Respectful Insolence

I know I don’t blog about pure politics much, but it’s the weekend, I’m too tired to do anything heavy-duty about medicine or science, and this depressed me.

As much as I’d like to delude myself that things have changed, it turns out that they haven’t changed nearly as much as I’d like to think, as this poll demonstrates:

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them “lazy,” ”violent” or responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points.

Certainly, Republican John McCain has his own obstacles: He’s an ally of an unpopular president and would be the nation’s oldest first-term president. But Obama faces this: 40 percent of all white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, and that includes many Democrats and independents.

More than a third of all white Democrats and independents — voters Obama can’t win the White House without — agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Obama than those who don’t have such views.


It’s true that race isn’t the only reason that Obama the race is so close. People reported doubts about whether Obama is ready to be President, doubts I myself have expressed in the form of wondering if he’s “ready for prime time,” but it’s depressing as hell to see this conclusion from the poll:

Three in 10 of those Democrats who don’t trust Obama’s change-making credentials say they plan to vote for McCain.

Still, the effects of whites’ racial views are apparent in the polling.

Statistical models derived from the poll suggest that Obama’s support would be as much as 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racial prejudice.

But in an election without precedent, it’s hard to know if such models take into account all the possible factors at play.

True enough, but the evidence is suggestive:

Among white Democrats, Clinton supporters were nearly twice as likely as Obama backers to say at least one negative adjective described blacks well, a finding that suggests many of her supporters in the primaries — particularly whites with high school education or less — were motivated in part by racial attitudes.

The unfortunate implication of this poll is that racism, although clearly decreased from 40 or 50 years ago, when casually flinging about the N-word was not considered nearly as offensive (or in some parts of the country it wasn’t offensive at all), is alive and well and that it may well be the deciding factor in the election. I don’t know how accurate this poll is or if the effect of racism is as great as it suggests, but even so enough other lines of evidence suggest that race will be at least some factor; it’s the magnitude of its influence that is argued. It’s not just racism, either. It’s prejudice against Muslims, and that prejudice isn’t just limited to the uneducated. I’ll tell you a little story.

Earlier this year, I was first-assisting for my partner for a case on a Saturday morning because it happened to have to be done that day for a clinical trial (the surgery had to be timed carefully after a dose of drug) and there were no surgery residents available to help him because that Saturday also happened to be on the day when residents take a yearly required examination. After the patient was asleep and the surgical site was being prepped but before we started the case, for some reason the conversation turned to politics. The anesthesiologist started going on and on about how Barack Obama is a Muslim and that he took his oath of office with his hand on the Koran, all standard stuff that’s easily debunked. She really believed it, too. She didn’t believe me when I pointed out that that none of it was true, and she was particularly annoyed when I made a comment along the lines of, “It’s not true, but so what if it were true? Why should it even matter if Obama were a Muslim? It doesn’t matter to me any more than his race.” Unfortunately, I could not at the time remember the details of the origin of that particular rumor. In any case, the argument got fairly heated, and I had to just let it drop because the case was about to start and the patient and his operation had to become my first priorities.

Still, I left the hospital that day stunned that one of my colleagues could have so easily bought into such misinformation, but more disturbing was that it mattered so much to her. Even a rumor that Obama was a Muslim made her utterly opposed to him and even afraid of him.

As I said before, I’m underwhelmed by Barack Obama. He gives a great speech, sure, but his experience is mighty thin for President. I know that my saying so will annoy some readers, but so be it. On the other hand, a man I used to admire and almost certainly would have voted for had I had the opportunity back in 2000, John McCain, has sold his soul to the religious right and thrown away all the things about him that I used to admire in his unbridled ambition to become President–to the point where he’s reduced to making ridiculous charges of sexism over comments like “you can put lipstick on a pig.” It doesn’t get much more pathetic than that. (Or maybe it does, and we’re yet to see it.) Moreover, after observing McCain and seeing him discuss how he makes so many decisions “from his gut,” I realize that what we need in this country is less thinking from the gut and more thinking with the mind in our leadership. We’ve had eight years of a President who famously makes decisions based on his “gut instincts,” and look where it’s gotten us. John McCain, by choosing an utterly unqualified candidate for his running mate who also appears to value decisiveness far more, has also shown that his gut instincts could have disastrous consequences if he were to die or become incapacitated in office. All of this, plus the utter disaster that has been the Bush Administration, has driven me towards supporting, albeit not particularly enthusiastically, Barack Obama.

I was born in the era of the civil rights movement. I was five years old when riots plunged my hometown of Detroit into chaos. Forty years later, it’s depressing as hell that race might be a major contributing factor why a Presidential candidate might lose in November. The only bright spot is that Obama has enormous support among young people, which suggests that race will matter less and less in the future.

Or at least so I hope.

Comments

  1. #1 carolo
    September 20, 2008

    I am white, an woman a few years younger than McCain, and I have never had a doubt of who would get my vote. I have followed Obama’s career since he was running for The Senate and was impressed with him from the get-go. And now that I know of his education even more so.

    I don’t care if a person is green if they can bring the troops home and balance this budget and bring better relations with our alies. I am not interested in voting for someone because their running mate is cute or has neat glasses. People need to wake up.

  2. #2 sailor
    September 20, 2008

    Interesting to see this post, as I had a feeling Obama should be a few points further ahead and wondered whether racism was the cause. This is a pretty crucial election for America, and it is also very simple; vote McCain and you get republicans and more of the same kind of leadership that has been going to 8 years. There is no way McCain can change things much – his main platform for change is to reform the very people whose vote he will need to do anything. It cannot work, and he offers no noticeable change in governing philosophy. For change and new direction, vote Obama and democrat. I think he will be excellent, but even if I am disappointed, he will break the current trend and allow something new to bubble up from the ranks.
    I think it might take some white Americans a degree of courage to vote for a black man (US definition) for president, something that has never happened before. If they fail in this, the results will be a bit like the last election, when they voted for Bush to be safe and failed to correct the course of the nation, which has been teetering downhill though torture, imprisonment without trial, corruption of the justice department, deregulation, and giving everything to special interests. I hope white Americans find the courage, because the election of the president of the USA affects the destiny of whole world.

