Playing the race card
Share with others:
The race card. So useful to play when you're losing an argument. Democrats don't leave home without it.
The race card was played twice last week. At its convention in Kansas City, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People adopted a resolution condemning the tea party as "a threat to the pursuit of human rights, justice and equality for all" because of "the racist elements" within it (according to an early draft; the final text won't be released until October).
"NAACP President Ben Jealous looks at the modern tea party movement and sees the shadow of the White Citizens Council, that gentile breed of Southerners, rife with respectability, that served as the white glove wing of the Ku Klux Klan," wrote Newsweek columnist Ellis Close after interviewing Mr. Jealous.
The tea party rallies have been an outpouring of public concern about runaway government spending and mammoth budget deficits. While Democrats reasonably could argue that such concern is overwrought, to claim that a racial motive underlies it is as preposterous as it is vile.
The reasoning, such as it is, goes something like this: Tea partiers oppose President Barack Obama's policies. Mr. Obama is (half) black. Therefore, tea partiers oppose Mr. Obama's policies because he is black.
This argument is so puerile people with an IQ above room temperature have difficulty believing those who make it are serious. But there are liberals who cannot imagine any reason other than racial animosity for opposing President Obama's policies.
MSNBC talk show host Chris Matthews asked Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., Wednesday why Republicans in his state would nominate an Indian-American, Nikki Haley, for governor, and a black, Tim Scott, for Congress, even though "they've got a problem with a black president?"
It seems not to have occurred to Mr. Matthews that the "problems" South Carolina Republicans have with Mr. Obama have nothing to do with the color of his skin.
At the NAACP convention, delegates offered as "proof" of tea party racism a charge by three Democratic congressmen that the n-word was shouted at one of them during a protest of Obamacare in March. But there were many audio and video recordings of the protest, and on none of them is there evidence supporting the claim.
The many blacks who have spoken at tea party rallies, such as businessman Herman Cain, columnist Deroy Murdock and congressional candidates Allen West (Florida), Tim Scott (South Carolina) and Vernon Parker (Arizona), have denounced the NAACP resolution, as have conservative white politicians such as Sarah Palin.
And not only them. The resolution "was inappropriate, narrow-minded and divisive, a move that will only cement the aging organization's growing reputation as a repository for partisan hacks," wrote Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who is black and liberal.
In response to the bombing of a sporting event in Uganda by an al-Qaida affiliate in which 74 people were killed, Mr. Obama told the South African Broadcasting Corp. Tuesday that such terrorist organizations "do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself. They see it as a potential place where they can carry out ideological battles without regard to the long-term consequences of their short-term tactical gains."
An administration official told ABC's Jake Tapper, "Al-Qaida recruits have said that al-Qaida is racist against black members from West Africa because they are used only in lower level operations."
Arabs have their share of bigots. Arabs were the first foreigners to enslave black Africans. Negro slavery was legal in Saudi Arabia until 1962 and still is practiced in parts of the Muslim world. Al-Qaida's leaders may well share these racial attitudes. When Osama bin Laden was living in Afghanistan, Afghans complained the Arabs looked down on them.
But al-Qaida is objectionable because of the many murders it commits in pursuit of its Islamo-fascist ideology, which is objectionable enough in itself.
Surely Mr. Obama believes this. But the president's comments, and more so those of his aide, coupled with Mr. Obama's unwillingness publicly to criticize radical Islamism, give the impression he'd think better of these terrorists if they had a diversity officer and an affirmative action program.
Many believed Barack Obama would be America's first "post-racial" president. But in office, he's been more obsessed with race than any president since Woodrow Wilson, who imposed segregation on the federal government.
First Published July 18, 2010 12:00 am