The Twisted Contortions of Racial Politics

Democrat Party apologists are twisting themselves into all kinds of unnatural—not to mention unflattering—shapes to defend Harry Reid’s bone-headed and racist comments about Barack Obama (“Dems launch defense to save Reid” http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20100111/pl_politico/31340)

As we all know by now, Reid said that Obama could win the White House because he was a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

It's all too easy (yet accurate) to accuse the Democrats of hypocrisy and having a double-standard, but it goes beyond that. When one takes their positions at face value, one comes to some pretty startling conclusions that would seem to turn the concept of racial equality on its head.

No one even tries to claim that Reid's comments were not racially offensive. What then is the left's defense? Reid is a down the line, lock-step liberal, who votes the correct way on left-wing legislation: he is for big-government spending programs, hyper-taxing the rich, abortion, so-called healthcare "reform,' pretty much the entire agenda of leftist groups like the Congressional black caucus. Basically, it's ok if Reid makes racially outrageous statements, heck even if he is a racist, as long as he is a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT. Take note: Reid, white guy, racist comments, big-time liberal Democrat; ergo, darling of the black leadership.

VP Joe Biden is another that falls into Reid's camp. Biden famously said that Barack Obama was a "clean," "articulate" black man, and thus had a good chance of winning the presidency. Was Biden hammered by the black leadership? No way. He was praised and brought on to the ticket. Why? he's a liberal Democrat.

Former Senator Trent Lott's off-hand praise for Strom Thurmond at the old man's birthday party in 2002 cost Lott his leadership position, and thence his career was never the same. What's the difference between Lott and Harry Reid? One's a liberal Democrat, the other is not. Take note: Lott, white guy, racially insenstive statement, moderately conservative Republican; ergo, despised by black leadership.

But it gets even worse. Consider men like Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Alan Keyes, Michael Steele, or any other black conservative. They are universally villified and excoriated by the so-called black leadership. They are accused of all but hating their own race. Not because they have ever advocated any kind of violence or discrimination against minorities, of course. But simply because they are successful conservatives who do not line up behind every big-government, liberal policy and program devised. These black conservatives have been called "Uncle Tom's," "George Bush's house nxxxxr," "oreo cookies," and worse, not by evil white Republican racists, but by other black people!

This whole issue of race confuses the heck out of me. First of all, I thought it was not supposed to matter. The movement for racial equallity is just this: all races should be treated equally. People should be accepted or rejected on merit, character, skill, and the like, not on the basis of race. A color-blind society would scorn racial stereotyping, and would oppose both negative discrimination and preferential treatment on the basis of race. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

But apparently it must be too idealistic, beacuse the Democratic and black leadership seem to stand for the opposite. When being a white liberal automatically guarantees you life-time status as a defender of minorities, even if the words that come out of your own mouth betray you as a racist, something is wrong. When being a principled black conservative somehow makes you "non-black," something is wrong. When ideology, not genetics, determines what race you belong to, something is wrong.

Finally, until we get to a point where the achievements of black people (from Barack Obama on the left to Clarence Thomas on the right) are celebrated as human achievements, not as black achievements, something will continue to be terribly wrong.

Posted by Jack Romano at January 13, 2010 12:49 PM
Comments
Comment #293702

Jack
Well said.

Posted by: KAP at January 13, 2010 2:00 PM
Comment #293703

JR,

I see one big factual error with your piece.

Senator Reid is no lockstep liberal.

He supports overturning Roe V. Wade, opposes marriage equality and stood by when conservatives hijacked the health care reform bill.

His leadership position in recent years clouds his much longer Senatorial career in which he established a record that is to the right of most Democratic Senators. In 2004 when he became minority leader, he was called an “atypical choice” for his views.

SD did a good job explaining the situation in his piece in the left column. There is a difference between vocalizing a preference for a Segregationist platform and using inartful language to describe a phenomenon that is unfortunately still present in our country.

Also, Democrat is a noun, not an adjective; so don’t use it as one.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 13, 2010 2:40 PM
Comment #293705

Amen Jack. I am weary of the label “African-American” as the politically correct way to refer to a person of color. There are many black folks in the country who have no ancestral ties to Africa. They come from many nations besides Africa. Yet…to be PC, we must refer to them as African-Americans.

Let’s just get rid of all these pseudo labels of our citizens and just refer to everyone legally here as Americans.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 13, 2010 2:46 PM
Comment #293707

Warped Reality,
Reid has been moving steadily left since becoming majority leader: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126334325779127017.html?mod=rss_Today’s_Most_Popular His voting record on abortion is mixed at best, but certainly not pro-life. Legislative Director of National Right to Life, Doug Johnson, said of Reid five years ago: “The news media has labeled Reid as pro-life, but for years he has usually voted against the pro-life side on the most important votes,” Johnson said. “Indeed, in recent years Reid has played a key role in obstructing both pro-life legislation and judicial nominees, and I expect he will attempt to continue doing so.” That has proven true and then some.

