Obsessed-With-Race Watch, Vol. 1

Posted by: ST on June 23, 2008 at 8:00 pm

The Republican strategist Democrats love to hate weighed in this morning on his impression of Barack Obama:

ABC News’ Christianne Klein reports that at a breakfast with Republican insiders at the Capitol Hill Club this morning, former White House senior aide Karl Rove referred to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, as “coolly arrogant.”

“Even if you never met him, you know this guy,” Rove said, per Christianne Klein. “He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”

Liberal mega-blogger Josh Marshall titled his post on the issue, where he quoted Rove verbatim, Uppity-Watch, vol. 1. This is, of course, a subtle implication that Rove’s comments were tinged with racist undertones. Time and time again when a conservative Republican criticizes a black liberal Democrat, many of us have seen liberals fire back that “so and so apparently doesn’t like it when [politician/politician’s spouse] starts acting ‘uppity‘” – as in this kind of ‘uppity’:

Informal Taking liberties or assuming airs beyond one’s station; presumptuous: “was getting a little uppity and needed to be slapped down.”

In other words, the underlying meaning behind the far left’s use of the word “uppity” is to suggest that a black man or woman is speaking above themselves, and that they should go sit in the back of the bus.

Thankfully, Marshall’s fellow liberal blogger Matt Yglesias doesn’t see the racial animosity Marshall hints around about, but instead sees this:

But what about the class cues? How many Americans have had the experience of being at a country club and watching some dude with a beautiful date hold a martini and smoke a cigarette? Certainly I haven’t. Rove assumes that “you know this guy” but unless “you” are a wealthy person from the past, you probably don’t know a guy like that.

I beg to differ. I’ve been to a swanky party or three and came across more than my fair share of upturned noses in the crowd, and my income isn’t remotely in the same universe as some of those people. But I take Yglesias point for what I think he meant to say, which is, “Hey Rove, you’re a country-clubber yourself; look in the mirror.”

But there’s no other meaning behind what Marshall wrote than exactly what he said with the title of his post, which goes a long way towards showing that when it comes to race, the people who are zeroed in on it all all times are Democrats, not Republicans. Every politico out there knows that Republicans have been characterizing Democrats as arrogant, elitist and out of touch for decades now (and in turn, of course, the left have tried to paint Republicans as rich fat cats who care nothing for the poor), whether they are black or white. Barack Obama opened himself up to this type of criticism with the remarks he made in front of m/billionaires while at a ritzy speaking engagement/campaign fundraiser at a posh San Francisco home back in April when he said the following about blue collar workers:

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Now, he’s said and done other things that have raised eyebrows along those same lines, but the above comments are the standard bearer for why Barack Obama is viewed in conservative circles as elite, arrogant, and out of touch with mainstream America. This has nothing to do with Barack Obama being a black man anymore than the criticism John Kerry routinely received from conservatives in 2004 about how he married into wealth twice had anything to do with his color (that is, unless there’s someone reading this who really does believe Teresa Heinz-Kerry is an “African-American.”).

As a matter of fact, how many times have we seen conservatives write about how sick they are of hearing both Michelle and Barack Obama’s sob stories about how they were “only recently” able to pay off their student loans from the uber-expensive Harvard Law School and Princeton, in multiple silly attempts at trying to paint themselves as average Americans, even though they are obviously very well off and not having a hard time feeding the kids at night? Quite a bit. (Other examples can be read here and here)

Yet Marshall, clearly another Democrat who sees a racist Republican around every corner, thinks because Barack Obama happens to be black, and Karl Rove said what he did about being able to see Obama drinking a martini in the corner and smoking while with a beautiful date at a country club looking down his nose at others, then that ‘obviously’ means Rove thinks that Obama’s an “uppity black man,” rather than simply being one in a long list of elitist Democrats black and white Rove and other Republicans have criticized for years as being elitist snobs who willingly cut themselves off from the common people.

If anyone out there needed proof that it’s the left who will make race an issue in this campaign, I’d say between Marshall’s post, and Barack Obama’s own injection of it last week, there’s more than enough evidence there for you to chew on.

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14 Responses to “Obsessed-With-Race Watch, Vol. 1”


  1. And we saw this coming a mile away. Now we know his strategy. When criticized, play the race card and practice nomination speech until 1/21/09…

  2. Jay In Md. says:

    no matter what is said about BO, the left will spin it as a racial attack. Be prepared for some seriously convaluted lack of logic/train of thought as the left tries to explain how this comment or that one is racist.

    And if all else fails, the left will just use the word nazi.

  3. sjmuffler says:

    It seems to me that when dealing with the group that Rove belongs too they tend to project who they are onto their opponent as if to deflect it away from themselves.

    Seems to me that the “He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.” says more about Rove then Obama.

  4. Great White Rat says:

    Seems to me that the “He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.” says more about Rove then Obama.

    Oh, nonsense. It’s a good fit because that’s exactly the kind of crowd Obama craves. Think about it – where was Obama when he mocked the working people of Pennsylvania? At a Steelworkers’ union hall? At an American Legion post? A working class bar in Cleveland or Memphis? Nope…he was in a gathering of his elitist buddies who could join in belittling the average citizens.

