Send the spearchucker back to Kenya

More frank racism from prominent Republicans. No one on the Red Team will complain.

I’m really, really glad to know that the deliberate and systematic use of racial tropes by Republicans against Barack Obama is purely a figment of the liberal imagination. Otherwise, I might be offended by Mark “Obama will throw a lot of spears” Sanford and by Jason “send Obama back to Kenya” Thompson (Tommy Thompson’s son, if you’re keeping score at home), and of course by the fact that neither of them will catch any flak for it except from our side.

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:

50 thoughts on “Send the spearchucker back to Kenya”

  1. In fairness, the Thompson campaign did actually respond: “The Governor has addressed this with his son, just like any father would do. Jason Thompson said something he should not have, and he apologizes.”

  2. Yeah, and remember, according to Joe Biden, if we elect Romney he’s gonna have y’all back in chains. I’m so glad liberals don’t ever race-bait.

    1. Very true; Biden’s was an overstatement. Republicans only want to get rid of the Voting Rights Act: how could anyone possibly imagine that they had any animus toward Black political participation?

    2. Somehow, you’ve managed to conflate something explicitly racist with something completely non-racist, under the category “race-baiting”.

      1. …says Eli, according to his opinion. And we should believe you as the expert on classifying what is and is not racist why?

        1. According to Bux, any time a Democrat brings up the GOP’s recent (aka 1968+) race relations record, it’s race-baiting.

          Perhaps, Bux, you may imagine that the vast majority of Blacks and Latino have been brainwashed into voting (D)?
          I rather think they know their business better than I do, so have made their informed choice.

    3. Look, I’m SICK of people talking about that remark like it was racial. I’m black and I took it as financial slavery. Why do you try to change Biden’s words to mean something they are not. Get over it.

    1. His family moved to Mexico so the men could still have multiple wives, after polygamy became illegal in the United States. His great-grandfather was a polygamist. Some of his family are still in Mexico, though they no longer practice polygamy. All these things are true, unlike almost everything that comes out of Mitt Romney’s mouth.

      1. And those are relevant today how?

        This blog isn’t in the slightest “Reality Based” these days, it’s whatever distortions are necessary to keep up support for President Obama. You can practically hear the credibility going down the drain….

        1. What distortion are you talking about?

          The “reality” is that three generations back, the Romney forbears felt so strongly about polygamy that they left the United States to practice it. I wish liberals were more effective – not more squeamish – about using reality-based (but yes, unfair) complaints like that.

          Further, a part of me wishes that, even if it weren’t true, liberals were successful in making shit like that up. I mean, it would be a terrific lie to tell (if only it were a lie) – very much akin to the Obama-born-in-Kenya lie. Very resonant among the bigots.

          No, the “Reality-Based” aren’t willing to stoop so low, and it costs them. Apparently, the absolute height of liberal perfidy is erring by a generation in describing which of these anti-American cultists were practicing polygamists. Boo fucking hoo.

        2. This comment is even more irrelevant than complaints about Mitt Romney’s ancestors interest in polygamy (which is itself slighlty more relevant from those of Barack Obama’s ancestors). There was some confusion about which of Romney’s ancestors practiced polygamy, but there is less confusion about whether it makes any sense to talk about sending Obama back to Kenya (where the evidence suggests he has never lived but only visited) and about the idea of Obama throwing spears (I normally do not care when people complain about “dog whistles,” [especially the idea that any criticism of the number of people on welfare under Obama, a purely political issue, is some sort of racial insult] and am skeptical about how anything within several degrees of a racial insult is itself a racial insult [the hysteria over nooses and the word “plantation” are foolish]) is coming quite close to an actual racial insult.
          I realize that I am rambling, but my point is that criticisms of Romney’s religions and his ancestors’ religious practices are more factually-based and are less inherently insulting than these criticisms by Jason Thompson and Mark Sanford.

        3. Henry Stimson: This blog isn’t in the slightest “Reality Based” these days…

          Please note that on Wimberley’s post yesterday about centrifuges Henry Stimson made this “reality based” comment:

          Seems to me that Mr. Biden proved Mr. Ryan’s point that the current administration isn’t particularly concerned about Iranian enrichment.

          To which I responded: If they weren’t concerned why is the Obama Administration being “credited” and “damned” for launching the first cyberwar attack against another nation? On 1 June 2012, an article in The New York Times said that Stuxnet is part of a U.S. and Israeli intelligence operation called “Operation Olympic Games”, started under President George W. Bush and expanded under President Barack Obama.

