LeftHalfBack and Ben, two stalwart and valued readers--let's smoke the peace pipe, you two, eh? Let me be a little clearer, if I can, on my meaning and intent.
I don't mean that every registered Republican is a racist. Obviously that is not true. Some Republicans are lovely people. My parents' best friends were almost all Republicans and were wonderful people. But in those days, the differences weren't so stark. And I have Republican friends, and they're great people too. We talk politics very briefly and jokingly and move back to sports.
I mean that institutionally, the Republican Party is a racist party. Now I suppose this is a controversial thing to say, but I don't see why it should be controversial. If you define "racist" as something like "inflaming racial animus in whites toward blacks and/or advocating and implementing practices that adversely affect black people," then it's pretty obvious.
Every election, in virtually every precinct in America where the size of the black vote matters, shadowy Republican operatives work to suppress and reduce black turnout by confusing people with various warnings and false statements. That takes care of the second half of my definition. The party's campaign tactics (welfare queens, etc.), its positions on racial policy issues, the consorting some or many Republicans do and have done with post-Confederate white supremacist groups, and so on, combine to cover the first.
But this doesn't make every Republican a racist, because people are Republicans for other reasons. If I believed in small government and low taxes, or if I were morally opposed to abortion rights, I guess I would be a Republican. But I'd be really and deeply ashamed of this racist poison. And I'd like to think I'd speak and write honestly about it instead of just whining and trying to turn the tables on Democrats.
I'm not sure this is exactly what you're arguing about, but anyway, let's try to have some peace in the kingdom. And to Omegadon: I'm not giving Democrats a pass for lying. I am saying that because the programs they support are (mostly) popular, they simply have the luxury of not having to lie about their positions.
I'd be grateful if you would name some specific lies by Democrats you're talking about. Of course, they stretch the truth about things in the usual ways pols do, but they just aren't fundamentally outright lying in their basic appeals to people.
When Obama says the health-care law will reduce the deficit, you can believe that or not believe it. But it isn't a lie. The CBO says that it will do just that. Now maye time will prove the CBO wrong, too, who knows. But that's just being wrong about something, maybe even obtusely so, but it isn't lying. Whereas when Romney says Obama is stealing $700 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare, that IS a lie, and it's a racist lie, because it's obviously meant to make white Medicare recipients visualize someone else getting free health care from the black guy.
With a quick turn of phrase and a solemn visage, these four disgraced politicians re-entered the political arena after being removed from office. Three got back in; will Weiner join their ranks?
Writer George Packer mostly succeeds in describing the dissolution of our civic culture, says Michael Tomasky.