How Others See Us: “The Skirt and the Negro”

As I’ve stated before, I don’t plan to cover the elections until October. Doing anything before that is being reduced to one of the paying customers at a clown circus — a predictable circus at that. We’ve had two new (and opposed) political ideas since the 1930’s: FDR and his Keynesian nudges vs. Reagan’s supply-side economics. The rest is semantics and journalists trying to make a living.

So instead, I’ll spend some time reading about the history of American politics. You know yourself that the more things change, the more they remain merely the same old, same old — but with better technology and more make-up. It’s the minute difference between “a chicken in every pot” and flights of fancy about “hope” and “change.” Yawn…

Then, last night, reading the English online version of Sweden’s paper The Local, I was brought up short by an opinion piece from Dr. Gregg Bucken-Knapp, a senior lecturer in political science.

Hillary and Obama
This picture accompanied his article, which he entitled… are you ready?

“Don’t reduce Democratic primaries to ‘skirt or negro’”

What a difference culture makes for p.c. language rules! And being by nature an Irish troublemaker, I couldn’t resist passing the article on to you. It’s not just the picture’s title that would have some ever-alert reptilian readers hissing “racist, racist, racist” or “sexist, sexist, sexist”; it’s also the waaaay-over-there flinty-eyed left-wingers in Europe who hope for a real socialist to take the controls in the US, instead of the capitalist warmongers currently fighting for face time. I mean, did you know that the Socialists in Sweden consider the 6,000 socialists in the US their very special friends? Get this take on our current situation, from Åsa Linderborg, an Aftonbladet columnist:
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First things first.

In this year’s Democratic contest, organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) know that the stakes are too high to sit on the sidelines. The 6,000 member sister-organization to the Swedish Social Democratic Party, DSA has played an active part in supporting the election campaigns of progressive politicians fighting against American capitalism. Their most visible success story is Bernie Sanders, the only openly-socialist member of the U.S. Senate, who rose to national prominence as the first Congressperson to organize “prescription drug bus tours” to Canada, allowing Americans to buy medicine at much lower prices than in the US.

So what if the Honorable Mr. Sanders is a party of one? So what if his simplistic solution doesn’t really solve anything? Wave that reality away in favor of some tasty rhetoric instead:

“DSA believes that progressives must cooperate to do everything possible to prevent Hillary Clinton — the epitome of neoliberal cynical opportunism — from being the Democratic nominee.”

Hmmm… no soap for the skirt, then. But is the negro any better? Not by any measure used by The Aftonbladet columnist featured by our Swdish political scientist:

[To] Åsa Linderborg, this doesn’t seem to be of much importance. As she put it prior to the Iowa caucuses, “it doesn’t matter so much who becomes president — skirt or negro — it’s still the market that rules.” For Americans seeking to transform their society, her voice is the counsel of despair: so long as there is capitalism, choosing between these two Democrats is a waste of time. Indeed, Linderborg’s analysis of American politics implies that campaigns are nothing more than a thinly-veiled puppet show, in which candidates are marionettes, where big corporations dictate campaign promises, and where special interest groups determine the foreign policy stances held by candidates. The only saving grace in Linderborg’s eyes is that class struggle drives how “yanks” actually vote.

But The Local‘s author, Dr. Bucken-Knapp isn’t so sure:

Many activists on the American left — who share her disregard for capitalism — view the Democratic primaries as an important opportunity for limiting the influence of market forces. Nor do Swedes necessarily benefit from her sweeping claims about the role of money in American politics or the importance of class struggle as a factor shaping the vote. Asserting that big business controls the policy agenda isn’t the same as demonstrating it.

But the good Dr. Bucken-Knapp forgets the first rule of political propaganda: you don’t have to demonstrate it, you just have to say something over and over again, relentlessly. Why do you think Noam Chomsky hasn’t been committed to an asylum years ago? He’s always on message, and the message never changes.

Dr. Bucken-Knapp quotes two American political scientists on the habits of American voters. And it has naught to do with the class struggle so central to socialist thinking. He says:

Those arguing that big business pulls the strings in American politics frequently claim that interest groups buy legislative outcomes through campaign donations. Yet, John Wright, a professor at Ohio State University… demonstrates that while the tobacco industry is able to get what it wants from Washington policymakers, [it is because]… legislators hold specifically pro-business and anti-regulatory ideologies.

Linderborg also claims “pocket book issues — that is, the class
struggle” are decisive for Americans when they enter the ballot box.


Nearly thirty years ago, Morris Fiorina demonstrated that Americans cast their vote on the basis of whether they believe the nation’s economy as a whole (and not their personal financial situation) had gone well during the previous administration.


Fiorina’s findings not only shaped an entire generation of voting behavior specialists, they were central to the internal rallying cry of the 1992 Clinton campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid!”

And remember Reagan’s theme during his first campaign: are you better off than you were four years ago? Following Carter’s dystopian reign, the answer was a no-brainer and led to Reagan’s eight years in office. Years in which the Left called him stupid, a loser, illiterate, etc. Yet he transformed the world… left us with a new set of problems, but transformations do that.