          To which Henry didn’t respond. Because what response is there? His “reality-failed” bullshit was utterly destroyed. So what does he do next? He shows up one day later on this thread pitching a bitch about the blog not being “reality-based” enough. Intellectual dishonesty isn’t a trait you should cultivate around here Henry. There’s too many smart people here. You’ll lose every argument like Brett always does. And eventually, like Brett, it will drive you into hiding…

          1. Choosing not to respond to _yet_ _another_ irrelevant point isn’t the same as agreeing to it. There’s a limit to how much time one can spend bringing people back to the point of the conversation, because there’s an almost limitless amout of shiny distracting things that can enter.

            As to this thread: “Racial tropes” are not the same thing as religious ones, but attacking somebody for their heritage (what their _grand_parents did) is certainly similar. On the other hand, racial issues are sacred to modern liberal thinking, and religious ones are not. Different people will pick one distinction or the other to defend. The interesting thing to me it that it used to be much more “lets look at this specific situation, and see how it plays out” seems to have a much more monolithic point of view now. Election getting closer? I don’t know, but it’s interesting.

    2. As I’ve remarked before, “Reality based community” is rather like, “Democratic people’s republic”; Nobody who is one bothers calling themselves one.

      1. a little history here. as brett well knows, the whole “reality based community” construct came out of the mouth of a bush administration lackey who denigrated the press as being part of the reality based community who could only look on helplessly as the bush administration created new realities every day.

      2. Brett! Tell us again how the important thing about the circumstances of Obama’s birth is that he refused to provide his real birth certificate! That’s some prime, grade-A bullshit there, and as I said above, I envy you your ability to pull it off.

        1. The import is that there’s a constitutional requirement that Presidents be natural born citizens, and it is thus entirely appropriate that they provide evidence of this on demand, and not merely such evidence as THEY deem sufficient.

          Again I point out that, despite all the claims in the reality based community that it wasn’t legally possible for Obama to produce the original birth certificate, he did indeed produce it the moment a court scheduled a hearing on the merits, instead of dismissing on standing. Thereby demonstrating the reality that he could have produced it, if he wanted.

          He wanted to prolong the contraversy, that’s the only reason it lasted so long. And why was there any question of where he was born? Perhaps because at one time he found it convenient to have people think he was foreign born?

          1. I share your frustration that the president didn’t show more respect towards a racist conspiracy theory. I’m sure you were equally upset when Bush failed to prove he wasn’t behind 9/11.

          2. There is, indeed, a constitutional requirement that Obama met, and proved that he met to the relevant authorities. And he did so, in public, at least four years before you claim he hadn’t done so.

            I am really in awe of people like you, Brett. The Right has raised projection to an art form. Liberals say they try to assess claims according to their basis in reality? Well, you can accomplish the same result just by saying, over and over, that your claims are based in reality. Saves a lot of work, and unlike liberals, you can get whatever result you want.

            Perhaps for an encore you can remind me who the real racists are. Or how Obama is unusually inarticulate for a president.

          3. i realize i plow the sea in responding to this but i do wish you would at least recall that until officials in hawaii decided to waive the normal prohibition on the release of a long form birth certificate this issue was not in obama’s hands but theirs. i must say your apparent inability to admit error is your least attractive trait on this site. your total lack of response to the total refutation of some of the “issues” you have raised makes discussing topics with you something like walking through a minefield built in a swamp.

          4. Thanks , Brett, for proving the point. Obama released what every President has to provide: whatever their birth state provides to prove he was born there. You and your friends cooked up a big conspiracy theory out of nothing and asked for something Hawaii doesn’t normally release. The President concurred with Hawaii that what they normally do should be sufficient for him just as well as it is for everyone else. You continued to make new conspiracy theories out of nothing. You claimed it proved there was something irregular about what was in the larger body of info Hawaii does not normally release. So when both the President and Hawaii got tired of the distraction, the President asked, and Hawaii agreed, to release the additional information. You are still spinning the conspiracy in a most ludicrous way. (The information is correct but he wanted people to think he was foreign born.) Many of your fellow conspirators are still claiming the info is bogus. Some are cooking up different conspiracies to explain why the very thing that they said was all that was needed to stop it all is now a mere minor bump in the grander conspiracy. Almost none of them, like you, are admitting they were wrong and apologizing for spreading that misinformation.

          5. Again, the reality is that he asked for it, and he got it. That fact trumps all theories and claims.

            The reality of it is that there never was any question that the certificate could be produced, if a judge agreed that it was relevant evidence in a judicial proceeding.

            The reality of it is that the claims he couldn’t produce it were WRONG. That’s reality.

          6. Nobody has pointed out that the final release of the long form certificate was carefully timed to occur just before the Correspondents Dinner. This then provide wonderful comedic fodder for Obama. He treated the whole issue with the “respect” it deserved.

