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Occupy Hippie
Even if there are no hippies in a story, Chait will invent them.
Jonathan Chait, May 2006:
I can't quite root for Lieberman to lose his primary. What's holding me back is that the anti-Lieberman campaign has come to stand for much more than Lieberman's sins. It's a test of strength for the new breed of left-wing activists who are flexing their muscles within the party. These are exactly the sorts of fanatics who tore the party apart in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They think in simple slogans and refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent.
Former New Republic and current New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait has been embroiled in a series of debates on race these past few weeks. The first involved a dispute with Ta Nehisi Coates. In an interesting turn of events, Chait authored a cover story for New York Magazine shortly after Coates' piece was published. Yes, Chait's article is about the president and race. To say it is a muddled work is to be charitable. It has been refuted in a number of quarters effectively on the discussion of race (and I'll take my stab too below the fold.) But I do think there is an aspect of the article that does not come from failings or insights on race—it is Chait's inveterate impulse to "hippie punch." In the quote that ledes this post, I choose what to me was the most remarkable example of Chait's knee jerk tendency to hippie punch—his support for Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Connecticut Senate race based solely on his antipathy for those of us who opposed Lieberman. (Indeed Chait wrote a very strong indictment of Lieberman before succumbing to his animus to the anti-Lieberman forces.)

In his latest New York Magazine article, Chait laments—while chiding "both sides"— that:

Race has saturated everything as perhaps never before. Hardly a day goes by without a volley and counter-volley of accusations of racial insensitivity and racial hypersensitivity. And even when the red and blue tribes are not waging their endless war of mutual victimization, the subject of race courses through everything else: debt, health care, unemployment. Whereas the great themes of the Bush years revolved around foreign policy and a cultural divide over what or who constituted “real” America, the Obama years have been defined by a bitter disagreement over the size of government, which quickly reduces to an argument over whether the recipients of big-government largesse deserve it. There is no separating this discussion from one’s sympathies or prejudices toward, and identification with, black America.
I think that Chait's muddle of an article largely stems from this "hippie-punching" reflex, truly exemplified by his support of Lieberman. For in discussing his article, Chait himself wrote on twitter that "race is deeply embedded in American and especially conservatism." Makes you wonder what we are arguing about. But motives are motives and arguments are to be tested on their own merits. I'll do that on the flip by considering Chait's article in some detail.

Let's start with the first sentence of Chait's self described "thesis"—"Race has saturated everything as perhaps never before." Think what Chait is saying here: that more than say, the Civil War, or Reconstruction, or Jim Crow Laws, or Brown v. Board, or the Montgomery boycott, or Bull Connor, or the March on Washington, or the Civil Rights laws, or the integration fights, now is the time when "race has saturated everything like never before." He can't really mean that. Chait's outrageously hyperbolic sentence, in a piece that purports to argue for "nuance," is more than just supremely ironic. It is revealing of two things—(1) the impulse to punch hippies must first place them in this setting, and (2) a seeming inability to understand how all that has come before in our history has created our present.

Ironically, in a later blog post, Chait, like Woody Allen pulling out Marshall McCluhan in Annie Hall, attempts to use President Barack Obama's statements to support his own thesis:

Three months ago, President Obama gave an interview to David Remnick, who asked him about the role race has played in public opinion during his presidency. When I read Obama’s reply, I winced:
"There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.”

“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on. “You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government — that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable — and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments. But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there. And so I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans. The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history ...” [Armando's emphasis]

Why did I wince? Because at the time, I was deep into work on what became this week’s cover story, and here was Obama, in a highly prominent forum, stating what was already my thesis.
That may be Chait's thesis, which, in case you did not notice, is a pretty unremarkable one, even if the president also shared it. But that's really not what he wrote in his article.

Instead what Chait chose to do was create straw hippies that he could punch. Here is an example:

[H]ere is the point where, for all its breadth and analytic power, the liberal racial analysis collapses onto itself. It may be true that, at the level of electoral campaign messaging, conservatism and white racial resentment are functionally identical. It would follow that any conservative argument is an appeal to white racism. That is, indeed, the all-but-explicit conclusion of the ubiquitous Atwater Rosetta-stone confession: Republican politics is fundamentally racist, and even its use of the most abstract economic appeal is a sinister, coded missive.

Impressive though the historical, sociological, and psychological evidence undergirding this analysis may be, it also happens to be completely insane. Whatever Lee Atwater said, or meant to say, advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense racist.

One of the greatest triumphs of liberal politics over the past 50 years has been to completely stigmatize open racial discrimination in public life, a lesson that has been driven home over decades by everybody from Jimmy the Greek to Paula Deen. This achievement has run headlong into an increasing liberal tendency to define conservatism as a form of covert racial discrimination. If conservatism is inextricably entangled with racism, and racism must be extinguished, then the scope for legitimate opposition to Obama shrinks to an uncomfortably small space.

The racial debate of the Obama years emits some of the poisonous waft of the debates over communism during the ­McCarthy years. It defies rational resolution in part because it is about secret motives and concealed evil.

Here is where Chait invents his hippies to punch—the "racial liberals" who see racism behind every Republican policy. But any person who fairly views liberal critiques of Republican policies knows this is simply a false straw man.

Take the most prominent progressive politician to emerge in the last years, Elizabeth Warren. Her critiques of Wall Street are class appeals. These are not indictments on racial grounds, but on class grounds.

Or consider other prominent points on which "liberals" or "hippies" take vehement issue with Republicans—women's rights, privacy rights, economic rights. Surely Chait does not mean to argue that the most prominent liberal critique on these issues is racial? The phrase is "War on Women," not "War on Women of Color."

How about climate change? Is the Republican denial regarding the science on climate change ascribed to Republican racism? Of course not.

What then could possibly be Chait's point? Let's look at some of his examples where he argues "liberals" have overreached in ascribing race consideration to Republican actions. Chait writes:

On September 9, 2009, the president delivered a State of the Union–style speech on health care before Congress. [...] At one point, Obama assured the audience that his health-care law would not cover illegal immigrants. (This was true.) Joe Wilson, the Republican representing South Carolina’s Second District, screamed, “You lie!”

Over the next few days, several liberals stated what many more believed. “I think it’s based on racism,” offered Jimmy Carter at a public forum. “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.”  [. . .] It is certainly true that screaming a rebuke to a black president is the sort of thing a racist Republican would do. On the other hand, it’s also the sort of thing a rude or drunk or angry or unusually partisan Republican would do.

Chait then presents this test: "One way to isolate the independent variable, and thus to separate out the racism in the outburst, is to compare the treatment of Obama with that of the last Democratic president. Obama has never been called 'boy' by a major Republican figure, but Bill Clinton was, by Emmett Tyrrell, editor of the American Spectator and author of a presidential biography titled 'Boy Clinton.'"

But that's not what Joe Wilson did. Joe Wilson did something that, at least to my memory, had never happened before—he yelled that the president of the United States was a liar in the middle of an address to a joint session of Congress. Surely it is not completely unreasonable to think that the fact that Obama is African American might have contributed to this.

Chait posits that:

Yet many, many liberals believe that only race can explain the ferocity of Republican opposition to Obama. It thus follows that anything Republicans say about Obama that could be explained by racism is probably racism. And since racists wouldn’t like anything Obama does, that renders just about any criticism of Obama—which is to say, nearly everything Republicans say about Obama—presumptively racist.
"Many liberals" stands in for "some say" for Chait. I suppose "many liberals" may say that, but who? Who believes what Chait is saying? Precisely no one I know. Chait turns the reasonable proposition that the level of vitriol that is directed at the president is increased in some cases because of his race into "they hate him ONLY because he is black." You see, Chait needs his hippies to punch.

