We knew, way back when President Obama was running for his first term, that the temptation to paint any opposition to his leadership or his policies as proof of racism would be irresistible for the less ethical among his supporters in the Democratic Party and among the media. This came to pass, but we should prepare for much worse. Now that the President has a thoroughly wretched record and is, to an extent I personally haven’t seen since the paranoid days of Richard Nixon, attempting to avoid accountability by blaming everyone in sight—a thoroughly unleaderly display—the race-baiters have served notice that they will be out in force this time as well, more shameless than ever.
None of them seem to realize or care how insulting this strategy is to legitimate critics, or how much harm it does to race relations, which the baiters supposedly care about deeply. Or, for that matter, that it is unfair and dishonest.
Last week, Nancy Pelosi proved, as I have long suspected, that she will stoop as low as it is possible to go in pursuit of her ideological objectives, and race-baiting has long been in her arsenal. Before a black audience, Pelosi repeated the absurd and outrageous claim of Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (which earned her an “Incompetent Elected Official of the Week” here) that Republican opposition to raising the debt ceiling can only be explained as hostility to a black President. Not the fact that a 14 trillion dollar debt, as the S&P credit downgrade shortly demonstrated, is too damn high; not the fact that the Democrats showed no intention of addressing the deficit crisis until the House turned red; not the fact that a critical mass of freshman House members were elected with marching orders to reduce government spending…no, it’s all based on racial prejudice. Even the inconvenient truth that Sen. Barack Obama voted against raising the debt limit when Bush was president—doubtless because of his antipathy to whites, by Lee and Pelosi’s reasoning—couldn’t suppress Pelosi below-the-belt tactics.
She knows she and her fellow race-baiters will get full support in the media. Only Republican blogs and Fox found her bogus innuendo newsworthy. It is newsworthy. It reveals the character of anyone who would attempt to win support by courting hate.
Not to be outdone, media race-baiters are practicing their trade. Here is MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, showing a clip of Rick Perry speaking:
Perry: I’m a pro-business governor. I don’t make any apologies about it, and I will be a pro-business president. Getting America back to work is the most important issue that faces this country, being able to pay off $14.5 trillion or $16 trillion worth of debt–that big black cloud that hangs over America.
Schultz’s sneering response: “That black cloud Perry is talking about is President Barack Obama.”
At this point, the late attorney Joseph Welch, whose plaintive expression of sorrow and outrage at the tactics of Sen. Joe McCarthy turned the nation against the Wisconsin bully, would exclaim, “Have you no sense of decency,sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
The answer for Schultz and Pelosi, as in it was McCarthy, is clearly “no.” It remains for the American public to decide if they will hold the race-baiters to account for simultaneously debasing the policy debate while fanning the smoldering embers of racial distrust.