This just in at the AP: “‘Racist’ claims defuse once powerful word — With the word being used so often, it’s harder to define its meaning.”
Gosh, who knew?
Victor Davis Hanson writes, “To prove their charge, those who allege racism would have to show empirically that the present angry rhetoric eclipses what was said about and done to Bush. It does not yet:”
We don’t see the word “hate” used in mainstream publications like The New Republic and the Guardian, as it was during the Bush years. (Even worse, really unspeakable things were done to Bush in novels and films.) “You lie” is about on par with the past statements of a Rep. Pete Stark or a Howard Dean (“I hate Republicans”), or the booing Democrats at the 2005 State of the Union. The extremists at the demonstrations are in smaller numbers so far than those who turned out against Bush and the Iraq War. A senior figure like John Glenn or Al Gore has not called the current president a Nazi or brownshirt.
A better explanation than right-wing racism for the Left’s exasperation is that in the Bush wilderness years, the Left assumed permanent political marginalization, adopted an ends-justify-the-means strategy of street rhetoric against Bush, then found themselves unexpectedly as the establishment, and now are appalled that anyone might emulate their own past emotional outbursts. [See our previous item — Ed.]
As a political tactic, the accusation of racism makes no sense (especially when someone like Maureen Dowd has to invent the word “boy” to provide the evidence). This week the Internet and Drudge splashed around a number of provocative incidents that could be interpreted as racially polarizing — Kanye West (who has a history of racist accusations) crudely grabbing a mike from a young singer to praise another contestant; Serena Williams (whose father has made a number of racist comments about tennis and its protocols) caught on tape threatening to injure to a rather small and meek line judge; and the retread clips of Van Jones accusing whites of polluting black neighborhoods and having a greater propensity to kill en masse in schools.
The elite media take on all that, of course, is that these are pre-selected race-baiting incidents publicized to inflame the Tea Party base. But others, perhaps a majority of voters, would see that argument as counterintuitive, and instead would worry that the larger society is becoming racially polarized — and that the subtext of Jones, Williams, and West is that a number of prominent figures are expressing a great deal of anger at whites and others.
The voter that Obama needs to keep will look at these incidents far differently than a CNN or MSNBC commentator, and will wonder what might have happened had a Bush White House czar claimed blacks were racial polluters or prone to kill, or had a white-male country-music singer stolen the mike from a small young black woman to praise another white country singer. So there will be a class distinction in how these incidents are seen, and it will result in the media elite’s alleging white racism at exactly the same time that the blue-collar voter draws the exact opposite lesson.
Jonah Goldberg adds:
Left-wing writers spent the week droning on about how it’s now racist to say “I want my country back.” These amnesiacs are blissfully unaware that “taking back” America was the rallying cry of the Democratic party for eight years under George W. Bush. Anti-white racists all?
Jimmy Carter sighs, “It’s an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”
Well, ditto. Except I think the abominable circumstance is the Vesuvian eruption of nonsense belched forth from distempered liberals frustrated by their inability to win a public-policy debate.
An “overwhelming proportion” of the vocal opposition to Obama stems from the “inherent feeling” that “an African-American should not be president,” testifies the de facto voice of Southern self-loathing and pharisaical pomposity.
Really, President Carter? Based on what? Polls you’ve studied? Which ones? Or did you descend from the temple of the Carter Center, flee your enabling entourage of sycophants, and canvass some neighborhoods yourself? How many people told you they don’t think a black man should be president? One? Two? Zero? Or are you simply reading minds again?
The good news is that the race peddlers have undermined themselves. The notion that opposing skyrocketing deficits and socialized medicine is racist is met with eye rolls by the vast majority of Americans, who do not need Sharpton and Carter to tell them what is — or is not — in their own hearts.
And, in fairness, when it became clear that Carter had turned this “debate” from mere fraud to farce, it suddenly dawned on some Democrats, including those in the White House, that smearing millions of constituents and swing voters (many of whom voted for Obama) as racists isn’t the best politics. So one cheer for those who objected to this idiocy too little and far too late.
But others just won’t let go. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times hears Rep. Joe Wilson shout, “You lie!” And her instinctive response is: “Fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!”
It’s the “fair or not” that gives Dowd away. She admits to hearing racism whether or not it’s warranted. That’s called prejudice. And unlike Wilson’s foolish outburst, Dowd’s was carefully considered. Dowd, Carter and Sharpton can’t grasp that conservatives are less hung up on race than they are and that we can get past Obama’s skin color. “Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it,” writes Dowd. She’s right. She’s one of them.
Exactly. In contrast, as Bernard Goldberg (no relation) said on the O’Reilly show this week (about four minutes into the video that’s currently on his site), “Barack Obama is not the Black president of the United States. He’s the president of the United States. And he can be praised as the president, and he can be criticized as the president. And none of us should have to worry that we’re going to be called a racist because we criticize his policies.”