Consider another of Chait's examples:

Bill O’Reilly’s aggressive (and aggressively dumb) Super Bowl interview with the president included the question “Why do you feel it’s necessary to fundamentally transform the nation that has afforded you so much opportunity?” Salon’s Joan Walsh asserted, “O’Reilly and Ailes and their viewers see this president as unqualified and ungrateful, an affirmative-action baby who won’t thank us for all we’ve done for him and his cohort. The question was, of course, deeply condescending and borderline racist.” Yes, it’s possible that O’Reilly implied that the United States afforded Obama special opportunity owing to the color of his skin. But it’s at least as possible, and consistent with O’Reilly’s beliefs, that he merely believes the United States offers everybody opportunity.
Really? Chait pretends we are unfamiliar with Bill O' Reilly. But even then he concedes that Walsh's opinion is "possible." What is his objection then, to judging O'Reilly based on his consistent pattern of behavior? This is hippie-punching at its worst.

Chait becomes so enamored of his hippie-punching that he slides into offensive language himself. He writes:

MSNBC has spent the entire Obama presidency engaged in a nearly nonstop ideological stop-and-frisk operation.
Really? Stop and frisk? As Joan Walsh put it:
See what he did with that “stop-and-frisk” reference? In case you’ve missed it, police departments in some cities have been accused of infringing the civil rights of blacks and Latinos by physically stopping them, and invasively frisking them, with little and sometimes no evidence of wrongdoing. It’s kind of a big deal to civil rights liberals, of every race. So Chait tweaks them by accusing MSNBC of stopping and frisking conservatives “ideologically” – as in metaphorically and without consequence, which technically means not stopping and frisking them at all.

If you liked that comparison, you’re going to love the whole piece.

Most notable is that Chait ignores one of the most blatantly racist episodes of the Obama presidency, the Republican-led insistence (and refusal of mainstream Republicans to denounce it) that Obama was born in Kenya. He ignores it, I imagine, because to discuss it would undermine almost in toto his hippie-punching efforts. It was so blatant a racist episode that to acknowledge it would undercut all of his hippie-punching work.

And indeed, Chait, to preserve his "both sides do it" credentials, devotes a good deal of space demonstrating that in fact a good deal of what Republicans do is, at the least, racially tinged.

But to enable his punching of the "racial liberal" hippies, Chait constructs strawmen, distorts arguments and is frankly, fundamentally dishonest. To the degree that Chait makes valid points, they are so obvious and pedestrian as to be facile.

Recently, Atrios tweeted:

expecting that a lot of the eventheliberals who got a bit more liberal post-bush will revert to form
In this episode, I see Chait reverting to form.

POST SCRIPT: While Chait's work was not, in my estimation, a worthy discussion of the issue of race in our country, it did spawn some very good essays on the subject. If there is a preference for discussing those works, rather than my exposition on Chait's hippie punching,  I think that would be a worthy discussion.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges, White Privilege Working Group, Black Kos community, and Support the Dream Defenders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for this excellent essay, Armando (59+ / 0-)

    It is interesting to see the work of a nutjob dissected bit by bit, as it were.

    Speaking for myself, it's got to where, when I hear the word "Republican," I immediately think "Racist-Misogynist-Poor Basher."

    Sad, but those are the associations that word holds for me.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:08:15 AM PDT

  •  There's enough hippie-punching at this site. (9+ / 0-)

    Why should I give a d**m that there's hippie-punching by some blowhard who writes for The New Republican?  Isn't that par for the course there?

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:08:46 AM PDT

  •  Is he having a crack-up? (11+ / 0-)

    Seems like he's freaking out.
    And now lashing out.

  •  He was really disrespectful to MHP this morning (21+ / 0-)

    He doesn't get it, sigh.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:09:41 AM PDT

    •  mhp? (I don't do tv, so I miss a lot)(nt) (7+ / 0-)

      Think about the baby Jesus. Up in that tower, letting His hair down so that the three wise men could climb up and spin the dreidle and see if there's six more weeks of winter. -- Will and Grace

      by Rikon Snow on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:13:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hope that a video is posted (12+ / 0-)

      later today.  

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:14:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Usually a couple hours after broadcast n/t (3+ / 0-)

        Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:49:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's up now - thanks (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Armando, Eric Nelson, FogCityJohn

          Jonathan Chait: Race more important during Obama years

          "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

          by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:35:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the link. Watching now. (4+ / 0-)

            You could tell Chait was pissed at the beginning. He looked like he felt he'd been ambushed.

            But I think MHP's initial criticisms of his piece were pretty much spot on. I especially liked her point about how Chait's framing suggests that there are no actual victims of actual racism. To him, all this is just a big parlor game.

            The other thing that's BS in his article is the false equivalence of the "paranoia" of left and right about race. He thinks the right is correct that liberals use race as a kind of malicious, unfair cudjel to attack their policies. That basically excuses folks on the right for all their racism, while at the same time trivializing all legitimate grievances about the effects of racism.

            Like I said before, he really should just shut up.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 10:14:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Chait was disrespectful and defensive (on MHP) (19+ / 0-)

      He clearly doesn't get it.  His standard response was, "...that wasn't what my piece was about..."  He tried (at least with respect to the dialogue on race) to hide his willful ignorance (on the topic at hand) behind multisyllabic words that at the end of the day, didn't address the legitimate shortcomings on his writings.  Long and short, I came away from MHP's interview of him with the feeling that he is an arrogant tool and I haven't missed anything by not reading him.

      •  Yup nt (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, 714day, Shawn87

        nosotros no somos estúpidos

        by a2nite on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 10:03:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  His willful ignorance has been hiding in (9+ / 0-)

        plain sight for a long, long, time.

      •  If you ignore the hippy punching (13+ / 0-)

        this article actually has a fairly good catalog of racist movements in this country since slavery. Chait openly admits that this was all real once. But no more.

        It all comes down to saying that no matter how many racists there have been and are, and no matter how various groups may be affected by any policy choice, you can't call any individual Republican a racist unless you catch him in an overt act. An overtly overt act. And you can't call policies that oppress minorities racist either, unless you catch everybody who voted for it in overtly overt racism.

        Because these are good people. And even if you catch one once, you can't use that to say he or she is still a racist, because that was then, and Republicans have given all of that up.

        Using Chait's standard, voter suppression doesn't count, because Republicans really do believe in voter fraud. Economic inequality doesn't count, because that doesn't single out Blacks or other minorities; it affects all of the poor without regard to race. Cutting every social program isn't racism; it's anti-Communism or anti-moocherism, and besides, it's good for you! Rand Paul's Southern Avenger staffer doesn't count, and Ron Paul's ghost-written racist rants don't count, because that was somebody else, and they eventually got cut loose. The Confederate flag is tradition, not racism. Nothing Lee Atwater said about cutting taxes as code for cutting social programs counts any more, because that was then, and we have real reasons for cutting taxes now, like Voodoo Economics. Birtherism doesn't count, because what's racist about calling the President a foreigner? You can't call National Review founder Bill Buckley a racist. He only said that Whites have every right to illegally maintain their Supremacy once, decades ago, and immediately realized that he needed to keep that to himself! (Buckley did evolve on race, the drug war, and some other issues, but not on his fundamental classism and religious prejudices.)

        Chait would disagree with me on every one of the statements above, claiming that that isn't really what he meant. He means that there are virtuous, non-racist Republicans who shouldn't be tarred with the same brush.

        It's like the joke that it is the 97% of crooked lawyers who give all the rest a bad name.

        It turns out to be the case that there are virtuous, non-racist Republicans. They are the millions of children of wingers who cannot wait until they are old enough to vote, and at the same time old enough so that their parents cannot treat them like slaves living under the rule

        When I want to hear your opinion, I'll tell it to you.
        As to non-racist Republican voters, I have some unicorns for him.

        The problem is that there are racists supporting racist policies in the Republican Party, by Chait's own admission, and the leadership never denounces it, but instead schemes to profit by it. Nor does anybody else in the Party denounce this actual racism when it surfaces, with rare exceptions, and they all profit by it.

        Many of them are racists, and bigots, and misogynists, and science deniers, and Mammonists, and Dominionists, apparently in every possible combination. Out of all of that, they only try hard to hide the racism. And we do catch them at it quite frequently.

