Is the race card the only card in their deck?

April 25, 2010

In the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Salena Zito looks at the increasing frequency with which the Left plays the race card -accusing opponents of racism, denying that they could have any legitimate grievance- and sees it losing its force as it becomes overplayed:

Racism isn’t what it used to be. Back in the day, it was horrible in-your-face humiliation hurled for reasons that included fear, insecurity, hate or an utter lack of decency.

Today, the word “racism” is used so flippantly in politics that its true heinous intent often is diluted.

Race has taken political center-stage once more with generalizations that all people who participate in tea party events are racists because they oppose President Barack Obama’s policies.

Racism also often is cited by Washington insiders as the reason for the downward trajectory of Obama’s public approval.

Yet racism has nothing to do with Obama’s falling numbers — or, for that matter, those of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who also is black.

Both men were given the benefit of the doubt when elected to their positions. Only now, after having an opportunity to witness their behavior and performance, have people decided they don’t approve of the jobs Obama and Steele are doing.

Racists never would have given either man an opportunity to begin with. Americans’ dissatisfaction with both men and their performance has more to do with these individuals than with their skin color.

The real story for both Obama and Steele is the same as that for many high-profile (and usually white) politicians. They began with high expectations and then their approval ratings fell over time, as people got to know them.

Zito then compares the rise, fall, and rise-again of Howard Dean and sees him receiving the same treatment, even though he’s White. She rightly points out that both Obama and Steele might also have benefited by a race card being played in their favor. And she notes the boomerang effect of playing it against average Americans, many of whom are becoming politically active in the Tea Party movement, who are feeling ever more condescended to and even insulted for opposing Obama on grounds of policy and performance.

The increasing use of the race card reveals two things: first, that it’s the Left that obsesses over race and the need to see everyone as part of groups, rather than as individuals concerned with principles. As Shelby Steele points out in White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era, racism on the Right was largely burned out when it became socially unacceptable to be racist during the civil rights era. The liberal Left, on the other hand, adopted a form of racial group-think to absolve itself of “White guilt,” atonement for which requires one to explain everything in terms of race and racism.

Second, and perhaps more immediate, the progressive-statists know instinctively that the American people largely reject their preferred policies. Barack Obama ran as a post-partisan, above-all-politics moderate, and the electorate, tired of years of snarling partisanship under Clinton and Bush, hired him to put all that to rest. Then he dropped the mask and, in conjunction with the progressives who dominate the Democratic Party in Congress, has governed as a hyper-partisan Leftist. I’m convinced that, had the public in 2008 known the truth about what Obama and his allies intended if they came to power, then the Democratic ticket wouldn’t have garnered 30% of the vote. (That Obama got away with this is largely the tale of a media that abdicated its responsibilities shamelessly in order to promote Obama, but that’s another story.)

Faced with the reality of a growing rejection, the Left more and more has dealt the race card to smear and intimidate citizens exercising their rights as citizens. But the plain fact is that the opposition that’s arisen is in response to policy and incompetence, and the opponents largely don’t give a damn about anyone’s skin color.

The race card may be the only card left in the progressive’s deck, but it’s hardly a trump anymore.

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Sunday book review: The Real Global Warming Disaster

April 25, 2010

For years now, we’ve been warned the world faces catastrophe because man and his polluting activities are making the world too hot, principally by pumping too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This anthropogenic global warming, the Wise tell us, will wipe out species, cause the spread of disease, submerge islands and coastal cities as the seas rise, while turning much of the world into a desert. Britain may come to resemble a Mediterranean country, while, in one dire scenario, Man’s folly will leave Antarctica as the only inhabitable continent.

Scary stuff, indeed.

But what’s more frightening, according to Christopher Booker, author of The Real Global Warming Disaster, is that so many have fallen for this nonsense and that the major nations of the Western world, notably Great Britain and the United States, stand on the verge of doing near-fatal harm to their own economies in order to fight a problem that does not exist.

Booker’s is not a work of science, but a book about the corruption of science, journalism, and politics, and how they have combined to create one of the greatest public scares and manias since Dutchmen thought tulip bulbs were a sound investment. Scientists who placed ideology and pride ahead of empirical truth; journalists who failed in their most basic responsibility, to be skeptical of what they were told; and politicians who didn’t understand the science , but jumped on a bandwagon and then found it going too fast to jump off. Booker traces these and other intellectual and social threads back for over 60 years to see how we arrived at the verge of economic suicide.

What’s truly disheartening about a book such as this is how figures in whom we are supposed to place great trust –scientists, journalists, and politicians– can be so incompetent and petty. And vicious, given how they have treated those who have questioned the vaunted “consensus” regarding man-made climate change. The story of the global warming craze, which has yet to play to its end and may still trap us in its delusional green fantasies, serves as a warning to the public in democratic societies to never let down their guard. When someone says, “There is a crisis, and we must surrender our liberties and spend trillions to fix it – just trust me,” we should be at our most wary and skeptical.

The Real Global Warming Disaster is available through Amazon; I highly recommend it.

(And yes, FTC, I do get a few pennies should someone click on the link. )