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Shorter RedState: Just because I can't call them n*****s any more doesn't mean that they still ain't n*****s. -dx

Sarah Palin: White Trash

When you live in Texas for a while, you come to know a lot of different people. Of course, there is the vast array of ethnic and cultural diversity, but what's interesting to me are the broader divisions and character types. Of course, you have your various optimists and entrepreneurs who are living the dream of going west and building something entirely new for themselves. They frequently come into contact with the "good ol'boys", who are unsophisticated and rowdy, or, usually, just act like it, but with essentially good hearts. There are the rednecks, who are mostly blue collar and unpolished, but who are trying to do better for themselves. And you have your standard assortment of working class people, some of whom are content with their lot in life, and others who are trying to at least get their kids ahead. And then you have white trash.

Defining white trash is never easy to do, but, like John Paul Stevens, we know it when we see it. It's the sense of robbed birthright, combined with a pride in cultural illiteracy and a belief in the virtue of their lack of education. It's the meanness of spirit that leads to them refusing to call blacks anything but n*****s or, if they're being generous, "coloured". All Hispanics and Latinos, are, of course, "Mexicans", and all are named Pedro. It's the venality of their crimes: walking out on tabs at restaurants and bars, shoplifting from convenience and discount stores, the numerous acts of adultery and infidelity, the spending on conspicuous consumption rather than bettering themselves, etc. All of this is usually combined with belonging to some obscure sect of Protestantism that tells them that it doesn't matter if they do all these things, because they are the elect of God.

Why do I bring this up? Because I can't think of a better way to describe Sarah Palin. That woman is pure white trash. When the story about the RNC buying her clothes first broke, I was initially sympathetic. The sheer costs of being a woman in public are higher in ways that most men will never understand, even if we marry, have sisters, or female friends, and, unlike most politicians, coming from a working class background, Palin and her family just didn't have closets full of Armani, Anne Klein II, etc. This, however, completely changed my mind:

NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

A Palin aide said: "Governor Palin was not directing staffers to put anything on their personal credit cards, and anything that staffers put on their credit cards has been reimbursed, like an expense. Nasty and false accusations following a defeat say more about the person who made them than they do about Governor Palin."

McCain himself rarely spoke to Palin during the campaign, and aides kept him in the dark about the details of her spending on clothes because they were sure he would be offended. Palin asked to speak along with McCain at his Arizona concession speech Tuesday night, but campaign strategist Steve Schmidt vetoed the request.

To anyone who's ever had to deal with white trash, this isn't surprising. It takes someone with a deep sense of entitlement and no respect for anyone or anything outside her whims to bully campaign staffers in their early twenties into buying expensive clothes on their own personal credit cards. The sheer meanness of not only overspending what the RNC was willing to give her, but, then coming up with creative ways to keep it from the man who was supposed to her boss is astounding. And, of course, given the fact that white trash is all that's left of the GOP, I don't think that it's surprising that they identified so strongly with Sarah Palin.


Sarah Palin Did Not Cost McCain The Election

Originally posted at The Texas Blue.

Now that the McCain/Palin ticket found the bottom of the downward spiral to an electoral defeat of Mondale proportions, journalists, campaign operatives, and others looking to make names for themselves are all sagely pointing the finger of blame at Sarah Palin. Granted, she made things easier; I will enjoy few things more than seeing her consigned to the Dan Quayle Institute of Forgotten Novelty Candidates. One thing that she did not do, however, was cost the Republicans the election.

They voted GOP because their incomes were at stake

The New York Times offers an interesting map of the only counties in the country to vote more Republican in 2008 than they did in 2004. Obviously, these voters were concerned about preserving the integrity of their multi-billion dollar estates and incomes. It couldn't have been anything to do with race.


Now blogging at The Texas Blue

Hi, everyone, as you've noticed, I've decided to start writing and blogging again. I'll be contributing short news pieces of interest longer form articles to The Texas Blue, and I'm going to start writing both blog pieces and op-ed pieces more frequently. Be sure and check it out.


Republican Activists: Pray Away The Dreaded Day

The Dinosaur/Human Coexistence Society at Redstate have decided that they need to have a spiritual war against Barack Obama.

Nothing I can say about this is funnier than the fact that they will actually do this.


An Hypothesis on Why Palin's Cosmetologist Was Paid So Much

Originally posted at The Texas Blue.

