Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tarring An Idiot & The Tea Party Convention

The headline from the NY Daily News is "Tea Party convention's racial brouhaha: Obama won because Jim Crow-era law not on books - Tancredo." Here is what the report has to say:

The opening speaker at the first National Tea Party Convention called President Obama a "committed Socialist ideologue" who was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote."

. . . "People who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House," he said.

Tancredo, a failed 2008 presidential candidate, made his reputation as a rabid foe of illegal immigrants. The literacy tests he pined for were once used in the South to keep blacks from voting.

The spin on this is ridiculous. Tancredo is complaining about a portion of the electorate that is ignorant of America. Given his background and choice of words, one can assume that he was refering to illegal immigrants, though his language was broad enough to encompass even legal immigrants. That said, green card holders can't vote, and there was, when last I checked, a civics and language test involved in naturalization process. At any rate, what is clear is nothing in what Tancredo said could be construed as "pining" for a return of Jim Crow - a set of laws prevelant in the Democrat controlled Southern states at the turn of the twentieth century. Jim Crow was not about insuring an electorate with some knowledge of our history, system of government and language, it was about excluding a class of voters.

That said, the suggestion that immigrants, legal or otherwise, swung the election to Obama is just unsupported Obermanesque bomb throwing. Nothing I have read lends credence to Tancredo's claim. The guy's heart may be in the right place as to stopping the scourge of illegal immigration, but he is way over the top in expressing it and he seems far afield in blaiming Obama's election on it. Tancredo may not be a racist, but he is an idiot and the Tea Party Convention made a mistrake having him as the opening speaker.

Taken to its logical end, Tancredo's point is that the American electorate is stupid. That is a theme which, as Krauthammer notes in a recent article, is a bedrock belief of the far left. And just as the far left is wrong on that, so is Tancredo. The voters may be politically ignorant, but don't conflate that with stupidity. As we are being shown time and again of late, most voters can only be fooled once.


OBloodyHell said...

> because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote."
. . . "People who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House," he said.

I take that slightly differently than you do, and also disagree with your contention that such could not arguably have been the margin.

1) The latter point first: The final voting margin was 9.5 million votes. The minority factor alone probably contributed that many votes (i.e., single issue, "elect the minority" voters with no better thought in their heads)
McCain would have needed 97 electoral votes, not necessarily trivial, BUT:
Indiana, 11, 30k (1%)
NoCa, 15, 15k (.4%)
Florida, 27, 250k (3%)
Ohio, 20, 270k (5%)
Virgina, 13, 240k(7%)
That's 86 right there -- throw in a couple more of the smaller states and it goes the other way. I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that 10% of the pro-Obama vote were racists, which I'd argue is far, far higher than the racist anti-Obama vote. Others were anti-GOP -- and finally because a lot of them failed to notice, "somehow", that the media was utterly failing to ask important questions about Obama, which, with a civically and politically responsible electorate would have resulted in a backlash against Obama.

2) I don't know much about Tancredo, really, and don't care offhand at this point -- but the assessment that a lot of Obama's voters come from the undereducated (as well as the overeducated) isn't an unreasonable one. And that doesn't xlate just into "illegals". That's a lot of the product of our modern schools who don't grasp, as you and I both do, the Dem's history of racism and racialist policies. People who can't think because they were "taught" (if such is the word) in a place where teaching equated to babysitting. And I think one can easily make the argument that those percentages in "1" above would easily be covered by such.

That said, the Tea Party picking such an obvious lightning rod wasn't all that smart, I grant.

And Tancredo's point still has validity in terms of what one should do to fix an issue, which is the lack of responsibility in the exercise of franchise among the electorate.

A democracy, even a representative one, only works as long as the voters are able to think and reason and realize when they are being gamed, and that it really doesn't matter which party is in power because politicians of all stripes are more than likely crooks and self-serving charlatans.

While this corruption is far more prevalent in US history than is acked, I do think that the day is gone when a PotUS would intone, as Cleveland did when vetoing the Texas Seed Bill:

I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.
-- Grover Cleveland -- February 16, 1887

I'd argue that Cleveland's statement, and the reasoning behind it, ought to be a central focus of modern civics and history classes in schools. The fact that there is nothing like it is part of the ongoing destruction of the American character.

aniela@israel said...

