Racial Prejudice in the 2008 Campaign

Racism has raised its ugly head in the presidential campaign. More exactly, talk about racism has raised its ugly head. Given that it’s a Democratic year — or, at least, should be a Democratic year — the difficult question has presented itself: Why isn’t Sen. Barack Obama way ahead of Sen. John McCain in the polls? Why are they virtually tied? And some Democrats (for instance, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas) have begun answering that question by asking, “Have you noticed that Barack Obama is African American?” In other words: Have you noticed that some white voters, who would vote for Obama if he too were white, are not voting for him because of their vicious racial prejudices?
If Obama loses in this should-be Democratic year, it will in large measure be the result of the fact that the national Democratic Party has allied itself with secularists — that is, with atheists and anti-Christians who want to drive Christianity out of the public square. These Obama supporters want to replace the traditional American moral code — which, until recently, had always been a predominantly Christian code (more specifically, a predominantly Protestant code) — with a highly permissive moral code that endorses sexual freedom, abortion, and homosexuality, including (of course) same-sex marriage. Somewhere down the road they’d like to add to this list euthanasia and God knows what further forms of sexual liberation.
But liberal Democrats — even church-going Catholic Democrats (like Governor Sebelius) — don’t like to admit this, so dependent are they on the support of the anti-Christianity cultural movement. Why offend that movement by suggesting that its anti-Christian bigotry is the cause of Democratic misfortunes? So they look around for some other reason to explain Obama’s relative un-success.
Racism is a perfect answer because, for one, it soothes the anti-Christian element in the party. That element prides itself on its freedom from racism. They may favor sexual license, sexual perversion, and the killing of unborn babies; but their freedom from racism makes them morally superior to you and me and the rest of the great unwashed. Of course, for this claim of moral superiority to carry weight, it must be understood that racism is still a major problem in American life. And so these morally superior secularists tend to exaggerate the degree of racism that survives in the United States.
How much racism is there? Not much. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s really were successful in their efforts. And their greatest success was not that they improved the condition of black Americans, though of course they were successful in that regard; it was that they persuaded white Americans to examine their collective conscience and repent and renounce their more than 300-year-old sin of race prejudice and discrimination. White liberals (not to mention black demagogues) who greatly exaggerate the amount of racism that survives in America are, in effect, pronouncing that King and his allies were failures.
Anti-black race prejudice can still be found, but mostly it is found among whites of the lower social classes, who because of their lowly status have small power to harm African Americans in their pursuit of academic, economic, and social success. Those who do have this power — government and military officials, public school teachers and administrators, college and university presidents and professors, bankers, corporate executives, etc. — are almost universally committed to racial fairness. So far from discriminating against black people, they are more likely to discriminate in favor of them. The only white racists with some real power to harm are police officers here and there.
But anti-black whites from the lower classes — although they have no power to hire and fire or to admit and not admit to a college — have the power to cast a vote. An anti-black blue-collar worker has the same number of votes as does a progressive Harvard professor. Normally this anti-black worker has no power to hinder a black person’s rise to success; but on November 4 this worker will have the power to hinder Obama’s attempted rise to the White House. If Obama is defeated by a very narrow margin on November 4, anti-black race prejudice will very probably have made the difference.
In reply to this, it can be argued that Obama won’t just be hurt by negative race prejudice but that he’ll be helped by positive race prejudice. For one thing, black voters will probably vote for him overwhelmingly. Of course, black voters would vote overwhelmingly for any Democratic presidential candidate, not just Obama. But they will very probably vote even more overwhelmingly for Obama.
For another, many white liberals (the kind, mentioned above, who pride themselves on their freedom from racism and the status of moral superiority this freedom gives them) are super-enthusiastic about Obama precisely because he’s black. They will vote for him (just as they voted for him in the primaries), they have volunteered for him, and they have given money to his campaign.
It can also be argued, by way of mitigating the charge of racism against the white lower classes, that many working-class whites perceive blacks not simply as a racial group but as a competing interest group. These white people feel that they are involved in a zero-sum game with black people, and that what helps African Americans hurts themselves and vice versa. If they see Obama as a representative black person, they’ll vote against him not so much because of his race as because of his headship of a rival socioeconomic group.
In any case, if Obama loses narrowly, there is likely to be a double explosion. Many black people, feeling that white racism has robbed them of a chance to enter the White House, will be angry and resentful; and this anger and resentment will be stimulated by the usual black demagogues whose stock in trade is doing battle against white racism (whether real or imagined). Equally troublesome, white liberals who pride themselves on their freedom from racism will go into overdrive deploring the racism of their fellow whites.
Batten down the hatches.

