Patterico's Pontifications


How the 1983 Race for Chicago Mayor — And the Coverage of That Racially Charged Campaign — Relates to the 2012 Presidential Race, and Next Week’s GOP Convention

Filed under: 2012 Election,General,Obama,Race — Patterico @ 11:20 am

Is it racist to run against or oppose a black candidate for office? To rational people, posing the question answers itself: of course not. But the candidacy of Barack Obama reminds us that there are people out there ready to portray as “racist” any spirited opposition to Obama and his policies. This cynical mode of attack will absolutely be used in the coverage of the upcoming GOP convention. We all know this, and we know it doesn’t matter what happens at the convention — the charge of racism will be made regardless.

I was reminded of this on my morning walk as I listened to a podcast episode of one of my favorite radio programs: “This American Life.” It’s a great show with insight into innumerable facets of human existence. But it sometimes goes wrong when it strays into politics, or covers an issue that is a liberal hobby horse. (The program suffered a famous embarrassment earlier this year when it had to essentially retract an entire episode about treatment of workers at Chinese Apple manufacturing plants; the conditions described were mostly accurate, but parts of the narrator’s account had been fictionalized without the program’s knowledge. As I wrote here, the retraction was honest and well done. But one wonders if the oversight of the program’s contents was more lax because the slant of the program related to the liberal hobby horse of exploitation of overseas workers in sweatshops.)

The segment I listened to this morning, an old segment from March 2009, gave me the sense that the producers had been scammed again. Although the segment is old, it has a direct relevance to today’s presidential politics, because it portrayed a white politician (Bernard Epton) running for office (mayor of Chicago) against the first black candidate for that office (Harold Washington).

If the parallel to Barack Obama is not clear from that description, the segment made it explicit. The segment was first aired two months after Obama’s inauguration, and the narrator drew repeated parallels to the McCain/Obama race. (You can read the transcript here.)

Epton, a Republican, was described in the segment as a decent man who rejected racism — at least, before he ran against his black Democrat opponent. For example, Epton had stayed put in a residence located in an area that was experiencing “white flight,” because he believed that it was wrong for whites to leave an area simply because its demographics were turning black. Near the beginning of the segment, Epton is heard explicitly rejecting the notion that anyone should vote for him because he was white:

Female Reporter
So many people are saying if Harold Washington wins, the white people will be afraid and they will then vote for you and that improves your chances.

Bernie Epton
Well, I resent that very much. I think that Harold Washington and I, if he is a winner, I am positive that we will come out with a joint statement, perhaps speak together to repudiate it. I don’t want to be elected because I’m white and Harold doesn’t want to be elected because he’s black. I want to be elected because I’m the best qualified.

But the segment then portrays Epton as changing his tune, and tolerating racism in his campaign once he thought he might win. The narrator explains that, because Chicago is heavily Democratic, it is generally expected that a Republican candidate like Epton is going to lose. But when Harold Washington, the black candidate, won the Democratic primary, all of a sudden Republicans thought that Epton had a chance. Outside national consultants came in to help. And, the segment claims, Epton began behaving differently.

I listened to the episode for evidence that Epton was tolerating racism. One of the pieces of evidence was the slogan (submitted by national political consultants) that Epton adopted: “Epton for mayor before it’s too late.” Epton insisted that the slogan referred to Chicago’s financial problems, but I guess the left saw it as a dog whistle.

Then Epton was blamed for racist appeals made by his supporters that his campaign did not countenance:

The slogan set a tone for the campaign– the very tone Epton said he didn’t want. Now, it was going to be whites versus blacks, with Epton as the white savior. And soon, anonymous leaflets popped up in white neighborhoods all over the city. One of them read, “Your vote for Mr. Epton will stop contamination of the city hall by a Mr. Baboon.” Around town, Epton supporters donned various buttons. One depicted a watermelon with a slash through it. Another button had nothing on it at all. It was just white. None of these were being distributed by Upton’s campaign, but it was all being done in his name.

If it was being done in his name, I guess it was his fault? That’s certainly the impression you get.

When a racial incident made national news — someone scrawled “nigger die” on a church that Washington was slated to visit, Epton condemned it in no uncertain terms:

I am appalled that any people in any community would interfere with the worship by any religious denomination. And like you, I reject any of that antagonism or racism or bias or call it what you will.

But the big “gotcha” moment that is supposed to show Epton’s complicity in racism came when one of his confidantes became angry at a William Safire op-ed that the campaign was distributing. The op-ed is portrayed in the segment as arguing that if blacks can vote for Washington because he’s black, whites can vote for Epton because he’s white — and Epton is portrayed as supporting the argument:

[O]ne of Epton’s campaign workers– his policy director, Haskel Levy, began having qualms. He’d already confronted Epton over the slogan and Epton, even while defending the slogan, told him, “Haskel, stay with me. If we win this election, I’ll get rid of all these Republican operatives and opportunistic Democrats and we’ll do good work once we get in.” And so Haskel stayed. But then, one afternoon at campaign headquarters, Haskel noticed a pile of papers by the front door. They were hundreds of copies of an op-ed piece written by William Safire, conservative columnist for the New York Times.

Haskel Levy
It basically claimed the following– if blacks can vote for blacks because they’re blacks, whites can vote for whites because they’re whites. And I looked at it and I just hit the roof. And I took the whole pile and threw it into the garbage can. It’s a shallow– it’s a stupid way of looking at the world. It’s just false.

Alex Kotlowitz
Right, but also, it was in the context of what had been going on in that campaign. In some ways, the campaign was using it to justify–

Haskel Levy
[UNINTELLIGIBLE] incendiary– an incendiary thing. It was being passed out– people were coming in to collect them to give out in the neighborhoods. When blacks get screwed because they’re blacks, they’re a legitimate interest group. What is the white interest group? I can understand a Pole voting for a Pole, a Czech voting for a Czech, but why would a white vote for another white? The only thing, in this particular circumstance, they have in common is that they don’t like blacks.

Alex Kotlowitz
And so it was after that that you went and talked to Bernie Epton the second time.

