Democrats' Liberal Racism

Joel Mowbray

12/5/2001 12:00:00 AM - Joel Mowbray
In their latest attempt to get Senate Democrats off their duffs and approve President George W. Bush's nominees, Republicans are playing the race card, accusing Democrats of "racial profiling" in stalling minority candidates. Not that the Republican charges are wrong-they're not-but the GOP ought to be careful when playing with fire. For years, Democrats and their malicious cronies have mercilessly maligned Republicans as racist bigots with a pathological hatred of minorities. And the oh-so-convincing reply? "No we're not!" It would be easy to point a finger at the media, and though they share some of the blame, the real trouble lies within. Republicans have been vilified as racists-pegged as responsible for cross-burnings in a St. Louis ad, and who could forget the NAACP's reckless and exploitative James Byrd ad against Bush last year-with such frequency over the years that they now suffer from Battered Politician's Syndrome. When hit with yet another charge of "racism", the best most Republicans can muster is a meek and pathetic defense. With this history in mind, Republicans should be wary of playing the race card. They have not toiled for years making a case, which means they must work much harder than any Democrat asserting the same claim. In politics, attempting to use an issue belonging to the other party-a Democrat pushing tax cuts or a Republican touting health care reform, for example-is a painstaking process that requires enormous effort. Witness Bush's tireless energies promoting K-12 reform during the Presidential contest: with education as the centerpiece of his campaign, Bush was merely able to wipe out the traditional Democratic advantage. So when Republicans charge Democrats with "racial profiling", a quaint political catchphrase with very real-world consequences for far too many minorities, a typical 6-second sound bite is woefully insufficient. The GOP must offer a legitimate theory as to why Democrats are throwing roadblocks in the path of minority appointees, and then continually reiterate that charge until they are blue in the face. There is a compelling case to be made that Democrats are unfairly targeting minority candidates in their zeal to maintain the illusion that all people of color are big government aficionados. In order to bring the truth to light, Republicans first need to pierce the halo effect Democrats currently enjoy. The irony of the public perception that Republicans, particularly conservatives, are the intolerant bunch is that the philosophical underpinning of liberalism is racist to the core. Liberalism is the last refuge of racist scoundrels. Leftists bask in identity politics, and they measure the content of people's character by the color of their skin. Look at how Bill Clinton defined his administration as the "most diverse in history". Sure there may have been a lot of dark faces, but three-quarters of his high-level picks were Ivy League-educated lawyers, hardly a "diverse" bunch, unless your sole criterion is color of skin. One of the most dangerous manifestations of liberals' ugly ideology is that a person of color who strays from a leftist song sheet is a so-called race-traitor. Of course most elected Democrats on Capitol Hill are too slick to explicitly voice such a nasty slur, so they latch on to fig leaf reasons. Take, for instance, the situation of Gerald Reynolds, who was appointed by Bush to head up the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education. Jerry Reynolds is bright, principled, and extensively published. But Reynolds has committed a mortal sin in the eyes of Democrats and their small-minded minions: he has the audacity to be both black and conservative. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has meted out punishment by allowing Reynolds' nomination to languish in committee, even though the votes are there for him to get confirmed. The stated rationales for holding up Reynolds' nomination run the gamut from distortions to lies. Kennedy's cohorts have claimed Reynolds opposes affirmative action-a distortion, and that he opposes Title IX (the law requiring gender-equality in college sports)-a lie. When we worked together at Center for Equal Opportunity, Reynolds was the first person to teach me the distinction between racial preferences, which he opposes, and affirmative action, which he supports. Preferences merely look at race, and bonus points go to certain colors of skin. True affirmative action, on the other hand, is about expanded recruitment and retention efforts to create equality of opportunity. That Reynolds holds the President's views on preferences and affirmative action, and has never said anything publicly about Title IX, should not keep him from the full Senate vote he deserves. If Republicans persist in hitting Democrats for their pernicious bigotry against conservative minorities, they must dig in for the long haul. But if the tangible result is the confirmation of highly qualified nominees like Jerry Reynolds, it's a cause worth fighting for.