Other Cards in the Deck | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Other Cards in the Deck

Much has been made about whether Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama played "the race card" in a series of press-filtered exchanges that included analogy to Martin Luther King, Jr. and former President Lyndon B. Johnson. During MSNBC's Las Vegas debate on Tuesday—which, interestingly enough, was supposed to focus on Black and Brown issues—hosts Tim Russert and Brian Williams spent substantial air time pressing Obama and Clinton on a supposed "race war." John Edwards—whose media attention managed to diminish even further as the press salivated over the race bout—was finally invited to weigh in:

"What is a white male to do running against these historic candidacies?" one viewer wanted to know.

(Brian Williams later celebrated the historic diversity of the candidates by giving voice to internet-circulated conspiracy theories about Obama.)

The thing is, nothing about Hillary Clinton invoking the partnership of King and Johnson was racist. Racial politics is real (Haley Barbour helped invent its modern usage, in the Southern Strategy), and its ugly, not-too-distant history makes mincemeat out of Clinton's reasonable Civil Rights analogy. There's a difference between "fanning the flames" about the indignities of racism—something the media has an obligation to do—and manufacturing scandal out of campaign fodder.

So far, the media has done plenty of the latter, without paying much attention to the former. But the 2008 Campaign has indeed exposed genuine racism, sexism and intolerance. Not surprisingly, most of it has been on the side of the Republicans.

Here are a few of the worst examples:

-In a scramble to appear tougher-than-thou on immigration, Mike Huckabee signed a pledge of "no amnesty" with the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA, whose ties to eugenics I've written about in the past. NumbersUSA now rates Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney as having "excellent" stances on immigration—while giving John McCain a rating of "abysmal" for refusing to accept those candidates' proposal for massive deportation.

-Amidst the typical flurry of anonymous attack ads, one South Carolina political hopeful put his name on an overtly racist commercial aimed at Sen. Lindsay Graham (who is currently campaigning for McCain). The ad, a swipe at Graham's support for McCain's immigration bill, features images of border patrol police arresting Latino families, while salsa music plays in the background and Latino actors thank Graham in Spanish. It begins with, "To see this message in English, press 1." Other than "Lou Dobbs Tonight," it's probably the most hateful anti-Latino propaganda I've seen aired on T.V.

-In an interview with BeliefNet, Huckabee equated homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia. By the way, this is the former governor of Arkansas—not, you know, a 12-year-old kid who doesn't know any better:

Is it your goal to bring the Constitution into strict conformity with the Bible? Some people would consider that a kind of dangerous undertaking, particularly given the variety of biblical interpretations.

Well, I don't think that's a radical view to say we're going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what's been historic.

-Probably the most horrifying revelation so far in the campaign is that Ron Paul—a hero to anti-war progressives, libertarians and fringe anti-government groups—authored, or at least edited, a newsletter that for decades espoused anti-Semetic, racist, and anti-gay rhetoric. His excuse that he didn't know about the content of a newsletter that bore his name is pathetic.

From the New Republic investigative piece:


Martin Luther King Jr. earned special ire from Paul's newsletters, which attacked the civil rights leader frequently, often to justify opposition to the federal holiday named after him. ("What an infamy Ronald Reagan approved it!" one newsletter complained in 1990. "We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.") In the early 1990s, newsletters attacked the "X-Rated Martin Luther King" as a "world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours," "seduced underage girls and boys," and "made a pass at" fellow civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy. One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that "Welfaria," "Zooville," "Rapetown," "Dirtburg," and "Lazyopolis" were better alternatives. The same year, King was described as "a comsymp, if not an actual party member, and the man who replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration."

Ironically, one of the issues Paul lists on his Web site is racism. He writes there, "By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called "diversity" actually perpetuate racism." This line of thinking, common among white supremacists and others who bemoan the absence of a "White History Month," seeks to hide the horrors of our past, and the often race-based realities of the present. Paul's solution—of choosing "liberty" over racial identity—is clearly rooted in hateful thinking. After hundreds of years of slavery, Jim Crow, and systematic oppression, race cannot be ignored. The media's duty to report this reality, though, is no excuse for its distortion of a "race war" among candidates. In fact, the press' manipulation of presupposed racial tension, in this instance, is a disservice to the civil-rights leaders who sought to bring attention to the real problem of race in this country.

