Political Animal


June 26, 2012 12:50 PM A Classic of Inversion

By Ed Kilgore

I thought reading John Rocker’s WND op-ed would be the most disturbing chore I undertook today. But no, I then stumbled on this:

If for some reason you can’t access this video, it’s an ad from famous African-American right-wingers Ken Blackwell and Herman Cain attacking Eric Holder for failing to protect the right to vote by refusing to pursue the hallucinatory New Black Panther Party voter intimidation “threat” and by persecuting poor Rick Scott, who’s just trying to protect the “integrity” of the ballot box. This rolls out after images from the civil rights movement and a pious statement from the duo about the hard-fought right to vote.

This ad is the most striking example yet of the peculiar psychological need of conservatives to convince themselves that when they are messing with minority folks they are actually warriors in the fight for civil rights, while the self-same minority folks are self-hating bigots and/or helpless pawns in the grip of white elites. I mean, really: they could just admit they want to discourage African-Americans from voting because they tend to vote for the wrong party, or that they’d oppose “welfare” whether or not a case could be made that it is victimizing its beneficiaries. All this bizarre self-righteousness and parading of minority spokespeople in communications clearly aimed at a virtually all-white audience is getting downright pathological.

UPDATE: I’m glad commenter Tramey asked about the “color purple” bit, because I meant to mention that: as the video indicates, it’s a reference to that conservative golden oldie: the “purple finger” sported by Iraqis as proof they had voted in the American-sponsored 2005 elections. As you may recall, lots of Republican members of Congress showed up with purple fingers at the 2005 State of the Union Address as a symbol of the brilliant success of the Iraq War. It was reportedly Bobby Jindal’s idea, clever lad that he was. But it’s odd to see it being used now.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Gandalf on June 26, 2012 1:20 PM:

    I guess some people will do anything for money including selling your soul.

  • c u n d gulag on June 26, 2012 1:33 PM:

    After seeing this Conservative ad, with his friend Satire being long dead, Farce, today, killed himself.

    R.I.P. Farce.

  • LosGatosCA on June 26, 2012 1:47 PM:

    I don't think this stuff is pathological in the mental disorder sense of that word.

    Conservative, Republican TeaBaggers are on the wrong side of history. They are stuck on selfishness, bigotry, and willful ignorance about many, many things. But both at the wholesale level (demographics) and retail (individual) level these people simply need rationalizations to excuse their selfishness, bigotry, and willful ignorance.

    Calvin told them why their selfishness is actually a result of God's preference for them. The Laugher Curve 'proves' why lowering their taxes actually balances the budget. Their gay bigotry is excused by Bible 'proofs' against gays. And now their anti-minority voting purges and voter intimidation are endorsed by black men.

    It's not new, it's the infinite capacity of human beings to rationalize why acting without concern for others is only in the best interests of those people they aren't concerned with, openly despise,or even hate.

  • Josef K on June 26, 2012 2:00 PM:

    Our children and grandchildren, provided our species and society survives long enough, will have to conceive entirely new paradigms of pschological analysis (as opposed to psychoanalysis, which is an entirely different field of study) to explain stuff like this to their own descendants in aways that don't make it all look like a gigantic joke.

    I want to say more, but don't dare.

  • Tramey on June 26, 2012 2:06 PM:

    What was that diversion about liking the color purple? What did that have to do with anything?

  • buddy66 on June 26, 2012 2:09 PM:

    Clowns like those two were nowhere to be seen during the ''hard-fought right to vote.'' Their even mentioning it is an example of stolen valor. Those of us, Black and White, who were in the civil rights struggle reject them as cowards and hypocrites.

  • mb on June 26, 2012 2:23 PM:

    "...getting downright pathological."


    sometimes you make me laugh, ed kilgore, you really do. "...getting...", my ass.

  • boatboy_srq on June 26, 2012 2:30 PM:

    Someone please explain how stupid/crazy someone needs to be to sign up with a crowd who wants to shred their rights as citizens, if not their actual citizenship (Cain/Blackwell in this case, but also Rubio, GOProud, Bachmann/Palin/pick-a-female-GOPer, GOProud/LCR, etc etc). My head hurts too much from these idiots' bloviation to fathom the thought process.

  • Peter C on June 26, 2012 2:44 PM:


  • Rugosa on June 26, 2012 3:02 PM:

    But you are wrong that they have a "peculiar psychological need . . . to convince themselves that when they are messing with minority folks they are actually warriors in the fight for civil rights." They know very well they are lying; they are lying to convince low-information blacks to vote for Republicans. Some black people will see the imagery and mistakenly think the Republican party has their interests at heart, when Blackwell and Cain are only seeking to line their pockets. Black people may not be less intelligent than white people, but I've seen no evidence that they are smarter, either. (Cf. lower- and middle-class white people voting Republican.)

  • tcinaz on June 26, 2012 3:12 PM:

    Nowhere in either man's bio is there any reference to either man having taken an active role in any civil rights related activity. As good conservative Republicans they apparently spent that time building their portfolios and polishing their conservative bona fides. Of course that makes them appropriate spokespersons for protecting those hard won rights, at least in minds that are attracted to reading op-eds by noted philosopher John Rocker. Nice connection Ed.

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on June 26, 2012 3:35 PM:

    Josef K
    Who new Idiocracy would be a documentary - opening monologue

    "[first lines]
    Narrator: As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species.

  • BigWilly on June 26, 2012 6:05 PM:

    Someone (Hullabaloo?) pointed out some time ago that propaganda efforts like these aren't targeting black folks (who aren't likely to be fooled by them). They're designed to calm the conscience of low information, relatively affluent white folks (who want to be reassured that they're not acting like bigots).

  • Anonymous on June 26, 2012 6:18 PM:

    Fifteen months ago Adam Serwer wrote an article titled:

    Surprise! The right’s New Black Panther obsession turns out to be a joke


    "It should come as a shock to no one that the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has “found no evidence that the decision to dismiss the case against three of the four defendants was predicated on political considerations” or that there was “improper political interference or influence from within or outside the Department in connection with the decision in the case.”"

    Serwer's conclusion:
    "Of course, we should be under no illusion that the OPR’s findings will put an end to this false controversy... For today’s conservatives, the absence of evidence of a conspiracy merely serves as more evidence of a conspiracy."

    Cain and Blackwell should be ashamed of themselves, but of course, they don't give a rat's ass about the truth.

  • Steve on June 26, 2012 9:39 PM:

    I thought the "purple finger" was to preclude casting multiple votes, so it was actually impugning the Iraqis' integrity.

  • Bill Costley on July 09, 2012 7:10 AM:

    National facetime is an addictive drug.

  • Kolubian on August 18, 2012 1:35 PM:

    He's off his rocker!