Just an observation: equating Melissa Harris-Perry to the KKK is a bridge way too far

Melissa Harris-Perry

The left is pleased with the president right now, because his rhetoric is affirming to liberalism (and mocking and condemning of Republicans), and contains sufficiently high voltage language to constitute a rhetorical “fight” against the right — this despite the fact that legislatively, his plan is probably dead on arrival in the House, barring some huge chane in fortune, and would even be iffy with skittish Senate Democrats.

The left is livid at the president when his strategy of compromise and negotiation has the chance of actually producing legislation, even when he is essentially chumping the tea party and John Boehner (as has happened in each of their head-to-head negotiations) because the satisfying emotional, rhetorical content is not there.

As I’ve written before, politics really is about theater on a fundamental level. And it isn’t just the tea party that badly wants to be affirmed by their leadership. Sometimes that affirmation means more than legislation, because there are no incrementalists on either the right or the left. Both sides are angry, and both sides respond pretty much to only one thing: rhetorical attacks on the enemy camp.

It is in that context, that I post this link by AngryBlackLady, to the text of a piece by Gene Lyons of Salon.com. In it, he praises Obama for finally adhering to the strictures of liberal behavior which the vocal left has been beating him up for failing to adhere to for three years. It’s not just the right that imposes ideological orthodoxy, and Obama has been guilty of blatantly unorthodox behavior for most of his first term, to hear the “professional left.” Lyons is pleased that the president is finally banging Republicans over the head, and pushing for Keynsian spending on infrastructure. That’s fine, and there’s certainly an argument to have, whether the smarter electoral strategy for the president is to tack toward his base, which George W. Bush proved in 2004 is one successful re-elect strategy, or to drive to the center, a la “era of big government is over” Bill Clinton in 1996.

But in his piece, Lyons also casually, and rather nastily, dismisses the racial elephant in the room when it comes to what more than handful of black Democrats believe are the impossibly high standards imposed on the nation’s first black president by some of his “supporters.” Here’s the key passage:

This just in: Not all the fools are Republicans. Recently, one Melissa Harris-Perry, a Tulane professor who moonlights on MSNBC political talk shows, wrote an article for the Nation titled “Black President, Double Standard: Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama.”

See, nobody ever criticized Bill Clinton, another centrist Democrat who faced a hostile Republican congress. Indeed, he was “enthusiastically re-elected” in 1996. Therefore, “[t]he 2012 election is a test of whether Obama will be held to standards never before imposed on an incumbent. If he is, it may be possible to read that result as the triumph of a more subtle form of racism.”

The professor actually wrote that. See, certain academics are prone to an odd fundamentalism of the subject of race. Because President Obama is black, under the stern gaze of professor Harris-Perry, nothing else about him matters. Not killing Osama bin Laden, not 9 percent unemployment, only blackness.

Furthermore, unless you’re black, you can’t possibly understand. Yada, yada, yada. This unfortunate obsession increasingly resembles a photo negative of KKK racial thought. It’s useful for intimidating tenure committees staffed by Ph.D.s trained to find racist symbols in the passing clouds. Otherwise, Harris-Perry’s becoming a left-wing Michele Bachmann, an attractive woman seeking fame and fortune by saying silly things on cable TV.

The sheer political stupidity of turning Obama’s reelection into a racial referendum cannot be overstated. It would be an open confession of weakness. Whatever its shortcomings, this White House is too smart to go there. Harris-Perry will have to fight this lonely battle on her own. Voters can’t be shamed or intimidated into supporting this president or any other. They can only be persuaded.

And with the U.S. economy stagnating, they’re going to need lots of persuading. Which is why the good news is that Obama has actually started talking like a Democrat again.

After that, Lyons launches into praise for the president’s American Jobs Act gambit. But that passage provides a valuable insight into the roots of the chasm between black people — writ large — and white liberals — write large. The latter sometimes demonstrate a stunning lack of interest/understanding of the complex but still present interplay of race in our politics, and really, in our daily lives. The truth is, Perry made a point that is not only not uncommon among black Americans, it is almost rote. Black people experience the opposition to Barack Obama differently from white people, and their observations about his treatment, by the right AND by the left, are not invalid. Part of liberalism, at least in my understanding, is NOT invalidating the experience of marginalized groups. Simply brushing off Perry’s concerns as “foolish” strikes me as being of a piece with, say, scapegoating black Obama voters in California for supposedly causing Proposition 8 to pass — something that more than a few white liberals did, even though the premise wasn’t actually true. As I said before, the disconnect between white liberals and black Democrats is real. It’s tangible, and it stems from, frankly, a simple, basic, lack of empathy and experiential understanding of how the other half lives.

