Immaculate requirements
Posted by aogTuesday, 29 September 2009 at 13:33 TrackBack Ping URL

Sarah Palin has a book coming out in the near future. Apparently it was scheduled for spring but the manuscript was done early so the release date was moved up. The one worrisome bit is this

Meanwhile, Politico claims that “©opy-editing and fact-checking are now underway in a race to meet the crash publishing schedule,” a detail bound to intoxicate liberals eager to find, flag, catalogue and crow about every last typo.

Yes, even the slightest mistake will be claimed as a massive failure / lie / delusion. I would hope that Palin’s team is going over everything in a very thorough manner. Of course, if there’s no actual mistakes or errors, the anti-Palinites will simply make stuff up, as they did so often in the past.

I agree with the prediction that the conventional wisdom will be the book was ghost written if it good, and Palin written if it is bad.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
AVeryRoughRoadAhead Tuesday, 29 September 2009 at 14:15

I expect that the book was ghost-written, and so what?

Ghost-written business or political books are usually essentially just very extended interviews, and nobody in their right minds thinks that people of public interest ought not give interviews.

erp Tuesday, 29 September 2009 at 14:24

Palin is no doubt familiar with the drill best articulated by Ginger Rodgers when asked about dancing with Fred Astaire, she replied, I did everything Fred did, but backwards and in high heels.

I’m pretty sure Sarah’ll make sure the book is well edited and professionally presented leaving the left with nothing but her ideas to froth about.

Brian Wednesday, 30 September 2009 at 14:23

Of course it was ghost written. The question is why we’re supposed to pretend that Obama’s books weren’t…

erp Wednesday, 30 September 2009 at 14:46

… and Hillary’s and JFK’s — two of the other top Democratic brains.

Lynn Vincent is Palin’s collaborator.

Harry Eagar Wednesday, 30 September 2009 at 17:59

Why wouldn’t you expect her to be able to do it herself? She is a professionally trained journalist, is she not?

Bret Wednesday, 30 September 2009 at 18:43

Have you written any books?

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 30 September 2009 at 19:41

I would say that if Palin can / does write the book herself, it would be in spite of being a “professionally trained journalist”.

Bret Wednesday, 30 September 2009 at 21:51

Journalists, especially columnists, do write books fairly often. However, that doesn’t mean that all journalists can whip out a book. Nor is it really worth her time to do all of the writing, so I would rather hope she had a ghost writer.

Harry Eagar Thursday, 01 October 2009 at 12:34

Yes. But I haven’t tried to get any of them published.

David Cohen Thursday, 01 October 2009 at 13:13

If only there was some low cost (or free) way you could put out excerpts and judge the reaction.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 01 October 2009 at 14:33

That makes me wonder how much the contents will matter. Palinites will buy because it’s Palin, and anti-Palinites will buy in order to find errors and typos. In neither case will the quality of the content be of significance so excerpts wouldn’t help.

Harry Eagar Thursday, 01 October 2009 at 18:53

Some people here think she should have shopped for a better-quality ghost.

I think the fuss over whether she had an assistant is silly, but standing on the sidelines and watching the fuss is mildly amusing.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 01 October 2009 at 19:21

The people there have gone Sullivan and see “white supremacists” and “fascists” the way Stalin saw “class enemies” so any such accusation carries as much weight as Nancy Pelosi calling someone “un-American”.

Tim Blair banned from LGF for linking to LGF posts. (via Twisted Spinster)

erp Thursday, 01 October 2009 at 20:35

I kept waiting for LGF to come to its senses, but I finally dropped it about a month ago. Sullivan was a real shame. He was smart and funny.

Harry Eagar Friday, 02 October 2009 at 12:55

I didn’t think Johnson made his point about the ghostwriter as white supremacist, although she does seem to be a nitwit.

He has been after white supremacists for a long time, not just recently.

Dunno why you think Obama’s friends are significant but Palin’s are not.

erp Friday, 02 October 2009 at 14:06

Well for one reason, Obama is president of the United States and the another his friends are known racists, terrorists, criminals and assorted other thugs many of whom are czars and/or White House policy makers.

Define nitwit.

Do you think white supremacists are worst/better than black supremacists?

