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Works and Days

From Rev. Wright to the Sherrod Affair

July 26th, 2010 - 9:38 am

4) Been There, Done That. The white independent voter is not hooked on Rush, Hannity, or Beck, and he is leaving Obama in droves (well over 50% now disapprove of Obama). Why? We are now in relationship to 2008, as 1938 was once to 1929 — lots of programs, still no jobs. The debt not just bothers, but embarrasses, us all. The reset button “he did it” foreign policy is unseemly, like the perpetual error-prone shortstop who complains about the pebbles on the playing field left from yesterday’s game. Independents, without any help from Beck, Drudge, and Hannity, are tired of the play of the race card for wanting the federal immigration law to apply to everyone regardless of race. The voters are tired of a nonstop 2008 campaign mode in which the president keeps demonizing everyone from surgeons to wealthy people, while asking these various groups to pay more taxes to fund various redistributive plans — in pursuit of an agenda (stimulus, more taxes, amnesty, cap and trade) that polls about 45% (and this from a president who in 2005-6 ridiculed Bush for pushing Social Security reform in the face of negative polls).

And all that said, independent white voters, many of whom voted for Obama, sense that something like Van Jones, or “cowards,” or the Prof. Gates matter, or the recent Sherrod non-story, or “wise Latina” will turn up about every three weeks from now on out. They suspect that it will, not just because the staffers at Fox will find it or even hype it, but because there will always with this administration be something to find. Just as the left was always able to dig up some over-zealous Christian evangelical in the Bush administration (because there were apparently a lot of them), so too the right will find a lot of racial promoters because, quite simply, there are a lot of them in this administration.

Ms. Sherrod was done a disservice in having her comments edited in a fashion that did not represent what she was trying to say. Yes, but it is also not a wise thing to go before the NAACP to offer a confessional about how one has evolved from seeing oppression in terms of white culpability, to understanding it in terms of the culpability of those “who have.” In other words, the role of minor federal agricultural officials is not confessionals to lobbying organizations about the unfairness of present American culture. One is free to do it, but one is almost asking to be quoted out of context in doing so. (The antithesis would be something like a border-dwelling federal official, who had lost a relative to Mexican smugglers, speaking before a zealous close-the-borders, mostly white group about how he came to no longer see the problem in terms of brown people, but now largely in terms of poor people, white and brown alike. Now that would be an insane thing to do, and a Republican administration, battling selectively edited videos on the Daily Kos and Huffington Post, would have fired him).

5) Homeopathy. So here we are. After lighting a tactical burn, the administration is panicked how easily the racial flames fed on the dry grass to reach firestorm stage. Instead of calling for water, they seem overwhelmed by the conflagration. So now we hear calls for more black appointments and more talk of race, as if more of the pernicious disease of racial identity will cure the disease rather than the medicine of just shutting up, fixing the economy, winning the war, and curbing spending.

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