Don’t go there, Michael Steele

November 12, 2010

Too, late, he already did.

Michael Steele, the controversial and foot-in-mouth prone Chairman of the Republican National Committee played the race card in response to rumors that he would be replaced, soon:

Embattled Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele has often turned to the subject of race in his nearly two-year tenure.

But last week, in a radio interview with Rev. Al Sharpton, Steele ratcheted up the rhetoric, appearing to agree with Sharpton that if he is not reelected as RNC chairman, it will be because the GOP is racist, making “the brother take the fall.”

Sharpton said he couldn’t believe Republicans would even think of ditching Steele as RNC chair.

“You’d be the first brother run out after doing a good job. It would be interesting to see them have a historic win, and the brother takes the fall. Usually the brother takes the fall when they lose,” Sharpton said.

“You’re right. Well, you know, that’s going to be remain to be seen,” Steele said. “I get it. There are folks who are not exactly thrilled with my style of leadership. As I said recently, ‘they’ll get used to it.’”

Okay, he didn’t say it explicitly, but his “You’re right” to Al Sharpton(!) sure wasn’t a refutation of Al’s smear, either. It was, in fact, just what it seemed to be: an indirect warning to his critics that they’ll be branded as racists if they succeed in replacing him. It’s a cheap attempt to avoid a legitimate audit of his record by those who hired him.

Let me tell you something, Michael, and I write this as someone whom you impressed during your 2006 run for the US Senate and who backed you in your campaign for RNC Chairman: you need to go.

This has nothing to do with your race (a biologically meaningless concept, anyway), but with …how should I put this?… your underwhelming performance and the dumb things you’ve said in office. Consider these few things from a much larger list:

And now you yourself have played the race card. That’s inexcusable, especially from a conservative.

Sorry, Michael. It’s not your race, it’s your record.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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.


The media finally notices the bigotry of the Left?

April 11, 2010

Recently, a series of vicious and bigoted phone messages left for an African-American professor who was opposed to ObamaCare drew media attention. At Big Government, Bob Parks vents his disgust… at the media:

When I read Monica Crowley’s piece on Big Government, I must admit to being thoroughly disgusted.

Not because she posted racial-slur laden voicemails sent to Dr. Christopher Metzler, Associate Dean of Continuing Studies at Georgetown University because of his opposition to ObamaCare. No, I am disgusted because for years the mainstream media has invited black conservatives on their radio and television programs to be an opposing voice to the black liberals who are often sought as the voice of black America. We’ve told them (off the record) of the response we normally get after our appearances.

We know what the headlines would read if something were said to annoy Al Sharpton. But it took racist phonecalls to a dean to invoke outrage.

I know many other black conservatives have endured the racial slurs from the left for decades, and the media has never had our backs.

Parks then goes through a long list of racist attacks by the Left against Black conservatives that the media has ignored.

(Argh. Hit “publish” instead of save draft. The rest of the post follows….)

The question is why this happens. Why does the media regularly ignore churlish behavior originating on the Left that they gleefully expose when it comes from the Right?

For some, I’m sure, it’s ideological: the American mainstream media largely skews Left, and they’re supporting their allies. For example, look at the extensive effort of Dan Rather and other figures at CBS to smear President George W. Bush in order to help Senator John Kerry just before the 2004 election. (An overview of the scandal: Rathergate)

For others, though, I think it’s just the self-perception of virtue causing a form of blindness: “Our side is the good side; they’re the racists. We just can’t be guilty of the same thing. When we characterize Condoleezza Rice as Mammy, or Michael Steele as Sambo, that’s legitimate satire.” This refusal to see fault in one’s own side is the more common reason I think, and something not limited to the Left.