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The Most Important Number(s) in Politics Today



Beerastroika! REUTERS/Jim Young

63, 25

The first number is the percentage of whites who believe that President Barack Obama "acted stupidly" in his comments about the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. while the second is the number of African Americans who believe the same thing, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll.

The data suggests just how differently whites and blacks viewed the incident, which drew national (and international) headlines and led to President Barack Obama convening the Suds summit with Gates, officer James Crowley and Vice President Joe Biden.

Several other questions in the poll affirm the deep divide between the races on Gates-gate.

Sixty-one percent of African Americans sympathized more with Gates than Crowley while only 29 percent of whites said the same. Two thirds of whites polled said that a white homeowner would have been treated the same way as Gates under similar circumstances while just one in four African Americans agreed with that statement.

The sharp divide evidenced in these numbers shows why President Obama and his political team wanted to move away from the issue as quickly as possible. From a political perspective, Gates-gate amounts to a no-win situation since there is no obvious consensus from voters about what the event meant and why.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 4, 2009; 4:35 PM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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Comments

LOL! Neither was the Gates arrest illegal nor changing W-4 allowances to avoid refunds next year.

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

This is advocating criminal tax fraud in a public forum. What Jake advocates is illegal and will get you charged with tax fraud. It is probably illegal to encourage it as well. DO NOT cheat on your taxes.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 5, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

SEND A MESSAGE TO WASHINGTON D.C.!

Anyone out there earning a paycheck can get a quick raise immediately just by turning in a new W-4 Form to your employer claiming 9 allowances on Line 5 (I know that more than 10 allowances used to trigger an IRS inquiry -- not sure if that's still the case -- the last thing you need is a "lock down" letter). As for any "penalty" next April, that would be worth it to send a message to Obama to stop spending now. Or, you can simply send in one check to cover the difference right before January 1st and avoid the penalty:

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf

Print it now, and turn it in to your employer tomorrow!

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Back to Gallenod (specifically re: "the prosecutor's decision to drop the charges cuts his legs out from under him"):

Extending your logic, then, doesn't Prof. Gates refusing to file a wrongful arrest lawsuit mean that would not have stood the test of a trial as well?

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, mikeinmidland, I thought your 4:35 PM post was from Gallenrod -- I was wrong -- anyone else want to debate whether Gates's arrest was legal or not?

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Still trying to figure out what Sharpton has to do with this.

Oh, of course, it's an attempt at distraction.

Never mind.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 5, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

My point was that Gallenod did not call the arrest "wrongful." And Gates himself, after the bluster of the initial event, never suggested that it was.
JRM2's comment on this thread says "acted stupidly." I didnt' go back to previous threads.

I personally doubt very much that a wrongful arrest lawsuit would have any merit in this case, which is but one of the reasons Gates probably had for not filing one.

Sharpton, on the other hand, is an attention-grabbing fool. He does not speak for Gates.


Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 5, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, I think Obama really is a cylon. Wait a minute! Let me adjust this head thingee--Oh yeah . . . message coming in clearer . . . answer that phone willya?

Posted by: rawreid | August 5, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

JRM2 claims that it was an "illegal" arrest.

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Rev. Sharpton has indeed called the arrest "wrongful" and plenty of similar adjectives have been used here.

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow, argument by unqualified assertion! Impressive!

Princeton Debate Team?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 5, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

No one has suggested that the arrest was wrongful, just "stupid." Next canard?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 5, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Gallenod:

Extending your logic, then, doesn't Prof. Gates refusing to file a wrongful arrest lawsuit mean that would not have stood the test of a trial?

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected: it was the prosecutor who decided to drop the charges. Same result, though. It still implies that the arrest and charges would not have stood the test of a trial.

I would have been very surprised if the police department and the union had not closed ranks around Sgt Crowley. It generally takes a great deal for any officer to lose their support. Given the usual tension between "town and gown," the local police force quite likely (and with some reason) to feel put upon by the university.

I don't think Crowley was being vengeful, but both he and Gates were angry, which led to bad decisions on both parts. I think they both acted stupidly.

The difference is that at his worst Gates could maybe have starting swinging his cane, which he didn't. He may be a very intelligent man, but it's pretty stupid to start trying to tear a new one in a guy who came with the intention of protecting his home from a possible theft.

A police officer, on the other hand, has the means to both deprive a person of their freedom (temporarily) or their life (permanently). I'm not sure what was running through his mind when he arrested Gates. Maybe he felt that allowing Gates to show contempt at him in public and get away with it might put another officer in danger some day. Or maybe he just thought: "Well, he's out of the house, pissing me off and creating a public nuisance--where are my cuffs?" Or some combination of the two.

Either way, despite the support of his fellow officers, the prosecutor's decision to drop the charges cuts his legs out from under him. Now we just have a police force that resented the university also resenting the prosecutor and university people wagging their fingers at the Cambridge police whining, "see, we told you they didn't like us!"

It's one of those relationships where both sides will nurse their grudges forever because without those complaints their lives would be a lot less meaningful.

(It's a lot like watching some people go after each other here in the Comments section.)

