Monday, May 26, 2008

Pointing A Finger

What is it with Barack Obama and fund-raisers? It was at a fund-raiser in April that Senator Obama spoke these legendary words:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And it’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

And now at a fund-raiser in Florida on May 22, 2008 the near-certain Democratic presidential nominee said:

A certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There’s a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year. If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it’s not surprising that would happen.

Now, putting Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh in the same phrase is bad enough, given that they disagree about trade, outsourcing, minimum wage, corporate regulation, education, taxation, affirmative action, gay rights (which Dobbs considers a diversionary issue), abortion (ditto), campaign finance reform, mainland China, health care, Iraq (on which Dobbs' views are a little hard to discern), the Bush presidency, and other issues I can't think of presently.

But the real problem is this: the people responsible for hate crimes against Hispanics are the people who have committed hate crimes against Hispanics. They are the people who should be held accountable and who should be prosecuted. Liberals are often, largely unjustifiably, accused of denigrating the concept of individual responsibility. It would not only be good policy, but good politics, for the nominee (presumably Obama) of America's liberal party to demand that individuals who commit criminal offenses- including hate crimes- face the consequences of their actions. That's a better argument than excusing their behavior because a talk show host or newscaster/advocacy journalist opposes illegal immigration.

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