On the healthcare bill, I guess one’s perspective is everything, but I don’t know how you can call anything about that monstrosity “conservative.” The only “conservative hijacking” of the bill that conservatives would really like is for it to be hijacked and killed.

Sorry, I like Democrat as an adjective and will continue to use it at my discretion, especially if it ticks Democrats off …

Posted by: Jack Romano at January 13, 2010 3:39 PM
Comment #293711

Michael Steele said, after the majority leader apologized for his remark, that he should be able to keep his job.

Too bad he only said it when the Majority Leader was Trent Lott, and Lott’s remark was an even more offensive suggestion that America would have been better off under a Segregationalist president, rather than it being a somewhat blinkered explanation of why a black man could become President.

Reid’s defense is that his career represents a polar opposite to Trent Lott’s. Where Lott fought against Civil Rights, Reid fought for them. Where Lott favored segregation, Reid favored integration.

So, Reid is judged on the consistency of his words with his previous deeds, and since the offensive nature of the comment is at odds with a lifetime worth of actions, people forgive him easier than a man whose actions truly do indicate he’s a racist.

So, the lesson here is, do good, and if you misspeak, people will forgive you more easily because your actions speak louder than your words.

Republicans are complaining because they want to be let off easy, too. Trouble is, unlike most liberals, Republicans indulge in some seriously heinous behavior on race that Democrats, as a rule, wisely do not. Why should Republicans expect to be let off easy by folks for their racial comments, when they’re otherwise so contemptuous about such standards?

I’m not saying your average Republican is a racist. But their leaders and their pundits have a nasty habit of treating such standards of behavior as optional, and protesting the political correctness of it.

Repentance must come before forgiveness, and the Republican Politicians and Pundits rarely repent with any consistency of their words. So why should people be eager to let their behavior wash.

The Republicans have to stop expecting that they can talk their way out of every screw up.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 13, 2010 4:24 PM
Comment #293713

Twisted Contortions of Racial Politics, In short:
Republicans want to have the benefit of the doubt from Black political groups that Democrats have, and think is unfair they don’t get it.

Trouble is, the Republicans didn’t wait to start saying “oh, everybody’s equal now, no need to do anything else!” They were saying that in Nixon’s time.

Truth is, the other races in this country paid a price, in social status, in their economic prosperity, for the years of racist, segregationalist policy. To have thought that we could simply declare all people equal and go about business as usual was naive. I don’t favor reparations, but damn it, we have to make amends if we’re serious about people standing at our shoulders as equals, because otherwise we only stand as such in a nominal way.

There is a great degree of tokenism in the Republican Party. They’ll set a black man on high, and appeal to the few blacks who stand for conservative issues, but how many do you see in the Senate or House?

Most blacks see that disparity between efforts and claims, between the window-dressing of certain intellectuals and who really has power, and they rightly look at Republican policy as being hollow, when it comes to race. So guess what? When the Republicans get offensive, they get less of the benefit of the doubt.

All things being equal, you would want to see equal forgiveness, but between the Democrats and the Republicans, not all is equal between them on the issue of supporting the minority communities of America. To believe that those people should disregard the failure of the GOP to deal in good faith with the minority communities of America, is frankly just naive.

Republicans are not entitled to positive treatment from the voters and the media, and so far, all that seeking this entitlement has done to the party is make it an unaccountable, unpopular mess.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 13, 2010 4:48 PM
Comment #293719

Racism being what it is in America, Reid’s words have the ring of truth to them. And frankly, they would have had the ring of truth to them even if a Republican had spoke them. The difference is that Democrats are a very inclusive party of minorities garnering the majority of the Black vote, whereas, the GOP, despite their best efforts to be inclusive, have utterly failed to make the case to the majority of the African American community.

This whole hulabaloo is nothing but partisan politics at its worst. Republicans are jealous that Reid can get away with such a statement, defended as a non-racist remark, while a Republican uttering the same words would get hammered harder than Republicans are now hammering Reid. Historical context in this case, very much differentiates the response to those words depending on which Party’s spokesperson utters them.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 13, 2010 7:01 PM
Comment #293727

SD wrote; “To believe that those people should disregard the failure of the GOP to deal in good faith with the minority communities of America, is frankly just naive.”

What SD refers to as “good faith” in my opinion is merely pandering for votes. We have now reached a point where nearly half of our adult population pay no taxes. Of course those who continue to get hand-outs are going to vote for those promising more. Is that any way to run a country? We are very near the tipping point at which it becomes more profitable not to work. From where will liberals steal the money to give to others?

A wise person said…we can’t all be in the wagon…someone has to pull it or we stop.