            And his put down of Trump was masterful. Probably stopped his bid for the Republican nomination in it’s tracks.

            The Obama team knew the release was coming as that “birth” video would have taken some time to make.

          7. ” Brett quite literally used the Ontological Question in an attempt to defend his rampant Birtherism.”

            Where “Bitherism” is defined as thinking that legal demands that Obama produce the birth certificate should succeed, and that when they did, he almost certainly could produce it. And thinking that McCain was the one who actually violated the native born citizen clause, not Obama.

            That “almost” really pisses some people off, but as I keep pointing out, I’m not a member of your church, I’m not required to make it’s professions of faith. I find the demands that I do hilarious. What are you going to do, strip me of my Democratic party membership card? Don’t have one…

          8. continuing to plow the sea, i agree you obviously do not belong to my “church” since i don’t believe that one is permitted to drift off into an epistemological fog whenever it suits one’s purposes. you cannot deny the record of your statements, no matter how much you may desire to spin them and pretty them up. you cannot deny that you put yourself down as being uncertain of his true birthplace because you weren’t present at the birth and by implication you cast doubt on every event you did not personally witness. no matter how much you backtrack to interpretations about what you really mean or what you believe is really irritating the rest of your interlocutors, you still have left on the record a categorical denial of any reality beyond what you have personally witnessed. at the time of the linked post i thought you were being ironic and very funny. if you wish to claim irony now i could easily accept that, if you were to walk back your categorical i would applaud your ability to admit error. as you choose to do neither, i continue to call out philosophical and analytical differences between our divergent views of the world, no matter how futile such a project is.

    3. The comment by Brian Schweitzer in the article you linked to is the only incident I’m aware of in which a Democrat of any prominence made a negative comment about Romney’s religion. It’s certainly possible that there are one or two others, but that doesn’t even begin to compare to the dozens, if not hundreds of racist or semi-racists statements made by Republican candidates, office-holders and party officials. Henry Stimson’s comment is classic “false equivalency”.

      Indeed, virtually all of the negative comments about the Mormon religion in this election season have come from other Republicans!

      1. 1. I would also point out that Mormonism is a system of voluntary rituals as opposed to an inherited fact like having a father who was born in Kenya (although conservatives may claim that Barack Obama did not have to identify so strongly with the African-American community as opposed to with Hawaii post-racialism etc.).
        2. I would also point out that criticisms of Mitt Romney’s religion do not rely so heavily on very weird conspiracy theories.
        3. I am open to the possibility (but not completely sure about it) that Mormonism goes beyond the un-scientific-ness of mainstream religions to encompass anti-scientific-ness and that its practitioners may therefore expose themselves to insult while having lost any right to be taken seriously when they complain. Again, I am not entirely sure that I think this is true, but I am open to that possibility.

        1. I think being a member of a religion you were born into is not nearly so “voluntary” as to justify giving somebody grief over it. The religion is installed with “root access”, before you develop the capacity for rational thought, only a tiny minority, often warped in some respect, have the capacity to objectively evaluate and reject a religion they were born into, if any effort at all was made to raise them in it. Really, all you can ask of people in this respect is that they behave in a decent manner, and not use their religion as an excuse to do wrong.

          I am sufficiently satisfied that Romney goes above and beyond the demands his religion makes in the area of charity and personal service; By all evidence, unless you’re a family pet, he’s a remarkably decent and generous guy. Phenomenally so for a politician. Certainly a contrast to Biden, I’m still shocked by how little THAT skinflint gives to charity.

          Does Mormonism demand you believe some hilarious things? Not unusual for a religion, of course, except that the hilarity is a bit more recent than the parting of the Red Sea, and less consequential than the belief that Marxism had nothing to do with over 100,000,000 dead in the 20th century. Religion is both irrational, AND unavoidable.

          The same, of course, does not go for religions people convert to in their adult years. And anybody who converts to Scientology has proven themselves to be mentally incompetent.

          1. Nothing complicated about it, Navarro; Both cases are cogent analysis, it’s just that in the case you reference, your own irrationality prevents you from noticing this.

          2. perhaps we’re both being irrational and that irrationality is being induced by the scientists who are keeping our brains in jars and making us think we’re having a back and forth online. by the rather loose standards of knowledge you adhere to i can’t possibly be certain whether my perceptions reflect any reality at all. indeed, it’s possible that you and i are the same person simulating a discussion for personal amusement and the possible irritation of others. after all, unless one could be in the room with both brett bellmore and navarro as they entered comments, there’s no way of knowing if those names represent separate individuals or not.