Posted by: Gallenod | August 5, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse


From the moment Obama said that "the Cambridge Police acted stupidly" people have suggested that he shouldn't have commented about it, since he didn't have all the facts. Of course he admitted that he didn't have all the facts.

What people mean by that is that he should have dodged the question. None of the facts that have come out since the press conference would change anyone's opinion of the case.

I still have yet to find anyone anywhere stating a fact that would make the Cambridge Police Department's actions appear any less stupid than they did that day. The 911 caller refutes Crowley's version of the events, which makes his action appear less reasonable.

Did I miss something?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 5, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

For the record, Sgt. Crowley did not use his arrest power for personal vengeance. Next canard?

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Good cops" don't use their arrest power for personal vengeance

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 5, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Gallenod:

The Cambridge Police did not "drop the charge" as that was the prosecutor's decision (don't get me started about that). The Cambridge Police -- and UNION -- have completely backed Sgt. Crowley.

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Jake, just because you can arrest someone does not mean you should.

And apparently the Cambridge police department agreed that Crowley should not have arrested Gates, otherwise they would not have dropped the charges.

It doesn't make Crowley a bad cop. He is, by all reports, and excellent cop. But he is, apparently, an example of why you should never make an important decision (like an arrest) while angry. Angry people, no matter how smart or well-trained they may be, rarely make good decisions.

Posted by: Gallenod | August 5, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I guess you are spoiled then, because LEGAL and per procedure was our job to determine and value judgments never entered the equation. As far as Sgt. Crowley being a #$%# good cop, as far as I have seen, there's no question either.

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - No question that the arrest was legal. However, that doesn't mean that it was appropriate.

Guess I'm spoiled. My father was a cop, and a #$%# good one. He was a firm believer, and an excellent practitioner, of calming down inflamatory situations. I envision how he would have handled the situation, and wish other cops could do the same.

Posted by: sourpuss | August 5, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

sourpuss:

The physical building AND real property are actually owned by Harvard, but my point was that Prof. Gates was arrested OUTSIDE the physical building itself. Pursuant to current Massachusetts law and Cambridge Police procedures, the arrest was proper and legal.

Gallenod:

I served on our local citizens' board reviewing allegations of police misconduct for 8 years, so I know there are "bad" cops -- not only was Sgt. Crowley entitled to enter the private residence and request ID from Gates, but it was also a VALID arrest -- whether you want to argue that he should have exercised discretion in not arresting Prof. Gates is another matter completely.

Posted by: JakeD | August 5, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

On Topic:

JakeD - Depends on your definition on "Home". Whether you mean within the physical building, or you include the Property, as well.

Off: Topic (but more important):

DDWAD - Try some Fuller's ESB. A bottle, if you have to, or a real (I.e., imperial) Pint of Draught. If you ever get to Germany, in the Spring, get some real Mai Bach. If you ever get to England, find any CAMRA Bitter.

Posted by: sourpuss | August 5, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Crowley was entitled to enter a potential crime scene with weapon drawn. He was entitled to request ID from Gates. But he was wrong to arrest him.

After the Gates incident, NPR did an interview with two police officers, one a retired African American officer from Washington DC and the other the current white police chief of Chapel Hill NC. Both aggreed that Crowley, once he had determined that there was no break in and that Gates was the homeowner, should have just apologized and left regardless of whatever yelling Gates did.

When you have a badge and a gun you are expected to uphold a higher standard of behavior, which includes ignoring taunts, insults, and other verbal abuse. Having worked in a Federal law enforcement agency and seen agents lose their badges and careers for similarly stupid stuff, I think Sgt. Crowley should be thankful he hasn't been transferred to desk duty, at least.

Posted by: Gallenod | August 5, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Grandmother Tasered at Traffic Stop

Updated: Thursday, 11 Jun 2009, 1:31 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 29 May 2009, 10:23 PM CDT

A 72-year-old woman is pulled over for speeding, then tasered and sent to jail. Kathryn Winkfein says she drives to Austin about twice a month to do her shopping. But on a Monday afternoon, a Travis County Constable deputy pulled her over, on her way back to Granite Schoals.

"Due to being a construction zone, and workers being present," Pct. 3 Constable Richard McCain said, "it was 45, she was doing 60."

Winkfein admits she was speeding in the dangerous strip of Highway 71 and Bee Creek.

"He explained to her," Constable McCain said, "sign the ticket stub, it's not an admission of guilt. It's a promise to appear in court. She didn't want to. She said take me to jail."

That's when the officer says Winkfein exited her vehicle and didn't cooperate.

"She refused to get off the side of the road, he said to her, Ma'am, you're under arrest. She used profanity," the Constable said. He adds she got violent, and the officer used a taser on her.

Winkfein showed FOX 7 her taser scars.

"Here and here. Two places, side by side. It's unreal. It's like an electric shock," she said.

A shock Winkfein believes she didn't deserve.

"I wasn't argumentative, I was not combative. This is a lie. All of this is a lie, pulled away from him I did not," she said, reading the arrest affidavit.

The great-grandmother was taken to the Travis County Jail, where she was booked for resisting arrest and detention. She was released shortly after. Now, Winkfein has hired attorneys to protect her rights.

