Wonkette, Bachmann, whiteness, and wetness

No, Bachmann did not ask a white crowd, “Who likes white people?” And Dan Quayle never said he wished he’d studied Latin so he could understand the people in Latin America.

Yes, I believe that Michelle Bachmann might ask a crowd “Who likes white people?” I’d put nothing past her. But as a matter of actual fact, she actually came in from a rainstorm and asked the crowd “Who likes wet people?” I’m not sure whether Wonkette’s subtitling was deliberately mendacious or astoundingly incompetent. TPM has the fuller clip; there’s no ambiguity. Wonkette owes Bachmann a retraction. (You can be disgusted by her loud-mouthed religiosity and her pretense that she’s not doing it all as a political stunt; that doesn’t justify lying about it.)

I can’t even figure out at this point whether correcting an attack on Bachmann is tactically useful or harmful; I think the longer Bachmann stays in the race the more likely Romney is to be the nominee. He’d make a less horrible President than Perry, and he’d be a stronger candidate unless he draws a Teahadi challenger, which he might. If God knows what that adds up to, He hasn’t let me in on the secret.

What I’m sure of is that we can and should try to defeat Bachmann, Perry, Romney, and the rest of the wingnut crew by telling the truth about them, and nothing more. Like David against Goliath, we’ll fight better with our own weapons. The truth is our weapon; lies belong to Fox News.  As the witch said to Odin: Watch with both eyes!

Footnote  And no, this has nothing to do with centrism, or hippie-punching. It’s not “more progressive” to think that progressives are entitled to use falsehoods; it’s more progressive to believe that the truth is on the side of progress. Like Truman, we don’t have to give the bad guys Hell; we just have to tell the truth about them – relying on reality, with its well-known liberal bias – and they’ll think it’s Hell.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

21 thoughts on “Wonkette, Bachmann, whiteness, and wetness”

  1. “Like David against Goliath, we’ll fight better with our own weapons. The truth is our weapon; lies belong to Fox News. “

    Bwah ha ha!

    Ok, that’s not an argument, just a reaction.

    I suppose as an aspiration, that’s a fairly nice sentiment. It’s just a lousy description of reality.

    Oh, and “Yes, I believe that Michelle Bachmann might ask a crowd “Who likes white people?””? Got any reason for that beyond a general conviction that everyone who disagrees with you is a cad?

  2. Brett, she was standing in front of the “White People Soul Band”, who’d just finished their set. It was conceivable that she’d said those words, though anyone looking at the full clip can tell she said “wet”.

  3. Warren, it’s conceivable that you torture puppies in your spare time. I don’t find this particularly plausible, though, because I’m not committed to thinking the worst of people who disagree with me politically.

    Liberals, OTOH, tend to make a habit of it.

  4. Brett, if she followed the Beatles, the natural thing would be to come on stage and say “Let’s hear it for the Beatles!”. Seeing as how she followed the White People, asking the audience to cheer for them by saying “Who likes White People?” would have been understandable. Not that she said it; nor does she bear responsibility for the band’s really quite stupid name (although whatever aide scheduled her to share the stage with them is either incompetent or was hoping for a nontroversy of just this sort). It does seem likely that her “Wet People” statement was a joke on the band’s name, in addition to being a comment on the weather.

    But gee, thanks for completely failing to understand my comment and accusing me of casually tarring my opponents with racism.

  5. Brett says: I’m not committed to thinking the worst of people who disagree with me politically. Liberals, OTOH, tend to make a habit of it.

    Reminds me of a acquaintance who said “I’m not judgmental, unlike all those incredibly stupid and awful Evangelical Christians”.

  6. Brett, in a differnt context:

    It’s conceivable that Obama was not born in the United States. So the Birthers were right!

  7. This post prompted me to take a look at Wonkette for the first time in a few years; what was once a (mostly) reality-based gossip sheet snarkathon has become a “sloppy seconds” version of The Onion. It’s like the old Sick Magazine was in relation to Mad. Or Mad in relation to Punch?

  8. I wrote on another thread that Keith reminded me of why I read RBC. Coming over here to comments, I have another reminder, two in one day: the Internet Performance Art of some commenters.

  9. Warren, it’s conceivable that you torture puppies in your spare time. I don’t find this particularly plausible, though, because I’m not committed to thinking the worst of people who disagree with me politically.

    Brett Bellmore, on another blog, just yesterday: As long as we’re diagnosing each other, having a 3 year old son makes me think maybe liberals just never quite reached the point of understanding that other people’s stuff is other people’s stuff. And instead just evolved ever more convoluted excuses for dictating the use of other people’s stuff.

    Brett Bellmore, who regularly refers to officeholders as “sociopaths.”

    Brett Bellmore, ladies and gentlemen. He thinks you are stupid and have short memories.

  10. He thinks you are stupid and have short memories.

    That may be the intent of the comedy writer behind the Internet Performance Art character too. You never know.

  11. Fancy that, Brett Bellmore distinguishes between political foes and politicians. Figures the politicians on ‘his side’ are sociopaths, too. Thinks that an election is kind of like a movie battle between Godzilla and Rohdan: You might have a preference as to which side wins, but in the end, they’re both monsters.

    That’s the tradgedy of democracy: When you hold an election, somebody is going to win.

  12. Has anyone else noticed that Brett just doesn’t bother to respond nowadays when specific points he makes are exposed as sheer nonsense? I mean, he still returns to the thread to make additional comments, but he sure doesn’t respond to debunking of his previous comments.

  13. I guess that just leaves hanging the comparison of liberals to three year old children, and whether that constitutes “thinking the worst” of them. A

    Why do you assume people don’t remember the things you say? Do you have that little confidence in your own ability to be memorable?

  14. “As long as we’re diagnosing each other,”

    I would prefer we not diagnose each other. I am, however, capable of playing that game, if others insist on playing it.

  15. Brett Bellmore, ladies and gentlemen. He thinks you are stupid and have short memories.

    I guess that just leaves hanging the comparison of liberals to three year old children

    It’s worse. It’s not any 3 year old, it’s Brett Bellmore’s 3 year old. Really hope the apple fell far from the tree on that one.

  16. Brett Bellmore says:

    “Warren, it’s conceivable that you torture puppies in your spare time. I don’t find this particularly plausible, though,”

    As usual, a completely dishonest comparison – unless I missed Warren standing in front of the puppy torture booth at the state fair, saying ‘let’s hear it for [unintellegible]!’.

    ” because I’m not committed to thinking the worst of people who disagree with me politically.”

    Congratulations! You do a fine job of pretending.

  17. What’s completely dishonest is the [unintellegible].

    She said “wet”, because they were all soaking wet from a rainstorm.

    There was no “White People Soul Band” playing at the rally. As much a lie as the “who loves white people”.

    The “non-lying” CBS news resurects the smear after the original source recants. The left blogosphere is still trying to keep the smear alive.

    And, confronted with a case of an outright fraudulent smear of a Republican candidate, Mark feels the need to confirm the substance of the smear even as he rejects the evidence. “Fake but accurate.”

  18. FACT: The band is not called “White People Soul Band” Somebody made that up and than a whole bunch of people ate it up. The band is actually called “Tim Cooper & Friends”.

    FACT: As people now know, it had been raining for hours earlier and the audience was totally soaked. Notice the blue tarp over the speakers at the front of the stage which kept the rain of them. So, yes, Mrs Bachman did indeed say “who likes wet people?”.

    FACT: I know this is true because I was there. On the stage. That’s my band.

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