10 January 2010

False Outrage

Perhaps because it has a black man for a figurehead the Republican Party hopes Americans will believe its outrage over Senator Reid's dumb comments from 2008 about then-Senator Obama is genuine. That is, Republicans want you to think that they're really angry on behalf of black people over the Democrat's crack about "Negro dialect." To the extent that any Republican outrage expressed on this subject is genuine, it's on their old ground of resentment of the "double standard" that condemned Trent Lott for his praise of Strom Thurmond's entire career but lets Democrats off the hook for racially insensitive or even insulting comments. I expect to hear it from Mr. Right again, for instance, that Sen. Byrd is a former Klansman but has never suffered for it. Republicans want Reid's scalp as revenge for Lott's, but Reid, to my knowledge, has never even implicitly endorsed segregation in the way Lott did when he said Thurmond would have made a great president in 1948. And in the case of Byrd, the people who are qualified to judge on matters of racial sensitivity know what side he's on now. By crying "double standard" the Republicans are trying to say that anyone can call out anyone on alleged insensitivity, and that those who misspeak are objectively liable to some penalty beyond shame whether the people who would presumably have been most offended demand punishment or not. Every so often the Republicans try to remind people that they're the Party of Lincoln. On such occasions they hope that some momentary outrage against individuals might make black partisans suddenly change ideologies. The fact is that the GOP surrendered much of its credibility as a judge in matters of racial sensitivity when it embraced the likes of Thurmond in a reactionary pact to gain power in the 1960s. Having Michael Steele as a frontman will do little to correct the party's historic handicap, especially if he does no more than espouse policies and principles that blacks have presumably repudiated long ago. There's good reason for blacks and many others to be disappointed with or disgusted by the Democratic party, but one hopes that all such disgruntled people know better than to turn to Republicans as their only alternative.


RHKINC said...

Could it be that a conservative perspective is really what is outraged here? The perspective that merit of actions should qualify someone for president and not their dialect or skin color? I don't think the outrage is Republican, I think it is human. I am surprised that more people on all sides are not outraged by this. As a while male from Maine, I am offended some people think Obama was qualified to be president partly because of his racial appearance or ethnic background. I am outraged as a conservative who believes a life of honesty and service to the people of America qualifies you for the office, not being racially representative at a convenient moment.

Samuel Wilson said...

Reid seemed to be saying that Obama was not disqualified from the presidency, since he did not look or sound like someone's black stereotype. Meanwhile, I hope you are equally outraged when family ties are an alleged conservative's sole qualification for high state or national office.

Anonymous said...

I'm outraged that right-wingers always whine that "the gubmint is trying to tell me how to live my life", and yet that is the EXACT same thing they are doing when they try to legislate that moldy old tome they call "the bible" into federal law.