I wanted to introduce this post with a riddle, but the punchline was too juicy not to use in the subject heading. The New York Times decided to go through the FEC reports from McCain/Palin 2008 and see what they could find. Highlights:

Not Randy Scheunemann, Mr. McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser; not Nicolle Wallace, his senior communications staffer. It was Amy Strozzi, Gov. Sarah Palin’s traveling makeup artist, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday night.

Ms. Strozzi, who was nominated for an Emmy award for her makeup work on the television show “So You Think You Can Dance?”, was paid $22,800 for the first two weeks of October alone, according to the records. The campaign categorized Ms. Strozzi’s payment as “Personnel Svc/Equipment."


Let's Get Real About EFCA

Initially embargoed pending negotiation of publication. More details later.

Let’s Get Real About EFCA

The United States Senate is poised to vote on S. 1041 “The Employee Free Choice Act” sometime in the next few days. Proving its bipartisan popularity, the bill cleared the House of Representatives with a large margin. Minority Whip Roy Blunt, in a pen and pad session with political reporters, warned that it would not be a free vote, and that there would be consequences for any Republican who broke ranks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip are now making similar threats, but the bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate. The Republican opposition to this bill is ostensibly about preserving the integrity of elections, but in reality, it’s about continuing to represent the interests of their corporate donors.

To review, the most controversial part of the bill re-introduces a “card-check” procedure. What this would do is make it easier for employees seeking to form a union to get straight to the certification process. If an employee signs a document indicating that he is in favor of a union being formed, it’s counted as a vote for the union. If a majority of the employees sign, then the vote is considered to have occurred, and the union proceeds straight to the National Labor Relations Board for certification. Other provisions of the bill provide for increased penalties for employers who violate labor negotiation laws and for making mediation and arbitration easier to reach for first time contracts.

The Republicans in the House and the Senate have few problems with the latter two provisions, but the first is the one that has them rallying the troops. Card-checks make union organizing much easier. Currently, the law makes it all but impossible for employees to form a union. Employers are able to harass and punish union organizers, prohibit them from any on-site organizing activity, subject workers to incredible amounts of compulsory anti-union propaganda during work hours and fire any employee who seems to remotely think that belonging to a union might possibly be something he’d consider considering. In addition to on-site employer harassment, employees are further disadvantaged by the fact that the only times that they can meet to talk about organizing are after work and off-site. Apparently, a group of people who’ve just worked a twelve hour shift in a slaughterhouse are expected to get together for chai lattes at the local Starbucks and talk about their options and 401(k)’s.

Republicans claim that they prefer the status quo in that it preserves a secret ballot process. After all, one of the hallmarks of a democracy is that no one knows how you voted. This doesn’t quite work, though, for two primary reasons. First of all, a place of work is not identical to a society or government. Short of being tried for treason and expelled, there is no real way for the government to punish someone for politicking. It’s a lot harder to legally find someone a traitor than it is to fire him because you don’t like his thoughts. Secondly, management already works by a card-check system, and Republicans consider that to be a hallmark of corporate efficiency and a strength of the American economic system. The difference is that in the corporate world, they’re called “proxies.” Shareholders are constantly signing over their voting authority to other shareholders to create large coalitions and get things done. What’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander?

Assuming that we grant their argument is in good faith, however, there are other objections that come into play. Not all votes are best left in the dark and protected by secrecy. Perhaps the legislators in question would prefer it this way, but would anyone be happy if the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate were able to conduct their votes anonymously? Would any shareholder in any corporation feel comfortable with letting board members vote anonymously? When it comes to dictating policy for the country and for the company, we demand accountability and transparency from the voters. Why shouldn’t workers be able to demand the same accountability?

In closing, it’s worth investigating a thought experiment. Let us imagine that in the 2004 election, the Democratic party were able to take all the undecided voters in the country and get to them at their place of work. Let us further imagine that all of them were forced to listen to Democratic negative ads on the Muzak and be subjected to daily viewings of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Furthermore, the Democratic Party hired public relations firms and strategic consultants to figure out how to bully those undecideds who hadn’t been brainwashed into voting Democratic. The Republicans would only be able to approach these voters at home, after hours and on their own efforts. Any attempt to talk to them at work would result in firing and excessive hounding. Would any Republican find this fair? It’s time to put the pretense behind us and pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

The Senator From Punjab

Notate bene this was initially embargoed pending negotiation for publication. More on the details later.

