By Jeffrey Lord on 9.22.09 @ 6:08AM
The shamefully cold-blooded marriage between progressivism and race.
“I think it’s based on racism. There is an inherent feeling
among many in this country that an African-American should not be
president. Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a
sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on
health care. It’s deeper than that.”
— Former President Jimmy Carter on Congressman Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” healthcare outburst during the Obama speech to Congress.
“Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and
will never accept it.”
—New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd
They are ham and eggs.
In political America progressivism and racism go together in history past and present, a philosophical pairing as symbiotic as peanut butter and jelly or champagne and caviar. Or, perhaps more appropriately, the classic relationship between pimp and prostitute.
There is nothing new here with the recent remarks on race of either former President Jimmy Carter or New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. As we have previously referred to Ms. Dowd as “White Mo” (see “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Maureen Dowd”), racial descriptions will henceforth apply in this space to every “progressive” who steps forward to continue defending the idea of judging others by race. This would make the 39th president “Mistuh. Jimmy,” a term the segregated black tenant farmers on the Carter properties of the day bestowed on the son of “Mistuh. Earl” Carter.
What troubles is that here we are in the 21st century, where the most beloved (and by runaway margins the wealthiest) television personality is Oprah Winfrey and the most powerful man by popular election is Barack Obama. Yet to criticize on substance or even use the “L” word (as in “lie”, a term regularly hurled at George W. Bush ) about Mr. Obama is cause to race pimp by an American progressive who was president and a progressive columnist for America’s progressive flagship newspaper. Breaking the rules of the House of Representatives, as did South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson, is unacceptable regardless of who is president. But racism? Sniffed White Mo: “But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!”
Interesting. Telling, actually. Since Wilson’s breaking of House rules involved just two words — “You lie!” — what would ever possess White Mo to hear a word never uttered, the racially derogatory “boy”?
It is important here to lift this conversation out of the realm of not-so-clever schoolyard taunts. As of the “you’re a race-baiting racist,” “Am not,” “Are too! So’s your old lady” variety. Contrary to the impression of some that what happens today has no relation to what happened yesterday, understanding history is in fact not simply necessary to context (not to mention the future), it is everything.
Fair or not (to borrow from White Mo) in the context of history one is led to the inescapable conclusion that, yet again, Mistuh Jimmy and White Mo are race pimping. What is a race pimp? A pimp, of course, is someone who solicits customers for sex in return for economic gain. A race pimp uses race to solicit votes or political support in return for political power and sometimes economic gain as well. That’s a stiff charge, no?
In playing the role of race pimps, both Mistuh Jimmy and White Mo have provided an extremely useful reminder of the malignant marriage that has been that of progressives and racism. This pairing, the use of race pimping to carry the day for the favorite progressive ideas of the moment, has a long if distinctively odious — make that rancid — history. Neither Mistuh. Jimmy or White Mo are by any means the first progressives to wave their hoods on this path. They are only the latest.
How does this malignant marriage work? Let’s walk through what might be called “The Idiots Guide to Progressives, Race, and the Art of Race Pimping.”
First, you need to be putting forth a progressive policy proposal or proposals plural. In prostitution this would be the role of the hooker. The babe, the call girl, the escort. Just drop dead sexy, warm, and inviting in the extreme. There’s a cost, though, but hey. Wanna have some fun? But this is politics, so these policies are invariably sexed up as warm, inviting reforms that in some fashion or another always involve the sexy come-on of enlarging the scope and control of government, be that government federal, state, or local. As with the hookers, there is a cost here too. But hey. It all sounds so good! It’s justice, man! Favorites are expanding the role of government in the economy, education, agriculture and quite specifically embracing this bigger government in the name of “the poor” and various subsets thereof (both real and imagined) such as the elderly, veterans, schoolchildren, or, in recent decades, “minorities.” Using the federal courts to do this is a favorite as well. Correspondingly, this requires sharp condemnations of those who are targeted for control by these proposed expansions of government. Among others this includes “the rich” (always the rich) and various subsets thereof (here too both real and imagined) such as bankers, corporations, agribusiness, “Big Business,” and so on. As we are seeing right this minute, the desired end result of this drive to expand Big Government is nothing less than an obsession to control just about anyone who breathes these days in some form or fashion.