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 02 October 2009 at 14:18

Mr. Eagar;

Dunno why you think Obama’s friends are significant but Palin’s are not.

Dunno why you keep making things up and attributing them to me.

He has been after white supremacists for a long time, not just recently.

Mike Nifong was after criminals for a long time, not just recently at Duke.

I didn’t think Johnson made his point about the ghostwriter as white supremacist

So you thought you’d just toss in a smear on Palin which even you don’t think is valid? Have you no shame, sir, no sense of decency?

I would be very curious as to how you thought citing a failed attempt at a smear contributed to this discussion.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Friday, 02 October 2009 at 17:53

Obama is president of the United States and … his friends are known racists, terrorists, criminals and assorted other thugs…

Does it bother you that the way that you think of Obama is EXACTLY the same way that Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferers viewed W?

Retaining your ability to think critically doesn’t mean that you can’t reject the guy. It just means that you have to have unsilly reasons.

erp Friday, 02 October 2009 at 20:10

My comment was in reply to Harry’s remark about Palin’s friends.

I’ve enumerated reasons for rejecting Obama many times.

Bush’s friends aren’t known racists, terrorists, criminals and assorted other thugs.

BDS is a mental disease.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 02 October 2009 at 22:01

AVRRA;

When responding to erp, perhaps you should take your own advice

Look at for what the person is being investigated, and decide whether or not that’s likely to be a trumped-up charge.

The essence of BDS wasn’t its dislike for President Bush, but that it was based on fantasies and delusions with little or no factual basis. I think the evidence that Obama’s circle are filled with far more disreputable characters than Bush’s is very strong. If nothing else, just consider that either he’s not vetting his appointees, or the vetters aren’t seeing anything wrong even as resignations mount up.

Harry Eagar Sunday, 04 October 2009 at 14:33

I wasn’t endorsing Johnson’s view, just pointing to it. I already said I thought the fuss was silly.

Dunno why one cannot despise Bush and Obama equally but for very different reasons. BDS was silly, but the fact that some people who didn’t like Bush were silly and ignorant does not make Incurious George and his advisers competent.

Don’t results count?

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 05 October 2009 at 09:26

I wasn’t endorsing Johnson’s view, just pointing to it.

I know. I didn’t ask why you endorsed it, I asked why you pointed it out.

Dunno why one cannot despise Bush and Obama equally but for very different reasons.

I don’t know either. Who is claiming otherwise?

Don’t results count?

Yes they do for conservatives. MALists, apparently not so much. Or Obama would be a lot less popular than he is. Here’s some results, at the cost of government debt that dwarfs the drunken sailor spending of the last 8 years —

What has the Obama Administration set its hand to that hasn’t turned in to an epic fail?

Harry Eagar Wednesday, 07 October 2009 at 15:20

The ‘here, I broke it, you fix it, oh, you cannot fix it, you’re incompetent’ theme isn’t going to get very far with me.

Nobody knows how to unbreak a needlessly broken economy. Not one of the complexity we now have.

I see the GOP’s answer, given in their Saturday address, was to cut taxes. ‘Strewth, I think they are stupid enough to believe that.

But since most of the businesses I am concerned about aren’t paying any taxes these days, I suspect that might not really work.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 07 October 2009 at 15:43

What about the “hey, we know how to fix it! followed by epic failure” theme? The point here isn’t so much the economy continuing to tank, but the claims of the fixers which proved to be completely bogus. Regardless of how your house got wrecked, if the contractors promise to fix it up and end up with it even worse, then you have incompetent contractors.

Plus, if the contractors are meanwhile screwing up on every other project they have, a judgement of incompetent seems more justified.

But if that doesn’t work, could you tell me how long a run the current Administration gets before it’s not all ex-President Bush’s fault?

I think the GOP’s answer of large scale tax cuts was the correct one and would have done far more at much less cost than what was actually done.

Harry Eagar Thursday, 08 October 2009 at 16:11

Then why didn’t the large scale tax cuts that were enacted at least cushion the fall?

Epic failure? That was 750,000 new unemployed/mo.

We’re not there any more, although I do not discount the possibility that the hidden sicknesses we were infected with in the Bush regime might still turn virulent and wreck the economy good and proper even yet. People who watch commercial real estate are plenty worried, and I’m sure the Competitive Enterprise Institute has a press release already written and being held for release to explain that Barney Frank did it.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 08 October 2009 at 17:12

What large scale tax cuts in particular? You’re too deep in your Narrative again to be clear.