By the way, note that Lyons tosses in killing Osama bin Laden with high unemployment, as if it goes without saying that most liberals/blacks would see the former as a bad thing (most Americans, black and white, see killing bin Laden as an unalterably good thing.) But more importantly, jumping on board the David Sirota train, by equating black beliefs about the treatment of the country’s first black president with the Ku Klux Klan is so far out there, and so offensive, it’s hard to believe that some editor at Salon didn’t pull Lyons back from the brink. Saying that black people who believe, as Melissa does, that there is a different standard for this president, are just like Klansman, is no different than tea partiers saying that anyone who believes in increasing taxes on the wealthy are just like Marxists. Isn’t that kind of bottom-line obvious?

Moreover, calling Melissa Harris Perry a “fool,” and attempting to diminish her as “just another Michele Bachmann” is really not a smart play for the vocal left, particularly at a time of rising distrust between black Obama supporters and the overwhelmingly white liberal elite. Ms. Harris-Perry is much more respected by your average black person than, say, the pet black intellectuals of the “professional left,” like Cornel West (or Tavis Smiley). If you don’t believe me, ask 10 black people who they value more: West or Perry. I can tell you what at least 9 of them will say. Trust me. Because I’m sure I talk to more black people on Monday than Mr. Lyons talks too all week… or maybe all month. I mean, I won’t presume to know who Lyons hangs out with, but Salon’s masthead, like those of most of the leading liberal blogs, isn’t exactly teeming with diversity.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The chasm between black Democrats and white liberals is real. It needs to be addressed in the open.

Meanwhile:  Perry responds to her critics on the left (and Joan Walsh offers an apology on one part of her response to  Perry.) And ABL posts this insightful comment from Salon to Joan’s response.

UPDATE: Bob Cesca weighs in with a very smart column that’s worth a read.

This entry was posted in Opinion, Politics, President Barack Obama and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Just an observation: equating Melissa Harris-Perry to the KKK is a bridge way too far

  1. Rupert says:

    Thank you for clarifying that the double standard is that of the blacks, or their perception, because “white liberals” have certainly been confused by this. There is also a “labelling” issue because most white liberals have remained supportive of the President, but are now painted as if we are part of the FDL/Greenwald group. Gene Lyons is a fine writer, and I don’t care who he hangs out with (although I agree that he is too harsh towards Melissa who also is a fine writer); Joan Walsh also wrote an article at Salon disagreeing with Melissa’s position. Representative Cleaver all but admitted that the Congressional Black Caucus has itself practiced a double standard in regard to President Obama as opposed to Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton’s current popularity has apparently caused a lot of folks to forget all the hate the Clintons experienced in the ’90s. Gene Lyons is something of an expert on that, so his view is relevant.

  2. TrumpDog says:

    I did not like the way Gene Lyons attacked Perry.
    And I do agree with her that there does seem to be an odd double standard at play.

    That said, we would not be having this type of inter party dispute if the economy was good. Divide and conquer. This is yet another reason the GOPs plan of not doing sh!t to help is working so well.

    We ought to be repeating how the GOP is more focused on investigating Planned Parenthood’s funding than creating jobs. Instead, we still have nitpicking over the woulda shoulda coulda of the public option and what base today hates the president more.

    People, we need to get the GOP out of the House and make sure they do not win the presidency. You think things are bad now with anti immigration and taking away choices for women? Just wait when/if they regain full power.

  3. Mazzie says:

    “it’s hard to believe that some editor at Salon didn’t pull Lyons back from the brink”

    Not really, considering the public beef between MHP and Joan Walsh, wherein Joan was so grateful to all the support she got after MHP pointed out that while they are friendly, they are not friends. (A very savvy response to JW’s “I have black friends!” defense of white liberal racism.)

  4. “Isn’t that kind of bottom-line obvious?”

    Yes. Lyons could have made a fact-based argument against the points MPH made, but he choose instead to compare her to Michele Bachmann, demean her as a “pretty face,” imply that she used racial intimidation to get tenure and call her a fool. Anything “relevant” Lyons may have said was lost after that, at least as far as I’m concerned.

