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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday Night Card Game (Obama Bitterly Clings to Bitter Clinger Stereotypes)

This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain:

If you have followed this series, you have seen the absurd depths to which liberal pundits and political operatives will go to inject race into non-racial situations, and to explain almost all opposition to Obama as implicitly if not explicitly racist.

This stereotyped view of opposition to Obama derives not only from liberal dogma, but from Obama himself.

Obama's view was evidenced in April 2008, before it was even clear he would defeat Hillary Clinton, and long before substantial anti-Obama sentiment grew in the country. 

At a private fundraiser which Obama did not know was being taped, Obama expressed his disdain for Democratic primary voters who opposed him with the now famous "bitter clinger" comments:
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Remember, Obama made his bitter clinger comments before there was a Tea Party movement, before there was opposition to what would become Obamacare, before Sarah Palin was a national figure, and before Obama had even won the nomination. 

In fact, in April 2008 there was support among Republicans for Obama as a means of stopping Hillary, as reflected in Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos and other efforts to make the Democratic primary more competitive for Obama.  To the extent there were any questions being raised at that time regarding Obama's birthplace and citizenship, such questions were being raised by other Democrats

The theme that racism was the source of opposition to Obama was prevalent throughout the primary season and general election.  It was a theme used to Obama's great advantage against Hillary and McCain:
Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said on Friday he expects Republicans to highlight the fact that he is black as part of an effort to make voters afraid of him.

"It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy," Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. "We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid.

"They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?"
Fast forward to May 2010, and Obama asserted a view of the Tea Party movement which was very similar to the bitter clinger view Obama took in April 2008 toward Democratic primary voters.

As reported in U.S. News, at a private dinner Obama asserted that racism was a primary motivation for the Tea Party movement and for opposition to Obama's policies:
In May 2010, he told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent "Tea Party" movement that was then surging across the country. Many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn't helping them nearly enough, he said.

A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to "take back" their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn't dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a "subterranean agenda" in the anti-Obama movement—a racially biased one—that was unfortunate. But he sadly conceded that there was little he could do about it.
While Obama says he wants a post-racial American, in fact Obama bitterly clings to bitter clinger stereotypes.

It seems unfathomable to Obama that people actually oppose his policies on the merits, and he seems not to care that each play of the race card is insulting and infuriating and tears the country a little bit further apart.

We do not cling -- bitterly or otherwise.  And we don't like being accused of being something we are not.

[Note:  I made a correction as to Operation Chaos because, as a commenter pointed out, the goal was not to help Obama but to keep the Democratic primary competitive, although it defintely was true that for a long time Republicans were focused on stopping Hillary, not Obama.]

Related Posts:
"Race" As Political Weapon
An Allergic Reaction To The Race Card

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  1. Don't look for Obama to discard his deck anytime soon. He needs to harp on race as a means of distracting folks from looking at his incompetence in the area of foreign policy and his socialistic insistence on wealth redistribution at home. Should any thinking, sentient being look too long at his record, Obama will rightfully lose his postion as "leader" of the USA (and, in his eyes, the World).

  2. Why is it that when someone is from a mixed race background, they tend to self-identify as the non-white half. Obama's mama was undeniably white. Why isn't he equally proud of his white heritage? White Mama did more towards raising him than Kenyan Daddy ever did. Are we only allowed to be proud of our non-white ancestors? Apparently I am less important because (to my knowledge) all my history is European. If only I had a drop of brown blood so I could be proud of my ancestors too! But alas, I am condemned to drown in a pool of racial guilt because I share skin color with folks who built the Western world, and made a few bad decisons along with their achievements. Mea culpa.

  3. What I would like to tell Obama:

    You made it! You are the leader of the free world. There is nothing holding you down (except for those darned checks and balances of a constitutional republic). Perhaps it is time to grow up and stop swaddling yourself with your victimhood.