I also fail to see how, even if whatever it is you’re referring to is an accurate description, that changes the epic fails of the Obama Administration. Don’t results count?

P.S. Speaking of results, I am still waiting for a clarification on what results you were intending when you dropped in a by your own admission unsubstantiated smear of Sarah Palin.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Friday, 09 October 2009 at 01:01

People who watch commercial real estate are plenty worried…

As well they should be, ‘cause the implosion there is gonna bring down another 500 banks. This isn’t going to be a trivial event like the Savings & Loan debacle.

(Trivial in a relative, 20/20 hindsight kind of way.)

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 11 October 2009 at 10:46

I think I will count Mr. Eagar as an example of Palin Derangement Syndrome. I can’t think of any other explanation for dropping an irrelevant, unsubstantiated, and highly dubious smear of Palin in to the conversation.

erp Sunday, 11 October 2009 at 11:46

AOG, Harry, like all lefties, can’t help himself.

That’s why there are so many off-the-wall asides and gratuitous smears in films and TV shows. We’ve taken to watching an amusing show called, “Cash Cab” on the Discovery channel. It’s a trivia show that takes place in a New York City taxi which is part of its charm to a couple of old New Yorkers.

However, the host/cab driver can’t seem to stop himself from repeating the same old media lies about Katrina, Gore’s attempted coup in 2000, Reagan, Bush …

It’s gotten to the point where the laughs are being outweighed by the irritation and we’ll probably take it off our DVR list.

Harry Eagar Monday, 12 October 2009 at 19:51

Jeez, you’re all the time complaining I don’t link to stuff, and when I do, you complain, too.

I dunno if PDS is le mot juste. I think she has proven to be an insouciant liar. Unusual in a politician, but not admirable. Also, as far as I can tell, she’s a nitwit. Like Biden.

I wouldn’t and didn’t vote for any of ‘em.

I was thinking of those large-scale, soon to be permanent tax cuts that Bush II made the centerpiece of what I suppose he imagined was an economic policy.

We’re in a deflationary spiral right now, although nobody seems to notice. Bringing an economy out of a deflationary spiral is quite a trick. Nobody knows how to do it. But one thing for sure, tax cuts wouldn’t help.

Besides, if tax payments are heading toward zero, then cuts amount to an unfunded stimulus. We’ve already got one of those.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 12 October 2009 at 20:17

I didn’t complain about the link, but about your purpose in doing so. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that she is an insouciant liar and a nitwit. How does that validate your citing of an, in your own opinion, unsubstantiated smear. I note that you have yet to provide any purpose for doing so except PDS.

It’s certainly not clear that we’re in a deflationary spiral. Check the price of gold, for instance. What we are in is uncharted territory and nobody knows if it will result in deflation or inflation. It’s certainly not the case that tax payments are heading for zero — the economy isn’t collapsing that fast and there’s plenty of new taxes getting ready to be passed. As for the Bush Tax cuts, didn’t they get us out of the Dot Com Bust? I think the timing is about right for that. Not to mention that many will expire next year and I don’t see them being renewed.

Harry Eagar Monday, 19 October 2009 at 16:20

Close enough to deflation to make me scared. Labor is definitely deflating, although you could read a good many hundreds of thousands of words in the business press without finding any mention of that.

We know, more or less, how to manage inflation. We haven’t a clue how to manage deflation. It’s very remarkable, although nobody seems to be remarking it very much, that despite all the inflationary kicks we are giving, it isn’t taking off.

I interpret this as confirmation that the banks were and are insolvent and are hoarding. I know I am and have been since mid-2007.

erp Monday, 19 October 2009 at 18:16

Harry, what are you hoarding? We have a sizable amount of cash in our safe deposit box because I, my husband is humoring me here) don’t trust what Obama et al. will do with money in the banking system. Is that hoarding?

Do you believe food and other goods will be short supply in the near future?

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 20 October 2009 at 13:01

I was joking. I am — as RtO recommended two years ago — conserving cash, cutting discretionary spending.

That was even before my union negotiated a pay cut, but it’s easier to cut discretionary spending if you don’t have income.

