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Krugman writes: "American conservatism is still, after all these years, largely driven by claims that liberals are taking away your hard-earned money and giving it to Those People."

Paul Krugman. (photo: NYT)
Paul Krugman. (photo: NYT)


Paul Ryan's 'Racial Dog-Whistle'

By Paul Krugman, The New York Times

17 March 14

 

There are many negative things you can say about Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and the G.O.P.’s de facto intellectual leader. But you have to admit that he’s a very articulate guy, an expert at sounding as if he knows what he’s talking about.

So it’s comical, in a way, to see Mr. Ryan trying to explain away some recent remarks in which he attributed persistent poverty to a “culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working.” He was, he says, simply being “inarticulate.” How could anyone suggest that it was a racial dog-whistle? Why, he even cited the work of serious scholars — people like Charles Murray, most famous for arguing that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. Oh, wait.

Just to be clear, there’s no evidence that Mr. Ryan is personally a racist, and his dog-whistle may not even have been deliberate. But it doesn’t matter. He said what he said because that’s the kind of thing conservatives say to each other all the time. And why do they say such things? Because American conservatism is still, after all these years, largely driven by claims that liberals are taking away your hard-earned money and giving it to Those People.

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+58 # Barbara K 2014-03-17 13:14
He is a die-hard racist and there is no way for him to explain that away. That is a big problem with Republicans: They think they are so superior to everyone else, when the truth is that they are not superior to anyone. They have the most stupid ideas and come up with the most insulting and stupid and mean remarks when they speak. Their speeches give them away. That's okay, we know they just can't help it, people like them can't hide their prejudices. They are just lunatics who want to lord over the rest of us and we won't allow that. One thing for sure that they do is to show us how important it is to GET OUT AND VOTE THESE IDIOTS OUT!

..
 
 
+28 # bigkahuna671 2014-03-17 16:08
And he declares he's a good Catholic lad, right? Is this what he learned at catechism from the nuns? I don't think so. Like many Republifascists , he's a racist who cloaks his hatred for people who aren't like him in intellectual drivel...or at least what they think is intellectual... surely, whatever it is, it's still drivel. I agree Barbara, clowns like him should be kicked out.
 
 
+4 # backwards_cinderella 2014-03-18 06:28
he didn't learn anything from the nuns. he's too young for that. he learned his catholism from lay-people & that's where the problem is.
 
 
-17 # MidwesTom 2014-03-17 16:22
If they are all idiots, then those who voted for them must also be idiots; which takes me back to: why is everybody so opposed to showing an ID to Vote. We have instituted voter IDs in Iraq, and most countries use them.

Maybe we have been looking at this backwards. Maybe voter ID's would hurt the idiot Republicans more.

At one point in our history wasn't there a literacy test to get a voter card?
 
 
+5 # Malcolm 2014-03-17 19:37
I like the method I heard about in Iraq. Everyone could vote, but when you voted, you got your finger dyed purple. No way to vote multiple times that way.
 
 
+14 # backwards_cinderella 2014-03-18 06:29
like people vote more than once here in the US. the problem is getting them to vote AT ALL.
 
 
+2 # Malcolm 2014-03-18 20:15
Maybe they don't trust the election machinations.

Hey, get this: when I was in Costa Rica, the Ticos were bummed that only 85% of eligible voters turned out for their presidential election. They told me they usually had around 95%! (And Ticos FLEW HOME from Europe, among other places TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS, as there was no absentee voting.

Maybe the Ticos still believe in democracy?
 
 
+3 # Malcolm 2014-03-17 19:42
Barbara, with all due respect, please don't lump all republicans, all democrats, or all anybody else, as being alike. It's a good way to cause nothing but anger, and destroys cooperation.

Thanks!
 
 
0 # bingers 2014-03-19 23:16
If you look at what they say, propose or do it's unavoidable to not lump all Republicans in one pot. Will Rogers once said, and it still applies today, "I belong to no organized party, I'm a Democrat." But Republicans march in lockstep and want us to get in line and walk off the cliff like the lemmings they are.
 
 
0 # bingers 2014-03-19 23:16
If you look at what they say, propose or do it's unavoidable to not lump all Republicans in one pot. Will Rogers once said, and it still applies today, "I belong to no organized party, I'm a Democrat." But Republicans march in lockstep and want us to get in line and walk off the cliff like the lemmings they are.
 
 
0 # bingers 2014-03-19 23:16
If you look at what they say, propose or do it's unavoidable to not lump all Republicans in one pot. Will Rogers once said, and it still applies today, "I belong to no organized party, I'm a Democrat." But Republicans march in lockstep and want us to get in line and walk off the cliff like the lemmings they are.
 
