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ACORN’d

When I saw this, and found out that it was a Breitbart vid, I knew that it wouldn’t be long before the rest of the story came out. And it has… And Ace doesn’t miss a beat before missing the point.

I don’t guess I knew this, but politics makes you cynical, besides just dumb… so I suspected that there was a lot more to the story than the video clip suggested whether or not the rest came out.

Here was my logic: the NAACP is a high profile organization. The comments came at a function with an audience. Even if everybody at the NAACP was the devil that white southerners seem to hope they are, they wouldn’t accept someone undermining their credibility this way. More generally, someone like Shirley Sherrod was during the time she described in her comments wouldn’t get on stage to brag about it, even if she thought the audience was more or less friendly. Comments like that, apart from the context that were the basis for her re-telling the story – simply have no public value. So, it was very unlikely that S.S. would be sharing them in front of the NAACP and in public, just to brag about getting back at the condescending white dude.

Of course, Andrew Breitbart knew this. But in his mind the NAACP are demons, so it doesn’t matter if the story gets told straight, since he was using it to communicate a larger “truth” that exists primarily in his own mind. This is an example of how politics makes you stupid.

16 comments to ACORN’d

  • Buck

    If it can be connected to Breitbart you have to look at it very, very closely before running with it. That is a given. Now I do not expect the organizations that are chummy with Breitbart to refudiate him but man it does seem like the folks at the White House would have figured that out by now.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…………….WE WON’T BE FOOLED AGAIN!

  • my God, i assumed you have been going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it with ‘we go away it to you to determine’.

  • RW

    Catching up, will start with this one:

    Even if everybody at the NAACP was the devil that white southerners seem to hope they are,

    Lovely. Can I play that game, too? How’s this: even if everybody who is a Christian was the devil that guilty white liberal Marxists seem to hope they are…
    How about: even if everybody who is a Tea Partier was a racist redneck that liberals seem to think they are.

    Nah, that’s no fun. Anyhow. Seeking to discern someone’s intentions is usually an iffy game.

    they wouldn’t accept someone undermining their credibility this way

    Yeah, they would. They are, after all, human beings, and they’re going to make mistakes just like the rest of us. Democrats are going to come in contact with some unsavory elements, Republicans will, conservatives, liberals, the NRA, so why would the NAACP be exempt? They aren’t. In the near future someone that an opposing group finds unsavory will be aligned with a function that said opposing group wants to destroy, so they will seek to portray a guilt-by-association strategy; it’s happened before, it will happen again.

    Hard to get more unsavory that Farrakan. But, I’m sure that the NAACP propping him up can be spun under a “healing” theme, if asked. Ahem.

    Comments like that, apart from the context that were the basis for her re-telling the story – simply have no public value.

    Neither does her claim that Fox News, which -according to Howie Kurtz- didn’t air the video until she’d been fired, is “after a bigger thing, they would love to take us back to… where black people were looking down, not looking white folks in the face, not being able to compete for a job out there and not be a whole person.” Well, that does have some public value: it gives the Olbermann-ites a reason to say “hell yeah!”, but not much else.

    Of course, Andrew Breitbart knew this. But in his mind the NAACP are demons

    Actually, neither is true.
    The NAACP put out that condemnation of the Tea party w/claims that it is racist (since amended). Evidently, while you’re busy reading the “real” motivations of Andrew Breitbart, since his stated motivations were public (that the NAACP had better look in their own back yard before charging racial problems), you overlooked what the NAACP “knew” and who the NAACP thinks are demons.

    Breitbart had never publicly, that I’m aware of, mentioned the NAACP until all this “the tea partiers are racists” stuff came about. Yet, you have discerened that Breitbart thinks the NAACP are demons, despite not one word from his mouth – ever – to use as evidence. With that as a foundation for assigning declarations, exactly what does the NAACP think of the Tea Party, given their record of vitriol towards those private citizens?

    She gave the speech to the NAACP, after all. The tape was in their possession. Yet, they condemned her as soon as the news broke. Why? Could it be that they were trying to maintain street cred so they could continue to call tea partiers racists? Hmmmmmm. Well, either that or their incompetent & made a rash decision before all the facts were in so as to keep the political high ground. Good thing we don’t have an executive branch that seems to do that a LOT.

