You have to give it to the agenda driven media…. they just don’t let go of that bone easily.
Case in point, Chris Good and his little diddy at The Atlantic, “It’s Not (overtly) About Race”.
Centerpiece to the headline, and content of his op-ed, is James Carville and Stanley Greenberg’s polling/strategy/research firm, Democracy Corps, and it’s 18 pg study, “The Very Separate World of Conservative Republicans: Why Republican Leaders will have Trouble Speaking to the Rest of America” released Oct 16th, 2009.
Here the disconnect between Good’s op-ed, and the actual content of the study begin. Good has chosen to focus on race and racism… and dances around the study’s finding that the discontent of “weak” partisans… Republican and Independents… appears to have nothing to do with race.
From the Carville groups research document:
Race: Get Over It
In the wake of Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during the president’s joint session health care address and other strident personal and political attacks against President Obama, many in the media and Democratic circles advanced an explanation that this virulent opposition is rooted in racism and reactions to President Obama as an African American president. With this possibility in mind, we allowed for extended open ended discussion on Obama (including visuals of him speaking) among voters – older, non-college, white, and conservative – who were most race conscious and score highest on scales measuring racial prejudice.
Race was barely raised, certainly not what was bothering them about President Obama. In fact, some of these voters talked about feeling some pride at his election.
They were conscious of the charge that opposition to Obama is racially motivated and that bothered conservative Republicans and independents alike. They basically could not let it go and returned to this issue again and again throughout our conversations across myriad topics.
You can’t openly criticize Obama. If you do, you’ll be labeled as a racist.
Whatever we say about Obama, no matter what we say about him, it is a racial comment so you know, we can’t say anything, we personally do not like him. I don’t care if he is purple, but whatever we say we’re racist.
As far as a person goes, I don’t want to say I hate him. I don’t like what he stands for… and I don’t like what he is doing and the choices he is making, but I mean I don’t know him as a gentleman so… You would be called a racist. You would not like him because he is black. That is what the media is saying.
They see this as a personal rights issue because the racism charge is being used to prevent them from fulfilling their duty to stand up to Obama and his agenda. They see no difference in the opposition Obama faces and the opposition other liberals have faced, because they believe it is based in the same unwavering, bedrock conservative principles that have always led them to oppose liberal policies. The only factor that has changed is the race of the leader being criticized.
Indeed, in the summary introduction from a very liberal/progressive based firm, they discounted racism as the foundation for Obama discontent.
Instead of focusing on these intense ideological divisions, the press and elites continue to look for a racial element that drives these voters’ beliefs – but they need to get over it. Conducted on the heels of Joe Wilson’s incendiary comments at the president’s joint session address, we gave these groups of older, white Republican base voters in Georgia full opportunity to bring race into their discussion – but it did not ever become a central element, and indeed, was almost beside the point.
Bad juju for the devout community organizers, masquerading as reporters or journalists, in these times. To them, removing the ability to label opposition “racist” to advance their agenda is akin to sending a soldier out on the field armed with a water pistol.
So Chris Good leaps in on behalf of the O’faithful to start reinterpreting what staunch members of his own political bent have wrought. And he lays out his game plan in his headline by inserting the word, “overtly”.
This does not mean, conclusively, that racism is absent from anti-Obama politics. Asserting that’s the case means taking up a patently false assumption about racism: that it’s always overt. Democracy Corps’ report seems to walk that line, even if it doesn’t cross it.
Racism is about complex systems of recognition, categorization, and association. If you ask someone what they think about Obama, and they don’t say, “I dislike him because he’s black,” it’s not quite safe to check the “not racist” box and move on. Quiet conclusions are often made–and they can be just as racist as the ones spoken aloud.
So the fact that no one brought up race doesn’t necessarily force a conclusion on the matter.
Yowza… do you think Mr. Good is lobbying for a slot on the Norway Nobel Peace Prize committee? (i.e. “intent” and not “actions”) It’s not conclusive because racism isn’t always “overt”??
Or perhaps Mr. Good elevates himself to a more pious position as a deity, assuming that he… or others… can gaze into a soul and pronounce them “racists” despite any attitude or evidence to the contrary, merely because those feelings may not be “overt”.
Serious chutzpah. But even more laughable is the … if I may so say myself… *overt* desperation to backpeddle on a popular O’faithful weapon of words.
That’s all the time I intend to give to a perhaps-less-than-*overt*-potential-racist. But I will say the rest of the study conducted by Democracy Corps was downright interesting, tho not surprising.
I would anticipate the next twisting of results to center not in Good’s desperate attempt to resurrect racism, but to use it to cast the O’discontent as mildly conspiratorial…. an attempt that may prove difficult in light of Obama’s own track record (now that he *has* one).
Naturally, the first to jump on the “conspiracy” bandwagon is MSNBC
Yeah… what a surprise…. But now to the source of the spin. The study itself.
The study breaks the avenues of disagreement under “pillars”, “…driven by doubt and fear over his agenda and methods”:
Pillar #1 – Deception and a Hidden Agenda (pg 5 of 18)
Pillar #2 – Speed (pg 7 of 18)
Pillar #3 – Driving Government to the Brink and Total Control (pg 7 of 18)
Pillar #4 – The Ultimate Goal: Socialism and End to Liberties (pg 8 of 18)
Rather than place extensive blockquotes for each of these pillars, I urge you to read the study in full…. aka RTFA. But I will summarize, merely for discussion purposes.