By

David R. Carlin Jr. is a politician and sociologist who served as a Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate. His books include "Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?: How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion" and "The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America." Carlin is a current professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island at Newport.

  • Human Race

    “Race baiting is an act of using racially derisive language, actions or other forms of communication, to anger, intimidate or incite a person or groups of people, or to make those persons behave in ways that are inimical to their personal or group interests. This can also be accomplished by implying that there is an underlying race based motive in the actions of others towards the group baited, where none in fact exists. The term ‘race’ in this context can be construed very broadly to include the social constructs which define race or racial difference, as well as ethnic, religious, gender and economic differences. Thus the use of any language or actions perceived to be for the purpose of exploiting weaknesses in persons who can be identified as members of certain groups, or to reinforce a group’s perceived victimhood, can be contained within the concept of ‘race baiting.’ Many people who practice race baiting often believe in racism, or have an interest in making the group believe that racism is what motivates the actions of others.

    The term ‘race baiting’ is often a critique of anti-racist actions and communications implying that those who criticize apparent racism are themselves guilty of either a form of racism or of simple manipulation.”

  • Charles
  • Kevin

    Charles,

    1)McCain and Palin are under equal criticism.
    2)Your suggestion that the media has a conservative bias is absolutely insane.
    3)With the possible exception of Michael Savage, conservative talk radio is not “hate” radio, as you say. If you ever listened to it you would know that.

    Do you really think that Obama, of all people, has unfair coverage in the mass media? You clearly haven’t been paying attention.

  • Deal W. Hudson

    David, that’s the best explanation of the race factor in this election I have read. Another wrinkle I have noticed is that some Obama supporters are saying the only way he could lose is election fraud. They cannot accept even the possibility that more Americans could vote for McCain than Obama, not even the possibility! That’s political visualization with a vengeance.

  • Francis Wippel

    Charles,

    You sure are right about Fox News and their right winger hate mongers. I can

  • RK

    I can

  • Deacon Ed

    98% of African Americans wiil vote Obama. Why? Are they racist? How about those whites who will vote for him because he is Black? Are they racist. Things must be getting desperate in Obamaspeak-ville.

  • R.C.

    If Obama loses, there will be race riots. (Oddly, it will consist mostly of people trashing their own neighborhood. But it’s likely enough some paler-than-average fellow will be driving through said neighborhood, minding his own business, and will be pulled from his vehicle and murdered.)

    If Obama wins, there will be smaller race riots. (Not none, but smaller, because the trigger will be opposition to his policies, which is not as fraught with emotion as an election.) There will also be major economic problems either happening or obviously on-the-way, within three years after the swearing-in, because of the policies enacted. Joblessness will be higher, and the unfunded liabilities on the Federal ledger will be higher. The rich will field the economic downturn relatively unscathed; the poor will not, and will become ever more dependent on government.

    Which way will it go? I don’t know. It will be very close.

    If he loses, the international press will of course write it off to racism. And of course they’ll be somewhat right: If the 1% of the electorate that rejected voting for Obama, not for policy reasons, but because he’s black, had voted for him, he’d have won.

    (On the other hand, if the 5% of the electorate that allowed themselves to feel any interest at all in Obama, not because they thought him qualified for the presidency, but because he’s black, hadn’t considered his race, he’d have never won the nomination.)

    But, there’ll be riots either way.

    And, if you’re still looking for one more thing to make your morning coffee turn cold, let me re-iterate my prediction of late 2002, which I’ve yet to see any reason to alter:

    By 2025, a terrorist-operated nuclear weapon will be detonated in or over a population center of the United States, or else in Tel Aviv, or both. They’ll have had assistance building it, of course, but by “terrorist-operated” I mean, we won’t be certain of the complicity of any particular state actor, because their connection to the attack will be tenuous. We won’t know who to counterattack, which will produce a less healthy national emotion than that which followed 9/11/2001. The Pope will try to turn aside the rage. (Successfully? *shrug*)

    Anyway, that ought to put this whole Obama kerfuffle into perspective.