Having a black candidate in this race has both exposed bigotries and, to a small degree, righted them. The fact that a substantial number of American have voted for a black man, and a woman, to lead this country says that we've come a long way. But, we must avoid exploiting Obama's race, and Clinton's gender, while still holding accountable the candidates who pander to hate and fear. Last I checked, Obama's message was something more positive than that.

Previous Comments

ID
116435
Comment

Probably the most horrifying revelation so far in the campaign is that Ron Paul–a hero to anti-war progressives, libertarians and fringe anti-government groups–authored, or at least edited, a newsletter that for decades espoused anti-Semetic, racist, and anti-gay rhetoric. His excuse that he didn't know about the content of a newsletter that bore his name is pathetic. Thank you, Matt, for pointing this out. All you have to do is read that man's platform to see what a horror he is. Newsletter aside, look at his stance on immigration, period.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-19T10:46:54-06:00
ID
116436
Comment

Matt, thank you for writing this. You've opened my eyes big time to some things I wasn't aware of. Makes you wonder who you can trust.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-01-19T12:03:52-06:00
ID
116437
Comment

I love the Ron Paul smear campaigns. I guess it's different for Paul, than it would be for Obama. You know, Obama's pastor really likes and talks up Farakhan, right? Does that even matter?

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-19T15:08:30-06:00
ID
116438
Comment

Sorry, hit submit too fast. Farakhan, if you don't know, is a racist, and an anti-semite. Does that change anything? At least Paul has apologized for the newsletters that bear his name, which he has denied writing.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-19T15:09:54-06:00
ID
116439
Comment

First of all, LawClerk, Obama has responded to a member of his church endorsing Farakhan: "I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan," Obama said in the statement. "I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree." Ron Paul, on the other hand, has denied any knowledge of a newsletter bearing his name espousing equally hateful rhetoric, for decades. (It goes without saying that Paul bears an incredible amount of responsibility for writing released, without byline, under his name. Obama, on the other hand, bears little, if any, responsibility for his pastor's actions.) Paul's statement, in response to the New Republic piece, does not offer any former apologies, and instead attributes the unveiling of the Ron Paul Report, as you do, to political motives.

Author
msaldana
Date
2008-01-19T17:52:12-06:00
ID
116440
Comment

Make that formal apologies. Paul does write of apparent former apologies: "For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.” He adds: “This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It's once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary." Sounds sincere.

Author
msaldana
Date
2008-01-19T17:58:25-06:00
ID
116441
Comment

Law Clerk Said: Farakhan, if you don't know, is a racist, and an anti-semite. Does that change anything? At least Paul has apologized for the newsletters that bear his name, which he has denied writing. I am Sorry but this is so uninformed. Members of ethnic minority Groups such as Farrakhan are not racists, because due to the fact that "racism" means that the majority group is exercicing politcal and society's power over minorities groups. So Since Farrakhan is a member of a minority group Then How can he be Rasict, Thank You.

Author
Dem Gal
Date
2008-01-19T19:33:13-06:00
ID
116442
Comment

Members of ethnic minority Groups such as Farrakhan are not racists, because due to the fact that "racism" means that the majority group is exercicing politcal and society's power over minorities groups. Please tell me you're joking. Otherwise, I think that's among the most pathetic things ever said on this board. I don't mean to be so harsh, but it is what it is. I'm a black man and if I were to say "I hate white people" or "I hate Mexicans", then that would make me a racist. Every race has someone who is racist. It may not be out in the open as white on black, but it's there. Here's a definition of racism, from dictionary.com: 1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others. 2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination. 3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races. Using any of the definitions listed, me simply hating a person or persons of another race makes me a racist, regardless of my color. And if you feel the same way, then that makes you a racist as well.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-01-19T23:02:31-06:00
ID
116443
Comment

Stormfront.org routing for Ron Paul? I'm done...

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-01-20T18:06:43-06:00
ID
116444
Comment

Farakhan routing for Obama??? I'm done...

