Ta Nehisi Coates: Racism, socialism, Ashley the Todd, Joe Plumber blahblahblah

Ta Nehisi Coates

Racism, socialism, Ashley the Todd, Joe Plumber blahblahblah

Thanks to everyone who sent me clips of McCain folks acting a fool at rallies and evidence of McCain campaign race-baiting. I know I haven’t talking much about Ashley Tood, and Sammy Davis and welfare lately. I was outraged for awhile and now I’m just kinda “meh” about the whole thing. Part of it is because I think Obama is going to win. But the other part is that something about it just feels petty. There are white racists among the American electorate, and the lionshare of them are supporting McCain. OK, now what?

Anyway,  there’s been a pretty lively debate raging between YglesiasDouthat, Judis and Feeny. It’ll probably come as no surprise that I mostly agree with Douthat, if with a significant twist. It’s not that I put it past McCain’s people to race-bait, it’s that I really don’t care.  I basically think it’s to our disadvantage to ascribe mystical powers to words like “welfare” and “socialism.” True, I’ve done my share of indicting. But, I really believe that the first step in garnering the votes of any group of people, is to see them human beings with all the complexities and myriad emotions weighing on them that actual people have.

USA Today: Experts: Obama plot detracts from race progress

USA Today

Experts: Obama plot detracts from race progress

“Certainly these men have some frightening weapons and some very frightening plans,” said Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who studies the white supremacy movement. “But with the part about wearing top hats … it gets a bit hard to take them seriously.”

The Rev. James Lawson, an 80-year-old Freedom Rider who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement and is now a visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University, said he was not surprised by this latest threat to Obama.

He said he has had conversations with fellow blacks at various places, not just the South, since Obama’s candidacy began nearly two years and they have been afraid for Obama’s life.

“In the black community, there’s been all over the country anticipation of his being in harm’s way,” Lawson said. “That is a reflection of the fact that, by and large, the black community still experiences racism when it comes to access to jobs, in unemployment levels, in housing discrimination and predatory lending in housing.”

The alleged plot highlights tensions that both blacks and whites say exist in Helena-West Helena, a predominantly black east Arkansas city that has struggled economically.

Mayor James Valley said he doesn’t believe Schlesselman’s alleged involvement in the plot indicated any organized effort by white supremacists in the city, but said there has been at least a political tension among blacks and whites.

“The white community controls the finances and the black community here controls the ballot box, so that’s where you’re going to see it,” said Valley, who is black.

One Helena-West Helena resident, Larry Johnston, said he was not surprised that white supremacists had been plotting to kill Obama. Johnston, who is white, said he voted for Republican John McCain during early voting and that he didn’t believe the country is ready for a black president.

“You look at all your big cities that have black mayors and you have trouble,” said Johnston, 58. “That’s what I’m afraid of with Obama.”

Nashville Post Politics: Skinhead Sorry About Plot, Not About Racism

Nasheville Post Politics

Skinhead Sorry About Plot, Not About Racism

The family of one of the two skinheads accused of a plot against Barack Obama says the skins were just joshing:

Kayla Schlesselman said Tuesday at the family’s Arkansas home that she talked to her brother Paul and that “he’s sorry about everything he’s done.” He’s accused of hatching the plot with another teen in Tennessee.

She says her brother didn’t like their tiny community of Helena-West Helna because it was prominently black. She also says he believed he was the master race, and would say things like “white power” and “Heil Hitler.”

But the teen’s father, Mike, says he doesn’t believe his son would have carried out the plot and that it was “just a lot of talk.”

Politico: Ben Smith: Tenn. GOP chair draws murder plot parallel

Politico: Ben Smith

Tenn. GOP chair draws murder plot parallel

The chairwoman for the Tennessee Republican Party draws a wild parallel:

“Hate is not a political party, policy statement, agenda or ideology – it is a pure evil that no place in civil society,” said Robin Smith, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. “Whether it is neo-Nazi skinheads plotting a racist shooting spree targeting Sen. Obama, or West Hollywood liberals hanging Gov. Sarah Palin in effigy and calling it ‘art,’ or unknown anarchists tossing bricks through the windows of a county Republican headquarters in Murfreesboro, Americans of all political views should be outraged.”

The Palin effigy was crude, but it’s breathtaking to compare that with indictments in a mass murder and assassination plot.

The Tennessee Republican Party has been regularly out front, and occasionally chided, in its anti-Obama talking points, but this one seems to go a bit further.

The ATF’s filings in that case are now online, and describe the skinheads as quite scary and dangerous, but much closer to their mass murder plans than to the presidential candidate.