    So: Enjoy the good times, while they’re here. (And take care to live in upwind outer suburbs, rather than urban areas.)

  • R.C.

    RK, others:

    About FoxNews’ bias:

    O’Reilly is biased in favor of the G.O.P., obviously.

    His bias is roughly balanced against Olberman’s though I regard O’Reilly to be marginally more of a class act.

    But these are opinion shows, rather than news shows.

    The more serious news show on Fox is Brit Hume’s Special Report. Hume is biased in favor of the G.O.P.; his bias is more or less matched by Chris Matthews’ bias.

    Hannity isn’t quite the same factor, because of Colmes. However, I’ll count that as a slight lean in favor of the G.O.P., because Colmes is less rhetorically effective than Hannity. Their show, overall, is balanced by the debate/analysis shows seen on other networks where one or two effective and aggressive pro-DNC pundits (e.g. Carville or Begala) are paired off against more mild-mannered and retiring conservatives (e.g. Tucker Carlson or Robert Novak).

    Overall, then, FoxNews is “fair and balanced.” Not in and of themselves, mind you. But because they have the other media organizations against which to balance themselves, producing a more level playing field overall.

  • R.C.

    One more thing to add on bias:

    The MSM has a few biases which are stronger even than their political leanings (rightward for Fox, leftward for NBC and CNN, and apparently toward cancellation for ABC and CBS).

    These include:
    – “If it bleeds, it leads. Important news is always tabled in favor of a car chase, a hurricane, celebrity arrests, or celebrities entering or exiting rehab.”
    – “If it requires too much analysis and background, it’s a job for the History channel in 10 years, not a news organization now.
    – “Journalists are heroes. Impropriety or inaccuracy by news organizations is not covered unless the public outcry is too overwhelming to ignore. News about those who produce the news (i.e. journalists kidnapped by terrorists or diagnosed with cancer) is always covered in twice the detail that would be allotted to members of other professions.”
    – “Personalities must fall into a known, archetypal narrative; if they don’t, they aren’t discussed; once they get ‘pegged’ they can be discussed; if any evidence arises to suggest they don’t fit the running narrative, that evidence is not aired.”

    There are others, but those are the main ones.

  • J. M. Walden

    I enjoyed this article, as I do many on this site, and found that I empathize with it. Here next to New York City I hear a great deal about, “if Obama loses it will be because of racism,” which I would laugh about more heartily if the whine-and-cheese humanitarian-progressive hipsters who are so fond of asserting it were not so deathly serious. The author’s own attestation that it may have more to do with a degraded, immoral subtext to much of the politics we hear rather than over-blown accusations of racism I find to be, on the ground as I am here in the lower SES, absolutely true. I hear more “anti-old-white-guy” and “anti-redneck-woman” nonsense than I do “anti-black” rhetoric. Even at home in my tiny Virginia hometown, I see and hear very little ugly racism, even in the circles in which it is traditionally expressed.

    I wish I knew more about the subject matter, but speaking from experience, this article well-describes what I see going on not only in my community, but in my family. My own mother favors Obama not for his policies on which she is only vaguely informed, but because she’s tired of “old white men” running everything. While there is some justification for her bitterness, it is a very popular oversimplification.

    Here in New Jersey and in New York City I have frequently heard intimations that “people” won’t vote for Obama because he’s black, especially “rednecks.” Being Southern I take umbrage at the slight, and being sane, I find the conspiracy-theory-esque assumption absolutely absurd. I myself cannot vote, but if I could, I would not vote for either the Original Maverick nor The Prophet of Change, and my motivation could hardly be ascribed to the vagaries of ethnic descent.

    I think that self-perpetuating victim-hood has as much to do with racism refusing to die, as any active prejudice. Black, white, yellow, plaid… at some point we have to acknowledge our sins, forgive ourselves and each other, and, well, move on. Maybe a Global Confession Day?

    Anywise, to all of you, authors, readers, and commenter

  • Ender

    Well things must be bad in Obamaland if they’re already blaming their problems on racism. It’s like believing in Bigfoot and UFO’s; there’s really nothing anyone can say to prove they don’t exist, although, unlike those harmless fantasies, there is nothing harmless in fostering the belief that racism is still a significant problem in the US. Still, that bogeyman has been the meal ticket for too many hucksters for too many years for it to be readily abandoned, nor will an Obama victory finally drive a stake through its heart. Personally, I think Obama only defeated Hillary because of sexism and McCain can only lose because of ageism. The Japanese could make a movie about it: Godzilla vs Rodin vs The Blob.