        I know of one other major exception to this rule in addition to the young people biding their time until they can get out. The Southern Baptist Convention officially apologized for supporting slavery and Jim Crow, and officially denounced racism, and started recruiting minorities very strongly. But they doubled down on the misogyny, bigotry, Creationism, and Mammonism in the process, and we still see that not everybody in the SBC got the memo. Also, there are other overtly racist Southern Baptist churches.

        There are people like Chait who seem to think that they are not personally racists, nor are their friends racists, so where is all the racism that Blacks and Liberals and hippies see everywhere? (Hint: It's everywhere, because it is baked into our society from bottom to top. Even if you despise racism and work against it at every waking moment, you swim in it.) But Chait is a more effective enabler of racism than any overt White Supremacist.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 03:07:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  He Gets It & He Asserted His White Male Privilege (8+ / 0-)

      all throughout that interview.

      He responds to her opening summary of the issues (Chait-Coates debate & her take on his latest drivel) by accusing her of being rude and unprofessional. She tells him that wasn't her intent and asks him to address the salient points in her (everyone's) critique and he basically tells her (and everyone else) they can't read because...he didn't write what everyone says he wrote!

      Then when confronted and given an opportunity to further mansplain his argument, he tells her that his article is being widely misconstrued because this debate began on initially on the internet!

      Vacuous racist arrogance thy name is (today at least) Jonathan Chait.

      •  wow - just watched - one of the first (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, poco, Shawn87, 1BQ, a2nite, jbsoul

        words he uses to attack her is that she has "berated" him.

        "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

        by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:37:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As a brown skinned man (10+ / 0-)

          (or is MOC preferable? I'm new here on the KOS) living in a VERY white place..semi rural, upper middle class neighborhood in Oregon, Chait  just strikes me as completely out of his element. It's really impossible for him, or 99.9% of people I come in contact with daily, to understand the world from my POV. I stopped expecting them to decades ago. He'll never experience what my outwardly Caucasian kids do when they see their Father treated "differently" than Mom or themselves. That kind of thing leaves a mark. Personally, he'll never experience "the look" one gets when first meeting someone white ,who you've only ever had a relationship with on the phone. I just wish guys like Chait would ask more questions. Preferably of people who've experienced what he chooses to write about. I seriously doubt he'd take a stab at a column regarding astrophysics with definitive opinions on the subject. Why in the hell would he EVER argue with Ta-Nehisi Coates, or anyone of color, where race is involved? It is, and always will be, outside of his experience. Also...Chait's father was a Dr. and entrepreneur, according to his wiki he could probably stand some more research on that subject as well. Not saying he SHOULDN'T write about these things. Just that it would be better received if he knew what the heck he were talking about.  

          "Because we are all connected...."

          by Shawn87 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 03:14:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He's Part Of The 1% Agenda To Rewrite History & (5+ / 0-)

            destroy liberal democracy.

            Admitting the utter racist venality of Atwater's confession...

            [It's a matter of] how abstract you handle the race thing. In other words, you start out … Now y’all aren’t quoting me on this … you start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff.

            And you’re getting so abstract now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites…. “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.” …  

            ...Chait glibly dismisses the actual recorded quote and the extensive evidence supporting liberals' analyses of conservatives' racism and racist policy goals by simply declaring - from high atop BullSh#t Mountain - that it's "insane" to apply Atwater's claims to supporters of tax cuts.

            Chait's own words reveal his disingenuous agenda for all for all to see.

            Impressive though the historical, sociological, and psychological evidence undergirding this analysis may be, it also happens to be completely insane. Whatever Lee Atwater said, or meant to say, advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense racist.  
            It's a full-fledged campaign. The Earth is the center of the universe; MLK and JFK were conservatives; racism is over and the Nazis were liberals. Just the other day, DeMint announced that the federal government had nothing to do with ending chattel slavery in America. Today, Marsha Blackburn screeched about the GOP leading the fight for women's equality.

            Chait should be ashamed of himself and, after this last bit of trashy propaganda, liberals should stop publicly assuring him/themselves that Chait is actually well-intentioned. He's clearly not.

            •  I was actually (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Thinking of that exact Atwater quote while I was reading Chait's column. Is there ANY chance, as an educated, "liberal" political writer that he's not aware of it? Hmmm...bullshit detector at 10.

              "Because we are all connected...."

              by Shawn87 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 04:59:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Hey brown man, welcome (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to KOS. There is a Black Kos that you can find on the front page also.
            I don't understand why all these white people want to write about race. It is totally baffling to me when most of them do not have a clue. In some way it might be trying to make an excuse for the racism. Who knows?

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. - Elbert Hubbard -9.62/-8.15

            by GustavMahler on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 04:32:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hey GustavMahler (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              We live with some very well educated, decent people who just happen to be Caucasian. From personal experience (no idea what this Chait guy's problem is, though I suspect it's similar) I believe it's simple intellectual vanity. "I'm a smart man therefore I can understand any issue." Understanding the feeling of racial oppression, subtle or overt, is simply out of the question for my privileged white neighbors. Nothing wrong with that imo. The flailing that ensues when they try can be a valuable, teachable moment for them if they're reasonable. Most aren't unfortunately. I wonder if Mr.Chait will be going forward. He sure wasn't on his recent TV appearance. I've learned to be patient. I'm Native American btw...mostly.

              "Because we are all connected...."

              by Shawn87 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 05:24:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Poor baby is so confused that she wouldn't (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jbsoul, Shawn87, poco

          bow before his "greatness".

          nosotros no somos estúpidos

          by a2nite on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 04:20:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this perspective Armando (27+ / 0-)

    I've been so immersed in Chait's racial historical ignorance or willful blindness - didn't see the connections to his "straw hippies".

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:10:04 AM PDT

  •  Chait is moving away by standing still. (10+ / 0-)

    Evolve or die, and while Chait might not be dead yet, he's coughing up bloody nonsense.

    "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

    by kuvasz on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:11:16 AM PDT

  •  Defeating a straw man. This is the definitive (12+ / 0-)

    characteristic of a meaningless argument.  

    Think about the baby Jesus. Up in that tower, letting His hair down so that the three wise men could climb up and spin the dreidle and see if there's six more weeks of winter. -- Will and Grace

    by Rikon Snow on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:12:37 AM PDT

  •  "Hey, I just support the repression of poor people (30+ / 0-)

    If some of them are black it's not my fault."

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:14:54 AM PDT

  •  The thing which will be Chait's... (23+ / 0-)

    ... ultimate demise as a "public intellectual" is his ignorance that I and others he flails at are not Hippies.

    We are Punks.

    We punch back.

    Listen to The After Show & The Justice Department on Netroots Radio. Join us on The Porch Tue & Fri at Black Kos, all are welcome!

    by justiceputnam on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:19:57 AM PDT

  •  Terrific piece, Armando. (10+ / 0-)

    Rec'd, tweeted, republished (2x).  Would've tipped you, but there's no tip jar.  ;)

    Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard. Inso­far as corruption cuts the link between political thought and political action, a free marketplace of political ideas loses its point. -- Justice Stephen Breyer

    by Yasuragi on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:25:13 AM PDT

  •  He's a straight up bigot, thanks Armando (9+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:26:51 AM PDT

  •  age and conservatism (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poco, Armando, kj in missouri, a2nite, Shawn87, Val

    Naturally it seems as we age, gain experience, and a vested interest in the society that surrounds us if we have been successful by social standards, we become more conservative. Alas, who wants to lose what one has gained through struggle and experience. Alas, as well, some pundits like Chait lose their way. In an acceptance of his own position in society, Chait has like many before him, forgotten how he got there. Probably the most explicit example of this is the silent one on the Supreme Court, but it happens in some respect to all of us as we age. We forget how we got to where we are to some extent. Racism in America created Jon Chait as he exists today whether he acknowledges it or not. As Ta-Nehisi Coates reminds us all, racism is real, has affected who we are, and should not be dismissed, as much as we would like to believe we are post-racial, because we really aren't. And that probably is what bothers Chait most of all.

  •  Hippy Punching is a terrible thing (0+ / 0-)

    Good thing DK is a refuge from such detestable behavior!


