I guess this means I’m popular… Ahem:
Kohn is also being ridiculous for suggesting Bell isn’t broadly viewed as radical. It’s a well established fact, something noted by other black professors and pundits formerly of Bell’s acquaintance. It’s as if she wants to simply put her fingers in her ears and say, “unh uh, no he’s not” — that’s not an argument, it’s ignorance. I’m also unaware of where anyone has claimed he was aggressive; though that’s where Kohn gives her real agenda — it’s actually Saul Alinsky’s — away
It’s funny to me that FreedomWorks made Alinky’s “Rules for Radicals” mandatory reading for its Tea Party activist trainings, not so that conservatives could learn the alleged tricks of the left but so that they could use effective organizing tactics themselves. But somehow, critiquing our democratically formed government — even threatening to secede or “overthrow” said government — is considered patriotic, while critiquing our society for persistent, institutional racism is anti-American.
From his Harvard protests, to Obama gaining the White House, what Alinksy-ite progressives do is reveal only enough of their radicalism, or real agenda, that the political environment will allow at any one point in time. If Obama had been vetted in 2008, he may well have not won the White House. So, they didn’t let it happen. Sorry, Ms. Kohn. That, and nothing more than that, is precisely what is happening now. Deal with it; or put your fingers back in your ears and say, “nuh uh.”
Yes, you caught us. The videotape of President Obama at the Harvard rally was included in documentaries in 2008 and 2009 and referenced in the New York Times, Newsweek and the Boston Globe in 2008, but yeah, if you can’t find your ass from your elbow then maybe you consider the video hidden. And the Right did “vet” the President by turning up every single possible piece of criticism against him, none of which swayed the majority of voters.
But now that the economy is slowly but steadily improving and the President’s re-election prospects are looking stronger by the day, conservatives are desperately trying to smear the President any way they can. While I don’t always see eye to eye with the President on everything, I’m quite honored to be standing on his side against this absurd and highly race-based attack.
In my debut post for Time Magazine’s website, I defend the honor of a great man that Andrew Breitbart is attempting to drag through the mud from his grave.
Derrick Bell, a professor of mine at NYU School of Law, was our nation’s foremost legal scholar on the persistence of racial discrimination in our economic, political and social institutions. The smear?
In 1991, students at Harvard Law School organized rallies to support Derrick Bell, an African American professor who was taking an unpaid leave of absence to protest the absence of any women of color on the law school faculty. A young Barack Obama spoke at one such rally, calling on his fellow students to “open up your hearts and your minds” to Derrick Bell.
Now conservatives are trying to smear Professor Bell as an anti-American, anti-white radical — hoping to smear President Obama by association. I respond:
It is absurd to suggest that just because President Obama once hugged Derrick Bell or assigned one of his legal essays for coursework, the President therefore embraces everything Professor Bell ever said or did. When the Founding Fathers enshrined free speech and freedom of association in our Constitution, they wanted to prevent us all for being pilloried for anything we might say but certainly for anything said by those with whom we’re loosely associated.
But at worst, these attacks create a dangerous chilling effect for scholarship that raises uncomfortable questions about our society, the sort of questions we should be facing head on, not hiding from.
Please read the entire essay here and help fight back against this ugly attack.
In case you missed it, my reflections on the death of conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart, on Fox News just moments after his death was announced:
And if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ truly remarkable piece about Breitbart, through the lens of the damage Breitbart did to Civil Rights legend Shirley Sherrod and the sad, destructive life Breitbart chose.
Andrew Breitbart, who died in Los Angeles today at age 43, angered the left less because of what he did than what the left repeatedly failed to do itself.
I first encountered the conservative activist at the 2011 Netroots Nation conference, an annual gathering for progressive bloggers and tech types. Camera in hand, Breitbart had come over to the Netroots site from the conservative Right Online conference nearby. When he walked into the lobby, liberal activists shouted at him, accusing him of nefarious activities with male prostitutes and more. Breitbart smiled as he filmed it all.
When I tracked Breitbart down at Right Online a few minutes later, no one shouted at me (though many knew I was a progressive commentator from my appearances on Fox News). Breitbart had such a sense of humor about being vilified by the left that he posed for a picture in which he pretended to strangle me. Later that evening, we sat down and talked for an hour over drinks. I’m not sure how many other prominent left-wing activists would sit down for a long, probing conversation with a relative stranger from the right. Breitbart may have been nasty in public, but in private he was generous and kind.
Breitbart was such a looming and frustrating enemy of the left in part because he was a public-relations mastermind. He had an eye for digging up dirt and the unique combination of Internet savvy and charisma to spread his campaigns like wildfire. I think history will judge him unkindly for many of his actions, including his false attacks on ACORN and Shirley Sherrod. In the case of ACORN, a community organization that assisted low- and moderate-income Americans, Breitbart publicized a heavily doctored video in which ACORN workers appear to encourage prostitution; the resulting scandal led ACORN to close its doors. A year later, he got Shirley Sherrod, head of the United States Department of Agriculture’s rural development office in Georgia, fired from her post by posting two clips that, taken out of context, appeared to show her admitting to bias against white people. The resulting media firestorm demonstrated the damage a rabble-rouser with a camera and a website—combined with a complacent media—can do.