    You don’t like the “country club” part of the phrase? My first impulse is to say that’s a “distraction”, but unlike the Obamabots, I’ll actually deal with the substance here. Rove’s point isn’t confined to country clubs. Everyone knows a sneering jerk who likes to put down everyone else. That was his point. If it makes you feel better, substitute “high school prom” or “company meeting” for “country club”.

    Now….do you care to address the point of ST’s post, namely that you on the left aren’t capable of listening to any criticism of your current hero without inventing ways to play the race card?

  5. alchemist says:

    I just think it’s funny that Rove dismisses other people for being “arrogant”, or for making “snide comments”. Takes one to know one I guess.

  6. Lorica says:

    Honestly tho, these people did the same thing with Kerry in 04. “You can’t criticize him, HE’S a Vietnam War Vet.” You couldn’t criticize him on anything. Then when the Swiftboat Vets started to criticize him, they did everything in their power to blow them out of the water. If anyone got “swiftboated” in 04 it was the Swiftboat Vets. Now we are facing the same type of hypocritical opposition. It doesn’t matter what BO says, when being challenged, BO is always going to run to the race card, it is all he knows. – Lorica

  7. Great White Rat says:

    Three responses, alchemist.

    First, I assume you have some evidence to back up your statement…funny, your link or citation didn’t show up. Care to provide it?

    Second, when did Rove announce his candidacy for President? Of the two, only Obama is running for commander-in-chief and chief executive of the nation. So let’s try to focus, OK?

    And third, I notice you didn’t address ST’s point about leftists whipping out the race card at the first opportunity either. How about it?

  8. alchemist says:

    1) Rove’s entire career is making snide comments. I just assumed that was understood by now. Here’s a breakdown of Rove’s career in the “Atlantic“. Note the campaigns where he pretends to bug his office, or spread smears of pedophilia on other candidates. It seems snide to me, no?

    Seriously, if I challenged you on Carville being “arrogant” or making “snide comments”, wouldn’t you just say “duh”? They’re just two peas in a pod.

    2) Yes, but Karl Rove is also a political opponent who says whatever he needs to say to win (as shown in #1). So I take his comments with AT LEAST a grain of salt.

    3)Use of the race card is silly.

  9. Severian says:

    Not everyone has a case of BDS inspired Rove hatred alchemist, you and your fellow leftists have a monopoly on that particular bit of hysteria.

  10. Lorica says:

    I have never seen an interview where Rove goes off an the person giving the interview. I have seen Carville do that in many interviews. If they are 2 peas in the same pod, Rove is at least gentlemanly. – Lorica

  11. alchemist says:

    Yes, but rightists dislike certain lefties with equal zeal. Take Carville, or Ted Kennedy, or the Clintons. I’m certainly willing to accept that they show “arrogance” and have a habit of making “snide comments” about their opponents. Why won’t you admit this about Rove?

    In general, it’s a bipartisan politician problem. Most politicians do it: if we agree with them we allow it, and if we don’t we detest it. Rove, of all people, is a particularly egregious example. I think it’s funny when the pot calls the kettle black.

  12. Lorica says:

    Being agressive on the job is abit different than being a snob. We all know that most people in politics on the right realize they are servants of the people. We also know that many people in politics on the left consider themselves to be crowned princes who hold power over the people. I have been on both sides of the political spectrum, and I am much more comfortable with those on the right. – Lorica

  13. Severian says:

    And I’m sure Rove can be a sharp tongued snit when he want’s to be, that was the main point. We know that, but he’s just a political operative, as you all point out at every opportunity, he was just a particularly effective one. He isn’t running for President on the platform of being a different kind of politician, a man of the people who came up from nowhere, who is bringing Hope and Change.

  14. Great White Rat says:

    Alchemist, I read the article you linked, and there’s no substance there. It’s instructive that even your BDS-infected author couldn’t come up with anything solid. There’s nothing to back up your claim that Rove pretended to bug his office – all it says is that the news of the bugging broke at an unfortunate time for the leftists. As for the pedophlia charges, the author is careful not to name the person who reported the charge…strange, isn’t it? I question whether such anonymous sources really exist.

    But that’s all still off the point. There’s absolutely nothing in that article that shows Rove thinks he’s a better class of person than the average citizen, unlike Obama. On the contrary, it depicts Rove as one who carefully studies demographic and targets his campaigning to those who are most likely to agree with his candidate – not belittling those who do not. Again, you’re not focusing on the main point.

    So you’re still missing the mark. But there was one revealing line in that article. Take a look at this, talking about judges who are ‘liberal activists’:

    And in Alabama especially, the term conjures up those who forced integration. “The attraction of calling yourself a ‘strict constructionist,'” as Rove’s candidates did, this staffer explained, “is that you can attract business conservatives, social conservatives, and moderates who simply want a reasonable standard of justice.”

    Interesting, because the Alabamans I’ve met never thought that way. Like everywhere else, they see liberal activist judges as those who think the constitution is a set of suggestions, to be put aside in favor of leftist political ideas or the latest socialist craze from European courts.

    So in this discussion about how the left loves to play the race card, alchemist links to an article by a leftist that….plays the race card! Thanks for helping us prove the point.