Jonah Goldberg

Of all the poisonous, ugly and intellectually vapid controversies ginned up in my lifetime, the current breakout of St. Vitus' Dance over the "racist" opposition to Barack Obama may be the most egregious.

Al Sharpton tells CNN's Larry King that decent and racially sensitive Americans shouldn't let a small minority make health care into a "racial issue."

Someone in the control room surely yelled, "Cue the laugh track!"

Arguing with Idiots By Glenn Beck

In case you don't get the joke, this entire "debate" over whether opposition to Obama's health care reform is racist is totally, completely and in every way conceivable an invention of the left.

Oh, sure, there are some racists who oppose Obama. Shocking news, that.

And, yes, a tiny, tiny fraction of the signs at the Tea Party protests last weekend were racially insensitive. But if that's how we're going to score, then opposition to the Iraq war is anti-Semitic. After all, I saw a bunch of signs at antiwar protests that said bigoted things about Jews.

Meanwhile, no significant conservative politician, pundit or intellectual has said that they object to Obama's agenda because he's black. Rather, they've said they oppose his agenda for precisely the same reasons they oppose Nancy Pelosi's and Harry Reid's and Barney Frank's agendas. They stand athwart Obama yelling "Stop!" just as they did with Clinton and Democratic presidents before him.

Magically, the alchemic powers of Obama's black skin transmogrify the same arguments and the same rhetoric into racism. Saying "you're wrong" to a white politician is a disagreement; saying it to a black politician is like shouting through Bull Connor's megaphone.

It's been said that a grand jury can indict a ham sandwich. Well, these people can indict a ham sandwich for being racist. There is not an issue, topic or flavor of ice cream that Al Sharpton won't inject racism into. But suddenly Larry King needs to ask him whether opposition to socialized medicine is racist -- as if Sharpton's response was ever in doubt. Why not just ask the host of an infomercial whether you really need a ShamWow?

Left-wing writers spent the week droning on about how it's now racist to say "I want my country back." These amnesiacs are blissfully unaware that "taking back" America was the rallying cry of the Democratic Party for eight years under George W. Bush. Anti-white racists all?

Jimmy Carter sighs, "It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply."


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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