She Slices, She Dices

If you haven’t heard already, Pat Buchanan showed his racist colors recently by claiming that America was mostly built by white people, which is why white people deserve and get most of the positions of power. This was in the middle of condemning affirmative action, claiming that Sonia Sotomayor is stupid, and whining about how white men are the only people it’s OK to oppress. I was really glad to see that Rachel Maddow, whose show this happened on, went back to readdress the whole thing. And that she basically gave him the smackdown:

You know, I remember when Pat Buchanan used to be scary, back when I was a kid. I remember thinking of him as one of the scary Republican overlords, mouthpiece for Reagan, then the further-right presidential candidate who we were afraid might make it to the general election. (This was the first time I remember my parents telling us that we’d move to Canada if someone horrible became president, back in 1992.) But these days he seems like a tired old man who can’t back up his arguments anymore. Just another abuser who you realize isn’t scary anymore; it’s a good feeling. He’s writing himself into obsolescence, at least in the “mainstream media,” with this kind of blatantly racist crap, although maybe it’s a bid for the loyalty of the racist wingnuts that seem to form a disturbing chunk of the Republican base, not to mention all Freepers and people who yell racist crap at McCain/Palin rallies. Well fine, let the wingnuts have more prominent leaders; it’ll just splinter them faster from Republicans who want to retain some semblance of sanity and get any people of color voting for them at all.

Maddow has been cutting up Buchanan’s arguments for a while now, even before she got her own show. But now that she’s in the driver’s seat, I’m really glad to see her doing a journalist’s job and correcting the facts, and putting the goddamn truth out there. Plus she described the status quo (past and/or present) in America as “white supremacist” on cable news; it’s also the truth, and nobody says it. Everyone knows that sound bites are the huge problem with television news; they let anyone get away with saying practically any crap they want to. Maddow has often been brilliant at countering conservative lies in the moment (although I’d never claim she’s politically perfect) but even she can’t fact-check everything during a conversation. So she and her staff went back and did it later, and demolished his lies, and made a five-minute statement about race in America. She even had a hug for injured-feeling white people. Awww.

Her original debate with Pat Buchanan is behind the cut.

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16 comments for “She Slices, She Dices

  1. Ginjoint
    July 24, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Not much to say, except: well done, Rachel and Holly. Your description of Buchanan these days is spot-on. Rachel and her staff finding that memo from Nixonland was a thing of beauty. (Note to self: I have got to read that book.)

  2. Carol Anne
    July 24, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Please, Rachel, don’t have “Uncle Pat” back on your show again! His bigotry doesn’t deserve the attention of your viewers.

  3. July 24, 2009 at 7:18 am

    I give it to Rachel in keeping her cool…

  4. Cherie M
    July 24, 2009 at 7:32 am

    See, I grew up hearing he was too liberal… *shudders*

    Good for her – I love watching her.

  5. Kwachie
    July 24, 2009 at 7:38 am

    I’m old enough to remember when people saved this ugly rhetoric, for the most part, for their White Social Club meetings and said it from under their sheets. Someone recently compare the recent lack of reluctance to say this crap publically with their actual faces showing to seeing the decaying dead fish on the bottom of a drained lake. What used to be rotting under the surface is now out there for public viewing, and the stench is overwhelming.

  6. July 24, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I don’t really know what to say about Uncle Pa. Except that he’s expressing the views of a portion of American society, and that cannot be ignored. I do give Rachel mad props for speaking truth to power, and for calling Uncle Pat out.

  7. July 24, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I think it’s when people like this don’t bother much to support their aguments that they seem the weakest, but are actually at their most dangerous. It’s because of things like dog-whistle politics, and the bid for the emotive instead of substantive argument – and, sadly, that’s what the underlying racist sentiments respond to most.

    The “corrections and clarifications” theme was awesome, I guess my only beef is that Rachel Maddow didn’t talk about the economic building of the USA directly to Pat in the original debate. But otherwise, brilliant. And, her little smirk at the end was just priceless!

  8. Amanda in the South Bay
    July 24, 2009 at 9:09 am

    In one of those stopped clock moments, the magazine he helped found a few years ago-The American Conservative-does a reasonable good job on certain issues; I think Glenn Greenwald occasionally writes for them.

    *Reasonable as in willing to (esp. on foreign policy and executive power) speak the truth more truthfully than many mainstream liberal outlets.

  9. July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Joke from 13 years ago:

    Pat said “There is no place for a racist or an antisemite in this campaign …” and we all said “those positions have been filled.”

  10. Bakka
    July 24, 2009 at 9:59 am

    @Carol Anne, Actually, I think that Pat should be back on Rachel’s show precisely because of his bigoted views. When John Stewart Mill first discussed the importance of freedom of speech, his view was that if we got all ideas out in the open, we could debate them and those with the most merit would survive. If Pat were not on Rachel’s show, then who would rebut these views and show their factual inaccuracies? If Pat was only on Fox News, most of what he said would probably just go without fact checking. So I think it is actually really important that Rachel have him on her show, even if many of her viewers would not agree with his views.

    For one thing, it is possible that her fact checking may reach audiences that are not her regular viewers. The original interview has made appearances on conservative blogs (which spin it as Pat ‘winning’ the debate against Rachel). So it is possible that her rebuttal might make it to their attention as well.

  11. Jordan
    July 24, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I don’t think Rachel Maddow deserves any credit for this. She provides Buchanan with a platform again and again. She lets so many of his statements go unchallenged and now that MSNBC is the “liberal” channel, it tells people that “well, even MSNBC thinks (something racist).

    Also, she edits people’s remarks really dishonestly to make her case stronger. She even does this against someone as stupid as Buchanan.

  12. The Opoponax
    July 24, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    something Rachel didn’t mention that is one of my favorite factoids about American history: the Pilgrims established Plymouth on the site of a Native village which had been emptied out by a plague just before they arrived. When the English (at least, possibly also true of other European groups) came to the Americas, they didn’t even have to clear their own land or build their own infrastructure, because it was all done for them in advance by indigenous people.

    Not to mention the fact that, for years, European settlers were literally dependent on indigenous people for their very survival.

    White people built America. Yeah, right…

  13. AnonymousCoward
    July 25, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Maddow is easily one of the best on MSNBC, and it was good to see her willing to correct Pat’s numerous misstatements and lies. As you point out – you can’t really correct someone spewing falsehoods with just about every statement, because every time you correct them, you’ll be faced with two more lies. It’s like a Hydra of Fail.

  14. Hilary
    July 25, 2009 at 11:31 am

    It’s still ok to discriminate against poor people too.

  15. tinfoil hattie
    July 27, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Eh, Maddow doesn’t get much credit from me. “Fact-checking,” my eye. This was her way of smacking down Buchanan after he left. Why didn’t she know, when he was spewing his crap, that slaves built the White House and the Capitol and that Chinese men built the railroads and that slaves created a propsperous economy for this country in the 1800s? Why didn’t she know about other-than-white soldiers dying for this country? She couldn’t refute him right then because she had to go look up those statistics. She didn’t know them off the cuff because we are a racist society and this is not taught in our schools. So the idea that Pat Buchanan’s comments are so farfetched and out of the mainstream is laughable, and privileged as hell.

  16. July 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    So the idea that Pat Buchanan’s comments are so farfetched and out of the mainstream is laughable, and privileged as hell.

    Oh, I agree. But if you think that’s what was meant, you misunderstood.

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