  •  Till guys like Chait work on their own racist (7+ / 0-)

    upbringing, whether subtle or gross, we'll get stuff like this.

    What I mean by "work on their racist upbringing" is spend time exploring their own childhood exposure to racism. These attitudes are laid in early on, and denying they are there perpetuates this whole mess. Even so-called "sophisticated" people are not beyond racism.

    If you're white, what are your first memories of black people around you? What did white people, your family, say about them? About any group? Jews? Gays? Women? What's the imprinting?

    Awareness is key. Bring this shit to awareness.

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:32:22 AM PDT

    •  You might find (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Denise Oliver Velez, poco, Wildthumb

      this interesting.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:58:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My very first memory of Blacks around me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      came when my parents deliberately moved into a blockbusted neighborhood with excellent schools so that my brother and I could both get a good education and learn about the realities. Weequahic High School in Newark NJ was for a time the highest-ranked school in the country in terms of Ph. D.s per capita. When I got there it was half Black, in no sense integrated, and clearly on the decline. I had lots of Black friends in the neighborhood, and lots of Black classmates, but the school was almost totally segregated mentally. Blacks in my classes never spoke unless spoken to, while White students volunteered answers all the time. I knew of one Black student in an AP class.

      The school's descent into gang warfare and eventual reclamation is told in the documentary Heart of Stone, centered on Principal Ron Stone.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 03:19:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The GOP would be nothing but for (12+ / 0-)

    the support of white males in the former Confederacy. The South continues to be a drag upon the nation both culturally and economically and it all comes from their culture and history. There is a good reason why the Southern Democratic Majority flipped to Nixon and the GOP and it wasn't Vietnam, Medicare or Reagan. They reacted to the destruction of Jim Crow and the assault on their values, culture and laws by the federal government. We are still being held hostage by this culture. To say that racism is not part of that culture is to ignore reality. At the core of every conservative idea is a desire for the federal government to stay out of an individual's life. This same mentality supports federalism as the key to insuring those rights. But whose rights have been trampled by federalism over the years prior to 1965? You know the answer.

    Do facts matter anymore?

    by Sinan on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:33:47 AM PDT

    •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)

      The racism and white privilege are all over, but there is no mistaking where HQ for it exists.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 10:04:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Living in the South (7+ / 0-)

      But not from the South, I am struck by your reference of the South being a drag on the nation because wow does it  feel like that living down here.  It feels like Alabama goes everywhere kicking and screaming except a college football game.

      I have been fortunate to find a "hippy friend" here, and we had dinner a few days ago but with two individuals who were conservative.  We are all supposed to be friends but my fellow liberal friend said almost nothing at dinner.  I sense she is exhausted, and tired of being ostracized for her views, but she can't change her heart and mind out either.  It was a depressing get to together after a certain point.

      It was sort of spiritually confining living here before Obama became President, but it is insane now and at the end of the day the real fuel for the insanity is that he is a black man and we all may have to take an order from a black person.  I don't care what anyone tries to sell me about the lack of racism, the insanity is all about having a black President.  And that makes living down here depressing as hell sometimes.

  •  Gasbags like Chait either don't get (21+ / 0-)

    or don't want to get the barely beneath the surface racism that is in MUCH of the GOP agenda.  

    Setting aside the whole Born in Kenya and fake birth certificate bullshit which has NEVER been an issue for ANY other president or presidential nominee let's look at some other issues and cases.

    -Some of the most vehement opposition to Obama nominees has been of qualified individuals of African American decent such as Van Jones and others.
    -Their treatment of Eric Holder has been downright atrocious with Louie Gohmert even telling Holder to stop casting aspersions on his asparagus.
    -Shirley Sherrod
    -The repeated use of Marxist to define Obama.  That's thinly veiled code for Redistributionist which is also thinly veiled code for Black ma gonna take white man tax dollars to give to lazy black men.
    -Voting ID laws restricting voting in various states and efforts to make obtaining ID's harder (WI) or efforts to reduce early voting hours (OH).  

    Then there are the various references to BLA people by Santorum or Inner City people by Paul Ryan which is all not so cleverly veiled words for Black people.  Ryan even took it a step further by defining those 'inner city people' as being lazy while the 'rural' (White) people were not.  

    I mean for fucks sake, we can spend HOURS and DAYS cataloging all the racist bullshit that the GOP has done and that's just against African Americans and Obama.  We're not even scratching the surface when it comes to Hispanics or Jews or Muslims.  If Chait cannot see this then he's fucking stupid.  However I suspect that more than being THAT fucking stupid Chait is sympathetic to with some of that racism or at the very least has no problem with it.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:34:14 AM PDT

  •  As the Republican party got narrower over time... (10+ / 0-)

    ...many people who would have been Republicans in earlier times have become Democrats out of exasperation, but that doesn't mean they hold Democratic views.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:35:12 AM PDT

  •  Chait's article deserves reading & debate (0+ / 0-)

    I just read Chait's piece and it shouldn't be totally dismissed. He agrees that much of the opposition to Obama is racist but he also says that does not mean that conservative positions are in and of themselves racist. And he does make the point that MSNBC talking heads tend to equate all opposition to Obama policies as racist. And although Chait doesn't mention it, it seems clear that MSNBC hosts continually inflate fringe examples of racism into big stories. (I mean, what does it really matter what Louis Gohmert thinks?)

    One issue that Chait doesn't analyze in enough depth in my opinion is the extent to which Obama gets away with very conservative policies in the midst of the current race frenzy. I am thinking of: massive increase in deportations by ICE and INS since 2009, the increased prosecutions of whistleblowers, the ramped up NSA surveillance, the expansion of drone warfare, the trashing of single payer health care and many other issues that would bring down the wrath of all self-respecting progressives in the Bush era.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:43:02 AM PDT

    •  I disagree (5+ / 0-)

      at least as I understand your argument.

      It doesn't deserve respect. You;d be surprised how your second graf would lead you to be hippie punched by Chait.

      •  Need to defend Obama obscures issues (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My point is that the need to continually defend Obama and Holder from blatantly racist attacks obscures the reality that the administration's domestic policies tend to be quite conservative. Holder oversees INS and ICE which has used deportations with devastating effect on the Latino community but instead of attacking Holder and Obama for this stance, too many progressives end up tangled in the crazy fantasies of Fast and Furious and the like.

        And the irrational Benghzai assaults on Obama create a distraction from debating such major issues as the US policy toward Russia which is not only not debated but receives near unanimous bipartisan support.

        If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

        by Valatius on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:59:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah (4+ / 0-)

          I'm positive that's not Chait's perspective. AT ALL.

          You need a new champion.

        •  Not seeing it. (5+ / 0-)

          I hear (and voice) plenty of criticism of Obama's policies, not all of it here at DK, admittedly, since the endless rox-sux fights lead nowhere and wear me out.

          However, despite any shortcomings i may find in his governance, the level of racist insanity that Obama's presidency has unleashed has been a real education for this white lady. And it's not like I ever thought we were a "post-racial" society to begin with. I spent most of the 2008 campaign worrying that he'd be assassinated before Election Day.

          Both of these things (criticism of Obama's policies and recognition of unremitting racism that he faces) can exist at the same time.

          "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

          by sidnora on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 02:57:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The Dems are the same as the Repubs door is to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          your right. Perhaps open it wide to your ecstatic happiness and end up in the unicorn promised land of Dystopia. Funny how 'centrist' RW Village blowhards like Chait end up in the same baggage retrieval area as the shrill extreme left and the extreme RW.

    •  Danger?!...What danger? (9+ / 0-)

      I don't watch all MSNBC hosts, so I can't say what all of them do.  I know that from the hosts that I do watch - Chris Hayes, MHP, Rachel Maddow, they are more than fair and respectful of people who have opposing viewpoints (although, I acknowledge that MHP does go a bit overboard in her support of the Obama Administration, but at least she is upfront about it).