  3. #3 Chris Lundy
    September 20, 2008

    I am a white woman a few years younger than McCain whose early years were spent in a segregated society. Early on I learned the”code”, which has become more refined over the years.

    I am a (mostly) retired nurse, coming into the field through pursuing a second degree in biology later in life. Once it became clear that a Nobel prize might be a bit of a reach, I noticed that fellow students in the Nursing/Premed track would be able to pay their bills, and I changed my goal.

    In these past 23 years, I have met a vast number of med residents, and for the most part I have been impressed by their honesty, hard work and intelligence. So, I am always stunned when I run into one who isn’t, including the unintelligent designers, the Rambo kill all the Muslims, and the “code talkers”-not the Navajos. I understand the uneducated whites who have to put the black man down, to keep themselves from the bottom of the perceived social barrel, but to hear the harsh prejuice spewed in most polite terms by the highly educated, that is very depressing.

    I always read and appreciate you, Orac. I hope that our cool,intelligent and calmly collected guy (Obama) will grow on you.

  4. #4 MBA
    September 20, 2008

    A win for McCain should not be interpreted as racism. There are may pundits and polls that attempt to hang racism around any drop in Obama ratings, which is not very respectable and does more to damage race relations than it does to describe current racial biases. A real test for the maturity of this country is how much attention we give to such polls and pundits, which seem to be very poor indicators of the true state of race relations in this country. There are plenty of reasons that Obama might lose this election, none of which have anything whatsoever to do with the color of his skin. A vote for McCain is not inherently a racist vote. Certainly there will be some who cast their ballots based on their racial biases. It does not seem to me that this group of voters will be large enough to decide the election by themselves, and frankly, such groups exist on both sides of the aisle. If this is really to be a “post-racial” election, then racism cannot be made into a scapegoat for bad policy ideas and a failure to convince the American public to vote Obama if this is indeed the result in November, any more than a win for Obama “proves” that we as a nation have overcome racism. It does no such thing. Indeed, if this is the dominate narrative in November used to describe the election results, I would be very worried about the consequent state of race relations to follow. They will suffer much damage with this line of analysis. Please do not make racist straw man arguments because other voters may not agree with your above political analysis. We may disagree politically, but racism is a strong accusation with which to describe such disagreements.

  5. #5 Marilyn Mann
    September 20, 2008

    Sad, not surprising.

  6. #6 Jennifer Ouellette
    September 20, 2008

    I am not the least surprised to see this kind of finding; my take has always been that Obama would win this thing in a landslide if he were white and were named Barry Smith. He is so clearly the superior candidate at this point.

    RE: Orac’s comments about inexperience: I can relate, because that was one of my concerns early on in the primaries, too. But I think Obama has really proved himself over the last year or so. He’s not perfect, and we shouldn’t expect him to be a Messiah; a savior is not the same thing as a leader. He IS a strong leader, and I’m now confident that he’s more than capable of rising to the challenge of the presidency.

    He’s careful. He’s nuanced (which actually hurts him a little in our sound-byte obsessed culture, but he continues to be who he is despite that). He’s unflappable. He keeps his head when everyone around him is losing theirs. He doesn’t rise to the bait of cheap shots (and there have been plenty). He seeks out expert advice and — more importantly — he LISTENS to it. His reaction to the financial crisis wasn’t just to score political points (although he did rightly point out that McCain played a significant role in supporting a flawed system); he delayed a more formal response, gathered some top advisers to give him their honest assessment of the situation and then responded accordingly. Compare that to McCain 2008 — a completely different creature from McCain 2000, whom I admired — who just went out and started shooting his mouth off in a lame attempt to recast himself as a regulation-loving populist, before he really understood the gravity of the situation. (I note that as of today, even McCain has once again changed his tune. Who knows who he’ll be tomorrow?)

    Part of making a wise choice for president is looking at who is the best candidate for the times. We’ve had 8 years of cowboy politics; maybe that would be okay in a different era, but now now. We need a thoughtful, calm, unflappable leader who knows how to take in lots of expert information, process it, and make a solid, rational decision. The candidate who can best do that, this time around, is unquestionably Barack Obama.

    Gee… if only he were white…

    Just my two cents. :) Nice post, orac…

  7. #7 mad the swine
    September 20, 2008

    “A vote for McCain is not inherently a racist vote. Certainly there will be some who cast their ballots based on their racial biases. It does not seem to me that this group of voters will be large enough to decide the election by themselves, and frankly, such groups exist on both sides of the aisle.”

    Well, fortunately, we don’t have to judge by ‘how it seems to you’, because we have, you know, this: “statistical models derived from the poll suggest that Obama’s support would be as much as 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racial prejudice”. Which you might have been able to read for yourself, if you hadn’t been so eager to repeat the conservative party line claim that talking about racism is inherently racist.

    And yes, such groups ‘exist on both sides of the aisle’ – but only one side this election has to choose between a black man who shares their principles and a white man who doesn’t.

    “Please do not make racist straw man arguments because other voters may not agree with your above political analysis. We may disagree politically, but racism is a strong accusation with which to describe such disagreements.”

    Pols show that 40% of Democrats hold at least some negative views of blacks. It’s not a ‘racist straw man’ to claim that said negative views might reduce Democratic support for Obama, unless, again, you believe that talking about racism is as bad as actually being racist.

