I’ve been too busy to write my own posts here the last few days as I am in a very busy cycle workwise, so I have instead been hanging out at Outside the Beltway (which I should state is one of my favorite websites), and I’ve been flaming the proprietors in the comments for their nonsense. Apparently the concern du jour is the ugly tone of politics. James Joyner and Mataconis have been on a never-ending bender of “OMG POLITICS IS UGLY,’ with multiple posts decrying the new tone. Not at all surprisingly, the problem with the new tone is that when Republicans utter horrible awful lies about Democrats, the Democrats are actually, inconceivably, defying history and my own expectations, fighting back. Apparently we have forgotten all about Dan Burton shooting a watermelon to prove Clintonites killed Vince Foster, “you lie,” the “let’s act as insurgents,” the entire 2008 election with the birtherism, the palling around with terrorists, and what not. The southern strategy of the GOP has, of course, received no mention:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
But what really upsets the “reasonable” Republicans and libertarians is the fact that for once, Democrats are fighting back. For years as a Republican I would just laugh as we beat down Democrats and they never did anything. Well, they’ve learned, fortunately, and are fighting back, and now we have folks getting the vapors, worrying about “tone.” Fuck, it’s not like Obama and team put a fucking crosshair over Gabby Giffords head and had machine gun rallies. But my favorite bit of bullshit is this outright goddamned lie from James Joyner, which he uses as evidence of the new negative tone:
Now, though, we’ve got the Obama administration signing off on an ad insinuating that Mitt Romney killed a woman and the vice president refusing to back away from the suggestion that Romney wants to put black people back in chains. So, yeah, I’d say it’s worse than four or eight years ago.
First off, if that woman had health insurance that had not been robbed by the vulture capitalists at Bain, led by Mitt Romney, she might still be alive. But I’ll pass that off as debatable. The latter part, though, is unmitigated bullshit:
the vice president refusing to back away from the suggestion that Romney wants to put black people back in chains.
Joyner is lying. Biden never said Romney wants to put black people in chains. Period. That is not what Biden said. Here is the actual quote:
Specifically, the vice president said to the Danville, Virginia, crowd that the House GOP budget, partly written by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., gives an indication of the Republican presidential ticket’s values.
“We got a real clear picture of what they all value,” Biden said. “Every Republican’s voted for it. Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they’re proposing. Romney wants to let the — he said in the first hundred days he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, ‘unchain Wall Street.’ They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
An Obama campaign official tells ABC News that “as the full quote makes obvious, the Vice President was clearly using a metaphor to describe the devastating impact of deregulating Wall Street and the financial industry, as well as how Governor Romney’s policies would take us back to the same failed formula that led to the 2008 financial crisis – the same failed formula that benefited a few, but crashed our economy and hurt the middle class.”
He quite clearly was stating that the Republicans and Mitt Romney want an unrestrained Wall Street and business sector, and want to make sure you have no way to fight back. Is this wrong? Is this not the entire point of Romney’s radical deregulatory platform that includes the repeal of Dodd/Frank, the repeal of Obamacare that provides protection to many consumers in the health care market? Did the Republicans not spent the last few years blocking Elizabeth Warren and the CFPB? They don’t want you to be able to fight back against big business. Those are their donors, and they have been quite open about it. They want you, the individual, to be powerless. Or, as some may say… in chains.
What Biden said was completely true. They want an unfettered Wall Street, an unrestricted and unregulated business sector, they want tort reform, and they want you all unable to respond to their excesses. That is the Republican vision. End of story.
When James Joyner says that Biden is claiming Romney wants black people in chains, he is lying, playing an ugly racial game, and banking on his reputation as a “respectable” Republican that you won’t be disgusted and outraged by his blatant lies and call him on it. I have known James for a long time, like him personally, but he really gave up the game on this one. Extrapolating a metaphor that accurately reflects the current GOP position and the position of the current nominees while distorting it to turn it into something racially inflammatory is the ugliest kind of politics there is.
That this was done in a post decrying the new “ugly tone” of politics makes it all the more awesome. And by awesome, I mean pathetic.
Tribalism. Metaphors. WTF?