"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Sunday, September 11, 2016

On "Deplorables" (Updated)

I couldn't agree more with Josh Marshall's comments:

Let me take a moment to address this "basket of deplorables" comment because I think it's critically important to get this right. Hillary Clinton has simply said what is the premise of most election coverage of the 2016 campaign: a big chunk of Trump supporters are haters. Racists, misogynists, people who are angry at the social and demographic changes in the country that most Americans see as progress. They want to stop it in its tracks and they want payback for what has happened already. To emphasize the point, this is not just what she and likely the great majority of her supporters believe. It has been the premise of most reporting on the campaign and validated by a vast cache of public opinion data confirming these points.

It may have been easier not to say this and left herself vulnerable to a faux-populist counterattack. But she did say it. She cannot unsay it. And since it is not only basically true but in fact a matter of central importance to the entire election, it is truly critical that she not back down.

Add in the tribalists -- the hard-core Republicans who put party over country -- and you've got Trump's base.

Should she have said it? It's hard to know what to answer -- Marshall's comment about faux-populist rage has an element of truth -- a big element of truth -- but she's going to get that no matter what she says about anything. And I think it's about time that the Democrats started hitting harder, if you know what I mean: I'm tired of the party that demonstrably is working for the good of the country as a whole being on the defensive. And the thing about the right wing -- like any other bullies, if you stand up to them, they'll fold.

And as for her "apology":

I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong,” Clinton said in a statement. . . .

Maybe you have to have a life-long of in-your-face attitude, but I read that as "I regret saying only half -- that was wrong."

The Clinton campaign came out with this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that's never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ -- that was wrong. But let's be clear, what's really ‘deplorable’ is that Donald Trump hired a major advocate for the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement to run his campaign and that David Duke and other white supremacists see him as a champion of their values. It's deplorable that Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices, including by retweeting fringe bigots with a few dozen followers and spreading their message to 11 million people. It's deplorable that he's attacked a federal judge for his ‘Mexican heritage,’ bullied a Gold Star family because of their Muslim faith, and promoted the lie that our first black president is not a true American. So I won't stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign. I also meant what I said last night about empathy, and the very real challenges we face as a country where so many people have been left out and left behind. As I said, many of Trump's supporters are hard-working Americans who just don’t feel like the economy or our political system are working for them. I'm determined to bring our country together and make our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top. Because we really are ‘stronger together.’”

Clarify -- don't apologize.

Update: Just ran across this, by Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic:

One way of reporting on Clinton’s statement is to weigh its political cost, ask what it means for her campaign, or attempt to predict how it might affect her performance among certain groups. This path is in line with the current imperatives of political reporting and, at least for the moment, seems to be the direction of coverage. But there is another line of reporting that could be pursued — Was Hillary Clinton being truthful or not?
(Emphasis added.)

And, as Coates goes on to demonstrate, she was.

It's sobering to realize just how far from reality the media have drifted, when no one -- well, almost no one -- is asking that basic question. But then, according to one of the sock-puppets scheduled to moderate the presidential debates, fact-checking is not their job.

Really? Since when?

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