POLITICS: Daily Round-Up

Reason #681 why I can’t stand Toby Keith: During an appearance on the July 30th broadcast of Glenn Beck’s show, Toby Keith responded to Beck’s assertion that society has significantly changed by the fact that Obama might be the next president of the United States by saying the following: “I think the black people would say he [Obama] don’t talk, act or carry himself as a black person.” When Beck, whom I don’t like but to his credit responded, “What does that even mean?” Keith answered, “Well, I don’t know what that means, but I think that that’s what they would say. Even though the black society would pull for him I still think that they think in the back of their mind that the only reason he is in [the general election] is because he talks, acts and carries himself as a Caucasian.”

People, this is a direct by-product of many different things, but a couple stand out. The first is the continued inability of so many people across color lines to speak intelligently about race, based especially on what may be the transference of Keith’s own views of Obama onto others–that perhaps he thinks Obama “talks, acts and carries himself like a Caucasian” and not only what Keith thinks “black” is. That in and of itself could be the focus of a blog in its own right. The second, that actually undergirds the first, is that cheap, dime-store psychology has so thoroughly replaced actual analytical thought in our society and especially modern political discourse (much of which I’d attribute to Rush Limbaugh) that it has dangerously dumbed down what poses as political commentary in the US. On what basis is Keith aware of what others on a broad level, of any race, think? On what basis is Keith claiming to understand how he and others understand what “black’ is? What is acting “black” and “Caucasian” to Keith? This anti-intellectual approach Keith has proffered allows political commentators, especially on FAUX News but certainly others on CNN and other big media outlets, to insert the baselessly generic “Some say…” as an entryway into political discussion instead of, oh, I don’t know, using an actual quote from someone. More importantly, it also allows people to shape and refract a debate to points that not only may or may not be true, but also are a de facto intellectual dead end since, based on cheap psychology, they are neither provable nor disprovable when unattributed and not grounded. Lastly, it allows people to insert themselves into debates they have no business entering yet do because, armed with cheap psychology and not actual information, they can speak with the thread-bare tissue of force and inflection instead of detailed information. Like a certain backside orifice, everyone has an opinion. However, that doesn’t make all opinions informed or based on something accurate, verifiable, or worthwhile.

I can’t say I’m exactly surprised that Keith allowed this unvarnished nonsense to exit his face, considering his critique of The Dixie Chicks, that they should “shut up and play music” instead of express their own views of being from the same state as President Bush. Apparently, political pronouncements should be the provenance of those who feel the nation should flail about and “put a boot in [the] ass” of others whether or not they had anything to do with terrorist attacks on the nation, who claim to know the thoughts of others while showing little ability to develop and deliver informed thoughts and opinions–in this case about race–himself.

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Published in: on August 7, 2008 at 10:38 am  Comments (10)  

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  1. infuriating–but interesting–thanks!

    i wonder why obama is called black when he could just as easily be called white? half and half isn’t he?–oh i forgot the racist formula in this country…

  2. Mike the racist formula works both ways in this country. I can guarantee you that almost 98 percent of black people will vote for Obama in the election. Is that a racist forumula? It seems to me that Jason is a liberal especially since he quotes the daily kos and the NY Times. I’m not sure you will get great debates by favoring one side over the other. You’ll get a lot of people coming here going, yeah, you’re right! It’s the republicans’ fault! I’m sure a lot of people down south will vote for McCain. A lot of this election won’t be decided on who’s the better candidate but it will be decided on race and this is why I feel that Obama has no chance. I actually have to favor Obama because I’m on medicaid and McCain and the Republicans make it much harder for people on the medicaid waiver so either way, I’m probably voting for Obama. I just feel that you should bring both points into discussion unless you want a pro liberal type of forum. If that’s the case, fire away against the conservatives.

  3. well most of the current problems in this country HAVE been caused or exacerbated by george bush and his corporate string pullers. and yes, i happen to be a liberal and abhor almost everything the republican party stands for- corporate greed, intolerance, imperialism, class division, the end of the middle class for a few examples. even you-clearly a reactionary, feel obligated to vote for obama because you see that it is indeed in your own interest–yet it’s clear that you would rather not. why?

  4. Because he’s “too” liberal. I don’t like when one party swings too far to the left or too far to the right. We need another party. Like abortion, the republicans don’t favor abortion but I do. They don’t favor same sex marriages but I do. The republicans favor big oil which I HATE. Now to the democrats. They don’t favor execution but I do. The don’t favor the patriot act but I do. They favor allowing people to protest at a soldier’s funeral which I hate and I think is very disgusting and disrepectful. I hate the idea that people have to be on one side or the other. It stinks.

  5. To briefly interject–though you both can feel free to continue the trajectory of your discussion–Mike might or might not have been referring to this in particular. But when I read “racist formula,” it seemed to refer to notions of racial definitions based on ancestry which, in this country, have historically been used to define race and discriminate against people of color. For example, in the South and especially Louisiana, race was subdivided very strictly along racial lines, with non-whites including all people who had any black, Latino, or Native American ancestry. Many states had “one-drop” laws defining whites and people of color based on any non-white heritage at all. Plus, I’d add that considering voting patterns is not the same as determining racism but how race operates. There’s a big difference, for that would be to say that Democrats in the South and North switched and voted for Republicans especially in national elections because they were racists, when in fact many reasons–racial conflict, sure but really much more–were in play from the mid-60s onward. Some who vote for candidates of the same race are racists. But much more is at work to account for voting patterns. Obama is doing rather well in pre-election polls, including among working-class whites with whom, according to Clinton supporters and many pundits, Obama allegedly had a problem.