Haskel Levy
This was the second time and I said that I’d had it. I said, do you realize what’s happening? I said, you have to repudiate the racist campaign. You’ve got to repudiate any people that are supporting out of racist reasons. And if you don’t, I’m gone. And if you don’t, I’m voting for Harold Washington. And Bernie said his argument is correct– Safire’s argument is correct. And I said, that’s it Bernie. And that’s when he got pissed off. And he picked up my coat and jacket and briefcase and he ostentatiously threw it out of his office. And he literally said, get that [BLEEP] out. And he threw me out of the office. And I left. That was the end of it.

(All emphasis in this post is mine.)

Here’s the problem: I found Safire’s piece, and it makes precisely the opposite argument of what the story claims. Safire called it “racist” to vote for whites because they are white, and noted that Epton agreed. In other words, there was nothing racist about Epton saying that Safire’s argument was correct.

You can read Safire’s piece in its entirety here. Safire begins the piece by noting some of Washington’s less attractive qualities as a candidate:

  • Washington failed to file income tax returns for 19 years. He was convicted of tax law violations and jailed for a month.
  • The State Bar suspended Washington from practice for 5 1/2 years for converting client funds to his own use.
  • Washington made false claims in his application for reinstatement to the Bar, falsely denying that he had faced any civil actions during the years he was suspended from his law practice. In fact, he had faced five civil actions.

None of these aspects of Washington’s past make in into the “This American Life” segment, by the way. We are told only how the black man in Chicago stopped getting screwed after Washington was elected.

Safire rhetorically asks whether it is “racism” to bring up such issues about a candidate’s past. He notes that it would not be considered racism to bring up similar foibles by a white politician — showing a double standard. True enough, no?

Then Safire addresses the argument referenced in the “This American Life” segment about the desirability of races voting as a racial bloc:

The double standard comes in when a possibility arises that whites may do the same thing [as blacks did in voting for Washington as a group]. If it is laudatory for black voters to vote as a bloc for the black candidate, then logic dictates it should bother nobody that white voters are likely to vote as a block [sic — sorry, Mr. Grammar! — ed] for the white candidate.

But it bothers everybody, including the white candidate, who insists he wants no votes from racists. And racist is what such a voting pattern would be, of course: If words have meaning, voting on the basis of race is racist.

Accordingly, we should either stop praising the black community of Chicago for uniting behind the black candidate or stop complaining when whites show inclinations to do the same. Both actions are racist: Praise both or condemn both.

If Safire is calling voting as a racial bloc “racist,” it’s kind of hard to portray that as praise.

Ultimately, having read Safire’s piece and listened carefully to the segment, I can’t find any evidence Epton was a racist. I think Epton’s legacy is being smeared because he happened to run a spirited campaign against a black politician.

The “This American Life” program is ironically called “The Wrong Side of History” — and indeed, liberals are certainly going to work to portray any white Republican as being on the “wrong side of history” when they run against a historic black candidate.

But it ought to matter whether the candidate is worthy. Based on what I know of Washington, it’s a joke that he was a viable candidate. With his background, he should have been laughed off the podium. It’s only because Chicago is such a corrupt and highly partisan town that a guy like that has a chance.

Which brings us to Barack Obama. It is perhaps no accident that he made his political bones in Chicago — the same town where a black politician with a history of criminality, dishonesty, tax evasion, and cheating people was portrayed as a hero. Perhaps Obama noted how Washington was feted and thought: hey, this is the town for me!

After all: it’s the Chicago way.

I took the time to write this post about a three-year-old radio segment about a 29-year-old political race because I think it’s important that history be written properly. Make no mistake: Big Media and liberals (but I repeat myself) will strain to rewrite the history of the GOP convention next week to make it seem like a cornucopia of racism.

We can’t let them do it. We have to make sure history is written properly, the first time around.

117 Responses to “How the 1983 Race for Chicago Mayor — And the Coverage of That Racially Charged Campaign — Relates to the 2012 Presidential Race, and Next Week’s GOP Convention”

  1. Racists

    Patterico (83033d)

  2. Off topic, but an excellent interview of Mitt and Ann Romney on Fox News Sunday, with Chris Wallace.

    Colonel Haiku (b69517)

  3. First, I so agree re “This American Life” – it is almost always a fascinating listen – even if the subject matter isn’t my first choice.

    That said, it’s an important and timely post. The idea that racism has become the default no-brainer attack surely indicates how utterly lazy the American voter has become. Almost no effort is required or necessary to assess candidates, no investigation of policy, and certainly no fact checking of such accusations. This dumbing down of the voter has only been possible because the voters have allowed it and a left-leaning media swooped in and took advantage of that intellectual slothfulness.

    (Because there will no doubt be default accusals of racism at the GOP convention by the Dems/MSM, I’m almost at the point where I think it might not be such a bad idea if the GOP cancels the whole show. They have the perfect cover with the pending hurricane, and it will benefit us by not giving the opposition any opportunity to intentionally misrepresent even the smallest statement as code for racism and/or wanting to put everyone back in chains. This is how unlevel the playing field has become).

    Dana (292dcf)

  4. The race card is the last refuge of scoundrels. Barack Hussein Milhous 0bama’s policies are what are in question, not his skin color. People who oppose his policies and recognize the fact that the hour grows late in terms of salvaging a future for future generations need to stand tall and speak the truth clearly and often.

    Colonel Haiku (b69517)

  5. Romney up by 7 in MO, Brown up by 6 in MA.

    I think the divide Amerikkka up into factions is working, its just unity on Urkel still burgeons.

    Mother Gaia is sending Isaac to NOLA. Consensus!

