On this American election thing

Racial prejudice, covert or otherwise, also partly explains why a majority of white males will vote against Obama.

Hmm.

Last time around, if I had had the vote of course, I would have voted for Obama. Precisely because I am a racist I would have discriminated purely on the grounds of race. I thought (and still think) that having a black President would do the country good.

Just as I think that in the fullness of time a Latino, female or Asian one will.

This time around I would not vote for Obama. Precisely because I am not a racist. For I think he\’s done terrible damage to the rule of law and I\’ll not vote for any fucker who does that whatever the colour of their skin.

95 thoughts on “On this American election thing”

  1. Weasel words. It partly explains it.

    Yes, as do the nutjobs who think he is the Anti-Christ or not-an-American, Mormons voting for Mitt just because he’s one, states’ rights monomaniacs, and any one of the innumerable reasons, good as well as bad, for voting for which-ever one of the Rombama twins you think might do a slightly better job.

    Yet, what the language is hinting at is that racism is the majority of the bias effect. Scumbags.

  2. This is the election where judging a man by the content of their character and not by the colour of their skin is the new racism.

  3. Here‘s is a thoughtful article about the significance of Obama’s racial background. It’s plausibly estimated to cost him net about 3% of the national vote. If he loses (unlikely but not impossible) that would more than cover the margin.

    If you’ve got a vote in this election, the only decent thing to do is vote for Obama. Because Romney is explicitly in favour of torturing prisoners, and Obama isn’t.

  4. Some white men not voting for the black guy = evil racists.

    About 95% of black voters voting for the black guy = enlightened thinkers who have carefully studied the issues and come to a calm, rational decision.

    All those white folks who thought electing a black president would put paid to them being accused of being racists were sold a pig in a poke, weren’t they?

  5. ” Romney is explicitly in favour of torturing prisoners, and Obama isn’t.”

    So it is better to vote for the man who lies about torturing people, and assassinating them?

  6. I wonder how long it will be for the remaining ‘minorities’ to be represented?

    First female president – 5-15 years?
    First openly gay president – 25-50 years?
    First openly atheist president – 100 years? Never?

  7. As Steve says above, the accusations of racism are both logically and ethically incompetent.

    A white man votes for white candidate because he is white = racist. (Correct. The very definition of racism. Voter choosing skin colour over any other qualities/opinions/life experience/policies).

    But replace white with black, and the openly avowed and celebrated voting of black people for black candidate is not racist?

  8. America won’t last 100 years more. 5-15 maybe.

    Paul B : So nobody’s been waterboarded or shipped around for worse under Obie’s rule then?.

    Romney for Pres–just to see the Obama-sucking trash blubbering. And that is the only reason because, cliche or not, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

  9. @PaulB: ‘If you’ve got a vote in this election, the only decent thing to do is vote for Obama. Because Romney is explicitly in favour of torturing prisoners, and Obama isn’t.’

    Decent? Voting for a man who has killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children in the tribal regions with drone strikes?

    Perhaps autism, and an inability to empathise, explains why you think it’s decent to vote for a man who is actually killing children, week in, week out, over a man responding to theoretical scenarios.

  10. “Because Romney is explicitly in favour of torturing prisoners, and Obama isn’t.”

    No, he doesn’t bother taking prisoners, just assassinates them with unmanned drones.

    This fact, however, is a bit difficult for Lefties to ingest so they either ignore it or project it onto their opponents.

  11. This is also another example of the Left’s utter inability to understand that people ma oppose them for honourable and well-considered reasons. The Left cannot comprehend this so assume they are evil/racists/etc delete as appropriate.

    It isn’t just cynical politics. I think they really cannot think any other way.

  12. It’s actually a rather simple choice.

    “When someone is not doing the job, we got to let em go”

    Sure, there’s lots of details. But details should never decide an election of this importance.

  13. The unknown Obama looked a better bet than the all-too-well-known McCain. Now the better known Obama looks a worse bet than the reasonably well-known Romney.

  14. “First openly atheist president”

    Jefferson might be considered such by most major religions

    I imagine most were, Women seem more likely to interpret an empty bag of golden wonder flying past as evidence for some higher power but I seriously think blokes just pretend to be religious or leftist to get laid.

  15. I too would have voted for Obama, mainly because I thought McCain was unhinged. Unfortunately, this time around I wouldn’t. That must make me a racist, as my decision has absolutely nothing to do with the disasterous economic decisions, poor foreign policy, and as Tim puts it, a complete lack of respect for the rule of law. -_-

    In reality, if I did have a vote, I would be joining the 5% of American’s who are voting for Gary Johnson. As this time, I think both candidates are unhinged.

  16. A note from a white male in the USA:

    Lots of us don’t consider Barack Obama to be ‘black’ or ‘African-American’, and never have. That’s because he’s not ‘black’ or ‘African-American’. He’s mixed race.

