Annals of Russian Ignorance
The black voters cast their ballots without thinking. The victory of democracy and tolerance in the United States is a sham. Obama won simply because of the black majority that voted for his skin color and not his views or policies.
–Russian political analyst Alexei Chadayev, quoted in the Moscow Times
Sometimes (well, most of the time) Russian ignorance is so mind-bogglingly deep and wide that there simply are no words to describe it. Often, when one Russian tries to correct another, it only makes matters worse.
Take Moscow Times columnist Boris Kagarlitsky, for instance, in our view one of the most hopelessly ignorant human beings on the planet. Trying to correct Chadayev’s shameless racism, he points out: “Blacks have never constituted a majority in the United States, and even if the Latino population were added, the aggregate sum would still represent a minority of voters. The truth is that the majority of Americans who voted for Obama were not black.”
Even Kagarlitsky, a rabid Russian nationalist and Kremlin apologist, is shocked and embarrassed by this so-called intellectual’s naked barbarism, and chides: “Not only do our pundits have a distorted view of what is happening overseas, they are detached from domestic realities as well.” Appparently he doesn’t stop to think that this ignorance might bleed into the Kremlin as well.
Or reach himself — but any educated American would instantly realize that it has. After all, he’s one of those pundits. Kagarlitsky’s comments are just as stupid as those he purports to criticize, if not stupider. And given the breathtaking, apelike stupidity of Mr. Chadeyev, that’s saying quite a lot.
Black voters were 13% of the electorate this year. Obama won by 6.5% over John McCain. If black voters had divided evenly between McCain and Obama, McCain would be the president elect. The point about blacks not constituting a majority of the electorate is so inane and irrelevant that is sounds like something that might come from a group of Russians sitting around a kitchen table inhaling vodka shooters. And, for all we know, maybe that’s where Kagarlitsky’s “columns” come from.
That’s just Kagarlitsky’s first huge, ignorant mistake, not his only one. But its so ghastly as to have us defending a Russian racist. This is Russia’s through-the-looking glass aspect at its most virulent.
Shocking error #2: It’s true of course that black voters overwhemlingly supported Obama for president in 2008. But it’s also true that they overwhelming support every Democratic candidate for president, in lemming-like fashion. They voted for Kerry in 2004 88-11 over George Bush, and Kerry was criticized for doing little or nothing to court and energize the black vote four years ago. Despite that, he got a larger share of the black vote than Bill Clinton in 1996, who tallied 83%, and was called “the first black president.” In 2000, Al Gore won 90% of the black vote. Obama won 95% in 2008. That’s an increase of less than 8% over Kerry. The fact is, there was basically no room for black voters to move support to Obama. They aleady vote in Soviet-like majorities for the Democrats, no matter who the candidate is. Could be a ham sandwich, for all they care.
Black voters voted for Obama because he was the Democrat’s nominee, not because he was black.
Now, gentle reader, we challenge you to reflect: If this kind of jaw-dropping stupidity characterizes what gets into print in Russia, do you dare to imagine what the dinner table conversations are like? Particularly those within the parapets of the Kremlin?
Scary, is it not?
NOTE: Blogger Dmitri Minaev has more on Russian ignorance.