  • Maria

    My husband and I have been having this argument, whether racism will be a factor. You didn’t mention the Muslim thing. I know lots of people (upper and upper middle class) who are sure he’s a Muslim and won’t vote for him on this score. (Or they feel his exposure to Islam as a youth will have indoctrinated him in a Muslim kind of way) That is a terribly unfortunate name for someone to have while running for president at this time in the U.S.

  • Pansy Moss

    “Anti-black race prejudice can still be found, but mostly it is found among whites of the lower social classes, who because of their lowly status have small power to harm African Americans in their pursuit of academic, economic, and social success. ”

    So PP continuing Margaret Sanger’s legacy and targeting black for abortion, sterilisation and birth control is what? Not true?

    While I know plenty of people who simply won’t vote for BO because of his abortion stance, to say racism is a thing of the past in this country-they need to put on a black person’s skin and walk around for a couple of days. They will see something totally different.

  • RK

    …..raises a very good point about the continued racism in this country. It prompted me to re-read the article and I don’t think the author is discounting the presence of racism here. He seems to be saying it is limited to working class whites who see blacks as a competing interest group.

    Nonetheless, I think your point is well taken. While the race baiting tactics of black leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton exacerbate the problem, I don’t think institutional racism is extinct. Your Margaret Sanger reference is a perfect example and so are the social service programs which do little to help black people and other minorities escape poverty, drugs, violence and the cycle of family disfunction which are so prevalent in urban America.

    Black people perceive that they are marginalized and believe they are largely excluded from the opportunities presented by American culture. As such they have no compunction about exploiting the system for whatever short term benefits they may be able to extract from it because it encourages them to engage it in this manner. The assertion that there is no racism is itself seen as a racist statement.

    Mr. Carlin’s insight about probable racial unrest resulting from a McCain victory seems quite right.

  • Michael Hebert

    98% of African Americans wiil vote Obama. Why? Are they racist? How about those whites who will vote for him because he is Black? Are they racist. Things must be getting desperate in Obamaspeak-ville.

    Sorry, I don’t buy that argument. If you were black, you could live your entire life and never, ever, have a chance to vote for another black person. I live in Mississippi, and I am pretty certain no black has ever before stood for election to national office here who had any chance of winning.

    If I were black (I am not), I might consider Obama’s race an important factor simply because he has some ethnic similarities to me and therefore might represent me better than the other guy. I know as a Catholic I take a second, and third, look at any Catholic candidate for office.

    I don’t think it is fair to say that blacks back Obama only because of his race. But they’ve never had the chance to vote for a black in such an important race before. Why wouldn’t this sway them? Don’t we all pull for one of our own, be it another Catholic, or a hometown hero?

    A few blacks will vote for Obama simply because of his skin color. Those people are racist. But most have other considerations, and race is simply an important one. I think you can factor ethnicity into a vote, as long as you understand that you are casting the vote because you think the person who shares your background will help you because he understands you best.

  • BPS

    Mississippi had two black senators (both Republican!) during reconstruction, in the 1870s.
    Currently the Miss. delta region is represented by a black US congressman in the House.

  • Daniel Patterson

    Funny how Democrats can “campaign” in churches without violating the separation of church and state.

    I personally don’t care what color Obama is, I don’t like his policies. I think his years as a community activist (I mean organizer), his belonging to a church where the pastor has such rantings, and his affiliations or lack of backbone when casting votes on important issues: present. What’s his voting record on taxes? Check it. I find it difficult to believe that we have a presidential candidate who has a radical in Ayers, a convicted felon in Rysko(sp) and a pastor in Wright, whose wordly views aren’t formed in some way by his relationship with these people. I’m thinking that many who read here are Catholics. How many of you hearing that sort of garbage come out of your pastor’s mouth would stay there for 20 years. Didn’t Obama say that the greatest racial divide in county occured on Sunday mornings. WhY? Is that an indication of what he heard all those sundays. No, I believe they form the root of this man’s philosophy and outlooks, and as a president, will be the same. New wine in old wine skins. I want him to represent all of us, I don’t think he can or will.

