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Is there a high-minded justification for Dems' divisive rhetoric?


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Since they can't defend their record, it's time to start playing the race card! You mean ole Republicans, conservatives and tea partiers hate Obama because he's black. Those Republican Senators and Congressmen wouldn't treat an AG the same way they have Mr. Eric Holder. Froget abut Fast and Furious. Forget about the IRS scandal. Forget about voter intimidation in PA. They are only treating Eric “You don’t want to go there, buddy” Holder that way because he's black.

They have midterms to try and win and it's time to stir up the base. So,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Race Against Time

Is there a high-minded justification for Dems' divisive rhetoric?


James Taranto


April 15, 2014

This column probably isn't the first to notice a recent intensification of liberal and Democratic rhetoric about race. Last month Paul Ryan was the object of a Two Minutes Hate for some comments on the culture of poverty "in our inner cities," which, as The Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial, were no different in substance from things President Obama had recently said.

This Sunday, as Politico notes, Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN's Candy Crowley that "to a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism." He did allow that "not all" House Republicans are racist, though he didn't specify how many or which ones he thinks are.

Last Wednesday Eric Holder, in a speech to Al Sharpton's National Action Network, complained that he had faced "unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity," ABC News reports. "Look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee. What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?"

Although Holder didn't specifically accuse his adversaries of racial motives, others, including Crowley, assumed that was what he meant. Politico reports that in her interview with Israel, "Crowley said that Holder believes 'the treatment he has received in the House . . . would not have happened if he were not African-American."

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, appearing on Sharpton's MSNBC show, went so far as to suggest that Republicans had been soft on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius because she's white, as the Daily Caller reports incredulously.

For this rise in the racial temperature we blame not global warming but political cooling. As November approaches, Democrats face not only an unfavorable election map but an increasingly chilly electorate. From last month's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza pulled presidential approval numbers for four key Democratic constituencies. Obama was below 50% among three of those groups: single women (48%, to 45% disapproval), Hispanics (49% to 46%), and voters under 30 (45% to 48%). Only among blacks was approval still strong, 78% to 12% disapproval.

By way of comparison, in 2012 Obama won the votes of 67% of single women, 71% of Hispanics, 60% of under-30 voters and 93% of blacks. It's reasonable to surmise that the racial appeals are a reaction to this desperate political situation, an effort to minimize Democratic losses by motivating the party's base to turn out.

The Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore, however, clings to the idea that there's something high-minded about throwing around accusations of racism. In an essay for TalkingPointsMemo.com, Kilgore himself engages in some especially crude racial stereotyping, referring to Republican voters as "bleached." His main aim is to introduce a concept he calls "objective" racism:

Like a lot of bad ideas and bad behaviors, "racism" is not a purely subjective phenomenon. There are arguably racist political strategies, racist messages, and racist policies that can be advanced by non-racists. Determining what is objectively racist is a matter of judgment, empirical evidence, and ultimately opinion. To use an example: during the 2012 presidential campaign the Romney/Ryan campaign heavily ran an ad accusing the president of "gutting" work-based welfare reform. The factual case for the ad's allegations was incredibly weak, and it's not as though "welfare reform" had been an issue earlier in the campaign, or indeed in any presidential campaign since 1992. No amount of white-wash can eliminate the strong impression that this ad was intended to persuade white voters that the first black president was walking back his party's commitment to make welfare beneficiaries--perceived as primarily minority members--work. But does that mean Mitt Romney is a racist, subjectively speaking? I doubt it very seriously, but in the end, who cares?

Kilgore's evidence that the Romney ad "was incredibly weak" consists entirely of an appeal to the authority of PolitiFact.com. The racial angles he cites--"the first black president," "welfare beneficiaries--perceived as primarily minority members"--are the products of Kilgore's own "strong impression." The ad makes no reference to race, and most of the workers it shows appear to be white.

The candidate who campaigned on welfare reform in 1992 was Bill Clinton, although Kilgore errs in saying that was the last time it had been an issue in a presidential campaign since 1992. In 1996 Clinton signed a welfare-reform law--the Romney ad opens with a photo of the signing ceremony--and it helped him to win re-election.

So, is Bill Clinton "objectively racist"? Or is the whole idea just a way of dressing up a subjective, and politically expedient, slur on the other party?

Not that Kilgore lets Republicans off the hook for ordinary "subjective" racism either. He observes that "the centrist technocrat Barack Obama has often been subjected to classic racist stereotypes in day-to-day conservative agitprop, as an alleged beneficiary of affirmative action, as a shiftless vacation-taker, as a boon companion to (and even a husband of) black radicals, and yes, as a Kenyan with a 'neocolonial' outlook."

One needn't agree with the stereotypes Kilgore describes to take issue with his description of Obama as a "centrist technocrat." And Kilgore himself is exaggerating the extent to which those stereotypes are racial ones. "Shiftless," which has strong racial overtones, is Kilgore's choice of word. The radical most famously associated with Obama by right-wing critics is Bill Ayers, who is white.

As for the "Kenyan" stuff, look who brought that up the other day, as National Review's Andrew Johnson notes:

President Obama resorted to taking on birtherism on Friday.

While speaking at Al Sharpton's National Action Network conference in New York, he revisited the controversy surrounding his birth certificate while discussing the various types of identification residents can provide ahead of voting.

"Just to be clear, I know where my birth certificate is, but a lot of people don't," he quipped to a cheering audience.

"You remember that? That was crazy," the president laughed. "That was some crazy stuff--hadn't thought about that in a while."

We think Obama was mocking a Mitt Romney joke from 2012, one that, according to the Puffington Host, "was received with hearty applause by the audience" in the Republican nominee's native Michigan. But the Obama campaign quickly denounced Romney and put him on the defensive. Within a few hours, "Romney insisted that the joke wasn't a 'swipe' at the president."

In other words, birtherism--which is, as the president noted, "crazy"--is also, on balance, helpful to him politically. It afforded him an opportunity to embarrass his opponent two years ago and to appeal to his audience last week.

The most telling bit of Kilgore's essay is his complaint that Obama is stereotyped "as an alleged beneficiary of affirmative action." That raises two questions: First, does Kilgore think affirmative action is a just and beneficial policy? Second, does he think Obama is a good president?

If the answer to both questions is yes, he ought to be touting Obama as an affirmative-action success story. Instead his complaint reinforces one of the most powerful criticisms of racial preferences: that they stigmatize minorities by creating the perception of favoritism, whether or not that perception is accurate in the case of a particular individual. Does that mean Kilgore is hostile to affirmative action, subjectively speaking? We very much doubt it, but in the end, who cares?

Fox Butterfield, Is That You?

"[President] Obama has vowed repeatedly to enact biting sanctions against Russia's vital economic sectors if the Kremlin tries to replicate its actions in Crimea, the peninsula it annexed from Ukraine, elsewhere in the former Soviet republic. Despite those warnings, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be testing Obama's limits, instigating protests in eastern Ukraine, the White House says, and massing tens of thousands of troops on the border, but so far stopping short of a full-scale military incursion."--Julie Pace, Associated Press, April 15

El Linko

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I just wish minorities would listen to guys like Ben Carson rather than the race machines like Sharpton, Jackson, etc.

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