Gwen Ifill Did Some Interviewing Last Night

…about “race”. (She also mentioned “Tea Baggers”.) (Oh, yes she did!) The fellow from, Matt Welch, was there and perfectly lucid. It almost made up for having to listen to the rest of them.


MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL, Princeton University: …There’s also no question that, if one has principled disagreement with a person of color and you choose not to express it simply because that person is black or Latino or Asian, then that is actually more racist than going ahead and expressing your disagreement.

But I think it’s also clear — and this is what President Carter asked us to think about — that, in this particular context of American history, at this moment with a black president, we need to be particularly careful about how we frame and how we talk about our disagreements, because it’s clear, also, that racial animus and bigotry has found its way into the opposition in a way that’s quite distracting from the principled positions that the opposition may have.

…CORNELL BELCHER, Democratic pollster: Well, I think you can’t separate ideology from adverse racial attitudes, and I think it’s sort of a false conversation when people say, “Is it racism? Oh, no, it’s ideology.” We can quantify that the two do share a similar space, where you find that those on the furthest fringe of the right are, in fact, quantifiably those who hold the highest proportion of racial adverse attitudes.

GWEN IFILL: So you’re saying there’s evidence to support this notion that if you are very angry at the president for policy reasons, for some small portion or a large portion, as President Carter suggested, that is bound or driven by race?

CORNELL BELCHER: No, I’m not saying it’s bound or driven by race, but I think we should understand that racially adverse attitudes, as well as far-right sort of conservative thinking, share a similar space.

Now, I’m not saying they’re causal, but they certainly share a similar space, where you find those voters with the furthest right sort of ideological bent are also those with the highest percentage of racial-adverse attitudes.

Okay, okay, OKAY!! We GET it. The more right you are the more racist you are. Jeez, I need some fresh air…

…MATT WELCH: You know, not that much. You hear some of that. But, I mean, think about it. We just had a 2008 election. This is seven years, you know, after we were attacked by 19 foreign hijackers, and a guy who is not very well experienced in foreign policy, whose middle name is Hussein, who is black, he wins overwhelmingly in this country, I think we lose sight sometimes of the fact that we’ve made incredible progress. We have a much more tolerant country, I think, than people realize.

GWEN IFILL: How about that, John McWhorter? Is there a subliminal message here? Or is Matt Welch right, that maybe we’re overstating what the source of people’s discontent is?

JOHN MCWHORTER, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute: Well, it’s a difficult issue, and that’s an inherent part of this, that we really can’t know where to draw the line, because we don’t have the psychological tools yet.

But I personally feel that, for example, Joe Wilson would not have yelled the way he did if the president in an alternate universe had become, say, John Edwards. It’s just a — but it’s a gut feeling. We can’t know.

And Gwen, you sly dog…

GWEN IFILL: So whether it’s Jeremiah Wright or Henry Louis Gates, Jr., or what Jimmy Carter said about this, the Tea Baggers or whoever, it’s always going to be with us?

WAIT! Can I say that?

4 Responses to “Gwen Ifill Did Some Interviewing Last Night”

  1. Dave E. says:

    I’ve pretty much decided to stop listening or reading when someone uses the term “teabagger”. If that’s their attitude they aren’t going to win me over anyway and further listening to their opinion is just a waste of time.

  2. JeffS says:

    I’m with you, Dave. Those people are simply clueless. If not classless.

  3. nightfly says:

    Poor Gwen hasn’t gotten over the scalding Palin gave Biden in that debate she moderated.

    Wait, is Ifill black? Shoot, now I’ve just gone Klan on everyone.

  4. Gary from Jersey says:

    THS, are you sure you weren’t watching a junior high school forensic contest? I mean, jeez, these people’d be locked up for homicidal paranoid fantasies if they were adults.

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