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Thursday, December 19, 2002  
You have to love the way the code words keep on coming: "the soft bigotry of low expectations" is a phrase that appears in an article by Ralph Reed today, and has come out of the mouths of both Lott and the president. Put another way, this statement simply means that "we will do nothing to help minorities, because when we act like they need help, we are assuming that they are inferior, which is bigotry." This statement, of course, implies that the only reason that anyone could need a leg up is because they are inferior. This implies, of course, that there is no racism in society, and that everyone, black or white, is starting from the same point, and competing on an equal playing field. Which is, considering the demonstrable and obvious racial inequalities in this country, basically a statement that blacks are where they are because that's where they belong.

Nifty, eh? Sounds pretty, but the intended audience hears the message loud and clear: We won't do shit to help those shiftless you-know-what's.

Reed has always been the archetype of the oily, telegenic new breed of conservative the GOP has made such good use of in the South, full of moderate catchphrases masking hard-right atavism. Forgive me for the profanity, but fuck him and everyone else who gives this kind of nod-and-wink racism a pass.


Monday, December 09, 2002  
Listen, I am delighted about Mary Landrieu winning a second term in the Senate , especially considering what a vicious reputation Suzanne Haik Terrel had when she was a councilwoman in New Orleans when I lived down there five years ago.

But. It must be said that Landrieu's "what do we really know about Suzy Terrell?" ads that not-too subtly hinted at her Arabic (actually Lebanese) background and painted her as some kind of disreputable outsider were really pretty slimy. Whatever else she is, Terrell is homegrown, and nobody else should be forced to take the blame for her.

Now, don't get me wrong, LA politics is a contact sport, from Edwin "Elect the Crook" Edwards on down the ages. But I think that it is kind of dishonest to merely say that she "headed left" and "stood up to Bush." She also got in some vicious below-the-belt shots that had nothing to do with sugar or steel. I know, I know, Terrell was just as nasty (if not nastier), but let's not get too starry-eyed about the Louisiana Method. Besides which, in the end, she also ran ads that were positively Daschlean in their attempts to .associate herself with Bush.

Damn, feels good to get a win, though.


Tuesday, December 03, 2002  
Matthew Hoy is foaming at the mouth and calling Paul Krugman a liar in this post about this column about this WSJ editorial (whew). (Hoy post via Instapundit). Okay, read all that and come on back.

All set? Good. Now isn't this an example of something we ought to celebrate? I mean come on, clearly the WSJ is criticising and bemoaning the inequities of the current system, and expressing concern that it will become increasingly hard for the poor (those lucky duckies) to come to any understanding of or sympathy with the intrusive taxation faced by the relatively well-off. In fact, by calling such low-income exempts "lucky" and generally criticizing progressive taxation, the WSJ clearly believes it would be a better system if the poor paid more. Hoy says himself that the article is "suggesting" that everyone should pay "some taxes." Is this not an increase for those who pay nothing under the current system? Besides which, the WSJ ed page has been heard in the past to advocate a flat tax, and its hard to characterize that as anything other than, inter alia, a tax hike on the poor.

But here's why it's good. I want to see more of this kind of backpedaling from the ultimate implications of the conservative argument. Honestly, why should conservatives shy away from the WSJ's position at all? Why get righteous and call Krugman a liar for describing what the article clearly implies? Why not say "Damn right. Tax them like everybody else gets taxed. It's a market, people, and markets, whether political or economic, only work when the rules are the same for everybody. Hiding social engineering in the tax code is economically inefficient, socially divisive, and politically cowardly." I mean, grow a pair, and take responsibility for your own beliefs, don't whimper about whatever latest liberal pundit accused your side of not being nice.

This is exactly the kind of reactive stance the democrats have been in for so long, where our main concern isn't driving the agenda and expressing our own ideas, but rather making sure that the other side doesn't maneuver us into embodying a stereotype or cartoon (Pinko! Commie! Socialist! Tax n'Spender! ACLU member! Political Correctness Cops! Bleeding heart! liberal!). And what could be more of a cartoon than the bloated plutocrats of Wall Street sneering "Tax the poor!" Let's back those sorry, heartless fuckers up a bit, eh?

Class warfare, anyone?


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