Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Jimmy Carter On Barack Obama And Race

Former President Jimmy Carter jumped into the debate about whether the opposition to President Obama is, in part, due to racism with a fervent "yes." Naturally, the discussion is all about whether or not this is good politics. (Ben Smith says it's terrible for the White House and Mickey Kaus asks, "Remember the Carter era of smug moralizing? Anyone want to go back to that?" It's a good question! Do you remember the Carter era of smug moralizing?) And really, what was Carter thinking? Here's my guess: Maybe he was thinking that some of the opposition to President Obama is due to racism. Maybe he felt that, as a former President and a lifelong resident of the South, he had an obligation to speak out against it rather than to let it remain an ugly truth which we refuse to acknowledge because we still have difficulty talking about race in this country. But what do I know? Maybe he just wanted to be on TV.

23 Comments / Post A Comment

Maybe he's just happy to haved survived the summer of death (only 5 more days to go).

Abe Sauer (#148)

Good or bad politics aside, what does it accomplish? This is the worst possible world of fighting racism: generalities about it being "because of racism." This achieves nothing. If you want to make it about racism, then draw specific examples. Brian Williams says there were maybe racist signs at the tea party but then doesn;t show any. SHOW THEM and the people holding them; the audience is not that dumb, they will make the association. Racism is like war in that when people are kept from seeing the horrors they tend to be able to ignore its existence. Show photos of war injuries and death. Find racism and then shine a light on it and let everyone see it. Don;t do this bullshit where you sit in an office and ask "is it racism?" and have some white guy go "Yeah. it is." Gah.

Alex Balk (#4)

I thought it was weird too that they didn't show any of the signs, but I think it speaks to the point that we're still VERY uncomfortable even discussing the subject.

La Cieca (#1,110)

But, Abe, I don't know that one "fight" precludes the other. The office of the President of the United States carries a certain gravitas, and President Carter in addition has the high ground here in that he ran his Presidency on a relatively lofty plane of morality. (To a smartass pundit, any morality looks "smug" because it implies there's something more to politics than winning the news cycle, which is like telling frat boy that there are more important things in life besides pussy.)

I do agree with you that a mainstream news outlet like MSNBC should dig deeper than this. Maybe, since the protest signs provide easy, obvious visuals, they will.

Abe Sauer (#148)

good point. to clarify, my problem here isn't carter and his rather nuanced comments; it's with the media and the fact that instead of getting out there and finding racism and showing it they just settle for asking white liberal types if it's racism…

oudemia (#177)

La mama di Gioconda is entirely correct. Politics is gossip. Whenever anyone wants it to be or thinks of it as anything more than that, well, those assholes pissing on our parade are either smug or –worst of the worst!–risibly earnest.

Baboleen (#1,430)

I once unknowingly made a racist comment to which 2 black friends I was with, made me aware; I said, "Look who's calling the kettle black." (i.e. a black kettle is worse than a kettle of any other color.) My comment was made when one person in our company made a derogatory observation about a second person, that they too were guilty of. It was such an ironic and embarassing moment for me. At first I was defensive-saying that they were being too sensitive. I think this is the point where the US population is now. I will never forget it. I also will never use that phrase again.

I believe the phrase is "That's the pot calling the kettle black" and it's used to say something about someone else which is actually true of you yourself. It doesn't have racist connotations.

jolie (#16)

I think your friends were making fun of you.

ericdeamer (#945)

I don't really remember those days because I was very little then, but my mom goes on and on about them all the time because it's when she made the switch to neocon. Apparently, the malaise was so thick you could cut it with a knife, and if it didn't get you the stagflation would. Gas cost the inflation-adjusted equivalent of something like 400 bucks a gallon and you couldn't walk down the driveway to your mailbox without being kidnapped by terrorists.

garge (#736)

While I missed the Williams interview, I did find it obnoxious during my waking-up-to-the-Today-Show,-waking-up-angry routine that Chuck Todd extended the Carter quote "overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity" to "majority of the opposition to the President" just so he could opine that it was problematic, furrowed brow.

Abe Sauer (#148)

"waking-up-to-the-Today-Show,-waking-up-angry routine" GET OUT OF MY LIFE!

garge (#736)

Once upon a five years I had rabbit ears that only pulled in NBC. My compulsive, routine-driven nature, post converter box, is what it is. I WON'T CALL OR FAX YOU ANYMORE–

garge (#736)

o, now I see; I am too literal before my coffee–I will keep sending those faxes

brent_cox (#40)

If only Michael Moore would agree with Carter, then maybe the Right would finally listen.

BlinkyMcChuck (#202)

Kaus gets to accuse someone else of "smug moralizing"? I think not.

BlinkyMcChuck (#202)

Also, Carter? Not really a fame whore.

Baboleen (#1,430)

English wasn't their first language. They got caught up on the kettle being black.

Baboleen (#1,430)

sorry-late reply

Brittanicus (#1,650)

As usual the opponents of any kind of restriction on the illegal immigration, is playing the race card? It's a forgone conclusion that the benefactors of promoting a mass invasion of our shores, such as religious groups, unions, ACLU, radical ethnic caucuses and even our own US Chamber of Commerce, will mouth epithets that doesn't benefit big business, that doesn't advocate a continuous force of illegal cheap labor. Now they are really livid because their objection to E-Verify was thrown out of court. Now all federal contractors and subcontractors must adhere to the law. They have conspired against the American worker and people for too long, and now we are fighting back ourselves against corrupt politicians and other elected officials nationwide,

Rep.Joe Wilson was actually telling the truth at the time, and now Democrats have placed restrictive language in the Health care reform package as a reluctant afterthought by public demand. This was nothing to do about bigotry or racism, but the American workers and family survival. None of the business community who hire them wants their labor, but forces the taxpayer to carry the financial load. The US labor force should not have to be in competition, with people from other countries. Businesses have already offshore American jobs, because it's cheaper? So every illegal foreign national and family member should be exempt from government run health care, jobs and all the billions of taxpayer dollars secretly allocated to pay for their support. Twenty million plus illegal people compromised themselves, when they entered a sovereign nation without permission. Find out the truth at NUMBERSUSA, JUDICIAL WATCH and contact your politician at 202-224-3121 demanding no weakening conditions to E-Verify or any other law authored by Congress.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Joe Wilson was not telling the truth. There was never any condition to cover illegal residents. Those here illegally get health care through the ER which will not change because American doctors, unlike many of the heartless citizens they serve, do not turn away patients in need of critical care based on paperwork. This will not change. And Joe's implication that the ER service system is part of heath care reform is misleading.

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