  8. #8 Damien
    September 20, 2008

    MBA, did you even bother to read the post? The entire point of it was that racism was almost certainly a factor in a certain percentage of people’s dislike for Obama. Yeah, I agree that racism is a strong charge with a heated word, but in this instance it is entirely appropriate.

    When people use negative adjectives to describe an entire racial group and are less likely to vote for someone based on them being of that same group….*ding* racism pie is done!

    And when 40% of the very party this candidate is running with say they won’t vote for him right after saying they have negative racial feelings, well that means racism is going to play a large part in this election.

  9. #9 Pierce R. Butler
    September 20, 2008

    MBA – the fact(?) that racists may not be a majority in the US does not mean that racism could not be the deciding factor in a too-close race. Either way, the issue will remain with us, and needs plenty of exposure.

    I hope for an Obama victory, but predict that outcome will, rather than “prove we as a nation have overcome racism”, generate a backlash illustrating who, where, and how many the racists in the US are. If he “fails” as a president (hardly unlikely, considering the economic and military situation) the problem is likely to be exacerbated.

    As for Orac’s worry that Obama lacks experience: he’s just looking at one horn of the dilemma. Standing alone, it’s a legitimate concern, but in the context of modern American politics – where time in DC is intrinsically a corrupting influence (McCain being a prime case in point) – it’s also a positive advantage.

  10. #10 Mike
    September 20, 2008

    I don’t think race is going to be as big a factor as many think. A lot of those who tell me Obama is a muslim, etc. hate Democrats of all hues. They were the same ones telling me that Bill Clinton had people killed in Arkansas. THis is just an excuse to hate another Democrat.

    The good news is that the Bradley Effect (the underperformance of black candidates at the polls) appears to have vanished. Obama’s performance so far has been within the error bars of the pre-election polls.

  11. #11 Lawrence
    September 20, 2008

    Actually it does matter that Obama was born a Muslim and chose to become a Christian because in Islam this is called apostasy. And it is punishable by death. Iran just passed such a law. It also matters because he is lying about having ever been a Muslim – he went to a Muslim school in the most populous Muslim nation on Earth where he studied the Quran and recited the Islamic call to prayer daily. He even recited it to a NYT reporter with an accent & called it the most beautiful sound on earth – maybe if you know more about sharia law you would see how it does matter.

    Besides that point – Obama is the only one who has continually made his race an issue. But he is even lying about that. His fathers family is almost entirely Arab heritage. Yes from Africa but of Arab heritage – he is not African American and has no African American blood. He has Arab American blood. He has absolutely no ancestry of American slaves and in fact his Arab family were slave OWNERS.

    And beyond that…did anyone mention that Obama has 90% or more of the BLACK vote? This is purely because he is black and for no other reason…sure great speaker even though he says nothing, lies consistently, and changes positions more often than John Kerry – but ok…that’s appealing to some.

    Let’s also point out that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican. That Republicans ended slavery and have led on almost every issue regarding civil rights where Democrats continually fight it, oppose it or lag behind. (check the Black Republican website for details)

    http://www.nationalblackrepublicans.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=pages.DYK&x=7282448

    Going to call us racist too?

  12. #12 DBH
    September 20, 2008

    America is due a drastic change. 8 years of an idiot is more than the world can digest. Mr Bush has made things unbelievably easy for whoever is next in line. Economy is in crisis, troops everywhere fighting (and dying) for, erm, nothing, and stem cell research put on ice because of his quacky views. No one (or religion for that matter) on earth would stand in the way of a line of research that could prove pivotal in finding cures for many debilitating diseases. Yet he is throwing all his weight in this. The next republican president would unfortunately, and undoubtedly, follow similar policies. If all scientists and academics in the US of A vote for Obama, surely thats a big swing?

  13. #13 Pierce R. Butler
    September 20, 2008

    Lawrence – Going to call us racist too?

    If it walks like a bigot and squawks like a bigot…

    Pls provide some support for your claim that MLK was a Republican – and reconcile that with King’s attempts to mediate the seating of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation at the 1964 Democratic Party convention.

  14. #14 wolfwalker
    September 20, 2008

    Lawrence, Obama will get 90% of the black vote because Obama is a Democrat, not because he’s black. Kerry got 90% of the black vote. Gore got something like 85% of the black vote. Democrat candidates always get >80% of the black vote, no matter what color they are. That’s because Democrats have done an extraordinarily effective job of convincing the electorate that all Republicans are racists and only the Donkey Party can protect blacks’ civil rights.

    Orac,

    The unfortunate implication of this study is that racism … is alive and well and that it may well be the deciding factor in the election.

    That’s the implication of the study, yes. However, there’s an important question still unanswered: is the study accurate? It’s really easy to slant any poll’s results simply by subtly biasing the samples and/or the questions. Political pollsters are masters at this.

    Purely for mischief’s sake, I can’t help noting that the linked article also says, “Lots of Republicans harbor prejudices, too, but the survey found they weren’t voting against Obama because of his race. Most Republicans wouldn’t vote for any Democrat for president — white, black or brown.” If the poll is accurate, then Republican voters — the very same ones whom Democrats invoke to terrorize blacks into voting D — are generally much less racist than the white Democrats to whom blacks have entrusted their political destiny!

    Personally, I intend to vote against Obama primarily because I think his ideas on policy suck moose crap. WRT economic policy he’s a flaming socialist and will take the country to financial ruin; WRT defense and foreign policy, he’s a retread of Jimmy Carter and will be just as much a disaster, if not more so. His elitist snobbery, his mastery of Chicago-style thug politics, and his associations with domestic terrorists and other known criminals simply confirm that he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the halls of power. His genetic background is irrelevant to that judgement. I’d feel the same way whether his skin was black, white, red, yellow, bronze, brown, green, blue, or pink with purple polka dots.

    This opinion should not be taken to mean that I support or agree with McCain (or any other candidate) to any great extent either. Frankly, I think they all suck.