We are still on the verge of a 1932-style international financial and productive collapse. So far deficit spending, lender of last resort gap plugging and accounting subterfuge have carried us through, but it might not work. The banks are all insolvent and the only hope is that by pretending they are not, it won’t come to a head.

Unions did not cause this.

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 20 October 2009 at 13:13

erp, I get emails from this guy Calente all the time. I think his reasoning is nuts but he and RtO called most of the steps in the crash before they happened. His latest:

KINGSTON, NY – 20 October 2009 — What 80 percent of economists call “Recovery” is a “Cover up”. Trillions in losses papered over with trillions of phantom dollars printed out of thin air and backed by nothing produce nothing … except the mirage of recovery. The dollar’s dive and gold’s historic high is no mirage. Gold doesn’t lie.

Our trend forecasting track record is the best on record – light years ahead of Ben Bernanke’s (click here) and all those economists who didn’t see the recession coming but who now talk recovery.

In the Autumn Trends Journal® we dispel the recovery as fantasy and show how and why America and much of the world will plunge into the Greatest Depression. The global equity market surge and bankers’ bonuses do absolutely nothing for the man on the street. Foreclosures are at an all time high, businesses are going bankrupt, jobs continue to disappear.

While Wall Street cheers, Main Street seethes. The 2nd American Revolution has already begun, and it’s much more than a right wing, militia driven movement. Who’s behind it, will it be velvet or violent, waged with guns or won by minds?

Across America and around the world, everyone wants to know what’s going to happen and nobody knows better than Gerald Celente. Google it up. Celente is today’s # 1 “trend expert”, sought by the major media world wide.

In a world of dry academics and glib pitchmen, Gerald Celente’s dynamic, tell-it-like-it-is, take-no-prisoners style strikes a common chord with audiences everywhere. When Celente is interviewed the world tunes in and ratings rise.

For a press copy of the Autumn Trends Journal and/or to schedule an interview with Gerald Celente, contact Zeke West (zwest@trendsresearch.com)

erp Tuesday, 20 October 2009 at 16:17

Harry, of course there is no recovery nor will there be until we get these clowns out and repeal all the things they’ve snuck over on us. That’s fundamental.

My question to you was/is, where are you stashing the cash?

A recession like the one you predict is unlikely because there are safeguards now. For whatever it’s worth, we have stockpiles of food and oil…

If Obama et al. succeeds unfettered, then maybe I’ll agree with you.

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 20 October 2009 at 17:45

Credit union.

erp Tuesday, 20 October 2009 at 20:50

So, you have confidence in our financial institutions not being taken over by the WH.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Wednesday, 21 October 2009 at 00:51

We have a sizable amount of cash in our safe deposit box…

DON’T DO THAT!!!

ALL safe deposit boxes can be sealed and their contents withheld from their owners until they can be unsealed in the presence of an IRS agent, or an agent from any other agency that the gov’t decides should be there.

FDR did it, it could happen again. Money in a safe deposit box is protection against personal emergency, not a systemic social emergency.

Again, TAKE THAT CASH OUT OF THE BOX, if you want to be able to count on accessing it when it’ll be most needed.

A recession like the one you predict is unlikely because there are safeguards now.

Boy are you in for a rude shock. However, I don’t expect there to be breadlines, so that’ll be a nice change from last time. Food stamps and Medicaid… Very good stuff, for as long as it gets funded…

I’m hopeful that Congress will be too afraid of the backlash if they quit funding means-tested welfare programs.

Close enough to deflation to make me scared. […] So far deficit spending [has] carried us through, but it might not work. The banks are all insolvent and the only hope is that by pretending they are not, it won’t come to a head.

It didn’t work for Japan - over the past twelve months alone they’ve experienced 4.5% deflation. And they were a net global lender. The U.S. could hit Japan’s 200%-of-GDP national debt mark a mere five years from now.

Since doing so would push interest rates to double-digits, we can expect that heroic levels of deficit spending will likely have ceased long before then.

erp Wednesday, 21 October 2009 at 08:30

It’s unlikely our assets will be confiscated for debt or taxes, it’s far more likely they will confiscated to pay for Obama et al.’s redistribution to those most likely to vote him dear leader for life.