SD doesn’t bother to mention the number of black folks who have held high office during Rep administrations. These weren’t mere figureheads. Do SecState C. Rice or C. Powell come to mind? How about Justice Thomas? There have been notable Rep congressmen and senators. The sad fact is…when a black holds office and votes their conscious they are called Uncle Tom’s by some.

Big labor has been in the Dem pocket for years. Why…because Dem’s vote special favors for labor at the expense of all American’s. And, we are seeing that favoritism today in labor’s efforts to have their members Cadillac plans excluded from the proposed tax. Is that fair…is that right? And, just as harmful is big business obtaining unfair favors from Reps.

Can’t we send people to Washington who vote the countries interests? Well, we could but we won’t because the special interests prevail. I am retired on SS and Medicare so that is my special interest. Would I vote for someone who promises to gut either program for those already benefiting from it. Of course not. But really folks…where do we stop this nonsense? Can we really afford to establish more special interest groups such as those being favored…and those being punished…by these health care bills?

The government envisioned by our founders was not one of rewarding some and punishing others based on political ideology was it? Is that what we want?

Since government doesn’t create any real value, it must take from some in order to give to others. That’s the power they have. But don’t some of you believe we have reached the point where this has to stop?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 13, 2010 7:50 PM
Comment #293733

People were openly and sometimes proudly racist a couple generations ago. Today it is a source of shame. But we are going to some absurd lengths now to be PC.

Reid is a bad guy his stupid defeat in Iraq comments. His comments on race are just his stupid attempt to make a political calculation.

The problem with Democrats is that they make such a hysterical thing about the mere implication of race that they are making a serious issue farcical. It is like the old fable about the little boy who cried wolf.

President Obama stepped in the dung pile when he said the police were stupid before he understood the fact. He did this because of the hypersensitivity about race.

Re Reid - the old guy is finished. The people of Nevada will take care of him. Republicans should think of him as gone until the next elections when we don’t have to think of him anymore at all. He is not worth our effort.

Posted by: Christine at January 13, 2010 8:28 PM
Comment #293741

And Republicans love calling Liberals race baiters. Hypocrazy?

Posted by: gergle at January 14, 2010 2:43 AM
Comment #293749

Liberals see race everywhere. It informs too much of their thinking. They should remember what Martin Luther King said about judging by the content of character.

Posted by: Christine at January 14, 2010 7:32 AM
Comment #293754

Jack
The HC bill emerging is very close to the system adopted by Mass. that was put together by Mitt Romney. Do you question his conservative credentials?
Reid is not the best choice for leadership IMO. This rascist blather is just silliness. He made an honest apraisal as an astute politician. So what? If his loses his position over it I hope us Dems can replace him with a hardnose pro-choice liberal that is willing do what it takes to get the country back on course after the last eight years of Rep failure. If that means getting rid of the undemocratic filibuster then so be it. The stakes are too high.Reid has been playing nice-nice with Reps far too long.

Posted by: bills at January 14, 2010 8:15 AM
Comment #293764

Yep, this is Liberals fault. Like I said, Hypocrazy.

Posted by: gergle at January 14, 2010 10:34 AM
Comment #293773

Isn’t this just another example of conservatives bitching and moaning that liberals are too PC while complaining about non-issues like there being a war on Christmas?

Am I really to believe a comment like this compares with say Oral Robert’s comment yesterday that it’s a well known fact that Haitians made a pact with the devil and are suffering because God hates them? WTF.

Posted by: Max at January 14, 2010 11:59 AM
Comment #293791

Max-
Pat Robertson. Oral Robert’s gone to meet his maker. (I was going to make a joke about a nine-hundred foot Jesus taking him, but I thought that might come off rather tacky.)

My late uncle, when he heard that Oral Roberts had said that he had been commanded by a nine hundred foot Jesus to solicit donations or be taken up, said “Take him, take him!”

Christine-
The challenge is, our language developed during long periods of time when White Males basically dominated our society.

I define political correctness less according to liberalism, and more according to the original sensibility, under Mao: things you must agree with, regardless of merit, to avoid running afoul of the political leaders.

Democrats can be that way, unfortunately, but so can Republicans. They have their own list of things that it’s forbidden to say or suggest, and they can be even more ruthless about enforcing it.

Reid’s comment is an example of that. Pardon the heresy here, but at the time, Americans had just suffered through three years of escalating violence, and even as the surge began, things were getting even more violent over there.

So pardon the pessimism. Maybe people aren’t allowed to think that a war isn’t going well among your people, but we liberals are used to speaking our mind.

Let’s be frank here: your party repeated the mistakes of Johnson’s White House.

They thought that they could maintain support for the war by keeping the failures and setback to themselves, stage managing all the bad stuff off to the side so nobody at home had to worry their little head.

The problem is, actions speak louder than words, especially when they’re screw-ups. People inevitably learned that things weren’t going as well as advertised. When they did, the Republicans didn’t exactly endear themselves to people by BSing folks about it.

