Insight into Republican America

This is an interesting video of some happenings at a Republican rally yesterday.

It’s difficult to tell exactly what John McCain’s strategy is now. Just a few days ago Barack Obama was just “that one” to Mr McCain. Now the Republican nominee seems to be going well out of his way to be polite about Mr Obama to the point that he is getting booed for it by a Republican crowd. I guess McCain just doesn’t know whether to lay into Obama or start appearing to be more bipartisan. Maybe it is desperation and he just doesn’t know what to do now.

Anyway, what interests me most about the video is the little chat at the end with a woman who says she can’t trust Obama because he’s an Arab. The all-new fluffy McCain must have wanted to floor to eat him up at that moment. McCain’s retort is, “No ma’am. He’s a decent family man who I just happen to have disagreements with.”

There is the factual inaccuracy of the woman’s beliefs about Obama’s background, which is what McCain decided to pick apart. But there is also the sheer naked racism of it.

Something great is happening with this US Presidential election. The USA will soon have either a non-white President or a female Vice-President. Whichever, it is a great stride ahead for America. Brits can sometimes be quite smug about this sort of thing when it comes to comparing Britain to America. But you have to say that the chances of America having a non-white President sometime soon is much greater than the chances of Britain having a non-white Prime Minister.

But it looks like they will still have a long way to go until they can elect an Arab.


  1. I suspect that some of his more pragmatic advisers told him to tone it down, as I doubt very much that it’s winning him the support of the undecideds.

    Anyway, he’s less of a problem than his moronic running mate. Having a woman in the White House would be great, but having *that* woman anywhere near such a powerful position would be bloody terrifying.

  2. Personally I didn’t care for Hilary Clinton, but she is a clever, sophisticated woman who would probably have made a very competent President. Gender, or race, is not the problem. McCain might have made a good President, but he has chosen an ignoramus, and a liar, as his running-mate; I hope he does not win therefore, specially as he has a ‘dicky’ heart. Obama’s politics are not entirely to my taste, but he seems like a clever and decent man and I’m hoping that he, the better man, will win; and his running-mate Biden seems OK too.

    I was speaking to an American friend and former colleague yesterday (ain’t Skype a wonderful thing, and two-way video too!); he usually lives in Hawaii (back and forth to Shanghai – he’s a Mandarin-speaking linguist and business specialist), but is currently in Detroit. He was telling me that whilst he will probably vote for Obama (and he’s basically a fairly liberal Republican, so not a Bush/Cheney supporter) he has talked to a lot of people who tell him that, whatever the polls may say, there are a lot of people who when they go into the polling station will never actually pull the lever for a black man. I read all the polls on the 538 and RCP blogs, but I think it would be premature to think that the result is by any means a foregone conclusion.

  3. Bill, you bring up a really good point. I do not see the election as a foregone conclusion, even if the wheels have come off the McCain wagon somewhat.

    I have read in a few places (I can’t remember where, unfortunately) that the phenomenon you point out is no longer a major factor. I guess we have already had a trial run with the primaries. There was at least one time when Obama didn’t win a primary even though the opinion polls were all going his way. But that was New Hampshire (I think?) when Hillary Clinton switched on the water works. I guess we just have to wait and see though. It will be an incredible come-down, though, if he loses the election despite having a fairly substantial poll lead.

    This does remind me of a phenomenon I read about in Freakonomics. In the US version of The Weakest Link, black players were voted off at the rate you would expect according to their ability alone, so if people are racist in this instance they are embarrassed to show it. However, Hispanics were still more likely to be voted off in early rounds because it is still not seen to be as much of a taboo to discriminate against Hispanics. It is always a danger that people will be embarrassed to speak out against the black guy in public, but act differently in the privacy of the voting booth.

  4. Is it just me- but I haven’t heard ‘flip-flopper’ used once during this campaign. What would be the equivalant Fox news buzz term this time ’round? With Mc Cain’s U-turns wouldn’t it be appropriate?

  5. I watched the final debate last night and although McCain probably performed better than previously it was clear to see that this man cannot really control his anger all the well. For him to make out that he was bullied by Obama supports when in fact it was the other way around is absurd.