  5. pearl says:

    Melissa Harris-Perry is exactly right. Liberals DID NOT criticize Bill Clinton in his time the way they’re criticizing President Obama , AND they’re constantly trying to tell him how to do his job, second-guessing his every move — as though they might know more than he does about how to be president, even though they’ve never been elected to dog-catcher.

    Even TODAY, the so-called liberal media is STILL protecting Bill Clinton, almost never mentioning that his administration was responsible for a lot of things that are plaguing the country today, including too many jobs sent overseas, DADT, welfare reform, and several others.

    I sense a great distrust of Pres. Obama among his white liberal base, as well as unrealistic demands being placed on him as though he has the power of a dictator rather than one prong of power in a three-part governing system. Almost no demands are being made on Democrats in Congress — not even to assist and support the President.

    All this DESPITE Pres. Obama’s record of historical achievements during his three short years in office, much more than was ever accomplished by Bill Clinton in his eight years.

  6. rikyrah says:

    preach it.

    TELL IT!!

    excellent article.

    thank you

  7. Rupert says:

    I guess Pearl and others were sleeping in the ’90s. Clinton received plenty of liberal criticism for signing welfare reform, supporting NAFTA, and failing to pass health care reform– just for starters. I’ve been as critical as anyone of Jane Hamsher and the other leftists not supporting Obama, but I’ve never seen any sort of racial element to it. I wish Melissa had provided more of a basis for her allegation.

  8. Mrs. Polly says:

    I was semi-awake during the ’90s, and while I remember welfare reform especially stuck in liberals’ craws, I also don’t recall anybody calling to primary Clinton.

    Part of this might be due to the distraction of having to defend him before and during the whole insane Lewinsky debacle. For a lot of people, it was our first experience with a completely unhinged RW attack machine, and so instead of castigating Clinton for giving up on healthcare, we were screaming at people who insisted that Hillary had killed Vincent Foster. But Clinton was disappointing to me from the beginning, where he reneged on a promise to end the Bush policy of repatriating Haitian boat people to fairly certain danger while Cubans continued to be welcomed as long as they managed to land on American soil.

    Today, I think some white liberals take the RW attack machine somewhat for granted. Because Obama isn’t going to help the Republicans out by giving them the gift of his own stupid behavior the way Clinton did, the RW attacks are even more hysterical, desperate, and horribly race-based. The shame is how many white liberals echo these race-based attacks, however unconsciously, and don’t seem bothered enough even to investigate why black liberals might be offended.

    I’ll give you an example of something I consider racially dicey: white liberals’ borrowing of demeaning RW epithets for the president like “Obummer” and “Ozero.” Freepers love to emphasize the foreignness and pidgin-African in the president’s last name, as well as de-personing him, and that has been picked up wholesale by supposed “progressives.” It’s sometimes hard to tell a comment thread at FDL from one at Free Republic.

  9. Kerry Reid says:

    “I’ve been as critical as anyone of Jane Hamsher and the other leftists not supporting Obama, but I’ve never seen any sort of racial element to it. ”

    Well, in addition to Mrs. Polly’s fine explication, I think we can toss in Bill Maher and Michael Moore’s laments that Obama isn’t acting enough like “a black guy” — i.e., he’s not being “gangsta” with the GOP.

    And the ease with which a commenter at FDL referred to Obama as the “house n-word.” (Angry Black Lady took this on some time ago — http://www.angryblacklady.com/2011/01/19/firedoglake-go-fuck-yourself/.)

    And the way in which Joan Walsh of Salon deliberately misrepresented an op/ed by Ishmael Reed in the New York times in order to play the aggrieved white liberal: http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/05/03/joan-walsh-s-twitter-brawl-with-herself/

    And the language used to dismiss Obama DESPITE his many significant victories in the face of unparalleled opposition — “pussy,” “coward,” “spineless,” etc., while not OVERTLY racist, is far more disrespectful than the language I remember being used toward Clinton by Dems and lefties.