    It annoys many of us white guys that a guy with a white mother, who has lived and continues to live a very white life (Ivy League, etc.), and acts whiter than most white guys (an elitist if ever there was one), can suddenly appropriate the title of Real Live Negro when it becomes convenient to do so.

    And of course, blaming it all on the Evil White Cracker allows dim-witted progressives to luxury of ignoring just how unpopular and ineffectual their agenda has proven to be.

  17. “If you’ve got a vote in this election, the only decent thing to do is vote for Obama. Because Romney is explicitly in favour of torturing prisoners, and Obama isn’t.”

    Moron.

    Barack Obama sits in intel meetings in the White House and shuffles “death cards” to see which terrorist he’s going to off via a drone strike.

    And he spent so much time thumping his chest about killing OBL that he ended up with bruises…

    So by all means, vote for the guy with sense of humanity and ethics.

  18. ….I seriously think blokes just pretend to be religious or leftist to get laid…..

    That doesn’t seem to be the motivation in the middle east, though I share your lack of comprehension.

  19. @ serf: well, if there’s one thing better than pretending to be religious, it’s enforcing a religion that says women have to do what you say. Especially if you happen to find a variant that says you can have lots of wives (and divorce them on a whim).

    I’m bored of the ‘merkin election. As far as I can see it won’t make a blind bit of difference who wins anyway. The US system of checks and balances and competed electoral powers, combined with the extremely narrow range of policies that the american public as a whole will accept, not to mention the huge sums it takes to get elected (and therefore the many people to whom any president owes some allegiance) essentially seems to mean that the only real difference is on whom they declare war.

  20. I’m bored of the ‘merkin election. As far as I can see it won’t make a blind bit of difference who wins anyway.

    Wisest words in the thread so far 🙂

  21. PaulB, not for the first time, has had his arse handed to him, which I like.

    The way the left have started to appropriate the term ‘decent’ as applying to them alone amuses me, too.

    Re torture. Anyone who can honestly say that they would not torture X in an attempt to get X to reveal the whereabouts of his or her children, if those children had, say, an hour to live but could be saved easily if their whereabouts were known, has the right – perhaps – to question, on moral grounds, the use by others of torture. Otherwise, fuck off.

  22. That doesn’t seem to be the motivation in the middle east, though I share your lack of comprehension.

    I thought the whole point of the explodey suicide jihad slay-the-infidel thing was the 72 raisins?

  23. I can’t vote for Obama but I think he’s way cool.

    Who cares about 8% unemployment, the flatlined economy, abandoning Americans to die in Bengahzi, Joe Biden’s buffonery, fast & furious, national debt, USA credit downgrade, trillion dollar annual budget deficits, deliberate sabotage of the coal industry, ACORN, failed foreign policy (Iran with nuclear weapons, bowing to China, stiffing U.K and Israel, etc) abysmal people judgement ( Biden again, plus H. Clinton, T, Geithner; K. Sebelius; E. Holder, etc), stopping the pipeline for Canadian oil, blocking drilling in US land, secret “kill lists”, ObamaCare, attacking religious liberty, you didn’t build that, unseemly chest-pounding over bin Laden (GM is dying but bin Laden is coming back to life), 20 years of Jeremiah Wright, failure of crony capitalism deals with Solyndra -NextEra – Ener1 – Solar Trust etc., over 100 rounds of golf in 1st 3 yrs, choom, the Chevy Volt, insisting the Ft Hood massacre was “workplace violence”, secret college transcripts, “clearly the Boston police acted stupidly”, disregard of the Simpson-Bowles budget recommendations (after commissioning their work), and lots more irrelevant stuff.

    Obama is way cool. Don’t you wish YOU could vote for him?

  24. James: No– you fuck off.

    Your kids are going to die in an hour?. It’s the old–“What if we were all in a lifeboat” shite—“You’d throw your Granny overboard/ kill your dog/cut your own balls off” etc–whatever horror the conman speaking wants to justify. WTF does your kids nonsense have to do with the tyrannical state sending people to be tortured on the basis of paid informers as in Iraq and elsewhere the Federal tyranny operates. A hell of a lot more kids have lost their lives as a result of Obies antics than have been “saved” by the waterboarding (and worse) heros.

  25. James: And their incentive to tell the truth is…? It can’t be because of fear of torture, because torture as punishment is right out. The ticking time bomb scenario is flawed on factual as well as ethical grounds.

  26. I’d throw my Granny overboard – they’re both long dead so if they’re around to appreciate my sacrifice of them for the (marginally) greater good, I’m sure they’d approve.

    This is a decent discussion.

    Anyway – I don’t torture prisoners for the same reason I don’t explode car bombs in crowded shopping areas. It is simply wrong.

  27. Obama’s people admit that white working class voters hold the key. They supported him last time. Do we now demonise them if they don’t vote the way we want them to.

  28. “Do we now demonise them if they don’t vote the way we want them to.”

    Yes. Of course we do. Because we want to win.