When asked if it was appropriate for the arresting officer to have used a taser, Constable McCain answered yes.
-------------------------------
In Austin, I know I would have had the same treatment as Gates under similar circumstances, unless I was very lucky. "Contempt of cop" is not a crime but it does lead to these kinds of incidents.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 5, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"Taint insurance and taint good.

Posted by: ceflynline | August 4, 2009 11:00 PM"

Ok, I'll trust your word on this. My research consists of casual conversations I've had with brass when I was doing bio research for the military.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 5, 2009 2:47 AM | Report abuse

"Two thirds of whites polled said that a white homeowner would have been treated the same way as Gates under similar circumstances while just one in four African Americans agreed with that statement."

==

I think this number pair is more important than the headline.

Because one of them is closer to the truth than the other. A lot of us have seen so much improvement in race relations in the US that it's be easy to slip into believing that the problem is largely behind us. It isn't.

I'm inclined to believe that the African Americans are closer to the truth here, because I really don't get much of a sense of persecution complex from all the AA friends I've had, and I definitely do get a sense among my own race that racism is something we've already overcome.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 5, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Gotta give Crowley his due for one thing here .. he's clearly at ease. Sitting with the President and Vice President and the guy he arrested and knocking one back, he doesn't appear to be twitchy or agitated. That says good things about him, and about Obama, who seems more and more to be a man devoid of pretense and pomp.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 5, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

"Our military has great insurance. Posted by: DDAWD "

I'll take issue on that for three reasons.

Firstly, if we were doing it right, (instead of contracting out health care in garison, and apparently even in war zones to some extent) GI's don't have insurance, they have, or had when I was one, full and absolute medical care. You got sick, you got shot, you got blitzed, you went to the aid station and your treatment proceded from there. You had clinics, dental clinics, optical clinics, all backed up by hospitals of various organization. You had a problem it got treated. Don't quibble about the quality.

Secondly, even when away from military posts, then you went to the nearest hospital, got treated, went back to your unit, told your First Sergeant, who told you what form to fill out, and the hospital got paid. Now you have TriCare, a republican replacement for real medical care for dependents, retirees, and military on leave or casual status, and that abomination doesn't deserve the appelation "Health Insurance", and GI's and their dependents don't deserve to have to suffer through it.

Thirdly, once upon a time we had reasonable access to medical care reasonably close for retirees and veterans, retirees on military bases at Military hospitals, and vets at VA hospitals.

Now we have too few of either to properly care for either retirees or vets.

Taint insurance and taint good.

Posted by: ceflynline | August 4, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

"If the dollar ever rebounds against the value of the (much dreaded) socialist countries, you could travel to Northern Europe and Scandinavia; there you might swear you are discovering beer for the first time.
Posted by: shrink2"

Then again, If Barack ever gets time to instill a bit of common sense in the Pebtagon, and drives out the remnants of the perpetrators of the Rumsfield criteria, AND gets Iraq on an equally commonsense footing, perhaps there will return to the states veterans with an appreciation of beer brewed the way it has been, (probably less but more or less) for about 50000 years. The great indicia of the success we are having, or not, in Iraq is how many GI's get to use their time off to visit the remains of the home cities of Sargon, Abram, (moved to the west and changed his name, of course), Hammurabi and also Sennacherib, Tiglath-Pilesser, and"the grimly able" Esserhaddon. If you have to fight over the same ground as Cyrus, Xerxes, Xenephon, and Alexander, you OUGHT to be able to see the ground they fought over.

And try the beers they might have enjoyed after a good days work massacring thousands.

Posted by: ceflynline | August 4, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

vimax promises to make a man stand out and please many women at once. It's the old fashioned "bigger" promise from the back of the magazine.

CF8, I will try that but I find it easier to click on 'husband come fix this.'

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 4, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

It's just so sad that The Fix sincerely believes this to be an important number, much less the most important.

Posted by: nodebris | August 4, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

There is an analogy to the Republican tactics from racing, sail boat racing.

Last boat tactics involve endless near collisions and challenges.

Car racing saw how obvious that problem was and eliminated it (I won't bore you with how).

Politics? Not so much. Republicans are doing all they can to create collisions with the politicians on the surface. We laugh at that, CC has a job: cover the collisions.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 4, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

God help me! drindl is completely correct. The poll is meaningless. Moreover, it doesn't tell us if those polled thought Obama made a political mistake or was something else. Now, only a complete boob thinks Obama is a racist or black power advocate. He leap to the defense of friend, like any of us would do. He might have felt some of the burden of racism that black people have been burdened with in this county for far too long, too. I wouldn't blame him.

As for Gates and Crowley, they not seem to have worked out their misunderstanding, they seem to have become friends. ANyone who doesn't think that isn't a good thing is living on another planet.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 4, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

@margaretmeyers:

(1) if you're not using FireFox, install it now.

(2) on the Tools Menu, select "Add-Ons"

(3) Select AdBlockPlus.

I don't get ads when I browse.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Target ad.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 4, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm getting an L.L. Bean ad for an ugly bike. What's Vimax?

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | August 4, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

yup, I Twittered the pressor and up until that last question... we were on point. My sign off was that we would be fighting the stupid remark with the nutters for weeks. I'm like a prophet.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | August 4, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Off topic - is everyone else being bombarded by Vimax advertisements or is it just what Comcast of Pennsylvania is plastering all over web pages?

