Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tim Wise vs Glenn Greenwald

I began reading Tim Wise's latest blog post titled Of Broken Clocks, Presidential Candidates and the Confusion of Certain White Liberals with a bit of trepidation. There have been times that - while I usually soak up everything Wise has to say about white privilege - he can run to the left of me on the general political scene.

And so I got real nervous when I read the following:

Attention to all self-proclaimed liberals and progressives.

I would like to properly introduce you to a man about whom you’ve heard much — especially from his enemies and those who prefer a continuation of the status quo — but at whom you might wish to take a second look, and whom you might consider supporting for president.

Unlike Barack Obama, he supports an immediate end to our current and ongoing wars abroad.

Unlike Barack Obama, he supports an end to predator drone attacks by the United States military, which kill innocent civilians and foment growing hatred of America. He believes that the so-called “war on terror” as we’ve engaged it has undermined American freedoms at home and contributed to greater tensions and anti-American sentiment abroad.

Unlike Barack Obama, he supports an entirely revamped Middle East policy, in which the U.S. will no longer subsidize the oppression of the Palestinian people by the state of Israel.

Unlike Barack Obama, he supports either abolishing or fundamentally reforming the Federal Reserve system, and he opposed bailing out the banks with public funds.

Unlike Barack Obama, this individual opposes government spying and believes in absolute freedom of speech and the press, and as he puts it, “reduced government intrusion into our lives.”

Clearly, with such a progressive vision, no one of the left would want to pass up the opportunity to support a candidate such as this for president! Surely it would be a vast improvement over Barack Obama, that Wall Street- friendly, imperialistic, war-monger, who promised to close Guantanamo but didn’t, among other unforgivable crimes.

So by all means, let’s get behind someone who will close down the national security state, stand up for civil liberties, and stop handing out money to bankers.

My thoughts: OMG Tim, please tell me we're not loosing you to the professional left circuit.

And then we learn that through all of that, he's had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the left, I give you your perfect candidate for 2012:

David Duke.

Oh I’m sorry, did you think I was talking about someone else?

So by now I'm intrigued. I think I see where he's going with it...and I like it!

Yes, he's taking on the so-called progressives who want to praise Ron Paul. And here's where he starts getting personal about it.

I want those of you who are seriously singing Paul’s praises, while calling yourself progressive or left to ask what it signifies — not about Ron Paul, but about you — that you can look the rest of us in the eye, your political colleagues and allies, and say, in effect, “Well, he might be a little racist, but…

How do you think that sounds to black people, without whom no remotely progressive candidate stands a chance of winning shit in this country at a national level? How does it sound to them — a group that has been more loyal to progressive and left politics than any group in this country — when you praise a man who opposes probably the single most important piece of legislation ever passed in this country, and whose position on the right of businesses to discriminate, places him on the side of the segregated lunchcounter owners? And how do you think they take it that you praise this man, or possibly even support him for president, all so as to teach the black guy currently in the office a lesson for failing to live up to your expectations?...

My guess is that you don’t think about this at all. Because you don’t have to. One guess as to why not.

Wise goes on like that with one knock-out punch after another. And then he talks to Mr. Greenwald directly, ending with this.

Meanwhile, at what point do you stop being so concerned about whether a presidential candidate is pushing the issues Paul raises (so many of which do need raising and attention), and realize what every actual leftist in history has realized, but which apparently some liberals and progressives don’t: namely, that the real battles are in the streets, and in the neighborhoods, and in movement activism? It isn’t a president, whether his name is Ron Paul or Barack Obama who gets good things done. It is us, demanding change and threatening to literally shut the system down (whether we mean Wall Street, the Port of Oakland, the Wisconsin state capitol, Columbia University, a Woolworth’s lunch counter, or the Montgomery, Alabama bus system) who force presidents and lawmakers to bend to the public will.

In short, if you’re still disappointed in Barack Obama, it’s only because you never understood whose job it was to produce change in the first place. But don’t take out your own failings in this regard on the rest of us, by giving ideological cover and assorted journalistic love taps to a guy who believes the poor should rely on the charitable impulses of doctors to provide for their medical needs, including, one presumes, chemotherapy; or that America was meant to be a “robustly Christian” nation, but is being currently undermined by “secularists;” or who puts the term gay rights in quotation marks when he writes it, and believes states should be free to criminalize homosexual intercourse, and who is such a homophobe that he won’t even use the bathroom in a gay man’s house; or who has all but said that he would like to take America back to the early 1800s, in terms of the scope of government: a truly glorious time to be sure, if you were white, male and owned property.

Ya know, like some of the liberal “thinkers” who have, as of late, decided to praise Ron Paul.

Oh my, I do love me some Tim Wise!!!!


  1. In my opinion this is the best quote of the year!:

    "In short, if you’re still disappointed in Barack Obama, it’s only because you never understood whose job it was to produce change in the first place" ~ SmartyPants

  2. Just to be clear - that is a Tim Wise quote.

    And yes, it is a total winner!!!!!

  3. Bring it, Tim!

    Tim was right on the money when he called out former Hillary supporters routing for John McCain. And now he's right about this.

    However, once I got to the second paragraph, I knew Wise was talking about Ron Paul. I'm so happy Wise is also disgusted by this promotion of Paul to liberals and progressives. This behavior demonstrates and then goes beyond his excellent essay on the American left and racism.

    This is how pervasive and harmful racism and white privilege is to everyone (including whites). Even if you remove the racism - Ron Paul is simply no progressive or liberal. End of story. This man would be a disaster to liberal and progressive politics and yet, some just can't see that!

  4. Thanks, Smartypants for bringing this great piece written by Tim Wise to our attention.

  5. "losing", not "loosing".

    And that's the only bad thing I have to say about this blog post. :)

  6. A devastating critique indeed. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  7. From Dkos:

    "Tim Wise does what he does best

    Post a diary that will knowingly provoke the unending pie fights. He gets to call "white liberals", "white progressives" or any other derogatory term he has decided on of late always including the same theme. His superiority of knowledge regarding race than anyone that might question his utterly ridiculous claims that anyone on the left that criticizes the President is harboring some hidden racist bent.

    Time Wise is an overrated writer that has appointed himself the arbiter and conscience of all things "white privilege". I don't begrudge him that, after all it is one heckuva marketing scheme if you can get away with it. But to say he has some greater insight to "white privilege" and be touted as the be all, end all on the subject is tantamount to claiming that Glenn Ford, Dr. West or Tavis Smiley have some special place when referencing the "black experience.

    That diary accomplished two things.

    1)It continued the false claim that there are some hidden hordes of Paul supporters on this site and on the left in general, thus continuing the hunt for the "paulbots" you so eloquently called for.

    2)It provided a space for free advertisement for his new book.

    Now you might think these things are fine. Personally I don't."


    1. I always find people's response to Wise to be telling...and at times amusing.

      You just scored on both accounts.

    2. @Smartypants - your reply employs the very technique the commenter was lamenting. So you score the same two point - telling, amusing with the addition of irony. Kudos.

  8. Tim Wise cashed some checks and snapped some necks with this article. Hear that sound of pattering feet? That is the sound of the Paulbot herd making a hasty exodus, tails between legs, as far away from the scathing light of intllectual scrutiny that travel allows.