  4. Continued:

    Where I come from people use guns to hunt for food. I hear that people in your community use guns to kill each other. My religion is none of your business, so I suggest you mind your own. We have figured out the problem with our perpetually depressed economy too. It turns out that the unionized public sector is bleeding us dry. Our property taxes are job killing, shelter robbing starvation taxes. So I suggest minding your own business on that one too. This problem can't be solved by bureacrats in DC.

  5. Obama says he wants a post-racial America. But I suspect that what he really wants is a post-America America, a future in which the nation has been taken down a couple of pegs in terms of wealth and power and leadership, and in which we are just another corrupt little bureaucracy run by the vanguard party. Playing the race card is just a means to an end.

  6. One more thing.

    Obama was correct to assume that I was angry over the bailouts, but he was wrong to assume that it was because I wanted my fair share. I don't want a piece of your collectivist pie, I want to be set free. I don't want to fund too big to fail businesses and union coffers. I don't want to buy a cellphone for a "poor" person when I don't even have one myself and we are working too hard to feed our own family. I don't want to fund someone elses retirement when I don't even have my own and will never see a penny of SS. I don't want to pay for health insurance for another family when my family spends $12k per year on premiums and still go without vision and dental coverage. I certainly don't want to pay for genocide by supporting planned parenthood. There is nothing racist about what I just said. Most of the recipients of them that I know are white.

  7. Sorry, but Obama has every right to believe that a majority of Americans are racist against him. After all, it was fear of his skin color that kept him from winning the White Hou...oh, never mind.

  8. Obama will keep playing the race card because it's the only card he has. What else has he got going for him? The roaring economy? Peace in our time? Unicorns and Utopia? He's made a mess of everything he's touched and his only way of coping with that sad reality is to say "You just hate me 'cuz I'm black." What a loser.

  9. Actually, I know a lot of people in a small town in Northern California who hate him BECAUSE he's an intellectual black man who has risen his station so far above their own. Sad to see what's happened to my hometown.

    A friend had an interesting explanation for why there wasn't a full investigation into the Iraq war and the corporate thieving, etc. I was furious that Pelosi took that off the table on her first day as Speaker. Frankly, I still can't get over that-. My insisted that there was no way the gun rack crowd that made up his hometown in the deep South would stand by while their white president was humiliated by an uppity black man.

  10. One small quibble, Professor Jacobson: "In fact, in April 2008 there was support among Republicans for Obama as a means of stopping Hillary, as reflected in Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos and other efforts to make the Democratic primary more competitive for Obama."

    Wasn't it the opposite? As I recall, Operation Chaos encouraged Republicans to cross over and vote for Hillary in the primaries. This was to force the Dems to spend more money and attack each other more. Rush thought Obama would be a weaker candidate than Hillary.

  11. Laurie

    You have proven the point of this article. I have been reading some of your posts lately, and most often you seem intelligent and articulate and willing to examine an issue from more than one angle. However when left with nothing else you resort to the race card and Palin bashing. That is what is sad.

  12. Laurie: How wonderful that you and your friend managed to turn out so to be so morally superior, since you both come from towns full of racist bitter clingers!

  13. "Actually, I know a lot of people in a small town in Northern California who hate him BECAUSE he's an intellectual black man who has risen his station so far above their own."

    Thomas Sowell was elected President? When did this happen?

  14. "he's an intellectual black man"

    Show me any proof that he is an intellectual.

    I'm waiting...

    Also, as has been noted before, he is a light brown man who is half white, 3/8 Arab, and 1/8 black.

  15. Laurie, I know a bunch of Leftists in my hometown that hate all military personnel because they are all childish socialist that have no idea how the world actually works and think that sharing a Coke and a smile will work better than thoughtful diplomacy based on national interests and backed by military strength.
    Come to think of it, my hometown being Chicago, those children are all now part of the current administration. Only a couple of them are black, but they all are simplistic leftist morons.

  16. 1/4
    I don’t think Dems hate her. It is true that she makes me (and others that I know) afraid. Not because she is a woman who knows how to navigate wilderness and looks good in a skirt. I’d like that about any woman, including a woman president.