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-20T18:35:34-06:00
ID
116445
Comment

"I am Sorry but this is so uninformed. Members of ethnic minority Groups such as Farrakhan are not racists, because due to the fact that "racism" means that the majority group is exercicing politcal and society's power over minorities groups. So Since Farrakhan is a member of a minority group Then How can he be Rasict, Thank You." Hahahaa..... and such is the problem. If you don't have an accurate definition of racism, you can make anything fit it. What you have describe is not racism, but democracy.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-20T18:38:21-06:00
ID
116446
Comment

Farakhan routing for Obama??? I'm done... Well, I looked at Matt's post above: First of all, LawClerk, Obama has responded to a member of his church endorsing Farakhan: [quote]"I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan," Obama said in the statement. "I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree."[/quote] Ron Paul, on the other hand, has denied any knowledge of a newsletter bearing his name espousing equally hateful rhetoric, for decades. (It goes without saying that Paul bears an incredible amount of responsibility for writing released, without byline, under his name. Obama, on the other hand, bears little, if any, responsibility for his pastor's actions.) Paul's statement, in response to the New Republic piece, does not offer any former apologies, and instead attributes the unveiling of the Ron Paul Report, as you do, to political motives. When Ron Paul makes a statement denouncing Stormfront.org and David Duke, maybe I'll see him differently.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-01-20T19:49:09-06:00
ID
116447
Comment

"When Ron Paul makes a statement denouncing Stormfront.org and David Duke, maybe I'll see him differently." So, that's where we are today, eh? It's one of those "prove you're not a racist" thing. Well, that's BS and you know it. Just because he has *some* supporters that espouse one particular view, doesn't mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater, you know? If you want to believe he is a racist, then go for it. If you want to judge him by his supporters then fine. It's your prerogative. But, that does seem awfully smallish to do. I'm not judging Obama by his supporters. I'm judging him by his platform. And it sucks.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-20T21:01:21-06:00
ID
116448
Comment

""I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan," Obama said in the statement. "I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree."" However... what does he say about that? Not much really. Just that he doesn't agree with Farakhan's anti-semitic and racist ramblings. But, Farakhan supports Obama, so, as you would say, when Obama makes a statement denouncing Farakhan, maybe I'll see him differently.....

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-20T21:03:42-06:00
ID
116449
Comment

I said: Stormfront.org routing for Ron Paul? I'm done...] You said: Farakhan routing for Obama??? I'm done... I said: When Ron Paul makes a statement denouncing Stormfront.org and David Duke, maybe I'll see him differently. You said: If you want to believe he is a racist, then go for it. If you want to judge him by his supporters then fine. It's your prerogative. But, that does seem awfully smallish to do... But, Farakhan supports Obama, so, as you would say, when Obama makes a statement denouncing Farakhan, maybe I'll see him differently..... LC, since you keep taking what I say and throwing it back at me, I get the feeling that you are getting upset and trying to make it personal. It's difficult to gauge it exactly from words on a computer screen, but that's the vibe I'm getting. I'm not trying to pick a fight - just stating my opinion, and that's all it is - an opinion. Shoot, I think Farrakhan is no better than David Duke. Anyhoo, I'm just saying let's keep it civil. No hard feelings on this end...

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-01-20T21:19:37-06:00
ID
116450
Comment

LW, I don't have any hard feelings. I just wish the same rules applied to both candidates. It's clear that they don't though. You want Dr. Paul to "prove" that he's not a racist. It's not personal to me. I just don't think it's fair.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-21T05:36:22-06:00
ID
116451
Comment

LC, I don't think that "fair" can ever be fully achieved in the court of public opinion. That's where "guilty by association" rears its ugly head, and I think that is what's happening to me. Yes, the same could b said about Obama because he has a funny name and attended a Muslim school once, and some people won't vote for him because of that. Some people won't vote for Clinton because of her husband, or Edwards because he was Kerry's running mate, etc. The more I try not to think of Ron Paul in a negative way, the more I keep picturng his name in big, bold letters on Stormfront.org's Web site, and yes, it's probably because I'm black that I feel the way I do. When I was told about Ron Paul being mentioned on that Web site, I didn't want to bring it up without factchecking it. Pulling up that Web site was like sticking my face in raw sewage, and I hope I don't have to do it again any time soon. Their forum has several thousand registered members, and 172 members were logged in at the time. That's a lot of people who want to turn back the clock on civil rights, so seeing Paul's name there struck a blow to my psyche. I saw Paul in a positive light and thought he could make a good Cabinet member until I read this blog entry and saw him being endorsed on that Web site. I just don't feel comfortable not really knowing where he stands on these things. Yes, it may be smallish, but until I live in a world where everyone treats everyoe else with respect regardless of ethnicity, economic status, etc., I must err on the side of caution.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-01-21T08:51:32-06:00
ID
116452
Comment

Well, Ron Paul's biggest problem is not his past remarks; it's his current xenophobic views. This one isn't difficult. And those views make him very popular with groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens (remember: morphed out of the old white Citizen's Council). Go look at their survey results right now on who they want to be president. There's a reason for this, folks. Ron Paul has become the go-to candidate for bigots, among others. And to coin an old Clinton-era phrase: "It's about xenophobia, stupid!"