    I also work with a man I thought to be intelligent. He is an African American. He said to me that Clarence Thomas was an Uncle Tom because he has forgotten where he came from. I was astounded by the shallowness of this comment, that we would expect a Justice to rule based on his personal experiences and not on the depth of his thinking. This is what frightens me about Obama. Prove to me otherwise and have him change his positions on marriage and abortion, he may get my vote, not becuase he is a man of color, but because his views of the world and his actions are consistent with what I desire from a President. and shame on those who would advocate a a riot if he loses this election, based solely on the color of his skin. If we as catholics voted according to our CAtholic beliefs, what kind of government would we have. Pelosi, Kennedy, Biden? I don’t think so. Is this what it means to be CAtholic. I ask the same question of Obama. I have heard a clip of Obama speak saying “just a typical white person.” What is that!!!! If coming from the other candidate’s mouth, it would be an outrage. This is the limited mindset that scares me, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  • Bender

    Let’s be clear here. If Obama does lose solely on account of race, it will be because of racist Democrats and not anyone else.

    Conservatives and Republicans are going to vote against Obama, not because he is black, but because he is neither a conservative nor a Republican. Indeed, he is a extreme liberal Democrat. So don’t try to brand conservatives and Republicans as racists for not voting for Obama. They are as likely to vote for Obama as they were for lily white John Kerry.

    If race is the deciding factor, it will only be because Democrats, who otherwise would vote for the nominee of their party, refuse to vote for “the black guy.” The Democrats must forever remember that they are the Party of Slavery, Secession, and Segregation. That is the heritage of every person who calls himself or herself a Democrat.

    However, Obama has a problem, in that he is ever more giving potentially would-be Democrat racists countless reasons, having nothing to do with race, to vote against him. There is absolutely no reason why an elitist, clueless, do-nothing two-year senator, following a do-nothing state legislative stint, should automatically be entitled to his party’s votes. And there is every reason to vote against a guy who yells “change,” but proves himself to be just another typical political hack.

  • mj anderson

    True exchange at the grocery:

    Black man with baby in arms: “Who you going to vote for?”

    Me: “I can’t vote a candidate that legislates for babies being killed?”

    Black man: “Who’s that?”

    Me: “Obama.”

    Black man: “Why do you say that? Is it because he is Black?”

    Me: “No, I’d vote for Clarence Thomas.”

    Black man: “Aw, he’s not a Black. He’s a white man’s Black.”

    Sad to think that many Black people equate blackness with the liberal agenda such that any other position is disqualifies a member of their race for public office.

  • nobody

    If race is the deciding factor, it will only be because Democrats, who otherwise would vote for the nominee of their party, refuse to vote for “the black guy.”

    I think this is worth repeating and singling out.

  • Deacon Ed

    We’ve seen a racist quota system for entry into colleges; we’ve seen racist quota systems in place for job and the awarding of government contacts in the form of set-asides, and now we have a mind-set that suggests that since we have never had a Black candidate for president, this warrants consideration apart from merit. This is pure racism. Yes there might be some ‘low class whites’ (once again we’re promoting Clintonian class warfare)- the ones Obama referred to as liking their guns and religion – who will vote again BO because he’s Black. But this pales against the 98% of Blacks who will vote for him. Once again I say “Who’s racist?”
    Michael, I’d suggest you read a bit of Thomas Sowell. But then again he’s an ‘Uncle Tom Black man’ like Clarence Thomas.

  • Anastasia

    To say the fact of the matter, race matters naught. Skin color

  • Tim Shipe

    I agree that Obama’s problems with traditional church folk is his enthusiastic support of the secular/liberal social issue agenda- I am a pro-life Dem and find it so difficult – I am an FDR New Deal Dem to the core- I read and admire Noam Chomsky when it comes to exposing America’s actual foreign policies, not the spin by both parties who pretend that we are without sin when it comes to American “interests”.

    But on the cultural front, I cannot stand what has happened to the Dem party, and Obama is not much of an answer- if he stood up tomorrow and said- y’know I’ve reviewed the biological facts of life, and I have had an epiphany- human life begins as close as we can determine- at fertilization- we simply cannot take any chances from that point on that we are not dealing with a unique human child- so I am going to have to change my pro-choice policy position- I will continue to work hard on addressing the root causes of abortion- the economics, the moral relativism associated with our sexual practices and education of our youth- but I will also work to establish a universal right to life, both here in America and abroad- every life is precious, every child is God’s gift to us- we cannot fail the children.