    Nutshell: Breitbart was sent an edited video, sat on it until it was feasible, released it w/o doing background or checking (not good), the NAACP & the USDA & whoever coordinated in the executive branch jumped the gun (not good) and an innocent woman, who nonetheless had some rather unsavory attitudes while in an official capacity back in the 80′s, was wronged (not good at all). But, in the end, all is working out, so there is some good.

    Personally, I think Breitbart should name his source.

    Side note: Do you often determine the ‘true’ motivations of people you disagree with, such as you did with this? Not a gotcha question, but something I’ve long had a theory about.

  • I may have been too hasty saying that Breitbart knew this. I assumed he was working from the original video in his possession, but he may not have had it. I hear now that he claims he didn’t see it. If that’s the case, then I guess it was his source who knew it and concealed it on purpose. I guess that may also have been the case with O’Keefe.

    There is a problem with Breitbart and race. The biggest problem may be his sources, but that he is a willing vehicle for them means that he isn’t careful enough on matters of race.

    This episode was a ‘tu quoque‘ argument (logically fallacious, but widely persuasive) in response to the good advice from the NAACP that the Tea Party people do something about the racists in their midst. So, yeah, “they (NAACP) started it”, and “they (NAACP) do it too (maybe)”. But ACORN didn’t start it. Their only crime was registering people to vote who historically vote Democrat.

    And yeah.. the NAACP and the Obama administration absolutely should have thought about the facts before they started thinking about damage control. Shame on both of them.

    To answer what is probably your most important question… I try to be careful about trying to determine the “true” motivations of opponents. I’m not always careful enough. When I do go out on that limb it is because I believe I see clear evidence that the ostensible motivations are not the real ones. This was huge to me in ACORN. I saw a lot of people sincerely believing that this was about exposing corruption. But the people behind it were not after corruption. They were out to undermine what they perceived as GOTV that would help their opponents, and they didn’t care in the least that this GOTV was a service (among many provided by the same organization) that helped poor minorities and elderly people. In fact, it was the poverty and minority status that led them to believe that in 2008, they couldn’t afford to have these folks gotten out to vote. When this is going on and people are believing the cover story – somebody has to make the case for reality.

  • RW

    There is a problem with Breitbart and race

    Straight from the Alinsky playbook, as recently illustrated by Spencer Ackerman. Pick someone who is effective and call them a racist (in this case, just hint).
    The guy started the Huffington Post (yep, he was the one behind its inception, not Arianna, he did it for her), presumably as a vehicle for his race problem instead of launching a splashy sort of Drudge page for Huffington where people could respond (yes, he was a co-editor on Drudge, too).

    The guy started Big Hollywood because of his race problem, instead of it being a vehicle for some Hollywood righties to speak their minds about the quasi-blacklist that exists in the industry or their pet projects….how? Robert Davi writing on BH about adopting pets forwards racial discord….how? Big Journalism exposing how our MSM often presents stories that are politically biased foments racial animosity….how?

    Actually, per Breitbart’s own words, he was a Hollywood leftie until he saw how the left treated a black man, Clarence Thomas. That episode caused him to reassess his alliances & see how the rhetoric often didn’t match the deeds. If that racial episode causes a “race problem”, I’m not sure it’s what you think it is.

    in response to the good advice from the NAACP that the Tea Party people do something about the racists in their midst.

    So the Tea Party has racists in their midst, but showing video that ACORN has cheats who try to circumvent the law by creating tax dodges for underage prostitution rings shows that the folks filming have a racial problem. Check.

    But the people behind it were not after corruption.

    You’re better than that.

    They were out to undermine what they perceived as GOTV that would help their opponents, and they didn’t care in the least that this GOTV was a service (among many provided by the same organization) that helped poor minorities and elderly people.

    Is that what O’Keefe was doing in Landrieu’s office, too, instead of exposing corruption (showing how her claims of her phones being inaccessible to her constituents was a fabrication)? Was showing Sen. Landrieu to be a liar also a means to keep the black folk down?