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  6. Oh dear:

    Another 20% rise in oil prices by Nov. 6? Kind of turns Donk delight to horror in 24 hours.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  7. Levy does make a decent point in there: “I can understand a Pole voting for a Pole, a Czech voting for a Czech, but why would a white vote for another white? The only thing, in this particular circumstance, they have in common is that they don’t like blacks.” He’s saying that it’s not racist for blacks (meaning, in the Chicago context, black Southerners, descendants of slaves, who have migrated north) to vote for a black candidate, because they have real things in common, not just a melanin level. They constitute a legitimate interest group, just like Poles, or WASPs, or Jews. But what do Polish Catholics, English Protestants, and Portuguese Jews have in common, except their low melanin count? What common interest would they be promoting by voting for a white candidate just because he’s white (rather than because they happen to agree with his policies), except that he won’t advance the interests of the black community as a black candidate would?

    Of course the same argument would apply to blacks supporting a West Indian candidate, or an African/American one such as 0bama. What more do they have in common than do a Russian and a Frenchman?

    There is also the counterargument that when the black community is big enough to elect a candidate of its own who openly promises to promote its interests above those of everyone else, then everyone else has a legitimate interest in electing a candidate who won’t do that. Even if he ends up promoting the interests of, say, the Bohemian community, a voter may legitimately decide either that those interests are more or less in congruence with his own, or that there are so few Bohemians that it won’t matter as much if they get a leg up at everyone else’s expense.

    Milhouse (8acf6a)

  8. Ta-Nehisi Coates over at The Atlantic is busily laying this same groundwork, in his election punditry this year.

    The Sanity Inspector (93bc4f)

  9. Looks like black Americans get to see their POTUS in action once again, fondling balls of tar on the beach a month after the work is done.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  10. There’s one thing people need to keep in mind when analyzing this story about Chicago in the early 1980’s. White fear and white flight were palpable at that time. Republicans pretty much didn’t/don’t bother running for mayor of Chicago–like ever. That Epton did–unusually forcefully–especially that year–did raise suspicion as to whether his backers and supporters hoped and expected to exploit race even as he himself was by all accounts an honest decent man and not a racist. For many, Republican Epton’s mayoral candidacy raised the question of would he have bothered to run against a Dem named Daley or a Dem named Emmanuel. Many viewed Harold Washington as an exploiter of racial politics and a threat to the traditional Irish-Jewish Dem ward politics. So it also raised questions of whether Epton had considerable numbers of white Dem backers that year who were seeking to thwart Harold Washington’s power surge.

    Nothing about Chicago politics is ever simple.

    elissa (80507b)

  11. Off topic: David Brooks’s op-ed today sounds very interesting, but it seems to me to contradict what he wrote just over a year ago. Gee, I wonder what has changed between the two dates.

    Milhouse (8acf6a)

  12. “Many viewed Harold Washington as an exploiter of racial politics and a threat to the traditional Irish-Jewish Dem ward politics.”

    elissa – Agreed and he was a crooked, unqualified, hack of a politician in the finest Chicago tradition.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  13. If truth is the first casualty of war, and the “Chicago Way” is to make sure “you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”, then the logical outcome is that truth often has little to do with an election, Chicago style, which is not only sad but very troubling for an election of consequence.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  14. meh teh only thing
    Barry has managed to run
    is his damn BIG mouth

    Colonel Haiku (409735)

  15. MAJOR Milhouse, (sorry Colonel Haiku, he gets a promotion even if he is off topic!) you are spot on in your #11 post. A great catch on the RINO-that I know Brooks flopping yet again. Congrats on your promotion and continued success evading the postpolice (be careful-one of them is close–very close!)

    reff (de5acf)

  16. Even when it is race, it’s not really race.

    Sammy Finkelman (2178a8)

  17. BTW, race cannot be discussed in a logical way because on side of the argument doesn’t accept logical positions on the subject, as shown here in the article.

    reff (de5acf)

  18. The race card is the last refuge of scoundrels.

    No, it’s the first refuge of the left. And it’s wielded with such precision (which really isn’t all that difficult because of the willingness of gullible believers) that it makes it tough to counteract any damage done. Whether or not there is any merit to the accusation is simply superfluous any more. As long as there is a whiff or hint, that’s sufficient.

    Dana (292dcf)

  19. As long as there is a whiff or hint, that’s sufficient.

    and even when there ain’t and it must be ginned up…

    Colonel Haiku (409735)

  20. As a Californian, all I remember of Harold Washington’s reign is how utterly hapless and incompetent he was.

    Colonel Haiku (409735)

  21. OT – True conservative and EPWJ favorite Charlie Christ endorses Obama.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  22. I think Charlie Crist has endorsed EPWJ !

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  23. 0bama has garnered teh 0range Man vote!

    Colonel Haiku (409735)

  24. I plan to vote against obama because of his color. I will not vote for a red candidate.

    Jim (748bc6)

  25. Blame in on Bush… blame it on Fox, blame on twitter and the rightwing blogs…

    Colonel Haiku (409735)

  26. Well played, Colonel and Jim.

    Crist is tanning-booth orange, and Obama is Stalin-red.

    I’d also add that both Crist and Obama are “yellow,” in a cowardly-methaphorical context—and there’s no gray area about that !

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  27. According to many; if you’re white, ipso facto you’re a racist.

    I’ve generally found there’s really only two kinds of people in the world; there’s those that are nice and there are those that are mean.

    Depending on where you go, you can find that a certain group may contain more mean than nice and go elsewhere and find the opposite.

    What makes it difficult is the context of how you meet them.

    If you are in an area where you don’t fit in, you arouse people’s suspicions. This is normal for both black and white. Someone might confront you because of this.

    The difference is that if it’s white on black, it’s considered racism. The white is automatically assumed to be being belligerent or suspicious due to racism while if it’s black on white, that assumption isn’t made. Even if it may be as valid as the other.

    I make a point to stay away from people and places where that sort of confusion can be expected. I would assume that anyone who doesn’t want the hassle does the same.

    That may make me bigoted but not racist.

    jcw46 (b4329c)

  28. So the people hear who resort to name calling as soon as a disagreement comes up, do you suppose that they are the mean ones? There appear to be a lot of mean conservatives.

    trebek (868c0a)

  29. No, we only treat you that way because you’re a shameless liar.

    Milhouse (8acf6a)

  30. I think Jane Byrne’s tenure, did as much to foul up, Epton’s chances, then again I can’t detect any particular animus in that slogan,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  31. trebek #28 – yes, we hear who resort to name calling as soon as a disagreement comes up” – well, actually, here, we read them doing so – and it’s called (and *is*) ad hominem most of the time …

    Oh, and we prefer to be called average or typical conservatives, thankyouverymuch !