  15. #15 The Ridger
    September 20, 2008

    Wow. So Obama’s lack of experience at doing the right thing is enough to make you consider voting for McCain, who has plenty of experience doing the wrong thing?

    I hear this so much, and I can’t understand it. An examination of the positions held by the two men – and their parties – should make this a no-brainer. In either direction. But to say “Obama’s inexperienced, so I’m voting for McCain” is as baffling as saying “I love Hillary so I’m voting for McCain” even though he and she share no positions, and she and Obama are virtually indistinguishable.

    Emotion-driven voting is scary.

    The hope I hold onto is that most people who talk like this wouldn’t really have voted for Clinton, or Obama if he were white & Baptist – they just say they would have.

  16. #16 cptchaos
    September 20, 2008

    Lawrence,

    do you have any sources that can be trusted? Linking to a republican site is not helping much. However, even if republicans once where the better choice regarding civil rights and other topics, why should this be relevant today?

  17. #17 Joseph
    September 20, 2008
  18. #18 I am so wise
    September 20, 2008

    Lawrence,

    Your idiocy is so painful that I’d rather be sterilize by shotgun blast than talk to you. In fact, my belief in natural selection has been shakened to the core by your existence.

    ” – he went to a Muslim school in the most populous Muslim nation on Earth where he studied the Quran and recited the Islamic call to prayer daily.”

    I have friends/people I know, who went to a Catholic school, in the 2nd most populous Catholic church in the world, where they studied the Catholic bible and recited Catholic prayers every day and think Gegorian chants are nice and yet are Greek Orthodox, Atheist, Agnostic, and Wiccan.

    According to you, that can’t happen or they are lying. Dude, go read some Indonesian history and you’ll realize that Indonesian are as “Muslim” as American schools are “Christian”.

  19. #19 HCN
    September 20, 2008

    Also, I sincerely doubt that Obama would have been influenced much by his short time in Indonesia versus the several years he spent in his private prep school in Hawaii (the same one a friend of mine attended, only she was a senior as he entered as a 5th or 6th grader).

  20. #20 Orac
    September 20, 2008

    I have friends/people I know, who went to a Catholic school, in the 2nd most populous Catholic church in the world, where they studied the Catholic bible and recited Catholic prayers every day and think Gegorian chants are nice and yet are Greek Orthodox, Atheist, Agnostic, and Wiccan.

    Indeed. I went to a Catholic high school. There were fair number of non-Catholics and even a couple of non-Christians there who attended for the superior education. They were nonetheless expected to attend Mass and do all the other religious activities (aside from receiving the Sacraments, of course) that every other student was.

  21. #21 Don
    September 20, 2008

    This is why Obama thinks there are 57 states in our union:
    The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is an international organization with a permanent delegation to the United Nations. It groups 57 member states, from the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkan, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America.
    You can put a Muslim in the White House, if you’re that dumb.
    From Audacity of Hope:’I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.’
    Not to mention his admitted Muslim faith comment on national TV…
    Wake Up America!

  22. #22 mwb
    September 20, 2008

    Who would have seen a contemporary Republican laying claim to a democratic socialist as one of their own? Forget calling McCain a maverick, MLK would be less welcome in the Republican Party than Lincoln Chafee. If you want a broader view of the civil rights movement, look at the geographic distribution of votes for the 1957 and 1964 civil rights acts. Democrats and Republicans outside of the South voted in favor, and those in the South vote against. Notice where Thurmond and the previously-Democrat votes went after the Southern Strategy? Does that coincide with the Republican movement toward the Dixiecrat “States’ Rights” mantra? Where “States’ Rights” of course was code for “the right to keep the colored folks away from our drinking fountains, just as Thomas Jefferson must have meant.”

    Political parties are not something to be in love with. Certainly not to the extent that you should go around claiming people whose ideologies you oppose as your own, because they are famous. Lincoln and Roosevelt wouldn’t even recognize the Republican Party of today, and Andrew Jackson would feel more at home among it than with the Democrats.

    Would you vote for MLK if he were hypothetically running for president, Lawrence? Or would you go around calling him an Arab (Do you have a problem with Arabs, Lawrence?) and allude to him having been “born a Muslim” (I’d be embarrassed to claim anyone was born into any kind of religion, if I were you). Perhaps you’d just label him a socialist or whatever it is that passes for political discourse these days.

  23. #23 Random Person
    September 20, 2008

    Don said a bunch of stupid stuff followed by “Wake Up America!”

    Were you born stupid, or did you have to work your way down from half-wit to being a complete idiot?

  24. #24 mwb
    September 20, 2008

    Don, do you think the OIC includes Alaska, Hawaii, and an additional unnamed state now too? Or are you’re arguing that Barack Obama thinks the IOC really has 60 members, but his campaign staff wouldn’t let him visit members Hawaii and Alaska? Since there were fewer members states in the OIC in the years in which Barack Obama was a student in Indonesia, are you suggesting that he has kept really good tabs on the count since returning to the U.S. (besides apparently thinking there are really 60 member states, including Hawaii and Alaska)?

    Maybe you should just take the obvious route instead: campaign on Barack Obama surmising 50-3=57. It doesn’t expose you as a bigot, like pushing the bogeyman of some particular brand of magical thinking does.

  25. #25 Davis
    September 20, 2008

    If the poll is accurate, then Republican voters — the very same ones whom Democrats invoke to terrorize blacks into voting D — are generally much less racist than the white Democrats to whom blacks have entrusted their political destiny!

    I hate to burst your bubble, but that does not logically follow from the preceding statement. The fact that someone is unwilling to vote for Obama because he’s a D, does not preclude that same person also being unwilling to vote for him because he’s black. But for the kind of voter being described here, the first pre-empts the second.

