Why Richard Cohen Is The Perfect Metaphor For The GOP: It’s Not Me, It’s You
By far, the top story today, discussed on every cable news show, reported on several times by every major news organization is Richard Cohen’s racist opinion column in the Washington Post.
LOOK: Washington Post Writer: Interracial Couples Make â€˜People With Conventional Viewsâ€™ Vomit
For the sake of the few who might not have read it yet, allow us to present the relevant paragraph at issue. The bolding is ours:
Todayâ€™s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled â€” about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde.Â People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York â€” a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasioâ€™s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?)Â This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts â€” but not all â€” of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesnâ€™t look like their country at all.
The Atlantic’sÂ Ta-Nehisi CoatesÂ explains exactly why this is “horse-shit.”
“The problem here isn’t that we think Richard Cohen gags at the site of an interracial couple and their children. The problem is that Richard Cohen thinks being repulsed isn’t actually racist, but Â ‘conventional’ or ‘culturally conservative.’ Obstructing the rightÂ of black humans and white humans to form families is a central feature of American racism. If retching at the thought of that right being exercised isn’t racism, then there is no racism.”
Richard Cohen is the perfect metaphor for today’s GOP. He just cannot grasp that America no longer thinks like he does. And even if you buy his argument that he was merely giving voice to those in the Tea Party who do think like that, his previous works really eviscerate that claim.
Which makes it all the more troubling that Cohen’s bosses at the Washington PostÂ not only defended his column once it was clear it was being attacked in seemingly every major news outlet across the nation, but extolled it before the backlash began, as “brilliant.”
Here’s a tweet from the Publisher of the Washington Post, late last night:
Brilliant: richard Cohen on why Cruz beats Christie in iowa: http://t.co/Ofl85i5lf1
â€” katharine weymouth (@weymouthk) November 12, 2013
The Post’s editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt,Â offered to take the heat.
â€œAnyone reading Richardâ€™s entire column will see he is just saying that some Americans still have a hard time dealing with interracial marriage. I erred in not editing that one sentence more carefully to make sure it could not be misinterpreted.â€
Well, that’s false. Let’s look at that again.
â€œAnyone reading Richardâ€™s entire column will see he is just saying that some Americans still have a hard time dealing with interracial marriage.”
No, what he said was, “People with conventional views” want to vomit when thinking about interracial couples.
And then, there’s the comment thatÂ Chirlane McCray “used to be a lesbian.”
Did HiattÂ err in not editing that one sentence more carefully, also, to make sure it could not be misinterpreted?
No, I’m pretty sure the Washington Post erred by not firing Cohen by now, and I’m pretty sure that if they opened their eyes and realized that it’s not 1950, they would see just how wrong Cohen is.
Because the fact is that biracial, or interracial couples, today are the norm. President Barack Obama, by the way, is the offspring of a biracial couple.
The dated idea that any of us is “Black” or “white” at this point is a joke — with the punchline being the news yesterday that a white supremacist found out — on TV — that his DNA proves he is fourteen percent African.
“People with conventional views,” Richard Cohen claims, “must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York â€” a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children.”
No, actually, people with unconventional views may — but people with conventional views surpassed racists and bigots many years ago.
Apparently, Richard Cohen doesn’t understand this — and thinks that — at least what seems like — the vast majority of Americans who today are calling him a racist, areÂ mean.
“The word racist is truly hurtful,” Cohen told the Huffington Post. “It’s not who I am. It’s not who I ever was. It’s just not fair. It’s just not right.”
“I didn’t write one line, I wrote a column,” he added.Â “The column is about Tea Party extremism and I was not expressing my views, I was expressing the views of what I think some people in the Tea Party held.”
“I don’t think everybody in the Tea Party is like that, because I know there are blacks in the Tea Party,” he said. “So they’re not all racist, unless I’m going to start doing mind reading about why those black people are there.”
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Regardless, let’s look again at that.
“I was not expressing my views, I was expressing the views of what I think some people in the Tea Party held.”
The only world in which that statement might make sense is if Cohen admits he himself has “unconventional views.”
So while all this “it’s not me, it’s you” excuse-making is swirling in your head, let me share something else with you.
My father was a Brooklyn-born Jew whose parents came from Poland and Lithuania — although we were always told Russia. I’m certain our last name was a lot longer before they landed here. I had relatives we’d see, rarely, on the Jewish holidays, who had numbers burned into their forearms. When I was young I asked why. And I was told we had other relatives who died in the Holocaust. My mother, who denounced the Roman Catholic church after moving to America to attend Columbia University — where my parents met — is from Central America. She has both Spanish and Mayan blood.
Frankly, I have no idea what I’m supposed to call myself.
My sister and I grew up in a household where we called our friends’ parents “Mr.” or “Mrs.” but our parents’ friends by their first names. It wasn’t until high school or college that I even understood that someone with the name Goldberg was probably Jewish. We just never were taught things like that.
I remember growing up, being told by my mother that a friend of hers, who was white, was forced to rent an apartment in her name because her husband was Black and no landlord in Connecticut would rent an apartment to an interracial couple. I didn’t understand how that was possible.
And I remember growing up just assuming that I could never marry because I’m gay.
Today, I’m happily married. My husband is of Irish and German ancestry.
Frankly, with all that “ancestry” sloshing around in our veins, I have no idea what we’re supposed to call ourselves. Bi-racial? Inter-racial? Metro-racial? Legally married will do just fine, thank you very much.
