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Democrats say: Hey, only WE can demean blacks

April 22, 2010 1 comment

James Taranto, one of the right’s wittiest and most insightful commentators, of the Wall Street Journal wrote in his Best of the Web piece today a follow-up to his Monday piece about the Democratic Party’s existential need to maintain the perception of a racist America in order to keep blacks voting Democratic. In today’s piece, he quotes the Media Matters response to his theory, which — again — is essentially that the Democratic Party has to perpetuate the myth that America is a racist nation in order to maintain the African-American vote:

First and foremost, it’s remarkably insulting. The implication of Taranto’s theory is that African-Americans aren’t sophisticated or observant or intelligent enough to know real racism when they see it, and are thus continuously duped en masse into voting for Democrats. It couldn’t be the case that black voters actually care about issues and have real reasons for voting Democratic, they’re just puppets who are motivated by racial sentiments that Democrats prey upon. Taranto and his pals at Fox & Friends might think they’re attacking the Democrats, but they’re actually demeaning black voters.

This is precisely what conservatives have been saying about affirmative action and the assumptions that underscore it and every other policies like it: that Democrats who say blacks can’t get ahead in this world without lowering standards are “remarkably insulting.” We’ve said over and over, essentially, that — and I’ll borrow Media Matters’ language here — affirmative action’s principle “implication … is that African-Americans aren’t sophisticated … or intelligent enough” to get into good schools or better-paying jobs without the benevolent white man’s help.

So, what is more “demeaning”: to (a) be a Republican and observe that people (in this case, African-Americans) who’ve put their trust in their self-proclaimed leaders (in this case, Democratic politicians) assume, naturally, that their leaders aren’t lying or exaggerating about race in America in order to keep them in the fold, or (b) to be a Democrat and observe that blacks are fundamentally incapable of achieving their full potential unless the government arbitrarily lowers the bar for them?

At least, if we Republicans are, in fact, guilty of “demeaning” blacks, all we’re saying is that they’ve fallen victim to something all humans are susceptible to: the bias that authority, or perceived authority, gives to whatever that authority says. In other words, it makes perfect sense that blacks believe the lies and distortions their Democratic leaders perpetuate about race in America, because blacks trust their leaders.  This is a fundamental truth about human nature, not the nature of blacks per se: we humans tend to believe most the people we trust most. So Taranto’s indictment is not of African-Americans, but of the Democratic leaders who mislead them on race issues — a point clearly lost on Media Matters.

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Nader: “The Case Against Corporate [Oh, and ALL] Speech”

February 10, 2010 1 comment

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Ralph Nader rips into the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in about the most disingenuous and outright dishonest ways possible, conveniently failing to go all the way in disclaiming what can only be fairly, and without hyperbole, called his own totalitarian stridency on campaign-finance reform.

Nader doesn’t mention in his tirade against corporate involvement in U.S. elections that he doesn’t want anyone to be able to contribute anything to political campaigns ever. That’s important context, don’t you think? Because you can’t on the one hand argue that corporate political involvement is unconstitutional, and then, on the other hand, conveniently dismiss the Constitution altogether in your defense of barring even individuals from campaign contributions. It’s clear, then, that Nader doesn’t root his opposition to corporate involvement in anything stronger than … well, his own ability to get people to believe he actual cares about the United States Constitution.

Who is this guy kidding? And why did the Wall Street Journal dignify him with space on their pages? When I’ve submitted articles for consideration to their editorial board on behalf of my congressional bosses over the years, I’m typically asked to go back and have my boss flesh out this or that argument or to proleptically address this or that potential criticism. Why didn’t the WSJ editors kindly ask Mr. Nader to reconcile his opportunistic (they could have left that word out, I guess) constitutional defense of barring corporate involvement with his unconstitutional defense of barring everyone?