    It’s out of respect for the office that many Dems found it cynical and irresponsible for McCain to put Palin on the ticket. She is attractive and passionate. But being a hockey mom, being mayor of a small town, talking a folksy way, and being attractive and passionate—none of this qualifies her to be the President of the United States. That is a very big deal.

    She was governor, yes. And a popular one. But only one term; she RESIGNED her office the second term (which anyone had to find shocking) to do a talk show. But even so, being governor of Alaska which has lots of very valuable natural resources and is mostly wildness, doesn’t prepare her—it is very unlike the rest of the country. She was (a popular) Governor one term in a unique state. She was a marginal student at a marginal college, and made her debut revealing how little she knew about the world and even Bush’s policies. Finally, she appeals to anger and mythologies that no longer geld. I find her divisive. And shrill. You want this person to be President of the United States? A country in crisis with a very diverse population, huge problems, an aging population, a high school drop out rate of 25% (40% for black and Hispanic students)? Like it or not, all these many people with all their many problems have to be included in our future and have the skills to contribute. But as a friend of mine always says, “You can’t start where you’re not at.” Calling the poor names does nothing to solve enormous problems. On the contrary.

  17. 2/4
    Unike Palin, Obama brought a record of excellence. He had successfully navigated every class of America, and contributed, been a leader. The cities are in deep trouble and include some of our most challenging problems (short of economic meltdown and the threat of nuclear war--which I trust to his knowledge of the world and temperament more than Palin’s.) He successfully brought change to an urban environment where he began as an outsider, who talked differently and was only half-black (or whatever the mix Aurora is going to provide evidence).

    It is incorrect to think Obama was elected because he is (half-)black. A friend called me after he spoke at the Democratic National Convention before people really knew who he was. “I just saw the next president of the United States,” my friend said. When I saw Obama, I thought ‘no way’. He is skinny and his hands are huge! (I didn’t care that he was black. My grandmother voted for Jesse Jackson, I didn’t.)

    He was elected because he exudes competence. When I finished *Dreams from My Father*, I was disappointed at how little experience he’d had to that point, but it was written before he returned to Chicago and eventually became Senator (if only for 2 years, long enough to vote no on Iraq, which proved not only courageous but correct). Despite the little experience he had at the time he wrote that book, it reflected a deep intelligence and wisdom. That book was written by someone who was intellectually rigorous and honest, honest with himself, and capable of really refined thought. This (and being very tall) is the source of his charisma. That’s why I voted for him, and that’s why I cried when he won. I could not believe that someone with that kind of intelligence and spiritual maturity could actually be President of United States. And wanted to be.

  18. 3/4
    I met him later (a benefit of living in Iowa), and he is was exactly as I’d thought. I also have a family member whose work involves highly positioned Democrats and donors, and all candidates. I heard funny stories, dirt, etc. But for Obama? He is apparently exactly the same on screen and off. Calm, intentional, and measured. Those are really good qualities for the President of the United States.

    Given the plate he inherited (no matter whose fault), he’s done pretty well. We are at the brink, and he didn’t put us here. The melt down was on Bushes watch. I know the GOP is upset because he is printing money to fix problems, but the problems are urgent and it takes money we don’t have to fix them. I have studied hyper-inflation. I hope that’s not ahead for us. I’m not sure it isn’t. But you can be sure that if austerity means people are left without a place to live or food to eat, the country will fall apart.

  19. 4/4
    There is no overstating how angry Democrats continue to be about the Bush administration. He seemed like decent man, by the way. Bush. I found him charming. And I felt sorry for him too. I can’t stand Rumsfeld or Cheney, but that’s another story. Bush is also charismatic, if more as a charmer than leader. A friend whose a committed Democrat (a wildcat oil man in Texas) met Bush socially and told me he could not help but like him. But he didn’t vote for him. This committed Democrat, by the way, was a Marine in the Vietnam War and a POW who was horribly tortured, and left scarred for life. They were able to sew his nose back on, but he was stabbed many times with a bayonet and they broke all of his fingers and toes. Still, he escaped. Earned two graduate degrees (one at Penn) and built a business. The next time you’re tempted to claim Democrats are lazy, unpatriotic, or on the dole, I hope you’ll keep him in mind. I know so many Democrats who have given so much of themselves in the name of honor, decency, and love of God (and so the least among us).

