Worldview, Policy, and Reasons

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  1. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    Less here then meets the eye. Sanders and the BLM people likely agree on far more things than they disagree. Sanders is pretty tone deaf when dealing with race but that doesn’t mean if he got to implement his ideas that wouldn’t be a positive for the BLM movement. IMHO is also a bit naive about race and is wrong that the Real Problem is economic inequity. In any case Hillary seems to have quite a bit more of clue on how to talk about and deal with issues that effect minorities. One smart way of dealing with it is to stay away from Netroots, but that is separate issue. I like Bernie but race is a big blind spot for him, doesn’t mean he is a bad guy, just that we all miss things.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to greginak
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      Bernie is from Brooklyn but he was from a highly segregated Brooklyn probably.* He then moved to Vermont which was never known for its diversity though that is changing a little but mainly with Asian immigrants. IIRC Maine has a good deal of African immigrants though. Mainly refugees from Somalia and Sudan.

      HRC is Arkansas and New York which are much more diverse. She might also be the more adept politician in many ways.

      *By which I mean the Irish and the Italians and Jews were considered diverse from each other in ways that would not be true now.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Saul Degraw
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        Sanders is a pretty old school left winger that sees everything through a leftie economics lens. It’s a bit simplistic and narrowly focused. He wants the same end state as the BLM folks but sees a very different road there and isn’t adept enough of a politician let the BLM people know he has heard them or to really grasp the important point they are making.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to greginak
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          The BlackLivesMatter folk also see things overwhelmingly through economic lenses, but unlike Sanders, they recognize that the way economic factors affect black people and the way they affect white people are not the same.You could drop the unemployment rate for black and white people to 1% and even out their average income tomorrow, and there would still be issues of credit and housing that affect black people disproportionately. BlackLivesMatter activists know this. It’s not clear that Sanders does, or if he does, that he is interested in making it an important part of his campaign direction.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Chris
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            But to address those economic issues you have to address various issues of racism directly. At some point this is a distinction without a difference. There are a bunch of things that need to be fixed; some with police treatment of people, some with gov rules, some with economics. Sanders has talked about trying to deal with police brutality so its not like he isn’t on the right side.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris
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            I’d be shocked if Sanders didn’t know the research on wealth inequality.
            He probably doesn’t want to make it a huuuge part of his campaign, but playing some to the black crowd certainly won’t hurt the Democratic Candidate (one doesn’t even need policies, in particular. Reminding and reassuring them that they’ll have a whole lot of friends in the DoJ is a sound start, after all).

            I’m proud of BlackLivesMatter for standing up and getting heard — proud that media is taking it up as an issue that Democrats need to deal with. I’m proud of kos and everyone else organizing a good forum for testing candidates (far more important for the farm team) — dealing with folks like this is part of the test. And I’m proud that the candidates take their constituents seriously.Report

  2. Avatar Chris
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    There is a tendency that belongs to American politics or potentially to all politically active people around the world. It is not enough for a person or politician to support the right policies but they have to support the right policies for the correct reasons. People without the correct reasons are suspect and possibly open to argument from the other side. I think this way of thinking exists on the right and the left.

    I don’t know how y’all get this from what went down at Netroots. For one, it’s pretty clear that the people who jumped on stage don’t really know Sanders’ politics (read Oso’s interview, and you’ll basically see her saying, “Why doesn’t Bernie Sanders talk about [a bunch of things Bernie Sanders always talks about]”). On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that neither of the candidates on stage know much about BlackLivesMatter. It’s about not just world views (though their world views are definitely different), it’s about focus: Black Lives Matter folks want progressives, and Democrats, to focus more on issues affecting black people, particularly police violence. It’s not that Sanders supports the right policies, it’s that he really doesn’t, or at least he doesn’t support them enough to make them a central part of his campaign. And as his campaign exists entirely to affect the Democratic Party’s narrative, protesting his stump speech seems like exactly the right thing to do for BlackLivesMatter.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Chris
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      I agree that it makes all kinds of sense for BLM to have done this disruption of Netroots. I tweeted about this last night (yessir, I did), but to me it seems like a perfectly good outcome for all involved. I don’t think O’Malley or Sanders were embarrassed by this; I think they managed to have moment where they were exposed to what is an historically important force in our politics (the moment people are finally saying that that’s it, they won;t take the status quo of policing in American any longer and resisting in a sustained way), and were seen to essentially be receptive (which doesn’t mean they’ll immediately rearrange every priority they have in their campaign). It was good for Black Lives Matter, as they sent a message to their nominal allies on the kept that they intend t be heard in this election season(sic). And it was good for Netroots Nation, which I think has its status raised as the premiere gathering place for the alt-left, when two presidential candidates as well as the most vital protest movement currently going on America choose to make their event the locus for what I think is an important moment early in this election cycle. I really don’t see the basis for any negativity about this incident on any side. This is what democratic communication should actually look like.

      I do think there’s an issue here:

      It’s not that Sanders supports the right policies, it’s that he really doesn’t, or at least he doesn’t support them enough to make them a central part of his campaign.

