Thursday, September 11, 2008


National Public Radio is running a program on both Morning Edition and All Things Considered entitled Does Race Matter in '08. The series talks with 13 persons. 7 persons are white and 6 persons interviewed are of color. Here is a little bit about York, PA. York has about double the national average of people living under the poverty line. York also has a manufacturing economy (hard to believe that in an Eastern state, huh?). This should be fertile ground for the democratic candidate since we have lost more jobs overseas than ever before. These folks talk about why they are voting for who they are voting. It is a fascinating series but it made me think about why John McCain would pick Sarah Palin. As a caveat, these are 13 people, hardly a representative sample that would hold up statistically -- but, they are, I believe, representative of the "culture wars" that are going on in many of the battleground states like California, Texas, New York, Florida, etc. And, the style and technique of the Republican strategy is reminiscent of the same swift boat techniques used last presidential go around.

Let's start with this quote from the series:

"I don't think there is a problem with a black man," says Don Getty, a retired police officer, who is white. "I personally don't think Obama is the right one. He doesn't have the experience."

Margie Orr, a black receptionist, takes exception to Getty's view of Obama's experience.

"My thing is, though, what would make you think Palin would be — OK — we know John McCain has medical problems, God forbid that this man is elected, and this white female, so what you're saying is, though, the United States would rather see — as long as they're white — they don't care if she's even a female, but as long as it's a white person ..."

"No, I don't think that's the case," Getty responds. "She has more executive experience than he does. He was a community organizer. Nobody's ever told me what a community organizer is."

Then there is this exchange:

"I look at Obama, and I have a question in my mind," she says. "Years ago, was he taken into the Muslim faith? And my concern is the only way you are no longer a Muslim is if you are dead, killed. So in my mind, he's still alive."

Although Barack Obama has said repeatedly he is not a Muslim and has never been a Muslim, Moreland is still unconvinced.

"There is something about him I don't trust," she says. "I don't care how good a speaker he is, I just can't trust him."

This is the same person who just a few minutes earlier says this:

"I can't recall any privilege that I got because I was white," Getty says. "I mean, I went to city schools. But I don't know of anything that I got because I was white that the black kids couldn't have gotten the same thing."

So lets think about at least one way Sarah Palin may have been selected to the VP slot. Karl Rove gets a panicked call from the McCain staffers. We want to win but we are losing by anywhere 4 to 6 percentage points what can we do? Rove says, "No problem." You guys saw how close the tough lady, Hilary Clinton came to getting the nomination, right? let's capitalize on a couple of issues. You need 4 to 6 points, right? We put a white woman on the ticket. It gives the white folks a chance to vote for change and without voting for a black. It eases the conscience and allows people to think that they are not racist. It gives voters the chance to say, "But I voted for change, I voted for a woman. Isn't that a good thing?" Sarah Palin gave McCain all that plus change and plus the religious right which needed a reason to not vote for a black. In addition, she has executive experience and isn't that better than a US Senator?

Is McCain a racist? Does the McCain camp use racist tactics to divide and win? Well, you decide for yourself.

One of the most telling parts of the program allows us to each answer this question clearly for ourselves:

Of the seven white voters and six voters of color, the majority of white voters are supporting McCain. All of the people of color are supporting Obama.

What does that say? Coincidence? Or is something else at work?

"I only heard one person even say or even think the reason they were voting that was because of race," says property manager Charlotte Bergdoll, the sole undecided voter.

She said she didn't see a connection between race and political choice, and in that assessment she wasn't alone.

But after the voters spent more time debating that divide — again, all the voters of color behind Obama, and almost all the white voters behind John McCain — most came to a reluctant conclusion.

Does race matter on a subconscious level? There was a series of exasperated utterances of "Yes."


Anonymous said...


In addition to this, I think Palin brings the "bubba factor" to the ticket. Scary, because it works for a whole heck of a lot of the electorate.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Yes, they are talking themselves out of being "bigots" by using the imagined, yet likely, Rove Revolving Character's nothing new, the only new part is that all of this is FULLY EXPOSED and the idiots are still living in denial...I especially am captivated and disgusted with "I can't think of ONE advantage that I had being WHITE!" Naturally this same mentality doesn't know the difference between being a "advantaged" heterosexual either...these words didn't come out of the mouth of a white Dyke!

Let's home the really savvy folks, both educated and plain street smart, aren't going along with this 50's type idealist fakery...McShame/Palin are straight out of the four-color illustrated Betty Crocker Bomb Shelter Survival Book...they probably passed out little bottles of water purification tablets at the Republican Convention at St.Paul while they were BEATING newsmen/women over the head secretly in the backlot...sick society that keep turning their collective heads gets what they deserve!

Anonymous said...

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Марко said...

In July of 1969 I had my tonsils out at York Hospital. There was a race riot going on outside. I was young, but those events made quite a strong impression on me. I was fascinated by and afraid of the National Guards who were providing security at the hospital. A while back (early 2000s), the mayor of York was arrested for murdering a black woman (he had been a cop during the race riots of '69). I suppose I have the idea in my head that York is still a racially intolerant place.

Anonymous said...

One of the brilliant acts of the REpublicans has been to co-opt the "fear of other" of poor whites and persuade them to vote against their own interests, over and over again.

They fan the flames of ignorance and prejudice in the most cynical and reprehensible way. So these people will vote their bigotry for a ticket that will flush their interests, and do it proudly.

I mean, this experience canard: As well as being a community organizer, Obama was a law professor, a member of the state legislature for 7 years, and a US Senator.

Palin was a sportscaster, mayor of a town of 5000, and gov of Alaska for 2 years.

Alaska, where instead of tax the state writes its residents checks.

*I* have more executive experience than Palin, with 15 years running my laboratory, raising money for it, balancing the budget.

How the heck does the MSM let the Republicans get away with this crap?