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-21T12:51:39-06:00
ID
116453
Comment

Oh, and Bubba will be thrilled to know that they are celebrating Lee's birthday over there today as well. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-21T12:52:39-06:00
ID
116454
Comment

Stuck my face in the sewage again...They said Ron Paul is the best choice at 68%. On the second poll, they voted for the worst candidate, and John McCain got the most votes at 39%. That's probably because he changed his view on the Confederate flag.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-01-21T14:22:47-06:00
ID
116455
Comment

Right. You gotta love one-issue voters. Especially when something like that is their one issue. Egad.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-21T15:53:10-06:00
ID
116456
Comment

And to think that Ron Paul was one Republican I could actually tolerate. That's gone bye-bye.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-01-21T16:10:21-06:00
ID
116457
Comment

Ron Paul? Wasn't he that tall black guy always dressed as a woman with the blond wig? Seriously, he and Kucinich are fringe candidates who are propped up by a few true believers. I haven't deeply studied either one's platform, but based on media coverage and blog reports they both appear to be guys with strong beliefs about changing the status quo, and therefore have a snowball's chance in hell of being elected.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2008-01-22T07:05:09-06:00
ID
116458
Comment

"There's a reason for this, folks. Ron Paul has become the go-to candidate for bigots, among others. And to coin an old Clinton-era phrase: "It's about xenophobia, stupid!"" Oh please. You simply cannot impute the beliefs of supporters to the candidate. That is absurd. And Jeff, who is more of a fringe candidate? Paul who came in 2nd in Nevada, or Giuliani who hasn't placed above Ron Paul in *ANY* primary or caucus? And Ladd, about this xenophobia "stuff." Do you actually have knowledge about Ron Paul's immigration views? I think you would be pleasantly surprised.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-22T09:21:59-06:00
ID
116459
Comment

I read his platform a few months back on his Web site, LawClerk, and it was one of the most strident anti-immigration stances I'd seen anyone admit to -- I believe even including deporting American children born here who are the offspring of "illegal" immigrants. If I would be "pleasantly surprised" now, then he's edited his site. Which wouldn't surprise me. It was really bad. ou simply cannot impute the beliefs of supporters to the candidate. That is absurd. No, of course not. But you can't resist being deaf, dumb and stupid about WHY avowed, public bigots love a certain candidate. They don't love many candidates, so when they do, it's time to look very closely and not get pulled in so easily. I was going to add that I heard that Ron Paul has drawn more votes in the primaries than Rudy Giuliani. For what it's worth to get more votes than a man who tells his long-time wife (and kids) that he's divorcing her at a press conference.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-22T09:28:48-06:00
ID
116460
Comment

Well, I think I can answer your "why." Because Paul espouses Freedom. These bigots, or whoever else, have unpopular ideas. However, we have a Constitution that allows ALL speech. Period. "Congress shall make no law..." (From 1st Amendment) means simply that they cannot make *any* law. Not a "reasonable restriction" or anything. So, Paul wants to get back to that. And these other less desirable groups want that because they want to be able to espouse their views. Which, they have a right to do. And you have a right not to listen to them, or, get out against them and share your views. Jeff, I think you should study his platform a bit, then you can make your own decision than going off what the media tells you. Ladd, as far as the immigration is concerned, I've followed Paul for a while, and have never heard him talk about deporting American born children. Huckabee, on the other hand, is talking about that. I would be interested to see a copy of Paul's former views, via google cache or wayback or something.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-22T09:42:56-06:00
ID
116461
Comment

"Ron Paul? Wasn't he that tall black guy always dressed as a woman with the blond wig?" Everytime I hear his name that is first thought I have. Donna, I think they are a bunch of idiots at the Council of Conservative Citizens. Not my kinda people.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-01-22T09:58:22-06:00
ID
116462
Comment

