Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Dems Will Stop Playing the Race Card When...

I am reading yet another biography of my man Alexander Hamilton. It's Alexander Hamilton: A Life by Willard Sterne Randall, first published in 2003. Right now I gotta say that I like it better than the 2004 Ron Chernow Alexander Hamilton.  It seems to portray the extraordinary personality of this great founder with more force than the excellent Chernow biography.

One thing you get from Randall's reporting on the colonies in the 1770s is that those guys were crazy. They make the rioters of Ferguson, Missouri, look like pikers.

The 20-year-old Alexander Hamilton got right into the thick of things, reading and writing and getting in with all the revolutionary movers and shakers.  But he hated riot and mayhem.  When the rioters came to Kings College to rout out the hated Tory college president Myles Cooper, Hamilton stood on the steps of the college building to persuade the mob not to harm Cooper.

You don't see young collegians doing that in Ferguson today.  They wouldn't dare go against their professors and Deans of Diversity.  Because they know that you don't dare go against the liberal Man in today's America.  And as for President Obama smoothing the waters...

Here's young Ezra Klein mourning that President Obama can't give a "race speech" in Ferguson like the one he gave in 2008, and instead has to send in Attorney General Eric Holder.

It's because for some reason whenever the president opens his mouth on race it divides Americans.
Obama was elected president because he seemed, alone among American politicians, to be able to bridge the deep divides in American politics. The speech that rocketed him into national life was about bridging the red-blue divide. The speech that sealed his nomination was about bridging the racial divide. 
After Obama became president he complained that the police had "acted stupidly" when a Cambridge policeman arrested Harvard Professor Skip Gates on the doorstep of his home.
The backlash was fierce. To defuse it, Obama ended up inviting both Gates and his arresting officer for a "beer summit" at the White House.
Klein goes on to display poll data to show that prior to Obama Americans weren't all that divided on things like the O.J. verdict.  Now they are divided, so "the White House knows that when Obama leads, his critics become even less likely to follow."

You see what is going on here.  Liberals like Ezra Klein are looking at the division of America as something that just happened.  What's a poor guy like Obama to do when every time he opens his mouth his opponents collapse in a foaming rage?

How did it happen? If you are a Republican you think that it's the Democrats that have created the divide, starting with the contested election of 2000 when Sore Loser Al Gore wouldn't concede.  If you are a Democrat you believe that Republicans started it all with the outrageous impeachment of President Clinton over a lie about sex.

Here's something for thinking liberals to think about.  You chaps have set up the culture where everything is about race.  You have set up race/gender studies departments in every college in the nation.  You have created "critical legal studies" that interprets law as the expression of hidden interests and class domination.  I can see that there is a place to look at race and gender, and there is a value in thinking about law as something that goes beyond universal rules to fence in the bad guys.

But today in America thousands of good liberal activists running around doing activism based on a religious belief in fundamental injustice issuing from race and gender inequality and unjust laws.

On this liberal view everything is about race and gender, and everything can and should be politicized and brought under the lens of politics.  Because social justice.

On this view what conservatives call "playing the race card" is not cynical politics intended to divide people and keep racial minorities safe in racial silos.  It is a noble political struggle; it is fighting for peace and justice.

The bad thing is that things are going to go on being divided because both sides only see their own side.  The good thing is that passions are not nearly as high as they were when 20-year-old Alexander Hamilton was attending Kings College in New York City in the early 1770s.

But here's my sly little closer.  I don't think you can get 90 percent of any large group voting the same way unless you scare the crap out of them. We don't have white voters going 90% for anything; we don't even have single white women going 90% for Democrats.  But we do have African Americans going 90 percent plus for Democrats. So I'd say it's curious that these racial flaps like the Trayvon Martin case and the Ferguson riots occur in even years just before an election.

Yet here we have the White House and Ezra Klein making out that they have no clue why the president seems to divide people every time he opens his mouth.  Here's an idea.  Maybe it's because, as Peggy Noonan writes,
The president shouldn't be using a fateful and divisive word like "impeachment" to raise money and rouse his base. He shouldn't be at campaign-type rallies where he speaks only to the base, he should be speaking to the country.
Could Aunt Peggy have hit on something here, something that the White House and young Ezra have completely missed?

There is a danger, when you keep playing the race card right before elections and revving up the base to fever pitch.  One day it may not work, specially in the sixth year of an unspectacular presidency.  We've heard, after all, about people booing the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton and complaining that Obama has done nothing for them.

When the base is demoralized and starts to blow raspberries at its demagogic leaders as the Paris mob once did to Robespierre, what do you do for an encore?

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