      Unless you’re willing to drop the part before the “at least,” that’s problematic. These two things really can’t be conflated. Every policy that a politician supports can’t be a central part of their campaigns. If the problem is that he is not making the right policies, or to give a bit more wiggle room, the issue in general, a central part of his campaign, then that is the issue, and we should say that and leave it at that.

      OTOH, it is possible that Sanders doesn’t support the right policies, after all it is a very involved conversation to identify what those are. I don’t think there’s general agreement even among the best informed people with the correct intentions in this regard. At this stage, when looking at politicians, I think it’s better to judge by whether they are giving the issue enough attention, and not saying the wrong things. Which might require their making it central part of their campaign, or some other standard might be enough to establish that they’re committed to the issue. Again, not everything can be at the center.

      None of which is to say that Black Lives Matter shouldn’t have disrupted the event regardless. I think it was a good move regardless. I don’t think Sanders or O’Malley need to have deserved to have their event disrupted in order for it to be an okay and indeed good thing for them to have done. There are obviously reasons they probably disrupted an O’Malley event, so I actually doubt the extent to which Sanders has or hasn’t made the issue central to his campaign really had much to do with their decision at all. And as I say, I think both Sanders and O’Malley stand to benefit politically from an incident like this at least as much as to be harmed by it. I think this was actually a win-win-win, for all the liberal wailing about discord on the left.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Michael Drew
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        You might be right about Sanders, but I think it really sucked for O’Malley. The low point of a remarkably sad little campaign. That (close up) picture alone almost made me want to give him a hug.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman
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          Maybe. I haven’t seen the pictures, only read about it. You’re right about his campaign, which is why my reasoning for him right now is mostly that just about anything that gets him in the news right now (dead blanks live blanks caveat etc.) is on net probably good for him.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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      Yeah, I’m not worried about whether anyone deserves it (though we all do, I suppose), mostly just this silly “same goals, but different world views, so it’s not enough” nonsense. I mean, if Sanders had the same goals, and were promoting them at the level BlackLivesMatter folks want, I don’t think they would care what world view got him there.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Chris
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        I guess what I’m saying is I don’t think they even particularly cared how much he was o wasn’t promoting their goals. I think they cared about who Martin O’Malley is.

        Which is perfectly great. There was, regardless of Sanders’ or anyone’s positions about anything, every good reason for them to stage a high-visibility action at an event like this, the premiere gathering of a certain part of the left, with twop presidential candidates in tow. They both could have been doing exactly what BLM wants them to do, and it still would have made pretty good sense to do it from their perspective.Report

  3. Avatar Vikram Bath
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    Sanders is a Democratic Socialist. He sees racism as a symptom of economic injustice and the zero-sum game of wealth and income opportunity. If you end economic injustice and want, you end racism. The Black Lives Matter crowd sees racism as being a distinct and systematic evil that needs to be addressed on its own terms.

    I am sympathetic to both worldviews because it is possible that both are correct.

    Sorry, it’s not possible for them both to be correct. “If you end economic injustice and want, you end racism” is a testable claim. If it is true, then “racism [is] a distinct and systematic evil that needs to be addressed on its own terms” is necessarily wrong. Similarly, if the latter is correct, then the former is necessarily wrong.

    Further, I think you present both groups as having extreme claims when I don’t see evidence of that. The claim that economic injustice is the only kind of injustice that matters and is worth addressing is extreme, but the claim that maybe race has something to do with all these things going on is not. If someone in the latter group is were saying race were the only thing that mattered and economic stuff had nothing to do with how people were treated, then you’d be right to characterize them as holding opposite, extreme views, but I don’t see any indication that such people exist.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Vikram Bath
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      I’ll have to read the Lind pieces closely, but I am skeptical that she really has to goods to show that Sanders thinks that racism and racial injustice is absolutely entirely a symptom of economic injustice, and not at all an independent social problem of its own. The disease-symptom language is hers; she doesn’t put quotes around it. And there’s little dobt (is there?) that some part of the racial injustice in our society is at least exacerbated by economic injustice.

      I also think it’s possible that you didn’t quite get Saul’s meaning about the possibility of two things being true. Racial injustice can’t be only a symptom of economic inequality while also being an independent social ill, but it (a part of it) can be a symptom of economic injustice while also being an independent social ill. I suspect that was Saul’s meaning is saying he thinks it’s possible both world views are true. (I might have said “have elements of truth” if I had edited his piece.)Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird
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    When this happens to Hillary Clinton, I wonder what will happen.

    Or will it not happen to her? I suppose that that’s also possible.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird
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      If it doesn’t happen to her, I will be sincerely mad.
      (and want to know how she managed it)

      Also, these aren’t Code Pink. They’re respectable protestors.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kim
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        I suspect that she’ll try to make a Sista Soulja moment out of it.

        I don’t know that she has her husband’s finesse.

