Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 29, 2009

'ACTUALLY'.... I've read quite a few columns from Byron York over the years, first during his tenure at the National Review, and more recently as the chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner. I've seen plenty of commentary I strongly disagree with, but none has offended me quite as much as his latest column.

On his 100th day in office, Barack Obama enjoys high job approval ratings, no matter what poll you consult. But if a new survey by the New York Times is accurate, the president and some of his policies are significantly less popular with white Americans than with black Americans, and his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are. [emphasis added]

For crying out loud, what the hell does that mean, exactly? I read the rest of the piece, hoping to see York explain why the president's seemingly popular positions are exaggerated or inflated. Why, in other words, these positions "appear" more popular "than they actually are."

But all the piece tells me is that African Americans tend to support Obama in greater numbers than white Americans.

The problem, of course, is that damn phrase "than they actually are." York argues that we can see polls gauging public opinion, but if we want to really understand the popularity of the president's positions, and not be fooled by "appearances," then we have to exclude black people.

There's really no other credible way to read this. York effectively argues that black people shouldn't count. We can look at polls measuring the attitudes of Americans, but if we want to see the truth -- appreciate the numbers as "they actually are" -- then it's best if we focus our attention on white people, and only white people.

Adam Serwer added, "This is another example of a really bizarre genre of conservative writing, which I call 'If Only Those People Weren't Here.'"

This is unacceptable.

Steve Benen 3:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (86)

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Comments

perhaps he thinks african-americans should only count for 3/5 when polled.

Posted by: mellowjohn on April 29, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

York effectively argues that black people shouldn't count.

Based on past performance, I thought this was a Republican party plank.

Posted by: ckelly on April 29, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we should exclude all conservative christians from Republican popularity polls.

Posted by: martin on April 29, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

You're right, I really can't see any other way to interpret that. This is a perfect example of a racist perspective in a person who probably would deny up and down any racial animus.

What's crazy is that most white people won't catch it, because they have the same perspective.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on April 29, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

That is the sort of telling slip-of-the-tongue that really defines GOP leadership and intellectualism in the 21st century.

Posted by: JWK on April 29, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Although York worded it much poorer than others, this was exactly the message MSNBC, CNN and probably Fox (sorry, allergies) were sending throughout the primaries and general election season. The entire focus on polls based on racial preferences was to suggest that "these people" are single issue voters, and that that issue is skin color. This message would not have been any clearer if they had blatantly said, "meanwhile objective observers...".

Posted by: Danp on April 29, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

With this, you certainly sense a patronizing, "Hey, they're only Negroes" sensibility. Which, of course, isn't very sensible at all. If I were black, I'd be offended by this. Heck, I'm not black and I'm offended.

I'm of Italian descent, and it may shock Mr. York to learn I'm no fan of Rudy Giuliani.

Posted by: Vincent on April 29, 2009 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

>"This message would not have been any clearer if they had blatantly said, "meanwhile objective observers..."

Yeah, let's use objective, rational voters... like creationists and rapture Christians.

Posted by: Buford on April 29, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, that's beneath risible, perhaps the only way conservatives can escape being a laughingstock.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on April 29, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

The most charitable I can be is to think this is what he's saying:

Black people are giving Obama high approval numbers, but that exaggerates their opinions on his policies, since they only approve of him because he's black.

Not necessarily that black people shouldn't count, but that we should put the proper race/ignorance multiplier on their poll results in order to interpret them properly. Maybe he's reading from Karl Rove's book, The Math.

It's no less odious an argument than if he'd just said black people shouldn't count, and may in fact be more so.

Posted by: Fargus on April 29, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

That is comedy gold, right there. That utter lack of self-awareness. And he had to THINK about this position, long enough to write a column about it.

"Black people are skewing the numbers! Good thing they don't represent real Americans!"

Seriously. This is deeply weird. Not the racism, that's normal; the fact that it is so unashamedly on display. It's like he got dressed this morning, mistakenly put on KKK robes, and then went about his daily business without wearing his hood.

Posted by: Meanderthal on April 29, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, the Washington Examiner is an even more egregious purveyor of blatant Republican lies than is the Moonie Washington Times, which is saying a lot. And most of the people I see handing out free copies of the Examiner in the DC Metro are black. I wonder how many of them realize just what it is they are distributing.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 29, 2009 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP chorus keeps trying to find ways to tell us that the country is NOT in favor of the Obama agenda. York's column isn't that much different from Joe Scarborough, among others, ending any discusssion of policy with the observation that America "is still a center-right nation."

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on April 29, 2009 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Republican Party, whitewashing their soul.
- artist's impression

Posted by: JM on April 29, 2009 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

The only thing that surprises me about this is that he actually put it in print. Don't they have editors over there?

Posted by: DR on April 29, 2009 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Seems the 3/5ths Compromise is alive and well.

Posted by: Zandar on April 29, 2009 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Another conservative unintentionally revealing what he really thinks. Honestly, I'd love to hear the explanation as to how this isn't a racist statement, and we're all just misinterpreting it.

And I agree with Fargus - the only way this isn't a racist statement is if it's actually a different, comparably racist statement.

Posted by: DH Walker on April 29, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Well of course . . . everybody knows us black people . . . so long as we can pick up our welfare checks and watch our rap videos . . . we'll pretty much say whatever the pollster tells us to say . . . for a price . . . like say a cigarette or sumthin'.

My brother.

Posted by: All black people can dance on April 29, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Let's add this clown who thinks things would be so much better if women didn't vote.

Apparently, only white men should have the authoritative last say or have any valid opinion on anything.

Posted by: MsJoanne on April 29, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Byron York:
Colored folk aren't 'real Americans!'

Posted by: Monty on April 29, 2009 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

And I agree with Fargus - the only way this isn't a racist statement is if it's actually a different, comparably racist statement

Right.

KKK version: Obama's policies aren't really that popular because black people don't count.

KKKKKKKKKKKKKK version: Obama's policies aren't really that popular because black people can't think.

Which is it, Mr. York?

Posted by: JM on April 29, 2009 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I can see a less vile interpretation: that Obama is so personally popular among African Americans that his specific policies are riding on those "coattails" in polling. In other words, expansion of high-speed rail, health care reform and the bank bailouts wouldn't poll as high if Obama weren't so personally popular among African Americans.

If that was his point, I can't imagine how he knows this. How can you know that this or that policy would poll lower if they were advocated by a President Biden or Clinton today? But that's why he's a columnist and I'm a poster on this blog, I guess.

Posted by: eyscribe on April 29, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Every now and then, some right-winger makes a gaffe like this that reveals his true beliefs.

Posted by: mikeypal on April 29, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

As others have pointed out, of course, lots of american voters turn out to not be "real" to the reppublicans--women, when they arent voting republican, are routinely dismissed as delusional, easily affected by emotion, and not as important or real as "heartland american voters" or "the angry white male voter." Only when the republicans tried to reach out to "soccer moms" by reimagining them as "security moms" did their votes begin to seem like something "normal." And don't get me started on the way they have treated and described northern votes, Massachusetts voters, democratic voters, union voters, as well as black and hispanic voters. All of these are seen and presented as essentially outside the realm of the normal--almost pathological.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on April 29, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

It seems I'm not the first to suggest this, but my initial thought was 'maybe there's some analytical filter we can apply that would allow us to statistically even this out and divine the President's true popularity... some compromise.'

Of course, the 3/5ths compromise joke (no joke, really) was made in post number 1.

Posted by: Shantyhag on April 29, 2009 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno - for that kind of skew, I think it would have to be a 5/3 rule.
(overweighting the sample such that each black person = 5/3 of a white person. see, it's funny because ...)

Posted by: kenga on April 29, 2009 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

did i not get the memo that we're no longer ashamed of racism?

Posted by: Personal Failure on April 29, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

This is astounding even though I have suffered through Mr. York's appearances on C-SPAN. I would actually be tempted to read a copy of the Washington Examiner if it would publish Mr. York's explanation of how a poll can make something look "more popular than it really is." Then he could proceed to explain how his premise is not racist.

Is he maybe implying that African-Americans have traditionally been excluded from polls? Otherwise, I can't make any sense out of the statement.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on April 29, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, your problem is that you don't see things through the prism of the Big Tent of Freedom. Those people would not be allowed in, so they don't count.

Posted by: RollaMO on April 29, 2009 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

@eyscribe,

I turned that one over in my mind as well, but the polls separate his personal popularity from the popularity of his positions.

I really think it's either "black people don't count" or "black people can't think." The most charitable reading is "even when you ask them separately about whether they like him personally, black people approve of his policies just because they like him, and they like him just because he's black."

So thick you could stir it with a stick.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on April 29, 2009 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

The flip side is that because white Southern Republicans oppose Obama by record margins while he is wildly popular with the rest of America the right wing portrays this as proving that the President is "THE most polarizing" president in modern history. Obama is "most polarizing" not for anything he may have actually done to provoke such opposition, mind you, but merely because the GOP is so far out of step with the rest of the nation that the gap between GOP opposition and American support is the widest it's ever been. Viewing the world entirely from ones own perspective. The true definition of an ideologue.

Posted by: Ted Frier on April 29, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

York effectively argues that black people shouldn't count. -- Steve Benen

No, no, no. I'm sure that, when pressed, Mr York would say it's only the *opinions* of black people that shouldn't count (or maybe for 3/5th). When it comes to actual body count, nothing less that a full one (or maybe, even, 1.25) would do.

Blacks are disproportionately overrepresented in American jails and jail population does *magical* things when it comes to redistricting, vacuuming in federal and state funds, handing out no-bid contracts to cronies...

Posted by: exlibra on April 29, 2009 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Steve~
It's quite simple, really.
The number of positive "black people's" opinions waters down the impact of the negative "real people's" opinions.
Y'know, like counting mannequins in the census.

Posted by: labradog on April 29, 2009 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

On his 100th day in office, George Bush enjoys high job approval ratings, no matter what poll you consult. But if a new survey by the New York Times is accurate, the president and some of his policies are significantly less popular with non-fundamentalists than with religious fundamentalists, and his sky-high ratings among fundamentalists make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are.

Posted by: Holdie on April 29, 2009 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

York could have written "Polls really show Obama's personal popularity, not the popularity of his programs", and maybe had a point.

Of course, then he'd have to admit that Obama is popular in general, not just among groups like Blacks, Jews, women, liberals, gays, students, young people, old people, East Coasters, West Coasters, and the rest of the 80% of us that the NR crew doesn't consider *real* Americans.

Posted by: Mike on April 29, 2009 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

What York means is that Obama's support among African Americans has nothing to do with his positions or policies, so looking at his approval rating as though it signified approval of his policies is misleading.

Posted by: David Nieporent on April 29, 2009 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

It makes perfect sense. We should also eliminate whites from polling of white presidents. Which puts Bush's numbers in the single digits (if not no digits).

Fair is fair - Im sure Byron would agree.

Posted by: WBer on April 29, 2009 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

OTOH, if you exclude the religiously insane, warmongers and greed-heads, Obama's policies are actually a lot more popular then they seem.

Posted by: Raenelle on April 29, 2009 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byron_York

He proudly display he is Caucasian on his wikiepeda page.

I couldn't find another blogger on wikipedia showing off their race.

What a weirdo.

Posted by: HKK on April 29, 2009 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

How would the GOP message of "government social programs hurt 'Whites' because they help Blacks more" play if there were no Black people?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on April 29, 2009 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Using this logic, couldn't one make the argument that if you take out the people who don't like Pres Obama his poll numbers are lower than they actually are? I mean if you take out the racists and hard right wingers (not always the same thing guys, c'mon now) wouldn't his "true" approval ratings be known? I'm just saying....

Posted by: IDTT on April 29, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what York might be saying.

'White' people are "follow the leader types". And a good chunk of 'White' people support Obama because they perceive he's popular. If these 'White' people were armed with the knowledge of how 'White' people view Obama, some of them would embrace the 'White' attitude toward Obama instead of the American attitude toward Obama. So, if the media would spend more time saying that 'White' people like Obama less than the American people like Obama then maybe more 'White' people would come around to be critical of Obama.

So, he's not saying Black people shouldn't count. He's saying 'White' people are easily manipulated and if the media treated them like they were racist they would be more racist. And this would be good for the GOP.

So, it's only racist in that he implies the media is negligent by not being more racist than it is. It's not that Black people shouldn't count. It's that the media has a duty to foster identity politics among 'Whites'.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on April 29, 2009 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

David-

1. Read York's column. That's not what he's saying. York goes on to say the poll shows that Obama's economic policies are approved of by 55% of Whites and 91% of Blacks. He runs through a bunch of other issues as well. The racial disparity also exists in Congressional and VP approval ratings. Yet York still ascribes a single race-based motive to African-American approval of Obama? Sorry, your spin doesn't save him.

2. How is that any different from ascribing, say, GWB's high approval ratings among southern white Christians to the fact that GWB is a southern white Christian, rather than their support of his policies and actions? York's column is similarly conclusory, offers a similarly blinkered view of human nature, and is similarly, if not more, offensive.

Posted by: z on April 29, 2009 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

York effectively argues that black people shouldn't count...if we want to see the truth -- appreciate the numbers as "they actually are" -- then it's best if we focus our attention on white people, and only white people.

This surprises anyone? York wrote for the goddamned National Review!

"The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes–the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.

--William F. Buckley Jr., August 24, 1957

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on April 29, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Aw, c'mon we all know that support from "hard-working Americans, white Americans" is what counts. Our current Secretary of State told us so. Also, as her husband so sagely reminded us, Jesse Jackson carried the South Carolina primary.

Posted by: Sebastian Dangerfield on April 29, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Every now and then, some right-winger makes a gaffe like this that reveals his true beliefs.
Posted by: mikeypal

Why do you think this is a gaffe? He's telling you what he believes, period.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on April 29, 2009 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in the New York Times, the other day:

Republicans are a more homogeneously conservative party today, but so too are Democrats a more homogeneously liberal party. Each party's trend has reinforced the other. As liberal Republicans joined the Democrats, conservative Democrats, feeling less at home, joined the Republican Party, making it more conservative

The ex-Democrats who flocked to the Republican party were mostly Southern Democrats dead set against civil rights for people like our President. It's nice to know what "conservative" means to Republicans, isn't it?

Posted by: PQuincy on April 29, 2009 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

I love this kind of 'magical thinking'. You know that when Bush policies were polled; the war in Iraq, torture, the unitary executive, warrantless wiretapping, Dick Cheney, Medicare Part D, Tax cuts for the Weathiest 1% - ALL would have polled much higher if it weren't for Blacks, Hispanics, Liberals, College Graduates, Women, Cats, Gays, Muslims, and Athiests.

Posted by: bcinaz on April 29, 2009 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Okay... when people WANT an answer to be something different than what it is they ignore a piece of the data and proclaim the answer they want to be true.

Alternatively, when you wish to run down something like a poll, you make it look like some part of the poll is tainted.

So members of the GOP, AKA the Conservative Corporate Christian Party (CCCP), have found a rather disgusting way to debase recent polls of Obama's popularity. I am unsuprised.

But if I were in politics or the media, I would watch the Republicans very carefully and instantly counter any comments like these. Hate, as you know, can bind people, or a population, closer together than can love.

Posted by: Kurt on April 29, 2009 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

I tried looking for the Byron York column where he argued that George W. Bush was actually a far more unpopular president than polls suggested because of the monolithic support of white conservative Christians. Somehow I couldn't find it.

Posted by: jonas on April 29, 2009 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

The unintended consequence of Mr. York's claim is that many Republicans will nod their heads in agreement, thereby deceiving themselves that they are not far out of the mainstream. They can continue to fool themselves that only white people should vote for all I care - it will make it easier for Democrats of all races to govern.

Posted by: SteveB on April 29, 2009 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty sure he is referring to net overall numbers. Let's say the US has 300M people, and 13% are black. That would mean that 27M blacks consider the country headed in the right direction and 81M whits agree. However, when you look at the "wrong track" info, you will see that only 9M blacks think it's headed in that direction with 134M whites agreeing. This results in a larger total number (143M and 58%) for "wrong" direction. These numbers represent a greater number of Americans of all colors combined think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Black opinion clearly counts a full one person but only up to 13% of the whole. I think Mr. York was illustrating that you don't see the headline stating the majority of Americans see the country headed in the wrong direction even though that is clearly what the poll shows.

Posted by: rational on April 29, 2009 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

If you think York is bad, scoot on over there and read his commenters. They make him sound like Donna Brazile.

Posted by: jimmyraybob on April 29, 2009 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

What York means is that Obama's support among African Americans has nothing to do with his positions or policies...

Even assuming that's his point, it's still a dog-whistle to his racist audience. I mean, why didn't he just say that Obama's high ratings among Democrats or women is independent of his performance, or for that matter his low ratings among Republicans?

Posted by: charles on April 29, 2009 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

fargus (and probably others) made the same point I was going to make. Is York dismissing African Americans because
a: Of course they like Obama, duh! EE'S-HAY ACK-BLAY!

Or...

b: we shouldn't care what black people think.

Either answer is chock full of scumbaggery, but whether you loathe a man because he kicked a dog or kicked a kid, at the end of the day, it'd be nice to be able to explain your contempt correctly.

Meanwhile, I read a poll that stipulates that if you pay no attention to the stupid people who don't like Obama, Obama has, like a 100% approval rating.

Posted by: slappy magoo on April 29, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

rational-

Let's say the US has 300M people, and 13% are black.

What counts are the number of voters; typically, only around 100 million US citizens (approximately half of everyone who can vote) typically bother to vote.

Voting Day should be a national holiday.

Posted by: Monty on April 29, 2009 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

As a proud, pigment-challenged person of northern European descent, I've got to say that York is a jackass.

What a day for news; York's diatribe, the GOP Reps voting a lockstep "No" on the budget, ant the Repubs whining about hate-crime legislation. Thank God for the past 100 days.

Posted by: Ken on April 29, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

MANY (maybe most) of the southern repub men are racists and sexists. They like Alan Keyes and Thomas Sowell and Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin - and thinks that proves they are NOT racists and sexists.

Posted by: MuddyLee on April 29, 2009 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, wasn't that almost exactly the Clinton position during the primaries?

Posted by: Brad on April 29, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

It's really no different than their standard "real Americans" message-- aka white heterosexual republicans-- that only "real Americans" count, the rest of us don't.

Beyond that, just listen to 5 minutes of right-wing radio and you'll hear that they all actually seem to believe that they represent a "silent majority" that actually opposes Obama.

They are truly living in la-la land-- they watch FoxNews, listen to Rush/Beck/Hannity, read right-wing blogs, and refuse to read any newspapers or any other MSM news sources because they're all the "liberal media." They're living in a bubble that is increasingly isolated and divorced from reality. It's sad, really.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on April 29, 2009 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, it's been quite a year so far - first we've been hit with coordinated crazy talk from the losers of Nov. '08, and now it seems these same losers are floating the trial balloon of crazy-ass analysis (read latent racism percolating to the surface for all to read and see.)

When will these losers begin to crawl back to any previous century, as it is becoming painfully obvious they are out of their element in our modern 21st century democratic society. -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 29, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

why didn't he just say that Obama's high ratings among Democrats or women is independent of his performance, or for that matter his low ratings among Republicans?

Ah, I was wondering when someone was going to get to that second point.

Back in the early days of ye olde dump truck, I recall some Usenettin' fool solemnly assuring me that if Democrats didn't have women, blacks,"Mexicans" (translates to all Latino/as, of course), "Orientals," gays, lesbians, union members, younger voters and non-Protestants, we'd have nobody. Here we are now, with all the demographic and social change wrought by the intervening years, and Byron York is presenting the 2009 version of this.

Posted by: shortstop on April 29, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

What York means is that Obama's support among African Americans has nothing to do with his positions or policies...

Then York is an idiot, because of course Obama's support among African Americans has a great deal to do with his positions and policies.

Do you think any black politician would garner such approval ratings, regardless of his policies? How are Michael Steele's approval ratings among blacks?

Posted by: Tom Nawrocki on April 29, 2009 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

The thing about York's comment is that it's not mean-spirited or malicious -- the prejudice is real, just completely unobserved on his part.

I'm talking of course about the inherent bias that the NY Times, out of ALL the polls, is the one that MUST BE WRONG.

Then he gets into the race thing.

Given the current state of the GOP, I'd cut him some slack for the present time.

Posted by: Franklin on April 29, 2009 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

"and his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are."

Then too: his sky-high vote totals among [citizens you don't like] make his election less legitimate than it appeared.

And also: if the overall popularity of his policies was lower than it is, it wouldn't be as high.

Good shit, BY.

Posted by: tamiasmin on April 29, 2009 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, I generally can't stand your point of view, but you're right on this one.

Dumb at best.

Posted by: RH Potfry on April 29, 2009 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

I just thought of another interpretation. It's no less idiotic, but bear with me:

Population-wise, the numbers are correct, but since all blacks are clustered in the inner cities, there's much more widespread geographical dissent toward Obama's policies.

I'm not very good at playing Devil's Advocate, am I?

Posted by: Fargus on April 29, 2009 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

A dittohead friend of mine said with a straight face, "Only white men should be allowed to vote". I responded, "How about only white men with a college degree?" (I have one and he doesn't.) He promptly changed the subject.

Posted by: bikelib on April 29, 2009 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Btw: York meant exactly what we all think he meant. Every once in awhile, even the "intellectual" wingnuts let the mask slip.

Posted by: bikelib on April 29, 2009 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Nice catch, Mr. Benen.

Posted by: Conrads Ghost on April 29, 2009 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK
Steve: "This is unacceptable."

Oh, yeah? Says who?

Posted by: Cyrus the Circle Jerk on April 29, 2009 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

For crying out loud, what the hell does that mean, exactly?

it means:

1) York is a jackass

2) if ONLY old white males lived in America, republicans would be awesome. But since America is made up mostly of real people, republicans are the anal fissures of society causing uncontrolled spasmodic defecation of America's standing and moral authority.

Posted by: pluege on April 29, 2009 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

As a young black woman and college student, I'm going to put in my 2 cents on this matter. I think I completely understand where Mr.York was coming from while writing this article and why he simply was incapable of recognizing the obviously flawed logic and general absurdity of his latest piece -- Mr. York, like many white Americans, lives in a world devoid of real black people. To him blacks are the other, some alien life-form living on the outer edges of his existence. He doesn't speak to them, or know what they are thinking and generally doesn't care, not because he is a hateful person, but because he doesn't have to. He is probably and perhaps even unconsciously a race realists. He assumes that blacks are incapable of thoughtful objective assessment and generally dismiss their opinions, when he does hear of them, as the conclusions of uneducated simpletons. So when he sat down to write this particular column, he examined the statistics not with any malice but simply based on the deep seeded convictions he has long held about black people. He was sooo utterly blinded by the faultiness of his long held assumptions that it never even occured to him that what he was writing was actually illogical tripe. I actually feel kind of sorry for the man. I don't know if you should call it racism (which implies malice), I'll just call him racially ignorant.

Posted by: Kayla on April 29, 2009 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Curiously, according to FOX News (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100days/2009/04/24/fox-news-poll-obamas-days/), 92% of Democrats approve of Obama. Perhaps we should discount all of them as well?