      I counter that I don't think that Reps like Louis Gohmert are as fringe as you posit.  As ignorant as I believe that Gohmert is (and I think that he is quite a clown), there is a constituency that elected that clown (and folks like him) into office.  It is the constituency that elects nutjobs like Gohmert (and Cruz and Issa and McConnell and Bachman and Cantor and West and Ryan and Rick Scott and Nikki Haley and Scott Walker and so) that are dangerous.  The public at large should have some awareness of the dangerous people that are being elected to public office (by their follow citizens) and the disastrous effects that this has for public policy.

    •  I can't agree (6+ / 0-)

      I think the problem is that not enough whites in the US are acquainted with the long history of US racism.  Chait's piece doesn't deserve much coverage because he is writing mostly out of ignorance.

      If you read the exchange Coates had with him I think Coates clarifies this really well.  I particularly think that the Baldwin quote Coates ends with pretty well says it all:

      The record is there for all to read. It resounds all over the world. It might as well be written in the sky. One wishes that–Americans—white Americans—would read, for their own sakes, this record and stop defending themselves against it. Only then will they be enabled to change their lives. The fact that they have not yet been able to do this—to face their history to change their lives—hideously menaces this country. Indeed, it menaces the entire world.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 10:27:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the problem (7+ / 0-)
      I just read Chait's piece and it shouldn't be totally dismissed. He agrees that much of the opposition to Obama is racist but he also says that does not mean that conservative positions are in and of themselves racist.
      This would be fine if this were merely an abstract policy discussion in a classroom but it isn't. It's politics. In politics there is no such thing as a policy or position divorced from its objective material outcomes.

      If a particular policy or position impacts negatively on Blacks, Latinos or other people of color, while leaving White folks untouched or even benefiting them, it is racist in fact even if pristine in theory.

      This is a reality that must be driven home if we are ever to purge the poisons of racism and white supremacy from the body politic.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:42:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please, any guy that wants to discuss race in (6+ / 0-)

      today's society and can't admit that the whole "Birther" thing was and is the GOP's way of calling President Obama the n-word each week (and that's just one example of what goes on since the President was elected), then the guys opinion isn't to be held with any regard.  Let him first acknowledge the facts on the ground before the starts spewing academic ivory-tower bullshit.

      Good heavens, the GOP in 30+ states is actively pushing laws to make it harder for blacks to vote, the GOP SCOTUS even gutted the Voting Rights Act just last year, and the GOP state legislatures couldn't wait to use that as an excuse to further their campaign to disenfranchise blacks, and this guy wants us to  think all of that is just in our imaginations?

  •  The New Republican (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Armando, poco

    has been showing it's neocon colors on the Ukraine crises lately.  Does anyone still view that rag as a "liberal" magazine?  

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 09:47:43 AM PDT

  •  Is there a new, useless meme emerging (8+ / 0-)

    among designated "liberal" spokespersons?  I've noticed several recent articles by liberal commentators about how racist appeals by the GOP actually reflect movement beyond racism because the GOP actually is using race as a synecdoche for a perceived larger failure of the social welfare state.  I think this stupid and harmful piece of punditry needs to be addressed in detail wherever it appears.

  •  Chait wants Kumbayah Liberalism... (5+ / 0-)

    ... where everybody holds hands, sings songs, blows soap bubbles, and never says anything unpleasant to anybody.

    Fuck that shit. The idea of the game is to WIN.

    The GOPbagger fascist/oligarch conspiracy fucks over hundreds of millions of Americans economically and socially. It must be defeated BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

    Which means it must be ATTACKED on any and all grounds -- including those, no, PARTICULARLY those -- which its adherents find objectionable and distressing.
    The more distressing, the better.

    You want a singalong of "Give Peace A Chance," you're knocking on the wrong goddamn door.

    The right-wing corporatist media machine and its pig-like standardbearers have never shown even the most minuscule concern about "fairness" or being personally hurtful or insulting to progressives; this martyr complex and compulsive apologia espoused by many liberals (like Chait here) is simply nothing more than preemptive capitulation.

    I am a middle-aged, mid-50s, formerly middle-class white male (until essentially my entire economic existence and future were destroyed by vampire-capitalist GOP policies. I am now for all practical purposes condemned to die diseased and destitute). Virtually everything the GOPbags espouse will cause me economic damage, ranging from minor and annoying to virtually life-devastating.

    If they succeed in destroying Obamacare, it is an utter certainty I will die many years early and probably financially ruined.

    As a reasonably open-minded individual who came of age in the 1960s and 70s, I would like to think I have a basic societal empathy for the victims of racial discrimination.

    Yes, I would like to think I am deeply and profoundly concerned that GOPbagger social and economic-darwinism policies have a disproportionate impact on African-Americans and other persons of color.

    I would like to think I am concerned about the utterly implacable, unrelenting, and absolutely UNPRECEDENTED degee of GOPbag obstructionism, opposition, personal demonization, depersonalization, constant resort to the most ridiculous versions of racial stereotyping, directed at Barack Hussein Obama because deep down inside it fundamentally offends my sense of American dignity and human rights.

    But you know what? I REALLY DON'T CARE. I really don't CARE that racist redneck baggers and GOP Kochslurpers are attacking Obama because he is black (although by sheer coincidence, they are), because they are pushing and propelling and ass-ramming policies into law all across the nation which are going to FUCK **ME.*

     That's right, big fat white middle-class ME.


    THEY MUST BE DEFEATED. If they are feel unfairly victimized by charges of racism and take deep offense at the accusations, TOO GOD DAMN BAD.

    If they feel charges of racism are unfairly damaging and derogatory to their character, TOO GOD DAMN BAD.

    I hope I have explained this matter in terms that the fucking imbecile teabags, with their room-temp  IQs, can absorb on an intellectual basis. Although that's probably a stretch.

    I KNOW I have explained it in terms they can grasp on an EMOTIONAL basis. I want the goddamn GOPbaggers defeated, destroyed and demolished, because on the bottom line, it is good economically for *ME.**

    If hurling charges of racism are useful to that end, I'M ALL FOR IT.

    Got that boys? Got it, Jon?

  •  Chait is in denial on the role of race, BUT (0+ / 0-)

    I'm as worried as he is about the rise of a radical left that is more interested in attacking perceived racism or sexism or homophobia, both real and imagined, than it is in building a progressive, tolerant, multicultural America.

    I understand that the response to this statement will be that those two things are not mutually exclusive and that's true. To a point, they're even complimentary.

    But when attacking racism and sexism and homophobia turns in on members of the progressive movement itself, I think it indicates that things have gone off the rails.

    I agree with Chait that this sort of thing is what has destroyed the progressive movement in the past.

    Political correctness is an evil unto itself. Trying to destroy individual people's lives because of something they said  or even something they believe is just plain wrong and ultimately counter productive. I certainly understand the fear and anger that leads people to embrace this sort of thing, but it is nonetheless wrong.

    •  You are? (9+ / 0-)

      Where is this "radical left that is more interested" in the things you said?

      I submit that you too have created a straw "racial liberal" hippie.

    •  Sure, but: (8+ / 0-)

      We have to be intolerant of intolerance. We have a society where there is freedom of speech, but even Mill would not agree that freedom of speech means freedom from consequences. Nobody is arguing that a rank and file employee should be targeted, but Eich was in a position where he was in a conflict of interest. His prejudice against gays conflicted with Mozilla's stated mission to be inclusive. When that sort of thing becomes an issue, then that means that he could not lead the company because of basic philosophical differences.

      And when you say:

      Political correctness is an evil unto itself.
      You're buying into a right-wing frame. It's a tool used by the right to discredit any concerns about racism and prejudice.

      "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

      by Eternal Hope on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 10:19:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wish I had time for a longer and more thoughtful (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        post on my thinking here. I am not reflexively buying into a right wing frame. Political correctness does the following in my view:

        1. Shuts down conversations that need to be had.
        2. Ends up destroying friend as well as foe, as well as just hapless bystanders like the sports caster who was fired for using the phrase "chink in the armor" when talking about an Asian basketball player.
        3. Provides no room for anyone to be wrong and to grow -- a lot of people who are liberal on gay rights, women's rights or racism didn't start out that way. They evolved just like Obama on gay rights, but if you destroying people over stuff like this that will stop.
        4. Drives unwanted ideas underground where they fester unchallenged. Their lack of public appearance then leads people to think that these issues are settled and no longer a problem. But they are because no minds have been changed. People have just learned to be careful who they express their beliefs to.

