The alternative to a ‘right wing nutcase’: Buying off poor whites

Let this sink in for a moment:

[T]he Republican Party’s extremism can be traced to its increased dependence on an electorate that is largely rural, Southern and white. These voters, who figure prominently in the Tea Party, often decline to interpret political conflict as a struggle among interest groups or a good-faith clash of opinion. Instead, they tend to identify the country as a whole with an idealized version of themselves, and to equate any dissent from their values with disloyalty by alien, “un-American” forces.[1]

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  1. [1]Kim Messick, “Modern GOP is still the party of Dixie,” Salon, October 12, 2013,

The mistake of a limited conversation

I see what George Yancy is doing. I appreciate that—his ‘gift’[1]—and want to praise him for it. He is inviting us to the conversation about race that I thought and hoped we might have under the Obama presidency, a conversation that the viscerally racist reaction to his presidency[2] guaranteed we could not and still cannot have. But it is, nonetheless, a conversation we very badly need to have. Read more

  1. [1]George Yancy, “Dear White America,” New York Times, December 24, 2015,
  2. [2]Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Obama’s Twitter Debut, @POTUS, Attracts Hate-Filled Posts,” New York Times, May 21, 2015,; Morris Dees, “Attorney General Holder is right: Racial animus plays role in Obama opposition,” Southern Poverty Law Center, July 16, 2014,; Ginger Gibson, “Powell: GOP has ‘a dark vein of intolerance’,” Politico, January 13, 2013,; Alex Koppelman, “Now Bill Cosby weighs in on Carter’s side of race issue,” Salon, September 16, 2009,; Ewen MacAskill, “Jimmy Carter: Animosity towards Barack Obama is due to racism,” Guardian, September 16, 2009,; New York Times, “A New Phase in Anti-Obama Attacks,” April 11, 2015,; Tony Pugh, “There’s no denying Obama’s race plays a role in protests,” McClatchy, January 12, 2012,; Joan Walsh, “Angry right gets mad when you accuse it of race-baiting!” Salon, October 2, 2013,; Gary Younge, “Obama and the Decline of White America,” Nation 289, no. 13 (October 26, 2009): 10.

A step in the right direction: Black Lives Matter challenges the ‘system’

I’ve recently come to feel increasingly alienated by the Black Lives Matter and feminist movements because I think they fail to properly comprehend the meaning of the word “ally.”[1] As I wrote recently,

You see, I’m very clearly getting the message that if I am to be an ‘ally,’ that means sitting down and shutting up. And that’s not what I mean by ‘ally.’ I think, rather, that if you and I are allies, that means we walk together, listen to each other, and allow each other to speak. It doesn’t mean that you are subordinate to me. And it doesn’t mean that I am subordinate to you. It means we are equals, working to a common end.[2]

But I should still give credit where credit is due. Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Squatting on the University of Missouri quad,” Not Housebroken, November 11, 2015,
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Squatting on the University of Missouri quad,” Not Housebroken, November 11, 2015,

Two thumbs on two scales

Hillary Clinton’s sense of entitlement to the presidency seems to pervade her candidacy in more ways than I thought. When I first wrote of this sense of entitlement, I was relying heavily on her behavior in the 2008 campaign “when she delayed long past the point of plausibility a concession that Barack Obama had won a majority of delegates for the Democratic Party nomination.”[1] My sense was and is that she just thinks it’s her turn to be president.

“I want to see someone who, like, has the fervor to fight for me,” Anna Schierenbeck said. A woman will be elected president “pretty soon” anyway, she said, regardless of what happens in 2016. Why does that woman have to be Mrs. Clinton?[2]

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  1. [1]David Benfell, “Just sayin’,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2015,
  2. [2]Amy Chozick and Yamiche Alcindor, “Moms and Daughters Debate Gender Factor in Hillary Clinton’s Bid,” New York Times, December 12, 2015,

Evangelicals might do well to remember their own history

Update, February 7, 2016: “Wheaton College and Larycia Hawkins . . . announced tonight [February 6] they are amicably parting ways,” which I presume means they’ve agreed that no lawsuits will be filed. Hawkins had been expected to “go before a faculty panel . . . to defend her comments.”[1] She had received support from many faculty,[2] alumni professors,[3] and other alumni.[4] The provost who had initiated the action against Hawkins apologized “for the way he handled the situation.”[5]