    I also think–for everybody’s consumption–that good debates come from people with different views sharing them, perhaps finding common ground or perhaps agreeing to disagree, but disagreeing and in the process framing issues along lines more broadly configured or considered than before. I welcome people to disagree with me, and Mike and I have had our disagreements about Obama and politics. I define my political views not as liberal but “of the left,” which I consider distinct from liberal and liberalism though at times overlapping. If people want to believe that I’m wrong on various issues for various reasons, that’s fine and I’d welcome it. I’ll respond with reasons why I believe in what I do but, as long as things don’t get personal or nasty, we should be fine. Debate and occasional disagreements are normal, healthy, and good. People don’t necessarily have to present both sides of something (though I may frame or describe issues based on various viewpoints), but should present their views and be willing to listen to others do the same. My hope is with some decorum here for all who do.

    In your last comment, Sean, you’re discussing Obama and the Democrats, but is Obama really in favor of the things you attribute to the Democrats? On the Patriot Act, the Democrats supported it wholeheartedly when it passed 357-66 in the House and 98-1 in the Senate–with practically no debate. What they and others eventually objected to were the provisions–which most legislators didn’t read at the time–that allowed the government to very broadly define everyday citizens engaged in various activities as potential terrorists, to spy on Americans including gaining access to library records and other private information, and an obscure provision which allowed the president to circumvent Congress and replace US Attorneys General. On the death penalty, check the January 13, 2003 show of “DemocracyNow!” [the link is on the right under “RADIO.”] In Illinois, the moratorium on the death penalty was a big deal for various reasons–corruption, false imprisonment, wrongful convictions through torture and coercion, and more.

    Carry on and enjoy each other’s company. Thanks for discussing things here, people.

  6. Hey J.. I’m going to make an attempt at a live in game thing tonight if you can stop by. I’m dying to use this new thing I found, where it’s kind of a chat window. It doesn’t work on wordpress so I’ll be doing it MLBlogs. Hope you can swing by.

  7. Political discussion huh?

    My beliefs are center right. I am particularly a hawk on foreign policy. However, I did not support the Iraq War because I was never convinced they had anything to with September 11th. My thoughts on the economy are alot more mixed. I don’t believe in raising taxes but I am not completely against government involvement. Totally unregulated capitalism can turn into an unmitigated disaster. On social issues I tend to be conservative.

    All in all I am not in favor of Obama. His lofty ideas of change come off more like a gimick then anything else. Where are the specifics? The Democrats have basically come off as the Anti-Bush party in recent elections. It might work this election but what about in the future? Plus I absolutely do not trust a man who wants to negotiate with Kim Jong Il, Ahmadenijad, etc without stating what he would give Iran/North Korea as an incentive to come to the table. It proves to me Obama is somewhat of a light weight on foreign policy. If Bush somehow extradites us from Iraq on October 28thh, what is Obama going to do? He’ll be without his signature issues and dead in the water on foreign policy. These are a few concerns I have with Obama.

    Decorum is a good thing Jason. Whether you are a Tax-achusetts Liberal or an Eccenctric Carolinia Right Wing Nut Job.

  8. The Bombers are 6.5 back and Joba goes down and we result to politics?

  9. yeah- the non -negotiation stance has worked SO well for this administration.

  10. Tim, I would never have guessed your politics as at least somewhat right wing. 🙂 It’s interesting that in saying that you believe the Democrats to have been anti-Bush lately (not exactly an inaccurate assessment; nor an unjustified position in my view), I didn’t notice anything pro-McCain in your comment. I get that you’re not keen on Obama, but are you keen on McCain? I understand where you’re coming from about Obama and negotiations, but in a way what Obama is NOT doing is subverting Bush’s own negotiations this week with N. Korea with proposals. Plus, Obama does offer specific proposals for Iran in exchange for its nuclear programs, such as WTO membership and business investment. He has in fact made specific proposals, and money often works in diplomacy. From the right, as far as pundits and politicians, I have heard few specific charges from opponents of Obama regarding his purportedly being vague.

    In my view, it would be impossible for Obama to be any worse on foreign policy than Bush has been–who had no foreign policy experience before becoming president in the sham election of 2000. It showed every step of the way his two terms, doing nothing but war mongering and avoiding any semblance of diplomacy at crucial times, to mention nothing of torture, secret prisons, being outmaneuvered by Russia on their gas deals with former republics and China–all foreign policy failures and embarrassments (and the former human rights and international law violations) and more.

    On the possibility of troop withdrawals this year, I believe this issue has come up every year since the invasion but hasn’t materialized. I won’t hold my breath on it. Whether or not it does, the next president will have a heck of a mess in Iraq to handle and clean up after the last several years of war.


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