 
0 # bingers 2014-03-19 23:16
If you look at what they say, propose or do it's unavoidable to not lump all Republicans in one pot. Will Rogers once said, and it still applies today, "I belong to no organized party, I'm a Democrat." But Republicans march in lockstep and want us to get in line and walk off the cliff like the lemmings they are.
 
 
0 # bingers 2014-03-19 23:16
If you look at what they say, propose or do it's unavoidable to not lump all Republicans in one pot. Will Rogers once said, and it still applies today, "I belong to no organized party, I'm a Democrat." But Republicans march in lockstep and want us to get in line and walk off the cliff like the lemmings they are.
 
 
0 # zornorff 2014-03-20 19:08
Ryan is a man of low cunning who is passing himself off as intelligent. Republicans are only too happy to allow this poser to be the intellectual beacon for their party. What is really sad is that so many actually believe the dreck spewing from his mouth.
 
 
+30 # liteguy 2014-03-17 14:08
It is actually the opposite...
the 1% want it all.................
we need to get rid of Ryan and all like him....
 
 
+20 # bmiluski 2014-03-17 14:14
I love the fact the they've finally agreed that someone making $1 million should not be entitled to unemployment compensation.
 
 
-15 # MidwesTom 2014-03-17 14:15
I do not believe that the California welfare system is in way racist, so I pass this little video on for all of us who work for a living: Enjpy this: (PS, I have need been to Hawaii)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wElqMl5TJM
 
 
+11 # Malcolm 2014-03-17 16:49
Tom, even most of us tree huggers have to work for a living. I'm off to finish a construction job, even though I'm way beyond retirement age. Surprise, surprise-some of us old hippies actually ENJOY hard work, and feel an obligation to be contributing members of society.

I qhave two friends who are card carrying members of AFP, one being the local chapter president. I hate what AFP stands for, and rag on my friends to drop out of AFP, to no avail.

We occasionally, rarely actually, agree on, and work towards common goals. They tell me that the LOCAL AFP members "are not like" those mean racist piggy bulliesq in the national organization. Maybe not, but they are damaging both their personal reputations AND that of the whole Chapter, simply by being affiliated with that dastardly group. IN MY HUMBLE OPINION.

When I finish my job, I'm going to write more, specifically about how this AFP video seems to be DELIBERATELY "bending" the truth, and hopefully helping to expose the way these rats work, work TIRELESSLY to hurt families ,workers, students, and anyone who isn't part of their good ol' BOY social class.
 
 
+8 # Malcolm 2014-03-17 19:33
I think I won't take the time to critique Tom's Americans for Prosperity video after all. Won't insult your intelligence by spelling out all the bullshit there. It's not ALL bullshit, but since 90% clearly is, I'm skeptical of the other 10%.

If someone really, really wants my interpretation, just ask. Otherwise, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the propaganda for what it is.
 
 
+2 # Malcolm 2014-03-17 14:35
Mr. Krugman, I have always appreciated your calm, well-reasoned opinions on virtually EVERYTHING. You're wonderful!

Sad to say, this article is an exception.

There are two serious issues I object to. First, lumping all "conservatives" into your condemnational judgements, as if all conservatives come out of the same mold. Not only does this denigrate many wonderful, caring people (who may happen to disagree with you, as well as with ME). This approach tends only to promote the "us versus them" mentality-an attitude that is already way too prevalent in our society, and particularly at RSN, and one which almost guarantees conservatives and liberals will never work TOGETHER, even on issues where it behooves us ALL to do so.

SECOND objection: I think you are using an overly broad brush when you assign "racism" the blame for the nasty way the uber rich treat the 99 %. I don't doubt that Paul Raynd, er RYAN is a racist pig. And I'm sure that plenty of the other uber rich are, as well. However, having grown up in THE SOUTH, it's been my experience that racism infects THE POOR even more virulently than THE RICH.

While racism may be the cause of some rich bastards' assault on the middle class and the poor, I think the lowest common denominator shows up in the simple hatred of the poor by the rich-irrespecti ve of race.


In case it matters, I'm a certified tree-hugging liberal progressive.
I think it's progressive to acknowledge that WE ALL have good AND bad traits.
 
 
-44 # UpperMidWest 2014-03-17 15:00
Paul Krugman is his same old self-indulgent, egotistical, intolerant self. Why, there's nothing wrong with the inner city, just ask Rahm Emanuel. And C. Murray has never critiqued inner city white - oh, wait, "Fishtown". Drop-out rate, fatherless homes - no negative effect there! Krugman is just interested in running people down because it gets him off. He, like many on the Left, can't handle the notion that someone could disagree with him for legitimate reasons. Paul Krugman loves himself; the rest of us, not so much. I bet he has a mirror in every room, just so he can adore himself.
 