Ladd, as far as the immigration is concerned, I've followed Paul for a while, and have never heard him talk about deporting American born children. LawClerk, this one's easy. From Ron Paul's Web site: "End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong." Oh please. You simply cannot impute the beliefs of supporters to the candidate. That is absurd. As Donna mentioned, considering the reasons why people support a candidate is valid. In this case, the "unpopular ideas"-- as you called them-- about the inferiority of blacks, among others, is not only the belief of Paul's supporters, but a case he made repeatedly, and obsessively, in his newsletter-- for decades. If one is to believe his excuse that he, conveniently, did not author any articles that were racist (most articles carried no byline), then he allowed his virulently racist supporters to espouse hate-speech, under his name. (Here is a sympathetic article, by the libertarian magazine Reason, which has consistently praised the "Ron Paul Revolution." The author takes Paul's excuse at face value-- and somehow argues that his newsletter's swipes at MLK and blacks participating in "race riots" weren't racist-- but acknowledges that the Ron Paul Report's articles "clearly cater to the prejudices of angry white guys who hate gay people and fear blacks.") That sort of throws out your argument that you cannot "impute" the beliefs of a candidate's supporters, when Paul did just that in the Ron Paul Report. I believe the legal term-- assuming Paul's excuse is true-- would be "grossly negligent." That's manslaughter, at best.

Author
msaldana
Date
2008-01-22T10:42:17-06:00
ID
116463
Comment

Thanks, Matt. One wonders if many understand *what* they're reading when they see his platform. This worries me with some of the smart people who think Paul is interesting. Not the CofCC crowd, of course. They *know* what he is saying.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-22T10:51:44-06:00
ID
116464
Comment

I believe you, Bubba. The problem is that they proudly and loudly espouse the same beliefs that other people phrase more gingerly -- but the intent is the same. The head of CofCC told me in an interview once that they are certainly not "racist." Talk about a term that has been watered down. Of course, there is a difference between racism and bigotry, but no time to go into that right now. I would argue that the CofCC is clearly both, however. Proudly in that wink-wink as they proclaim they're not. But you know it when you see–just like reading Paul's platform and materials.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-22T10:54:00-06:00
ID
116465
Comment

Also, Law Clerk, it's nice to hear you quote the First Amendment, but even as I'm not a law clerk, or an eager law student (I dropped out of law school, in fact), I'm very familiar with the Constitution and have written a thing or two about it myself along the way. Knowing it well, I don't see the relevance of your post to this discussion. No one is trying to silence or "censor" Ron Paul (not that the First Amendment protects Ron Paul from anything but the government, but why quibble with facts?); we are discussing whether or not someone with such extreme isolationalist and xenophobic (and probably bigoted) views should be taken seriously as a candidate for president. I'm all for him expressing his views, so the rest of us can respond in kind. Speech flows every direction, and the First Amendment isn't there to support only the speech you agree with.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-22T12:00:46-06:00
ID
116466
Comment

"Speech flows every direction, and the First Amendment isn't there to support only the speech you agree with." Well said!

Author
Willezurmacht
Date
2008-01-22T12:15:18-06:00
ID
116467
Comment

"we are discussing whether or not someone with such extreme isolationalist and xenophobic" Interesting discussion thread. Ladd, I'm curious why you label his positions as isolationist and xenophobic. Every chance he gets, he talks about wanting to have dialog and free trade with other nations. This doesn't sound like isolation to me.

Author
aspiehler
Date
2008-01-29T10:37:10-06:00
ID
116468
Comment

You're wondering why I label his positions "isolationist and xenophobic"?? With respect, I don't even know how to answer that with a straight face. Have you read his entire platform carefully, including "coded" phrases like "birthright citizenship"? I'm just going to be straight with you: Ron Paul has given me no reason to spend any time debating his positions. The writing is on that wall as far as I'm concerned, and it's very disturbing.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-29T10:41:13-06:00
ID
116469
Comment

Yes I have read his positions, but I mustn't have received my decoder ring in the mail yet. Seems to me like his stance on the immigration issue is to remove the incentives for people to enter the country illegally and let the problem fix itself. None of his writing or speeches lead me to believe that he's against immigrants who want to move to this country to work and make a better life for themselves, but he believes that illegal immigration strains the welfare system. Still I'm curious: How do you define "isolationist"?

Author
aspiehler
Date
2008-01-29T11:02:23-06:00

Like independent media outlets around the world, the Jackson Free Press works hard to produce important content on a limited budget. We'd love your help! Become a JFP VIP member today and/or donate to our journalism fund. Thanks for considering a JFP VIP membership or one-time support.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus