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Tilting at Windmills

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January 19, 2010

WHAT AN AMERICAN 'LOOKS LIKE'?.... Five wealthy white people sat around a table on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" earlier, and talked a bit about ethnic politics and the Senate race in Massachusetts. It was a rather discouraging display.

Donny Deutsch got the ball rolling, suggesting that voters may be "going back to basics" after electing an African-American president and seeing "the female candidates and whatnot." Scott Brown, Deutsch added, "looks like the traditional view of a candidate," which may bring a "visceral comfort" to voters.

Mike Barnicle found value in the observation, saying that "there's something to it."

The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan added that Brown is "a regular guy" who "looks like an American."

None of all-white participants in this discussion explained exactly what "an American" actually "looks like," but apparently it has something to do with being white, male, and handsome. Sorry, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, I guess you don't meet the criteria for looking American.

This is, of course, the same program that told us some months ago that "real Americans" like Sarah Palin and don't live in cities.

Tell me again, media establishment, about how MSNBC is a liberal bastion that's shifted to the left, on par with Fox News being a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party.

Steve Benen 3:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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Wow- completely insane. The "traditional" media is an embarrassment and despicable- I'm speechless. Thank goodness that they will go the way of the dinosaur- good riddance- the sooner the better.

Posted by: Jason Scorse on January 19, 2010 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently looking like an American has something to do with having a staple in your navel.

Posted by: howie on January 19, 2010 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

I guess real Americans also pose nude like Brown did?

Well, I have to say, I'd rather the "real American" look like Brown than like Karl Rove. Remember when they thought Fred Thompson was sexy?

But their America, I guess, is all-white, all-male, and all-Republican. I don't know why Peggy Noonan feels comfy without a Y chromosome.

Posted by: asheden on January 19, 2010 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Any clear thinker would see that this is a leftist conversation from the MSNBC show. They are attributing Scott Brown's success to his looks and not his ideas. The left always has to paint conservatives as "not as smart". So Scott's ideas cannot be good and the folks responding to them in droves cannot be too bright either. They are having a "visceral reaction" rather than thinking clearly? Wake up lefties, your 15 minutes are over this quarter century. Each win is shorter lived because the people are aware of your tricks, tactics, and bad ideas. This country is still rooted in rugged individualism, liberty, and yes, God. Too bad you cannot seem to get that.

Posted by: Dan on January 19, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

If you watch the corporate-owned media, you will see corporate propaganda. To expect anything else is silly.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 19, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Any one comment on the ballots given to people in Mass. with Brown's bubble already filled in?

Posted by: JS on January 19, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Good post Steve and well put. Do note some of this is noting what's in the minds of voters (like Reid's comment) and not their own outlook. But this is what you get from both a corporate MSM that tries to please "money" not "viewers" in the broad sense, and from conservative hosts who try to reinforce themselves instead of ever being part of a real dialog. To members of minorities and anyone else disgusted - please, take it out at the polls. Whether Obama or Coakley is perfect or not (and don't give up on her yet either, she wouldn't be the first that pulled out a counter-upset), we all need to keep this snooty cabal and their patsies from smothering the government and the levers of power. Call your friends in Mass, again if need be.

Posted by: Neil B on January 19, 2010 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest ENEMY that you country actually has is your CORPORATE CONTROLLED MEDIA which is inhabited by Corporate Sluts who have sold their souls to be among the 'media elite'. Without this Corporate Media propaganda there would not have been an Iraq War. Think about that. Yet, the Corporate Media was 'actively complicit' with Bush and his goons to make it happen. Thousands of military lives have been lost because of this, countless families of these soldiers destroyed, hundreds of thousands of lives lost among the Iraqi population because of this. And yet your citizens are simply to stupid to realize exactly who your biggest enemy actually is. They sit there absorbing the propaganda and then think it's all real. Your citizens, in general, are one of the most stupid on the planet. Obese and stupid all at the same time. Now you have an election for another Senator to replace Kennedy. And that it looks like the Republican will win. Think of it. For over eight years the Republicans and the Corporations that own then totally destroyed your country based on their 'policies' The entire world economy was almost brought down. And yet here it is one year later and the people are voting for this Republican. It's as if they saying 'yes, we want more of the very policies that almost destroyed our country. You people are simply fucking stupid. Plain and simple. And the Corporate Media is actively complicity in that stupidity.

Posted by: blue on January 19, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

I have this image in my mind of Peggy Noonan going home every night to this weird fantasy world that's sort of like Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, except it's based on 1950's-America. But not the real 1950's America of segregation, bigotry, corruption, paranoia, sexism, income inequality, etc. Just her sanitized white-picket-fence Leave-it-to-Beaver image of it. Then she comes to work every morning wondering why this world isn't like that fantasy world.

Posted by: Basilisc on January 19, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Good post Steve?? FAIL

Posted by: JNJ on January 19, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno about this: "...about how MSNBC is a liberal bastion that's shifted to the left, on par with Fox News being a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party."

But I do agree with Poster 1, an Embarassment sums it up quite nicely.

Posted by: Breezeblock on January 19, 2010 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

You wouldn't be expecting anything but race based commentary from Barnicle and Friends would you?

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 19, 2010 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

"....it has something to do with being white, male, and handsome."

Oh. So in other words, the cast of Morning Joe believe that Americans will only vote for a candidate who is light-skinned and doesn't speak with a Negro dialect?

Posted by: 2Manchu on January 19, 2010 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

So Scott's ideas cannot be good

Well, there was nothing stopping him from getting some good ideas. Unfortunately, he declined to do so.

and the folks responding to them in droves cannot be too bright either.

People voting solely on negative emotion and unfocused anger, checking their brains at the door, don't make good decisions. I want you to think about this conversation in six months when "Massachusetts Buyers' Remorse!" is the most common headline you see relating to the Bay State. 18-29-year-olds are going to be particularly angry at how they were "misled" once they finally figure out that Brown's against every right they take for granted.

I have this image in my mind of Peggy Noonan going home every night to this weird fantasy world that's sort of like Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, except it's based on 1950's-America.

I have this image in my mind of Peggy Noonan going home every night to an empty house and a vodka bottle. (The main vodka bottle that sits on the counter, not the purse flask she generously swigs from before every TV appearance).

Posted by: shortstop on January 19, 2010 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK


Tell me again that American politics has NOTHING to do with looks.

We are a brain-dead, half-assed republic that barely masquerades as a democracy.

The voters of MA are going to be in for a huge shock should Mr. Brown win the Senate seat.

The DC elite are also in for a shock.

The backlash against the liberal agenda will swell and everything millions of people thought was transpiring will go down the proverbial electoral bowl.

Sucks don't it?

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 19, 2010 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Any clear thinker would see that this is a leftist conversation from the MSNBC show.

Any non-simpleton would know that Peggy Noonan and Donny Deutsch are lifelong right wingers, you dumbfuck. If you're trying to make a case for Brown's supporters being "bright," you're failing.

Posted by: Alex on January 19, 2010 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

not the real 1950's America of...income inequality

Income inequality is much worse now than it was at anytime during the 1950s.

Posted by: Vicente Fox on January 19, 2010 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

"...about how MSNBC is a liberal bastion that's shifted to the left, on par with Fox News being a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party." - Breezeblock, that is the reputation or cast foolishly claimed for it by some, SB is being sarcastic (I've told him that can go over the heads of people not familiar with his style.)

Tom N.: Yes, it sucks! This country is becoming one big "suck-hole" of smug manipulative titans, their self-destructice idiot tools, and pissed-on sensible people.

2Manchu you likely think you're cute (likely RW visitor), but this trash from piggy nooners and that smug master-race crew illustrates just the truth that Reid was bringing up: Many white voters would only accept a bleached version of a black man. Yeah, quit zinging on Reid for insulting voters and BTW it isn't an insult to those the prejudice is applied to, but the appliers.

Posted by: neil b on January 19, 2010 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Peggy Noonan's idea of a "real American" is someone she'd like to boink.

Posted by: gradysu on January 19, 2010 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Does it matter at all to anyone on this board that what Deutsch said was true? You certainly don't have to like it but to pretend it is not true because you don't want it to be is give those who face facts no matter their content a heck of an advantage. Deutsch is perhaps one of the most respectable liberal commentators on the show.

Posted by: ajohng on January 19, 2010 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

There is no accountability in the Village, unless you disagree that "middle aged white males" convey "visceral comfort" to voters. As opposed to our foreign born, Muslim, black dude who just happened to win by the biggest margins in over two decades.

Posted by: Paul W. on January 19, 2010 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Will the new right-wing Texas history book editors put Scott Brown's nude Cosmo centerfold in their revisionist history texts, or at least mention that's how he paid for law school?

Hey, according to Peggy Noonan "Long Dong" Brown's a real American after all. We want to tell his whole story along with Newt Gingrich's three wives and Ensign's staff affair and subsequent payoff and Larry Craig's "bathroom buddies," and Mark Foley's kiddie sex partners and Ritter's recent bust for jerking off online to a cop and . . .

Posted by: pj in jesusland on January 19, 2010 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Given that her vision has to be pretty hazy most of the time, what would pegged-by-noon know about what Americans look like?

Posted by: exlibra on January 19, 2010 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Did they mention pickup trucks? Symbols count in "don't mess with mine and fuck you" identity politics.

Posted by: lou on January 19, 2010 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Does it matter at all to anyone on this board that what Deutsch said was true?

That electing white guys is "going back to basics"? Seriously?

I have no doubt that someone of Brown's race and gender "gives visceral comfort" to voters -- voters of a certain race and/or gender (or age). What you and he don't seem to get is that America is full of other voters who don't share his race, don't share his gender, or don't feel that their own demographic attributes are less "basic" -- which is another word for "the default setting."

If you really care about facing up to truth, say that white men or men or white people are playing identity politics by voting for Brown. "Basic" isn't what you're talking about.

Posted by: shortstop on January 19, 2010 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Oy vey. What an era filled with crap standard adults in positions they have no business being in.

Posted by: Silver Owl on January 19, 2010 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

These people are sickening. What world do they live in? I'm sure they must be big city people (NY, DC) and they sound like they are stuck in Middle America's 1950s. I'm from a large western city and I truly don't believe anyone is uncomfortable with women or people of color. Yes, it was a big step to elect an African Americans President but he has done an exceptional job, behaves in a manner befitting a President of the United States so there really shouldn't be a backlash against him.
It is the Republican Party that is against anyone different than the white males.
My tolerance for these talking heads and the Republican party is used up.

Posted by: maggie on January 19, 2010 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

I caught this stunning little moment this morning when flipping through the channels and I thought it was jawdroppingly stupid even for Noonan, Deutch, et al.

Real America = white guy

Really? That's the best they can do?
I think even a 5th grader would have a more sophisiticated analysis than this dreck that passes for introspective commentary. Seriously.

To the many trolls who have suddenly crashed the comments here, don't get too excited about your coming right-wing revolution just yet. At this point it's nothing more than one very poorly run election. It is not the end of liberalism or democrats, not by a million miles.

Posted by: zoe kentucky in pittsburgh on January 19, 2010 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

The closest to truth that Deutsch's remarks got was the observation that Brown "looks like the traditional view of a candidate".
Well, he does. Even now, most candidates for ANY political position are males, and the majority of them are white.
However, (of course, there's a "however") what Deutsch fails to note is that just "looking" like a viable candidate is rarely enough to win an election. The most that "looks" will accomplish is that voters will be more willing to listen to what that particular candidate says on the various themes of the election.
I must admit that the idea that the voters of Massachusetts have been so un-nerved by President Obama's election that they may have had to retreat to some sort of political womb represented by a "traditional" appearing candidate is laughable. After all, just what does the term "traditional cover in MA? (Hopefully more than that Playgirl spread!)
If Coakley loses today it will be because she thought she didn't need to campaign to win. And all the bloviating by the all so-called "pundits" the on all the talk-shows won't change that fact.

Posted by: Doug on January 19, 2010 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

no exit polls
the fix was in

Posted by: GREYDOG on January 20, 2010 at 4:05 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a middle-aged white male, but I don't like the implication that anyone who is not is somehow less a "real American" and therefore unworthy of high office.

Posted by: MikeNolan on January 20, 2010 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop and others,

I don't say it is right. I only say that is the way it is. And while we are at it may I say that a more manly spokesman than Harry Reid or Robert Gibbs would also help the cause. Even dimwit Bush eventually hired Tony Snow to do his talking. A genuine smile helps so so much when you are trying to convince someone. Don't shoot me for telling you so.

Posted by: ajohng on January 20, 2010 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Wall Street Rich Gamblers own us.
They own most large corporations.
They sent 2,300,000 jobs to China in Bush 8.
They (20%)own 93% of Total Financial Wealth

1980 to 2007

18 years Conservative Senate
12 years Conservative House
6 years Total Conservative Control

Redistribution of Wealth to top 20%.

Folk! It is downhill slide for Middle Class.