I beg to differ. We in the US weren’t all slavers. There were people in the south who bought African slaves captured by other Africans (Obama’s people) who sold them to Arabs who sold them to slavers in Europe who brought them to the new world. Then in an upheaval that nearly destroyed us, we fought a bitter war to end slavery. You may have heard of it, it’s called the Civil War in the north and the War Between the States in the south. The north won.

Whatever kind of life most blacks experienced growing up the in 70’s, didn’t happen to Obama. He was a pampered child in Hawaii.

In an election, unfortunately, it’s usually a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. In the last one, McCain with all his flaws was the better choice.

Harry Eagar Wednesday, 21 October 2009 at 18:17

Yes, of course. To the extent they haven’t been taken over already.

Remember, erp. if Bush and then Obama and the Federal Reserve hadn’t stepped in big time, there wouldn’t BE any banks now. If the books were opened, almost all of them would have to close this afternoon, too.

Allowing the market to be the market created very bad juju. I don’t think most Americans have any idea how bad.

erp Wednesday, 21 October 2009 at 19:07

Harry, you know the market wasn’t being allowed to be a market and I heard Bush’s TARP funds have been paid back. Obama’s power grab was just that.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 03:31

It’s unlikely our assets will be confiscated…

That’s right, it is unlikely that your assets will be confiscated; they will remain your property. But what good will that do you if your safe deposit box is sealed, and you aren’t allowed to remove your property during your time of need?

We in the US weren’t all slavers. There were people in the south who bought African slaves captured by other Africans (Obama’s people) who sold them to Arabs who sold them to slavers in Europe who brought them to the new world.

Are you saying that:

  • A) Southerners aren’t real Americans; or maybe that they didn’t and haven’t contributed anything to American culture, and so therefore there was no “stain of slavery” in real American heritage; or
  • B) Americans aren’t responsible for the African slave trade in America, because few Americans directly captured people for use as slaves - they just paid other people to capture and kidnap Africans on America’s behalf? Similarly, illegal-drug users in the U.S. today bear no responsibility whatsoever for the illegal drug industry and its negative effects in Central and South America, right? Or
  • C) Something else?

Then in an upheaval that nearly destroyed us, we fought a bitter war to end slavery. You may have heard of it, it’s called the Civil War in the north and the War Between the States in the south. The north won.

And then there was a Golden Era of racial harmony, when all people lived as kin, and nobody cared whether another person was black, brown, red, yellow or pink…

Oh wait, that never happened. You elide about 100 years of lynchings, oppression, discrimination, prejudice, denial of opportunity and similar wicked behavior, as though WITHIN YOUR LIFETIME blacks weren’t being denied the right to vote, hold many jobs, marry whom they wished or even just associate in a casual way with whites. You may have heard about it, they were referred to colloquially as Jim Crow laws.

THAT behavior is the basis for the “stain of slavery” - the continuation of oppression based solely on race. If blacks had been fully accepted as equal members of society once emancipated, then yes, the Civil War would have sufficed. But that’s not what actually happened.

Whatever kind of life most blacks experienced growing up the in 70’s, didn’t happen to Obama. He was a pampered child in Hawaii.

To paraphrase a line that you yourself wrote, “I surrender to your supernatural ability to read Obama’s mind.” It’s good to know that a smart young black person would remain completely unaffected by the racial turmoil that filled the headlines while he was a youth, and that he would experience no racially-charged events while living in the late 70s and early 80s in those bastions of racial harmony-and-good-will: Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago.

I heard Bush’s TARP funds have been paid back.

Sure they have - mostly. Neither that, nor the bank executives’ bonuses for “a job well-done”, mean that America’s banking system has recovered to become solid or dependable.

For instance, we know for a fact that the nation’s four largest banks, (Bank of America, J. P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo) are ALL INSOLVENT - and so are the nation’s largest mortgage lenders: Fannie, Freddie and the FHA.

“Repayment” of TARP is PR only, for the benefit of both the banks and politicians.

erp Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 08:24

Rough, what’s the difference between confiscating bank accounts and sealing safe deposit boxes? The demise of the banks is an excellent example of why the government should stay out of the private sector and if you think that’s bad, wait until the same people take over health care.