But there was also a lesson for the left in these manufactured scandals. With ACORN, Breitbart may have lit the match, but a Democratic president and Democrat-controlled Congress sat by and watched (or even worsened the situation) as the flames grew. Many progressive organizations and so-called allies similarly refused to help as ACORN burned to the ground. In the case of Sherrod, the NAACP condemned her remarks shortly after they were publicized. Perhaps if we had been as passionate and savvy about defending ourselves as Breitbart had been about attacking us, he wouldn’t have been so successful.
I’m not suggesting that the left should go out and doctor videos of a Focus on the Family conference, but Breitbart at the very least did challenge the left to up its game, and perhaps journalists are now a bit more careful about amplifying a meme without checking their facts. I have no doubt that Daily Kos, TPM, and Think Progress (not to mention the Huffington Post, which he helped launch) sharpened their claws because Breitbart threw down the gauntlet.
As much a villain as Breitbart might have been to the left, he was far more of an iconoclast within the conservative movement than he is generally given credit for; he was a very public supporter of GOProud, the gay Republican organization, as well as immigration reform and other traditionally “liberal” causes. His penchant for bucking a trend might stem from having grown up a conservative in liberal-leaning Hollywood and feeling attacked for his differences. Unfortunately, Breitbart never realized how myopic and warped his perspective was. But being an underdog is something any liberal can sympathize with.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family, and my hope is that the progressive movement will be less susceptible to the Breitbarts of the future.
Note: I found these emails on a secret thumb drive that was given to me around the same time that Laura Ingraham apparently got secret copies of the Obama Diaries. The emails below are as verifiable as Ms. Ingraham’s book. — Sally
Date: July 16, 2010 5:55 PM EDT
Subject: they’re the racists!
How dare those people at the NAACP call the Tea Party racist. The New Black Panther Party attack is clearly too ludicrous and won’t stick. We have to find something to make clear to America that it’s the NAACP and Obama who are really racist. Obviously!
Date: July 16, 2010 6:00 PM EDT
Subject: Re: they’re the racists!
Hang on. I’m working on it.
Date: July 19, 2010 8:20 AM EDT
That video you dug up of the black lady from big government showing how the Obamacrats discriminate against whites is amazing. I heart you. Take that, NAACP!
Date: July 19, 2010 8:25 AM EDT
Subject: Re: awesomeness
You are the wind beneath my wings.
Date: July 19, 2010 8:26 AM EDT
I should mention it was edited a bit. But trust me, the rest of the video isn’t that important.
Date: July 19, 2010 6:00 PM EDT
Subject: that was fast!
NAACP condemned Sherrod. Vilsack axed her. This is awesome! I bet Obama will be pissed when he finds out his administration fired a black person…
PS – I think on tomorrow’s show, I’ll suggest Obama make her czar of his anti-white agenda. Ha!
Date: July 19, 2010 6:00 PM EDT
Subject: Re: that was fast!
Just doin’ my level best to expose the left-wing conspiracy.
Date: July 20, 2010 2:24 PM EDT
The entire video is NOT not important. She was trying to say she learned to OVERCOME her racism. Shit! You’re the total friggin’ racist for manipulating the video — and me. You hate black people AND white people! Especially white people! I feel oppressed.
Date: July 20, 2010 2:26 PM EDT
Subject: Calm down
Not my bad. If the NAACP and Obama weren’t so racist, they wouldn’t have fired her. I mean, really, it’s just a video. Don’t these people pay attention to context. I’m the one who should feel oppressed!
Date: July 20, 2010 2:28 PM EDT
Subject: Re: Calm down
You’re right. They’re total racists. Thank God America has us to expose their hate.
PS – You’re coming to my rally in DC in August, right? I’m doing it on the anniversary of Dr. King’s March on Washington. I think Dr. King would be honored.
NEW YORK TIMES PROFILE
JOIN SALLY’S EMAIL LIST
FOR A GOOD TIME, FOLLOW
RUMORS ABOUT MELoading Quotes...
TV DOESN’T PAY THE BILLSMake a tax-deductible contribution via our fiscal sponsor, the Grassroots Policy Project
POPULAR TAGS2012 Election 2012 Elections barack obama budget capitalism civility Congress corporations debt deficit democrats economy feminism financial reform Fox News gay rights Glenn Beck government greed ideology inequality jobs marriage equality Mitt Romney Obama occupy wall st occupy wall street Paul Ryan popular education populism president obama progressive protests race racism Republicans Right wing sexism social movements strategy taxes Tea Party unions values Wall Street