One of the most peculiar tropes of the media division of the Gore campaign are the hard-news stories promoting the media's own pet theories about the Republicans' real objectives and beliefs. It is repeatedly stated as fact, for example, that Republicans have forsaken the black vote, and gave many blacks prominent roles at their convention solely in order to appeal to soccer moms.
This is a classic example of people who generalize wildly and illogically from their own experiences. The New York Times is composed primarily of addled liberals who presume all whites share their own bizarre attitude toward blacks. Liberals think blacks confer cache on them and therefore believe that anyone surrounded by blacks must be operating from the same psychological compulsion.
In fact, only liberals are obsessed with the world's perception of their attitude toward blacks. And only liberals think Republicans should be chasing the votes of liberal suburban "soccer moms" or New York Times' reporters. George Bush surely harbors no crazy illusions that he will get the votes of white liberals, anyway.
Still, The New York Times repeatedly asserts that Republicans are using blacks as props to win the almighty soccer mom vote (or in the Times' parlance -- "suburban," "white," "independent" or "moderate" voters). Here's a brief sampling from just two days of The New York Times during the Republican National Convention:
In that last article, the author accused Republicans of engaging in "a symbolic form of minstrelsy" for their "strategic deployment of blacks as props and symbols." Let's examine that proposition -- the claim that blacks were moved around like props at the Republican National Convention. In my recollection, the only prime-time black speakers at that convention were Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice -- who do have some merit apart from being black.
There apparently were also gospel singers and break dancers, but there were also country music singers and a professional wrestler. This was the entertainment portion of the convention. Were the Republicans supposed to make do with four days of Milli Vanilli?
At least Republicans don't take black votes for granted.
A majority of blacks claim they hate the Republican Party because of the party's opposition to racial preferences. Just five years ago, Jesse Jackson (who, until Sen. Joe Lieberman assumed the post, used to be the "conscience of the Democratic Party") compared Lieberman to Jesse Helms. Jackson noted with disgust that on the issue of affirmative action, "Lieberman and Helms are indistinguishable."
The only thing Gore could have done to annoy the Jesse Jackson-Al Sharpton wing of the Democratic Party more than putting Lieberman on his ticket would have been to pick a Korean as his running mate.
Clinton dumped his speech to the black and Latino delegates the night before he was scheduled to give it. He told his advisers to beg off, claiming he needed more time to work on his convention speech -- though somehow the president did have time to fit in seven other speeches in Los Angeles before his convention-night speech. (And, of course, Clinton's first official act establishing himself as a "New Democrat" during the 1992 campaign was to dis Sister Souljah.)
But Republicans are supposed to be the ones who use blacks as props.