THE PLANK SEPTEMBER 16, 2009
Now that race has "entered the debate" about opposition to President Obama--Rush Limbaugh said yesterday that "In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering"--you are likely to see conservatives make some version of the following argument (turn on Fox for even five minutes and you are guaranteed to see it). Here is Victor Davis Hanson:
In the wake of Joe Wilson's crude outburst, many network commentators (and Jimmy Carter, of course) are weighing in on the new racism that supposedly explains 1) rising opposition to Obamacare and 2) the president's sinking polls. I think this is a disastrous political move to save a health-care plan that simply has not appealed to a majority of Americans. I suspect it will result in another 5-point poll slide.
It is beside the point whether or not this is true. What is interesting is that Hanson believes five percent of America will hear Jimmy Carter acuse white people of racism and then react by ending their support of Obama. Does Hanson realize that this is an insult to those 5% of Americans? Maybe Hanson is right and they deserve the insult, but I doubt he sees it that way. Rather, he (along with a number of conservatives) finds it perfectly natural (and very far from racist) to react to the charge of racism by, in essence, moving rightward. If someone claimed that my political beliefs flucuated over such things, I might suspect that I was being called petty or reactionary, and resent the charge. But no, apparently this is a compliment.