 
+11 # Malcolm 2014-03-17 19:34
Garbage.
 
 
-23 # UpperMidWest 2014-03-17 20:11
He pulled the same BS with David Brooks. If he can't even tolerate Brooks, then he is in bad shape. Krugman's column is routinely "Garbage."
 
 
+11 # theshift33 2014-03-17 15:44
Mr. little nut cup Paul Ryan seems to fit right in with many in the GOP din. He's certainly honed wearing his whistle on the tail of wagging the dog.
 
 
+4 # bigkahuna671 2014-03-17 16:09
Love the humor...
 
 
-30 # UpperMidWest 2014-03-17 16:06
Paul Krugman is his same old self-indulgent, egotistical, intolerant self. Why, there's nothing wrong with the inner city, just ask Rahm Emanuel. And C. Murray has never critiqued inner city white - oh, wait, "Fishtown". Drop-out rate, fatherless homes - no negative effect there! Krugman is just interested in running people down because it gets him off. He, like many on the Left, can't handle the notion that someone could disagree with him for legitimate reasons. Paul Krugman loves himself; the rest of us, not so much. I bet he has a mirror in every room, just so he can adore himself.
 
 
+13 # Malcolm 2014-03-17 19:45
Still garbage, no matter he many times you repeat it!
 
 
+6 # MidwesTom 2014-03-17 16:15
In case everyone missed it, the Chinese have decided that since we have no gold and we have defaulted on interest due them, they want to buy American assets, They bought Smithfield meats, the Citibank building in NYC (which houses the largest gold vault in this country), the currency trading operations of Morgan Stanley, major pieces of Devon Energy and over $10 billion in real estate in California just last year.

I guess that only fearful white bigots see a problem with our country's finances; everybody else must think that it is cool that out children will be renting from their Chinese landlords, and working for survival wages making parts for foreign owned companies. The Chinese do not want to hold our dollars, so they are buying everything that they can, including large farms in Illinois and Iowa.
 
 
+5 # thedoc 2014-03-17 17:52
They are doing the same in Australia.
 
 
+2 # Malcolm 2014-03-17 19:49
Who WOULD want to hold our dollars? Good old Slippery Dick disconnected-co mpletely-the dollar from gold, or anything else of value, fer crissakes! The dollar no longer has anything backing it up except promises. And more promises. Fucking republican goon, he was!
 
 
+14 # Buddha 2014-03-17 16:15
Ryan and other GOP luminaries use this dog-whistle politics because it WORKS, and because the entire purpose of the GOP as a political party is to play its part in the selling to the struggling American Middle-Class that their pain isn't coming from that SuperRich Oligarch, but instead from "Those People", the poor of color and "illegals". Blaming the disadvantaged "Other" is the oldest political trick in the book, but people being people, we keep falling for it.
 
 
0 # theshift33 2014-03-17 18:43
MidwestTom:

Regarding your comment above about the CA
Welfare System. That video is from 2010.
Since that time CA's previous Govenor Arnold looked into fraud and abuse with an approved list of establishments where these ATM cards could be used. Things have changed since that 3 1/2 y.o. video.
 
 
-1 # theshift33 2014-03-17 18:43
MidwestTom:

Regarding your comment above about the CA
Welfare System. That video is from 2010.
Since that time CA's previous Govenor Arnold looked into fraud and abuse with an approved list of establishments where these ATM cards could be used. Things have changed since that 3 1/2 y.o. video.
 
 
+8 # JSRaleigh 2014-03-17 20:25
Krugman writes, "Just to be clear, there’s no evidence that Mr. Ryan is personally a racist ..."

It's equally clear there's even LESS evidence that he's NOT!
 
 
+4 # ltsnh1941@gmail.com 2014-03-17 20:34
Just a short comment to make. When Ryan mentioned that inner city blacks don't work and don't want to work, it brought to mind a situation that my wife had as her first teaching position. She taught in a very small town in Western Oregon where 1/2 of the folk were on welfare (many second and third generation) and 1/2 went into the professions (teacher, lawyer, dentist, etc.). The whole town was "white", so I guess Ryan should have included that population when he was talking about the segment of America that wants to live off of welfare.
 
 
+4 # NOMINAE 2014-03-17 22:43
Quoting ltsnh1941@gmail.com:
When Ryan mentioned that inner city blacks don't work and don't want to work .....
The whole town was "white", so I guess Ryan should have included that population when he was talking about the segment of America that wants to live off of welfare.


Excellent Point !

You do a wonderful job of reinforcing Krugman's observation that what Ryan does is *obviously* and *egregiously* more about racism than about reality.

Politicians, especially down South, cannot inspire citizens to that active "foaming-at-the -mouth" level of voting fervor via use of appeals to reality.