    Respectfully, I think white people who self-identify as liberal and don’t see the racial components in some of the attacks launched at President Obama from the left are working very hard not to see it. I myself see a lot of racial privilege inherent in the very demand that black people and other marginalized groups must constantly quantify and prove racial bias. While some white liberals toss around the aforementioned unsupported attacks on the president’s character that go all the way into mind-reading and bullshit psychoanalysis of the “He’s too dumb to know the GOP hates him,” or “he’s a stalking-horse GOPer bent on destroying Social Security and Medicare” (neat trick, being both at once, eh?)

  10. Great points, Mrs. P. I think there WAS a lefty backlash on Clinton, but he was lucky in his timing; due to the whole impeachment debacle, liberals rallied to him and he got reelected. The lefty backlash was visited on Al Gore instead via Ralph Nader. We all know how that turned out.

    That said, what strikes me about the reaction of Lyons and others is the cartoonish way they attacked Harris-Perry. Her points were provocative and arguable, but she didn’t categorically state that white liberals are definitely turning on the president because of race. She raised the issue.

    And when she said, “I believe much of that decline [in support] can be attributed to their [white liberals'] disappointment that choosing a black man for president did not prove to be salvific for them or the nation,” I think she was dead-bang on target. Here’s my evidence for it: white liberals screeching about the president failing to deliver things he never promised.

    It’s not old-fashioned KKK racism, and MHP didn’t say it was. But there’s a species of racial magical thinking in some quarters of the white leftosphere that is disturbing.

    One last thing: I’m a white liberal (duh, Betty Cracker), and I’ve seen some comments on this topic from people of color that gave me pause, e.g., that white liberals call the president “Obama” whereas they always call white presidents “President So & So,” etc. I’m certain plenty of white liberals call the president “Obama” (and call his predecessors “Bush” and “Clinton”) with no bias in their hearts or disrespect intended. Maybe in other cases it is intended or unconsciously disrespectful.

    In either case, I think it’s generally a damn good idea to not get all defensive and to check your privilege when something like that comes up. The truth is, we experience things differently according to our groups, male, female, LBGT, straight, black, white, etc. To respectfully hear each other, we need to be aware of that. Lyons, et al, don’t appear to be interested in hearing anyone but themselves.

  11. Beulahmo says:

    Oh, Joy. I confess — I held strong through the Walsh/Sirota silliness, but Lyons’ ugly response was so awful I finally broke down and cried. Racial insensitivity from white liberals doesn’t particularly surprise me; I’ve just been heart-broken over the responses that range from dismissiveness to contempt to hostility. It’s been a learning experience, though — I’m a middle-aged white woman and this is breaking my heart; I can’t wrap my head around what this must feel like to black people who are witnessing this.

    There was barely a pause between Dr. Harris-Perry’s commentary and the reflexive discounting from Walsh and Sirota. It seems like a more thoughtful and reasonable reaction to such a piece from Dr. Harris-Perry (and you pointed out her cred on this issue) would be good-faith questions and respectful discussion, which would show that they’re at least *willing* to consider Dr. Harris-Perry’s impressions of possible racial influences in President Obama’s electoral support among white liberals. But such quick dismissals from Walsh and Sirota indicate to me that, for now, they prefer banish the thought, rather than simply consider it.

    As for Lyons, I have no words for that over-the-top, condescending crap.

  12. Misty says:

    I didn’t rush to the racial element either, and it’s not completely that. It’s the, to quote Jimmy Carter, “intensely demonstrated animosity” towards him from the right and the left. It’s the ridiculous level of intellectual dishonesty that I have seen from the left-wing blogasphere. I didn’t think it racial for awhile, just crazy. Then I saw how differently many in the black community reacted verses white liberals who voted for Obama. There are fair reasons to critique Obama, make no mistake, but what I have seen is ridiculous. It’s the disrespectful, irrational, condescending, demonizing, demagogue attitude that disturbs me. We are acting like the Fox News people.

    For example, when Obama changed the date of the day he was going to give his jobs act speech, the left went ballistic on the idea that it was a “cave”. Never mind the fact that it was probably smart to move it considering the desire to create a stark contrast between him and the GOP candidates. There was one comment on Huffington Post that mocked him saying: “‘Yes, Massa. Whatever you say.’ Pathetic!” As if it can’t just be a mutual agreement that people make that doesn’t end the world. It has to be the black guy submitting to the White man. Not just the President and the Speaker of the house making an agreement.