Yet another thing I get to explain to my adolescents.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 4, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Liberals are laughable. They believe no one can think for themselves,

==

Conservatives are laughable. They soothe and stroke people who've screwed up their lives with bad decisions and screwed up their health with lousy behavior and assure them that they know more about how to run their own lives than people trained in medicine and public policy.

If you really believe this conceit, I recommend you go to a mall sometime, and look at your fellow citizens.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I used to admire Dobbs, I already posted elsewhere about the time he kept the air alive when CNN lost its feed. But his recent racist stuff is completely over the top and today I told CNN he should be fired. The birthers are deranged.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

@cf8: I think the country is getting there already with Orly Taitz giving the court a forged Kenya birth certificate in one of her birther suits, and the thugs and hooligans sent to disrupt town meetings...and Lou Dobbs. People of all stripes are sick of it. The ones who aren't will vote for Palin. :)

Posted by: broadwayjoe | August 4, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh I definitely want Palin to be the concrete galoshes that carry the GOP to the bottom of the harbor .. but I'm sick and tired of reading all the gush over her. She's an idiot, and all the pretense that she has anything to offer is simply insulting to the intelligence.

I'm also sick and tired of those cow expressions she gets on her face. She gets far too many snapshots taken while looking like she's really pleased with herself.

The fact that she shoots animals from helicopters leads me to despise her.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I meant 60/40 OR 70/30. The point being if you don't break the poll down by party and by percentage thereof, it's completely meaningless.


Posted by: drindl | August 4, 2009 4:53 PM
___________
Cosigning.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | August 4, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

"With Republican party leaders so constrained by ideological blinders that none of their positions is likely to produce gains among non-white minorities, especially Hispanics, the GOP is finding it has no real alternative but to revert to a "white voter" strategy."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/04/for-the-modern-gop-its-a_n_250560.html

==

Good article.

And as we near election the GOP will lose some of its white support because, as they always do, and as you can bet your shirt they will do again, they will go too far.

They'll go over the top in their racist zeal, just as their surrogates do, and they'll alienate and repel a lot of educated voters, whites included.

Leaving them as the party of the rural white south.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I am rooting for Palin to at least get in the GOP primary in 2012 (which I think she'll win) because it will shove the party into a extremist regional corner for sure. An electoral blowout guaranteed. So I don't mind the serial "Palin in 2012" posts here at all.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | August 4, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

@cf8: Sure the GOP may pick up some voters in the House, Senate, Governors races, here and there, because the GOP has a good candidate and the Dems have a bad one (see Deeds in VA; Specter in PA). According to HuffPo the GOP, sadly, has officially decided (against the advice of Voinovich moderates) to go over the waterfall with the Southern strategy--so we'll see more birthers, more lobbyist-paid thugs at town meetings on health care, more fake BLUE collar grievances, etc.

HuffPo reports in a lengthy data-driven piece:

"With Republican party leaders so constrained by ideological blinders that none of their positions is likely to produce gains among non-white minorities, especially Hispanics, the GOP is finding it has no real alternative but to revert to a "white voter" strategy."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/04/for-the-modern-gop-its-a_n_250560.html

Posted by: broadwayjoe | August 4, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

It did not have to be dropped, but a few well-placed calls made sure it was.

==

So it is your opinion that the charge against Gates should have been sustained? Would you be happy to see an innocent black man in jail?

That's what I figured.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

"It's all very reminiscent of the party's notorious Southern Strategy, which carried the GOP for decades," Edsall says. "But that strategy backfired spectacularly in the 2006 and 2008 elections, and there's no reason to think it will work any better in 2010 -- especially given the ever-growing importance of the minority electorate."

More: "In this respect, even if the GOP picks up a few House and Senate seats in 2010, many of the party's top analysts believe that it will remain mired in minority status through 2012 and beyond. Other analysts say it may even decline to the level of a minor regional party, with its only real strength in the South." "

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/08/04/2019129.aspx

This is what ALL the legitimate analysts are saying.

==

Excellent post.

And the illegitimate analysts are gushing over snoozelords like Romney and Pawlenty and talking about Palin getting dozens of millions of votes.

You really need to wonder what planet they're living on.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

"The data leaves little room for equivocation. Black people are disproportionately arrested, disproportionately convicted, disproportionately sentenced to prison.

Gates was arrested at his home even after having established that he belonged there, and having committed no crime. His conduct was only "disorderly" in the view of a cop who didn't like Gates' undeferential manner. It was an improper arrest, which is why it was rescinded."

Just because something occurs disproportionately doesn't mean you can't overestimate its frequency.

With a lot of these questions, there's a color gap, but they were a lot smaller than I would have expected.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

No offense. This is a re-chewed issue and frankly I don't get the purpose.

63 percent of whites thought Obama acted stupidly (to speak out on racial profiling and a false arrest). So what? Sounds like we're back again to the talking points of the extreme wing of the GOP (which coincidentally, HuffPo reported today on its front page, has decided to double-down on its whites-only "Southern Strategy," for better or for worse). In the 1950s, probably 76 percent of whites thought MLK Jr. was a fool. So what? For a while a majority thought it was great to keep Mandela in jail. Were they right?