        But maybe I’m not giving her enough credit.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird
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          No, as chris says below she is doing a reverse sistah soljiah, because that is what she needs to do right now to win. Her poltical position is about 180 from what Bill’s was in ’91-’92 and on top of that the landscape has changed (thanks to Obama)Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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      From what i’ve read Hillary has hired people plugged into the BLM movement and has worked to reach out to them. So that seems like a useful move if you care about an issue and want to work with protesters instead of having them interrupt you.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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        Where have you read that? I’d be fascinated to see that story.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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          Garance Franke-Ruta links to… I’m guessing that that is Hillary’s Facebook?

          https://twitter.com/thegarance/status/623226841487273984

          So there’s a kind of official response there.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
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            I believe they call that nailing it.

            Well played, HRC, well played.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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            Wow, there’s Hillary friggin’ Clinton, possibly the next President of the United States, listing three items from the BLM policy agenda (body cams, changing the way non-violent offenses are policed and prosecuted, and strengthening voting rights), and some people act like they don’t even have one. Weird.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
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              It’s a very well-put together response.

              The cynic in me says that that’s because, having seen Bernie be caught flat-footed by this confrontation, she was able to put together a good one hours later. (Implied in this is that, had she been in Bernie’s position, she would have also been caught flat-footed.)

              That said, looking at this answer at face-value, it’s a very, very good one.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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                Such things never seen sincere to me. However, it puts to lie two accusations raised in this thread: that BLM are just talking to themselves and not influencing politicians and that they have no policy agenda. So it makes me happy in that regard.

                Of course, she’s a Democrat, so she won’t do shit.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
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                @jaybird

                I don’t think that is cynical but common sense.

                HRC saw that two of her challengers were confronted by an answer and got stumped and she and her team had time to work on a proper response.

                Bernie Sanders and O’Mailley probably would have done better if given time instead of asked/confronted on the fly.*

                *This is not letting them off the hook. Politicians are supposed to be able to answer questions that catch them off guard and think of their feat even if they don’t have training as lawyers.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
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                “Politicians are supposed to be able to answer questions that catch them off guard”

                Somebody go tell Obama, Quick!
                (he’s a really poor debater…)Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
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      If it didn’t happen to her because the group chose not to do it to her, I wonder what you’d have to say about that, @jaybird .

      Nevertheless. I wasn’t aware of the reporting greg mentions either, but prior to that, my inclination was to think that if it doesn’t happen to her, it is as likely to be due to crowd control by her team as to anything else. I mean that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
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        If it didn’t happen to her because the group chose not to do it to her, I wonder what you’d have to say about that.

        To be honest, I’d wonder why.

        I mean, I know why the BLM folks don’t show up for Rick Perry or Rand Paul.

        I’d wonder if they weren’t showing up for Hillary for similar reasons.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
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          I… don’t know what those reasons are. And I wonder if they would be similar for Hillary as well (but in the sense of, I’m not sure they would be similar).Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
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            On one level, I know that it’s kind of an honor for Bernie to have been targeted this way. They know that Bernie is receptive and they know that his audience is (or ought to be) receptive to the message and if there is going to be a conversation that is going to take place, Bernie! is the place that is most likely to have a fruitful one.

            But if someone said that this looks like they were attacking Bernie for being racist, I’d probably wince and say that while I don’t think that that take is correct, I certainly see how someone could, in good faith, reach that particular conclusion.

            Which doesn’t seem fair to Bernie nor his politics despite the fact that the BLM folks seeing him as worth having the conversation with ought to be portrayed as a *GOOD* thing on Bernie’s part.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
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      @jaybird

      I think the biggest thing is that HRC realized she could skip out on Netroots Nation. I wonder if any Presidential campaigner will go again in the future.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
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        Was the upside for Bernie going higher than if he hadn’t gone?

        Was the upside for Hillary not going higher than if she had gone?

        The answer to the second question seems to me to be unequivocally “yes”. The answer to the first?

        I dunno. I do think that it looks like Bernie got a bloody nose from this but that might be because I don’t understand the dynamic.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
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          Bernie probably had to go.

          If Bernie answered the question well or handled the situation well, people might have asked “Why didn’t HRC attend Netroots?”Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Saul Degraw
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            No one was ever going to ask why she didn’t attend Netroots.

            She’s made clear enough why she thinks she doesn’t really need to engage the issues except at her own, glacial pace in her own, deliberate way. Because “she doesn’t need the media (yet), see? So why would she answer their questions? She’ll tell us her views & agenda when she’s good & ready.” (Except when she has to answer for something immediately, like with the server thing.) And we’re supposed to accept that as an actual normative argument about what our expectations of her as a candidate should be? She doesn’t strategically need the media, therefore I should feel good about her ignoring them in their attempts (which they may and do bungle) to perform their (I mean this truly) solemn role to stand in for me and ask the questions of her I want asked so I can figure out if I want to support her, because I myself certainly can’t?

            Feh.

            Anyway, for better or worse, that message has gotten through. Hence, no one under and circumstances was ever going to ask why she didn’t go to Netroots Nation. They’ve answered that question.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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          The undisputed leader can pick and choose where to go since she is almost certainly going to get the nom. The long shots need every opportunity to win people over so they have to chase every opportunity.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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            Sure.