    Whatever are you thinking?

    And Obama is still way cool regardless.

  29. Sam – Apparently America hasn’t declared war on anyone since 1941.
    They’ve invaded, helped allies, taken places by force and generally been the most warlike nation in the world. But haven’t declared war legally, thats down to congress to do so.
    Commander in chief doesn’t seem to need congress in order to decide what to do with the military.

  30. Matthew L, Mr Ecks, Sureptitious Evil

    I don’t like the practice of torture. I don’t like or trust the state, much, either – though I like and trust it more than I trust AQ, for instance.

    I equally don’t like pompous moral grandstanding.

    I was merely pointing out that a lot of preening, self-regarding people who affect to view torture as a great evil (in the odious Paul B’s case, as worse than the drone massacre of kids) are only able to adopt that position by dint of living in the luxurious bubble of the West.

    If the bubble pops, I expect a lot of them to start screaming and squealing.

    The kids thing is a real world question, albeit by way of a very obvious thought experiment: yeah, yeah, yeah, torture is horrible, but if your family were in direct danger, where would you draw the line?

    A lot of people tend to operate on the basis that, chances are, it will be someone else, and someone else’s family.

    Re ‘It doesn’t work’. That’s a different issue – a technical one, not a moral one. It does work, of course – ask Khaled.

  31. Torture does work, if you are seeking information and the person you are torturing has it. History is littered with examples of people who have had information tortured out of them, Guy Fawkes being one who is particularly famous.

    That’s not to say it should be used, though. Except on those who stand side by side on airport travelators.

  32. Surreptitious Evil

    …….I thought the whole point of the explodey suicide jihad slay-the-infidel thing was the 72 raisins?……

    Yes but the point was about pretending to believe

  33. but if your family were in direct danger, where would you draw the line?

    Somewhat before torture and yet after giving them a 9mm brain transplant if they harmed my family. And, yes, I do have to tell the DVA that sort of thing.

  34. Surreptitious Evil, you would NOT torture someone to save your own kids?

    But then, afterwards, you would kill them?

    Major logic problems with this one.

  35. This is totally nuts!

    America’s original sin is slavery and until 1965 the south was legally segregated. In 57 years a society that racist is meant to have moved on to the point where many voters aren’t motivated by racism?

    The current election campaign has seen more “dog whistles” blown than ever before “those people”, “unAmerican”, “food stamp president” etc. classic race baiting. Also special interest topics like that poor young black kid killed by a racist latino dude who wasn’t charged because of racist Florida police.
    Local republican parties have been preventing black and latino people from voting, one through voter ID laws, two by making veiled threats about immigration laws, and so on. That’s just what I’ve picked up and I haven’t even been paying attention.

    The right seems to think that anti-racism is a problem but that real racism isn’t a problem, or if it is it is the problem that white people are unfairly discriminated against.

    Why is the US Southern White electorate so different to the rest of the USA? You don’t think racism has much to do with it? If the south was like anywhere else then Obama would be cruising to victory but its not. Why is that? Any answer that doesn’t say “partly racism” is completely useless.

  36. PS Guy Fawkes was probably framed, so using his torture as a pro-torture example is deliciously ironic.

    Huh? Wasn’t he caught in the act?

    And I wasn’t using anything as “pro-torture”, I was merely pointing out that it works and specifically fucking said that was not a reason to use it. At least read what I wrote before commenting, eh?

  37. Descending into (however appropriate) juvenility …

    This is totally nuts!

    Takes one to know one. Takes one to know one.

    Ya, BOO, sucks …

    And, yes, that is as rational a contribution as yours. I just know mine is garbage.

  38. Oh, and, less pathetically,

    If the south was like anywhere else then Obama would be cruising to victory but its not.

    If the rest of the UK was (politically) like the south of England then the Labour party would be as much of an irrelevance as the Alexander / Mendoza ticket.

    Homogenize at the direction of your socialist overlords!

  39. Okay, sorry Tim, skimmed your comment and thought I had a gotcha.

    Yeah, apparently there was a serious chance he was fitted up in a false flag operation.

    I remain incredulous that anybody thinks racism in America isn’t a problem that could have electoral consequences for a black person. I don’t even know where to go next.

    http://mediamatters.org/video/2012/11/05/limbaugh-moochelle-obama-is-campaigning-with-nb/191147

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/08/28/163886/sc-lawmaker-admits-positive-response.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/16/voter-suppression-tricksters_n_1970272.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

    Start there maybe?

