Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rationalizing Party Allegiance

It is a reminder, apparently, that idiocy comes in all colors.

"The Root" is a daily online magazine which publishes pieces by blacks of varying perspectives. Lenny McCallister, reportedly a syndicated political commentator and author of Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative), posted "Is Democratic Opposition to Obama Also Racial?"

McCallister, to his credit, avoids attributing discontent with President Obama among Democrats to "racism." Sort of. He asks:

Although the 2008 presidential primary is a distant memory, it was not that long ago that key Democratic partisans were unpleasantly surprised by a young, educated black newcomer who came onto the scene to steal a nomination from consensus choice Hillary Clinton and went on to win the White House. Is it that much of a stretch to suggest that those lingering feelings from 2008 -- some racial, some not -- are playing a part in the rhetoric we are hearing from the left today?

Yes, it is. Peruse McCallister's article. There is no example of this "rhetoric we are hearing from the left today." Oh, he trots out Harry Reid's comment observation and Bill Clinton's "serving coffee" comment preceeding the South Carolina primary in 2008. The Majority Leader's remark may have been little more than an acknowledgement of reality. Bill Clinton's comment was printed in Game Change, in which Mark Halperin and John Heilemann allege, without attribution, that Bill Clinton made the comment to Senator Edward Kennedy. And Reid's statement and Clinton's- alleged- crack were made over two years ago. Both remarks may, McCallister claims, "play a part" (whatever that means) in today's rhetoric he fails to identify.

McCallister condemns

The explosive expressions of disgust and disunity with the president -- from Sen. Sherrod Brown's (D-Ohio) obvious anguish over Obama's tax-compromise framework to the left's media base calling him spineless -- has been evident since Obama announced the proposal last week to maintain the Bush tax cuts in return for extending unemployment benefits.

McCallister does not place "spineless" in quotes, suggesting he may have failed to find any prominent Democrat who called the President spineless. So we won't call it "spineless." But we do have as a President an individual who recognized in 2007-2008 that criticism of George W. Bush practically was de rigeur for any Democrat or Republican and campaigned against extending the Bush tax cuts. Now, recoiled in horror at the "shellacking" his party took in the recent election, he has chosen to enact those same tax cuts into law. No need to go much more deeply- the President who watered down financial reform in the face of GOP opposition or refused to issue an Executive Order suspending discharge of gay members of the armed services because it might make the military brass angry. Or the President who, as a candidate having supported a public option in health care reform, retreated in the face of a party which threatened to make the issue his "Waterloo." He wouldn't want to make his opponents unhappy.

That would be Lenny McCallister's Republican Party, about which President-elect Obama told Rolling Stone

I still remember going over to the Republican caucus to meet with them and present our ideas, and to solicit ideas from them before we presented the final package. And on the way over, the caucus essentially released a statement that said, "We're going to all vote 'No' as a caucus." And this was before we'd even had the conversation. At that point, we realized that we weren't going to get the kind of cooperation we'd anticipated. The strategy the Republicans were going to pursue was one of sitting on the sidelines, trying to gum up the works, based on the assumption that given the scope and size of the recovery, the economy probably wouldn't be very good, even in 2010, and that they were better off being able to assign the blame to us than work with us to try to solve the problem.

Of course, it isn't that McCallister is a racist or a "reverse racist" for inferring racial prejudice that isn't there. He simply is a member of a party that has voted in lock step against the first black President. The degree to which animus toward blacks in general has motivated that approach is arguable- but it nonetheless must be embarassing to a fellow who counts himself amongst one of its proud members.

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