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.