    In fact, it was the poverty and minority status that led them to believe

    It’s a fact that you know what Hannah Giles and O’Keefe believe? Because you’ve been able to take a ‘Da Vinci Code’ path towards your own conclusion (“ACORN can’t be comprised of a lot of cheaters, it must be some folks with racist elements trying to keep black folks from voting”) you’re, once again, discerning what those two people believe?

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the approved talking points, how wearing a pimp suit up the steps in one video while possibly not wearing it later in the video means that the entire thing was a fabrictaion, intended to (ding!) hold the black vote down. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the Alinsky tactic of trying to smear the opponent so that they are no longer a creidble person, therefore anything O’Keefe/Giles/Breitbart are affiliated with are tainted & that they’re probably racists. Got it. I know one guy later stepped forward to recant what’d happend & take the right course. I know all that. I know all the responses that have been spoon-fed (hello JournOlist!).

    The folks helping with the prostitution rings on the videos & catching people openly cheating was why ACORN folded, not a pimp suit. Changing the subject to attack the messenger’s “true” beliefs, per Ackerman, won’t change that. ACORN cheated. A lot*. They got caught. Finally. They should be happy that it happened after they helped cheat Al Franken into the senate.

    Hey, if the “true” story wasn’t corruption, then the lack of corruption would’ve sure made things work out differently.

    Funny how that line of argument is the exact same one that the Ackerman/Moveon.org wing of the partisan-win-at-all-costs brigade has been putting forth. Who are you going to believe, them or your lying eyes?

    Begs a question: what effective righty, according to the left, does not have some sort of race problem? I bet it’s hard to name, say, five

    * Yeah, all those Jews in Palm Beach county voted for Buchanan in 2000 because they were REALLY too stupid to punch a hole in a ballot next to the proper name. NO WAY it could be the case of voter fraud & a vote-a-matic machine (remember the Dem state rep caught with one in her car?) putting in a bunch of ballots that had been wrongly executed. No, Occam’s razor says that “stupid senior Democrat” is much more plausible than “cheaters”. Sure, makes sense to everyone. THAT’S why the left is so afraid to have voter ID, because their constituents are too stupid to bring the proper ID instead of the concept of eliminating cheating (insert “the right does it too, mainly by way of suppressing the vote” caveat here).

    ——

    Your entire foundation is that O’Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart are out to keep blacks from voting (instead of simply watching the videos), which by definition means you’re presuming to look into their hearts and inferring motivation on their behalf. Well, either that, or the Ackerman line of attack.

  • I really cannot respond at the length your post deserves. But I will briefly. These are my perceptions:

    1) O’Keefe & allies were innovating in service of a smear campaign against ACORN that was already in existence (this was the hype about ACORN workers turning in Mickey Mouse registrations without the context that 1:this doesn’t aid voter fraud, and 2:ACORN was duly reporting bad-faith registrations as was their responsibility – this was an attempt to misrepresent ACORN as being in the business of voting fraud).

    2) O’Keefe wasn’t manipulated the video to give a false impression in about what was going on in one or two offices at ACORN. The pimp costume was only part. Questions and answers were de-grouped. Context about how they were perceived by the employees in question was removed.

    3) Not only has it been proven that O’Keefe used doctored videos to give false impressions of corruption in ACORN, later investigations found no wrong-doing on the part of the organization.

    4) This amounts to an Alinsky-like smear on the part of O’Keefe and others against ACORN.

    5) It worked. ACORN is now practically defunct, and people still hold false impressions about the organization.

    6) Skipping over statements of Breitbarts that appear to show him with good racial attitudes (mistreatment of black man led him to move right politically) – it is possible to have a race problem, and to engage in racially inflammatory or discriminatory practices even while holding somewhat sympathetic views toward the minority races in question. Likely Breitbart & O’Keefe were politically motivated rather than by racial animus. Their race problem is not animus per se, but that they behaved in racially inflammatory and discriminatory fashion.