            But, from here, it looks like it’d be reasonable for Hillary’s conclusion to be something like “man, it is sooo freaking good that we didn’t go to the nutroots nation thing.”

            This strikes me as not a good outcome for people who do go to netroots in the future nor the BLM folks.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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              As i remember Hillary has a craptacular experience at NN years ago so it was easy choice for her to stay away. Big lead and place where she got plenty of crud = be someplace else.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                Is NN now a place where even fringy candidates can go in order to have a craptacular experience?

                If so, expect it to deflate slowly.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                It’s the San Diego ComiCon of the Lib/Dem side. Important, influential, but not essential. Guaranteed to provoke something WTF and/or interesting and/or memorable but with less creative cosplay.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to greginak
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                And now featuring professional comedians!
                … giving speeches about energy economics.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
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                Interestingly, regardless of what the experience actually was in the moment, it can be made to become craptacular ex-post by people (whether far-seeingly or shortsightedly or blindly) for whatever reason determining to make it so, and doing so, through motivated interpretation and commentary.

                I don’t see what benefit there is for anyone n any of these groups rendering the experience a bad one through negative interpretation and reaction, but that does seem to be happening. Maybe it’s partly just honest no-agenda reaction to the incident, but I don’t think most of it is.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird
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              Jay,
              you’re missing the point of netroots nation. Its vetting people like Heidi Heitkamp, and the mayors and everyone who’s still trying to get a decent foothold.Report

  5. Avatar j r
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    As someone with no dog in these fights, I am not sure which is more interesting: the tendency on the left to engage on blue-on-blue attacks or the tendency on the right to unite behind the idiot/idiotic narrative of the moment.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r
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      The sweeping generalization that made me gigglesnort is that the coalition on the right involves people who don’t pretend to agree with each other (“All you care about is sex!” “All you care about is filthy lucre!” and so on) while people on the left pretend to agree with each other (“nobody disagrees that black lives matter, but we’re talking about economics” “nobody disagrees about the economics, we should be talking about race!” and so on).Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to j r
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      Oh man, you haven’t been watching the right-on-right fights over Trump?Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to j r
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      @jaybird and @chris,

      I wasn’t really thinking of libertarians in my characterization of the right. Really only thinking about movement conservatives, who as a whole, tend to be much more on message than their counterparts on the left.

      And regarding the Donald, you really didn’t even see any full-throated denunciations of Trump until he made that McCain comment. What you did see was a lot of attempts to imply that he, personally, is unserious while being careful not to speak out against the positions that make him so popular among the conservative rank and file. If Trump were not actively trying to sabotage his phony candidacy, he would fit right into the collection of assholes currently seeking the GOP nomination.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to j r
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        I was specifically thinking of the McCain comments, which led to a lot of infighting on Twitter and I assume elsewhere.

        I was just remarking this weekend that, for sheer entertainment value, the ranking (from most entertaining to least) of internet political infighting goes:

        Leftists (expecially Marxists)
        Libertarians
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .
        Liberals/Progressives
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .
        ConservativesReport

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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          Typical liberal/progressive fight:

          “I agree with everything you said, but this is the wrong way to go about it.”

          “Nuh uh, it’s the right way!”

          “Wrong way!”

          “Right way!”

          “You are a horrible human being.”

          Typical conservative fight:

          “You’re poopy pants.”

          “No, you’re poopy pants.”

          “You are!”

          “You are!”

          “You probably secretly like Nobama.”

          “You probably like Nobama’s poopy pants!”Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris
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          Way predating the McCain comments, the Trump battles on Twitter have been endless. Less an end. Without end. End? There has been none. In that place where the end should be, a smoking void lives. I could go on (like the Trump battles do in perpetuity…)Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris
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          The McCain comments were asinine. And I’ll say that even though veterans have some questions about McCain’s war record…Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chris
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          @chris

          Have you ever read or hear the short story “At the Anarchists’ convention”?

          Here it is being read by Jerry Stiller:

          Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul Degraw
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            Left infighting is hilarious for a variety of reasons, including:

            1.) They tend to be incredibly intelligent.
            2.) They tend to be incredibly well-read.
            3.) They tend to think about these things (politics) all day, everyday, constantly, perhaps even in their sleep.
            4.) They all know each other. It’s like a small town.
            5.) They’re all madder than a bag of frogs, as the Brits say. I mean, every single one of them, with a range from slightly mad to “are you fucking kidding me?”

            One of my favorite examples:

            Is Slavoj Zizek a US propaganda psyop? I want to ask my comrades on the left to consider the possibility. After years of research, I have come to the conclusion that Zizek is a charlatan posing as a “Stalinist” to both discredit communists by performing a caricature Bolshevik and simultaneously, to smuggle fascist ideas including old fashioned Aryan supremacism and 19th century race theory, back into public discourse disguised as radical left critique of liberalism.

            That’s not a parody.