    I could also say it somewhat has to do with some of the Cornel West attacks. It’s one thing to criticize some of his cabinet picks (I’ve been a critic of them myself), and it’s another to demonize him as a “black mascot of Wall Street Oligarchs”. Newsflash Cornel: You didn’t elect a Black Panther. You elected a politician who is unfortunately part of a corrupt system that is funded by Wall Street and corporations. However he has done things for the poor that you would never get with a Republican (that includes Herman Cain). Could more be done for poverty in America? Yes. Do we need campaign finance reform? Yes. But you don’t have to go the route that you have gone. Besides, that type of rhetoric is only making people vote against their own interests. The statement that Obama is afraid to be a “free black man” really affirms that there is a racial component in the expectations laid out. It’s equal to the media question during the 2008 campaign of whether Obama was black enough.

    In addition to that, in spite of his gay marriage problem, he’s ben the strongest president on gay rights issues, yet he gets the most crap out of any president because of this. His Rick Warren decision is treated more so as a betrayal than Clinton signing DOMA into law. DADT was never called a “cave” when Clinton signed it rather than a full acceptance of gays serving in the military, yet because Obama didn’t repeal it fast enough, he’s “betrayed” them. Maybe it’s just Dan Choi, but I don’t get some of the crap he’s been getting from the left. A lot of it is not fair.

  13. Beulahmo says:


    Pearl may be unaware of the criticism of Clinton on record, but I think it’s reasonable to say that criticism of Clinton came *mostly* from the right, and criticism from his own side was more less frequent and less visible than what we’re seeing during Obama’s tenure. That is likely at least party due to the explosion of political commentary driven by expansion of internet and other media.

    “I wish Melissa had provided more of a basis for her allegation.”

    In a follow up / response to reactions from Salon’s Joan Walsh and David Sirota, Dr. Harris-Perry explained why — when considering *current* racial effects on electoral results — it’s difficult to point to empirical “evidence” to support her assertions. It’s a good, informative response to your comment and I recommend reading it.


  14. As I’ve written before, politics really is about theater on a fundamental level.

    Agreed. I call it “political showbiz”. Been talking about it for a while myself, now.

    Simply brushing off Perry’s concerns as “foolish” strikes me as being of a piece with, say, scapegoating black Obama voters in California for supposedly causing Proposition 8 to pass — something that more than a few white liberals did, even though the premise wasn’t actually true.

    It’s interesting how quickly this became an article of faith on the white left, especially that element of the white gay community that has NEVER resolved its longstanding anti-Black issues.

    I was just talking with an online friend at another site about this myth, which he was promoting. It wasn’t a hostile conversation, which it often turns with me, because he’s from overseas and I know how the anti-Black export machine works.

    Also along these lines, I use the National Gay and Lesbian Task Forces’ debunk. Thanks for the 538 link on it, Joy.

  15. Pingback: Shut up and listen for a change!

  16. EnoughIsEnough says:

    I’m just one lonely voice speaking for myself. I DO NOT LIKE WHAT I HEAR from some whites on the left. If doesn’t surprise me, but I don’t like it. Had President Obama not accomplished anything in 3 years then I guess I could understand their gnashing of teeth and hair on fire. However, there are numerous sites that lists about 244 accomplishments of this administration. What am I suppose to think when I read on some of these left-wing blogs that President Obama is a “Republican”? Really? Are they stupid? Are they disingenuous? What? When I read on these left-wing blogs and hear people like Bill Maher and Michael Moore call the President a pu$$y, an Uncle Tom or that they “thought they were voting for a “black man” just what am I suppose to think? I’ve lived a pretty long time and I know racism and I know racialzied speech when I hear it. I don’t need validation from someone else about what I hear and how I should assess it. So please, give me a break. President Obama has been disrespected because he is BLACK. No other President has been yelled at and called a liar as he stood on the floor of Congress. Where were all the white liberals up in arms over that? The Republicans/Tea Party is held bent on further destroying the middle class and poor people in this country. Yet for 2 years I have read a continuous drum beat of “lets bash President Obama” instead of going after the people who are doing the most damage to this country. I think folks are pissed off because President Obama IS HIS OWN MAN and they can’t get him to say “how high” when they say jump”.

  17. Flo says:

    Melissa Harris-Perry, normally a very smart lady, laid an egg this week.

    Apparently, if Melissa doesn’t like Sarah Palin, and Melissa doesn’t like Michele Bachmann; then using her own logic I can conclude that she is sexist; and racist. And I don’t have to prove it.

