Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tea Partiers Are Only Slightly Racist

I was intrigued (and somewhat suspicious) of the lead for an article by touchy-feely writer E. J. Dionne over at The New Republic. "The Tea Partiers Aren't As Racist As Advertised" was the link in the online edition. I'm always on alert when a liberal sounds like he might be throwing a bone to a conservative group of any kind.

After clicking the link, I was taken to Dionne's article, which is headlined "Color Revolution: Nativism and the Tea Party movement." It didn't take long to see where the article was headed. First he queries why the Tea Partiers would be so vocally anti-Obama. He's mystified. "Obama, after all, is the man who saved the banks and the capital markets. Now the bankers are secure and most of them are still rich." Like the thirteenth strike of the clock, everything that follows is called into question.

And much did follow. He describes Obamacare as far short of single-payer socialized medicine (and in its currently gutted form, it is). He establishes that Obama is "decidedly moderate" on budget questions--his stimulus plans were actually "too small." Obama didn't put all his political muscle behind the progressive portions of the health care bills or the budget bills, so how could he be a leftist? Why, Obama even proposed a bipartisan commission to reach a deal on deficit reduction which was supported by "centrist" Democrats and some Republicans.

Having set the stage from his decidedly ultraliberal point of view, Dionne then asks the Sixty Four Dollar Question: "Why has the middle of the road leader inspired such enthusiastic counter-organizing, and called forth such venom?" This premise is so patently ridiculous based on everything we know about Obama that I'd be tempted to stop here. But we haven't gotten to the race issue yet.

The standard answer to his loaded question among the liberals is "because he's black, and those people are all racists." Not so, says Dionne. He says: "The most popular theory on the left is that Obama's race is a big part of the story, and that we are seeing a reaction among some whites against the multiracial, multicultural political coalition he has brought together. The phrase 'losing our country' is often on the lips of his enemies, which raises the question of who they mean by the word our." Let me explain, Mr. Dionne. "We" are concerned about "losing our country" to persons of a particular color--"they" are red. Your false premise attempts to deflect that simple thought.

At last week's Tea Party convention, a favorite target of the left appeared and spoke. Tom Tancredo, who is occasionally too outspoken and pointed in his delivery to suit many of us conservatives, held forth on illegal immigration. That caused Dionne to say that "Tancredo gave backers of the racial explanation all the ammunition they needed." That proves that Dionne is nearly as foolish as his avid readers. It's racist to oppose illegal immigration? That premise is almost as false as his original question.

Tancredo also mentioned literacy tests for voters. That brought on the inevitable "Jim Crow in the South" arguments. Requiring people of any color to prove their literacy (in English, of course) on a standardized civics questionnaire is a legitimate issue that has been debated multiple times, including on this blog. But it's neither a racial issue, nor is today's America the deep South in the 1960s. Still, if you want to find racism, you will. For an article that purports to question the validity of the racism charges against the Tea Party movement, it seems to spend most of its time proving that point by denying it.

"So, yes, parts of this movement do seem to be motivated by a new nativism, and by racism. But it would be a mistake to see the hostility only in terms of race." Get it, Tea Party folks? "You're" only a little nativist and a little racist, so "we" forgive you. It's "your" other crazy beliefs that "we" object to.

So what's the biggie that has Dionne's panties in a twist? And the answer is (drumroll, please) anti-statism. He describes it as having deep roots in our history. "Anti-statism, a profound mistrust of power in Washington, goes all the way back to the Anti-Federalists who opposed the Constitution itself because they saw it concentrating too much authority in the central government." Accurate history, but it has little to do with the fact that today's central government does, indeed, have far too much power. That is the result not of the Constitution, but of the distortion of the proper powers of the central government by the political branches with the assistance of the "living Constitutionalists" in the judicial branch.

"This suspicion of government is not amenable to 'facts'--not because it is irrational, but because the facts are beside the point. For the anti-statists, opposing government power is a matter of principle." No, Mr. Dionne, we oppose the unfettered power of the central government to exceed its constitutional limits by quantum leaps and its attempts to control, regulate and determine the course of everything we do and think. If that's irrational, I'm crazy as a loon.

And so, dear friends, Dionne has taken the measure of the Tea Partiers (which apparently includes non-Tea Party conservatives and major segments of the GOP). "Understanding the principled anti-government radicalism that animates this movement explains why its partisans see the conservative (?) Bush as a sellout and the cautiously (?) liberal Obama as a socialist. For now, their fears of Obama are enough to tether the Tea Partiers to the GOP. In the long run, establishment Republicans are destined to disappoint them."

There you have it, Tea Partiers. You are only mildly racist and nativist, but your truly great sin is anti-statism. Are you buying that? I'm not. Dionne builds his whole premise from his extremely liberal viewpoint, missing the entire reality of the Tea Party movement. Opposition to Obama would be the same if he were as pallid as Kerry. Opposition to illegal immigration is just plain logical, and the color or ethnicity of the border-jumpers is entirely irrelevant (many conservatives are far less concerned about Mexican illegals sneaking across the border than they are about Al Qaeda operatives doing the same thing). And if opposition to the huge and growing leviathan that is Washington is irrational and radical, count me among the crazy radicals. After all, I was one of those crazy radicals in the 60s who would have agreed entirely with Dionne. I came to my senses and took my blinders off. I suggest that Dionne should do the same.