            One of the panelists is a wonderfully entertaining person to follow on Twitter.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw
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        The underlying analysis of GOP candidates mostly being in the race for PR purposes and to burnish their conservative bonafides in preparation for a lucrative career writing crappy books, hosting bad shows and giving expensive speeches is right.

        The whole blame it on the “free market” thing is terribly ham-fisted, though.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to j r
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          I think the first part (“underlying analysis”) is mostly wrong, too. Donald Trump has lost more money than he’s going to get from this, most likely. Huckabee actively gave up his Fox show to run. Some have a legitimate chance (Jeb, Rubio, Walker), others have no chance of conservative media stardom (Pataki, Graham, Paul), and others there simply isn’t any justification to believe it (Christie, Perry, even Cruz is acting serious) and some reason not to (Santorum). Excluding Kasich, who is supposed to be one of the good ones (and used to host a show on Fox!), that leaves all of three candidates that it applies to: Carson, Fiorina, and Jindal. Two of which look like they’ll be excluded from the debates anyway.

          And using Kasich as an example of someone who should get traction in 2016 isn’t that different from using Lieberman in 2004 as an example of something.Report

  6. Avatar LTL FTC
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    It should be pretty clear by now that stunts like this are not so much for public consumption as they are for in-group preening. Right there in the Vox article, it’s laid out – making a hashtag trend counts as some sort of “victory” as if it’s not the same group of me-toos piling on to a safe, previously-approved target. It’s like those BLM activists who interrupted a few Manhattan brunches to read out the names of police murder victims. Or should I say, “activists who interrupted a few Manhattan brunches to be seen reading out the names of police murder victims.”

    There’s no real policy here – Coatesian Afro-Ameri-Pessimism recognizes no actual policy solutions, just demands that descriptions of black life in America be limited to certain acceptable sources. It’s all about standing and who gets to tell whom to shut up. This is great fun on Twitter, and it makes a lot of people feel like important members of the vanguard, but it fails to have any effect on people who don’t feel bad about failing to correctly repeat your shibboleths.

    Any group representing less than 14% of the population would be wise to find coalition partners to make real goals on important issues. But if your main goal is to claw your way up through your in-group, accomplishment runs a distant second behind being seen being radical.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LTL FTC
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      Any group representing less than 14% of the population would be wise to find coalition partners to make real goals on important issues.

      The 0.1% do just fine all by themselves. I think you mean to say “Any group representing less than 3% of total wealth”.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to LTL FTC
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      Biting psychoanalysis.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Chris
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        I find that the post-Occupy social justice movement(s) make far more sense when you view their actions as just as more directed to the in-group than the out-group.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to LTL FTC
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          Clearly you do, and no doubt you are a smart person and feel that your perception, however limited in its perspective, is therefore likely correct.

          However, you are talking about a movement that has managed to keep police violence, and police violence against black people in particular, as part of the national dialogue for almost a year, and have even made prison reform an issue liberals will talk about. He’ll, they even have presidential candidates, including Clinton, paying attention and talking about their issues.

          Granted, they have not solved the problems that brought their movement into existence, solutions to which would require not only deep structural and cultural and structural change in two of the most entrenched institutions in our society — entrenched politically, economically, and culturally — in law enforcement organizations and the prison system, but also fundamental changes to local government and to our culture at all levels, but if they had done so in under a year, their movement would go down as the most effective in history.

          Instead they have pivoted to primarily local actions, targeting local politicians and elections, as well as local manifestations of the issues that motivate their existence as a movement. See, e.g., what they’re doing in St Louis and Chicago. They do have national goals, but since the early days of highly visible publicity stunts, stunts by which you seem to judge them entirely (demonstrating their effectiveness thereby), they have mostly focused on local action, this recent demonstration, which took advantage of a specific platform to achieve a specific goal, not withstanding.

          But you make sense of them forever you need to do so. They’ve left you behind, and frankly, as long as you choose to stay in their past, they don’t need you anyway.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to LTL FTC
      Ignored
      says:

      The Coates types and BLM movement do have actual policy thingees they are trying to push through. Lot of it revolves around much greater oversight of police and a lot less putting POC in jail.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to greginak
        Ignored
        says:

        From the original post:

        The issue is not policy. The policies advocated by Bernie Sanders and the Black Lives Matter crowd are basically identical as shown by Ms. Lind.

        So, why would you go after the guy with whom you have almost no daylight between policy-wise? It doesn’t make any sense unless you view this as a big intramural game of purer-than-thou and not an actual effort to move the needle politically.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to LTL FTC
          Ignored
          says:

          They are not identical, and why they.would do so is discussed above.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to LTL FTC
          Ignored
          says:

          Well one reason to do it is to make sure the issue is at the fore front of debate. You want to make sure people are attending to it. That is pretty basic to getting things done in a large heterogeneous group.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to LTL FTC
          Ignored
          says:

          LTL FTC,

          Could see lot of other justifications: From the perspective of a left racialist, you can’t have a further-left movement of any significance not treating race as a primary concern. In this regard, the question above as to “what difference does it make how you achieve the correct solution?” would represent a complete overturning of race-political assumptions. It would be almost like saying that it didn’t matter whether writers at a newspaper (or web site) were all-white-male, that what mattered was how good the newspaper was… Utter heresy, of course.

