Two Conventions: One for Old White People, One for Everyone Else

Categories: Schutze

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Look, I'm not even the world's biggest fan of political conventions, because they make me feel like I'm trapped in a cubicle with a car salesman. What's to believe about an event where they hire a consultant to do the balloon drop?

But with these two conventions freshly behind us, I don't think it will kill us to talk. Please let me share my few and simple thoughts. Then you.

This is what I thought I could see for sure. The Republican convention looked white. Sorry. I stared at the screen. It just looked white. Kind of a white-out.

I'm not talking about up on the stage where everything was art-directed. I'm talking about crowd shots, scenes in corridors, all of the peripherals just outside the control of the media strategists. Haven't seen that many mature white people in one place since the last time I watched a late-night Perry Mason episode.

The Democratic convention, on the other hand, looked diverse. In fact when they panned the rank and file out in the gallery, the cameras couldn't have avoided nonwhite faces had they tried. There were too many of them. And I saw plenty of people who looked out-gay, old hippie, union-proud, handicapped -- the full monte of what we expect Democrats to be.

So Democrats look like Democrats, and Republicans look like Republicans. Did I really have to watch two conventions to come to that brilliant deduction?

No, but it's what they did with it. The Democrats talked about shared sacrifice and we're all in this together. And just for clarity, who all is in this together? All kinds of people. The optics said it's every one of us.

The Republicans harped on "We built it." Again for clarity, we who? Who built America? The optics said it's we old white people. The message was that old white people built this country.

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Old, white and an unreal, undead product of the imagination: Meet the GOP mascot.
That message actually hit home for me, though not in a good way, because I'm old white people. I get it. I know exactly what "We built it" is all about. It's about old white people wanting to turn back the clock a half century to the America we grew up in.

I must admit, it was one slick deal for white people. America after World War II all the way through the 1960s was a fancy banquet set for white heteros with command of all four limbs. The table was laid, man. If we ever even glimpsed any of those other types, they were standing against the wall with towels over their arms awaiting our finger-snapped wishes.

We were first-hired, last-fired. Many of us benefited from free college educations, which even Republicans back then were more than happy to pay for with tax money.

It was a white Christmas all year long. Hey, I know exactly why some white people my age yearn to return to it. Compared with today, it was so damned easy.

I also believe that particular yearning is an irrational obscenity set against truth and time. It defines white people as something we are not -- superior and entitled, not to mention flimsy and afraid of fair competition on a level playing field. That dream, if realized, would condemn me to return to a narrow, stultifying world of Jell-O casserole and Dean Martin jokes. Please, please, don't drag me back there. My appetite has grown since then.

And here is the second piece from the conventions. With Bill Clinton as their wonk-in-chief, the Democrats laid out all the pieces of their agenda, along with the arithmetic. They said exactly what they want to do in Washington.

The Republicans, on the other hand, held their cards beneath the table. At the podium they were all platitudes and attitudes.

Why would that be? Especially with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan vowing a steady diet of tough-love honesty, why was there such an absence of it in their speeches? They came across instead all wide-eyed and smarmy, like scandal-tossed televangelists trying to make nice with the dues-payers.

The logical explanation is that they can't afford for the rest of the country outside their base to see the second part, the necessary corollary of "We built this."

"Screw the rest of you."

Their absence of candor about the loophole cuts and program spending cuts is the real tell. My guess is that they won't talk about the pain because all the pain is going to be aimed at everybody who isn't an old white person.

Old and white? Don't worry. You'll keep your Social Security and Medicare and the Medicaid that pays for Grandma's nursing home. That will all be paid for out of the wages and salaries of the new much blacker and browner and more immigrant, gay and handicapped workforce.

But as soon as you're gone, we're cutting it off. That way they won't get any. Suckers!

My fear of that worldview is based some on politics, some on morality but more on the fact that it's basically crazy. The world simply is not going to go backwards a half century. Worlds don't do that. No way, no matter what. The world is getting smaller. Our definition of humanity is expanding. Those processes are not optional.