As another poster pointed out, if you broke your figure down by party, or education, or region or income, the post would be really insightful. For instance, take the deep South out, and I'm sure the numbers change dramatically.
__________

Nate Silver (the most accurate pollster in the country in 2008) explains why big demographic changes make these kinds of distracting racial proxy issues irrelevant:

"Consider this remarkable statistic. In 1980, 32 percent of the electorate consisted of white Democrats (or at least white Carter voters) -- likewise, in 2008, 32 percent of the electorate consisted of white Obama voters. But whereas, in 1980, just 9 percent of the electorate were nonwhite Carter voters, 21 percent of the electorate were nonwhite Obama voters last year. Thus, Carter went down to a landslide defeat, whereas Obama defeated John McCain by a healthy margin."

http://milenials.blogspot.com/2009/08/nate-silver-republican-job-is-becoming.html

And HuffPo's Tom Edsall on the same topic:

"Journalist Tom Edsall, writing for the Huffington Post, notes that the Republican Party's grievances against the Obama administration are having an effect with white Americans -- Obama's approval with this group has dropped from 54% in Feb.-March to 46% now in the NBC/WSJ poll -- but not with Hispanics or African Americans.

"It's all very reminiscent of the party's notorious Southern Strategy, which carried the GOP for decades," Edsall says. "But that strategy backfired spectacularly in the 2006 and 2008 elections, and there's no reason to think it will work any better in 2010 -- especially given the ever-growing importance of the minority electorate."

More: "In this respect, even if the GOP picks up a few House and Senate seats in 2010, many of the party's top analysts believe that it will remain mired in minority status through 2012 and beyond. Other analysts say it may even decline to the level of a minor regional party, with its only real strength in the South." "

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/08/04/2019129.aspx

This is what ALL the legitimate analysts are saying.


Posted by: broadwayjoe | August 4, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

From the poll I cannot make an educated guess about this. I point out the following for speculation, only. A majority of blacks believed Crowley acted stupidly and a plurality thought Gates acted stupidly. A black person who believed both might not want the Prez to waste attention on a local incident where the parties both acted "stupidly". That would be logically consistent.

==

Gates was imprudent; talkin' sass to a cop isn't a bright thing to do, because while the cop may eventually be called to account for abusing his power, he has potential to really spoil one's day before that happens, or even kill.

But Crowley was more than imprudent, he acted improperly. Someone with his experience should have the equanimity to handle some sass from a guy freshly home from a long flight. He didn't, so he acted stupidly.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

One interesting is that a lot of people, both black and white, think that people experience race based discrimination from the police, a lot more than actually experience it. Seems like a lot of black people think it's something that happens to other blacks, but not them.

==

The data leaves little room for equivocation. Black people are disproportionately arrested, disproportionately convicted, disproportionately sentenced to prison.

Gates was arrested at his home even after having established that he belonged there, and having committed no crime. His conduct was only "disorderly" in the view of a cop who didn't like Gates' undeferential manner. It was an improper arrest, which is why it was rescinded.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

One interesting is that a lot of people, both black and white, think that people experience race based discrimination from the police, a lot more than actually experience it. Seems like a lot of black people think it's something that happens to other blacks, but not them.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin:

That's a reasonable inference. Another possibility is that 25% agree with me that Sgt. Crowley properly arrested Prof. Gates OUTSIDE the home owned by Harvard.

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I infer that JakeD "...wants to discuss why 25% of AFRICAN-AMERICANS believe that ...Obama acted stupidly in his comments about the arrest of ...Gates."

The entire poll is at

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/04/rel11a.x.pdf

From the poll I cannot make an educated guess about this. I point out the following for speculation, only. A majority of blacks believed Crowley acted stupidly and a plurality thought Gates acted stupidly. A black person who believed both might not want the Prez to waste attention on a local incident where the parties both acted "stupidly". That would be logically consistent.
-----------------------
Let me be clear here that I am trying to draw an inference from answers to a poll and neither attempting mind reading nor judging anyone's opinion.
If my inference does not seem logical to you, let me know.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 4, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

It did not have to be dropped, but a few well-placed calls made sure it was.

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

The official charge was disorderly conduct, and of course it was promptly dropped because it had no merit.

But the actual offense was PIPO. Pissed off police officer.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 4, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

"1) if a government-run option is so good, then are you for a government-run option for....life insurance? auto insurance? computer manufacturing? furniture manufacturing? software development? If a government-run option is the only way to bring 'competition' to the market place, then why stop with health care....let's expand the idea to every industry! Right?"

Health insurance is more important than all of those. The free market solution is pretty much a failure when it comes to health insurance. You can't say the same about the other things. It's also more important than the other things.

Second, the government has shown itself to be an excellent provider of insurance. The best insurance I've ever had was under the Federal government. Nothing else even comes close. The private insurers don't give their top shelf programs to poor grad students. (I'll be back on it soon since I got NIH funding!) Our Senators are all multimillionaires. Do you think they are eschewing government insurance? No. Our military has great insurance. Medicare and Medicaid are good as well. Government can run insurance well. In this case, they are doing better than private insurers. I'm normally against government being involved in industry, but I'm not going to be stupidly closed minded about it.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Gates wasn't arrested in his home.