    I’d rather worry about the tea party and the racisim on the right than this sort of shallowness.

  18. LDS says:

    @Flo: Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, is a very smart lady. The only egg that was laid is that she told the truth. It needed to be said. While the so -called ‘white liberals” glorify themselves and their egos by finding fault with everything that President Obama does, just respect the man. I am African American and I was born and raised in the south. So until you can live and experience hate and living in terror everyday as a child while watching older generations that you love and respect being demoralized calling them by their first names or just the n word, then you can have no idea how this treatment of Our President is so offensive. Why is it so hard for whites, right or left to respect people who do not look like them? That was the question I asked myself as a child. The answer is pure racism. The same racism that I felt as a child is the same racism that I read from Progressive Liberals. You can smell racism when you grow up around and in it. Even the slight , subtle and joking kind. While mostly white women were reading and running to the movies to view “The Help”, my emotions were high just thinking about how that form of servitude and injustice helped to shape my life in a negative way. I often wonder why didn’t the women speak up? Why did they allow this? Why are they so okay with this? Recently, I forced myself to see the movie. I left feeling stronger than I could have ever imagined. The reason being is that the office of the presidency of the United States is an intelligent, high morals, caring, kind, smart, calm, strong man who happens to be African American. Who cares about this country for everyone not just one group of people and is working hard to prevent the rich elite and racist tpublicans from doing more damage in the last ten years. I came to a realization after the movie that these white women in the south,they needed us much more than we ever needed them. They were trapped in a society that was full of hate, lies and just plain hypocrites. It was not because of their skin color, but because of ignorance, sexism and not being able to think for themselves, hypocritcal and puritan attitudes in their make believe world.

    Thank You, Dr, Melissa Harris-Perry for laying a golden egg. You expressed what I have been feeling for a very long time.

    Now that is clear who the real enemy is, what are WE going to do about it? Let me very clear, sometimes the enemy is within.

  19. Flo says:

    LDS, The Help was a nice book, but is completely irrelevant to this discussion. Thanks for the drama though. If you decide your friends are “the enemy” you can be sure the tea party will take over the country. Good luck with that.

  20. jacksmith says:


    ( http://my.firedoglake.com/iflizwerequeen/2011/05/16/how-about-a-little-truth-about-what-the-majority-want-for-health-care/ )

    ( Gov. Peter Shumlin: Real Healthcare reform — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yFUbkVCsZ4 )

    ( Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator — http://www.cepr.net/calculators/hc/hc-calculator.html )

    ( Briefing: Dean Baker on Boosting the Economy by Saving Healthcare http://t.co/fmVz8nM )


    As you all know. Had congress passed a single-payer or government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one, our economy and jobs would have taken off like a rocket. And still will. Single-payer would be best. But a government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! that can lead to a single-payer system is the least you can accept. It’s not about competing with for-profit healthcare and for-profit health insurance. It’s about replacing it with Universal Healthcare Assurance. Everyone knows this now.

    The message from the midterm elections was clear. The American people want real healthcare reform. They want that individual mandate requiring them to buy private health insurance abolished. And they want a government-run robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. And they want it now.

    They want Drug re-importation, and abolishment, or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. They want back control of their healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. And they want it NOW!


    For-profit health insurance is extremely unethical, and morally repugnant. It’s as morally repugnant as slavery was. And few if any decent Americans are going to allow them-self to be compelled to support such an unethical and immoral crime against humanity.

    This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

    Further, we want that corrupt, undemocratic filibuster abolished. Whats the point of an election if one corrupt member of congress can block the will of the people, and any legislation the majority wants. And do it in secret. Give me a break people.

    Also, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

    Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.



    This is what the American people are shouting at you. Both parties have just enough power now to do what the American people want. GET! IT! DONE! NOW!

    If congress does not abolish the individual mandate. And establish a government-run public option CHOICE! before the end of 2011. EVERY! member of congress up for reelection in 2012 will face strong progressive pro public option, and anti-individual mandate replacement candidates.

    Strong progressive pro “PUBLIC OPTION” CHOICE! and anti-individual mandate volunteer candidates should begin now. And start the process of replacing any and all members of congress that obstruct, or fail to add a government-run robust PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! before the end of 2011.