    •  Idiots kvetching about 'political correctness' (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Shawn87, a2nite

      ... fail to effectively or even credibly dispute the premise that the vast majority of its operative presumptions* are, in fact, "Correct."
      So people who say things which effectively are "politically incorrect," NEED to be attacked and their lives, if not destroyed (usually it's just too much trouble), seriously fucked up.

      It's not wrong -- it's great. Embrace it, enjoy it.

      *-1. Racism is bad.
      *-2. Sexism is bad.
      *-3. Homophobia is bad.
      *-4. Economic victimization is bad.
      *-5. Unchecked pollution and reckless depletion of natural resources in the pursuit of profit are bad.
      *-6. Denial of basic science is bad.

      •  Thanks for providing the answer to Armando (0+ / 0-)

        about where the radicals are who are more interested in the things I was talking about.

        It is a hallmark of radicalism of whatever stripe that it is far more interested in tearing things and people down than it is in building anything or anyone up.

        •  Radicals get shit done. In the 1950s-70s... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite, TiaRachel

          ... advancements in civil rights, environmental protection, women's rights, getting rid of Nixon and getting the hell out of Vietnam, did not happen because people held hands and sang around a campfire.

          Those things happened because The Powers That Be looked out the windows, saw hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets, and they realized unless SOMETHING was done to address these problems those hundreds of thousands would very shortly be storming the White House and Capitol Hill.

          When you want something, there is no better way to get it than to make TPTB scared of what will happen if they don't give it to you.

          Too many kumbayah libs have forgotten this (or weren't around to see it first hand).

          •  Bull. The threat of violence is NOT what led (0+ / 0-)

            to change in the 50s through the 70s.

            Real power is about building coalitions of people toward a common cause or purpose and that's what happened, which then led the politicians to respond to the will of the people and change laws -- that is until the movement lost support because of increasing radicalism.

            Those kumbayah libs are exactly the people who effected change in those decades and it was the radicals who undermined it all.

            •  Actually, for the time period you are both (0+ / 0-)

              analyzing, I would say neither of you are wholly correct. Radicals in the 1950s would have to include people like MLK, after all, because he was out in the world leading marches, going to jail for what he believed, and advocating for new attitudes and laws from way outside the power structure. he built coalitions, but not from within the political realm. It was the televised violence against those groups that swayed the rest of the American public and the pols to begin advocating change. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were no "kumbayah libs", in office, at any rate. Liberalism was pretty much caught up in containment and violent international anti-communism and military interventionism. I can't quite picture LBJ singing with anyone, and he was instrumental in passing the most change-minded legislation since the New Deal.
              Violence by outsiders has had a fitful success rate in the US, unlike many other countries. It worked pre-New Deal, but not so much since WWII, as those in office worked to either accommodate (not accepting, but by reaching accords with those who might turn violent) or repress outsider violence.
              Radicals never "undermined" anything; the only undermining of any successes achieved was pursued solely by conservatives and Republicans (two groups rapidly becoming one.) The destruction of the postwar Democratic consensus had nothing to do with radical action per se, but instead a conservative and Republican reaction to legislation enacted as a result of radical action. Unless you want to believe that Nixon's "Law and Order" campaign rhetoric wasn't part of the "Southern Strategy", and I think you would have a tough time proving that. Dems may have been splintering, but they were whacked from the outside long before they had a chance to develop the kind of factions that can't work together at all. Yes, Chicago 1968 was ugly, but losing in November had less to do with Yippies not turning out for HHH than with southern soon-to-be Republicans voting for Nixon.

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 09:27:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Chait doesn't help. Even if you agree with one of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      his points, for sure Chait doesn't really want to help solve problems. He wants to cause problems and wedge issues to divide us. It won't work, he won't succeed, so please don't worry. There may be some 'political correctness' going on, but it is generally too silly to be concerning in the larger scheme of things. Chait is a buffoon and his support of Lie-berman tells you/us all what he's about. He's not a progressive by any means and his faux centrism isn't the answer to any concern about division within the left. I think our unity is far greater than any divisions ultimately, and while there may be some 'political correctness' to be concerned about for some, I really don't think it's enough of a factor to worry about. I'd concentrate on GOTV 2014, that's more important, we get out our Dem voters out in good enough numbers, the GOPand the GOP Lieberloving Chait will go down to defeat, and we'll keep the Senate and do well in the House, and advance issues of import for 2016, and you won't even remember the political correctness you were previously worried about because it will prove to be more insignificant than you thought, trust me on that call.

  •  Good one Armando (8+ / 0-)

    I couldn't even get through Chait's articles in the exchange with Coates.  So many faulty assumptions and lazy defensive mechanisms for propping up his ramble.

    Outside of that, this remark by Chait really rang my bell:

    If conservatism is inextricably entangled with racism, and racism must be extinguished, then the scope for legitimate opposition to Obama shrinks to an uncomfortably small space.
    Chait appears to toss that off, dismissing as unthinkable that there is very little legitimate opposition from the right.  His chief bit of self-delusion is that he doesn't examine that further.

    I think Mann and Ornstein made a convincing case that the problem is the Republicans.  Their book is worth buying but here is NPR:

    Congress is more dysfunctional than it has been since the Civil War, and they aren't hesitating to point a finger at who they think is to blame.

    "One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition," they write in their new book, It's Even Worse Than It Looks.

    Last year, Ornstein wrote a piece for Foreign Policy magazine about the 112th Congress titled "Worst. Congress. Ever." He says a lot of people wrote to him and said, "Oh, come on, what about the period right before the Civil War?"

    "And I said, 'I'll grant you that. Do you really want to be compared to the period right before the Civil War?' You know, maybe we are better than we were in the period leading up to the Civil War, but that left us with a virtual fracture in our society. We don't want to see that happen," Ornstein says.

    Or their editorial in WaPo:

    Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 10:20:15 AM PDT

  •  I couldn't believe his poutrage (6+ / 0-)

    on Melissa Harris Perry's show this morning.  She did kind of set him up and he was ever so obliging to prove her point. Brava!

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 10:23:41 AM PDT

  •  Good demolition of Chait (11+ / 0-)

    Interestingly though, I have often thought that there are aspects of "Conservatism" that are just fundamentally racist, or "objectively racist" as Chait writes, and not necessarily out of a conscious racist motive.

    For example, Conservatism has a fundamental premise that basically everyone out there gets what they deserve economically. The rich are rich because they're smarter or work harder. And the poor are poor because they're lazy or inferior in some way. If you have way more than you need, it's because you earned it and deserve it. And if you don't have what you need, it's because you haven't earned it, and don't deserve it.

    When you combine this basic premise with the fact that certain races in this country consistently wind up richer or poorer than others, it's impossible to avoid the racist implications. How do you accept the above premise and explain the disparity in white and black wealth without concluding that blacks are somehow just inferior as a group, which is the fundamental premise of racism? It seems like the Conservative premise leaves no other possible answer.

    The only times I've ever tried to get some of my conservative friends to explain why i'm wrong there's no coherent answer. I get answers like that it's a problem with "culture". But this answer reverts back to the same issue. Why are certain races so susceptible to this supposed "bad culture" while other races seem able to avoid it? Or then you get the loony-tune answer that "liberals" have made certain races poor by giving them welfare. You then again run into the same problem, how come certain races are so easily duped by the machinations of white liberals, while other races apparently have the ability to see through it. At some point in all these answers you have to come back to the same implication that certain races are fundamentally inferior.

  •  if twasn't 4 hippies,wouldn b much counter/culture (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kj in missouri, poco

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 10:24:19 AM PDT

  •  False equivalency is the first sign (13+ / 0-)

    of a journalist's degenerating mind.

    Right-wing racial antipathy?