  40. @LO
    you may be of the opinion that anyone, dead or alive, American or not is entitled to vote in the election- but I don’t think it necessarily racist to disagree.
    The “poor black dude” who attacked an armed man suffered the predictable penalty- and the poor Latino guy who got attacked didn’t get charged because self defence is permissible over there.
    If you can hear dog whistles, what sort of animal are you?
    I am far from convinced that killing some 3000 people by drone strikes, and a good number of innocent passers by in the bargain is more defensible than waterboarding those arrested- it certainly doesn’t supply any information and the waterboarded are alive and well afterwards. Its a lot easier to hide apparently than keeping a couple of hundred in prison.
    Finally, are we all obliged (given the choice) to vote for a man because his skin colour is different from our own to prove that we’re not racist? If so American blacks have a long way to go! The whites have already done it once.
    Perhaps there are people who illogically resent his elite education, and generally fortunate background- an illogical prejudice if there ever was one.
    Or just maybe there are people who think he’s at best a very watered down version of Martin Luther King- and I am referring to the content of his character. For my money Obama is a dead ringer for Tony Blair- apart from he never had to work for his suntan.

  41. “If the rest of the UK was (politically) like the south of England then the Labour party would be as much of an irrelevance as the Alexander / Mendoza ticket.”

    Yes, but if the rest of America had been like the south of America before 1860 it would have all been a slave state.

    Context matters. None of this is hard to understand. I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall.

  42. Torture can take many forms. Sticking someone in a vat of pig fat and holding them under for a few seconds at a time can be seen as pretty bad by some people…. but not be any worse than doing it with water for others.
    And good old psychological torture, takes usually longer to complete than physical torture and can give better results (better being information needed rather than what victim believes will get the torture to stop).

    What price? What would justify an act of torture?
    Would stopping terrorists/Iran/North Korea/Israel/India etc setting off a nuke in a city be worth torturing one person?
    If so, the principle is established and all that needs doing is haggling on the price – such as whether a mere 3,000 people would be worth torturing one person etc. Or whether a mere 100 people and so on…

    Ultimately for most of us it won’t ever be an issue directly. Luckily for us.

  43. 1) Pat – voter fraud is not really a problem, and it pretty much only treated like a fraud when black people might be the ones voting. Funny that.

    2) Yeah, shame on poor black people for overwhelmingly supporting a party which gives money to poor people and has a long history of supporting civil rights legislation! They’re the real racists.

    3) Trayvon Martins had it coming? Wow! Such incisive commentary!

    4) Nobody is obliged to vote for anybody. The point that is being made is that for some subsection of Romney voters, racism is a contributory factor to their support.

    Again, none of this is complicated. Why do the right have such a problem with racism?

  44. I’m surprised at everyone’s knowledge of US politics and history. Couple of queries:

    A) would the (predominantly expatriate) British commentators on this blog be getting so worked up if Obama was white?

    B) more importantly, would they be getting so excited if either the Guardian or Paul B (let alone Krugman) was in favour Mittens?

    I suspect the answer to a is yes, though I’m doubtful. I’m pretty certain the answer to b is no.

  45. (predominantly expatriate) British commentators

    No, we’re not. Just those of us with place indicative names.

    would they be getting so excited if either the Guardian or Paul B (let alone Krugman) was in favour Mittens

    You think we’re Republicans? I’m not even sure Mitt is the less worst of the Rombama twins. Mind you, I’d work on the basis that anything, anybody, any idea that has the enthusiastic support of the Gruniard (not PaulB, he’s a much brighter bucket of crab) deserves your strongest & cynical suspicion.

  46. So Much for Subtlety

    Left Outside – “America’s original sin is slavery and until 1965 the south was legally segregated. In 57 years a society that racist is meant to have moved on to the point where many voters aren’t motivated by racism?”

    It is funny that you think that about the US and not about, say, China. Why is slavery such a problem for the US and not for, say, Saudi Arabia? Would it be, perhaps, that people like you want to keep picking at the scab to delegitimise the US in order to justify the destruction of the status quo? Why, yes, I think it would myself.

    And yes, they have moved on to the point racism is no longer an issue. As can be seen by the fact that the Republicans are happy to vote for Bobby Jindal or Nikky Whatshername, and they all seem to go nuts over Mia Love. Race is no longer an issue in the White community.

    “The current election campaign has seen more “dog whistles” blown than ever before “those people”, “unAmerican”, “food stamp president” etc. classic race baiting.”

    There is nothing remotely race baiting about any of that. You simply want to believe there is. What are you, twelve? The fact is the only people who can hear dog whistles are dogs. If you hear racism all the time, it is your problem. No one else’s. Which is not to say that there was not racism in the last election. Remember the guy who said Obama was a light skinned articulate fellow without a trace of a Negro dialect?

    “Also special interest topics like that poor young black kid killed by a racist latino dude who wasn’t charged because of racist Florida police.”

    There being no evidence that Zimmerman – who is part Afro-Peruvian by descent – was racist at all. He was having his head pounded into the pavement. He shot in what looks like self defence. Again, why do you want so hard to believe this is racism?

    “Local republican parties have been preventing black and latino people from voting, one through voter ID laws, two by making veiled threats about immigration laws, and so on. That’s just what I’ve picked up and I haven’t even been paying attention.”

