Jonah Goldberg
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"The race card is maxed out."

That was the punch line for a recent hilarious exchange on "The Daily Show" in which Larry Wilmore, the faux news program's "senior black correspondent," reported that the race card is not only over its credit limit but is in fact "void during a black presidency." This discovery came in the wake of Maxine Waters' allegation that her political problems stem from a racially biased congressional ethics investigation.

Wilmore said he should have seen this coming, given that "the Congressional Black Caucus has been overusing the race card for years." Like when it circled the wagons around Rep. William Jefferson. The CBC in effect argued it'd be no big deal if a white congressman had been videotaped receiving a $100,000 bribe and if the FBI then found most of it in his freezer. Singling out a black congressman for this sort of thing, Wilmore jokes, amounts to punishing Jefferson for "Legislating While Black."

Of course, Wilmore (a great comic talent) is joking, but not everyone is laughing. Waters, the representative for South Central Los Angeles since 1991, is one of America's premier racial hucksters. A notoriously nasty piece of work, she sided with the murderous rioters in what she called the post-Rodney King verdict "rebellion" and danced the electric slide with the Crips and the Bloods. (Who says she's not bipartisan?) So it's hardly surprising that she'd lump all of her problems on Whitey.

In Aesop's Fables, the scorpion must sting the frog because that is what scorpions do. In real life, Waters must blame her problems on, well, you know who.

Waters is alleged to have offered special help for OneUnited, a minority-owned bank where her husband served on the board until April 2008. Her husband owned roughly $350,000 worth of OneUnited stock. If it didn't get bailed out by the Treasury Department, the bank would have gone under. Waters told Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, about the potential conflict of interest, and Frank -- not everyone's idea of a scrupulous ethicist to begin with -- told her she should stay clear of it. She ignored his advice and allegedly helped secure OneUnited $12 million in TARP money, saving the value of her husband's bank shares. Waters says it's all a misunderstanding since she was barely involved. She merely outsourced most of the work to her chief of staff, aka her grandson.

She insists she won't be anyone's "sacrificial lamb" and points to the fact that eight members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been subject to ethics investigations -- which she and many in the CBC suggest is no coincidence.

And they're right.

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Jonah Goldberg

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