Today, Hawaii became the sixteenth state to extend marriage to same-sex couples. Last week, it was Illinois. Three other states also did this year. Top LGBT organizations promise marriage equality in all 50 states within five years. I suspect it will happen in less time.
Our neighbors down the hall are an interracial couple. I hesitate to use the term bi-racial because I have no idea what their DNA looks like. And I don’t care. They’re lovely people, probably two of the best parents I know.
What I’m certain of is that I don’t know a soul withÂ conventional views who could look at them and their four-year old daughter — who is cute as a button — and be forced to “repress a gag reflex.”
I mention all this merely because, while I acknowledge that being a gay man of mixed ancestry married toÂ a gay man of somewhat less-mixed ancestry, living in Manhattan, may make me, indeed, somewhatÂ “unconventional,” I’m fairly certain there are more of “us” — people of mixed ancestry in interracial marriages and relationships — than “them” — people in monoracial (is that a word?) marriages or relationships.
This is an America that elected — twice — a Black president, an America in which for several years now, the majority has supported same-sex marriage. (“Should I mention that Bill de Blasioâ€™s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?”)
And this, dear friends, is why Richard Cohen is the perfect metaphor for today’s GOP. Today’s dying GOP.
Because they think being racist is when you call someone the “N” word. If you don’t, you’re not. Nuance eludes them.
They think everyone else thinks like they do, because so many on the right only watch Fox News, and so many on the right only read Tea Party columnists, and Breitbart, and Drudge, and listen to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
And they haven’t a clue that it’s 2013 and they’re a dying breed.
Editorial note: A previous version of this article stated the Post had not reported on Cohen’s column, based on a search of the Post — which when checked after publication later turned up two pieces.
Image: Washington Post
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'GOOD LUCK WITH THAT'
‘Trying to Have It Both Ways’: Ivanka ‘Flailing’ as Trump Indictment Slams Family
While Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have taken to their social media platforms to viciously lash out at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for indicting their father on a reported 30 charges, Ivanka Trump posted a rather muted statement on her Instagram account which simply said, “I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both. I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”
According to Daily Beast conservative columnist Matt Lewis, the so-called “First Daughter,” who served in the White House with her father, is trying to stay true to her former president dad, while distancing herself from his legal problems — and it is not going to work for her.
As Lewis put it, Ivanka is “flailing” in her attempts to shed the memory of her participation in the Trump administration that reached its lowest point on Jan. 6 when supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.
“It’s hard to argue with anything Ivanka says here, but it is not a statement of moral clarity. Nor is it (conversely) a statement of strong support for her father. She’s flailing and trying to have it both ways,” Lewis wrote before adding, “Now, it’s understandable that a daughter might not want to utterly condemn her father. Further, children are not responsible for their parents’ sins. Except, of course, if you consider the fact that Ivanka served as the primary weapon in the ‘Trump’s not such a belligerent pig as his four decades as a public figure would make you think’ propaganda push.”
RELATED: Trump is so ‘unmoored from reality’ he can’t act as a defense witness: ‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter
Noting that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner — who has baggage of his own — both stuck with Trump in the White House for all four years, Lewis added, “As far as the former first daughter goes, she and her husband might be done with politics, but once you’ve been a party to an administration like Trump’s, it’s going to be a long time before politics is done with them.”
“So, Ivanka, you want to have a seat at the cool apolitical kids’ table? You want to be once again accepted by the socially liberal billionaires’ children you used to go to the Hamptons with and now have Miami Beach playdates with? You want to enjoy the privileges of being a Trump with none of the shame? Good luck with that,” he concluded.
You can read more here.
Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report
Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.
The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.
Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.
CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”
READ MORE: Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard is as strong as any I’ve seen.”
The judge was very clear in his ruling.
“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”
READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’
Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.
Dominion has won the argument on the issue of falsity, meaning that as the Court funds below, “it is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” pic.twitter.com/7lKEspN0WI
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 31, 2023
Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
The U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Friday jointly issued a statement warning they “anticipate” Trump protests across the country. The statement is not time-specific, and it states it has no information on “credible threats,” but some Democratic offices are allowing staffers to work from home Friday and Tuesday.
“The Sergeant at Arms and United States Capitol Police (USCP) anticipate demonstration activity across the country related to the indictment of former President Trump. While law enforcement is not tracking any specific, credible threats against the Capitol or state offices, there is potential for demonstration activity. USCP is working with law enforcement partners, so you may observe a greater law enforcement presence on Capitol Hill,” the statement reads.
“The SAA and USCP are monitoring the potential nationwide impacts to Senate state offices,” it adds.
The House Sergeant at Arms was conspicuously absent from the statement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has control over that office.
READ MORE: Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Additionally, Axios is reporting, “several House Democrats are allowing staffers to work from home as a safety precaution,” noting that “the memory of Trump supporters ransacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 is still fresh on the mind.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is allowing staff to work from home for safety reasons. She told Axios, “I don’t ever want to see a Jan. 6 again.”
“I’ve been in the Trump hate tunnel, Donald Trump has gone after me, and quite frankly I don’t have security. I don’t have entourages.”
She’s not the only Democrat to raise concerns.
“Much of the language from the former President and his devotees is similar to what inspired Jan. 6th,” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said. “I’m concerned about safety for my colleagues and my staff.”
READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump
Meanwhile, House Republicans are issuing full-throated support for Trump and calling for protests.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was called out by name in a six-page letter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent to Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Friday morning, announced she will be in New York on Tuesday to support Trump when he is arraigned. She has posted several tweets since Trump was indicted.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Thursday seemingly designed to gin up rage and action in the MAGA base.
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license
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