    You mean they want legitimate voters to be the only people voting? The horror. And not illegal immigrants? What is wrong with this exactly?

    “Why is the US Southern White electorate so different to the rest of the USA? You don’t think racism has much to do with it?”

    Because they have values. Old fashioned values. And no, I don’t think racism has much to do with it. As can be seen by the fact they will vote for non-White candidates.

    44 Left Outside – “I remain incredulous that anybody thinks racism in America isn’t a problem that could have electoral consequences for a black person. I don’t even know where to go next.”

    Good for you. It is true though. They did elect Obama. Admittedly they did so for racist reasons. Like, I regret to say, TW who admits he voted for Obama because of the colour of his skin. But race is an issue – racism against Whites. Romney ought to be cruising to an easy victory. But because Black people won’t vote for the White guy, he isn’t.

    49 Left Outside – “voter fraud is not really a problem, and it pretty much only treated like a fraud when black people might be the ones voting. Funny that.”

    For you, no. Because the fraud works to your favour. It is only a problem when Black people might be illegally voting because, you know, only Black people illegally vote. Oh that’s not quite fair. Chicago might have swung the US election for JFK. The dead got up to vote. But Democrats nonetheless.

    “2) Yeah, shame on poor black people for overwhelmingly supporting a party which gives money to poor people and has a long history of supporting civil rights legislation! They’re the real racists.”

    No. The Republicans are the only party with a long history of supporting civil rights legislation. They are the party of Lincoln. The party of the NAACP. The party that passed the first civil rights laws. The party that got Johnson’s bill passed. But they are not the party of taking money from White people and giving it to Black people. The Democrats came late to the world of civil rights. But they do support taking money from White people and giving it to Black people.

    “3) Trayvon Martins had it coming? Wow! Such incisive commentary!”

    Martin was pounding Zimmerman’s head into the pavement. If I had a gun I would have shot too. Who wouldn’t?

    “4) Nobody is obliged to vote for anybody. The point that is being made is that for some subsection of Romney voters, racism is a contributory factor to their support.”

    I am sure that is true. A tiny subsection. For a much larger subsection – all Black people more or less for instance – racism is also a factor in their support. But you don’t give a damn about that because it is the cool sort of racism.

    “Again, none of this is complicated. Why do the right have such a problem with racism?”

    The Right doesn’t. The Left sees it everywhere. They won’t vote for Black people – Blacks in America and usually in Britain only get elected in Black-majority seats, mainstream White Democrats only vote White – but they think about Black people all the time. Like Mary Whitehouse’s obsession with sex. The need to condemn is a way for people to think about things they would like to enjoy. Race is your problem. Not the Republican’s. After all, the Grand Kleagle of the KKK wasn’t a long standing member of the Republican party was he?

  47. No more racism. Thanks for clearing that up.

    The bit about the presence of “old fashioned values” in the part of the world where the old fashion was racism is a classic.

  48. Are commenters here suggesting Romney won’t use drones?

    “It’s widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends.” – Romney

  49. SE @ 52. You take some exception to my characterising readers/commenters on this blog as expatriates. Bear in mind that I regard all those living in rural backwaters as being in a state of voluntary internal exile. How to define backwater? If you give a toss about windmills, that’s you.

  50. So Much for Subtlety

    Left Outside – “No more racism. Thanks for clearing that up.”

    Well if that refers to me, no. I was pointing out that White people have given up on racism. Especially on the Right. It is clearly something you still think about a lot, fantasise even just a little, keep awake at night thinking about. I would talk to someone about that if I were you.

    “The bit about the presence of “old fashioned values” in the part of the world where the old fashion was racism is a classic.”

    Glad to help. Except those old fashioned people you claim are racist elected Nikki Haley as the Governor of South Carolina. And Bobby Jindal as the Governor of Louisiana. How do you explain that?

    55 ukliberty – “Are commenters here suggesting Romney won’t use drones?”

    I would guess not although presumably he would do it in a more competent manner. I am more intrigued by the claim he would torture.

  51. So Much for Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “I don’t torture prisoners for the same reason I don’t explode car bombs in crowded shopping areas. It is simply wrong.”

    It is largely a meaningless discussion as when it comes down to it, society will have changed so much, that we will not even recognise ourselves and we will all torture with abandon. However it is worth pointing out that not only may we have tortured in WW2 – Germans going to the noose often complained that they had been tortured into confessing, for whatever that is worth – we also dropped a lot of bombs on car parks. Britain’s war policy for a large part of the war was to incinerate women and children by exploding bombs in their homes. All done by very civilised people. With the full support of the public and the highest institutions in the land. We even jailed the odd bod who refused on moral grounds.

    As I said, we are like eunuchs discussing orgies. We don’t know what we will do until the situation arises. But what we can say is that people who do torture – and torture on an industrial scale – get awarded and feted by British society. Not the poor bastards of Bomber Command who did a dirty job and then got shafted, but people like Zygmunt Bauman for instance. We don’t torture because we don’t need to. The second we need to (in Kenya for instance) we do.