    I’m sick of Americans hating each other. Showing up on this blog and trying to talk to Republicans is my small contribution to helping my country. I’ve learned a few things, thank you. I appreciate that some people have responded, and even asked sincere questions. I promise I’m not *troll*

    Well, that’s why Palin is scary to me, and why I voted for Obama. For what it’s worth.

  20. Actually, I shouldn't have said a marginal college. I'm sure they are just fine and good and smart people who are or have been to these colleges. But there were a lot of them, they aren't competative relative to schools (public and private) all over the country, and she wasn't at the top of her class.

  21. The whole "is the tea party racist" debate is so tired. Both sides are disingenuous on the issue. Democrats want to demagogue the Tea Party by claiming it is just a bunch of racists, but Republicans try to sit here and claim there are no racists in the tea party.

    Both are obviously not true. The Tea Party is not a monolith. It is composed of people with many different grievances. And I think Obama recognizes that, which is why his tone changed after his mid-term "shallacking".

    But are we honestly going to sit here in this right wing blog and assert that there are not a lot of racists in America? And once we admit that there are a lot of racists in America, to which movement might we logically imagine they would gravitate to?

    In fact, its pretty easy to spot who they are. They are birthers, or the ones who assert Obama is a Muslim. Racism and xenophobia are virtually identical emotional processes, but the former is taboo and the latter is OK. So instead of saying they don't like Obama because he is black, they say they don't like him because he was born in Kenya or is a Muslim.

    But the existence of some racists in the tea party doesn't delegitimize the whole thing, because the majority of tea party people have legitimate gripes. Its just a sign of immaturity to see Republicans go to such desperate lengths to prove there are no racists in the Republican party (there are), or to see Democrats to go such great lengths to prove most Tea Partiers are racists (they arent).

    Again, it is a stupid, irrelevant, and distracting debate. Republicans, you are literally pissing away your opportunity to enact real entitlement reform. The GOP was swept into office with a mandate, and they have been given a lot of political capital. If Republicans wanted to spend that capital on cutting social security and medicare, they could do it, and Obama wouldn't stop them.

    That being said, he isn't going to give them political cover to do it, so Boehner and the rest of them should stop whining about that. Republicans will pay a political price to do what they want just like Obama paid a political price to do what he wanted (ACA). The real question is whether or not the Republicans you all just elected to congress are willing to put their jobs on the line for the sake of accomplishing what you sent them to Washington to do. Obama did.

    All indications right now are: no. Republicans have thus far avoided the entitlement issue. They've focused on irrelevant discretionary spending. They're squandering their political capital on other things: more abortion debates, reproductive rights, gay marriage, Muslim witch-hunts, anti-evolution in schools, political theatre in "repealing the ACA". The GOP is wasting their opportunity to cut entitlements, and you are all letting them off the hook for it by allowing them to pursue these irrelevant distractions.

  22. @Laurie,

    Wow, that was a remarkable amount of spin. 5 whole posts full of spin. Very windy, as well. And you don't even seem to recognize it.

    I won't bore you with 5 responses. You call Sarah Palin unprepared and divisive. I would respond that that describes Barack Obama to a T. He had 3 years in the Senate when he was running for President and he spent 20 years claiming to attend a church whose pastor is famous for saying "G* damn America." Obama then dismissed his critics as racist. Oddly, some people find this behavior divisive.

    I don't know if Sarah Palin was at the top of her class but we know that Gore and Bush weren't at the top of their classes. We have no idea how well BHO preformed because he hasn't released his records.