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Crowley arrested Gates in his own home not for threats, but for being insufficiently deferential. By that point Crowley knew that Gates was not a burglar. "Stupid" is perfectly apt given that information.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse


Please list one salient fact about the case which would have changed his assessment.

He didn't know that the 911 call didn't match Crowley's report--that came out later. Doesn't help the Cambridge PD's reputation.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 4, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps those 25% of Blacks were among those who have been beaten down enough not to think it was a good idea to speak the truth. Or they just want health-care reform."

Maybe they just thought Obama shouldn't be making such a strong comment on something he didn't know much about.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm not African-American, so I'd be more comfortable expressing why 61% of White respondents say that his comments made them feel MORE favorable towards Obama (Question 43). I agree with that, because Obama had the courage to call it like he saw it.

Perhaps those 25% of Blacks were among those who have been beaten down enough not to think it was a good idea to speak the truth. Or they just want health-care reform.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 4, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I think it was a poor choice of words even though it was true:
The police report was incorrectly filled out, or deliberately modified.

A person cannot be arrested for verbally abusing a police officer in the state of Mass. several court cases where a person was arrested for verbally abusing a police officer in public have upheld the law/precedent.

So in that regard, "The Cambridge police acted stupidly"

BTW: He said "Cambridge" not "Crowley" in the photo of the arrest you will see a black and hispanic officer also.

It was not a racial comment by Obama against whites.

Posted by: JRM2 | August 4, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Must be a really slow news day to see this dead horse as worthy of another kick.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"CC has made a point of trying to keep these comment boards on topic. Since this post of his wasn't really about health care, I'll leave you with a couple questions and then we can pick up the health care discussion when CC posts something related to health care. I'm more than happy to discuss the fallacies of the 'progressive' approach."

Well, I don't think Chris wants to be too draconian about this. Jaked and KOZ try to hijack the threads with completely unrelated stuff coming out of nowhere and they do it all the time. On the other hand, the health care topic flowed organically from the Gates topic, so unless we get complaints from Chris or from a lot of other posters, I think its not in bad taste to talk about it. Besides, the place clears out about now anyways.

And I never said there was a connection between being wealthy and having insurance. I said there was a connection between being wealthy and being able to bypass insurance. I'm not sure if you misunderstood me or are just lying. I know you're completely willing to lie about things, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Crowley re-arrests Gates at the White House, failing to recognize him:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/cambridge_cop_accidentally?utm_source=a-section

As for me, I tried alcohol in my teens, didn't like it, never drank it again, no regrets.

As for favorite beers, double-blind tests always return Carline Black Label. Not Coors, not Heinekin, not Budweiser. To me it's all bull piss.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

"According to their "logic" however, aren't they ADMITTING that the final question was planted?!"

You would assume so, although to be fair it's difficult for anyone anymore to know which questions are planted at Obama's press conferences. As for his 'town hall's', it's safe to assume it's 100%.

Posted by: dbw1 | August 4, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it was tongue-in-cheek. I don't think there was any grand plan. But I'm sure he did think about his response to a question about Gates, and I think his response was on target.

Obama's comment did nothing to derail health-care reform. It wasn't going to get done before the break. But it did change the subject.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 4, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Of course, no one wants to discuss why 25% of AFRICAN-AMERICANS believe that pResident Barack Obama "acted stupidly" in his comments about the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. either.

Funny how "off-topic" posts are just fine and dandy when they do it ; )

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD:

CC has made a point of trying to keep these comment boards on topic. Since this post of his wasn't really about health care, I'll leave you with a couple questions and then we can pick up the health care discussion when CC posts something related to health care. I'm more than happy to discuss the fallacies of the 'progressive' approach.

1) if a government-run option is so good, then are you for a government-run option for....life insurance? auto insurance? computer manufacturing? furniture manufacturing? software development? If a government-run option is the only way to bring 'competition' to the market place, then why stop with health care....let's expand the idea to every industry! Right?

2) Your question assumes that unless you are wealthy, you can't afford insurance. No statistics are available that support your premise, unless you define "wealthy" to be anyone who is employed.

3) if you believe there are 47 million uninsured, how many unemployed do you believe there are? (this answer will go a long way toward helping a liberal understand something I like to call "math")

Posted by: dbw1 | August 4, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

You would think, but "chrisfox8" types a lot too.

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

mikeinmidland:
"Now Congress is back home getting an earful from their constituents, and Gates and Crowley are working together on these important issues.
Political masterstroke, or pure luck?"

This could only be posted tongue-in-cheek. You must be trying to hook us. I guess I fell for it at first, but I finally realized you have to be joking....

Anyone with such an enormous deficit of logic that they really believe that Obama created the Gates blow-up on purpose to derail health care reform probably couldn't figure out how to use a computer to type that idea in the first place....

Posted by: dbw1 | August 4, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

dbw1:

According to their "logic" however, aren't they ADMITTING that the final question was planted?!

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"Who said I was wealthy enough to not need insurance?"

Well, you seem to have such a huge issue with a government run insurance option, that you must not need insurance.

