Victor Davis Hanson Gives Us Three Observations on Obama and the Race Card
Hello everyone! I haven’t been on as much the last few days because I’ve been busy moving back into a college dorm, but things are settled down now.
Anyways, over at NRO’s The Corner, Victor Davis Hanson has given us yet another piece of his brilliance with three observations on Obama and how both he and his supporters use the race card.
As we could have predicted, the reason, according to many Liberals, that we disagree with Obama so much is because he is black and somehow the thought of him accomplishing something threatens us white people. They say this not just in hopes of inciting racial hatred, but also because the same faults that were associated with previous Liberal standard bearers cannot be associated with him so easily. Unlike Clinton or Edwards, he appears to have his sexual impulses under control; unlike Gore and Kerry, Obama is quite articulate while at the same time coming off as intelligent and thoughtful (though it should be noted that there is a difference between seeming so and actually being so); and unlike Dean, Obama, at least in public, has his temper under control. He is therefore an almost perfect representative of Liberalism. Seemingly unable to comprehend that people might actually be able to disagree with his policies on principle, the Liberals assert that our disapproval of his actions stems from some deep-seated racial hatred or envy.
Or, in something far more conspiratorial, they are well aware that people are able to do such, and they are throwing these insults out in an attempt to ridicule us. I can’t help but think they are following rule 5 of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:
Rule 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”
Anyways, on to Hanson’s observations followed by my own comments:
(1) The Left needs to get its story straight. Most recently, the theme had been that the protesters were well-dressed elites and the upper privileged classes, who selfishly did not wish to imperil their own singular health care. Now, apparently, they have morphed into something like the Pennsylvania clingers, with Nazi-like, mob-like, and un-American-like tendencies.
The reason the Left has yet to get its story straight is because there isn’t one, or at least not a strong one. They don’t care how coherent or consistent their insults are, as long as they are insults and as long as they stick. The usage of insults is merely instinctual and reactionary for them. As long as the insults stick, a narrative is unimportant.
That said, if the insults do not stick, which they do not appear to be doing so in this situation, the lack of a coherent narrative can be pointed out and exploited against them, making them appear unable to effectively counter us with intelligent criticism.
(2) Identity politics and racialism have so far been more prominent on the left. The so-called white vote was fairly evenly split in the last election; the African-American vote, in contrast, rejected liberal Hillary Clinton in the primary by vast margins along racial lines. The Gates incident, the Sotomayor references, the president’s “stupidly” comments, the Holder “cowards” outburst, etc., are all simply a continuum from the campaign’s “typical white person” comment and stereotyping of the so-called white middle class, as in the infamous clingers remark. These polarizations are the natural wages of identity politics when one’s race and ethnic profile are seen as essential for careerist purposes rather than incidental to the content of one’s character.
This one particular observation is truer than many are prepared to admit. The Democrats have for years been masters of racial politics, whether it was defending Jim Crow in the old days to inserting the racial element into all political discussions today, the Democrats have consistently and predictably used the race card over the years.
I can’t help but think of a passage from a book by Ben Kinchlow on racial politics called Black Yellowdogs (a superb book for anyone interested in racial politics, particularly those of African-Americans) where he points out on pages 120-121:
In the years since Goldwater, one of the main reasons Republicans have remained on the defensive in the African-American community is because they are portrayed as insensitive. For years GOP spokesmen were always white, so Democrats, with token black spokesman, were able to stay on the offensive with the ubiquitous cry of “Racism!” The character assassins on the left, like good Marxist propagandists, trotted out the racist tag on cue. When epithets are used, reason is not.
Finally, Hanson gives us his third observation:
(3) Barack Obama has had little experience with partisan attacks of the type that were pursued viciously against both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In Illinois he used lawsuits to eliminate potential candidates in a state race, and later he benefited from mysterious but opportune leaks about sealed divorce records that eliminated both his primary and his chief general-election rivals in the 2004 U.S. Senate race. Once elected, he compiled the most liberal record in the Senate. In the presidential campaign he benefited from unpopularity of the incumbent Bush, a record amount of campaign money, and a rather subdued campaign waged by the moderate/centrist McCain. So today’s 50/50 poll ratings, coupled with an angry opposition that feels strongly about $2 trillion deficits, cap-and-trade utopianism, nationalized health care, and the inevitable taxes to come (given the size of the deficits), are all something entirely new to Obama.
This was something many of us on the right were trying to point out before the election and even since then. Before being elected President, Barack Obama had little experience running a true campaign where people could effectively criticize him. His State Senate and US Senate elections were won mostly because, as Hanson points out, Obama was able swindle his major opponents out of the election.
The result of all of this has been something that, while not completely unexpected to me, I cannot help but find somewhat surprising: the fast drop in popularity of Barack Obama. As Hanson concludes:
But what is old is the predictable smearing of legitimate opposition as somehow racist in spirit. It is an unfortunate act of desperation, but one that if pursued will probably take the president’s ratings down another 4–7 points and accomplish in 9 months or so what took the similarly once-popular George Bush 6 years.
The only question to me is “How low can it go?”