I also think they focused on the politics of the war to the exclusion of getting the policy right. They prioritized winning the rhetorical pissing matches over taking care of the problems while they were still small.

That failure to engage the policy as a practical matter, is part of what inspired folks like me to actively oppose Bush.

As far as the arrest goes, I thought it was rather stupid, too. Professor Gates was the homeowner. He ought to have been told good night, with the officers leaving the scene of what wasn’t a crime. It’s the sensitivity of the other side that really made it a problem, but Obama made peace with them, anyways.

As for Reid? As much as you think he’s not worth the effort, your fellow Republicans spent years bashing him as one of the evil libs. If it moves and has a donkey sticker on it, it’s basically flame war in 1,2,3.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 14, 2010 3:58 PM
Comment #293795

S.D., Republicans actually fear Reid. They simply couldn’t believe despite all their efforts, that Reid was able still, to get a Health Care Reform bill out of the Senate and into Conference Committee. If only they had such a powerful and adroit leader in the Senate when they had a majority.

I hate a lot of Pelosi has pushed through the House, but, again, she has proven to be a very powerful and adroit leader in the House, especially given the divide amongst Democrats on so many legislative issues.

All along, I have failed to see how Democrats could possibly pass health care reform, and everytime I thought it was dead, these leaders resurrected it like Lazarus, again. I disagree with them on many of their compromises and lapses of duty, but, they have to be credited with getting major things done few thought could get done.

The old-time Republicans of the 1970’s and 80’s would have conceded as much out of respect, even if they disdained the products being pushed through by these leaders. Today, respect is a foreign word to most Republicans in the Congress. Many don’t even respect each other. Look how many have been driven out by the GOP for inappropriate actions and behaviors in the last 4 years.

Joe Scarborough yesterday morning made an illuminating statement. He said he may have to change parties if the GOP continues on its current track. If there is much more of this kind of desertion from the GOP, it will leave the Limbaugh’s, Becks, and Palin’s as the leaders of the Party. That would be a joy for Democrats, but, a tragedy for America, which absolutely needs competitive parties to prevent extremism from having its way the nation’s future. Extremism is a product of one party nations in so many ways.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2010 4:48 PM
Comment #293804

Stephen

“I define political correctness less according to liberalism, and more according to the original sensibility, under Mao: things you must agree with, regardless of merit, to avoid running afoul of the political leaders.”

I am not sure if you are arguing that Mao had merit. The bloodthirsty tyrant was certainly correct about PC, but we don’t want to take his advice on it. Truth is more important than PC, even if it take courage to tell the truth to the powerful.

Posted by: Christine at January 14, 2010 8:35 PM
Comment #293817

Max, Oral Roberts died and was and is in no position to make a comment about Haiti. I’m not sorry to break your ill-informed bubble.

Posted by: tom humes at January 15, 2010 6:41 AM
Comment #293819

Stephen, David, et. al.,

A common theme running through your comments, and others, is that Reid gets a pass from blacks because he has been their friend politically, and his actions (policy-wise) speak louder than his words (ill advised racial comment).

I don’t agree that a double standard should apply to R’s and D’s on these matters. Either a comment is racially inappropriate or it isn’t. Its consequences in the public square should be equally applied, in an ideal world (which I am well aware we do not inhabit).

However, I do understand that it is easier to forgive your friends than your enemies. What bothers me even more about the double standard is the policies that are considered pro-black in today’s politics. These policies aren’t really about race at all. In other words, I could understand blacks demonizing Lott and forgiving Reid if Lott were in favor of whites-only restaurants, buses, etc;, or in favor of discriminating against blacks in employment; or any other actually racist policies; and conversely if Reid were against all of those things at the same time. But in truth, both Lott and Reid (and pretty much all D and R elected politicans today) are in agreement that all of those things are bad.

What is pushed as the black agenda (and what gives D politicians a pass in making racially outrageous statements) is run-of-the-mill white liberal progressivism that wants the federal government to create a program and spend more money than it has to try to solve every conveivable problem that confronts flawed humanity. Why is that considrered a “black” agenda? Can’t blacks be for limited government, maximum individual liberty (economic and political, not just sexual)? other standard “conservative” views? Of course they can and are (see Thomas, Keyes, Walter Williams, etc.). Yet, back to my original piece, these figures are considered somehow less “black” than white politicians (as in “Bill Clinton was the first black president”) who subscribe to a liberl agenda that has nothing to do with reversing racial inequality?

Posted by: Jack Romano at January 15, 2010 11:53 AM
Comment #293824

Pat Robertson, not Oral Roberts. Whatever.

Posted by: Max at January 15, 2010 3:16 PM
Comment #294437

this is a est

Posted by: wearyofdems at January 23, 2010 12:48 PM
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