  26. #26 Leni
    September 20, 2008

    To expand on Davis’ point, Republican racism will not be a factor in their vote for McCain, because they were going to vote for him anyway. So it’s not that they aren’t racist, it’s that it is not relevant to their vote in this case.

  27. #27 David Marjanović, OM
    September 20, 2008

    Personally, I intend to vote against Obama primarily because I think his ideas on policy suck moose crap. WRT economic policy he’s a flaming socialist and will take the country to financial ruin;

    1) That’s where it is right now. He can’t take it there anymore.
    2) Bush the Elected made a deficit (like his son) — and Clinton turned it into a surplus. In Europe it’s still true that the left makes deficits and the right reduces them — but in the USA… well, in the USA you don’t have a left in the first place. Obama, both Clintons, and Kerry would fit nicely into any of Europe’s conservative parties.
    3) So, why doesn’t Europe belong to the Third World yet? Stop making arguments from ignorance.

    WRT defense and foreign policy, he’s a retread of Jimmy Carter and will be just as much a disaster, if not more so.

    If the Reaganites negotiate behind his back with the Iranians, then yes…

    His elitist snobbery,

    Yeeeeeah. He doesn’t even remember how many houses he owns, he puts the boundary between “middle class” and “rich” at an income of five megabucks per year… whoops, sorry, that’s the other one.

    What is it? Is “elitist” the new code word for “uppity”? Or is Obama an elitist in the same way I am — I like my elite so much I think everyone should belong to it?

    his mastery of Chicago-style thug politics,

    Care to explain?

    and his associations with domestic terrorists and other known criminals simply confirm that he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the halls of power.

    Read the chapter “Guilt by Association” of this page. That’s another link to factcheck.org.

    Or you could go to the source factcheck.org cites on Ayers. Here’s the relevant quote:

    MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, if you get the nomination, you’ll have to — (applause) — (inaudible).

    I want to give Senator Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, the general theme of patriotism in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers, he was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that. And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.”

    An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won’t be a problem?

    SEN. OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I’m talking about.

    This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

    And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.

    The fact is, is that I’m also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.

    Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn’s statements? Because I certainly don’t agree with those either.

    So this kind of game, in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, is somehow — somehow their ideas could be attributed to me — I think the American people are smarter than that. They’re not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn’t.

    SEN. CLINTON: Well, I think that is a fair general statement, but I also believe that Senator Obama served on a board with Mr. Ayers for a period of time, the Woods Foundation, which was a paid directorship position.

    And if I’m not mistaken, that relationship with Mr. Ayers on this board continued after 9/11 and after his reported comments, which were deeply hurtful to people in New York, and I would hope to every American, because they were published on 9/11 and he said that he was just sorry they hadn’t done more. And what they did was set bombs and in some instances people died. So it is — you know, I think it is, again, an issue that people will be asking about. And I have no doubt — I know Senator Obama’s a good man and I respect him greatly but I think that this is an issue that certainly the Republicans will be raising.

    And it goes to this larger set of concerns about, you know, how we are going to run against John McCain. You know, I wish the Republicans would apologize for the disaster of the Bush-Cheney years and not run anybody, just say that it’s time for the Democrats to go back into the White House. (Laughter, applause.)

    Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be willing to do that. So we know that they’re going to be out there, full force. And you know, I’ve been in this arena for a long time. I have a lot of baggage, and everybody has rummaged through it for years. (Laughter.) And so therefore, I have, you know, an opportunity to come to this campaign with a very strong conviction and feeling that I will be able to withstand whatever the Republican sends our way.

    SENATOR OBAMA: I’m going to have to respond to this just really quickly, but by Senator Clinton’s own vetting standards, I don’t think she would make it, since President Clinton pardoned or commuted the sentences of two members of the Weather Underground, which I think is a slightly more significant act than me –

    AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Applauds.)

    MR. GIBSON: Please.

    SENATOR OBAMA: — than me serving on a board with somebody for actions that he did 40 years ago.

    Look, there is no doubt that the Republicans will attack either of us. What I’ve been able to display during the course of this primary is that I can take a punch. I’ve taken some pretty good ones from Senator Clinton. And I don’t begrudge her that. That’s part of what the political contest is about.

    I am looking forward to having a debate with John McCain, and I think every poll indicates that I am doing just as well, if not better, in pulling together the coalition that will defeat John McCain.

    And when it comes to November, and people are going into the polling place, they’re going to be asking, are we going to go through four more years of George Bush economic policies; are we going to go through four more years of George Bush foreign policy?

    And if we as Democrats and if I as the nominee have put forward a clear vision for how we’re going to move the country forward, deal with issues like energy dependence, lower gas prices, provide health care, get our troops out of Iraq, that is a debate that I’m happy to have and a debate that I’m confident I can win.

    Was that clear enough?

    This opinion should not be taken to mean that I support or agree with McCain (or any other candidate) to any great extent either. Frankly, I think they all suck.

    But… voting against Obama amounts to voting for McCain. (And vice versa.)

    Do you live in a swing state?

  28. #28 Felix Kasza
    September 20, 2008

    I am curious: How many per cent of the sample for this poll associated at least one negative attribute with whites? Was that question even asked? (It was not.)

    How large was the impact of cultural differences (as opposed to racial ones)? In today’s media, the blacks gaining the most exposure aside from Sen. Obama seem, to me, associated with hip-hop. As far as I am concerned, a rap with lyrics about how worthless the “hos” are can be as lily-white as Marshall Mathers (“Eminem”); I still consider that person unworthy of acquaintance. So, is a dislike for the exponents of a culture, when based on that culture, racist?

    Orac, you are usually good at distilling the salient facts about built-in biases and flawed methodologies. I for one would love to read your analysis and judgment of that poll, seen from a statistician’s point of view.

    Cheers,
    Felix.