    "I'm shocked — SHOCKED! — that there's gambling going on in this casino!"

    ... and the dullard conveniently forgets that those "fanatics who tore the party apart in the late 1960s and early 1970s" and thought "in simple slogans" forced an end to our obscene misadventure in Viet Nam.

    I was one of those 'fanatics'.

  •  Chait is white. The color of the Big Boss Man. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, GustavMahler

    He is excusing racist behavior by white supremacists.  The Republican Party is a white supremacist party whose only appeal to working people that gladly vote against their own best interests is racism.  Not every Republican is a racist.  But every racist is a Republican.  And they despise disinfecting sunlight shined upon their rancid philosophy.

  •  Rather than another 30-inch post, here's Chait's (10+ / 0-)

    ... position in an nutshell:

    "Are the Republicans racist with their unrelenting and unconditional oppposition and obstruction of Obama? Yeah, but there's no reason to get nasty about it. So shut it."

  •  Concentrating on the "race' issue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lcbo, Armando

    as the article does belittles Obama's attempt to bring as much intelligence and balance to the nation's issues as the political climate will tolerate. issues like nuclear disarmament, which have more to do to the continued existence of the human race on this planet, than with race issues in the US, have been consistently articulated by president Obama, and the policy approach is there for anyone to see who cares to look it up. Health care reform will benefit almost everyone, and the fact that some are left on the wayside is clearly not what the president intended. Whether you agree with it or not, Obama has made clear his wishes for gun control measures, in the wake of the shooting at the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut. On defense issues, he has tried to rein in some of the excesses of the Pentagon budget, and resisted at least some attempts by the chronic hawks to initiate fights around the globe, while trying to be prepared for some of the real threats, including terrorism. IMO, to focus solely on the race issue is a form of ignoring some of the real achievements of the Obama Administration--especially the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA)--one law that had been 100 years in the making. IMO, Obama's Administration has achieved far less than voters have hoped for, but mainly because the Republican Opposition in Congress has fought needed reforms tooth and nail. If people really want more progressive change, then electing more progressive Democrats to Congress will do more to further that cause than any sideline criticism from an article with a cataract-clogged myopia about presidential leadership.

  •  I am always suspicious of people who (8+ / 0-)

    think it is their duty to explain away (whitesplain) proven racists and their motivation.  
    Something akin to, "Don't believe your lyin' eyes...believe me and my interpretation of what you just saw."
    No thanks, Chait.
    Btw, he appeared on Melissa Harris-Perry's show this morning, and didn't fare too well.

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 10:51:40 AM PDT

  •  The sad fact about the Republicans is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poco, a2nite, Eric Nelson, Shawn87

    that many of them are racists. Not all of them,  but they are constantly revealing themselves. Paul Ryan did with the "inner city" stuff, Newt did with his "Kenyan anti-colonialist" BS, and it goes on and on.

    BUT, they also dislike women and the poor and labor and the ill and immigrants and non-Christians and the elderly

    They have a constituency, they know what it is and that's who they try to "appeal" to. They also know that their appeal is limited and growing more so by the day, so they have to rely on not on their message, such as it is, but on tactics like voter suppression, and covert takeovers of the statehouses. We need to fight their tactics, because their message is a losing one and they know it.

    We have to pay a LOT more attention to the stuff that is getting through legislatively on the QT in the states.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 11:00:48 AM PDT

  •  How many (7+ / 0-)

    former presidents has been subjected to show their birth certificates. Asked to show college transcript. They want us to believe is not based on racism. His policies they claim. You ask which ones?, they ramble on and on because they know it is not nice to say we just don't want a black man in the white house.  

  •  Dog Whistle Politics is louder than Chait's rant (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GustavMahler, lcbo, a2nite, poco, Armando, Val

    Political campaigns are about creating contrasts that, among other things, not only favorable compare you vs your never-to-be-trusted-opponent.  They are also about building a strong base of support that will stick with you through any crisis no matter how serious.

    So, when candidates email or post risque photos of themselves it's nice to know they have a base that simply won't care no matter how big a pervert they  might be.  

    Obama created a unique challenge.  From 2007 through 2008 he had a unique appeal.  He was the first black presidential candidate that did not scare many of the moderate (there were some back then) Republicans as well as Independents.  He was not thought of in the same context as a Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.  As unfair as that comparison might be, Obama was considered more thoughtful, smarter and better educated and, notwithstanding his community organizer credentials, not a rabble-rouser.

    Once elected in '08 the GOP embarked on a pretty clear strategy.  The two elements were to simply block any and all Obama initiatives regardless of merit, and to target their almost exclusive older, white base with non-stop B.S. ranging from born-again "birther" claims, to he's a secret Muslim, to he's a socialist commie determined to destroy American freedoms and liberty.

    I am not saying every element of this program can be traced to the GOP.  But, from the Tea Party, through all the other Koch Brother front groups, one thread is common: they all vote Republican and want to destroy every Democratic candidate they can find.  One way to achieve that goal during the "Obama years" has been to demonize the President like no other in history.   I don't always agree with Obama, but I certainly voted for him twice.

    Chait's effort to produce some kind of intellectual analysis of the racial divide is pure hogwash.  It's about demonizing Obama.  The effort to attack Obamacare (I hate that label) is intended to work now and in the post Obama era by firming up dislike of Democrats by branding them as the party that transfers wealth from hard-working whites to lazy non-whites.  You can easily find a current right-wing "slant" on Obamacare as being not healthcare reform, but a wealth transfer from those who worked hard and bought health insurance their entire lives but rather a welfare plan to give largely non-white groups free healthcare.

    It's a racist appeal.  Don't be afraid to call it what it is.

    •  It began on 1.21.09 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... when the old white men of the GOP saw the crowd at the Obama inaugural.

      The birth of the teabag movement can be dated specifically to that day.

      •  Even earlier (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Watch some of the Youtube videos of interviews with folks at the McCain-Palin rallies in 2008. The overwhelming theme was "Obama, the black man, will get in there and take stuff away from white people and give it to black people." And pretty much in so many words.

        There was, of course, NOTHING Obama had said or proposed that even remotely fed this irrational racist paranoia. It was there well before he had articulated much in the way of policy. But for those on the right, this is a perpetual theme: us vs. them; anything that benefits "them" hurts "us." Atwater was right and Chait is hopelessly clueless and naive to pooh-pooh yoking tax issues to racism.

  •  Chait gives himself away with ... (9+ / 0-)

    his idiotic claim that race has saturated politics as never before in the Obama years. Armando refutes this obvious hyperbole, but let's think about what it takes to write something like that.

    You have to be completely clueless, and your cluelessness has to come from being unable to see through the blindfold of your white privilege. Perhaps it seems to Chait that race permeates our lives as never before, but that's because he's had the option of ignoring it.

    Race has been permeating the lives of nonwhite Americans since European settlers first arrived on these shores. It's been used against them in every facet of life.

    Chait has awakened to the issue of race all of a sudden because conservatives are complaining about being called racists. He was blissfully ignorant of how pervasive the issue of race was until a bunch of privileged white people started talking about it. He doesn't even recognize that it's his white privilege that's allowed him to ignore the destructive influence of race on our politics until now.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 11:54:51 AM PDT

  •  Here's Chait in a discussion with (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, a2nite, poco, Armando

    Melissa Harris-Perry. He seems to feel he's a victim:

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:29:07 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, Armando. Your post makes me (6+ / 0-)

    wonder what history's final judgement will be on my generation. As one who marched in the 60s, I did it for equality; the equality of the races and of the sexes. I also marched against an unjust war that drafted boys who were not even allowed to vote.

    I admit, I didn't do it for freedom or liberty as we've always had some measure of those. Perhaps if we had argued against a progressive tax structure instead of the right to vote Chait would not have found us to be such a problem.

  •  I like this Joan Walsh quote, which I think (9+ / 0-)

    encapsulates modern conservatism:

    “O’Reilly and Ailes and their viewers see this president as unqualified and ungrateful, an affirmative-action baby who won’t thank us for all we’ve done for him and his cohort. The question was, of course, deeply condescending and borderline racist.”
    (emphasis added)

    Self-congratulation and resentment; modern conservatism in a nutshell.