  3. navarro, what is often overlooked by smug liberals is the fact that the Bush aide was correct, and that his view has been borne out by the events that followed.

    1. Indeed, the import of the remark was essentially, “Why are you obsessing about facts that I can change by acting?” It wasn’t a denial of objective reality, but merely pointing out that objective reality is subject to being altered by people who interact with it.

      1. Do you really want to defend Rove’s boast? He was attacking the idea that “solutions emerge from your judicious study of reality.” The inequality of power between the Bush circle and the rest of the world was supposed to justify this contempt for everybody else’s empiricism. But any madman in authority who hears voices in the air can “interact with reality,” for the worse. Rove’s idea was also that that they weren’t going to screw it up. In the event, of course, there were other historical actors, whose own judicious study of reality informed “interaction with reality” that brought Bush’s imperial project to grief. Or do you imagine that history justifies Rove’s hubris? (Beyond the original context, the phrase also took on a more general ironic significance in light of the broader anti-empirical bias on the Bush- and post-Bush right.)

        1. Rove’s idea was also that that they weren’t going to screw it up. In the event, of course, there were other historical actors, whose own judicious study of reality informed “interaction with reality” that brought Bush’s imperial project to grief.

          I think this assumes facts not in evidence. In what sense was the Bush imperial project “brought … to grief”? Bush was re-elected long after the outcome of his project was understood. Obviously the costs were high, but they weren’t borne by anyone Bush cares about. And the result was a significant re-ordering of the American polity that Obama has not reversed (even if he’s made a few modifications here and there).

          1. i think that the phrase “brought to grief” is apt enough given the way gwb has so completely disappeared from the memory of the republican party. other than the taxcuts that bear his name, is there anything left of his projects the repuiblican party cherishes?

      2. Well, no. The scale of the ambition matters. It wasn’t simply a political operative’s belief that through force of will the Bushies could defy what someone else thought was the force of political gravity, ie that they thought more grandly about what was politically possible. It genuinely was the idea that the Bushies could defy the laws of simple arithmetic and the actual laws of physics. That anyone pointing out that a number of their policies were obviously completely impossible of success, and indeed were already failing, and that the numbers simply didn’t come close to adding up, and that their descriptions of the situation bore no relationship to the facts – that these problems required more than determined self-confidence and an act of will to overcome.

      3. Many of us took it as more Orwell inspired.
        The notion that propaganda creates reality.
        Or else.

  4. 1. I apologize deeply for my anti-Mormonism earlier in this thread. That is a foolish form of bigotry.
    2. It is reality-based to criticize Sanford and Thompson for their remarks because Sanford and Thompson actually said those things.
    3. I have posted on this thread too much,

  5. is there anything left of his projects the repuiblican party cherishes

    Oh gosh, yes. We withdrew from Iraq (to the extent that we did) on Bush’s timetable and terms. We’re still fighting in Afghanistan. Yes, bin Laden is dead, but he’d lost his usefulness to the Republicans once Bush left office.

    Torture is now understood to be an acceptable instrument of U.S. policy, even if the current occupant of the Oval Office is a bit squeamish about it. Taboos against warrantless surveillance have been sharply weakened. And Obama has solidified Bush’s stance in favor of harassment of whistleblowers and the use of remote-controlled robots for assassination.

    In the aftermath of Katrina – a spectacular Bush failure, according to the Reality-Based – there’s a white guy running New Orleans, and a hard-right Republican running Louisiana.

    The Bush tax cuts have survived this far, and Obama has declared them inviolate as far as the middle class and the somewhat wealthy are concerned. Will those cuts ultimately be overturned for the extraordinarily rich? Stay tuned …

    Even healthcare reform is modeled on rightwing ideas, and in its most salient aspects looks a lot like Bush’s Medicare Part D, in that both were designed with an eye toward paying off the relevant Big Money interests. (Obama, to his credit, did work a significant improvement on Part D.)

    And mind you, I agree that Bush was repudiated by the electorate and, in some ways, by his own party. But that’s only true if you take a very literal, reality-based approach to evaluating events.

    As the man said:

    … we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities …

    It’s vexing for me to admit all of this, especially because it makes me sound as though I am against the Reality-Based, or against Obama, neither of which is true. I guess I’d like to think of myself as advocating a deeper basis in reality – and some acknowledgment that Rove had a whole lot more on the ball than he is given credit for.

  6. Hmm. My post got eaten, so I am posting it a-gain.

    I’m so glad I missed this discussion.

    TAX RETURNS. Where are they? They are “real,” as in, they must exist somewhere. Is that reality-based enough???

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