    My God if only Barack would make that speech and commit to it- he would have my public support and I well imagine he would change the face of American politics and the Democratic Party for the duration of his lifetime and beyond- Can we agree as Catholics that this is what we should be lobbying him to do- instead of just condemning him, let’s pray for him, let’s continue to put this issue in front of him in a loving spirit- he could turn out to be the greatest single convert to the pro-life cause- we have to proceed as if this was a real possibility- let’s start a Christian movement dedicated to the conversion of Barack Obama to becoming pro-life across-the-board- to simply recognize that human life begins and we cannot take it upon ourselves to end it- and we cannot allow women to suffer as a consequence- we can do it all- God made us with the potential to solve our own problems with his graces- why give up- why give in to cynicism and defeatism- obama is the candidate of change? Let this be the first major Change of his tenure! An Obama who is pro-life will put all racists to shame- they will not be able to hide behind the legitimate cultural questions-

  • Brian Cook

    I thank those of you who acknowledge that racialism was born in traditionalist and Rightist politics (though I wish that you haven’t spouted talking-points about so-called Cultural Marxism, which itself could easily be a fascist code-word). I thank those of you who acknowledge that blacks go through so much pain and hardship. We can’t randomly smear the Other and expect to spread the Gospel of Life. We need everyone to come together in Christ to be renewed.

  • Kathy

    I will not vote for Barack Obama in November. Because he is black? No, because he is pro-abortion. I would vote for Clarence Thomas, J.C. Watts or Michael Steele in a minute. Why? Because they are pro-life. I gave up on the democrats a long time ago. The only democrat I have voted for on the national level is my US congressman, Dan Lipinski. Why? He is pro-life. I will vote for a pro-life candidate be they republican/democrat, male/female, black/white or green. I vote for the candidate who supports the issues I believe in NOT by party, gender or race.

  • Michael

    “…An anti-black blue-collar worker has the same number of votes as does a progressive Harvard professor.”

    Dear author,
    Are you suggesting that these two groups shouldn’t get the same number of votes? [Of course you are.] Both groups are equally deplorable.
    What you conveniently forget [or, refuse to mention] is that outside of the voting booth, for the other 1,460 days in every four-year cycle, those “progressive” Harvard professors have incredible amounts of power and influence on our nation’s youth. This to me is far more distressing than a handful of “anti-black blue-collar workers.”

  • Jack Picknell

    It’s the Blackness of his heart that we all detest. His skin is irrelevant.

  • Brian Cook

    But how do we know that his heart is actually that black? For all we know, he may simply have good intentions gone wrong. As a matter of fact, that’s the most likely case.

  • R.C.

    I’ll go ahead and say RIGHT OUT that B. Obama does not have a “black heart”; his intentions are relatively good.

    But I won’t vote for the fellow.

    Good intentions are a bad thing to have when your mind doesn’t have a clue how to implement those intentions, and when the only proposals that exit your mouth are as catastrophically ill-considered as those Mr. Obama proposes.

    On nearly every topic about which Senator Obama professes to care (believably, in my book!) I’m pretty convinced he will do no good and probably much harm. It’s not that he isn’t smart; it’s just that he’s not wise or canny. (There’s a certain kind of foolishness that only infects smart people.)

    I don’t like his green policies; I fear they may hurt the environment.

    I don’t like his ideas to assist the poor; I fear they’ll increase poverty.

    I don’t like his instincts about how to avoid war; I think it likely he’ll cause a net increase in the number of innocents slain by armed combatants if he pursues them.

    I don’t care for his ideas about government’s role in our lives; I anticipate a reduction in our personal freedom to result.

    So, yes: Good intentions are nice. But I’d rather have a cynic with the wisdom to produce good results. I hope that’s what McCain turns out to be, if he’s elected…and I hope that I’m mistaken about Obama’s lack of wisdom, if he’s elected.

    To me, the election looks like a choice between Detective Lenny Brisco of Law and Order (played by the late, great Jerry Orbach), and a sincere but clueless Inspector Gadget. With so much at stake, I appreciate that Inspector Gadget is good at heart…and that Lenny’s a deeply flawed guy. But give me Lenny, all the same.

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