  29. #29 ponderingfool
    September 20, 2008

    My grandmother-in-law is not voting for Senator Obama exactly because he is Black. Her racism is why she doesn’t believe in evolution. Mother-in-law is not voting for Senator Obama because he beat Senator Clinton. The reason she supported Senator Clinton in the primary was not because of issues but because she identified with Senator Clinton. My grandfather-in-law has voted mostly Republican but will be voting for Senator Obama because he thinks the Republicans have proven themselves to be incompetent for the time being. He is the one that actually listens and thinks; he actually knows where the candidates stand on issues. All three of them hate what Bush has done.

    As for my wife and I, we call people out for racism directed at Senator Obama and the lies told about him. We won’t be voting for him though. We are to his left. Our policy differences are too large. The state we vote, we know who is going to get the slate of electors. Our votes don’t matter in the Obama v. McCain contest. It gives the luxury to have the audacity to hope for more.

  30. #30 David Marjanović
    September 20, 2008

    Actually, I could even return to the topic.

    How likely is it that Obama will lose? Not much, according to the polls: Obama stands at 273 electors, as opposed to McCain’s 265 — and that’s even though both Ohio and Florida currently have tiny majorities for McCain. (Just as tiny, surprisingly, are those of Virginia and Indiana.) The convention bounce for McCain appears to be over.

  31. #31 wolfwalker
    September 20, 2008

    Davis: Actually, it does follow logically, because it’s no more than a rephrasing of what the sentence I quoted said. Sure, there are racist Republicans. Probably almost as many of them as there are racist Democrats. But the poll as described indicated that on the average, Republicans don’t oppose Obama because of his race; they oppose him because of his politics.

    David: when I say “financial ruin,” I don’t mean a mild-to-moderate recession, nor even a serious threat to the banking system as a result of stupid and corrupt lending practices. I mean a situation in which the federal government — the Big Kahuna, Uncle Sam himself — can’t pay off its month-to-month bills except by printing dollars at such a rate that a C-note is no longer worth the paper it’s printed on. Such a situation is probable within twenty years at best, due to the about-to-balloon cost of retirement entitlements. Right now I’d guess our chances of escaping it at 80/20 against, at best. But Obama’s vast new taxes and spending programs would change that from 80/20 to 100/0, and within four years instead of twenty.

    Regarding your lengthy quote from Obama: keep in mind that I believe all politicians are natural liars and will say anything to get elected. If it comes out of a politician’s mouth, I assume it’s a lie until proven otherwise. Thus, an Obama quote does not give me any reason to believe Obama actually rejects Ayres’s terrorist past.

    I might be inclined to continue this if I was dealing with a rational opponent, but your invocation of the proto-coprolite known as the “October Surprise” demonstrates you’re too far gone into irrational hatred to bother. There was no secret Reagan-Iran deal in fall 1980. It never happened. If you think it did, you have a reality-impairment problem. No offense intended, honestly, but that’s the way it is.

  32. #32 TheProbe
    September 20, 2008

    Had a chat this AM with our town’s most visible vet. He was, as uaul, pontificating about how Obama never served in the military and McCain has.

    I interrupted the fellow and asked him if he voted for GWB, and he responded that he had.

    I then pointed out that although GWB was in the air national guard, he never really served either. He was AWOL and refused a direct order, i.e. to report for a flight physical.

    I then went in for the kill. I pointed out that if he voted for Bush as he claims, then to vote for McCain dishonors McCain’s service.

    http://www.tompaine.com/Archive/scontent/3671.html

    When I first read this, all the links worked and displayed copies of his records. The links are gone.

  33. #33 MBA
    September 20, 2008

    TheProbe..

    Good job, except the incidents you are referring to regarding GWB’s service record were fabricated in a reporting scandal that ultimately removed Dan Rather from CBS and brought up serious questions about media bias in general which still loom large. No one disputes that these documents were fake, except for perhaps a few die hard cranks. CBS is still apologizing.

  34. #34 Brian X
    September 21, 2008

    MBA: Has your memory gone faulty in eight years? Those documents only described Bush’s record in Texas, and for whatever it’s worth Dan Rather still stands behind them despite the CBS retraction. Bush’s skipping out from the Alabama Air National Guard was never called into question and the documents had nothing to do with that phase of his “service”.

    Not to mention the whole scandal started on freerepublic.com, which right from the get-go is a blow to the credibility of those disputing the documents.

  35. #35 Democrats 08
    September 21, 2008

    Race should not effect this race. If you are white and voting against Obama just because he is black, you are making a big mistake. Obama is an educated black man that has worked hard to get where he is in life and is working hard to get elected so he can help us ALL. He is not the kind of man to support only his own race and is not the kind of man who would prop anyone up black or white who did not deserve it. You will not see him just giving hand outs to people who are black in other words, just because they are black. If you actually take the time to get to know the man and see what he is about you will start to realize this. As a die hard Hillary supporter, I ask anyone who has their doubts about Obama’s take on people working hard and getting an education over getting a handout based on their race, please first take the time to study the man and learn what he really stands for and where he is on the issues. Listen to him first, read his book first, then decide, make am educated decision and do the research first, don’t just jump to conclusions based on what someone says or does. At least take the time to know who exactly you are for or against before rushing to judgment based on color alone, it’s the least you can do if you really want the best man in the White House. I had my doubts about him too at first, I don’t anymore, he’s a good man and I believe after studying him, he will do his job honestly, with integrity and to the best of his ability for all Americans no matter what your race.

    Obama / Biden

  36. #36 HarryEagar
    September 21, 2008

    Well, since Obama is himself a racist — you don’t hang around with Jeremiah Wright if racism is not your bag — it would be ironic if he lost because of racism.

    But he won’t. He’ll win because American voters worried about their jobs, homes and bank accounts reliably throw out the incument party, whether it makes sense or not.

