Think of this ad next time somone says, “Politics is dirtier than ever.” For reasons mostly having to do with timidity, on a whole range of issues Republicans have fled the field. It’s more puzzing because even for unprincipled folks seeking power, some of these issues are winners because they peel off white and blue collar Democrats from the old FDR coalition. As an issue, affirmative action has been completely abandoned under internal pressure from squeemish Northeasterners, innumerate consultants, and politically labile corporate Republicans. Under this Rovian politics, we’ve lost the House. We’ll soon lose the Senate. Under their guidance, government has expanded dramatically in the pursuit of utopian foreign policy goals. Heroic efforts are made to pursue an unpopular immigration amnesty. And the Invade the World-Invite the World politics peddled by Bush and McCain are not gaining new adherents in a way the old Southern Strategy could. The new imperial politics purports to be manly and aggressive–and in a sense, it is–but it ignores justice at home, and it ignores the content of the nation-state that is supposed to represent a free and merit-based way of life that should be conserved.
Anyone proposing revitalizing this strategy would be called a racist, of course. But Republicans are called that now. Even Hillary Clinton, wife of the “First Black President,” has been called racist for ordinary, run-of-the-mill campaign attacks. More important, the charge of racism would be a lie. Affirmative action is racist; it engineers standards in every field to advance minorities at expense of more qualified white (and sometimes Asian) candidates. The facts showing the dramatic advantages for minorities are ruthlessly suppressed.
Obama supports affirmative action, but unlike other candidates, for him it is not an expression of “white guilt,” but rather one of “black power.” He is supposed to be the candidate of racial healing, and is very articulate in his vague concessions to opponents, but all the proposed movement ends up being one way. The healing he wants involves whites folding on all issues where there is typically a division across racial lines. I suppose quick declarations of surrender can lead to a kind of peace, but it’s the peace of the grave, of cultural annihilation. It’s the peace of forgotten peoples who have become merely historical footnotes: Laplanders, Ruthenians, Khazars. This is what he is asking for when he talks about “hard work” and “sacrifice” and “making the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ on Earth” if he becomes President.