But appeals to racism ? Sure-fire ploy any day, and the absolute "heart" of Republican policy even *before* the "beloved" Tricky Dick Nixon.

Not to mention an absolute *staple* of the "Dixie Democrats" further back than Nixon when the South *was* the Democratic Party.

This was the case until such time as Nixon's dog whistle racist "Southern Strategy" sent the South running pell-mell over to the Republican Party where they remain to this day.

Johnson, for all of his other faults, had been a severe disappointment to the Southern voter, simply due to the fact that Lyndon proved woefully inadequate as a reliable racist.

This, from a politician who was also a Texan, was just not to be borne by your average Southerner, as Johnson himself was to belatedly discover with his signing of the Voting Rights Acts in the mid-Sixties.
 
 
0 # bingers 2014-03-19 23:24
No, Johnson knew the effect before he signed it and when his advisors told him it would lose the South he said that what mattered wasn't politics, it was doing the right thing. If only he would have applied that same argument regarding the Viet Nam war....
 
 
+3 # Bernard Fudim 2014-03-17 21:07
There is in America a general feeling that compared to other nations there are more opportunities to become economically successful through pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Representative Ryan early life was difficult, and he would perhaps justifiably consider himself a self made success, and be suspect of those who have not navigated the intricacies of survival let alone climbing the ladder of economic survival in America's competitive free market. He would tend to think, "I made it because of my Irish American family background and my will to succeed, so therefore you didn't try as hard and don't deserve help". Later upon political reflection he realizes that he has to avoid that knee jerk reflex thinking and try to make the politically appropriate amendment to what was said. He is however a victim of a wider belief, that if you fail, it is because you are lazy and don't deserve help. I wonder how he is able to resolve those conflicts with his Catholic beliefs.
 
 
0 # bingers 2014-03-19 23:27
What are you talking about? His family was quite successful from a century of government contracts. He's never in his entire life known any kind of hardship. He is, however, one of the most disgusting scumbags on Earth. Every morning he must say a prayer of thanks for the existence of Dick Cheney, because as long as Cheney is alive, he will never be the worst person alive.
 
 
0 # RicKelis 2014-03-18 00:26
FYI- abstract of the article, Center Cut:
Paul Krugman: Indeed, race is the Rosetta Stone that makes sense of many otherwise incomprehensibl e aspects of U.S. politics. We are told that conservatives are against big government and high spending — blocking the expansion of Medicaid, [yet they] denounce modest cost-saving measures for Medicare. How [come]? Well, what do many Medicaid recipients look like and how does that compare with the typical Medicare beneficiary? Mystery solved.
Or we’re told that conservatives, the Tea Party in particular, oppose handouts because they believe in personal responsibility, yet it’s hard to find angry Tea Party denunciations of huge Wall Street bailouts. Instead, all the movement’s passion has been directed against relief for low-income borrowers. [Why]? You know the answer.
 
 
0 # RicKelis 2014-03-18 00:28
FYI- abstract of the article, pt.1: There are many negative things you can say about Paul Ryan, but you have to admit that he’s a very articulate guy, an expert at sounding as if he knows what he’s talking about. So it’s comical, in a way, to see Mr. Ryan trying to explain away some recent remarks attributjng persistent poverty to a “culture, in our inner cities of men not working … not even thinking about working.” He was, he says, simply being “inarticulate.” i [Now], there’s no evidence that Mr. Ryan is personally a racist, and his dog-whistle may not even have been deliberate. But that’s the kind of thing conservatives say to each other all the time, because American conservatism claims that liberals are taking away your hard-earned money and giving it to Those People.
One odd consequence of our still-racialize d politics is that conservatives are still, in effect, mobilizing against the welfare [bums] long gone, or food stamp abuse that almost always turn out to be false or at least greatly exaggerated. And Mr. Ryan’s black-men-don’t -want-to-work theory of poverty is decades out of date.
 
 
+1 # RicKelis 2014-03-18 00:29
FYI- abstract of the article, pt.2: In the 1970s it was still possible to claim in good faith that there was plenty of opportunity in America, and that poverty persisted only because of cultural breakdown among African-America ns. But over the past 40 years good jobs for ordinary workers have disappeared. Adjusted for inflation, wages have fallen for 60 percent of working American men [and] many behaviors held up as demonstrations of black cultural breakdown have spread among working-class whites too.
These awkward facts have not penetrated the world of conservative ideology. [When] The House Budget Committee released a report on the alleged failure of the War on Poverty, the impact of falling real wages [was] never mentioned. And since conservatives can’t bring themselves to acknowledge the reality of what’s happening to opportunity in America, they’re left with nothing but that old-time dog whistle. Mr. Ryan wasn’t being inarticulate — he said what he said because it’s all that he’s got.
 

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