Pillar #1 reveals these participants believe as Rush Limbaugh originally said… they are rooting for the failure to implement Obama’s policies because they do not believe them to be in the nation’s best interest. Most genuinely believe Obama’s own promise to “remake” America, and see his policies designed to thwart the very foundations of our country.
There is also distrust of Obama’s associations – which he has, in his own words, invited us to scrutinize. They are speaking specifically of those that have guided and directed Obama to the highest position in the nation.
The below, however, is a worthy quote from this “deception” pillar:
These conservative Republican base voters were not just shooting off half-cocked theories about conspiracies. They actively believe President Obama is purposely lying about his plans for the country and what his policies would do, and that he is exaggerating the threats America faces in order to create support for his policies. A key component to this deception is a pattern of always telling people what they want to hear, regardless of the truth.
Pillar #2 essentially substantiates Pillar #1… the speed with which Obama pressures Congress to push thru legislation in a willy nilly fashion, and sans debate and scrutiny not only in the chambers, but among the populus.
Pillar #3 is the belief that Obama’s accomplishments of the preceding pillars is the concerted effort to induce a greater reliance on government in all facets of our lives. Such dependence, accomplished by driving the country almost impossibly deep into debt, would result in the loss of liberties merely for economic survival. 92% believe Obama is a big spender, and only 17% believed he had good plans for the economy.
Key to the beliefs was the deep aversion to government control…. or as the study wanted to put it, fear of two things… government *and* control.
Fear of government control is at the heart of virtually all of the concerns raised by these voters about Obama’s agenda, and it is literally a fear of two things – government and control. They see government as inefficient, ineffective, and corrupt and believe it preys on the middle class and ‘hard-working Americans.’~~~
Even more concerning than the waste and corruption of government for these voters is the inexorable movement of government toward controlling an ever increasing share of our economic marketplace, as well as our individual lives.
The beliefs of the first three pillars… an agenda of deception, the speed and secrecy of that agenda, an aversion to being controlled by an inefficient and wasteful government… bring the participants to Pillar #4 – the natural conclusion that ultimate government control will result in a socialized America.
They exhaustively cite examples of this strategy at work, starting with the bank bailouts, the takeovers of Chrysler and GM, and foreclosure assistance making homeowners dependent on government for their homes. Another example repeatedly raised by conservative Republicans that undoubtedly reflects the power of FOX News and conservative commentators among these voters was their concern over President Obama’s policy ‘czars’ wielding power over every issue with no accountability.~~~
The final, and in many ways most important, piece of evidence they cite is the planned government takeover of health care. The notion that Obama’s health care reforms represent a government takeover of all aspects of health care is an article of faith; they reject as laughable the suggestion that it might not, pointing to his arguments to the contrary as further proof of his determination to lie and deceive to fulfill his ultimate agenda. Even after a description of the health care reform plan in our recent polling, these conservative Republican base voters reject it by a 59-point margin, with nearly two-thirds (64 percent) strongly opposed to reform (77 percent total opposed).
Also buried in Pillar #4 (pg 9) is notables about non-partisan independents expressing similar concerns as the Republican, such as the speed, the spending, and the lack of a clear plan on the economy and jobs. Some of the differences lie in beliefs that Obama would work in a bipartisan fashion, and see him as a strong (if not correct and defined) leader.
Guaranteed to bring liberal disdain is pg 11, where the participants state they believe they are better informed than most Americans.
Several of the women particularly talked about becoming a sort of truth police, spending a great deal of their personal time and energy watching FOX to get the real stories, then turning to CNN, MSNBC, and the networks to document their failure to cover the “real truth.” It was unclear what they did with this information once gathered, other than share it with others within this group.
When it came to the media, only Beck received adulation… most especially among the women. Limbaugh came in with mixed reviews:
Beyond FOX News in general, they have mixed feelings about conservative media figures, but they are grateful for talk radio as the only major outlet, other than FOX, where conservative voices can be heard. Rush Limbaugh, in particular, was greeted with mixed reviews. On the one hand, they recognize his role as a pioneer of sorts and view him as a principled conservative who is willing to speak his mind regardless of the consequences.~~~
On the other hand, they believe his sensationalism and arrogance can obscure the power of the ideas he champions. They clearly embrace the message more than the messenger.
DOH! Someone better tell the liberals that Rush has lost his de facto “head of the Republican Party” to the Independent Glenn Beck… LOL
It’s also noted that the disappointment in the Republican Party is prevalent throughout the study.
Conservative Republicans in our groups could not have been more negative in discussing their own party. They see the Republican Party as ineffective and rudderless, controlled by a class of political professionals who have lost touch with not only the people but the conservative values that should guide them.~~~
The disconnect these partisans see between the party leadership and the party faithful is at the root of their discontent. They have no intention of leaving the party per se – they still believe it is the best and only means of opposing Obama and the Democratic Congress – but they also have little confidence in its current direction or leadership, and there is an emotional distance that can be damaging.
Yes… one interesting study. And I have to applaud the heart of capitalism. I mean, someone actually paid for these guys to interview and write up viewpoints that anyone can read for free on any conservative blog… ahem, like Flopping Aces?
But I find it refreshing that Carville/Greenberg and their research finally led them to some truths… that this is *not* about race. It’s about questioning the less than honest and (dare I say it…) *overt* agenda, the speed of that agenda, the debt creating massive government dependence, and the lack of honesty about the end game.
And these are all legitimate issues that I believe most Americans have no qualms in discussing.
Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.