Next, after your hooker is on the streets, you pimp your customers for these “progressive” proposals with direct, vividly racial appeals to a targeted race. The particular race doesn’t matter as long as you get elected, sell papers, get good PR, make a few bucks. Whatever. While it was once a simple matter to play this game when “race” was defined as white and black, in today’s America with whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans the field has broadened considerably.
Once you’ve absorbed these “how-to’s” you’re ready to pimp in high style as both Mistuh Jimmy and White Mo are pimping today. Remember that while the pimps in this game are usually elected politicians or politicians seeking elective office, in fact the race pimping game is regularly played by other progressives ranging from non-elected politicians to journalists like White Mo to activists like — does this name ring a bell? — ACORN.
After a couple hundred years of American politics, there are so many candidates for the trophy of Most Outrageous Race Pimping Progressive that space limits. But here’s a small sampling of those who have given the progressive race pimping tradition a special glow, all honored and cherished in some fashion in their day for their handiwork.
Let’s start with Mistuh Jimmy himself, so you can get a feel for how the marriage between progressivism and race pimping works in practice.
Here’s the tale as presented by then-New York Times reporter Jim Wooten, who knew Mistuh Jimmy “for a long time” before he ran for president because Wooten started out as the Atlanta bureau chief of the Times. As a matter of fact, it is Wooten who reports on why and from whom Jimmy Carter acquired the name “Mistuh Jimmy.” This tale emerges from Wooten’s 1978 biography of Mistuh Jimmy titled Dasher — after Mistuh Jimmy’s Secret Service code name. Also sourced here is Mistuh Jimmy’s own tale of his life in his 1976 campaign biography Why Not the Best?
In 1970, Mistuh Jimmy is taking his second — and winning — crack at the Georgia governorship. What was Mistuh Jimmy running on back there in 1970? What political view was he pushing from one end of Georgia to the other? Why — progressivism, of course. Mistuh Jimmy was for progressive penal reform, reorganizing in progressive fashion the antiquated Georgia state government, zero based budgeting, updating the state constitution, hiring the disabled to work as radio operators for the state police. He just loved progressive ideas about tax equalization, education, historic preservation, and so on and on and on. He was a fountain of “progressive” ideas about how to help the people of Georgia.
But of course, since progressives must tend faithfully to the racism side of the marriage, Mistuh Jimmy was nothing if not a star at race pimping. Specifically, this meant he would work with another man actor in the progressive-racist racket.
Mistuh Jimmy needed Mistuh Roy, actually Mistuh Roy Harris.
Mistuh Jimmy had lost the Democratic primary first time out when he ran for governor, back in 1966. To the infamous axe-handle wielding racist Democrat and progressive populist Lester Maddox. Maddox was prohibited under the Georgia constitution from serving a second consecutive term, so Mistuh Jimmy needed to pimp harder to win the Maddox racist vote. Why? His opponent this time around was the much better known former governor Carl Sanders. So it wasn’t enough just to pimp race in any average fashion, bad as that might be. No, sir. Mistuh Jimmy had to do much better — to out pimp the legendary Lester Maddox. So he lined up ex-Democratic governor Marvin Griffin, the man who responded to the idea of integration in Georgia by saying: “Never, no, never!” Now, Griffin’s endorsement in hand, he sought out Mistuh Roy.
Mistuh Roy had fairly well defined views on race as well. How defined? This defined, according to Jim Wooten, who quoted Mistuh Roy’s beliefs on the subject:
“Niggers are niggers and no amount of crossbreeding is going to help them any. The tiniest drop of nigger blood will spoil a man. History shows that. Everybody knows that, and those who don’t know that have probably got some nigger blood in them, that’s all.”
Alrighty then!!! One thing you can say about the people who race pimp, they sure don’t beat around the bush, do they?