    Alasdair (2cd241)

  32. Maybe he was just too seunsible for Chicago politics;,,20084323,00.html

    narciso (ee31f1)

  33. Blacks voted 9:1 for Barack over Hilary. They are voting 99:1 for Barack over Romney.

    You tell me who is more racist?

    Rodney King's Spirit (aeda60)

  34. chicago is so ghetto this is why it didn’t get the olympics you know

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  35. happyfeet,

    One definitely has to wonder whether the escalating crime rates contributed to the decision. Record number of killings last weekend, and a robbery/murder last night just two blocks from President Obama’s home.

    Security would have been nearly impossible.

    Dana (292dcf)

  36. Yes, but MD, the alternative was Rio, which according to CSI, that Hulk remake and Fast and Furious, is no slouch at crime.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  37. Comment by narciso — 8/26/2012 @ 6:03 pm

    In Rio they play better volleyball, and the beach attire is a little more revealing than in Chicago, especially in January.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  38. i remember the very peak of the piggy piggy union whores’ control of mccormick place where Chicago has conventions and even the obamawhores who usually book the place were saying screw this

    so they had to smack the piggies down a bit, and some of the costs are more reasonable now, but I think for a lot of people who operate on a national and global level it made quite an impression of what chicago is and how it operates

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  39. Outstanding catch, Milhouse!

    Dustin (73fead)

  40. There is a big difference between the 1983 election and Obama’s re-election campaign: Harold Washington was to be the first black Mayor. Obama already IS that. That election (2008) is done; this is about re-election, something Harold Washington never faced.

    Is it racism to vote for the first person from your historically oppressed peer group to reach high office? I don’t think so. Even if you disagree on many policy particulars, it is probably a necessary take-one-for-the-team kind of vote. I’ve defended Condi Rice’s supposed vote for Obama in 2008 on this basis (although I could not bring myself to defend Colin Powell’s endorsement, which seemed more active).

    However, what was true in 2008 is not true in 2012: Obama has broken the color line and he cannot break it again. All those black folk who disliked his policy ideas (or who dislike his performance) are now free to cast their votes without betraying the cause.

    So, in short: it is not racist to cast a vote for breaking a racial barrier (even for someone of a different race). It is racism to continue to do so when other things clearly matter more.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  41. refresh everything!

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  42. No, we only treat you that way because you’re a shameless liar. we are mean POSes who were abused as children.

    trebek (868c0a)

  43. “this is about re-election, something Harold Washington never faced.”

    Kevin M. – Correction. Harold Washington was primaried in 1987.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  44. FTFY!

    trebek (868c0a)

  45. you know who was abused as a child was that one gus what was a.) neglected by his drunk-ass daddy and b.) his momma didn’t want him neither – she floozied her way across the globe while he was left to choom choom choom and then he fell in with a nasty drug gang on a remote island

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  46. trebek sure has a lot of hate in his heart. Imagine going through life like that. How do you even find your place in the world when you’re that angry? I’m sorry for whatever happened to you to make you like that. Obviously you have been obsessed with trolling this blog for a long time, and that’s probably the high point of your existence. I hope you get some comfort from this, but you probably need to find someone to talk to. Where are you located? I may be able to help you.

    Dustin (73fead)

  47. Christ isnt a Republican anymore – however that mattered

    Another Gov endorses Obama:

    EPWJ (e83e82)

  48. Crist is an ambulance chasing whore he needs a victim mentality to flourish in America and Obama is just the ticket for that

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  49. Harold Washington was primaried in 1987.

    My mistake; I thought he died in his first term. Not quite, as it turns out.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  50. Still, though, the parallel should be between 1983 and 2008, not 2012.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  51. EPWJ,

    This is just a hypothetical, who would you prefer to have as the US Ambassador to the UN; Susan Rice, or John Bolton ?

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  52. Lived roughly 90 minutes from Chicago most of my life but paid little attention during the eighties.

    The roads got too bad to visit.

    28. Names are an efficient and effective means to delimit the subjects under discussion, see Immanuel Kant, “Prolegomena to a Future Metaphysics”.

    For instance, Chimpy McHitlerBurton communicates a wealth of information about the user and their mind that would be otherwise hidden with the more pedestrian President Bush 43.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  53. I think the impunity certain racial groups enjoy with regard to socially devolved behaviors, such as racial economic and political preferences, will atrophy and dissolve away when true racial equality manifests itself in place our current repugnant practice of oppression.

    See Sandra Day O’Connor on Affirmative Action for example.

    /sarc off

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  54. ahh yes prolegomena

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  55. One definitely has to wonder whether the escalating crime rates contributed to the decision. Record number of killings last weekend, and a robbery/murder last night just two blocks from President Obama’s home.

    And here I am, on my way to Chicago for the Worldcon. Doesn’t fill me with confidence…

    i remember the very peak of the piggy piggy union whores’ control of mccormick place where Chicago has conventions and even the obamawhores who usually book the place were saying screw this. so they had to smack the piggies down a bit, and some of the costs are more reasonable now

    Maybe so, but they’re still pretty piggy. The Worldcon is an entirely volunteer-run operation. Nobody, from the chairman down, gets paid. Program participants don’t get paid. The guests of honour get their transport, accommodation, and expenses paid, as any host would do for an invited guest, but they do not get any sort of speaker’s fee or honorarium. It’s a point of principle, and it’s the way Worldcons (and fannish conventions generally) have been run since the 1930s. But at convention centers in general, and in Chicago in particular, there are many tasks that our volunteers — who include qualified tradesmen of all sorts — may not dare to perform, lest the union find out and mayhem ensue.