The picture in Tampa that I saw on my TV screen wasn't just of all white people. It was of a whole bunch of white people who seemed crazy to me. I mean crazy. They look up at the sky and tell you they don't know where the president of the United States came from. So what's their best guess? Pluto?

History and the globe today both tell us that societies can be taken over by nutcase ideologies and heretical religions. It happens. It could happen here. It won't endure. Truth shall out eventually. But things would sure be bad while it lasted.

So what did you see?

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178 comments
BigTex
BigTex

All you need to know about Mitt Romney is that basically the Mormons are just Branch Davidians with better haircuts.

JimIsWhiteGuilt
JimIsWhiteGuilt

According to white-guilters like Jim, only non-whites are allowed to act as if they are members of a group that has legitimate shared interests.   In fact, white-guilters like Jim think it is perfectly acceptable and even praiseworthy for non-white groups to act to further their own group interests, but that if whites ever do that, then they are engaging in terrible evilbad racism and are almost as bad as Hitler.  White-guilters like Jim think that whites are supposed to be above all that petty ethno-nationalism that all other groups engage in, because whites are supposed to be better than that.  Only whites are required to always act as individuals, and never as a group, unlike how all other ethnic groups are encouraged and even rewarded by white liberals for doing so.

baduserexperience
baduserexperience

I like how you spin the fact Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid were designed to be paid for by younger generations into a race thing. The math today doesn't work because the number of workers paying into the system for each retiree is much less than it used to be. The system is flawed. As for Democrats' arithmetic, they gamed the CBO numbers for the Affordable Care Act initially by specifying the underlying assumptions and pushing the big numbers outside the ten year window that was considered.

 

You shouldn't take any politician's numbers at face value. I thought YOU would know that.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

On "Meet the Press" yesterday, Romney said he would keep the "pre-existing conditions" part of Obamacare.  Today, his aides said he will not.  Etch-a-Sketch.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

“A rat done bit my sister Nell, and whitey on the Moon” – Gil Scott Heron, “Whitey on the Moon” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtBy_ppG4hY

 

In defense of whitey on the Moon, I have interviewed some of those misguided souls whom you seek to denigrate through bigotry, invective and marginalization.  They are just scared, is all.  They have far more days behind them than in front, their savings have been partially or wholly wiped out (40% on average loss in value on 401Ks and their homes are under water), they are unemployable due to age, arthritic, and are expected to not only make whole the retirement plans of their public servants, but are also expected to pay off this staggering mountain of debt.

 

“I refuse to pay for a retirement system that will not have as a member” – Whitey on the Moon.

 

Frugality is the name of the game now until the day they die.  Eat only until moderately full like their ancestors and remember – we are all only three starving days away from tearing raw flesh apart with our teeth.

 

Frugality is the name of the game now until the day they die.  Eat only until moderately full like their ancestors and remember – we are all only three starving days away from tearing raw flesh apart with our teeth.

 

So Whitey might as well be on the Moon.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Proving that all of his pledges and policies come with an expiration date, Romney did an about face today on Obamacare.  Before today he said he would repeal Obamacare on his first day in office.  Today, he said he would keep parts of it.  Etch-a Sketch.

sophee
sophee

For the Democrats the election hinges on how many people they can motivate to vote. For the Republicans the election hinges on how many people they can trick into voting against their own self-interests. We shall see.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

The problem has been over the last thirty five years is that Republicans give in on tax increases (Read My Lips), then Democrats block spending cuts, resulting in annual deficits adding to the debt each year until we’ve snapped the back of small business – the largest employer of Americans.

 

So let’s raise taxes first.  Then every three months if tax revenues do not rise to zero out the deficit for the corresponding period, we slash government and programs to make it so.  The object is to balance the ways and means, the income and expenses, of operating the country every three months.  You Liberals really want to play this game?

