Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Race Baiting the President

They’re at it again. Playing the race card where no racism was even remotely to be found. Liberals are using prominent black voices to whip anti-Bush frenzy over the race issue. It’s unfair, silly and downright irresponsible, not to mention just plain dishonest. It’s not just Rangel’s calling Bush a modern Bull Connor. It’s not just Farrakhan’s nutty ideas that Bush had Navy Seals blow up the levees. The stigma of racism is again being picked up by every liberal who wishes Bush wasn’t president. Chris Matthews has taken to making offhand remarks on Hardball, about how the administration has shown its racism in the disaster response.

These charges range from the silly to the slimy. Farrakhan has long existed on the fringes of fringe. Nobody takes his assertion seriously, it only made the news because it was good for a laugh. But the charges by Rangel, and other “mainstream” black leaders have had more resonance. With liberals willing to believe the worst about president Bush at every turn such rhetoric resonates with media and “mainstream” liberals like Matthews. Now half the nation believes the president is a racist. In politics charges need not be true, to stick.

Fortunately in time the facts usually win out. President Bush is no racist. Aside from the fact that the first two black Secretaries of State have been Powell and Rice, there is ample evidence. Even regarding the hurricane itself, Bush is not factually vulnerable.

Bush called the governor on Sunday before the storm hit, urging evacuation. While it was certainly easier for the middle class to evacuate than for urban blacks, this is not evidence of presidential racism. The president didn’t strand all those buses. While elements of the federal response were slow and uncoordinated, military ships and helicopters were conducting rescue missions as soon as flooding began.

Bush has since promised 200 Billion dollars for reconstruction in New Orleans. Much of this largesse is slated to reconstruct black urban neighborhoods. Not exactly a racist effort. Reconstruction will require the hiring of thousands of workers, offering employment to the local working class. In fact, President Bushes spending habits, are so far from racist that they are profligate enough to be under attack from the right.

Under President Bush anti-poverty programs have increased there spending by 42%. One of the largest increases in history. And Bush has been brave enough to call for an end to corporate welfare for rich whites. He has fought to decrease spending on farm subsidies, and technology subsidies for corporations. He spends more on poverty then any President in history. Is that racist? Figures are available at The Heritage Foundation.

Bushes spending policies on poverty, the war, and now disaster relief are leading him into hot water with fiscal pragmatists and conservatives. His promise to halve the deficit by 2008, is now up in the smoke of war and natural disaster. Like many on the right I think that the president needs to take a good hard look at the budget, and then make some hard choices. But one area he is not vulnerable, at least not in fact, is on racism.

So why are the liberals engaged in this race baiting? Well the president’s approval rating is significantly low. So dishonorable attacks are more likely to find open ears. But I think there may be a concerted effort here. Men like Sharpton and Jackson are experts at extortion, political and economic. It seems that this is an effort to extort a minority candidate, or at least an acceptable one, to replace Justice O’Connor. Having watched the President’s last pick breeze through his inquisition to imminent approval, the left is frustrated. They are distraught that a President with an approval rating hovering at 40 percent may be shrewd enough to secure a conservative court for the next few decades. So they are desperate to further weaken him. In the end their lack of honor only weakens themselves.

Betsy Newmark has been following the Democrats' efforts to secure a Dem-friendly candidate.


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