The Senator From Punjab

Apparently, the transformational politics of Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) bid for President of The United States of America is changing more than who can make a viable run for the office. Of course, all changes bring other changes, and the most recent one that Obama brought is changing who the evil, all controlling bugaboo minority in American politics is. Thanks to Obama, millions of Jews in America can sleep peacefully, knowing that the new bogeymen are Indians. According to an unsigned document that Obama’s campaign released on Friday, Hillary Clinton is not the senior Democratic Senator from New York. She is, apparently, the sole Democratic Senator from Punjab.

Punjab is a state in northwest India, not a state in the northeast of the United States. The headline on the document reads, “Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)'s Personal Financial and Political Ties.” It then goes on to list several things pulled from public documents, such as newspaper accounts and financial disclosure forms, each of which shows Bill or Hillary Clinton representing their Indian constituents, accepting campaign contributions from companies that do business in India or investing in Indian companies. The language used to describe these activities, however, would make a tabloid journalist blush. In accepting $60,000 in campaign contributions from Cisco Systems, Clinton is not taking money from a pioneering software firm that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, created millions, if not billions, of dollars of wealth and has created the software that enables e-commerce. Instead, Senator Clinton is cozying up with a group of robber barons who “laid off American workers to hire Indian techies.”

The rest of the document reads similarly, and takes the next step into conspiracy theory paranoia by creating a nefarious cast of characters, including respected hotelier and Democratic activist Sant Singh Satwal. Satwal is an immigrant who has built an empire of hotels, a living example of the American dream. He is also from Punjab.

Let us review the number of economic and political fallacies in this document. Initially, New York City has the greatest number of Indian immigrant families in the country. Senator Clinton is doing her job by advocating for her constituency. Moreover, trade with India helps bring a valuable ally in the global war on terror closer to the United States. We have been dealing with Islamist terrorists for perhaps twenty years. India has been dealing with them since before a group of Puritans set out on the Mayflower. On the economic level, trade with India helps reduce costs of business, making products cheaper and more available to more people. More Americans are able to consume products that were once playthings of the rich, and more Americans are able to use cheaper costs as a springboard to starting and expanding their own businesses. Global free trade has been the single most empowering force for Americans and their trading partners alike. Economies are not zero-sum: we all do better when we all do better.

However, this has never been about good governance nor has it been about economics. Over the last ten years, as the economy has become more globally integrated and Jews have become more accepted in society, the new bogeyman has become the Indian. Whether it’s people grumbling about telemarketing centers, manufactured goods, skilled artisans and executives coming to America, the Indian is the latest person to occupy the role of “foreigner who threatens American workers and has no loyalty to America.” One could very well expect that the next document will mention the “Hindu Occupied Government” or accusations that Indian-Americans are more loyal to India than they are to America.

The sad thing is that to date, Obama truly has run a transformational campaign. He has reached out to traditional Democratic constituencies, but has done so in a manner not seen since, well, Bill Clinton. He has offered up idea after idea, and has spoken inconvenient truths to both Democratic and Republican groups. Instead of continuing in his twenty-first century campaign, however, Obama has chosen to go back to nineteenth century Know Nothing politics. And just as the Know Nothings were happy to accept the cheap labor of Irish immigrants, so too is Barack Obama happy to accept the money and support of the incredible South Asians for the Obama movement.

Following the public outcry and disgust for his tactic, Senator Obama made what political observers call a “non-apology apology.” He said, “I thought it was stupid and caustic and not only didn't reflect my view of the complicated issue of outsourcing.” Senator Obama would be well advised to go back and read the document that his campaign is issuing on his behalf. It’s not about trade and economic dynamism. The document stops just short of constructing a hulking, decadent “Beast From The East” coming to The West to steal and corrupt. (Imagine the Persians from 300, only answering telephones and writing computer code.) If it were just about economics, the document wouldn’t have had the desired salacious effect. After all, who gets worked up about policy details and numbers? For someone who’s seemingly running on the politics of unity and hope, Senator Obama’s latest jab against the thousands of Indian-Americans is nothing more than the same, tired old politics of division and fear.

Dheeraj Chand is a political analyst in Washington, D.C. He maintains a website and blog at http://www.dheerajchand.com . He has family ties to Punjab, a state in northwest India.

Immigration Backlash Is About Race

Printed in The Dothan Eagle , 31 May, 2007.