Posted by: Krista on April 29, 2009 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Makes sense to me. He is saying blacks are voting in polls on their skin color rather than on the basis of policy.

It is PC to assume that only whites are racist, so liberals don't get it.

Posted by: Luther on April 30, 2009 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

It is PC to assume that only whites are racist, so liberals don't get it.

So you agree that most popular Republicans are only popular because they're white, right?

Posted by: Nathan Bedford Forrest on April 30, 2009 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

Luther, this isn't non-PC. It's ignorant. The policies are tied to Obama. Let's switch Michael Steele into the mix and see if black people would pick Michael over a white democrat. Oh, they already tried that in Maryland in 2006 and Michael's white democratic opponent received the black vote in droves. Black people, for whatever reasons, are primarily democrats.

Also, racism = power + prejudice. Anybody, can be a bigoted, prejudiced idiot but poc are rarely in the position to enforce systematic oppression.

Posted by: LT on April 30, 2009 at 5:51 AM | PERMALINK

92% of Democrats approve of Obama. Perhaps we should discount all of them as well?

Now you're getting it, young lady! Finally -- someone here who understands!

Posted by: By York on April 30, 2009 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

the flip side of this is that the staggering levels of republican disapproval make obama "appear to be LESS popular than he is."

Posted by: dj spellchecka on April 30, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

It reminds me of Mark Twain, who said "Wagner's music is much better than it sounds".

That column is actually much less racist and idiotic than it reads, if you just discount all of the extreme right wing Republican ideologues involved in writing it, then there's no column at all! And no racist comments.

It's easy if you just think like them.

Posted by: Bill E Pilgrim on April 30, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Ex Libra's remarks about the political and economic utility of disenfranchised urban black bodies in rural prisons - and as many as possible for the sake of the census and redistricting - are right on the money for this New Yorker: I've witnessed firsthand the Rockefeller Drug Laws vacuuming the streets of Brooklyn.

Ex Libra bears no blame for my pedantry about the Three-fifths Compromise in our Constitution: the progressive position argued that enslaved and disenfranchised blacks should count as *zero* fifths in enumerating the census. White slaveholders wanted their chattel fully-counted at five-fifths, if only for the sake of increased representation in the Congress. I've known more than a few conservatives ready to redefine who constitutes a person when it comes to one man one vote.

Posted by: Townsend Harris on April 30, 2009 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus Christ, at least it's possible for a person with Down's syndrome to get a job as a hack right-wing political writer.

Posted by: Alvin Horenstonfield on April 30, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

'genre' of writing! Genre! It's not a genre. It's just something they say often, pretty much restricted to a couple of sentences. It's not a category of writing at all!

Posted by: Bert on April 30, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

I actually interpreted it a 4th way, the cookie cutter interpretation. I assumed the media is so busy churning out these soundbites with the talking heads, that they just applied the same template in a new situation, and were inadvertently offensive. During the election I heard all about how the "black voters" would influence the election, and what happened when you "took out" race, did it matter, did it not matter, etc. I thought they were just repeating this same drivel, and accidentally made a racist sentence by being too dumb to check their words.

But I tend to be a very tolerant and charitable person towards other views, I usually assume everyone's trying to be as helpful and kind and boyscoutish as possible, and interpret things so as to fit my worldview. I should be a politician I could explain away all manner of evil.

Posted by: Anonymous on May 1, 2009 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Not that I'm a Republican, that's a bit too evil for me. ;-)

Posted by: Anonymous on May 1, 2009 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Not to interfere with the fun everyone's having piling on a right winger, but there is a sort of logic here about how high enthusiasm from one group can make something seem much more popular than its overall numbers. (E.g., Watchmen sounded like it was going to be the biggest hit of the year, turned out the wildly enthused fanboys were the only ones who wanted to see it at all.)

York has phrased this in a clumsy way, and MAYBE we've gotten a deep insight into his psyche-- or maybe he just had a reasonable point which he kinda screwed up. But don't let that stop your fun....

Posted by: Elwood Dowd on May 1, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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