Though this analysis of American politicians failed to mention the Republican side of the battle — as though the Democrats were running only against one another — you can’t help but ask: will it be the war hero with anger management problems and a loose understanding of the Constitution, or do we get the evangelist from Arkansas, or the Mormon from Massachusetts? Not as catchy as “the skirt or the negro,” however.

Maybe our readers can come up with something pithier…?

11 thoughts on “How Others See Us: “The Skirt and the Negro”

  1. Hmmm.
    I’ll respect your choice not to discuss the U.S. election campaign. I haven’t been able to keep my big mouth shut for weeks now, and perhaps I should have adopted your position, but it just ain’t me, especially when I hear the outright, bald-faced lying liars out there.
    So, in the spirit of Dymphna’s vow, I will just refer you to our friends at the Peoples Cube.

  2. “As I’ve stated before, I don’t plan to cover the elections until October.”

    HA! I knew you’d give in and cover the elections! 🙂

    Incidentally, Canadian media is going to way of Europe and giggling like schoolgirls over Obama.

  3. I was watching election results last night on Fox News. They were running a streamer at the bottom showing updated info, while the talking was going on. They had Obama(a.k.a. B-HO) on for some speech, so I turned the amp off, and watched without sound. I was startled by his facial expressions and posings. Eerily similar to Mussolini. I’m not kidding, anyone can do it, just go to youtube, pull up a B-HO video and watch it without sound.

  4. Maybe our readers can come up with something pithier…?

    The honky and the hypocrite?

    Before you strike; every christian is a hypocrite. It’s what makes us humble. 😉

    Hmm… the fundie and the… other fundie. Nah. The cracker and the christi… no. white bread and the evil money-grubbing capitalist running-dog jewish lackey?

    This is hard.

  5. Caption: “The tool and the fool.”

    As for Åsa Lindberg, using her ravings as basis for anything is pitiful. She is a Swedish Michael Moore – in skirts, no less – and deserves about the same time and effort dedicated to her musings.

  6. I wanted to express how the people in my corner in Southwest Europe is seeing this elections, but I feel so sad I can not do this.

    Disturbing is the fact that some very intelligent young and independent persons would elect Obama based on the poor black guy complex mixed with a we need to change the evil big Satan trama.

    Republicans? All the media here cover the elections as if the Republicans were already excluded. You have to choose between the SKIRT and the NEGRO and McCain will the winner’s vice president or something…

    By the way, I will vote for the local Neo Nazis here in the next elections.
    Just to see the far right party which has parlamentary representativeness, that, by the way, is the only “right wing” party that does not have “Socialist” in its name or as the basis of its ideology, the party that has less than 10% of the votes and that is viewd as fascist despite being clearly a centrist party, more to the left to the Spanish Partido Popukar, understand that, if they don’t turn more to the right, someone will going to fill that gap and they will loose voters.

    Sad to live in a country governed by a Siocialist and in which the people, disgusted by his policies, claims that their Prime Minister has fascist and far right wing policies. The popular voice says it will vote en mass in the old fashioned Communists.

    Ths Socialist right wing policies?
    – Take money from the middle class and give it to the poor and the immigrants
    – Icrease the work time
    – Close hospitas in places where the locals are shrinking in order to cut expenditures
    – Increase the power of PC laws

    I am tired now, I will cry to my bedroom…

    Sorry for the bad English.

  7. I work and associate with many African-Americans. That they blindly support BHO is not a surprise but is, nevertheless, disappointing.

    He has much less in common with them than they understand. Raised in Hawaii, half white and relatively privileged, he is not representative of American blacks.

  8. Lost in the coverage of the U.S. primaries was a story of great significance.
    The National Intelligence Director met with the Senate Select Committee On Intelligence.
    The story is here.
    He said what?
    The NIE was faulty…waterboarding works…Pelosi knew?
    Oh My!!

  9. Looks like we’ve been too much sensitized by a few years of “PC”. Even I raised a quizzical eyebrow over that line.

    Evidently Swedes are not quite ready for a woman president, nor a “President of color”.

    As to Lindeborg’s article – “Their most visible success story is Bernie Sanders, the only openly-socialist member of the U.S. Senate …”: One of Hillary’s campaign staff appointments is Ron Dellums, mayor of Oakland, who was “… the first openly socialist Congressman since World War II.[1970 – 1997; Wikipedia].

    I would invite these misguided fools who think that socialism is the only answer, to read a little of the economic history of India since Jawaharlal Nehru.

  10. Well it’s a bit too late for that.

    Because while Obama supporters who are black may actually be supporting him for other reasons than his skin colour….. I can guarantee that there is NOT ONE female Clinton supporter who is NOT there because of Clinton’s sex.
    In short it’s not the opponents of the Dem’s lead choices who are going up that road…. it’s the Democrats themselves.
    And they are not EVER going to turn that around.

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