    7) O’Keefe’s problem with the Landrieu affair was probably also politically motivated but did not involve race. His problem was that he was so singlemindedly focused on “exposing” the corruption he rightly or wrongly perceived there that he acted illegally as a vigilante. The reasons I think that his motivation was political and not about corruption are these: 1: I think that the “corruption” he “exposed” in ACORN was fabricated by him, in part through entrapment. You don’t have to create, entrap, or falsify to expose corruption if that is your goal. 2: There are no cases where O’Keefe can be seen to have acted on a matter of corruption without a political goal being achieved as a result.

    Now, you can think I’m full of shit, and that Sherrod, ACORN, and Landrieu were all guilty as hell (I don’t doubt that Landrieu was, but I haven’t seen compelling proof)… And if you are right and I’m wrong, then I guess it is less likely that there is a race problem (though we still are left with the question of why, among all of the corrupt business, politicians, NGOs, think-tanks, etc., etc., in the world, it was ACORN and the NAACP that were kneecapped).

    But this is not my perception. My perception is that people of good will are being deceived by these “Alinsky”-esque tactics. That’s why I feel I’m doing the right thing to repeat the contrary case.

  • btw – the writing style of Uncle’s correspondent whom he quotes at length on the subject of manliness looks … oddly … familiar. :)

  • errr strike “wasn’t” from item 2), word #2. I retyped & didn’t delete everything I should have.

  • RW

    btw – the writing style of Uncle’s correspondent whom he quotes at length on the subject of manliness looks … oddly … familiar

    Uncle who? Say Uncle?

  • RW

    later investigations found no wrong-doing on the part of the organization.

    So, an ACORN funded investigation led by investigators chosen by ACORN found that ACORN did no wrong? You don’t say!

  • I had no idea that the U.S. Government Accountability Office was a subsidiary of ACORN (http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-648R).

    But, then, I thought GAO was General Accounting Office.

  • RW

    No, I was meaning the initial report that ACORN put out before it went bankrupt, as a last ditch effort to maintain cred. Thanks, though, I’d forgotten about that GAO issuance (it’s tough to recall things from sitting so high on this horse!). But, they do participate in some cheatin’ from time to time. I don’t think the whole org was corrupt, but a decent chunk (much like I think the left would say about the TP)

    -

    I don’t know what you mean about say uncle. Hand on a bible, I’ve only visited that site over the last two years via links from your boogers. And I can swear to you on that bible, my kid’s lives and my mother’s grave that I’m no one’s correspondent and the only times I’ve even commented at SU in those two years have been in posts you’ve linked & they’re usually about guns. They number less than 5, if I were to guess. Not me, though now I’d love a link to see who writes like me. Sounds like a great guy. :)

  • That’s funny – he identified the correspondent as someone who used to blog and should again. I read the first paragraph & just knew it was you. Link is here. Even if you didn’t write, I bet you’ll agree.

  • RW

    Okay, just went to the site & read the entry that’s at the top. Good stuff & I’d be inclined to agree with a good bit, but the tell-tale thing that says “not me” is this line near the end:

    I’ve had very much that same feeling at a few of the times when I’ve felt like I’ve lived up to my own ideals of being a fairly good man.

    Now, I’m no robot, but if you’ll recall, I’ve openly stated that I think the genes of my son’s autism comes from me because I carry so many similarities with a high-functioning autistic person and everyone who knows me & my son agree 100%. Part of that is the lack of social intricacies such as sharing feelings. If you really knew me, not just my writing but the real me, you’d know that I’d shy away from publicly discussing something that I “felt”. Go check my 25 facts on my FB page: I don’t do much feeling. I’d have worded that along the lines of

    when I THINK I’ve lived up to my own ideals of being a good man.

    I don’t “feel” as though I’m being a good man. Also, I wouldn’t say “fairly good man” because adding a catch-all on “good” means you’re not really good. Fairly good is less-than-good. You’re either a good man or your not; not good doesn’t mean bad, but ‘fairly good’ is a weasly way of giving yourself an out.

    That’s what guys who “feel” do. :)
    Maybe I am a robot…

  • RW

    The Costanza thing was great. The image of that scene was in my head while I read it. Of course, later, if it were a lady, she wouldn’t have said “the sea was angry that day, my friends”.

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