Little Green Footballs: Neo-Nazi Assassination Plot Discovered

Little Green Footballs

Neo-Nazi Assassination Plot Discovered


Thank goodness this plot was discovered before these neo-Nazi creeps had a chance to harm anyone: Assassination plot targeting Obama disrupted.

WASHINGTON — Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday.

In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.


Michele Malkin: Why that McCain volunteer’s “mutilation” story smells awfully weird; Update: Police to administer polygraph; conflicting evidence at scene; Update: Hoaxer confesses

Michele Malkin

Why that McCain volunteer’s “mutilation” story smells awfully weird; Update: Policeto administer polygraph; conflicting evidence at scene; Update: Hoaxer confesses

Throughout my career, I’ve covered dozens of fake hate crimes — campus hate crime hoaxes, Muslim hate crime hoaxes, fake noose hangings, etc., etc., etc. Most were perpetrated by liberals, but there have been some shameful ones onour side of the aisle as well.

I’ve reported on the great lengths that warped attention-seekers have gone to in perpetrating fake hate crimes, including beating themselves up, carving swastikas on their dorm room doors and walls, locking themselves in bathroom stalls, and burning down their own houses.

Which is why I’m not jumping up and down with outrage over Drudge-promoted story of a McCain volunteer claiming to have been attacked by a black man whom she accused of carving a “B” in her face after spotting her McCain bumper sticker.

She refused medical treatment after reporting the incident to police. Why on earth would she do that?

The Hotline: 10/27: Incendiary Charges

The Hotline

10/27: Incendiary Charges

On Friday we observed that Matt Drudge was aggressively promoting a report that a 20-year-old PA female was robbed and mutilated by an African-American male who allegedly wanted to “teach her a lesson” for being a John McCain supporter. It was eventually revealed that the female (a McCain campaign volunteer named Ashley Todd) had “made the whole story up”. Now Talking Points Memo is reporting that McCain’s PA communications director initially “told reporters in the state an incendiary version of the hoax story…well before the facts of the case were known or established.” Lefty bloggers are accusing the McCain camp of being both irresponsible and cynical in pushing such a racially charged story before it could be confirmed. Ezra Klein rips the McCain camp for trying “to eke out some temporary political advantage from a brutal street crime (country first, my friends!).”

Washington Monthly: Political Animal: HATE, FEAR, AND IGNORANCE

Washington Monthly: Political Animal


On CNN last night, David Gergen, a Republican advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton, commented on the “anger” evident at McCain/Palin rallies of late. “There is this free floating sort of whipping around anger that could really lead to some violence,”Gergen said. “I think we’re not far from that.”

When Anderson Cooper expressed skepticism about whether violence was likely, Gergen said he “really worries” given “the kind of rhetoric” coming from the Republican ticket.

This week has been unusually incendiary. The McCain campaign has deliberately been whipping the angry, far-right Republican base into a frenzy. That includes increasing frequency of “Hussein” references, but it also includes looking the other way while campaign supporters exclaim “treason!,” “terrorist!,” and “kill him!” during official rallies.

On Wednesday, during a McCain harangue against Obama, one man could be heard yelling, “Off with his head!” On Thursday, Republicans erupted when an unhinged McCain supporter ranted about “socialists taking over our country.” Instead of calming them down, McCain said the lunatic was “right.”

Both the Washington Post and the Politico have good items today on the explosive, enraged emotions at this week’s Republican rallies. Slate’s John Dickerson described the participants’ “bloodthirsty” tone.

There are, obviously, more than a few questions to consider. Will McCain/Palin push their enraged mob into committing acts of violence? (We can hope not.) Will the hysterical Republican base consider Obama/Biden legitimate if they win in November? (I doubt it.)

And then there’s the practical question: will the combination of hate, fear, and ignorance actually pay off on Election Day? Polls show Obama leading now, but the truth is, most of these polls were taken before McCain turned the Rage-o’-Meter to 11. How will mainstream voters react?

Time will obviously answer that question soon enough, but I found John Weaver’s perspective especially interesting.

John Weaver, McCain’s former top strategist, said top Republicans have a responsibility to temper this behavior.

AmericaBlog: “Keep The N*gger Out Of Office”


“Keep The N*gger Out Of Office” 

After a week of McCain supporters being incited to shout “kill him!” and “terrorist!” and “treason!“, a man in Louisiana was arrested for threatening to kill election officials. The Smoking Gun has his arrest report and mug shots. It seems his voter registration card was delayed, and he was insistent that he would bring his shotgun to their office and kill them if they didn’t hurry up because he needed to “keep the n*gger out of office.”

Look at the photo. Does America really want to be that one?