 

Annually, we address the debt and unfunded entitlements in the same manner.  If the implementation of new taxes and increasing rates fails to produce enough revenue to reduce the National Debt, we cut programs, sunset departments, and generally reduce spending to yield a 10% reduction in Public Debt every year.

 

See?  No problema.

 

 

joecook
joecook

I too loved JFK. What a concept: "Ask not what your country can do for you..."

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

mighty white of you

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

The Mandarins don't actually belong to either party.

 

"Inside the Democratic convention hall in Charlotte this week, the lobbyists and special interests took a rhetorical beating from the party that has tried to carry the mantle of Washington reform.

 

But outside the hall, lobbyists and their friends in Congress were the toast of Charlotte, just as they had been in Tampa during the Republican convention."

 

HA HA Suckers

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/democrats-trash-lobbyists-speeches-party-cash/story?id=17180513#.UEufCrIiZJs

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now ... Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus. - – John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, president's news conference.

 

Today, JFK would be labeled a racist old white man for making a statement like this.

 

And today he would have gone the way of Texas and become a Republican.

 

 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Democrats should issue a statement demanding republicans in the House "cease and desist" from saying that our State Department is run by the Muslim Brotherhood, and that there are "78 to 83 Communists among Democratic congresspersons."

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Mitt Romney's campaign issued a statement demanding Democratic officials "cease and desist from comparing those with whom they disagree to Nazis" after the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party compared Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) to Adolf Hitler mistress Eva Braun.

 

and lose the racism invective.  

 

it's a poor substitute for a Hearts and Minds campaign (ha!).

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

"I see a theatrical juxtaposition of opposing philosophies; one for the self and one for the many; both of which lie. Obama lies. Romney lies. Politicians lie.

 

What I see is a great weeping for the Earth"

 

Ryan, BTW, appears to be in favor of medical marijuana, thought you might be interested.

m.mayes.08
m.mayes.08

I see a theatrical juxtaposition of opposing philosophies; one for the self and one for the many; both of which lie. Obama lies. Romney lies. Politicians lie.

 

What I see is a great weeping for the Earth, and I see the half-hearted consoles handed down to those suffering by those with feeble intentions to mend. Promises of reforms that we know will be watered down of obstructed by the Congress or never come about at all, or what would seem more like threats than promises, like a bad visit from an accountant who just told you that business; money; prospect; everything is gone.  The choice that lay before us seems of the sort of demise we are to witness. The end result of the choice will be a quick demise or a slow one; the former to Romney. I cannot find myself on the side of either of these individuals; these symbols; and when faced with the choice of two poisoned meals, I would rather not eat. I cannot set at ease my moral principalities, which implore to vote for neither side. I cannot throw my vote in vain to the insignificant third party; mumbling inaudibly in a corner darkened by the media. The media will coral the sheep. They will march in rank and earn my contempt. The dollar will fall and with it certainty. There will be war and rape and torture in the name of peace, but as we all know peace is now war, or so they would have us believe.Obama cries out support for Israel. Mitt calls Russia Our enemy.  Both sides beat a drum for war, despite the catchy tune they sing to it. The war machine is killing us. We are letting them get away. Rise up America.

CarlCarlson
CarlCarlson

 @JimIsWhiteGuilt I think you missed the whole point.  Why is that white people have a group that has legitimate shared interests, but the entire group is white?  The non-white groups act in their own interests, but the interests are diverse across race, sex, religion and economic standing. Get it?

plooka32
plooka32

 @holmantx Aww, isn't that sweet.  Newsflash.  There are millions of us out here that are in the age group that we can remember the "good ol' days" and sure, we may be scared too, but we don't see boogeymen over our shoulders constantly, we don't think Pres. Obama is a socialist or was born in Kenya.  Some see reality, some don't.  The ones that don't will be left behind.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @holmantx

 

the irony of your referencing Gil Scott-Heron's "Whitey on The Moon" is really, really humourous.

