Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Racism, Race-Baiting, Identity Politics, and Playing the Race Card" Examples: 2012

EXAMPLES AND ANALYSIS: 2012 "Racism, Race-Baiting, Identity Politics, and Playing the Race Card"
"Instead of smallpox, plagues, drought and Conquistadors, the Republican decline will be traced to a stubborn refusal to adapt to a world where poor people and sick people and black people and brown people and female people and gay people count."
-- Columnist Maureen Dowd, December 9, 2012.

Comment: Dowd is demonizing Republicans, saying that they don't care about the poor or the sick, and that they are racists, misogynists, and homophobes.

"In the wake of the election, there's no doubt the Republican Party is capable of making some adjustments to rebrand itself. If nothing else, the party has demonstrated its proclivity for sloganeering and marketing and there are plenty of ways it can adjust its messaging. But it's obvious to anyone paying attention that the base simply won't allow the party to change in any meaningful way. The base is deeply encased within the twisted, alternate-reality looking glass that the GOP has been constructing throughout the last three decades: a realm of anger, racial resentment, distrust of government, hatred of immigrants and violently anti-choice misogynists and demagogues. The party has deliberately incited these tendencies via the conservative entertainment complex, as David Frum called it on Morning Joe -- AM talk radio, Fox News Channel and the like -- and augmented it with the generous contributions of wealthy financiers who bankroll everything from astroturf campaigns to the bulk-purchasing of every book-length screed by Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck. The problem this creates, of course, is that the Republican Party has been consumed by misinformed idiots with no substantial connection to the real world, and the first post-election PPP poll only serves to amplify this conclusion."
-- Columnist Bob Cesca, December 6, 2012.

Comment: Cesca is indulging in name-calling, against Republicans, demonizing them and saying that they are stupid, and that they are racists and bigots. Are there no moral considerations animating Republicans, only racism, misogyny, xenophobia, etc.? Cesca also indulges in "demagogue" rhetoric.

"Schools are fucking ruined, and schools are ruined not because they’re out of money, but because we’re flooded with Mexicans, and they’re not into studying. They don’t come from that culture, and we’re not asking them to change. That’s the thing. We have a culture that is not focused on the schoolwork. It’s a different culture. It’s, by the way, why their culture is failing, and their country, ironically, it’s why they’re here. They’re here because they ain’t into studying. And somebody needs to tell them to get into studying. The family has to get into studying. The families have to be -- the family is all you’re ever going to use, or all you’re ever going to need, when it comes to this topic. There’s just not enough money for the school system. There’s not enough principals. You’ve heard this speech a million times. Families need to take cultures. Basically what we need to is go, ‘Look, here’s our culture. Our culture values family, studying and hard work and education.’ That’s our culture. Now you’re presumably coming from a country that does not focus on that as much in your culture."
-- Comedian Adam Carolla, November 28, 2012, on a podcast for The Adam Carolla Show.

Comment: What is Carolla's evidence for these remarks about Mexicans? That they don't value schoolwork or studying, hard work or education? What proof does he have that this is true of Mexican culture as a whole? People can have any number of reasons for leaving their home country, education isn't necessarily one of them. And, while it's undoubtedly true that there are people who don't apply themselves to school and education as much as they could (or should), does it follow that the entire culture they belong to is dismissive of education? This seems like hasty generalization at best, and an awfully derisive caricature -- even racist -- at worst.

TRUMP: The one thing I have to tell the Republicans, they’ve got to get tougher. If they don’t get tough, they’re not going to win this election.
KILMEADE: Give me an example of tough, like, how do you get tough?
TRUMP: Well, I think there are a lot of ways of getting tough. I think they're pandering to Obama. I think they're being so nice to Obama it's unbelievable. And John McCain made that mistake, he absolutely made that mistake. And, you know, they're just afraid to attack this man, and he should be attacked, if you look at the job he's done and the lousy job he's done as president, he should be attacked. And they're afraid to attack him, and it's disgraceful, and I won't even get into specifics, but there are many specifics that maybe we'll talk about next Monday. … You've got to attack Obama, you've got to attack him strongly, you've got to talk about what a horrible job he's doing as president. They're afraid to attack him, they don't want to be called racist because any time you say anything bad about Obama, you get called a racist. Bill Clinton was called a racist … Look, they don't want to be called racist, they don't want to attack him, and if they don't attack him, guess what? They're not going to win the election.
-- Businessman and TV personality Donald Trump, September 10, 2012, speaking with Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade.

Comment: Kilmeade makes a sensible request for Trump to provide details for what "get tough" means (political rhetoric frequently just gets asserted without being explained and defended). Trump doesn't give much in the way of details (though I guess he promises them for "next Monday") beyond the call to point out what a "lousy job" Obama has done as president. But this is exactly what Romney did in his convention speech, using many unfair tactics. Was Romney's speech "nice" to Obama? Trump also claims that race and accusations of racism play a role in people not criticizing Obama (or not offering "tough" criticism, whatever that means).

"Romney’s getting desperate, so he’s playing the race card. He’s campaigning on the bogus charge that Obama wants to gut Bill Clinton’s welfare reform law. ... Clinton pushed this issue back then for the same reason Romney is pushing it now: to appeal to white working class voters who can be swayed by not-so-subtle racist innuendo. Only Romney is also doing so to reinforce. ... No, facts don’t matter to [GOP presidential candidate Mitt] Romney. He’ll do anything, including exploit racism, to get votes."
-- Columnist Matthew Rothschild, August 8, 2012.

Comment: Rothschild wrote this as part of an article in which he criticized an ad from Romney's campaign that -- Rothschild believed -- distorted President Barack Obama's position on welfare reform. If Obama (or Rothschild, for that matter) are ever found to have distorted their opponent's record, does that prove that they, too, will do anything to get votes? Rothschild also accuses Romney of racism (presumably because some people associate welfare with minorities).

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