          If you adopt, for example, the common left-racialist shibboleth that “white people cannot know what it is to be black in America,” then Bernie Sanders and his (it is said) overwhelmingly light-skin-toned followers must accept tutelage, and be seen to be doing so, or be declared of-the-oppressor. I haven’t been following the BS campaign very closely, but I take it he hasn’t been featuring any highly placed “POC”? He might want to get on that.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to LTL FTC
      Ignored
      says:

      There’s no real policy here – Coatesian Afro-Ameri-Pessimism recognizes no actual policy solutions, just demands that descriptions of black life in America be limited to certain acceptable sources.

      I could say a lot about this comment, but as this is a demonstrably false statement, I don’t really have to.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        I disagree. Look at the Case for Reparations – TNC’s big break out piece. The best he could do was an endorsement of a bill to examine the issue, which is essentially window-dressing. The really hard questions, like how you determine who is sufficiently black, what to do with black immigrants, how to pro-rate for mixed race people and all that, is completely ignored. Discussion about what a massive cash influx would do to the black community is similarly missing. As a guide to evaluating the policy for which it’s named, it’s mostly empty. Coates doesn’t owe us a detailed road map, but one would expect at least a little thought about what his proposed course of action would do to remedy the ills he identified.

        This makes sense, because he’s not building a policy. In his new book he writes:

        “[T]he plunder of black life was drilled into this country in its infancy and reinforced across its history, so that plunder has become an heirloom, an intelligence, a sentience, a default setting to which, likely to the end of our days, we must invariably return.”

        That’s the thesis of his book and he says it in dozens of different ways. One shouldn’t expect a book written in the style of a letter to his son as a roadmap of what to do about racial inequality and violence. But to say that Coates has anything to say about policy is to be mistaken.

        His role as a tragic voice of The Struggle (TM) is above policy.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to LTL FTC
          Ignored
          says:

          Policy issues, for good or bad, from the BLM website.
          http://blacklivesmatter.com/demands/Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LTL FTC
          Ignored
          says:

          The best he could do was an endorsement of a bill to examine the issue, which is essentially window-dressing. The really hard questions, like how you determine who is sufficiently black, what to do with black immigrants, how to pro-rate for mixed race people and all that, is completely ignored.

          Seriously, you’re saying that he ignored the hard issues by pushing for a bill to study them?Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Mike Schilling
            Ignored
            says:

            How is that so controversial? On the spectrum of political options, “create a commission to study this” is what you do when you don’t actually want to do anything. It’s a cop-out.Report

            • Avatar Jennifer in reply to LTL FTC
              Ignored
              says:

              Long time lurker, maybe 2nd time poster here.

              This comment moved me to respond because it’s so stunningly wrong. The notion that Ta Ne-hisi Coates doesn’t want do anything about racism in this country is just..wildy, flagrantly, and quite obviously wrong.

              As an aside, I take issue with the notion that TNC or any writer has an obligation to come up with detailed policy solutions, or at least that he bears any special burden on that front that none of us have. The reparations article is valuable because too many people either don’t know or willfully ignore the history; we can’t even get to solutions if we don’t have a full grasp on the scope of the problem.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jennifer
                Ignored
                says:

                Well said. Comment more!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jennifer
                Ignored
                says:

                Dude. Totally. Comment more.Report

              • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Jennifer
                Ignored
                says:

                This comment moved me to respond because it’s so stunningly wrong. The notion that Ta Ne-hisi Coates doesn’t want do anything about racism in this country is just..wildy, flagrantly, and quite obviously wrong.

                I disagree, and stacking on the adjectives doesn’t really make your case.

                “[P]lunder has become an heirloom, an intelligence, a sentience, a default setting to which, likely to the end of our days, we must invariably return” sounds to me like an original sin we can’t baptize our way out of or overcome through works or faith.

                In his New York profile, “he urges his son to accept ‘the preferences of the universe itself,’ among them the preference for ‘struggle over hope,’ which sounds to me to get more to the core of his belief than the quoted line about releasing violent offenders from prisons, which, based on content, seemed more like a mechanism to scandalize the centrist whites at the event where he was speaking.

                Pessimism is a legitimate attitude to take – if all the actions we have taken to remedy the consequences of chattel slavery still leave us with a trail of bodies in the street and nobody accountable, it makes a great deal of sense.

                That pessimism has lead some to nationalism, separatism, self-sufficiency or even armed resistance. For Coates, all we get is a wordy exercise in question-begging and ten thousand radical-chic retweeters who want you to know how conscious they are.

                And no, he doesn’t have to lay out a detailed plan as if he’s running for office, but he does have some responsibility to finish the thoughts he started. A “case” for reparations is incomplete without saying what those reparations are and who is getting them. A “case for getting me a wheelchair” that consists entirely of the story of how I broke my arm is deficient in obvious ways. Coates avoids this problem, but in doing so, fails to make an “case” at all.Report

              • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to LTL FTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Whoops. Shoulda been:

                “which, based on contextReport

              • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to LTL FTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Also, adverbs.Report

              • Avatar Jennifer in reply to LTL FTC
                Ignored
                says:

                I guess I don’t understand why you are so focused on what TNC’s article doesn’t do, as opposed what it does.

