Mona Charen

 There they go again: The Democrats are race-baiting -- attempting to suggest that the Republicans purposely excluded or miscounted the votes of African-Americans in the 2004 election.

 And why not? It worked so well last time around. The myth that African American votes went uncounted in Florida has achieved the status of conventional wisdom -- never mind the little detail that it is completely false. And that myth has kept African American voters bitter and angry, which is precisely the way Democrats want them to feel. The more alienated black voters become, the more certain Democrats are that an essential constituency of the Democratic Party will remain loyal. The Democrats cast themselves as champions of the disenfranchised.

 Now a group of Democrats led by Sen. Barbara Boxer has formally objected to counting Ohio's 20 Electoral College votes because of purported "voting irregularities." Michigan Democrat John Conyers asserted that in minority neighborhoods there was a particular shortage of voting machines, leading to long lines. Rep. Barbara Lee of California invoked centuries of oppression. Other members of the Congressional Black Caucus spoke of mysterious men who dressed as police officers and interfered with black voters. But just as in 2000, they have been unable to produce a single person who was denied his right to vote.

 Republicans really ought to howl about this. By remaining silent in the face of these absurd yet damaging accusations, they give some credence to it.

 In my new book "Do-Gooders," I devote a chapter to race-baiting by liberals and note the irony that those who claim to be most solicitous of African Americans are actually cynically manipulating their fears and memories for their own narrow political reasons.

 Remember the spate of black church burnings that seemed to be sweeping the Southern states? Democrats and liberals rushed to conclude that the KKK was riding again in the American South, and demagogues like Jesse Jackson were not above suggesting that conservatives had contributed to a climate that made church burnings possible. It turned out that there was no rash of black church burnings, but by the time those facts were verified, the lie had taken flight.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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