  52. So Much for Subtlety

    Left Outside – “No more racism. Thanks for clearing that up.”

    No problems. Why should their be a problem with Obama? At least I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean. He is light-skinned African American with no Negro dialect. Why wouldn’t you vote for him?

  53. Lots of rage here at Obama for not being a Republican, and at me for supporting him. But to address the substantive points:

    On drone strikes: I’m against them. As ukliberty points out, Romney fully supports Obama’s tactics, so one can’t prefer Romney on that basis.

    On Obama’s alleged complicity in torture by US allies: I’m against that too. Obama is far from perfect. But then, perfection is not on offer. Let’s choose the candidate who at least knows the difference between right and wrong.

    On the racism question: as I said before, the net cost to Obama of being African-American has been plausibly estimated at 3% of the vote. Plausibly, that’s a bit less than last time. It didn’t cost him the election four years ago, and it probably won’t this time. However, if he does lose it will be by a less than that 3%.

  54. I see you chaps are all being thoroughly nice about racism.
    So there might be a suprise coming when the rest of the world suddenly declares that racism is after all a really good thing.
    Not only that but yoiu better learn mandarin etc fast if you want to eat.

  55. “Not only that but yoiu better learn mandarin etc fast if you want to eat.”

    That’s, like, totally racist. Or somethin.

  56. Where ‘somethin’ = ‘monumentally stupid’.

    On the torture point, yes, I’d probably torture someone in the 24-esque “one hour to save my kid” scenario. However, I’d be breaking the law by doing so, I’d be well aware of that fact, and it would be morally right for me to be punished for it subsequently.

  57. “Let’s choose the candidate who at least knows the difference between right and wrong.”

    So what you’re saying is knowing the difference between right and wrong and then ignoring it when it is inconvenient is morally superior to not knowing the difference and just doing whatever you want to because you want to…

    Huh.

  58. Given that in the living memory of plenty of older folks, apartheid was practiced in the southern US, it would be surprising if there wasn’t some racism around still. There was an article in the press a couple of months ago about a southern church who refused to marry a young couple because the man was black and the woman was white. It exists – but it’s not a very large effect.

    There is, I think, more prejudice against people called things like Taneekwa and DeMarius, which looks similar to racism, but is really prejudice against poorly-educated urbanites and not at all dissimilar from anti-chav prejudice in the UK. Nobody can deny that, on average, African-Americans get a raw deal, but that’s not a current racism thing, it’s that the average African-American (due to racist attitudes that affected his ancestors) lives in cheap urban ghettoes with bad schools. It’s a socio-economic problem rather than a racism problem.

  59. DtP: Yes, very much so. Obama knows what’s right, but sometimes is tempted to do wrong, what with his responsibility for protecting the USA. It doesn’t help that he’s under frequent attack from the Republicans for being too sympathetic to Muslim terrorists. At least his first instinct is to stop torture. Whereas Romney’s first instinct is to commit war crimes.

  60. “the net cost to Obama of being African-American”

    lol, how’s about an American who’s dad was East African? That’s like me marrying a black African and saying my kid is an Afrikanner…absolute bollocks

  61. @JohnB: ‘However, I’d be breaking the law by doing so, I’d be well aware of that fact, and it would be morally right for me to be punished for it subsequently.’

    Morally right to punish you for torturing someone else into revealing the whereabouts of your child, who would otherwise die?

    Assuming you had tried asking nicely first, I think not.

    I also think it highly unlikely you would be punished. Prosecuted – maybe, though I would expect some sort of defence of necessity/duress of circumstances to hold. It would certainly be a powerful mitigation in sentencing.

  62. So Much For Subtlety

    john malpas – “So there might be a suprise coming when the rest of the world suddenly declares that racism is after all a really good thing.”

    As is perfectly clear already – hatred of Whites is perfectly normal and acceptable. They just can’t do much about it because they are weak. But the rest of the world is getting stronger and we are getting weaker so it won’t be long before it isn’t quite so funny.

    PaulB – “Obama knows what’s right, but sometimes is tempted to do wrong, what with his responsibility for protecting the USA.”

    Sorry but what evidence do you have that Obama has ever considered what is right or wrong? I mean, seriously. Why do you think this? Isn’t it more likely that Obama adopted the same fashionable nonsense everyone else did and then when he took office he realised that it required a grown up approach and so backed off?

    “At least his first instinct is to stop torture. Whereas Romney’s first instinct is to commit war crimes.”

    Or to put it another way. Romney is a grown up and realises that governing the free world is a complex business best done with something more than a clever sound bite. Obama is what he always has been – superficial and shallow. Not opposed to torture either. Just when the US does it.

  63. “Also special interest topics like that poor young black kid killed by a racist latino dude who wasn’t charged because of racist Florida police.”