    Check out any comment thread on any conservative website, or even a lot of non-conservative website. In any exchange between a conservative and liberal commenter, expect the conservative at some point to in some fashion demand of the liberal, "Thank me for paying for your free stuff!"

  •  What does Chait want? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Armando, poco

    "Race has saturated everything as perhaps never before."

    Even setting aside what you've [Armando] made clear, that by comparison to the past, the statement is absurd.

    And  why not "saturate" the conversation? We need it. All of it today

    And btw Chait's use of the word "everything" is sort of a tell right there.

    And setting aside as Joan Walsh correctly put it.  

    So Chait tweaks them by accusing MSNBC of stopping and frisking conservatives “ideologically” – as in metaphorically and without consequence, which technically means not stopping and frisking them at all.
    ..and as emptywheel pointed out in October of 2012:
    Jonathan Chait Is Wrong about Debate Formats Where emptywheel clearly points to another example of Chait's aversion to Dems being some how wrong to point out fallacies coming from the right:
    Chait argues, first of all, that Joe Biden will try to refute Paul Ryan’s budget kabuki, which will end up making the Vice President look like an angry old man.
    But you can’t expose your opponent’s misleading budget numbers to win a presidential debate any more than you can expose your opponent’s misleading budget numbers to win a swimsuit competition..
    ..It comes across as if Chait is more concerned with form than of substance, but even that doesn't seem to cut it.

    So what does he want? Hippie punching is usually the return to form of republicnas like Mark McKinnon 'no-labels' type.

     Maybe that is Chaits' underlying belief - conservatism or at least republican 'lite' - and that is what he actually wants. To include the republican agenda as one of two equally valid positions (?)

    Because as posted, this, by Chait indeed is a strawman..

    ..liberal tendency to define conservatism as a form of covert racial discrimination
    ..and by accusing Dems or DFH's as seeing these as inextricable is BS, and a way for Chait to protect conservatism from liberal condemnation - it seems to me

    Liberal Dems fight conservatism for it's wrongs to society as well as it's proponents who are also wrong on racial issues and discrimination of minorities, women, LGBT, and yes AA's

    Thx Armando -  concise & nailed it

    With an un-concise P.S. on a tangent: I've noticed a similar ideological clash within the log cabin republicans

  •  Thank you for the hippy punching metaphor (5+ / 0-)

    What I think is funny, is that the same media heads that are still after liberals for their so called crazy activist base, refuse to take the GOP to task for not "Tea Party punching".

    Yes in the 70's we did have groups that pushed issues above electablility to the detriment of both, but for the most part that problem lies almost completely on the right today.  

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)! Follow on Twitter @dopper0189

    by dopper0189 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:36:42 PM PDT

  •  What Chait allows to happen (6+ / 0-)

    Over at TMP, there is a clip on the discussion on Fox.

    The two important quotes are the following:

    Britt Hume:

    "To those two men [Obama and Holder], race has been both a shield and a sword that they have used effectively to defend themselves, and to attack others," Hume said.
    George Will:
    "Look, liberalism has a kind of Tourette’s syndrome these days. Just constantly saying the word 'racism' and 'racist,'" . . . "There's a kind of intellectual poverty now. Liberalism hasn’t had a new idea since the 1960s — except Obamacare — and the country doesn’t like it. Foreign policy is a shambles, from Russia to Iran to Syria to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And the recovery is unprecedentedly bad."
    You have to admire Will's amnesia to utter that.

    Obviously, Hume and Will are right.  Even the liberal Chair says so.

    [Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

    by MoDem on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:51:52 PM PDT

  •  the fanatics who tore the Dem party apart Chait (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, poco, a2nite, sidnora, Val

    refers to . .  .

    LBJ did that, with the legislators who supported him.  And he knew it.  He said, we're losing the South for a generation.  I guess Fanny Lou Hamer gets some of the 'blame' too but she was a free champion of human rights and only incidentally a Democrat.  LBJ knew time was up on the coalition of Tea Partiers then known as Dixiecrats with the part of the Democratic Party that was not based on racism.  I figure Chaitt things the Dems big mistake was alienating Strom Thurmond.

  •  advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, poco, Val, a2nite

    "advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense racist"

    Really?  Not even when the political point is to appeal to racial resentment and the desire to avoid paying taxes that might go to support "The Other"?

    People have less of a problem paying taxes to support those they identify with, but Republicans divide Americans and play the racial resentment card whenever they can.

    Race is the irrational emotional motivator in Republican politics.  The rationalizations used to mask Republican Racism are not as emotional or as motivating.  

    Rationalizations suggest that they could be reasoned with, but reason fails when racism is the emotional motivator.  Republican politicians spout nonsense because they must bow down to the racism of the Republican base.

    In America, Race is still more powerful than Reason.  There have been no chance of reasoning with Republicans during the Obama Administration.

  •  So the Jonathan Chait is still writing? Who knew? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, a2nite

    Next thing you'll be telling me that The New Republic is still in business.

  •  Honest question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden are elected President in 2016, do you think the Republicans will suddenly become respectful and willing to compromise?

    Their unhinged opposition to Obama isn't JUST racism.

    When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

    by PhillyJeff on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 02:59:00 PM PDT

    •  Honest question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      To whom do you think you need to direct that question?

      This is a straw question.

    •  I guarantee if it's Biden .... yes. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... If the POTUS is an old white-haired white man (i.e. Biden), INSTANTLY the Obama Derangement Syndrome -- the concept that you cannot possibly allow yourself to be recorded in public touching the skin of the man, breathing the same air, or even speaking without directing the uppity N**** to shine  your shoes -- goes away.

      If it's HRC, they will crank up their misogyny to 10,000% to compensate for whatever they may be losing in sheer unvarnished racism.

      •  Bill Clinton was called a murderer (0+ / 0-)

        who personally killed or ordered the death of Vince Foster. He was also a Manchurian Candidate Chinese plant.

        There's a huge element of racism in the Republican Party. It's really bad, and a lot of their hatred towards Obama and Holder in particular is driven by race.

        I don't even read Chait, nor do I particularly care about him. I'm biracial so I really don't care if you want to say I'm racist. I'm almost certain I've heard more racist things from white people than many of you have since a lot of them don't know my background.

        If you think electing a white male in 2016 is suddenly going to usher in 4 years of peace and love and compromise on the Republican side you're deluding yourselves.

        When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

        by PhillyJeff on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 05:16:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  of course not but they would oppose his POLICY (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... not just an endless shrieking screech about the dirty mooslim neegro in the White House.

          It won't usher in peace love or any of that crap, but the baggers will no longer be under immediate threat of expulsion if they touch the skin of the POTUS.

    •  So it's Mammonism, bigotry, misogyny, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and Dominionism, or to put it another way the War on Everybody Including Each Other. Does that improve matters?

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 03:40:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's been racism against the Democratic Party (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, Val, alrdouglas

      for the past 50 years, since President Johnson and the Democrats passed Civil Rights legislation.  It's against the Democrats for helping black and brown people and for allowing them to vote.   Republican Racism is there when  the Democratic Administration is lead by a white person, but Republican Racism has been even more irrationally enraged by seeing blacks in charge.

    •  I'm curious what people think about that (0+ / 0-)

      I often wonder if people remember the Clinton years on this site. I'm in my early 30's and I assume many of you are older than me, so I assume you would remember. The "scandals" and investigations never stopped.

      There are many other motivating factors for Republicans than pure racism IMO. Fear, misogyny, distrust of authority while simultaneously being authoritarian etc.

      There's a whole corporate wing of the Republican party, many of whom I honestly believe do not consider themselves racist (although they're often oblivious about their own privilege).

      When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

      by PhillyJeff on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 12:50:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hippie punch (0+ / 0-)

    Great term! It exactly captures that tendency some "moderates" have to cravenly turn on liberals, just because.  Just because they're scared, I think, of those bullies on the right.

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