Van Jones Gets Lani Guiniered by the Racist Right

by matttbastard

Geez. Not five minutes after I had gone to bed, besieged White House green jobs adviser (and radical communist-anarchist!!1one) Van Jones finally became a martyr in the GOP’s increasingly ugly race war against the uppity Usurper-in-Chief:

I am resigning my post at the Council on Environmental Quality, effective today.

On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.

I have been inundated with calls – from across the political spectrum – urging me to “stay and fight.”

But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.

It has been a great honor to serve my country and my President in this capacity. I thank everyone who has offered support and encouragement. I am proud to have been able to make a contribution to the clean energy future. I will continue to do so, in the months and years ahead.

Wonder if Jones is reconsidering that recent apology for calling Republicans ‘assholes’. Because, well, um, yeah.

Related: Alex Pareene on how the speedy demonization of Van Jones illustrates “how the right wing information delivery process works now.”

In a nutshell: Fire up the swift boats, crank up the Wurlitzer, and wait for Tapper and Drudgico to do the rest.

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QOTD: Sonia Sotomayor and the Unbearable Whiteness of Being a Republican

by matttbastard

[Ranking Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama] pre-emptively declared that he would not vote for a judge who uses the “empathy standard” in deciding cases—a reference to the sensitivity toward average people that President Obama said he looked for in nominees, and which has been transformed by the political right into code for favoring blacks or other ethnic minorities over whites. Sessions seemed to predict nothing short of the collapse of American law as we know it if Sotomayor is confirmed: “Down one path is the traditional American legal system, so admired around the world, where judges impartially apply the law to the facts without regard to their own personal views,” Sessions declared. “This is the compassionate system because it is the fair system.”

Undeterred by his gross historical error—had every court in American history applied the law in this manner, schools would still be legally segregated, a woman’s right to earn a living and obtain credit would still be denied, and so on—Sessions went on to attack even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In an unusual broadside against a sitting justice, he accused Ginsburg of being “one of the most activist judges in history” even though a glancing look at her record shows she has been part of an almost powerless, left-of-center bloc on the court that included three men, two of them appointed by Republican presidents.

Ginsburg’s affliction, then, is apparently the same as Sotomayor’s: She sees the world differently than does Sessions. This is the key to understanding the unhinged argument about “empathy.”

It presumes that the white male experience is the only authentically American experience, and therefore the only one that could possibly be unbiased. Whatever predispositions or inclinations these men bring to the law are the valid ones. After all, they are not hampered by some silly notions they may have picked up along the way had they lived their lives as women or as members of minority groups.

– Marie Cocco, Closet Racism in the Age of Obama

h/t EileenLeft

Related: Cory Doctorow points to an extensive Flickr gallery commemorating Sessions’ longstanding tenure as a dumbasstastic racist fuckateer. On a more serious note, U.S. News runs down ‘Sonia Sotomayor’s 13 Most Notable Decisions’.

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‘Magic Negro’ Cost/Benefit Analysis

by matttbastard

The other day, Howard Weaver sent out the following precient (if pithy) observation via tweet:

Politico sure seems to be ground zero for inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom.

Mhm, someone got a fresh new pair of cute Captain Obvious underpants for Christmas.

Regardless, I shudder to think what they’re spiking the cocktails with in Georgetown if the following Politico headline represents the “conventional wisdom” on the RNC’s recent racial follies:

‘Magic Negro’ flap might help Saltsman

Ok, yeah if by “help” one means “further paint the GOP into a demographically narrow corner,” then, sure–go Team Saltsman!

The big tent collapses under the collective weight of the stupid.

Josh Marshall brings the snark:

Wholly unable to confirm this, but I’m told the talk is now that Mike Duncan may have to perform in black face at the upcoming RNC meeting to remain a credible candidate for the job.

If one is to believe that the RNC officials quoted by Andy Barr are being sincere (and not simply taking the lead of Saltsman’s former boss by spinning like out of control centrifuges) The Party of Lincoln is now officially The Party of Jolson–which sure is a great way to reintroduce the tarnished GOP brand going into 2009: adopting what amounts to the I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-The-Southern-Strategy! Strategy. Of course, some of these doe-eyed grassroots bigots are likely the same strategic savants who thought George Allen was the *ahem* white knight best prepared to save the party from Bush’s long shadow in 2008. So, I suppose one shouldn’t be too surprised they would also consider this year’s ‘Macaca’ to be much ado about nothing.

Related: Adam Serwer schools various wingnuts  on what David Ehrenstein did and didn’t say in his now-infamous LA Times op-ed that served as inspiration for Shanklin’s “satirical” song.

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The RNC’s Vaudeville Routine

by matttbastard

Recognizing that the best defense is a good (straw-filled) offense, embattled RNC candidate Chip Saltsman fires back in time-honoured Republican fashion:

Liberal Democrats and their allies in the media didn’t utter a word about David Ehrenstein’s irresponsible column in the Los Angeles Times last March. But now, of course, they’re shocked and appalled by its parody on ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show,’ ” Saltsman said in a statement, referring to the op-ed article that reportedly inspired the song lyrics.

“I firmly believe that we must welcome all Americans into our party and that the road to Republican resurgence begins with unity, not division. But I know that our party leaders should stand up against the media’s double standards and refuse to pander to their desire for scandal,” Saltsman added.

Also, a big fat friendly ‘fuck you’ to former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell for cravenly putting party before principle:

“Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-elect Obama being the first African American elected president,” Blackwell, who is black, said in a statement.

“I don’t think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them,” he said. “When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people.”

You know, it’s sad when Newt fucking Gingrich not only gets it better than Blackwell, but shows more courage (or, more accurately, pragmatic political awareness) by actually, y’know, speaking out, instead of offering tepid apologetics.