 

the phrase that you quote about "a retirement system" is not in Heron's work btw.

 

you really should provide the source from which you're taking these works that you cut and paste.

plooka32
plooka32

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  The two things I dislike most about Mitt:  his face.

 

Today, on MTP, he panders to the moderates.  Tomorrow, once he realizes how pi$$ed the tea party base is, he'll backpedal.  No one has a clue what this cretin would do if elected, but I know it wouldn't be good.

 

Today, on MTP he presented himself as Obama II.  Why bother to change?  I'll stick with my president that already has the economy on the mend, stock market and corporate profits booming, and all despite the most obstructionist congress in a century.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @sophee It is in everyone's self interest to save the nation from certain financial ruin, followed by a societal breakdown.  Then we are ripe for a charismatic.  

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @holmantx Our massive debt is owned by republicans and their two unfunded wars underneath the bush and cheney and the neo-con train wreck.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @holmantx JFK would never be labeled a racist, would never become a republican, and when he spoke, his statements applied to our economy as it was in 1962, not 2012.

 

Next!

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @holmantx

 

you need to place Kennedy's quotes in context.

 

when JFK made the statement, the Federal Income Tax regs had 24 different brackets, with 2/3 of those brackets with a tax rate of over 50%.

 

Funny, I'm not aware of anyone being labeled "a racist old white man" for talking about tax rates being too high.

 

In fact, both Obama and Romney have enbraced lowering the corporate tax rate to 28% and 25% respectively. Obama has also proposed a tax reduction for repatriated foreign profits by US cos.

 

Obama has endorsed the current tax reduction for those under $250K in income, and let the current reduction expire for those above $250K. Romney propses lowering the tax rate for everyone, including those in the top quintiles, by 20%, and lowering the tax rate for capital gains.

 

Romney wants to maintain the carried interest tax treatment that lowers the tax obligation of hedge funds and private equity groups such as Bain. Obama proposes to end that special treatment and have this income treated as ordinary income, just like other tax payers with income do.

 

Obama's proposals offer a fair treatment on income, Romney wants to give the highest quintiles more tax relief.

 

If you believe the wealthiest should get their taxes lowered, support Romney. If you think the wealthiest get too favorable a tax treatment, support Obama.

 

And no, JFK wouldn't be a republican today. For one thing he would find the Republican propensity to send US troops to war unacceptable. Another issue would be the Republican initiative to curtail voting rights, which the JFK administration fought very hard to extend.

 

 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@m.mayes.08

All the gods are dead except the god of war. - Eldridge Cleaver (b. 1935), U.S. black leader, writer. Soul on Ice, pt. 1, “Four Vignettes: ‘The Christ’ and His Teachings” (1968).

 

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

 @CarlCarlson  @JimIsWhiteGuilt "he non-white groups act in their own interests, but the interests are diverse across race, sex, religion and economic standing."  Hyperbole or Justification?

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

 @TheCredibleHulk  And where are your numbers?   Regardless, both the Republicans and the Democrats have destroyed the nations finances.  This has been the only true bi-partisan activity in the last 16 years

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @plooka32 And they still have the capacity to put a bayonet in your neck.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @plooka32 we can't leave them behind.

 

we need all their assets.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @holmantx  Bush and his incompetent republicans had us well on the road to certain financial ruin.  Yes, we are better off than four years ago.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @sophee That's what that whitey racist, JFK said.  Of course, back then we had a balanced budget, a manageable debt and half this country wasn't on public benefits.  He was assassinated and the New Left Radicals took over and collapsed the system.

 

and now we have a run on firearms.  

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz you're you, JFK's supply side econs would have gotten him kicked out, and his budget was balanced and the national debt was a tiny FRACTION it is today.  

 

and half the country was not on the dole.

 

Do we live in an alternative universe (ha!).

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @mavdog Yeah, President Obama The Tax Cutter (ha!)

 

Good to see you embrace tax cuts to increase economic activity and, hence, tax revenues.