                To my mind, TNC’s article makes a powerful moral argument for why there should be reparations, strongly buttressed by the history of how black people suffered due to racist policies. If you are not persuaded by the history that he very clearly and thoroughly laid out in the piece, then I’m not quite sure what will convince you of the legitimacy of that moral argument.

                Also, it really is just categorically wrong to suggest that a black man with a black wife and a black teenage son, who once lost a black friend to police violence at the hands of a cop, doesn’t want to put an end to racism. I’m struggling to see how this is a debatable point, frankly.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jennifer
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                says:

                I think in addition to what @jennifer says, it’s important to note Coates’s central point to his final argument — that it’s highly unlikely, were we to calculate the amount objectively owed, that would be able to do so. In his piece, Coates never says “give me the money;” he’s advocating that we have a long, open, and honest public forum about things that we prefer to pretend not exist (or have existed) because we prefer the pretty myth we already embrace.

                In other words, in his reparations piece Coates wishes less for Public Policy X than he does simply a full recognition by Americans the toll that the past 300+ years has taken on blacks.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jennifer
                Ignored
                says:

                Notice that LTL makes the subtle move from talking about the reparations article, which suggests action, to a letter to his son, in which it would be weird to do so, and ends by saying that the reparations essay fails because it doesn’t give a concrete proposal, something TNC explicitly thinks needs to be studied and discussed first. In doing so, he shows that he’s not interested in honest discussion, and is merely concern trolling.

                I wonder who LTL used to be here.Report

              • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Lot of stuff going on here with multiple commenters.

                Todd says:

                “in his reparations piece Coates wishes less for Public Policy X than he does simply a full recognition by Americans the toll that the past 300+ years has taken on blacks.”

                but Chris says,

                “the reparations article, which suggests action,”

                That’s the slippery bit. It’s about action when necessary to show it’s not just navel gazing and isn’t when pushed on what the action would entail. That slipperyness allows it to mean whatever you want depending on what you need to prove.

                And it’s not concern trolling. Going back to my original post. TNC, BLM and their ilk represent the self-defeating wing of the left – the ones who are more about in-group status battles within the bubble than moving the needle in real life. These are the people who go after politicians who agree on the policies they want but are to be rebuked because they reached those conclusions through different paths.

                This is enabled by a rather self-fulfilling pessimism and the retreat from actually arguing for policy X and just getting “full recognition” from who knows who.

                And for the record, while I’ve been reading OT/LooG since around 2011, I haven’t commented.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to LTL FTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Everything one of your conclusions remains as false as when I first responded, but particularly this:

                These are the people who go after politicians who agree on the policies they want but are to be rebuked because they reached those conclusions through different paths.

                This is simply not what happened, as others, including subsequent Vox coverage, have pointed out in this thread. As you haven’t addressed any of that, I still can’t see an interest in honest discussion in your comments. I’ll leave you to the others, then.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to LTL FTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “TNC, BLM and their ilk represent the self-defeating wing of the left”

                wow do I ever disagree.

                First, “ilk” is an interesting word choice. It signals clear as can be that you want to distinguish and diminish that particular sub-set of activists.

                Second, it’s very early days yet in the arc of both TNC and BLM. Maybe it’s a little early to be quite so sure that they are self-defeating?

                Third, what are each trying to accomplish, and why is it that each of them are self-defeating? And if each is doing something different, isn’t it a little odd to group them together as an ilk?

                Fourth, who are you to judge? Have you done polling? Are you an expert in the field? Do you really know better than they what it is that they are trying to accomplish, so that you can be so sure of your conclusion that they are defeating themselves?Report

              • Avatar Jennifer in reply to Chris
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                says:

                I’m the new kid here so I didn’t want to come into the room with my guns blazing, but you may be right about LTL concern trolling.

                I think a person could make a legitimate argument that the BLM action at Netroots Nation wasn’t the best way to get their point across (I don’t actually agree that they were wrong, but I think a reasonable argument to that effect is possible). But that’s not what LTL is doing here. What I don’t get is why.Report

              • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Jennifer
                Ignored
                says:

                To my mind, TNC’s article makes a powerful moral argument for why there should be reparations, strongly buttressed by the history of how black people suffered due to racist policies.

                I think we’re talking past one another. TNC makes a powerful moral argument for how black people have suffered under white supremacy generally, and under specific housing programs specifically. What he doesn’t do is attempt to make a case that reparations is either a solution to problems caused by centuries of racial violence and discrimination or even some sort of cosmic score-settling.

                Also, it really is just categorically wrong to suggest that a black man with a black wife and a black teenage son, who once lost a black friend to police violence at the hands of a cop, doesn’t want to put an end to racism. I’m struggling to see how this is a debatable point, frankly.