All Americans didn’t own slaves or approve of it. In fact only a small percentage did. My comment about African slavers was merely to demonstrate the different kind of “black” experience Obama enjoyed in Hawaii where there was/is far less emphasis on race than that experienced by blacks growing up in the big cities, like his “hometown” Chicago controlled by poverty pimps. That’s not reading his mind, it’s reading the situation.

The aftermath of the civil war was a disgrace. Jim Crow, etc. in the south and defacto segregation and the lack of job opportunities in the north until WW2 when black labor was necessary. When the war was over, so were jobs for blacks. No blacks were allowed in the unions, so many families were forced on welfare causing the breakup of the traditionally strong black family.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 15:54

Rough, what’s the difference between confiscating bank accounts and sealing safe deposit boxes?

If a bank account is confiscated, then the account-holder no longer owns the account or the funds therein.

If a safe deposit box is sealed, then the box-holder still owns the contents of the box - they just can’t remove the contents without getting a release, and probably having someone looking over their shoulder when opening the box.

My point is simply that you shouldn’t view your safe-deposited cash as a sure thing. Cash in a safe deposit box is a reasonable precaution, but not the end of prudent emergency planning.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 16:34

All Americans didn’t own slaves or approve of it.

But roughly a third of all Americans did, which is a pretty big chunk of the public, and an absolutely definitive one. That’s why the issue of slavery was so huge in national politics, particularly during Presidential election years, for roughly eighteen years before the military beginning of the Civil War.

Participation by “all Americans” isn’t necessary for a thing to be a part of American culture or historical heritage. Not all Americans are descended from Pilgrims, in fact only a very small percentage are, but the experience of those particular early settlers has come to be universally symbolic of America’s beginnings - witness the tradition and spectacle of the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Not all Americans participated in or approved of the Rebellion against England. In fact, only a small percentage did.

Not all Americans participated in or approved of the U.S. involvement in WW II, but it would be foolish indeed to argue that the WW II experience didn’t resonate powerfully through American culture for decades.

As I’m sure that you can see from the above examples, “participation in or approval of” by “all Americans” isn’t necessary for an event, tradition or way of life to powerfully and lastingly impact universal American culture.

Harry Eagar Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 17:17

Although the historian Gavan Daws says (and I agree with him) that Hawaii is the most successful racially mixed society in history, that does not mean that kids growing up are not intensely impacted by racial views. It’s way different from what goes on in Chicago, but racial differentiation probably affects different teenagers in different ways.

I would not hazard a guess about how Obama reacted toward the differentiation.

Our host will disagree, but I have family in Chicago, and I know what sort of government it had before 1970. Whatever it’s got now, it’s better than it was.

erp Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 17:23

I doubt a third of all Americans owned slaves. Slavery didn’t only resonate, it almost destroyed our country. We can have a more enjoyable discussion if you respond to what I say rather than what you’ve jumped to the conclusion that I’ve said.

I understand your concern about asset management, but my husband has been a CPA for over 50 years and he’s very conservative with our investments. Holding cash, anathema to accountants, is my request which he is humoring.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 02:45

We can have a more enjoyable discussion if you respond to what I say rather than what you’ve jumped to the conclusion that I’ve said.

All Americans didn’t own slaves or approve of it. erp Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 08:24
But roughly a third of all Americans did [“own slaves or approve of it.”] AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 16:34
I doubt a third of all Americans owned slaves. erp Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 17:23
erp Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 08:01

Correction: I doubt that one third of Americans owned slaves or approved of it.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 19:56

Correction: I doubt that one third of Americans owned slaves or approved of it.

Really? Well then, let’s look at history:

  • At the time of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, slavery was legal in 60% of the states, and in fact, the number of slave-holding states equaled or outnumbered the non-slave-holding states until after 1850.
  • According to the 1860 U.S. Census, (excluding slaves), the American population numbered approximately 27MM. Of these free peoples, about 8MM lived in the slave-holding states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia; which is to say, roughly 30% of the entire free population of the U.S. While not all Southerners explicitly supported slavery, virtually all did so implicitly1, and by the same token not all peoples in non-slave states and territories opposed slavery, especially if confined to the South.
  • The issue of slavery strongly influenced the Presidential elections of 1844, 1848, 1852, 1856 and 1860. It was the proximate cause of the collapse of the Whig Party, the division of the Democratic Party, and the creation of the Republican Party. Neither the collapse of a national party nor the creation of a successful and lasting national party has occurred since. Abraham Lincoln, in a speech at New Haven, Connecticut, on March 6, 1860, said that “this question of Slavery was more important than any other; indeed, so much more important has it become that no other national question can even get a hearing just at present.”
  • President Polk, elected in 1844 with 49.5% of the popular vote, was a slave-holder who supported allowing the residents of the territorial parts which later became the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California to decide by popular vote whether they wanted to be slave or free territories.
  • President Taylor, elected in 1848 with 47.3% of the popular vote, was a slave-holder.
  • President Fillmore, who was Taylor’s Vice President and assumed office on Taylor’s death, wrote that “God knows that I detest slavery, but it is an existing evil … and we must endure it and give it such protection as is guaranteed by the Constitution,” and he signed into law the Fugitive Slave Act, which made it a crime for citizens in free states to not turn over to the authorities escaped Southern slaves, and made it impossible for blacks to legally resist extradition to slave states - even if they had never been slaves.
  • President Pierce, elected in 1852 with 50.8% of the popular vote, was close friends with his Secretary of War, and future President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis. During his Presidency Pierce supported the claims of the pro-slavery political faction of Kansas Territory; during his administration Secretary of State William L. Marcy made overtures to Spain regarding selling Cuba to the U.S. with the intent of making it a slave state; and in 1860 Pierce wrote to Davis about “the madness of northern abolitionism.”
  • President Buchanan, elected in 1856 with 45.3% of the popular vote, spent most of his political capital trying to get Kansas admitted to the Union as a slave state. In his third annual message to Congress, Buchanan wrote that slaves were “treated with kindness and humanity.… Both the philanthropy and the self-interest of the master have combined to produce this humane result.”
  • During the much-contested American Presidential election of 1860, 48% of the total vote went to either the Southern Democratic candidate, who wholeheartedly supported slavery, or the Northern Democratic candidate, who endorsed allowing individual states to decide whether they wanted slavery to be practiced in their territories. The Republican candidate, who strongly opposed slavery, garnered only 40% of the vote.

As we can see from the scope, duration and damage of the national struggle over the issue of slavery, and from pre-Civil War Presidential elections where slave owners or Southern sympathizers were elected to the White House by popular vote despite the ongoing controversy over slavery, to assert that supporters of the American system of chattel slavery were not an enormous force, legion in number and a strong influence in national culture, is wishful thinking - a delusional fantasy.

1 Ira Berlin, in Generations of Captivity: A History of African American Slaves (2003), writes that: “The internal slave trade became the largest enterprise in the South outside the plantation itself, and probably the most advanced in its employment of modern transportation, finance, and publicity,” that the expansion of the interstate slave trade contributed to the “economic revival of once depressed seaboard states” as increasing demand for slaves after 1830 drove the market price of slaves considerably higher, and finally that “in all, the slave trade, with its hubs and regional centers, its spurs and circuits, reached into every cranny of southern society. Few southerners, black or white, were untouched.”

erp Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 07:29

… to assert that supporters of the American system of chattel slavery were not an enormous force, legion in number and a strong influence in national culture, is wishful thinking - a delusional fantasy …

I asserted nothing of the kind.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Monday, 26 October 2009 at 03:28

…to assert that supporters of the American system of chattel slavery were not an enormous force, legion in number…

I asserted nothing of the kind.

Indeed? Then what did you mean when you wrote that:

All Americans didn’t own slaves or approve of it. In fact only a small percentage did.

I doubt that one third of Americans owned slaves or approved of it.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 10:17

Our host will disagree, but I have family in Chicago, and I know what sort of government it had before 1970. Whatever it’s got now, it’s better than it was.

Mixed bag, although if pressed I think I would agree with you (sorry!). I think that ex-Mayor Harold Washington was an improvement, and the early Daley years. Currently, I am not so sure. It is, for instance, unclear if the murder rate among the underclass is higher now than it was then, or simply better reported (I suspect the latter, actually). I think Daley, though, is starting to lose it, and the Aldermen are getting whackier. At least the unsustainable budget is causing Daley to sell off the city furniture to keep the patronage fireplace burning.

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