If that's not the case, well, I'm wrong.

But could you explain to me why the government run insurance option is so much worse than your private insurance.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"I plan to attend a town hall, and I'm just a private citizen, working for a private company,"

well, yes, the goal is to rev up a bunch of gullible fools.

Posted by: nodebris | August 4, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD:
"It's an interesting thought process, though. To think that since you can go outside the insurance industry that people who can't are unable to think for themselves."

Who said I was wealthy enough to not need insurance?

To jump to that conclusion shows you either read my post too fast, or that the first talking point you came to on your flip-cards was that "only the wealthy can afford insurance".

Posted by: dbw1 | August 4, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

I shook my head when I read 'mikeinmidland' and 'dadada'. I didn't think it was worth responding to, but I laughed when I read yours calling them out. So I'll pile on...

Yes, liberals, with polls showing tanking numbers for Democrats plans to take over the health care system, Obama planned an entire week of health care blitz events, including a prime time news conference, to convince Americans why they need socialized health care.....But Obama was so concerned about race relations, he dropped the Gates comment in on the end of the news conference ON PURPOSE because he thought this was the time to have this discussion?????

I think most logically thinking folks understand that the 'acted stupidly' comment was not on the teleprompter that evening...that question must have come from a reporter who wasn't prepped by the White House staff beforehand.

Posted by: dbw1 | August 4, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"I plan to attend a town hall, and I'm just a private citizen, working for a private company, who would like to know why Democrats think they can make my health care decisions better than I can."

Not all of us are as wealthy not to have to go through insurance for medical expenses. It's an interesting thought process, though. To think that since you can go outside the insurance industry that people who can't are unable to think for themselves.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 _ I must admit, I haven't a Ballard Bitter in several years. They were bought by Miller? Did they change the brewing formula???? That would be sacreligious! BB was the best beer I've ever drank and I lived in Europe and had some of the most famous beers available. My next favorite beer, by the way is a genuine Czech Pilsner, any of them. Real European Budweiser is a treat, too.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 4, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse


"Keep the gummint's hands off my Medicare!"

Yeah, informed opposition to health care reform.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 4, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

By that time, Obama knew that Congress wasn't going to pass the bill by the deadline.

So he said Crowley "acted stupidly" and that's all the dittoheads talked about for DAYS. Meanwhile they weren't talking about the missed deadline.

Now Congress is back home getting an earful from their constituents, and Gates and Crowley are "working together on these important issues."

Political masterstroke, or pure luck? Doesnt' matter.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 4, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

nodebris:
"Nothing about the insurance industry's effort to harass town hall meetings during break?"

I plan to attend a town hall, and I'm just a private citizen, working for a private company, who would like to know why Democrats think they can make my health care decisions better than I can.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who really, truly, honestly disagree with the direction Obama and the Democrats are trying to steer the country. It's amazing that every time a majority doesn't agree with liberals about something, liberals assume there must be dirty, evil, backhanded efforts seeking to undercut their glorious vision for utopia.

Liberals are laughable. They believe no one can think for themselves, when the only ones who display no capacity for original thought are those who believe a government program is the first and last answer for any issue.

Posted by: dbw1 | August 4, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

dadada or mikeinmidland:

You SERIOUSLY think that Obama went off-message from the entire day's events re: healthcare on purpose, because he secretly didn't want Congress to pass that bill by the deadline he had imposed?! And, you think that MY birth certificate "conspiracy" is a crazy idea?

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Way to beat a dead horse, Fix. Nothing about the insurance industry's effort to harass town hall meetings during break? Saving up for another post about hypothetical gop moderates and centrists?

Posted by: nodebris | August 4, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, the major local beer is Abita amber and all the other Abita beers.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@dadada:

I do think he said it deliberately, because he DID want to get a dialogue going. It wouldn't surprise me if he knew he'd need to backpedal and invite Crowley and Gates to the White House. Now they say they are going to work together on the issue. Sounds like he got something started for sure.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 4, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

parkerfl1:

Did Michael Steele get one of those Michael Jackson operations? Colin Powell is a Republican too.

molsinmuch:

I was asking whether you even read the poll cited in the article (25% of AFRICAN-AMERICANS thought that pResident Obama "acted stupidly" in his comments about the arrest)?

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I love Sierra Nevada pale ale. I don't think Fat Tire is available here.

Shiner Bock gives me fond memories of my short time in Houston. The University I was at actually had a bar in the basement of the chemistry building where you could get a cup for 25 cents. Good times.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I (white) thought he "acted stupidly" as soon as he said it. BUT, that is only because I just knew it would lead to a brouhaha. At the time, it seemed a poor choice of words for someone known to think carefully before speaking. I wondered why he didn't say something more neutral like the phrase "unfortunate."

However, I've come to wonder if he didn't use the phrase deliberately, knowing how it would be reacted to and wanting to get a dialogue going.

If so, I think he overestimated just how "post-racial" we are.

Posted by: dadada | August 4, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party is officially a whites-only party.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | August 4, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

If the dollar ever rebounds against the value of the (much dreaded) socialist countries, you could travel to Northern Europe and Scandinavia; there you might swear you are discovering beer for the first time. Holsten Edel is perhaps my favorite. Then again, a freshly tapped keg of Pilsener Urquell is heavenly too. Millbrooks, I stopped with the BB when they got bought by Miller (or whatever), you are saying it is still good?