"we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote."
i am sorry. that means people are not equal , some of them deserve to voite and some-not? sorry guys its totally not democratic.

GW said...

OBH: If I understand Tancredo's point, he was likely attacking immigrants, and specifically within that ambit, illegal immigrants. For them to have effected the vote - or for voter fraud involving green card holders to have effected the vote - it would require voter fraud on a massive scale - since none of those individuals can lawfully vote. There was just no evidence of it.

Aniela: I was not advocating civics tests as a prerequisite for voting. I am an advocate of universal sufferage - no tests other than citizenship and a picture id card. To the extent that I have concerns with a vote, it is with the foundations for vote fraud that the left seems intent to build into our system.

OBloodyHell said...

> since none of those individuals can lawfully vote. There was just no evidence of it.

Um, you mean other than the fact that Indianapolis, with its 'x' population, can be reasonably estimated to have 'y' "warm body" individuals (native-born or naturalized citizens, of voting age, without their civil rights restricted by crimes, etc.)... and Indianapolis had '1.05y' voters registered for the 2008 election? That is, way more people registered to vote than there was in the city? That kind of blatant fraud?

That's Indiana, where the margin of victory was only 30k -- 1% of the vote. And Indianapolis all alone is a substantial fraction of the total state voter rolls.

Ohio had reports of similar but less overtly questionable chicanery going on in regards to registration.

Did all those vote? Maybe not. But how many specious votes WERE associated with those specious registrations? I doubt if Mickey Mouse voted, but how many other bogus names did?

It wasn't that there wasn't any evidence, it was that it wasn't recognizably, inarguably sufficient that McCain believed it worthwhile to challenge and create yet another voting scandal.

OBloodyHell said...

> i am sorry. that means people are not equal , some of them deserve to voite and some-not? sorry guys its totally not democratic.

Aniela, you are correct, it's not a pure, "warm-body" democratic system.

To both of you, I'd point out to you that the FFs explcitly did NOT attempt to establish a "warm body" democracy.

The voting public were specifically limited to "responsible" citizens, ones who would be expected to take their franchise rights very seriously.

I think one can easily argue that their criteria may have been too restrictive (automatically excluding women and non-whites, in at least some or all venues). I will definitely state that our current criteria are way too unrestrictive.

I have no problem with the admittedly vaguely defined notion that one should be able to read and understand what one is voting for. Anything less than that and sooner or later the system WILL fail, as the irresponsible ones vote for the classic "bread and circusses".

With our population right on the cusp of having 50% of its people taking more money out of the public till than they put into it, you have, along with an ill-informed, illiterate, and critical-reasoning-challenged electorate a clear recipe for disaster. And the Obama presidency is the first such total disaster we've experienced. Don't expect it to be the last.

Democracy cannot long survive such an electorate, but that sort of notion is never broached in modern schools.

I state the above with full recognition of the issues which surround the idea of "who sets up such a test?" This is a classic problem of governance -- how to produce good decision making from the governing organizations.

Don't think I don't have faith in the so-called "common man". It's the less-common ones that are rapidly becoming the majority I'm concerned with.

"There is no week, nor day, nor hour, when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their supreme confidence in themselves - and lose their roughness and spirit of defiance."
- Walt Whitman -

America IS well on its way to losing that roughness and spirit of defiance. It's taken a near-crisis of wretchedly bad governance to kick it into action. And, unfortunately, such movements run out of steam before long. And then it will be once more into "backslide mode", and any regains that come from this will be lost.

They've pushed HARD at least three separate times in the last 50-odd years to get Collectivist Health Care passed. Each of those times they've gotten closer and closer to doing it. The next time, roughly 15-20 years from now, they are likely to get it passed, unless there is some radical semi-permanent shift in the direction this country is headed.

Now that might happen -- the financial meltdown that SS is going to produce within 10 years could be the camel breaker.

But all this havoc is being wrought by the Boomers. What happens when the Gen-Xers fade, and the Children of Boomers, with their sense of entitlement, failure to grasp the limits of government, and almost complete lack of critical thinking capabilities (thanks to government schools) become the main voting bloc? Be afwaid. Be wery, wery afwaid.