Apparently some folks are shitting bricks at the thought of getting Condi-Riced by the Free Republic set.

Regardless, all this is was likely just broad political Kabuki on the part of the aforementioned players: the RNC quietly launches a race-based attack on the President-elect, (white) party leaders act appropriately shocked! and simply appalled! in order to appease the chattering class, and the token black guy grants absolution to a defiant Saltsman (who subsequently gets to whip two favourite GOP hobbyhorses, Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Media).

Bottom line: after all the theatrics that have taken place over the past 24+ hours, everybody is once again talking about “Barack the Magic Negro”.

Update: Kevin is a lot more succinct than yours truly. ;-)

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Do You Believe in Magic?

by matttbastard

Carmen D puts the latest iteration of the “Magic Negro” controversy in broader context by revisiting an old post of hers on the original source of the conservative meme, a 2007 LA Times op-ed by author (and OG Vast Left Wing Conspirator) David Ehrenstein:

Ehrenstein seems to think that Barack Obama is perceived to be safe by ‘white America’. No way, it’s not that simple. The hard truth is that for many in America, particularly in the middle of the country and in parts of the south, there is no such thing as a non-threatening black man. We don’t hear about hate mail or death threats endured by Obama and his family. But don’t you think those threats are coming at a rate only the great Hank Aaron might comprehend?

I am so sick of individual black people judging the ‘blackness’ of other black people. It is simply a waste of time and energy that we, as a community, can ill afford.

Word–I’m also sick of that special breed of conservative white pundit and pol who eagerly latches on to anything negative (or that can be spun as ‘negative’) black people say about/to each other. Bloviating leeches like Rush Limbaugh, Paul Shanklin, Chip Saltsman, et al have apparently managed to convince themselves that conveniently subcontracting their racism to a dusky proxy (and/or disingenuously hiding behind the ‘satire’ bulwark) automatically absolves them of any personal responsibility for their actions. Well, we have already witnessed the logical political consequences of the GOP’s willful disregard for minority voters.

Their loss (literally).

To once again quote Oliver Willis, “[wingnuts] say things like this and honestly can’t see what the problem is.” Case in point: according to Think Progress, “more than 18 hours after the news about Saltsman broke, not a single Republican official has condemned his actions.” [Update: Mike Allen reports that current RNC Chair Mike Duncan, who is fighting hard to stay on top of the Grand Old heap, has wisely thrown Saltsman under the bus.]

Oh well. Political marginalization is a small price to pay for a little bit of innocent fun at the expense of oversensitive PC types who can’t appreciate “light-hearted political parodies” from a “conservative” perspective. Besides, there’s always the so-called Oogedy-Boogedy wing to keep the Republican Party solvent south of the Mason-Dixon while it (and those who slavishly adhere to its underlying political philosophy) languish in the wilderness for the foreseeable future.

Update 2: The Caucus reports:

[F]ormer Speaker Newt Gingrich said in an e-mail message, “This is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it.”

Yep, that muffled gurgling noise you heard was the death rattle of Saltsman’s RNC campaign.

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More Conservative Minority Outreach

by matttbastard

Chip Saltsman doesn’t seem to have any illusions about who the RNC base is (hint: rhymes with “spite”):

RNC candidate Chip Saltsman’s Christmas greeting to committee members includes a music CD with lyrics from a song called “Barack the Magic Negro,” first played on Rush Limbaugh’s popular radio show.

[…]

The CD, called “We Hate the USA,” lampoons liberals with such songs as “John Edwards’ Poverty Tour,” “Wright place, wrong pastor,” “Love Client #9,” “Ivory and Ebony” and “The Star Spanglish banner.”

Several of the track titles, including “Barack the Magic Negro,” are written in bold font.

That last bit was a thoughtful touch.  Always make sure to highlight the race-bait, just in case the implications are too subtle for especially dense RNC bigots.  Again, why bother blowing a dogwhistle when an airhorn will suffice?

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Strange Days (I give ’em a ‘B’ for ‘buh?!’)

by matttbastard

Michelle Malkin responds to the news that PA McCain volunteer (and College Republican) Ashley Todd, who claimed on Thursday to have been attacked by a big scary black Obama supporter, made the whole damn thing up (ZOMGWTFBBQ NO WAIS!):

Final lesson: Trust your instincts. Use your brains. Stop jumping every time Drudge hypes something in Armageddon-sized font.

You know there’s something really, really wrong with everything when Michelle freakin’ Malkin (who, it should be noted, was instantly skeptical of Todd’s dubious tale) calls bullshit on a right-wing smear, assumes the voice of reason and makes sense.

Insert preferred cliche re: blind squirrels and stopped clocks here.

Related: More from Jay Bookman, Pam Spaulding, and Renee Martin, who addresses the alltoofamiliar ugly racial subtext behind Todd’s fallacious claim.

Sez Martin:

The black man is the convenient scapegoat, because he has been constructed as a violent savage by society. As the mother of two black sons, the degree to which this social construction has been used to uphold the purity of white women, while resulting in the death of black men, enrages me.

Some will say that we should not judge Todd too harshly and that perhaps she is suffering from a mental disability, but the fact remains that what she did was purposeful and it was racist. Disability aside, her choice in creating a tale of a vicious black male attacker was not accidental.

[…]

The black male rapist is exactly what society expects, and the idea that a black man is not born naturally desiring to possess the white female is viewed as fantastical by some. The fact that Todd thought that adding sexual assault to her complaint would increase her believability proves the degree to which this construction has been accepted.

[…]

Whatever mental health issues Todd may or may not have, she was successful in initially being believed because of the social expectations that have been attached to both…white women and black men.

Also check out Keith Olbermann, who explores the role played by local McCain campaign officials in hyping the story to local media outlets (h/t Pam):

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