“[T]his is not a violation of the First Amendment because the college is not a state actor,” writes Jonathan Turley, addressing—as far as I know—a straw person. “It is a religious based institution that has a right to set its own rules based on that faith.”[6] Still, a bunch of people are upset because “[t]he evangelical higher education institution Wheaton College has suspended tenured political science professor Larycia Hawkins after she asserted in a Facebook post last week that Muslims and Christians ‘worship the same God.’” It seems that “Hawkins has received much backlash for her ‘same God’ comment from other Christians on social media and on Tuesday, the school released a statement saying that Hawkins was being placed on administrative leave pending a review of the ‘theological implications’ behind her comments.”[7] “‘While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God’s revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation and the life of prayer,’ Wheaton College said in a statement.”[8] Read more

  1. [1]Leigh Jones, “Wheaton, Larycia Hawkins agree to part ways,” World, February 6, 2016,
  2. [2]Associated Press, “College’s faculty council opposes effort to fire professor,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, January 21, 2016,; Leonardo Blair, “Wheaton College Faculty Say School ‘Discriminatory’ in Treatment of Prof. Larycia Hawkins,” Christian Post, February 5, 2016,
  3. [3]Samuel Smith, “20 Wheaton Alumni Professors Say College Is Damaging Reputation by Suspending ‘Same God’ Prof. Larycia Hawkins,” Christian Post, February 3, 2016,
  4. [4]Samuel Smith, “800 Wheaton College Grads Threaten to Stop Financial Support If ‘Same God’ Prof. Isn’t Reinstated,” Christian Post, January 18, 2016,
  5. [5]Leigh Jones, “Wheaton, Larycia Hawkins agree to part ways,” World, February 6, 2016,
  6. [6]Jonathan Turley, “Wheaton College Suspends Professor After She Wore A Hijab And Called For A Stand of Solidarity With Muslims,” January 17, 2015,
  7. [7]Samuel Smith, “Wheaton College Suspends Hijab-Wearing Prof. For Saying Muslims, Christians Worship Same God,” Christian Post, December 16, 2015,
  8. [8]Manya Brachear Pashman and Marwa Eltagouri, “Wheaton College says view of Islam, not hijab, got Christian teacher suspended,” Chicago Tribune, December 16, 2015,

Yes, it really might be President Donald Trump

The editor and publisher at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall, is starting to think that Donald Trump might actually win the Republican nomination. His blog entry is partly in response to an article by Nate Cohn arguing (still!) that Trump cannot win the nomination, but makes its own points.[1] One of those is this:

In general, I’ve got a decent record of predicting these things. And that’s mainly because, like a good pilot, when you’re in bad or uncertain conditions, you need to watch your instruments rather than what you see out the window or what you feel.

In politics, your instruments are a mix of polling data, history and what we might call a real-time analysis of the various stakeholders and interest groups affecting a given contest. As you might be telling yourself, the last of those three may not be that different from going by gut, which is sort of the counter to what I’m saying. But instruments-only-flying only tells you where you are and what is happening right now. This is prediction. So there’s no perfect analogue.[2]

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  1. [1]Josh Marshall, “I Think It Could Be Trump,” Talking Points Memo, December 15, 2015,
  2. [2]Josh Marshall, “I Think It Could Be Trump,” Talking Points Memo, December 15, 2015,


Well, this is irritating:

[B]y highlighting the increased earnings of college graduates, the argument [that a state’s residents make more money when they are well educated] has made it easy for state lawmakers to conclude that individuals should pay for more of their education, said [Thomas W. Ross, president of the University of North Carolina system] and others, and to justify budget cuts in public higher education.[1]

Ouch. Double-ouch. And almost certainly right. Read more

  1. [1]Eric Kelderman, “The Challenge of Restoring the ‘Public’ to ‘Public Higher Education,’” Chronicle of Higher Education, December 11, 2015,

When war is not to be won, but rather to be fought

Since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, I have noticed a pattern. Then, al Qaeda would commit some outrage that was an expression of the group’s own fury. This outrage would provoke a fury and demonization in the United States that helped to enable then-President George W. Bush to pursue a war agenda. The U.S. would then commit its own outrages, notably roundups and deportations of Muslim males in the U.S., the roundups that filled Guantanamo, the invasion of Iraq, the “night raids” and other offenses against Afghan civilians, the drone attacks, and who knows how many other, that would, in their own turn, help with al Qaeda recruiting. And so it went, until at some point, I think Osama bin Laden either lost his touch, lost control, or decided he’d gotten what he wanted out of that cycle. Read more