Immigration Backlash is About Race
Dheeraj Chand

Not too long ago, the Republican Party was still able to attract immigrants. High skilled, low skilled, educated, uneducated – it didn’t matter. The Grand Old Party’s tent was big enough to attract immigrants of every stripe. Lowly educated workers were courted with social conservatism. Highly educated workers were courted by standing up to unions that wanted to keep immigrants away from “American” jobs. Those days are over. Now, the anti-immigration Republican base’s opposition to the Senate’s immigration legislation is so strong that Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), a one time sponsor of similar legislation, has run away from the bill. The ostensible reasons for the opposition are so flimsy that it is impossible to believe that the opposition is about anything except race.

The biggest anti-immigrant argument is the one that they lead with: they broke our laws. It is hard to believe that argument from the same base that celebrates violations of the law perpetrated by abortion-clinic bombers and a president who illegally sold arms to Iran. The objection is not so much to law-breaking as it is to breaking a law the base happens to like. If they were serious about enforcement of the laws, they would actively fund and support the enforcement of the employer sanctions that are already on the books. It’s the same principle that undergirds the drug war: go after the suppliers and the consumers.

The base says: “They don’t speak English.” Well, historically, few immigrants do. Social and market pressures give them a strong incentive to learn, and, more importantly, their children learn, and quickly. These market forces are more powerful than ever. In this era of globalization and light-speed communication, it’s hard to imagine a high-level corporate board meeting simultaneously taking place in Hindi, Spanish, Cantonese, German, English and Swahili. Surely the GOP base, market-fundamentalists when it comes to cutting taxes and rolling back regulation, should be able to understand how this works.

The base says: “They wind up living in their own communities and don’t interact with society.” There is some truth to this, but it’s nothing new. This has been the history of immigrant communities all through our time as America. They arrive en masse, seek out or create communities, develop their own social services and institutions, and within five generations, integrate. The irony here is that the GOP base is adamantly opposed to government-provided social safety nets, suggesting community-based charitable organizations should fill that role. Yet, when immigrant communities do precisely this, they use it as a pretext for an immigration crackdown.

The base says: “They drive down wages and take jobs that Americans could do.” Once again, this is somewhat true, and it’s nothing new. Driving down the cost of labour means that businesses are able to offer their products and services for lower prices. In turn, this allows more people than ever to have access to things that were once playthings for the rich. It also allows more people to make their hard earned dollars go further. As far as doing jobs that Americans could do, the simple fact of the matter is that they weren’t and they aren’t. There would not be job openings if Americans were already doing those jobs. Americans have chosen to price their labour outside of what the market will bear, and as such, you’re seeing the markets react. Moreover, these immigrants start new businesses and create new jobs, growing and enriching our economy. The same Republican base who trump free markets when opposing labor unions seem to have forgotten their principles when it comes to dealing with immigration.

Of course, the base, as powerful as it is, does not define the Republican Party as a whole. President Bush has taken a comprehensive approach to this issue since before running for Governor of Texas. Governor Jeb Bush has, too. Senators John McCain, Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), all Republican heavyweights, are on the pro-immigration of this issue, as well. Of course, the animus between them and the party’s rank-and-file members is so strong that Senator McCain told Senator Cornyn (R-Texas) to do something rather foul to himself.

If their public arguments are pretexts, what is this really all about? The Republican base is never up in arms about Italian-American, Irish-American, or Jewish communities. Each is a case of immigrants who arrived here, settled in their own communities and integrated over time, enriching our polity and culture. In my home state of Texas, ground-zero for the base backlash, the base take pride in the once large Texas German community. Why, then, is the base so terrified of Asian and Hispanic immigrants? To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, we’ve eliminated the impossible, so whatever’s left must be true: it’s about race. The party that began to oppose racism in this country and helped deliver the votes for the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act is now beset with a civil war over race based immigration. How sad.

If the party of Abraham Lincoln, Fiorello LaGuardia, and Everett Dirksen remains captive to Trent Lott, Tom Tancredo, Jeff Sessions, and other knee-jerk nativists, demographic change may doom the Grand Old Party to join its forerunner, The Whigs, in the political graveyard. It is time for the Republicans to reclaim their birthright and embrace the principles that allowed them to rise: free movement of capital, free movement of ideas, free movement of labor, and opposition to racism.

Dheeraj Chand is a political reporter in Washington, D.C. He maintains a website at http://www.dheerajchand.com