  23. @ Job: Sorry if it seemed long winded. In another string (I should have posted there) I was asked by about 6 people why Dems are so fixated on Palin. I wrote this reponse last night--and tried to be honest and clear. To dismiss it as spin and me as blind to my own spin does not address its content.

  24. "I know a lot of people in a small town in Northern California who hate him BECAUSE he's an intellectual black man who has risen his station so far above their own"

    To paraphrase Richard Epstein - Obama's not an intellectual, he's an activist who affects the mannerisms of intellectuals.

    But usually he leaves the blatant racebaiting to his wife.

  25. Obama has a record of "excellence", has "contributed" and "been a leader"? Can you be a little more specific there?

  26. *Punahou Academy (5-12th grade)honors
    *Occidental (campus leader)
    *Columbia University, BA Poly Sci &International Relations
    *Business International Group (corp. Clients & sometimes CIA front) & NY Public Interest *Research Group (non partisan activism)
    *Chicago community organizer - while Director, program staff went from 1 to 13. Built programs for job training, College Prep tutoring, & tenants rights
    *Harvard Law School-- J.D. Magna Cum Laude(campus leader)
    *Sidley Austin - Intern (top law firm)
    *Editor & President of the Harvard Law Review
    *3 years Civil rights lawyer
    *12 Years Faculty at University of Chicago Law School (Constitutional Law)
    *Authored 2 best selling books
    *7 years state senator
    *3 years US senator
    *2 years President

    Son of 2 PhDs; Black/white; American (Jefferson Davis Line) and Kenyan; step son of Indonesian, Kenyan half brothers and sisters; Indonesian half sister; father & stepfather non practicing muslims, mother and grandparents non-practicing Christains; Committed Christian as a young adult. Faithful.

    I didn't list what he accomplished while an elected official. I can. I don't understand why you wouldn't be impressed. I am.

  27. House of Eratosthenes has commented on your article


    and gives a nice summation about why "leftist politics do not, and can not, unify people".
    Specifically: The agenda of the left " ... can be summed up with the statement “Group X should have Right Y” ... {and} anyone outside of Group X should be deprived of Right Y. So they spend a lot of time and energy saying certain people don’t count ... " Thus, "Everyone inside some perimeter is to receive some entitlement — and anybody outside of it, doesn’t count ..."

  28. "Leftist politics cannot unify people"

    Politics, by definition, involves things that people don't agree on. So while this statement is true, it applies to every other political theory as well.

    But to address your comments in the context in which I think you are approaching it, I still think you are wrong. I find that Canadians, Scandinavians, and Northern Europeans (Norway, Finland, Denmark, etc) have both leftist politics and a high degree of unity relative to the United States.

    I personally think the unity factor has less to do with the political climate and more to do with the economic climate. Your focus is on entitlements that "people deserve", but leftists really don't think that way. Its about inequality to them. Everyone - even you, agrees that inequality is bad (what if 1 person managed to amass 99% of America's wealth?). Entitlements are just the left's way of reducing inequality. Fund pensions with wealthy citizens' money.

    Its really just a disagreement about how much inequality is acceptable. I am fundamentally not a leftist because inequality does not bother me, but inequality of opportunity does bother me. And inequality of opportunity is something that should bother all of you, but I really don't think it does. I don't know what that makes you. Plutocrats?

  29. Nonny-- I wasn't sure if you were referring to our host, Professor Jacobson, or to me. I assume it was to him, but thank you! I looked and saw that someone on that site was complaining about what I've written here. I am flattered.

    Nicholas-- I agree. I might not be as comfortable with inequality, but I'm for justice which means there'll be inequalities.

    RE: that article posted on that other site objected to the "death tax." (Not sure how the dead can be taxed, but I'll pay mine.) The problem with untaxed inheritance is an estate doesn't result from CHOICES made by the INDIVIDUAL/CITIZEN. The absence of estate tax perpetuates the notion of tribal ENTITLEMENT and a class system independent of what one has contributed. And that is downright un-American.