 

How supply-side of you.

 

"Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government." – John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

 

"In today's economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues." – John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: "The Economic Report Of The President"

 

"It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today's economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates."– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: "The Economic Report Of The President"

 

"Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate."– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.

 

"A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues."– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill

 

"In those countries where income taxes are lower than in the United States, the ability to defer the payment of U.S. tax by retaining income in the subsidiary companies provides a tax advantage for companies operating through overseas subsidiaries that is not available to companies operating solely in the United States. Many American investors properly made use of this deferral in the conduct of their foreign investment."– John F. Kennedy, April 20, 1961, message to Congress on taxation

 

"Our present tax system ... exerts too heavy a drag on growth ... It reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking ... The present tax load ... distorts economic judgments and channels an undue amount of energy into efforts to avoid tax liabilities."– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, press conference

 

"The present tax codes ... inhibit the mobility and formation of capital, add complexities and inequities which undermine the morale of the taxpayer, and make tax avoidance rather than market factors a prime consideration in too many economic decisions."– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 23, 1963, special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform

 

"In short, it is a paradoxical truth that ... the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country's own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus."– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference

 

"The largest single barrier to full employment of our manpower and resources and to a higher rate of economic growth is the unrealistically heavy drag of federal income taxes on private purchasing power, initiative and incentive."– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform

 

"Expansion and modernization of the nation's productive plant is essential to accelerate economic growth and to improve the international competitive position of American industry ... An early stimulus to business investment will promote recovery and increase employment."– John F. Kennedy, Feb. 2, 1961, message on economic recovery

 

"A bill will be presented to the Congress for action next year. It will include an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in both corporate and personal income taxes. It will include long-needed tax reform that logic and equity demand ... The billions of dollars this bill will place in the hands of the consumer and our businessmen will have both immediate and permanent benefits to our economy. Every dollar released from taxation that is spent or invested will help create a new job and a new salary. And these new jobs and new salaries can create other jobs and other salaries and more customers and more growth for an expanding American economy."– John F. Kennedy, Aug. 13, 1962, radio and television report on the state of the national economy

 

"This administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes ... Next year's tax bill should reduce personal as well as corporate income taxes, for those in the lower brackets, who are certain to spend their additional take-home pay, and for those in the middle and upper brackets, who can thereby be encouraged to undertake additional efforts and enabled to invest more capital ... I am confident that the enactment of the right bill next year will in due course increase our gross national product by several times the amount of taxes actually cut."– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference

 

Bu-bu-bu-but . . . this would hit women, minorities, the poor and children the hardest, right?

 

friggin' losers.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz what about all the budget and deficit legislation sent over to the Senate for negotiation?  What happened to Simpson-Bowles?  Why didn't the President just refuse to sian any legislation that did not directly deal with the crisis?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @holmantx What is certain is that the republicans did nothing over the past three and a half years, except try to destroy Obama's presidency.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz If we default on our debt no one will buy any more of it, and the system collapses.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @holmantx

 wow, you have an incredible comprehension problem.

 

or you just refuse to listen to the facts.

 

but it is one or the other. perhaps both.

 

did you bother to look at the tax rates to which JFK was referencing?

 

nah, I didn't think so. those rates are 2x and close to 3x what are currently applied. proverbial apples and oranges.

 

tax cuts to the middle and lower income households, such as Obama as well as Romney propose, are positive.

 

tax cuts to the upper income households- especially when those households enjoy tax benefits the other taxpayers do not enjoy, reducing their effective rates even lower- is not going to stimulate the economy. that has been proven through the last 3 decades.

 

would it "hit women, minorities, the poor and children the hardest"? odd that you'd say tax cuts  "hit" any of them. the reduction of taxes on the welathiest filers does provide a benefit that frankly the wealthy do not need, do not require, nor would it be equitable.

 

and yes, some of those wealthy households are "women, minorities..and children".

 

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