As Dan Riehl writes, “Carl Pope: I’m not just the Sierra Club Executive Director, I’ve got sawdust for brains.” You’ll only get a headache and shout “Norman, coordinate! Norman, coordinate!” trying to parse the reams of circular illogic contained within this paragraph by Pope:
What we underestimated was the power of the fact that both Jones and the Barack Obama are black. Yes, the hysteria was about politics — I don’t think Fox News really cares about Jones’s ethnicity — but it was enabled by race. Calling Bush a “crack-head” is seen by a large part of America as worse than calling him “addict-in-chief” because crack is not just a drug — it is a drug used largely by black people. It reminds those Americans who are still uncomfortable with Barack Obama that we have a black president.
We’ll set aside the minor fact that it was largely the Blogosphere that did the dastardly deed of Googling Jones’ interviews past statements and petition signing, not Fox. (And even the Washington Post deigns to acknowledge the legwork performed by Gateway Pundit, even if it can’t be bothered to look up Jim Hoft’s name for the record.)
But since it was Jones who insulted Bush with his “crack-head” epithet, which, if it is “seen by a large part of America as worse than calling him ‘addict-in-chief'” (and the latter vulgarity would be an acceptable insult, why?) because it reminds “those Americans who are still uncomfortable with Barack Obama that we have a black president” — then isn’t a good thing that such a person is no longer in power?
Victor Davis Hanson adds, “The Jones mess brings up a larger issue”:
Americans were assured that with the ascendance of Barack Obama we would evolve beyond race. Yet in the last ninth months it is almost as if precisely the opposite has occurred — but with a strange twist. The country has been serially lectured about race from some of the most privileged Americans in the country. Columbia law grad elite Eric Holder accused the country of cowardice for its reluctance to speak about race. Harvard-law alum Barack Obama accused the Cambridge police of profiling and acting stupidly in taking elite Harvard professor Skip Gates down to the station after his screaming invective episode. Harvard-law educated Michelle Obama explained Justice Sotomayor’s unease at Princeton by comparing her own ordeal there. Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Charles Rangel who had serially dodged his tax obligations claims that white angst explains his IRS problems. New York governor David Paterson blames his sinking polls on white racism, more prominent than ever in the age of Obama. Now Yale law graduate Van Jones claims smears did him in. The list could be easily expanded.
What we are seeing is a very unfortunate turn of events in which racism is now the guaranteed retreat position once many prominent African-American elites find themselves in controversy. The problem is that the rest of the population of all races and classes looks at this privileged cohort and does not really detect bias or ill-treatment in their past or present circumstances, but rather remarkable tolerance and race-blind attitudes, as exemplified by their career successes.
The roots of all this scapegoating were in the campaign, not just with the mansion/golf-course living Reverend Wright, the president’s mentor and pastor, slurring his country and its various constituencies, but also with Obama’s own stereotyping of Pennsylvania voters, once the election there did not go his way. Worse still, we are only in month nine of this new age of Obama — with more than three years to go in his first term — and the country is already tired of the blame-gaming and whining, when officials like Rangel and Jones start to defame others for their own lack of ethics and judgment. This is all very unfortunate, but I predict it will only intensify given the example at the top, and sadly probably result in a polarization that we have not seen in generations.
Related thoughts from Andrea Harris.
Update: “It’s impossible to trust someone — no matter how many friendly overtures they make — when its certain they’re going to call you a racist the first time you disagree. There’s not even a point to dialogue with folks like that. They’re just smiling through their fangs, waiting for the right moment to attack.”