    Milhouse (8acf6a)

  56. ____________________________________________

    Safire begins the piece by noting some of Washington’s less attractive qualities as a candidate:

    Oh, jeez. He sounds like he’d fit right in with any variety of White House administrations occupied by usual-suspect Democrats (Hi, Bill and Hillary! Hi, Barack and Michelle!), or city halls of far too many urban American areas (Hi, Detroit! Hi, Washington DC! Hi, City of Bell, Calif!).

    I often mention how black America is monolithically (and ridiculously) liberal, which on the surface sounds like an overly flip, unfair, painting-with-broad-brush generalization. But when the amount of leftism is so absurdly one-sided in that or any other community — when statistics indicate that 90-plus percent (repeat: 90-plus percent) of black voters are of the left — then that, and not race, is one crucial aspect of a populace that needs to be emphasized and pointed out.

    BTW, if any survey indicated that 90-plus percent of some other community or group of people was conservative or rightwing, then I’d think that was worth mentioning too. Offhand, I don’t know if such a statistic (or reverse version of the one-sidedness of black America) even exists out there. That’s certainly the case if one is dealing with a large number of people, and not just a small gathering of folks at a Tea Party meeting.

    I bet if a survey were taken of attendees at the upcoming Republican convention in Florida, it would not necessarily indicate that 90-plus percent of them are dyed-in-the-wool conservatives. I know that far less than 90-plus percent of Republicans approved of George Bush Jr back in 2007, while I do recall at least one poll around the same time indicating that over 95 percent (repeat: 95 percent) of black respondents didn’t approve of Bush.

    Mark (925bec)

  57. This is just a hypothetical, who would you prefer to have as the US Ambassador to the UN; Susan Rice, or John Bolton ?

    Neither. Foggy Bottom is a jungle that urgently needs to be tamed, and Bolton is the only person I can think of who just might be able to do it without going native. If he can’t tame it then the only alternative to shut it down altogether and just do without foreign relations.

    Milhouse (8acf6a)

  58. 57. Sounds good to me. Commandeer Chinooks for department briefings out over the Atlantic, about 200 miles out.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  59. Full-Monty Weetard:

    And no, it is not his skin that’s responsible.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  60. Bet you EPWJ never answers that litmus test hypothetical. If he does, the next question is Attorney General: Holder or Giuliani?

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  61. Apart from himself, is there anybody Obama has not blamed for his abysmal performance in office?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  62. estone

    I guess you didnt read the article – i did enjoy the Fox report on Romney they sound like a very nice family.

    EPWJ (e83e82)

  63. EPWJ,

    I’m surprised that you dodged my polite, non-intimidating question the first time, but I’ll kindly ask you again, who would you prefer as the US Ambassador to the UN; Susan Rice, or John Bolton ?

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  64. 61. Funny you should bring that up:

    Beats Springsteenie.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  65. gary – I saw that video elsewhere. Very nice.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  66. estone

    What would you rather have for Healthcare for your state Obamacare or romneycare?

    Ambassadors are ceremonial

    EPWJ (e83e82)

  67. Bet you EPWJ never answers that litmus test hypothetical. If he does, the next question is Attorney General: Holder or Giuliani?

    Ugh. Neither one, thankyouverymuch. Giuliani is, well, I hate to use the F word, especially of someone with his ethnic background, so let’s just say he’s an authoritarian. Remember all those things the nutjobs on the left were screaming about how the USA PATRIOT Act would be abused by Ashkkkroft and Bushitler? If Giuliani ever got his hands on those powers I’d actually start to worry. (I’m surprised Holder’s been so relatively restrained in his abuse of them.) Giuliani is the temperamental twin of Elliot Spitzer; two bullies who chose opposite parties to join.

    Milhouse (8acf6a)

  68. 66. Ceremonial, yeah, Pwesidentes can be too.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  69. Just saw “2016: 0bama’s America”… pretty much new most of the details, but I’ve spent a lot of time doing my own research. D’Souza has done America a service. This movie deserves your support!

    Colonel Haiku (858639)

  70. make that “knew”…

    Colonel Haiku (858639)

  71. EPWJ,

    Ok, great, so you believe the UN is merely “ceremonial,” so then you should have no problem whatsoever answering the question; who would you prefer as the ceremonial ambassador representing the US at the ceremonial United Nations; Susan Rice or John Bolton ?

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  72. Neither does his skin, nor his above-average intelligence explain his inabilities:

    Like pronouncing common words similar to those of his dialect, non-Negro.

    Or visibly filling his pants on honor guard salutes.

    Or remembering to unlock the door before stepping out of his office for a smoke-break.

    Or updating his agent’s version of his bio every decade or so.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  73. estone

    ambassadors are ceremonial, however you are – to me – trying to avoid the question on the article.

    Throwing out fear of radicals in the UN to make romney look less progressive might be an admission to some that you think Romney’s a progressive.

    Its okay, estone i know you are a conservative – and this is therapy – its a part of the 12 step program to: “not ever let another progressive get the republican nomination” program

    EPWJ (e83e82)

  74. Good catch Patterico

    The “wrong side of history” piece uses a technique I think is common in the political propaganda of Big Media, the American Left, and the Democratic Party. That technique is what I call the ‘little truth – big lie’ technique.

    The big lie is that Epton ran a racist campaign, and that the Safire editorial was racist too. The rest of the piece is full of little truths, which sets up the reader for the big lies. If you examine many other mythologies of the American Left, you will discover how often the ‘little truth – big lie’ technique is used.

    Brad (eb255a)

  75. Its not just blacks, liberals in general do not read:

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  76. Those in politics, the media, and academe who make a spurious charge of racism against anyone who is anything but, and do it just for political gain, should be shunned, ostracized, and civilly prosecuted for the pond-scum low-lifes that they are; and no moral member of any of these groups should ever associate with them again.
    And that goes double for the decision-makers who allow, encourage, and laud these accusations.

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (2bb434)

  77. EPWJ,

    The reason you prefer Susan Rice to John Bolton is because you’re a liberal.