  30. Laurie-

    So you think it would be fair to force the family of a deceased small business owner to sell the business to pay the percentage that they owe the government? Take that a bit further what if that business wss their means to make a living but they had to sell it otherwise not be able to afford the tax? You are ok with that? What if they were a farmer that contributes to our food supply? You are still ok with that? A once viable farm becomes a vacant piece of land. That would be good right? I see where we are going. Your second to last sentence sums it up quite clearly. Just remember, other countries that have tried the experiment of forcing farmers off of their land have had some serious hunger and economic problems, even when that land was redistributed to others. Just remember, your family needs to eat too.

  31. Ella8-- I live in Iowa and know NO ONE who farms land left by a parent. They might collect income on land that someone else is cultivating, or live in the house, but most farms are huge and If you go to the farm subsidy site, you'll see Elmer Fudd, Mrs. Fudd. Fudd Kid 1-4, Fudd Grandma, Fudd dog... each claiming the maximum parcel to receive a subsidy. So, I don't think you need to worry about farms being taxed and putting someone on the street.

  32. That is not true of ALL farms and I assure you that small businesses do exist. So you are ok with putting the little guys out of business. Obviously you recogize that it won't hurt the mega farms. And you lefties pretend to loathe mega corporations, yet you endorse policies that lead to the demise of small businesses.

  33. Ella--
    I think small business is great. Both of my parents had businesses, I've had a business. I've paid both sides of SS, had to sue to get paid, paid for health insurance through the association of small businesses(sorry, it's been 5 years, I can't remember the name). My point is I get it. But the inheritance tax doesn't apply below -- what is it, 100K? before it's taxed a dollar.

    Do I like paying money if I don't HAVE to? No. No one does. But it takes money to have a civilization. I really think the country is being divided to be conquered. REALLY. When you see the tax charts for the upper 1% who pay a percentage lower than I do... I wonder what's up with that. Reagan's trickle down doesn't work anymore. If it did, there'd be more jobs here than people. The fact is-- A LOT of our money leaves (has left) the country. The looting that has taken place wasn't perpetrated by the likes of teachers. And I don't think the children of these thieves should be permitted to live off the theft as though it were their birthright.

  34. This article explains the consequences of the death tax better than I can.


    Either you misunderstand which kind of businesses are being destroyed by this tax OR you favor it because it takes out the family business and replaces it with the mega corporation. I am thinking that you probably like the latter idea based on your hatred of heritage and family inheritance. The next time one of your liberal friends goes on a Montsanto hating rant, just remember that you are supporting the policies that get rid of the competition.

  35. About those mega farms again and thoses multinational corporations that you hate, here is an article that discusses how your big government peeps enable the patents that destroy the underdogs.


    If you think Obama is looking out for the little guys you are delusional. Then again you probably think the unions are the little guys.

  36. Ella8 -
    I went to the link and read the article. I thought it was excellent. There is a lot more we agree on than don't.

  37. I already knew that Laurie. There is a lot that most Americans agree on if they can just get past the superficial things like skin color. Honestly I think most blacks and hispanics would be better represented by a party other than the democrats. Honestly I think it is racist to assume that if someone is a minority or a woman that they must be liberal. That is the problem with the mainstream media and the left in general, they see us as groups rather than individuals with an independent mind. If they would stop generalizing the right as stupid and racist, we may just be able to have an intelligent and productive debate.

  38. Ella8-- I'm glad to hear you can see what we have in common. That there is race baiting in the Dem Party might be true. Frankly, I'd never thought about it that way. What I have thought is that there is so much poverty, that enterprise zones work too slowly to just cut off food.

    But the system is broken. And it has done terrible harm to some inner city blacks.
    At the same time (re; substance vs stereotypes) I can tell you there are plenty of people here on this blog that have attacked me as much as what I've said. This divide between Americans is so dangerous.

    I agree with the libertarian view that the Govt. is broken.
    I believe the markets are broken.

    what then? Really for Americans, of all stripes, what then?