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Ed Driscoll

‘A Party that Doesn’t Think with its Skin’

December 24th, 2012 - 8:53 am

“An Indian-American governor appoints an African-American to the US Senate,” Jeff Jacoby quips. “Man, that lily-white GOP racism never ends, does it?”

South Carolina’s conservative Republican governor, Nikki Haley, is the daughter of Sikh immigrants from Punjab. US Representative Tim Scott of Charleston, a Tea Party hero who was raised in poverty by a divorced single mother, is South Carolina’s first black Republican lawmaker in more than a century. To anyone who shares the ideals that animate modern conservatism – limited government, economic liberty, color-blind equality – it stands to reason that Haley and Scott are conservatives. And their Republican affiliation should surprise no one familiar with the GOP’s long history as the party of minority civil rights.

But many people aren’t familiar with that history. So relentlessly have liberal propagandists played the race card over the years that virtually anything conservatives or Republicans do – from opposing Obamacare to tweaking the president’s fondness for golf — somehow gets twisted into proof of racial malice. So when Haley announced last week that she would appoint Scott to the US Senate seat being vacated by Jim DeMint, who is leaving to take a job at the Heritage Foundation, I indulged in a bit of preemptive snark.

“An Indian-American governor appoints an African-American to the US Senate,” I posted on Twitter. “Man, that lily-white GOP racism never ends, does it?”

On being sworn in, Scott will become the Senate’s only sitting black member and the first from the South since the 1880s. Indeed he’ll be just the seventh black senator in the nation’s history; three of the others, including Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, were also Republican. Haley, meanwhile, is one of only two Indian-Americans ever elected governor (the other is Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, a fellow Republican). For anyone who esteems racial and ethnic diversity, this has to be a good-news story. Could even the most determined racial McCarthyists find reasons to decry Scott’s appointment?

Of course they could.

Which dovetails nicely with Jonah Goldberg’s recent column in the New York Post on the “Dems’ obsession with the racial past:”

Just this week, in an essay for The New York Times, Adolph Reed attacked South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley — the first female Indian American governor in America — for appointing Rep. Tim Scott to retiring Sen. Jim DeMint’s seat. Scott is a black man and a conservative Tea Party favorite. So obviously, this is a very clever ploy to restore Jim Crow.

“Just as white Southern Democrats once used cynical manipulations — poll taxes, grandfather clauses, literacy tests — to get around the 15th Amendment,” Reed writes, “so modern-day Republicans have deployed blacks to undermine black interests.”

That’s it exactly. Indeed, that’s what the Tea Party was always about: undermining black interests.

When Herman Cain — another inconveniently black man — was the overwhelming preference among Tea Party activists for the Republican presidential nomination, a historian writing in the Times suggested that Cain could be seen as proof the legacy of the Ku Klux Klan lives on.

You know you’ve been pounding a square peg into a round hole for too long when you find yourself insinuating that a black man from Georgia represents the KKK tradition in contemporary politics.

Woodrow Wilson, call your office.

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