    And you attempt to obscure that fact because you’re hoping to discourage “fence-sitters” and “undecideds” to be sour about Romney by selling yourself as a credible disaffected Republican.
    However, you don’t understand that most “undecideds” and “fence-sitters” aren’t spending their free time reading and commenting at political blogs such as this one. Everyone here already has their mind made up about how they’re going to vote.

    Most “fence-sitters” and “undecideds” are sitting on the couch watching movies on HBO or sports on ESPN or re-runs of “According to Jim.”
    And a lot of those people are more concerned with who will win the “election” on “The Bachelor,” or “American Idol,” or who will “win” the backup quarterback spot for their favorite pro football team.

    You should just be a mature straightforward adult, take off your Alger Hiss disguise, and debate the issues with us like grown-ups.
    And I promise to limit the number of Fred Flintstone/Richard Trumka jokes because I know you’re a lunchpail-carryin’ union dude who takes pride in paying extortion to the f^*&’in mafia dues to his beloved union boss !

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  78. OT, but the Pacific/N.American tectonic plate margin continues its few weeks of heightened activity:

    Mexico to Alaska has been a bit shakier.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  79. I agree, making sure that history is correct is of paramount importance, especially in this era of airbrushing out data from sources. IMO, it’s largely the cumulative effect of what passes for history that has established liberalism as the default culture. But like all spurious ideas, it has run its course. It no longer makes sense. Obama is The Last Liberal, not the first one or the best one or the worst one.

    I saw on CNN today the panel of dunces talking about Ann Romney’s health and the effect that stress will have on her. Just asking questions! 🙂

    I’ve said before, in October, we will hear the argument that he cannot be an effective husband and president at the same time. Mark my words…

    Patricia (e1d89d)

  80. 68 – Right on, Colonel. My wife and I took an 85 year old friend, who happens to be an Irish Catholic, who despises all liberals. She was worried the movie would not come to Cape Cod, and would miss seeing it. Mary was first to say after the movie that D’souza should win the Nobel Peace Prize!! I mentioned to Mary that we need to feed her dog food before we throw her and her wheel chair off the cliff. She laughed and said “It would be the last thing I throw over a cliff”. Now I now why her purse was heavy!!

    mg (44de53)

  81. ____________________________________________

    But like all spurious ideas, it has run its course. It no longer makes sense.

    But so many people tend to be so foolish or naive (intentionally or otherwise), or because each generation has to learn the exact same thing the proceeding one did all over again, that left-leaning bias ends up all too easily triggered on too many occasions in far too large a percentage of the populace, here and elsewhere.

    I was reading today about Argentina’s current version of the notorious Evita Peron, a ridiculous leftist (Cristina Kirchner) who easily won election to the presidency not long ago. The same negative trends that have roiled that South American country for over 100 years are popping up once again. Inflation is becoming so rampant there, and the ultra-liberal government is so devious and corrupt, that Argentinian economists who report the true inflation rate are — believe it or not — cited as breaking a law and penalized accordingly by the government.

    Mark (925bec)

  82. This is great stuff, Patterico.

    (semi-related heads up: Ira Glass will be a guest on Adam Carolla’s podcast this week, I think maybe on Wednesday(?). Should be great listening)

    MayBee (a1dde3)

  83. estone

    The reason you prefer Susan Rice to John Bolton is because you’re a liberal

    that is a false statement.

    I see you cannot answer why Romney is apparently not going to overturn Obamacare.

    EPWJ (e83e82)

  84. Bolton should be on Romney’s A list.

    mg (44de53)

  85. 82. Romney’s plan is now Ryan’s plan.

    I’d find another line of attack, but that’s just me.

    WaPo has a nice Electoral Map up, all the toss ups I count as leaning Red. MI and PA will be the toss ups Nov. 6.

    The fat lady is only waiting for her cue.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  86. EPWJ,

    What exactly about Susan Rice do you like ? Is it her vehement opposition to Israel ? Is it her desire to see the USA as merely one seat at the proverbial table of nations ? Is it her appeasement strategy of Islamists ? Is it her kinship with Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein ?

    Are there other positions she holds that speak to you, as a passionate liberal ?

    I realize these questions may be getting too deep into the weeds for a “bacon and eggs Richard Trumka kind of guy” such as yourself—maybe you just like Susan Rice because she’s on your ‘team’—and that’s ‘good enough’ for you.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  87. Comment by gary gulrud — 8/27/2012 @ 4:12 am

    Absent massive fraud, both MI and PA will break R&R.

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  88. Obama is the real bigot, and he must be stopped!

    Gary (7e2b48)

  89. Racism cuts both ways

    Gary (7e2b48)

  90. Spam in aisles #90 and #91.

    Milhouse (8acf6a)

  91. I write as a lifelong Chicago Republican who worked for Epton in 1983.

    First, Epton declared his candidacy before the primary. It was then expected that the Democrat candidate would be either then State’s Attorney Rich Daley or incumbent Jane Byrne (whose fluke victory in the 1979 primary marked the end of the Machine). Epton agreed to run as a sacrificial lamb, so that the candidacy would not fall to a crank such as Lar “America First” Daly.

    Epton had the modest stature of having been a state Representative. (Until 1982, Illinois Representatives were elected from 3-seat districts, with each party running only two candidates. Thus even in the most Democrat areas of Chicago, there were Republican Representatives such as Epton.)

    Second, Washington ran as a “reform” candidate. He was the representative of the insurgent element of the Democrats against the “organization”, which was split between the Daley and Byrne wings. At that time, there was an “independent” bloc in the City Council, which had come to include many black and hispanic alderman as well as the traditional white lakefront liberal group. Under the elder Daley, blacks and hispanics were excluded from power, got no share of the political pie, and were grossly underserved by the city and county governments: i.e. no patronage jobs and their trash didn’t get picked up.

    (This changed dramatically under the younger Daley. The minority and liberal insurgents of prior years have been largely co-opted with better treatment.)

    Washington’s history had some grease in it, but he had distanced himself from the “organization” – and now had joined the rebels. He wasn’t their ideal candidate, but he had more prominence than anyone else in their group. His personal flaws were more carelessness than venality.

