Jonah Goldberg's recent column, "To Appeal to Black Voters, GOP Must Run Gauntlet of Racism Accusations," is hilariously awful. I'll swing back around to it presently.
But first, over the weekend Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs
tweeted that if you're wondering whether the baseless Republican
attacks on UN Ambassador Susan Rice were racially motivated, you should
read the comment sections on any random conservative blog and your worst
suspicions will be confirmed.
I'm sure with many hardline right-wingers this might be true,
especially after minority voters helped to resoundingly crush their tiny
shriveled souls in the election. But, frankly, I don't think it's the
case across-the-board. Conservatives hate everything the president does,
and everyone with whom he surrounds himself, including Rice. So as soon
as Rice stepped onto the Sunday shows and talked about the Benghazi
situation, she was the next Obama administration player in line to be
consumed by the wackaloon conspiracy theorists and the conservative
entertainment complex meat grinder.
Yes, if she's nominated for Secretary of State, conservative racists
will oppose her because she's black. And yes, others will oppose her
because it's the opposite of what the president wants. And others will
combine both, using flimsy attacks on Rice's character mixed with subtle
dog-whistles. All three approaches are predictable modern Republican
But Jonah Goldberg doesn't believe there are any racists in the
Republican Party. In his column last week, he began by explaining that
the Republican Party is, in fact, not racist at all, therefore it can't
possibly be attacking Rice because she's African American.
Apologies if you reflexively spat out your beverage, soaking your keyboard. Send the bill to Goldberg.
The Democratic Party, Golberg wrote, is totally
the racist party and yet it somehow wins nearly all of the black vote.
Therefore the Republicans should get more "racist" in order to win more
black votes. ("Scare quotes" his.) Are you following this?
How does Goldberg figure the Democratic Party is more racist? With
the hackish, historically ignorant conflation of the Democrats of 1860
with the Democrats of 2012, of course. Sure, the Democratic Party was
once the conservative states' rights, small government party of the
white supremacist, secessionist, Christian South. Sound familiar?
As I've written before, the Democrats-are-the-real-racists-because-of-slavery
argument is a common fallacy that many conservative writers repeat --
cynically counting on their readers to be too lazy to bother reading
about the actual history of party platforms in America.
If Goldberg was willing to be honest about political history, he'd
know that party identification hasn't always been as cut-and-dried as it
is today. He'd know that the parties have evolved, tossing platform
planks back and forth over the decades, and essentially swapping
ideological characteristics via an ongoing timeline of permutations. The
more accurate measure of policy and ideology is to look at what's
constituted "liberalism" and "conservatism" over the years, but even
that's changed. In judging the platforms and ideas of various political
groups, it's simply best to stick with a window of around 30-40 years at
Yeah, I know. I'm expecting reason and facts from the wrong people.
What else should we expect from the author of the paradoxical Liberal Fascism
book? It sounds like he might be working on a follow-up called "Liberal
Racism." (You might recall how conservatives like Glenn Beck tried to pull
similar semantic tricks with "socialism" by conflating it with the
"National Socialist Party" of Germany. Attention conservatives: just
because it's called a "hot dog" doesn't mean it contains actual dogs.)
Anyway, Goldberg continued by predictably naming his "black friends"
as a means of underscoring the Republican record on racial tolerance. Colin Powell, for example! And Condoleezza Rice!
In addition to conveniently overlooking the history of political
parties, Goldberg ignored the Republican use of the Southern Strategy
and its current Lee Atwater-style dog whistles, such as "food stamps"
and "gutting welfare reform." He doesn't mention that unnecessary voter
ID laws are unapologetically aimed squarely at disenfranchising
minorities. And, as Charlie Pierce noted:
John Sununu. Full stop. However, Goldberg did take note of Romney's
birth certificate remark during the campaign, and, naturally, he laughed
it off as a bad joke. No mention, however, of "Obama Isn't Working" or
Romney's repeated dog-whistle use of "foreign" to describe the president's economic record.
Admittedly, not every accusation of racism against the Republican
Party has turned out to be actual racism. But the birther thing is. The
Southern Strategy is. The Voter ID crusade is. And in numerous cases,
Republicans hate the president because he represents the browning of
America and the slow suffocation of white supremacy. They're willing to
permit a few tokens like Marco Rubio, Allen West and Condoleezza Rice
because they serve a purpose: to blunt often valid criticism of racism
in the party's rhetoric and electoral strategy. But leaders like Susan
Rice and Barack Obama are the real deal, with lopsidedly massive support
among all minority groups. Republicans will never fully understand how
badly the Southern Strategy has poisoned their party. And no matter how
many "scare quotes" are employed or how many times they desperately
reach back and try to paint the modern Democratic Party with a Dixiecrat
brush, they've created this racism problem themselves and I doubt they
can dig their way out of it.
Read the full story here.