Archive for the ‘democrats’ Category

It may be thought that in these hard economic times, the economy will dominate the next election. This is probably true.  But it is a mistake to view social and economic issues as distinct categories.  In particular, issues like affirmative action, crime, and immigration may become more important to voters during economic hard times.

Welfare, affirmative action, crime, and social issues were important factors in the success of Reagan Republicanism twenty years ago. Affirmative action gains special salience during hard economic times and was used to great effect int he ’82 and ’90 recessions.  While affirmative action hiring policies may be annoying, limits on promotions and selective firings informed by racial preferences will sting more and divide the white working class even further from the Democratic coalition than these voters’ economic hard times alone would suggest.

The consensus among Republicans and Democrats alike has been not to make too much of a fuss about immigration and affirmative action.   Under Bush, conservatism was supposed to be “compassionate,” which meant policies indifferent to the native born population and hostile to the older American principles of thrift and limited government.  Everyone was so busy making money and flipping houses, it seemed petty to make too big of a deal about government services for illegal aliens or the quotas that prevailed in public sector and corporate hiring.  But as unemployment approaches 10%, the real swing voters–the white working classes–are realizing that these policies involve picking winners and losers in zero sum hiring and firing games.  At the same time, cigarette taxes and symbolic displays, such as Obama’s siding against law enforcement in favor of an obstreporous black colleague, remind these voters that Obama and the Democrats have less and less use for them and don’t identify with their values and interests.

These hard times create many opportunities for conservative politics.  For starters, spendthrift that Bush was, he had respect for private property and was substantially less inclined to expand the government’s reach into private life than Obama.  This difference would have been hard to fathom just a few years ago, but the Obama stimulus, health care, and moronic programs like “cash for clunkers” stand in sharp relief to Bush’s general tone.  Second, the argument that there are “jobs Americans won’t do” and that “diverse workplaces are important” will fall on deaf ears of whites who are out of work or deeply upside down many months into Obama’s administration.  Indeed, these cliches will be treated as insults and reinforce the suspicion that Obama does not mean to represent all Americans equally.

Republicans have long been afraid to make these arguments.  No one likes to be called racist and get disinvited from cocktail parties.  But voters are making these arguments for them:  on blogs, in private conversations, on the comment boards of newspapers, in anonymous posters, and on the insides of bathroom stalls.  The Republicans can either tie this rumbling into a coherent politics of fairness, preserving national identity, and sound economic policy, or they can be called racist all the same, while doing nothing to stand up towards the racist and socialist policies of the Democratic Party.

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Obama promises to heal our racial divisions in his latest speech.  But, as evidenced by his long association with Jeremiah Wright, he is willing to tolerate gross expressions of race hatred from black associates.  This strange tolerance for race hatred from blacks suggests that his promise of healing may be a chimera.  But in his own mind, I think he can reconcile these contradictions: Americans must become more like Obama himself.  Obama is mixed race, a mulatto.  His description of the racial issues America faces are prefigured in his own identity and behavior.  In the way of a solution, Obama has thoroughly subordinated his white identity in favor of the black.   (more…)

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Apparently, Obama’s overwhelming advantage among black voters nationwide and in South Carolina is having the effect of making white voters wary of him. His impending victory in South Carolina is being described by Dick Morris, among others, as a signal event that will unify whites against him.  For a long time, I thought Obama had transcended the racial stuff by creating real enthusiasm among younger people of all races for his campaign, including independents and Republicans. 

For a while there, everyone thought Obama’s blackness would help him; he became this messianic figure that would heal our racial divisions.  He would let white voters confirm to themselves that they’re not racist.  But then people began to be uneasy.  The ethnic bias of his supporters made him and his future look more Jesse Jackson than Sidney Portier. 

It appears that the professional pundits are finally realizing something I said months ago:

The electorate includes mechanics, prison guards, soldiers, secretaries, truck drivers, and others who, while very much in favor of American meritocracy, are skeptical of black politicians. They are skeptical because these folks seem as a class to look out for group interests, including the group-interest of affirmative action and government set-aside contracts. David Dinkins, a decent man and a natural centrist, was frequently boxed in by his view that he could not “sell out” his black supporters by taking sides in controversial incidents like the boycott of a Korean grocery store, engineered by Sharpton. I think black Democrats today are justly viewed in much the same way as Catholic Democrats were 50 to 100 years ago: alienated, somewhat corrupt, politically immature, and frequently hostile to traditional American values such as individualism and free enterprise.

Even liberal-minded Americans equate black politicians with ethnic pay-offs and the pursuit of parochial group interests. For Obama, far from being an asset, his status as a black Democrat is a liability that he will have to overcome, just as JFK had to overcome the burden of his Catholicism.

This development teaches me not to backtrack during the temporary ebb and flow of a campaign.  I said this once and then, bamboozled by the Obama myth and the Obama media reportage, backtracked from this analysis in my own mind even though all of the important facts had not changed.  I need to trust my instincts.

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