    Actually, Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in self-defence after Trayvon Martin pounded Zimmerman’s head against the pavement several times, breaking Zimmerman’s nose.

  64. Here’s two counterfactuals to explore. Say Obama was white & Romney black?
    Both black?

    Next time round, would the Dems be advised to go with another black candidate?
    Or Hispanic?
    Worthwhile tactic for the Republicans?

  65. “Martin was pounding Zimmerman’s head into the pavement. If I had a gun I would have shot too. Who wouldn’t?”

    Left Outside wouldn’t. He would be fully in agreement with the act because of the legacy of Slavery.

  66. We don’t actually know what happened between Martin and Zimmerman. But we do know that Martin was walking home from the shops and Zimmerman was following him with a gun.

    Back to the subject. A couple of commentators have complained that it’s wrong to call someone with one African and one American parent an African-American. That seems like a natural description to me, but really it doesn’t matter. The question is whether Obama’s skin colour costs him votes. This paper argues that it does. Figure V (on page 46) is particularly convincing.

  67. Romney’s batty religion probably cost him votes. And what are the chances of an Atheist getting elected? Minimal.

    The point is that humans tend to be tribal, because tribalism is (in short term, localist terms) a rational strategy. If you work on the principle that other people are tribal, the only rational course is to be tribal yourself. The problem we have is that currently only certain tribalisms are condemned, hence the focus on “racial” tribalism.

    It goes like this; I’m a Venusian, and the candidates are one Venusian and one Martian. If I make a reasonable assumption about human (er, alien) nature that Martians will tend to favour Martians when in office, and Venusians will tend to favour Venusians, my logical choice is to vote Venusian even if I am not myself in favour of tribalism. It thus doesn’t actually automatically follow that people who vote Bigot are actually themselves bigoted; they may merely believe that other people are going to vote Bigot.

  68. A couple of commentators have complained that it’s wrong to call someone with one African and one American parent an African-American.

    So do many African-Americans. Not only is he half-white (this being made up for, to some extent, by his wife) but his ancestors never suffered the evils of slavery therefore he simply cannot understand the true extent of the suffering of the modern African-American.

    Bollocks, clearly, but rather common bollocks.

  69. The split between Americans-of-recent-African-descent and Americans-of-slave-descent is really not bollocks.

    The cultural and social position of African-Americans is much closer to that of an indigenous group than to that of a recent-ish (for present day purposes, let’s say post-1800) migrant group.

    Migrant groups made a conscious, rational choice to leave their homelands to seek a better life elsewhere, in the conscious knowledge that it’d be difficult and involve massive changes in way of life. That’s transmitted through culture, as a folk memory, and massively shapes behaviours and attitudes to integration.

    Slave-descended black Americans did not; their situation was little different than if they’d been enslaved in their homeland. That is also transmitted through culture and as a folk memory, and does the same.

    And white Americans’ attitudes to both groups were shaped by this too, obviously.

    The term African-American is a bit daft. But protesting the fact that it’s used to convey a specific meaning that everyone involved is fully aware of because that meaning goes against its literal derivation, is as silly as protesting the use of antisemitic because Arabs are semites too.

    People do both the above things, of course, but in both cases they’re either ill-informed or have an agenda you probably want to avoid.

  70. “We don’t actually know what happened between Martin and Zimmerman.”

    Oh for god’s sake. Martin broke Zimmerman’s nose, in front of witnesses! Do you think Zimmerman broke his own nose?

  71. “African-American” as commonly used means an American with enough black African ancestry not to look white. But for the purposes of this discussion it doesn’t matter whether you classify Obama as African-American or not. What we’re discussing is whether a small but not insignificant proportion of the US electorate who would vote for a otherwise similar white candidate will not vote for Obama.

    As to why someone with one white and one black parent counts as African-American, it’s because slavery laws held that the child of a (black) slave mother and a (white) free father was a slave.

  72. PaulB:

    1) yes and no, there is a genuine distinction made by people of colour in the US between people of Af-Am heritage and people who are recent immigrants from Africa.

    1a) yes, probably, but I’m damn sure it’s lower than if Obama looked like Michael K Williams.

    2) yes, but (in the proper sense of the term) you’re begging the question. If one parent were Af-Am as above, then you’d be absolutely right; the fact that his black parent isn’t makes things more complicated among all communities.

  73. I’d also note in passing that I’m not convinced “a punch in the nose” is justification for “shooting someone in the head”, both in general and especially when the person being punched in the nose is the one who initiated the conflict.

    I’ve been punched in the nose a few times, by various dickheads, for various more-deserved and less-deserved reasons. I’m fairly sure that none of them *deserved to die* for that particular affront. I believe that when we outlawed duels, that was roughly the point being made.

    I admire Andrew Jackson’s brass balls, but he isn’t necessarily a great societal role model.