Posted by: shrink2 | August 4, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Not only can you make a poll back anything you want, if a newspaper plucks data from that poll carefully enough they can make their headline say anything they want.

I'm glad there was a link so we could all read the poll ourselves. It's made up of the usual open-ended, vague questions.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 4, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

ddawd, without knowing what's available down at your end of the river, its hard to give precise recommendations. Nationally available products you should taste: Sierra Nevada pale ale & the Sam Adams products. The Fat Tire people finally came here & may be available down there. Less adventurous would be Shiner Bock from TX. You can probably get Negra Modelo, Bohemian & Cerveza Pacifico from MX (skip the Corona).

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 4, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse


Just because someone thinks Obama shouldn't have said anything about the Cambridge incident, doesn't mean they don't agree with him.

If it was stupid to comment, its because it pulled all the attention off of health care.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 4, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

first: there's Guinness and only Guiness.

Secondly - to JakeD: huh? Are you saying the polling data is NOT indicative of a broad blind-spot amongst many/most white Americans as to the racism endured by many/most black Americans?

Posted by: molsonmich | August 4, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

first: there's Guinness and only Guiness.

Secondly - to JakeD: huh? Are you saying the polling data is NOT indicative of a broad blind-spot amongst many/most white Americans as to the racism endured by many/most black Americans?

Posted by: molsonmich | August 4, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"ddawd, I can see we have to work on your education. Blue Moon and Newcastle are fine, for what they are. But you are merely dipping your toes in the waters of fermented delights available to the beer connoisseur."

This is what I call non-constructive criticism. Give me some names!

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

As for beer - Ballard Bitter. Nothing else coms even close.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 4, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Selective quoting, Mr. Fix!

What about Question 16? 56% of White respondents approve of "how Obama has handled race relations since he became President."

And what about Question 43? 61% of White respondents say that his comments made them feel MORE favorable towards Obama.

Question 44: 53% of White respondents said that the beer summit was a good idea.

Shoddy analysis by the Post is why Brad DeLong keeps a "crashed-and-burned" watch on you guys. Stop and think before posting. Even better, read the material you claim you are working from!

Posted by: ShermanDorn | August 4, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

molsonmich:

You think that the 25% African-Americans are "unaware" of America's racist practices, history and biases too?. I mean, talk about a weird level of self-denial and -deception.

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

ddawd, I can see we have to work on your education. Blue Moon and Newcastle are fine, for what they are. But you are merely dipping your toes in the waters of fermented delights available to the beer connoisseur.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 4, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

So evidently Clinton is the man. Obimbo is a joke.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 4, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

99 ... The percentage of people who are so over the gates-gate "controversy" Who really cares?

Posted by: sjxylib | August 4, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

It is baffling how white America is so unaware of its own racist practices, history and biases. I mean, it really is a weird level of self-denial and -deception.

Posted by: molsonmich | August 4, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know, I still prefer Miller Lite to Budweiser...

Then again I've been thoroughly enjoying New Castle Brown Ale recently. I guess I must have missed the important poll on this whole thing which is: which beer would you have chosen?"

Yeah, I can't believe I wasted my vote on a Bud Light drinker.

My vote goes with Blue Moon.

New Castle is very good. I have a few bottle in my fridge.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"Say that the poll was 50/50 Dems to Repubs, which is not mentioned at all. For all we know, it could have been 60/40 and 70/30. Say it was oh, 63% republican, and all it woud prove was that people who didn't like Obama before the incident still don't."

But look at the number of black people who thought Obama was wrong in what he said. Much, much higher than the number of black people who don't like him. I guess you could have a VERY disproportionate number of black Republicans, but I don't think that would happen unintentionally and I'm pretty sure that CNN isn't cherry picking black Republicans for this poll.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, I still prefer Miller Lite to Budweiser...

Then again I've been thoroughly enjoying New Castle Brown Ale recently. I guess I must have missed the important poll on this whole thing which is: which beer would you have chosen?

Posted by: alkuth | August 4, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I meant 60/40 OR 70/30. The point being if you don't break the poll down by party and by percentage thereof, it's completely meaningless.

Posted by: drindl | August 4, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Obama was reacting like *any* black man would have reacted. So did Mr. Gates. If the average American had been subjected ti the kind of racism and ill treatment African American's have suffered, they can be excused for being a bit sensitive. Obama's only fault is that he is President of the **United** States, and not an ordinary black man. However, only a brainless and heartless fool wouldn't give him a pass on this.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 4, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

One quite obvious problem with your story, CC. And one that makes it far more racially divisive than is necessary to even true.

The poll does not break out by parties. If it did, you would see that most Dems would say that Crowley was at fault for arresting Gates in his own home, and that someone white [and well-off] would not have been treated that way. Quite the opposite.

Say that the poll was 50/50 Dems to Repubs, which is not mentioned at all. For all we know, it could have been 60/40 and 70/30. Say it was oh, 63% republican, and all it woud prove was that people who didn't like Obama before the incident still don't.

Posted by: drindl | August 4, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

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