FACTS---numbers rounded-

1946--1% owned 30% of Total Wealth

1980�20%--a 33% decline due to Estate Tax and High Top Income Tax Rate.

thence cometh conservatism


80% Increase in 8 years of Reaganism


2007--20% owned 93% of Total non home Financial Wealth

80% owned equity in homes.

Most major corporations are owned by WALL STREET RICH MEN CASINO

In 1945, corporations paid 35.4% of federal revenues and 7.4% in 2003

In 2000, 45% of corporations with revenue over 50 million paid no federal tax

Five Wall Street Banks own 75% of all Bank Deposits in America. 5.

Two own 20%.

Think that is not POWER???


In 8 years of Bush with 6 years of Total Control

They (wall street rich) created a Net New Jobs of 31,000 per month.

Why? That is NET. You take the new jobs created and subtract the ones sent to China, etc

31,000! Wow!

Bush took over after Clinton had created 237,000 Net New Jobs per month.

Clinton left Bush a spending of 1830 B Per Year.

Bush doubled it to 3600 B.

Bush inherited a 5700B Debt from Clinton. He took it to 11,500B

20 years of 3 conservative presidents did this horrible thing.

Took the Debt of less than 1000B after 200 years and added on 8000B.

In 2009 they are spinning big time to blame Obama for huge debt.

Conservatives will spend millions to coverup their Big Recession.

Much of that 8000B Debt add-on went to WALL STREET GAMBLERS.

The people do not know what has happened to them.

Forbes list of 400 Richest reveals how many became Billionaires via corporate
takeovers and Hedge Gambling

Right Wingers yell Rich Pay most of taxes.

Income Taxes!Yes! They have most of the money.

Yet! Conservatives transferred much of taxation from Rich to Middle Class. Reagan voiding REVENUE SHARING a disaster for Middle Class where taxes were transferred from Rich Income taxes to Middle Class in State and Local Taxes. Was it by design?

Was it a Designed Act of taxation transfer by Conservatives.

In 2008 the Middle Class paid 30% of nominal Income in Federal-State-Local Taxes.
Top 10% paid 30% also. Progressive tax system?

Social Security Tax Increase in 1983 was it designed to hit the Middle Class and ease on the rich?

Greenspan + Reagan. 6.2% Tax on Middle Class. One earns $50,000 pays 6.2%. Earns $1,000,00 pays 6.4%. Earns $10,000,000 pays 1/10th of 1%. By design to keep rich rich?

Was Destruction of S&Ls a deliberate act of wealth transfer from 400 local investors to individual Rich on Wall Street?

Key actor Michael Milken became a Multiple Billionaire with income of 550 Million in one year from raiding S&L deposits (plus) for his Rich Corporate Raiders on Wall Street.

Raiders like Perelman and Ichan became multiple Billionaires.
Sweat of Brow? Ho Ho.

Bush I had to borrow 140 Billion on 40 year bonds to pay for the raids on S&L's by Wall Streeters.
140B creates many Billionaires and Millionaires. Depositors money was used by those Corporate Raiders and bankrupted the S&L then the government pay off to depositors by Federal Deposit Insurance created Debt for Middle Class.


Same ideology gave us Great Depression now Great Recession.

It is not a Depression due to:

Democratic Social Safety Nets such as
Social Security and Medicare

Only the uninformed vote to send conservatives to Washington.

Some type of Revolt will take place in next decade.

Democrats will continue to allow Conservatives with their huge right wing talk shows spreading lies to blame them.

Democrats need a national Megaphone informing all the people as to what has been done and how they have been RAPED by a few million RICH on Wall Street who have taken their Wealth.

I ask one thing.

PROVE ME WRONG. With numbers and facts not usual vile name calling

author-Lifeaholic-Workaholic to Lifeaholic success
All American Party-How Democrats created a great successful Middle Class and how Conservatives are determined to destroy it

Posted by: clarence swinney on January 20, 2010 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Why will Democrats not use great informtion to ATTACK??????

When you create twice as many jobs as your opponent you should attack.

Net New Jobs Per Year
Rounded numbers
Wall Street Journal 1-19-09

Truman-- 1,100,000
Ford------- 745,000
Bush I----- 625,000
Eisenhower 438,000
Bush II---- 375,000

Republican-- 5,883,000

Per Day In Office
Democrat---10,125 Days
Republican-13,149 Days

Jobs per day (twice As many)

Posted by: clarence swinney on January 20, 2010 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

I’m getting a javascript error, is everyone different?

Posted by: Impounds on March 12, 2011 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK
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