    Third, many Chicago Republicans voted for Washington in the Democrat primary precisely because they knew a huge bloc of Democrats would recoil from him in the general election. I know – I was one of them. And it worked. Was it our fault that half the Democrats hated the other half?

    In 1972, many Republicans voted in the Democrat primary for incumbent State’s Attorney Ed Hanrahan, notorious for the midnight raid that killed two Black Panther leaders. (Daley was trying to replace him on the ticket.) Hanrahan won the primary, then lost in November when a large portion of black Chicagoans rejected him. Republicans expected that result: one of my high school teachers was almost literally salivating with anticipation the day after the primary.

    We hoped for a similar result in 1983, and it almost worked.

    Fourth, Epton was a liberal Republican from Hyde Park. His personal record on race issues was impeccable. However, during the campaign, Epton tacitly welcomed anti-black Democrat votes. He could have climbed on a moral high horse about it, but he let it go for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to win.

    On the subject of race-bloc (or other-bloc) voting: sometimes the policy issues matter less than control of the machinery. The incumbent faction may itself be bloc-based; or even be an “incumbent-bloc” devoted to mutual protection through control of the government.

    In such cases, bloc voting may be necessary to break the incumbent grip on government which they exploit to maintain power. Current policy issues must take a back seat to the issue of establishing fair elections in the future.

    One sees this in the U.S. and elsewhere when “reform” coalitions battle entrenched kleptocracies. Such coalitions may triumph, then rupture over policy.

    Rich Rostrom (caf70d)

  92. Fourth, Epton was a liberal Republican from Hyde Park. His personal record on race issues was impeccable. However, during the campaign, Epton tacitly welcomed anti-black Democrat votes. He could have climbed on a moral high horse about it, but he let it go for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to win.

    Why on earth wouldn’t he? Why would any sane candidate deliberately discourage people from voting for him? Are racists somehow not citizens any more? Do they not have the same right to vote as anyone else? If they want to vote for you, for reasons of their own, despite their disagreement with your policies, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Indeed he had no right to do so even if he wanted to; he owed it to the Republican Party that had nominated him to make an honest effort to win.

    The only grounds on which an objection could be made would be if he were to pander to their racism, but I see no indication in your story that he did so. So what exactly is the problem? This sounds like criticism of Nixon’s Southern Strategy, as if it’s OK for racist whites to vote for Democrats but somehow wrong if they vote for Republicans.

    Milhouse (8acf6a)

  93. Chicago politics is corrupt, and white power was predominant as white money was. That’s changed a bit. Any mention of Fast Eddie Vrdolyak in this post? No. The Daley Dynasty, of which Obama was a figure. Because that’s the point. Obama is a product of both black and white politics in chicago. The machine has changed but its still a machine.

    In the first election Washington won against in a split vote. The next time he faced only one significant opponent, and he still won. How did that happen? He got enough of the white vote he never had before.

    “last year was really the first time in city history that the mayor invited the Polish community to city hall to celebrate [Polish] Constitution Day. That makes this year, the second time in…”

    Chicago Mayor Harold Washington addresses the Polish American Community at City Hall during the Polish Constitution Day Celebrations in 1986. Video By Victor Modlinski.

    Washington was smart.
    If you want to criticize the group solidarity of minorities, of blacks and jews feel free. But don’t think that White Citizen’s Councils are on the same moral status as the NAACP or the ADL However corrupt the latter are now, they weren’t founded on corruption.

    Obama needs the white vote to win. You’ve arguing white solidarity. Don’t go there.

    Just for laughs Pennsylvania Senate candidate Tom Smith
    compares his daughters out of wedlock pregnancy to rape.

    The Republican White Christian Peoples Taliban! What’s next, honor killing?
    it was legal in Brazil till 1990.

    sleeeepy (b5f718)

  94. Are you still a Cubs fan sleeeeepy/tye? That was quite a rout you suffered in the 9th inning last night.

    elissa (202946)

  95. I don’t live in Chicago.

    sleeeepy (b5f718)

  96. Elissa – it is cute how it vomits out its copypasta nonsense.

    JD (b0764b)

  97. “Elissa – it is cute how it vomits out its copypasta nonsense.”

    JD – It’s also cute how he’s unknowingly criticizing Democrat political institutions and machines.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  98. Full Mental Jackass

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  99. elissa, if I cut and pasted from The King James Bible or the Constitution I’d be accused of what, cutting and pasting?

    “It’s also cute how he’s unknowingly criticizing Democrat political institutions and machines.”

    “Unknowingly”? WTF. I’ve voted democratic but I’m interested in policy not party. But I’m to the left of that party, not the right.

    Unlike Obama I actually am a socialist, like they have in Canada, Sweden, Finland, Japan, France, Spain, and most countries on the planet, all that including various levels of corruption that’s part and parcel of politics anywhere.

    Obama is the well-off bankers’ whore who worries a bit about the poor; Romney’s the Oligarch scum who doesn’t give a damn.
    I don’t like either of them

    sleeeepy (b5f718)

  100. Nothing like those who advocate people being wards of the State.

    JD (318f81)

  101. “Nothing like those who advocate people being wards of the State.”
    Oh Snap! Negroes stole my paycheck!

    “Nevada is very interested in working with your staff to explore program waivers that have the potential to encourage more cooperative relationships among the state agencies engaged in economic stimulus through job creation, employment skill attainment and gainful employment activities… Nevada is also interested in exploring performance measures that endure program accountability and also increase the probability of families becoming self-sufficient by providing meaningful data as to the services or combination of services with best outcomes.


    You want the letter that Romney signed back in the day? You want it again?

    sleeeepy (b5f718)

  102. Shocking. Playing the race card is so passé.

    JD (318f81)

  103. ““Unknowingly”? WTF. I’ve voted democratic but I’m interested in policy not party”

    sleeeepy – As I said, nice to see you criticizing racist Democrats.

    Full Mental Jackass

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  104. “Oh Snap! Negroes stole my paycheck!”

