Monday, October 20, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

But the modern right wing, as Daniel Bell has put it, feels dispossessed: America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion. The old American virtues have already been eaten away by cosmopolitans and intellectuals; the old competitive capitalism has been gradually undermined by socialistic and communistic schemers; the old national security and independence have been destroyed by treasonous plots, having as their most powerful agents not merely outsiders and foreigners as of old but major statesmen who are at the very centers of American power. Their predecessors had discovered conspiracies; the modern radical right finds conspiracy to be betrayal from on high.

—Richard Hofstadter, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" (1964)
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills? Raise their hand. President Obama, are you listening?... You know, Cuba used to have mansions and a relatively decent economy. They moved from the individual to the collective. Now, they're driving '54 Chevys, maybe the last great car to come out of Detroit.... We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I'm gonna start organizing.

—CNBC Reporter Rick Santelli, February 19, 2009, from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, October 29, 2010
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Friday, October 17, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

It is a measure of the Obama's administration's ineptitude in communication that the public came to see Geithner, Summers & Co. as tools of Wall Street while at the same time the bankers who were saved from oblivion came to hate the administration for vilifying and scapegoating them.

— Alan S. Blinder, After the Music Stopped
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

—Barack Obama, November 4, 2008
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

Black man given nation's worst job.

Onion headline, November 5, 2008
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party (Con't)

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow....

The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends....

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

—Barack Obama, March 18, 2008
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Monday, October 13, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 29, Obama and the Tea Party

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

—Then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, Democratic Convention, Boston, 2004

[Obama] should take back, in every detail, the speech that made him famous in Boston in 2004, because subsequent events have rendered it either naive or the most grotesque of fantasies.

Charles P. Pierce, 2014
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 28, The Crash of 2008 and the Great Recession (Con't)

...somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

—W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming"
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 28, The Crash of 2008 and the Great Recession (Con't)

Sadly, the forgetting has already begun. Unrepentant financiers, eager to return to the status quo ante, are whining about excessive regulation. Recalcitrant politicians are bemoaning big government and itching to return to laissez-faire. The public has turned its attention elsewhere.

— Alan S. Blinder, After the Music Stopped
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.