Friday, June 4, 2010

Race Card Hypocrisy

There has been no shortage of race cards since Barack Obama’s presidency began.

Most are obvious, of course.

The race card has been standard fare for the Democrats since LBJ. The election of a black president and the emergence of a populist movement on the Right only accelerated the claims.

It’s hard to forget Janeane Garofalo’s sanctimonious monologue with Keith Olbermann, “This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up.”

Conservatives and Tea Partiers were understandably furious.

The Tea Party movement may have conspicuously risen during the early days of the Obama administration, but to leap to the conclusion that the only possible reason grassroots Republicans could oppose the new Democratic president’s agenda was the occupant’s skin color, required an extraordinary sense of moral superiority.

During the Obama reign, conservatives have been adamant that their opposition to the Obama agenda has nothing to do with his skin color but all about the philosophy.

This would seem true.

There may have been no Tea Party movement during the 1990’s, but the hysteria about a popular, iconic Democratic president drummed up on the Right was similar during the Clinton administration. But admitting that a sizeable number of today’s protesters are simply GOP partisans doesn’t win many points with key Democratic constituencies and it doesn’t make for great TV ratings either.

Conservatives have also been quick to remind the Democrats that they don’t exactly have a pure history of multicultural kumbayah-ocity. Nor do we go very long before someone reminds us that Vice President Biden once said, “You cannot go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts without a slight Indian accent.”

But the point today is not to show how Democrats are hypocrites when it comes to race.

We know that it is not racist to oppose a black man’s agenda. If conservatives really believe in a limited, constitutional government, then there is little in the Obama administration that is worthy of praise. We know that the racist charges are meant to silence dissent.

With that in mind, why are conservatives playing the race card in the aftermath of the Israeli flotilla incident?

Despite claims from the White House that there will be “no daylight between the U.S. and Israel,” and despite accepting a non-binding U.N. resolution that does not actively condemn Israel’s actions, why are conservatives insisting that the Obama administration is “anti-Israel”?

Would we tolerate this sort of hyperbole if this was any nation besides Israel?

Take this recent video from conservative filmmaker Andrew Klavan.

In it, Klavan uses the sound of a honking horn to illustrate when anti-Semitism is being said, to show how it rings out loudly when uttered by a bigot.

This stunt is funny, although in an unintentional way, because it was always my observation that self-righteously condemning someone’s unauthorized opinion was the exclusive domain of liberals.

Here, Klavan demonstrates that conservatives have a chance to club liberals for not being enlightened enough on race (and by taking a quote from Pat Buchanan out of context, Klavan proves that even the mention of Hitler’s name without immediate condemnation equals anti-Semitism).


“We said never again would we stand by and watch such an atrocity [the Holocaust] to occur. And now that the Jews are once again in danger of destruction, we’re not standing by, we’re actually pitching in to help.”

This may have been satire, but it captures the bootlicking required to avoid the anti-Semite epitaph.

After all, did we not just see Rand Paul risk excommunication because the Thought Police assailed him for holding a single philosophical dispute with one point of the Civil Rights Act? Is this any different?

Is it possible to have a difference with policies of the Israeli government without being anti-Semitic?

Is it possible to think the Palestinians should have their own state without being anti-Semitic?

Is it possible to think Israel should be in charge of its own self-defense without being anti-Semitic?

Is it possible to think that the actions of the Israeli government might not be infallible without being anti-Semitic?

Is it possible to disagree with President Obama without being a white supremacist?

Conservatives should know better.


TAO said...

Was it possible to love ones country and be against the Iraq war?

Was it possible to be an American and not bow at the feet of the Bush Administration because "he is the commander and chief and we are a country at war?"

Is it possible to know, to understand, and to respect the constitution and be a progressive at the same time?

Is it possible to be a liberal and a supporter of capitalism?

According to your fellow libertarian and independent conservative bloggers it is not....

Welcome to the world of special interest politics....

Blame Lee Atwater and Karl Rove for the situation politics is in today....and for the events that unfolded for Rand Paul...

commoncents said...


I love your blog!!

Common Cents

ps. Link Exchange??

Ramblings From a Young American said...

The race card never gets overused, if you ask the New York Times. As long as the NYT doesn't move forward in its thinking, and continues to believe that every racial injustice harks back to the last century, America will find it harder to move forward in racial integration.

Jeremiah Whitmoore said...

WOW that guy is a pathetic moron. Videos like this remind me of how repulsive most "conservative" pundits are. Not only was it grade A stupidity, it wasn't even entertaining. His attempted slander of Buchanan betrayed his treasonous ideological leanings. He also has another video entitled "Imagine there's no border" where he attempts (fails miserably) to defend Arizona's immigration law with some neocon talking points about how illegal immigration is so terrible. However, I guarantee this jackass has no problem with millions of third world immigrants inundating the country every year legally.

One more thing: Someone as clownish and unsightly as Andrew has no business being on camera. And if you want to be taken seriously. tuck your shirt in and don't wear a red undershirt with a blue button down you insipid hack.

Oso said...

I enjoyed your post, particularly your espousing a pro-American policy in the middle east. Meaning putting US interests above Israels. Nice comparisons.

Carl Wicklander said...


Perhaps among some of us it seems impossible.

Carl Wicklander said...


Very true. I'm against the race card being played by either side. It cheapens all political discourse.

Carl Wicklander said...


Tell us how you really feel! I thought Klavan was a little clever the first time I saw him but he's just a hack reciting the right lines for as long as he has to.

Carl Wicklander said...

Thanks, Oso. It seems simple to me, but I would bet money that if any other country besides Israel had done that we'd be having a different conversation.

The point, of course, is not whether we should be either pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian but pro-American. Whatever happened to that?