  74. John, you’re being disingenuous here. In self defence, if you shoot somebody, you may kill them. You can’t make a judgement about what degree of harm they will suffer; that’s a kind of Hollywood myth. Every police firearms officer will tell you that. If you make the decision to shoot, it is knowing that the person may well die.

    So, if we accept shooting in self-defence at all it is with the knowledge that assailants will die. Either you accept that somebody fighing an assailant whose degree of malice is unknown can be shot in self defence, or you don’t. Because the person havnig his nose broken doesn’t know whether the person who broke it intends to stop there.

    So the point is, self defence is not a license to kill. It is a licence to take self-defensive actions which may lead to the assailant’s death. There is a difference.

    There is a separate issue that one less burglar is one less burglar, and here’s my tiny violin. But nobody would be defending Zimmerman if he had executed Martin. But it appears he did not; he used his gun in self defence in accordance with the laws of his land. Hence, he was not initially arrested, because under those laws, self defence is not a crime.

  75. @PaulB “What we’re discussing is whether a small but not insignificant proportion of the US electorate who would vote for a otherwise similar white candidate will not vote for Obama.”

    In 2004 the Democrats ran Kerry who was more qualified than Obama in 2008 but politically quite similar. In addition to Kerry being better qualified than Obama, Kerry had a VP candidate from the South. If race had been the only difference (Kerry was white), then you would have expected Kerry/Edwards to do significantly better than Obama/Biden in the southern US.

    Instead, Obama did quite a bit better in 2008 in the southern US than Kerry did in 2004. If we take for example the state of North Carolina (where Kerry’s VP was FROM), Obama did almost 13 percentage points better.

    There are traces of racism throughout the US (and throughout Europe and the entire planet, for that matter). But we have made enough progress that not every matter involves racism, and in Obama’s case whatever residual racism is left is dwarfed by other factors.

    The majority of white Romney voters in the southern US would have been happy to vote for Thomas Sowell if he were running againt Obama.

  76. Ian B: Who’s being disingenuous? All this talk of self-defence ignores the fact that the best way for Zimmerman to defend himself would have been not to have followed Martin in the first place.

    Person A, armed with a gun, chooses to follow person B, armed with a packet of sweets, to person B’s home. When B attempts to enter the building where he lives, A confronts B. B punches A, a struggle ensues in which A is losing, and A shoots B dead.

    As regards their records, A has previously been arrested (but not convicted) for assault. B has been in trouble at school but has never been arrested.

    So the obvious conclusion is that B is to blame?

    (The bit “A confronts B, B punches A” is my speculation; the rest is known fact)

    enoriverbend: I was quite specific about what I’m suggesting in my comment#74. You seem to be answering a different case.

  77. Laughing at the British progs begging Barry on Twatter to stop drone strikes. Get real, you idiots.

    Oh well, time to settle in and enjoy four more years of incompetent governing, excuses and disappointment. Hell, there’s even a small, remote chance that the press might do their job this time, right?

    …Oh, who am I kidding?

  78. Bemused Bystander: it’s ok, the reality check is over for another four years, you can go back into your alternative-reality bubble. Give my regards to Karl Rove.

  79. Incidentally, it became quite obvious to be that the Republicans and their supporters had gotten over the race issue when Condoleeza Rice was appointed and proved to be very popular. I certainly never heard any complaints from the American right about one of the most prominent people in the Bush administration being black.

    In fact, I always got the impression the invective against her from the American left was that, as a bright black woman born in segregated Alabama, she should have been Democrat by default. They just couldn’t fathom that such a person would side with the “racist” Republicans.

    Even more incidentally, I got a similar impression about many of Maggie’s opponents. The fact that the first woman to lead a major nation came from the right wing of politics is something the left have never forgiven her for. It is also notable that the British left have barely manage to field a competent female MP in the years since (not that the right have either, mind).

  80. So you think he’s actually going to stop using drones in the WoT, Paulie? Sorry, what was that you were saying about a bubble, friend?

  81. Then again looking at your begging letter on your blog, I suppose it must feel nice to think that you aided in the re-ascendancy of the Sun God. I can understand you wanting to hold onto that for a few more, precious minutes before the realisation sets in.

  82. PaulB and john b are being totally dishonest.

    “the best way for Zimmerman to defend himself would have been not to have followed Martin in the first place.”

    What’s wrong with neighbourhood watch now?

    “When B attempts to enter the building where he lives, A confronts B”

    No, Zimmerman did not confront Martin. Martin got pissed off with being followed and confronted Zimmerman. “When B attempts to enter the building where he lives” is just a lie.

    “[Zimmerman] is the one who initiated the conflict”: lie.

    “a punch in the nose”: er, you mean, smashing his head repeatedly on the pavement.

  83. JJ: what’s wrong here is that Martin is dead. Don’t you get that?

    As I said, my statement “A confronts B” is speculation. But as you don’t say, so is your statement that Martin confronted Zimmerman. Unless you think that Zimmerman is sure to be telling the truth about everything.

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