  37. #37 MadIndy
    September 21, 2008

    I find it odd that folks need a poll to decry that racism may exist and affect this election. IMHO it is alive and well and will be for generations to come. Is it logical that we will ever absolve racism? IMHO no way. So suck it up.

    I could care less about any candidates color. I cannot vote for Obama for two reasons; his economic policies stink, and IMHO we need to balance our policy-makers. Dems have had control of both houses of Congress for two years and have accomplished very little, including their campaign promises and they have the approval rating to prove it. As much as I hate and shake and curse the Bush admin, the Dems are equally complicit with our problems.

    McCain will give us four more years of the same ONLY if the Dems let him.

  38. #38 carl
    September 21, 2008
  39. #39 Zeno
    September 21, 2008

    There’s nothing like a blog post on the possible residual effects of racism on a national election to bring out the bigots and idiots.

    Obama was born a Muslim? No. No one is born anything. Kids don’t arrive equipped with any religion at all. They catch it from their parents or guardians. There is no evidence he was ever a practicing Muslim, but there’s lots of evidence he’s been a Christian for a long time.

    Frankly, I’d prefer that he were nothing at all as far as religion is concerned, but the prejudice in the U.S. against the unchurched is much greater than that against racial minorities.

    And Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Republican? Prove it! Most black voters used to register with the GOP because of Abraham Lincoln. That changed when Republicans decided they didn’t believe in civil rights after all, ceding the black vote to the Democrats. And while it was once common for African Americans to register as Republicans, there’s no record of MLK ever signing a voter registration card as a Republican. Even if there were, does any sane person think that King would be a Republican today? I don’t think so.

  40. #40 Davis
    September 21, 2008

    But the poll as described indicated that on the average, Republicans don’t oppose Obama because of his race; they oppose him because of his politics.

    I oppose McCain because of his politics, and won’t vote for him for that reason. Does that imply that I don’t think he’s too old to be president? Following your reasoning, the answer would be yes — i.e., I am not ageist. However, the information I’ve given you allows you to draw no conclusions; the same holds for what you’ve quoted.

  41. #41 Der Bruno Stroszek
    September 21, 2008

    “Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war…”

    “And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history…”

    “A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such…”

    “In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier: ‘O, yes/ I say it plain/ America never was America to me/And yet I swear this oath/ America will be!’”

    “Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?”

    “Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam…”

    “It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments.”

    “A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.”

    These are all excerpts from Martin Luther King’s 1967 speech Beyond Vietnam. Does that sound like a Republican talking to you?

  42. #42 Adrienne
    September 21, 2008

    Geez, Orac, this posting is certainly bringing the wingnuts out of the woodwork: “Obama is an elitist snob, Obama is a cryptoArab/cryptoMuslim/cryptoterrorist”….I wonder if these commenters are the same ones defending woo and insisting that vaccines cause autism in the comments on your other posts?

  43. #43 sailor
    September 21, 2008

    “# I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

    Don you are a naive idiot. Try looking up the crap that arrives in your email on sites such as factcheck.org it will save you making a fool of yourself on line. Also be very careful of Nigerians offering to send you millions of dollars. Here is the truth about your spew:

    This statement is a rewording of a passage from page 261 of The Audacity of Hope, in which Barack Obama spoke of the importance of not allowing inflamed public opinion to result in innocent members of immigrant groups being stripped of their rights, denied their due as American citizens, or placed into confinement, as was done with Japanese-Americans during World War II. The original contains no specific mention of “Muslims”:
    In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.

  44. #44 Joseph
    September 21, 2008

    I could care less about any candidates color. I cannot vote for Obama for two reasons; his economic policies stink,

    Fortunately, McCain is a genius at that economics stuff ;)

  45. #45 MBA
    September 21, 2008

    This whole argument is something akin to what I would call the Ayn Rand fallacy, but it probably has another name in rhetorical parlance. “Reason is king, I am supremely reasonable, therefore if you don’t agree with me, it must be because you are being unreasonable.” This type of reasoning is what made Rand a cultist. In the last few paragraphs of the post, you spell out your reasons that you support Obama. Fine. Those are your reasons. They are not the only reasonable conclusions, and they may in fact be unreasonable. Disagreeing with this line of reasoning does not make someone unreasonable or a racist. In the last paragraph, it is explicitly stated that hope for a non racist future is attainable through support for Obama, specifically, you state that such support by the youth of our country give you hope for a non racist future. Again, not supporting Obama does not mean one is being unreasonable, i.e. racist. It is odd how quickly skeptical analysis disappears when one is speaking of things (politics, in this case) which are near and dear.

  46. #46 Orac
    September 21, 2008

    For someone criticizing me for lack of reason, you sure do like logical fallacies, in particular the straw man argument. First, nowhere did I say or imply that my reasons for supporting Obama were the only reasonable conclusions. Nowhere. There’s straw man one. Second, yes, I did say that Obama’s support among young people gives me hope for the future, but it has nothing to do with Obama himself (whom, as you’ll recall, I said I was not nearly as enamored with as so many regular SB readers seem to be) and everything to do with their willingness to look past race in supporting a candidate. It could be any nonwhite candidate. There’s straw man number two. Finally, nowhere did I say that not supporting Obama is racist or unreasonable. What I said was that the results of this poll suggest that there are a number of white Democrats whose reasons for not supporting Obama appear to have a fair amount to do with his race and that they might be enough to decide the election. There’s straw man three.

    Three straw men strikes, and you’re out. You’ll really have to do a lot better than that if you’re going to convince me that you’re so reasonable and skeptical and/or that my argument is fallacious. All you did was to convince me that either (1) you can’t read; (2) you have an axe to grind; or (3) I wasn’t clear enough. I tend to doubt #3 because no one else appears to have come to the conclusions about what I said that you did, but, hey, you never know. I never rule it out.