As if this kind of race pimping was not enough to get Mistuh Jimmy’s real message across, he decided to race pimp the kids. The well-choreographed visit to a segregated academy in Swainsboro, Georgia, where Mistuh Jimmy was “warmly applauded” by an “all-white” class of sixth graders as he delivered his message that he would do “everything” he could for both this school and similar institutions across the state. In other words, he race pimped sixth graders! Sixth graders!
Then there were the photos distributed. Photos? What photos? It seems that when Carl Sanders was Governor of Georgia, there had been a moment of glory for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. There was a playoff win and the usual champagne dousing of players ensued. On this particular occasion Governor Sanders had shown up to help celebrate. Photos were snapped of the Governor surrounded by jubilant Hawks players, coincidentally all black players, spraying and dousing away in happy victory. The Carter campaign saw yet another chance to race pimp. So “thousands of copies” of a photo of the white Sanders whooping it up with black athletes were distributed across the state. Mistuh Jimmy won. And he won, as no less than the New York Times would acknowledge, by appealing directly to “the white racist vote.” That’s Times-speak for “race pimping.”
Because the harsh pull-back-the-curtain fact was that Mistuh Jimmy clearly shared Mr. Roy’s “let’s judge others by skin color” attitude or he would have been making an issue of Mr. Roy, not “riding through Augusta” on a “steaming morning in September 1970” race pimping away to get the support of a man whom Wooten described as representing the “mean recalcitrance of a slave-based society, challenged by decency and the United States Constitution.” There would have been no visits to race pimp segregated academies or race pimp a photo showing a white governor with a bunch of black athletes unless Mistuh Jimmy shared the idea that the color of one’s skin was somehow a big deal and race pimping wasn’t a big deal. That’s why he was called “Mistuh Jimmy” in the first place.
Now. Let’s give some context to the race pimping sentiments expressed by Mistuh. Jimmy and White Mo, sentiments that are clearly focused on judging others by race.
What’s important to understand here is the hand-in -glove aspect of all of this. The life-giving necessity of racism to the political existence of progressivism. It is now and has always been the very oxygen provided by the first that gives the second the room to breathe.
There simply isn’t space here to list the entire history of those who, in a fashion ranging from the cold-blooded to the casual, have displayed in word and/or deed their fervent belief in the progressive-race pimping way of political life. Here’s a small sampling:
• Woodrow Wilson, a white man who served as the progressive President of Princeton University, Governor of New Jersey and President of the United States. Wilson, a rabid segregationist, segregated the federal government while creating the progressive “New Freedom.” He created the Federal Reserve, supported tough anti-trust laws, establishing the federal farm loan program, and — yes — the “progressive” federal income tax.
• Josephus Daniels, a white man who was the leading progressive journalist of his day as the publisher of the Raleigh News-Observer in North Carolina. In this capacity he was a strong supporter of progressive causes such as child labor laws public education and government ownership of telephones, telegraphs and all private radio transmitters. Mr. Daniels was also Secretary of the Navy under Wilson and Ambassador to Mexico under FDR. Like Wilson a rabid segregationist, Daniels segregated the United States Navy.
• Theodore Bilbo, a white man who served as Senator and Governor of Mississippi. Called “Bilbo the Builder” as governor because of his devotion to public works, including a state highway and hospitals. He also outlawed public hangings. A staunch defender of the poor, the unemployed, farmers, veterans, and public schools, he was a fierce opponent of bankers and the rich. Once elected to the Senate he was a strong supporter of FDR’s establishment of Social Security, providing his vote for it in the Senate when the program was created in 1935. Bilbo was a notorious segregationist, member of the Ku Klux Klan and author of Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization.
• J. William Fulbright, a white man educated at Oxford University, a Rhodes Scholar, the progressive president of the University of Arkansas, Congressman and Senator from Arkansas, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A segregationist, as a Senator he was a signer of the infamous “Southern Manifesto” which proclaimed opposition to integration, specifically the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision.
• George Wallace, a white man who served as the progressive Governor of Alabama. Focused on a progressive platform of jobs and education (he established the Alabama junior college system), he famously promised “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
• Howell Raines, a white man who served as the progressive Executive Editor of the progressive New York Times. Raines was a strong proponent of the latest progressive trend in journalism known as “advocacy journalism” and pushed the Times in that direction. He resigned in disgrace from the Times when it was discovered that he had hired reporter Jayson Blair because of his race — Blair is black — and that Blair was in fact plagiarizing his work. Warned of Blair’s unqualified work, the Times was force to admit Raines deliberately kept Blair at his post because of his skin color.
