ubiquitous_a (ubiquitous_a) wrote in ontd_political,


So, Monday night, Rachel Maddow felt that it was perhaps in order to do a little fact checking after her tete-a-tete with Pat Buchanan last week.

Here's a link to the video, and the transcript is beneath the cut.


The vote on Judge Sotomayor‘s nomination is expected to happen at the latest by a week from tomorrow.  Barring something truly unforeseen, she will be confirmed by a large margin.  The United States Supreme Court will get its first Latino justice. 

And the Washington battle over her nomination will be remembered less for what it revealed about the nominee and more for what it revealed about just how much overt racial politics Americans can still stomach. 

After MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan penned a column last week, urging more over at racial politics over Sotomayor‘s nomination, he and I had a heated discussion on this show about race and about Judge Sotomayor‘s nomination.  If you missed it, essentially Pat and I had a sharp disagreement over Judge Sotomayor‘s statement that she‘s an affirmative action baby. 

I think that in our history some Americans have been kept out of positions of power and wealth and influence by discrimination and that that tends to be a self-perpetuating thing, restricting the best jobs, the best schools, the best incomes, the best opportunities to a single group tends to set that group up to continue to prosper disproportionately. 

Historic discrimination doesn‘t undo itself but has to be overtly interrupted by affirmatively helping some people from previously excluded groups into positions where they have the opportunity to succeed. 

So we as a country don‘t end up sealing in place forever a white supremacist society created by and defined by segregation and Jim Crow and slavery.  Current discrimination has to be stopped now and the ongoing effects of massive structural past discrimination have to be overtly overturned as well.  That‘s my position. 

Pat sees it differently.  He describes affirmative action as overt discrimination against white males, full stop.  And I don‘t want to speak for him.  Pat has been making these arguments for a long time.  And he says what he means and means what he says. 


PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  They are victims of this evil affirmative action policy which says in effect that everybody is covered by the 14th Amendment and the civil rights laws.  Unless you‘re a white male and your parents and ancestors came from Europe, then we can discriminate against you. 


MADDOW:  That is the argument Pat made.  It‘s not cool to talk about guests after their segment is over.  It‘s also not fair to re-litigate these arguments in the absence of one of the parties that participated in the argument.  And I will not try to do that now. 

But what I do feel obliged to do is to correct some of the things that were said in the course of my argument with Pat that were stated as fact that were not true.  I feel an obligation just to correct the factual record as we would with anything else that was stated as fact on this show that was not true. 

So first, in trying to make the case that Judge Sotomayor was unqualified for the Supreme Court, Pat said this, quote, “She‘s never written anything that I‘ve read in terms of a law review article or major book or something like that on the law.”

While it may very well be true Pat has not read Judge Sotomayor‘s law review articles, he should not have implied that she hasn‘t written them.  Our staff has tracked five of the judge‘s law review articles, the earliest written in 1979, the most recent in 2004.

Pat also stated that Judge Sotomayor, quote, “How did she get on Yale Law Review?  Affirmative action.”  We contacted Yale, and “The Yale Law Journal.”  A spokesperson told us that the students themselves choose who is on “The Law Journal.” 

And when asked about Pat‘s affirmative action claim specifically, a spokesperson told us, quote, “That is a statement of opinion by Mr.  Buchanan.”  But here is the statement from my discussion with Pat that does require the most emphatic correction. 


BUCHANAN:  White men were 100 percent of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100 percent of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100 percent of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100 percent of the people who died at Normandy.  This has been a country built basically by white folks


MADDOW:  Pat joined us for this discussion from a studio in Washington, D.C., that is not far from the White House, which was, of course, built by slaves who were not white folks.  The U.S. Capitol, the physical building, was built by slaves.  The city of Washington, D.C., where Pat spent his entire life, was physically built in part by slave labor. 

It‘s not even possible to imagine how America could have competed for a place in the global economy in the 1800s without plantation cotton and tobacco and sugar and rice and the other industries that were so thoroughly dependent on slave labor. 


BUCHANAN:  This has been a country built basically by white folks. 


MADDOW:  That statement is only true if you don‘t consider any one other than white folks to be folks.  Even if you only consider slave labor, even if, for example, you re-imagine the railroad somehow magically building themselves without Chinese laborers, the idea that only white people built America is a fantasy and it should not have been maintained on this show as fact. 

As for who has died for this country in combat?  More than 200,000 Americans fought for the union in the Civil War.  Thousands even fought for the confederacy.  1.2 million African-Americans served in World War II.  And yes, they were among those who stormed the beaches of Normandy. 

The Defense Department says almost 10,000 Mexican Americans fought for the union during the Civil War.  Hundreds of thousands of Hispanics served in the Armed Forces during World War II.  Twelve Hispanics were awarded the Medal of Honor.  Twenty-four Asian Americans received the Medal of Honor for heroism in World War II. 


BUCHANAN:  This has been a country basically built by white folks. 


MADDOW:  That‘s just not true.  I love white folks.  I‘m white folks.  Yay, white folks.  It‘s just not factually true to generalize from white experience to explain how America came to be.  Also a clarification - Pat said over and over again in our discussion that he is against affirmative action. 

Rick Perlstein, who wrote the book, “Nixonland,” turned up a memo from 1971 in which Pat actually suggested an affirmative action program to Richard Nixon‘s White House. 

It was an affirmative action program for Catholics, quote, “Instead of sending the orders out to all our agencies - hire blacks and women - the order should go out hire ethnic Catholics, preferable (sic) women for visible posts.  One example, Italian Americans, unlike blacks, have never had a Supreme Court member.  Give those fellows the Jewish seat or the black seat on the court when it becomes available.”

In other words, choose a Supreme Court nominee in part on the basis of ethnicity and religion, said Pat to Nixon.  Those are our corrections and clarifications.  Oh, actually, one other - Pat also said, quote, “The U.S.  track team in the Olympics, they‘re all black folks.”

The U.S. Olympic track team is not all black, folks or otherwise.  Also, the Olympic hockey team is not all from Minnesota either, which he also said. 

We very regret these errors ending up on the show.  And we will be right back. 


Oh, Rachel.....I love you SO much for this!  You know, I was just thinking.....wouldn't Rachel make an OUTSTANDING future host of Meet the Press?  She's got so many of the detail-oriented qualities that Tim Russert had, and would totally not let people weasel their way out of things.

Tags: history, pat buchanan, race / racism, rachel maddow, white people

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