    I am, however, quite amused about being compared to Ayn Rand. I think I can quite confidently say that I’ve never heard anyone compare me to Rand before.

  47. #47 Metro
    September 22, 2008

    Well let’s see:

    On one hand you have a qualified, young, charismatic, if inexperienced, candidate, backed by the experience of a genuine thirty-year “by-his-bootstraps” senator.

    And on the other you have an aging former war hero who’s allied himself with the disastrous policies of the dumbest president who ever stole an election, and repudiated everything he ever stood for to pander to the far right wing of his party, partnered by a loony-tunes ex-beauty-queen who thinks Christ is due at any moment and that God wants her to have the launch codes to back Him up.

    Why is there even a contest at this point? It would have made more sense for the race to be between Obama and Nader.

    The only reason I can find not to vote Obama is if you’re stupid enough to simultaneously believe he’s a Muslim while also fearing his pastor, or something else.

    Like being concerned that he’s just in it for the pretty white women, for example.

  48. #48 TheProbe
    September 22, 2008

    Mr. MBA said: “Good job, except the incidents you are referring to regarding GWB’s service record were fabricated in a reporting scandal that ultimately removed Dan Rather from CBS and brought up serious questions about media bias in general which still loom large. No one disputes that these documents were fake, except for perhaps a few die hard cranks. CBS is still apologizing.”

    Perhaps you should check the actual date of the TomPaine.com article and see that it was in the fall of 2000, way before the CBS incident.

    As for the CBS incident, IIRC, which was in 2004, the documents were fabricated, but no one challenged or refuted the information desctibed therein. Bush created an uproar over the false documents which was an effective smokescreen over the undisputed facts.

    I wish the links were still operable, and have written to TomPaine.com to see if they can restore them.

  49. #49 Natalie
    September 22, 2008

    Well, since Obama is himself a racist — you don’t hang around with Jeremiah Wright if racism is not your bag — it would be ironic if he lost because of racism.

    Considering that pretty much everything Wright has said WRT race is common fare in black churches, I guess that means all black people are racist.

    Or perhaps you could think about the lives that most black people have lead and the things they have experienced, particularly older black folks, and actually take his statements about race in context. I guess that’s a lot harder than trying to paint his as a racist.

  50. #50 Flex
    September 22, 2008

    wolfwalker wrote, “when I say “financial ruin,” I don’t mean a mild-to-moderate recession, nor even a serious threat to the banking system as a result of stupid and corrupt lending practices.”

    Actually, the political pressure placed on the Fed to keep interest rates low for the past six years is going to result, at some point, in massive inflation.

    I was hoping an Obama administration, working in conjuction with congress, would allow the Fed to slowly raise the rates and avoid some of the worst effects, but I fear that it’s too late. We will have double-digit inflation, directly caused by the economic policies of the past six years. Don’t blame that one on the next president, whoever it turns out to be.

    As for a democratic congress not doing anything in 2 years, having 12 bills vetoed by a president who didn’t veto a single bill in the previous 6 years could explain why it appears congress has been less effective.

    The presidential vetos included things like stem cell research, Iraqi accountability, children’s health insurance, improving intelligence gathering oversight, and medicare improvements for patients and providers.

    But let’s elect more of the same.

  51. #51 MBA
    September 22, 2008

    I have no axe to grind. I read your blog because as a med student, I am very interested in medical fraud. My posts were intending to bring into question the conclusions made from these poll results. You say I misunderstood your post. Fine. While I did not mean to offend, it appears that I have. I do take issue with the tendency to attribute lack of support for Obama to racism, and I question the motives of those who conducted this poll, as well as it’s interpretation. I think it’s clear that blaming racism tends to distract from actual issues which may be more pertinent here. What I hope we can gain from Obama as the first serious black presidential candidate is that charges of racism in general will be met with more skepticism than they are today, with the burden of proof on the accuser. Today, any hint of racism can end careers, whether true or not, and characters like Al Sharpton have taken advantage of this by building their careers on race baiting, which is why I am uncomfortable with such polls getting so much attention and am reluctant to draw any broad conclusions from them. I think this type of attention actually worsens race relations rather than helping, which again brings up the question, why do this poll?

  52. #52 Hyperion
    September 22, 2008

    I skimmed the comments, but didn’t see the most salient point raised (aside from one mention of electoral math):

    Presidential elections in the USA are about geography and geographical population dynamics more than anything else. Thus, it matters not what effect racism has on polls in general, but on voting in specific states. If white Democratic voters in Mississippi are more likely to vote for McCain because of racist sentiment, this doesn’t really impact the election at all. The states in which racist sentiment is most likely to effect voter decisionmaking are also likely to be the southern states that Republicans are already most likely to win regardless.

    In fact, part of what convinced the higher-ups in the Democratic Party that now was a good time for a Black candidate is specifically because much of the Republican voter-base in the Presidential elections comes from the South, and thus there is little – pardon me for using an economics turn – opportunity cost to this candidacy.

    This might not even affect Obama’s efforts to win Virginia, since the majority of Democratic voters in that state are in the immigrant-rich (and population-dense) northern areas. I highly doubt that it’s going to affect voting in CA, NY, PA, or any of the major states that Obama needs to win.

    It would have been better had the article looked at racist attitudes based on state residence. Note that this isn’t to say that racism is only a problem in certain states (CA and NY certainly have their share of racial issues), but rather that the states where Democratic voters are most likely to refuse to vote for a candidate based on race are ones that the Democratic Party had already written off before they’d even chosen a candidate.

  53. #53 TheProbe
    September 23, 2008

    MBA said: “While I did not mean to offend, it appears that I have.” Considering that Bush has offended me for eight years by the way he struts on the graves of those who served honorably and did give that last full measure of selfless devotion, there was no offense in your comments. No matter who wins this November, it will be a major improvement in honor.