My column for the Daily News is online. Here it is.
West Bend Daily News 11/27/2012, Page A06
Divide and conquer
Racism card aimed at merely decking GOP opposition
It is being said that the presidential election of 2012 should serve as a lesson that all elections are about demographics and this election proved it. This is the insulting and patronizing concept that voters are not complex beings with multiple interests capable of thinking in higher ideals, but rather buckets of mindless drones to be divided into voting ghettos by their race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or any other characteristic for the purpose of targeted pandering. This election, we are told, is a lesson to future candidates that they cannot win elections with the strength of their ideas and arguments, but only by cobbling together enough targeted demographical subsets of the electorate to form a winning majority.
This line of thinking is an extension of the race, gender and other kinds of divisive politics our nation has been engaging in from time immemorial. But the interesting thing about this vein of low politics is how one-sided it has become.
Take for example the case of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. Upon the departure of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rice is been floated as a top choice to replace Clinton as the new secretary of state. Many of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate, which must confirm the president’s cabinet appointments, are expressing vocal opposition to Rice ascending to a cabinet position.
Their opposition is based upon Rice’s role in the Benghazi scandal. On Sept. 11, four Americans – including our U.S. ambassador to Libya – were killed by terrorists in a planned attack on the U.S. Consulate. Despite obstinate obstruction by the Obama administration to disclose information about the attack, we have since learned that the government knew within hours that it was a terrorist attack.
Yet, despite knowing the truth, Rice went on five talk shows five days after the attack to forcefully spin the yarn that the attack was a spontaneous attack stemming from protests of an Internet video. Rice knew, or should have known, that the story she was telling was a lie. That is why she is not fit to be the secretary of state and that is why many Republican senators oppose her appointment (the Democratic senators seem fine with it).
While the Republican opposition is entirely legitimate based on truly objectionable behavior on Rice’s part, they are being accused of being racist and sexist because Rice is a black woman. It is a crass and ridiculous accusation that not only belittles the real concerns over four dead Americans, but dehumanizes Rice into nothing more than her gender and the color of her skin.
In contrast, here in Wisconsin we are seeing the shoe on the other foot and the starkly different reactions. After the election the parties in the Wisconsin Senate held elections to choose their leader. Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), who was once seen as a rising moderate in the party, was expected to win the top spot as the minority leader. He had promises from the majority of the Senate Democrats that they would vote for him, but when the vote was held, he lost to the ultra-liberal shoplifting malcontent from Milwaukee, Sen. Chris Larson.
It was soon discovered that it was Democratic Sen. Bob Wirch from Somers who had promised his vote to Erpenbach, but had lied and instead voted for Larson. It only took a few weeks to find out. Last week Larson appointed Wirch to the powerful Joint Finance Committee. In the process, Larson kicked Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) off of the committee to make room for Wirch. In other words, Larson replaced a black woman who did nothing wrong with a white man on the most powerful committee in the legislature.
Will Larson be accused of being racist and sexist like the Republicans in the U.S. Senate? The silence from the race and gender warlords in Wisconsin answers that question.
So what lesson are we to learn from the dichotomy of responses for the voiced opposition to a black woman becoming secretary of state by Republicans versus the actual demotion of a black woman by a Democrat? Simple. Those who throw around accusations of racism, sexism or whatever “ism” are often raging hypocrites with a different agenda who should be ignored and ostracized from the debate about real issues that affect real people.
I look back fondly on the days when Republicans wore big boy pants and didn’t whine so much.
Owen, you can’t have if both ways. You continue to support laws that most women/Hispanics find against their best interests. And yet you are surprised and angered when they express this in the voting booth. Really?
Continue to call them names - that will help.
I didn’t realize that freedom and free enterprise were “anti-woman” or “anti-Hispanic”.
If by freedom you mean using the force of law to make a woman bear a rapist’s child, and by free enterprise, you mean the right to own slaves, then yes.
You do recall that when I was in high school, it was against the law in most southern states to marry someone of a different race.
The conservatives of the time supported such laws. Was that freedom?
In defense of what I used to consider the real GOP, almost all of those states were controlled by democrats at the time.
And you conviently forget that Susan Rice was doing what the inteligence community asked her to do—to not mention terrorism as there was an ongoing and open investigation and they were afraid disclosing the terrorist link would compromise that investigation.
I was called a racist when I said people voted for Barry because of the color of his skin. Speaking with some folks that are of African heritage, they told me that Barry’s skin color was one of their reasons so why am I a racist for repeating what they said?
Barry is really half white and half black so am I only half a racist. My favorite candidate was Herman Cain so am I a reverse racist. Can anyone but me see the stupidity in playing the race card? Both of Owen’s examples have nothing to do with race.
In my opinion, Ms. Rice has not demonstrated the abilities to handle the job of Secretary of State. She has demonstrated the ability to handle the job of a parrot or a mimic.
Those who throw around accusations of racism, sexism or whatever “ism” are often raging hypocrites with a different agenda who should be ignored and ostracized from the debate about real issues that affect real people.
Good point! IOW they are saying, look over there, because I can’t defend your accusation without sounding like a complete idiot.
Dan Carlin expresses perfectly why Republicans lost an election they should have won.
It’s the episode is titled “Post Election Potpourri”. It’s worth a listen.
I read this after Obama’s first win. It remains as relevant now, if not more, than it was then.
“What’s Gone Wrong With Conservatism”
You said people voted for Obama because he’s black. You then said you talked to some black people (great anecdotal evidence) who said ONE of the reasons they voted for Obama because he was black.
You don’t see how you’re stereotyping? Or at least distorting the truth? SOME people said ONE of the reasons they voted for Obama is because he’s black. You said that people voted for Obama because he’s black…that’s why people say you’re racist.
I don’t think you’re racist, and I’m sure there are people who vote for Obama because he’s black. But be more careful about making sweeping generalizations and you won’t get called racist.
Can anyone but me see the stupidity in playing the race card? Both of Owen’s examples have nothing to do with race.
Every time I see the phrase “divide and conquer” I’m reminded that was the exact words our Gov used to describe his plan for the workers in Wisconsin.
When will all those stupid people who aren’t straight, white, Christian men going to get it? You keep explaining it to them, Republicans. I’m sure that’ll work.
I’m an old white guy. I do business with a lot of old white guys. I’m fine with old white guys.
But, I don’t have to run for office and pretend that I will represent all people.
I see that every one of the 19 House committee heads for the GOP is a white guy. That’s an odd strategy given the demographic results of the last election.
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