The modern political equivalent of “blood libel” is the incessant claim — sometimes by people ignorant enough to say it explicitly and sometimes by people too cowardly to say what they mean, instead resorting to cheap innuendo while slaying quivering white straw men — that Republicans are irredeemably racist.
The caricature, no better than virulently hateful cartoon representations of Jews over the centuries, rhetorically dresses Republicans in jackboots and puts white sheets over their heads and paints them with pencil-thin mustaches (though perhaps not all at the same time). Of course, an older southern gentleman is particularly at risk of being so attired in the imaginations of too many through the ethically unhinged voices of self-styled champions of the downtrodden.
This race libel has been on full dismal display in recent days from the venomous President Barack Obama, the venerable Representative John Lewis, and the venal Senator Cory Booker.
In his not-a-moment-too-soon “farewell address,” following a remarkably out-of-touch call for economic growth through — wait for it — more unionization and higher taxes on successful individuals and corporations, Obama turned to the issue of race.
He offered this premise for what purported to be a deep thought: “After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and undeserving minorities…” What follows this clause is irrelevant because this introduction disqualifies the statement, if not the speaker, from consideration as a serious or honest person.
In the substantive debate between the American left and right, a debate which really does exist, the basic question is “What is the proper purpose of government?” Those who are not on the political left object to greater or lesser degrees to the redistribution of wealth from those who earned it to those who didn’t.
I do indeed object to a hard-working middle class (or upper-middle class or upper-upper class) having their earnings raided on behalf of the undeserving. But neither I, nor the dollar taken from me, nor my accountant, nor the IRS agent scanning my tax return, gives a whit whether the recipient of my dollar was white, brown, purple, or plaid. (Well, I do have a big problem with plaid, truth be told.)
Obama imagines our national political conversation as one in which “every economic issue is framed” as minorities pilfering whites when in fact no economic issue is framed that way. So what is the purpose of his framing the issue this way? To cause gullible Americans to assume that any objection to income redistribution specifically and big government generally is due to racism. It is the very essence of the “dog whistle” politics that Democrats so often accuse Republicans of.
It is past time for Americans of all stripes to stand up to this outrageous demonization. It is past time to call out the left, aggressively and publicly, for this libel which imputes to good people the unacceptable and politically disqualifying trait of racism.
We can debate whether a broad assault on a plurality of the American population is worse than a specific character assassination. Obama’s was the former. On Wednesday during the second day of hearings for the confirmation of Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions to become the next Attorney General of the United States, we saw the latter.
It came in the form of testimony against Sessions by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), a man who sacrificed much (and never stops reminding us of it) during his years as a civil-rights crusader, and the nauseatingly ambitious Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), whose performance must be seen to be truly appreciated for its overacting and cynicism.
Lewis’s concluding paragraph makes the only thing close to a point that he had:
It doesn’t matter whether Sen. Sessions may smile or how friendly he may be, whether he may speak to you. We need someone who will stand up and speak up and speak out for the people who need help, for people who are being discriminated against. And it doesn’t matter whether they are black or white, Latino, Asian or Native American, whether they are straight or gay, Muslim, Christian or Jews We all live in the same house, the American house. We need someone as attorney general who is going to look out for all of us, not just some of us.
Notice that Lewis doesn’t say that Jeff Sessions wouldn’t stand up for any American’s individual rights regardless of color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. He simply implies it, offering no evidence while leaving us to conclude that a pleasant smile and a friendly demeanor are the signs of a man who desperately wants to curb-stomp a gay Negro.
OK, let me be absolutely fair to Lewis. The reason he opposes Sessions is that when it comes to civil rights, particularly recent celebrations of the tremendous progress made by blacks in this country over the past two generations culminating in the election of our first black president, Lewis actually has some personal experience with the AG nominee.
I mean, what self-respecting civil rights “leader” like John Lewis wouldn’t go to a Senate hearing room to trash the man who… hey, wait a second!… the man who less than two years ago stood side by side with you and held your hand in commemoration of your and others’ courage at the Edmund Pettis bridge on Bloody Sunday in 1965? That’s a serious demonstration of character, Mr. Lewis. Just what kind of character, I’m sure others will judge.
And then there’s Cory Booker, whose cynical decision to be the first-ever senator to testify against a colleague seeking confirmation to a Cabinet position was transparently aimed at boosting his name recognition as he measures the drapes for the White House. As my Spectator colleague Scott McKay put it, Booker is the Democrats’ “preener-in-chief” whose performance (which you truly must watch to believe) should disqualify him from holding any office, much less higher office. As a consolation, it might qualify him to join this auspicious collection of cultural icons.
Booker was more aggressive than Lewis in accusing Jeff Sessions of being unwilling to protect the rights of Americans, at least Americans of every group other than straight white men, before closing his condemnation of Sessions with this:
If one is to be Attorney General they must be willing to continue the hallowed tradition in our country of fighting for justice for all, for equal justice, and for civil rights. America needs an Attorney General who is resolute and determined to bend the arc. Senator Sessions’ record does not speak to that desire, intention, or will.
This is a bunch of bovine digestive refuse.
We understand the controversy surrounding Sessions’s failed nomination for a federal judgeship in the 1990s. We also understand what it is to be “Borked” and (whatever you want to call the travesty visited upon Clarence Thomas during his confirmation) thanks to Ted Kennedy’s and Joe Biden’s willingness to destroy reputations on the basis of rumor.
Sessions’s record is not one of lack of desire or intention to fight for equal justice; rather it is one of refusing to let liberals’ claims of good intentions cause him to support unequal justice, which is not truly justice at all.
So while Booker’s arguments appear to be fairly specifically aimed at Sessions, have no doubt that he would have been in that same chair, saying the same things about any conservative, white man nominated to the nation’s highest law enforcement position. Not as much because he believes what he’s saying as because he hopes you’ll believe he does, as punctuated by the pathetic head-tilting, eyes-clenching, fist-making, worse-than-eighth-grade acting.
(A quick note to Cory Booker: The country just suffered for eight years under a slightly cool but woefully inexperienced senator-turned-president who was noticed because of his rhetoric and elected only because of his skin color. You may think Barack Obama paved your way to the White House; in fact he littered it with road spikes.)
I’m not a Republican, and I’m not a conservative, but on my radio show lately I find myself having to remind listeners daily that approximately 100 percent of Republicans are not Nazis, not Klansmen, not haters, and not racists. Not Trump, not Sessions, not Conway, not Bannon, not any of them. At least there’s no evidence of it. And if you’re going to state or imply such a harmful charge, you damn well better have evidence.
So if Barack Obama or John Lewis or Cory Booker or Hillary “Who?” Clinton are going to imply that any of those people, or any other Republicans, or you, or I are racists — the only card they have left to play in a country that has witnessed so many years of the failure of “progressive” policies — we, and especially you Republicans, must push back.
Obama, I dare you to call Trump a racist to his face. Lewis, I dare you to look Jeff Sessions in the eye and say he thinks black people are less anything than he is. Republican voters everywhere, don’t be passive in pushing back against this race libel, because it represents a vicious assault on your character and on the character of our nation. And Democrats, if you have a decent bone in your body, you’ll stand up for the good people — your friends and neighbors — whose characters are attacked daily by politicians for no reason other than to get your vote by training you to hate your fellow man.