16 comments:

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--Those clowns in the Democratic cadres are more racist and race-conscious than 99% of the Tea Party people. Of course there are always fringe people in any movement, but as you said, if you're looking to find racism, you will.

LawHawkSF said...

HamiltonsGhost: And those on the left who aren't clearly racist suffer from what Bush and others called "the soft bigotry of low expectations." The real lefties look for racism, and if they don't find it, they create it.

AndrewPrice said...

The left always thinks they are middle of the road because they live in bubbles. Everyone they know is a leftist, everything they read is written by leftists, and so on. Thus, to them, the difference between a Menshevik and a Bolshevik is huge. It's like two snowflakes arguing about how different they really are.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: So true. And it was perfectly summarized by Berkeley-to-Upper-West-Side-New Yorker, Pauline Kael when she was alleged to have said "I don't understand how Nixon could have won, I don't know anyone who voted for him."

ArmChairGeneral said...

You know, I always really get tickled when a democrat attempts to 'reach across the aisle' by giving us a moderate plan compared to an ultra liberal agenda. Then it really makes me oh so happy when I get told that oh they were wrong and I am not as racist as they thought I was. Good Grief. Let's pray for them. Please fellow Christians we must pray for those prodigal sons.

LawHawkSF said...

ACG: Being a little racist is like being a little pregnant. There ain't no such animal. You either are or you aren't. I'm like you. I'm fed up to the neck with being patronized by pseudo-intellectuals who "forgive us" for our ignorant transgressions.

CalFederalist said...

Lawhawk. I've gotten used to being called a racist when I agree with Thomas Sowell or any other black conservative. And I'm used to being called a nativist (or xenophobe) because I believe in stopping illegal immigration. But now I have to deal with being called an "anti-statist?"

LawHawkSF said...

CalFed: The lefties are almost as good at creating new pejoratives for us as they are at re-inventing themselves. We've become "anti-statists" and the liberals have become "progressives." I prefer the idea that we're constitutionalists and they're socialists. Much more accurate.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

Actually, both sets of terms are accurate. What I get tired of is the seemingly endless way of postering that the left comes up with of "HOW BEAUTIFUL WE ARE AND HOW UGLY YOU PEOPLE ARE"

BevfromNYC said...

It was almost better when they didn't take us seriously. Of course, the Dems want our vote, but they keep calling us names! But whenever they try to "explain" who we are, they are just keep digging a bigger hole.

Why would I vote for someone or a party who thinks I am stupid, racist, and are totally beneath contempt? At least the Repubs have wisely kept their invectives to themselves.

LawHawkSF said...

Joel: I agree, but with a reminder. The Republicans did a great job of honestly calling the Democrats liberals, then pointing out what it meant. The best wags would refer to the philosophy as "the L-word." So they became "progressives," which really means "regressives," digging up the Dewey/Wilson/La Follette plans of government intervention in nearly everything. On the other hand, most people who are not political junkies would not recognize the expression "anti-statist," and the lefties will re-define it to mean that we're a bunch of rubes who don't understand the proper role of big government.

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: It's the Charlie Brown-Lucy Van Pelt political ploy. They actually love us, and they're willing to talk with us. Then, after the dummy Republicans have stepped into the trap, he'll pull the football away and the gullible Republicans will end up flat on their backs--again. I hope our elected representatives don't fall for this trap.

Bipartisanship be damned. We elect by parties for the purpose of partisanship, and "compromise" is not the same thing as "partisanship." We've got 'em by the short hairs, and this is no time to go all wobbly. When you find the weakness in the defense, you use your offense to push through it. That does not include Republicans making nice with a socialist liar like Obama.

StanH said...

E.J. Dionne is one of the most annoying leftist pundit/journalist on the planet. You get him Howard Fineman, and Chris Mathews together on a panel discussion you need your barf bag.

As an aside, I’ve been to several Tea Party protest, and what I saw were the people that pay the bills. The ones that allow the E.J. Dionne’s of the world to exist in their little bubble of elites. In truth we are the real power in this country, and it scares the hell out of them, that we are not home fat and happy, keeping those cards and letters (checks) coming. What would E.J. Dionne do if he actually had to produce something of value? I know it’s ugly, but I hate all these bastards in the MSM!

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: That's all very true. And what really scares the hell out of them is that for once, a substantial portion of the populace has decided not to bleat "baa, baa, baa" in the face of elitist opinion. For far too long the left has intimidated people into quietly accepting their "intellectual superiority." It's a sham, and there has finally come a popular uprising to say to the elites: "We're as mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore."

Writer X said...

Dionne's columns are occasionally published in our local newspaper. I usually read them for a good laugh.

He reminds me of a librarian who wants to ban a book in a library, not because of what it says, but because of what he thinks it says. Let's hope he keeps writing his silly columns.

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: Excellent comment. Dionne is a regular all over the place here. He's considered quite the moderate. Proof that everything's relative. He doesn't play so well in normal places with normal people who recognize that he's off the left-hand side of the charts.

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