    Has anybody seen Chris Matthews and sleeepy in the same room together?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  105. Daley – they hear welfare and think race, and we are the racists.

    JD (318f81)

  106. ==elissa, if I cut and pasted from The King James Bible or the Constitution I’d be accused of what, cutting and pasting?==

    sleeeepy or whoever you are–the point was (and is) that your pretending to be an expert, a sage, a knowledgeable analyst on Chicago politics past and present is being rebuffed and challenged.

    Your attempts to segue and threadjack into another topic altogether are also being rebuffed.

    Do you think your musings, cuttings and pastings, and insults have convinced even one person who reads here as to the heretofore unappreciated glories or merits of your extreme and failed leftist European socialist model?

    elissa (202946)

  107. JD – I also don’t understand what fault Romney has for actions Obama actually took on welfare waivers or the letter signed in 2005 by the RGA on a different program. Just more distractions by a dishonest troll.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  108. elissa, I described Chicago politics pretty well. I lived there for awhile, moving there only weeks after Washington’s death. I have friends who who’ve lived there for a long time.

    Obama is the product of Chicago machine politics, black and white. Mayor Richard M Daley is the son of Richard J Daley (of the Democratic convention of 1968, the police riots and the Chicago 7) His brother William M. Daley, formerly Obama’s chief of staff and now and forever of J.P. Morgan Chase. Mayor Richard M Daley made Bill Ayers Citizen of the Year in 1997!
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    And if you’re going to accuse me of anything back it the f- up.

    sleeeepy (b5f718)

  109. 93. Comment by Rich Rostrom — 8/28/2012 @ 12:01 am

    Until 1982, Illinois Representatives were elected from 3-seat districts

    I heard about that. What or who stopped it?

    We used to have City Councilmen elected at large from each borough (besides all the others)

    You could vote for only onbe but two got elected.

    They were usually a Democrat and a Republican but from Manhattan one could be a Liberal. It got stopped when somebody took took it to court on the grounds that one per borough didn’t fit with the 1962 Baker v Carr and other reapportionment cases.

    The Supreme Court had said districts had to be drawn approximately equal in population. Once they did that for Congress, they extended that to every districting in the Unioted States, except the United States Senate, which was in the constitution.

    You know, Senate elections are actually more competitive than House elections – there is no gerrymandering. The office is more important than the average House seat. Senate rules make each Senator important right form the start. The malapportionment evens out, and the average Senate race doesn’t cost so much. In New York we don’t have a serious Senate race, but they are serious in other states.

    The 2000 presidential election decision was somewhat based on the same equal protection rule except that the Supreme Court said it shouldn’t be a precedent. How can you say that?

    Anyway Staten Island is much smaller in population than the other boroughs – you know now, it’s the only borough not to have a United States Supreme Court Justice come from – so the city councilmen at large really couldn’t stand.

    It wasn’t too long after we lost the City Councilmen at Large that we also lost the Board pf Estimate. Each Borough President had had 1 vote and the three top citiwide elected officials – the Mayor, the (misnamed really) City Council President) and the Controller had 2 votes (unless it was maybe 2 and 4 respecvtively but the mathematics is the same)

    Paul O’Dwyer had not too long before succeeded in giving the City Council President the additional duty of Ombudsman, so the City Council President became the Public Advocate in the 1989 Charter amendments.

    A Public Advocate is what every elected official pretended to be (constuituent service)

    The only elected official who doesn’t really do constitutuent service is the Public Advocate although some candidates have wanted to.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  110. daleyrinks
    that long quote I posted was from the Gov. of Nevada almost exactly one year ago.
    Stop lying.

    sleeeepy (b5f718)

  111. On the U.S. Supreme Court:

    Justice Scalia is from Queens

    Justice Ginsberg is from Brooklyn

    Justice Sotomayor is from the Bronx

    Justice Kagan is from Manhattan (BTW, she never married because she wanted to marry Eliot Spitzer years back, and she may still be in love with him)

    Staten Island is out in the cold!

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  112. I think we can prove by statistics that there is pervasive discrimination against Protestants at the top ranks of the United States government:

    As the New York Times has written:

    A Historical Benchmark

    (this looks a little different than what Milhouse told me – I see target=”_blank” also here.)

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  113. I can’t find a link to the chart that was in the printed paper shows changes over time.

    But anyway, right now:

    The United States Supreme Court has got 6 Catholics and 3 Jews on it and 0 Protestants.

    The President of the United States is a black Protestant, if you can really fairly call the church he used to belong to Protestant at all. He has got a fairly eclectic background, and attends Passover Seders in the White House with one of his daughters asking the 4 questions.(!) Yes, it’s true. If it wasn’t for politics, he wouldn’t belong to, affiliate with, or attend, any church at all.

    The Vice President of the United States is a Catholic.

    The Speaker of the House is a Catholic.

    The Senate Majority Leader is a Mormon.

    The other major party nominee for President is also a Mormon.

    The Vice Presidential nominee is a Catholic.

    Even if we go to the heads of the minority parties in both houses of Congress we still have difficulty.

    The House Minority leader (Pelosi) is a Catholic.

    Finally with Mitch McConnell you do get a Protestant.

    13 people and only one Protestant or two.

    The odds of this happening without discriminatory intent…???

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  114. “that long quote I posted was from the Gov. of Nevada almost exactly one year ago.”

    sleeeepy – No sh*t. It also was not written by Romney. It also does not address what Obama and Sebelius actually did in response. Stop lying.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  115. 111 Sammy Finkelman:

    “Until 1982, Illinois Representatives were elected from 3-seat districts”

    I heard about that. What or who stopped it?

    A state constitutional amendment passed by referendum in 1980. It was pushed by Pat Quinn (the present governor) who had a long career as a maverick and gadfly.

    It was supported by most Illinoisans because it got rid of a lot of hack politicians. Most of the third-seat Representatives (elected from districts dominated by the other party) were hacks or crooks. Some were tools of the district-dominant party, which could manipulate the voting to pick the minority-party nominee and winner.

    I supported it myself.

    Rich Rostrom (caf70d)

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