    We need two or three very strong progressive volunteer candidates for every member of congress that will be up for reelection in 2012. You should be fully prepared to politically EVISCERATE EVERY INCUMBENT that fails or obstructs “THE PUBLIC OPTION”. And you should be willing to step aside and support the strongest pro “PUBLIC OPTION” candidate if the need arises.

    ASSUME CONGRESS WILL FAIL and SELLOUT again. So start preparing now to CUT THEIR POLITICAL THROATS. You can always step aside if they succeed. But only if they succeed. We didn’t have much time to prepare before these past midterm elections. So the American people had to use a political shotgun approach. But by 2012 you will have a scalpel.

    Congress could have passed a robust government-run public option during it’s lame duck session. They knew what the American people wanted. They already had several bills on record. And the house had already passed a public option. Departing members could have left with a truly great accomplishment. And the rest of you could have solidified your job before the 2012 elections.

    President Obama, you promised the American people a strong public option available to everyone. And the American people overwhelmingly supported you for it. Maybe it just wasn’t possible before. But it is now.

    Knock heads. Threaten people. Or do whatever you have to. We will support you. But get us that robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one before the end of 2011. Or We The People Of The United States will make the past midterm election look like a cake walk in 2012. And it will include you.

    We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. They have already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.

    Spread the word people.

    Progressives, prepare the American peoples scalpels. It’s time to remove some politically diseased tissues.

    God Bless You my fellow human beings. I’m proud to be one of you. You did good.

    See you on the battle field.


    jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)

  21. Desider says:

    Clinton & Dems got thrashed in his first mid-term because of criticism over NAFTA, etc. Clinton at least figured out how to regroup rather than calling his base spineless. Oh right, using that word is “pseudo-racist”, but it’s okay to use these kind of epithets against liberal critics but not for liberal critics to use against Obama for being… uh, spineless?

    Now I don’t think Obama’s particularly spineless – I think he just doesn’t care. Poor people who still believe in him think he wanted to defend Medicare, didn’t want to extend tax cuts for the rich, really would have preferred a public option or at least universal coverage. These people think that Obama’s only doing targeted assassinations because he’s forced to, that he’d really rather be rolling himself in the Constitution.

    Obama could have defended people against large scale mortgage fraud, could have limited free money to banks, could have pushed for a real stimulus to start and a real jobs program back when it could pass. But that’s the beauty of Obama triangulation – it’s just a sop to the left, and a free lunch to the right.

    So complain about racism all you want, but if say Jesse Jackson Jr were in office, I don’t think he’d be holding these giveaway tea parties in the White House for Boehner while making Democrats enter through the back door. Some may prefer “No drama Obama” but I’d rather have a pitbull protecting my rights.

  22. Michelle says:

    This is a great article. Keep up the good work.

  23. Misty says:

    @Kerry: The narrative that President Obama is a “pussy”, a “coward”, “spineless” and other diminishing things believe it or not have a racial history to them. Those statements have been used to make the argument against African Americans serving in the military. They argued that black men were too weak and cowardly for the role.

    Now it doesn’t mean that is was used in this context, but in some ways you see a difference. I feel that there has been an attitude towards black “Obama lovers” that has been ugly, whilst Cornell West gets honorary treatment as the voice of the black community. And while West is free to have his opinion on Obama and it does not have to be similar to the majority of black Democrats, it really feels like some white liberals site Cornell as their safety guard against some of the personal attacks against Obama (I say personal attacks because West does not stick to certain specific policy disagreements and instead goes to calling names like “black mascot of Wall Street Oligarchs” and attacks his identity as a mixed race person with believing he has the fear of being a “free black man” and is “comfortable amongst white and Jewish elite” etc. ) as being racist, and anyone who dare questions the notion that race may play a factor (notice word Factor) in some (hint some, not all) of the disillusionment that has turned into Obama Derangement Syndrome, especially a black person who does, they are a sellout “race-baiter”, etc. (hence the numerous defensive outraged attacks at MHP)

    It’s not about making enemies. Race is not as simple as that. If we seen the Movie Crash, we should learn that racism is not as black and white as the textbooks make them out to be, so it’s about recognizing we are all flawed in the process of understanding race, and what may not be racially insensitive to you may be to another group.

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  25. Pingback: When White Liberals Attack – Gene Lyons On Race | Angry Black Lady Chronicles

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