• Al Sharpton, a black man who is a progressive activist headquartered in New York City. A staunch supporter of all things progressive whether the issue is jobs, health care, the war in Iraq or education, to name a handful. As with Carter, Bilbo, and Wallace, he targets a racial audience, in this case black Americans, to build his political following for progressive causes. Using the language of anti-Semitism, (“diamond merchants”) to black followers, he has led a march through the streets of heavily black Crown Heights in Brooklyn with protesters yelling of Jews “Whose streets? Our streets!” He was a staunch supporter of what proved to be the false rape allegations of a 15-year-old African-American girl Tawana Brawley against a white cop and inveighed against the “white interloper” in what Sharpton considered to be black territory — Harlem.
• Van Jones, a black man who served until recently as the progressive “Green Jobs Czar” in the Obama Administration. An activist in all manner of progressive causes from crime to the environment, his use of race pimping techniques extended from his support of cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to the environment, as evidenced in this now infamous race pimping quote unearthed by Fox commentator Glenn Beck: “The white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people of color communities because they don’t have a racial justice frame.” “Racial justice,” of course, is pimp-speak for judging others by skin color.
• Sonia Sotomayor, a Hispanic woman who has just taken a seat on the United States Supreme Court. A life-long progressive, she actively supported the concept of judging others by skin color as far back as her student days at Princeton. Whether belonging to Acción Puertorriqueña, a student group formed on racial grounds, or as co-chair at Yale Law School of a race-based group for Latin, Asian, and Native American — but not white or black — students, or her famous remark that she views her role on the bench as a racial one of being a “Wise Latina” Sotomayor has made plain her devotion to race as a yardstick of measurement in American society.
Each and every one of these “progressives”, and countless others unmentioned, race pimped their way to political power by pitting one race against another. They race pimped for the presidency, governorships, and Senate seats. They race pimped in the name of giving people jobs, educating children, taking care of veterans, building hospitals and highways, cleaning up the environment, ending wars, and creating a life filled with “justice” for you and me. So who cares how they do it? The cause is worthy, right?
We end with our favorite, White Mo. She of the white owned New York Times with the white run editorial board and the majority white columnist crew. White Mo, who looked at the chief executive of the United States delivering a serious policy speech on health care and saw…yes indeedy, surprise surprise…a black president. Not the president of the United States. Nooooooooooo. Not our White Mo. She saw, in her words, “a black man” who is president of the United States. Not a president of the United States who happens to be black. And hearing a congressman shout “You lie!” she saw race there too.
But of course she did. As the late Jack Kemp might say, “White Mo knows a lot about black people. She met one once.”
She’s a progressive columnist at a progressive paper where the color of your skin is the Ultimate Measure. And so, true to form, she race pimped. Just like Woodrow Wilson, Josephus Daniels, Theodore Bilbo, J. William Fulbright, George Wallace, Howell Raines, Al Sharpton, Van Jones, Sonia Sotomayor, and progressives from decades past to this very moment.
One cannot get inside the heads of these people. But for whatever reason — a fear of real equality, cynical politics, personal hatreds, a sense of plantation mentality that jumps to divide people of color into the House Negro/Field Negro dichotomy (which may explain the hatred for Clarence Thomas and love for Barack Obama, the distaste for Miguel Estrada and love for Sonia Sotomayor) — are simply unable to view the world in a colorblind fashion. They simply cannot see others existing in a world as Martin Luther King correctly pegged the future where America needs to be — a place where people are judged by “the content of their character” as opposed to their skin color.
Tragically, a colorblind society is not on the progressive policy to-do list. Not now, not 100 years ago, and not a 100 years from now.
After all, why stop race pimping and break up the progressive-race pimping marriage?
Why spoil a good thing? It works, doesn’t it?
Ask Mistuh Jimmy.
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at email@example.com.
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