has more spelling/grammar errors than fleas on my hunting dog.
To the nitpicky grammar queens,…. Byte me (pun intended).
Oldcajunman cant type worth spit but he sure is pissed off and in a hurry so cut me some slack jack!

3:02 PM  
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