                Because he thinks it’s impossible. That it’s baked right in the American cake. That it’s part of what it means to be white and white people aren’t going anywhere. That’s what pessimism is about. It may be the answer to the question of why he made only half an argument about reparations – because he knows that a pile of money won’t make black people safe around the police, among other things.Report

              • Avatar Jennifer in reply to LTL FTC
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m going to take your last paragraph as a concession that you were wrong to say that TNC doesn’t want racism to end. TNC may be pessimistic, but that in no way suggests that he doesn’t want racism to be over.

                But I confess that I’m lost as to what your point is, other than to throw shade at TNC and BlackLivesMatter. Black people are dying with startling regularity at the hands of police, and you question the sincerity of those who want to attack the policies and structures that make those deaths possible, dismissing their complaints as “navel gazing” and “in group status battles.” These are people with reason to fear that they’ll end up on the business end of the discrimination they decry. But you choose to belittle and dismiss them, to police their tone rather than hear and acknowledge the substance of what they are saying.Report

              • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Jennifer
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m going to take your last paragraph as a concession that you were wrong to say that TNC doesn’t want racism to end.

                That sort of misses the point. I would like the drought to end, but I know it isn’t worth my time shouting at the sky.

                But you choose to belittle and dismiss them, to police their tone rather than hear and acknowledge the substance of what they are saying.

                So it comes down to “tone policing” once more. Useful policies and effective tactics? Unimportant compared to the idea that people must feel unimpeded by criticism from using whatever tone they wish. Those who do not adhere to the Derailing for Dummies pieties, which is to say nearly all voters, do not respond well to that tone.

                We are closer than we have ever been to ending the drug war and paring back decades of mass incarceration. A fragile left-right consensus on some of these issues is starting to emerge, at least at the elite level. Purity politics, like the protester’s demands that candidates mouth the right shibboleths, irrespective of their platform, may just snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

                And yes, this can be viewed through an in-group lens. The internecine battles and struggle session pile-ons that have occupied activists time for decades now mostly play out in public. And what has proven in the past to be effective tactic for an activist to move up the food chain? Find someone in a leadership position and call them insufficiently radical. I saw it in my anti-Iraq-war days in college.

                Now to back up… I get the concern troll thing. You don’t know me and can’t verify my goodwill. I suspect many commenters fall into the same trap I do – silently agreeing with or appreciating posts for years, only to crawl out of the woodwork on those rare occasions where I both disagree and have a slack day at work.

                At the very least, a few supportive comments over time would have solidified me in the eyes of the OT community as someone coming from the right place. But here we are.

                I’m not going to apologize for observing that there’s something to be learned from newer lefty activists by viewing public acts through the lens of group dynamics. There’s a huge left-on-left battle going on out there, and in many cases it has nothing to do with policy.

                Similarly, I stand by my claim that Coates’ pessimism is a dead end and talk of reparations is useful only as an in-group signal that you acknowledge centuries of oppression and not a serious policy proposal.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to LTL FTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Ahh, that’s because the ‘we’ there are the people who’ve been plundered; and they cannot end that plunder.

                The plunderers, on the other hand. . . which is why he’s telling his son not to expect it, because it’s not about what he or his son do. It’s about what you do.Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to LTL FTC
          Ignored
          says:

          “Discussion about what a massive cash influx would do to the black community is similarly missing”

          I believe that Chappelle has already addressed this issue in his show.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRZN7IzvCVs

          🙂Report

  7. Avatar Michael Drew
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    says:

    It needs to be kept in mind that there is a segment of the center(“-left”) right now that for whatever reason is already in hard-core protect-the-nominee mode, and are looking to use anything they can to limit how tarnished, or even slightly less shiny, Sec. Clinton looks in any light, including the (certainly temporary) reflected glare of Bernie Sanders’ brief ride on a shooting star. There is a group of people who are only too happy to jump on something like the #BernieSoBlack hashtag in order to advance that aim, and that aim alone. (I.e. who are utterly disingenuous in their advancement of this particular critique of Sanders, in other words concern-trolling to the point of semi-ratfishing the outside-issue left against the solid left to the benefit of the center(“-left”).

    This presumptively applies to absolutely no one actually involved in Black Lives Matter, and not to the large majority of people who had something to say under the #BernieSoBlack hashtag. And it certainly had nothing to do with the impetus for the Netroots Nation protest itself. Nevertheless, there is that segment out there, and they are vocal.Report

  8. Avatar Roland Dodds
    Ignored
    says:

    Great piece @saul-degraw. I go out of town for a few days and I return to see a few posts right up my ally.

    I wrote a piece a few months ago defending the “whiteness” of Bernie Sanders.

    https://inhopeanddarkness.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/in-defense-of-bernie-sanders-whiteness/

    I agree with many of the commentators above, but I think it is inherently problematic to expect any candidate to speak for communities they do not belong to. Obviously, we expect this of American politicians, and African Americans have every right to demand he address issues that are relevant to them. I just think that a candidate claims to stand for all people stands for none. Representative democracy allows and expects different groups to have representatives to carry their issues forward.Report

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