I am a big Condi Rice fan and have been since she was nominated as Secretary of State by George W. Bush. But I completely disagree with her admonishment of Herman Cain for playing the race card. As an ex-liberal I’m always amazed at how gentle conservatives can be in politics. It’s like they insist on following Marquis of Queensberry rules of boxing in a street fight. They’re getting into their best boxer stance yelling “Put up your dukes,” as their opponent grabs a 2×4 and slams it upside their head. It’s all rather naive really.
Liberals understand better than conservatives that the only thing that matters in a political fight is to win it. Conservatives fret that people will see them as just as bad as their adversaries, and so try to do their best to keep to the moral high ground even at the expense of their position in battle. Liberals intuitively understand that the general public doesn’t like street fights, but they are too lazy to try to understand an argument enough to blame one party over the other and reward conservatives for sticking to their principles. Instead the public will criticize both adversaries equally, just as the public equates the non-violence protest of the Tea Party with the violence of the Occupy Wall St. movement, so the liberal has nothing to lose by doing anything it takes to win the argument. The moral equivalence between the two groups is so insidious that even conservatives have begun to mention the Occupy movement in the same breath as the Tea Party, even as thousands of Occupy protesters are arrested and sent to jail versus zero Tea Partiers.
Republicans have been unfairly bludgeoned by the race card for decades. People tend to forget that it was the Democrats who blocked Civil Rights legislation at every step of the way in the mid-20th century. In fact if it wasn’t for Republicans, President Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights legislation would have never made it through either the House or Senate against the opposition from his own party, and it was up to Republican President Richard Nixon to insure his reforms weren’t rolled back by racist Democrats like Alabama Governor George Wallace. But the Democrats have done a thorough job of whitewashing American history and painting everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King jr as Democrats (they were Republicans) while making Democrats like Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy as Civil Rights pioneers (Truman signed an edict to desegregate the military, but Eisenhower was the one who actually accomplished the feat. As for JFK, he voted against the Civil Rights act in 1957, 3 years before he won the presidency).
After being defeated on the Civil Rights issue in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the Democrats saw the opportunity to add African-Americans to their long-used strategy of patronizing minorities in exchange for votes in their city machines. So they added African-Americans to their roster of Italians, Puerto Ricans and Irish, and doled out welfare in exchange for votes. It was an uncomfortable fit because these ethnic groups weren’t known for their racial tolerance at the time, and many either switched parties or became independent voters. It was at this time that Democrats began demonizing Republicans as racists, made easier by the GOP’s refusal to confront the Democrat’s hypocrisy head-on at the time, and within a generation the label began to stick. By the 1980’s there were few African-Americans left in the GOP, and Americans had forgotten the Democratic Party’s racism of only two decades before.
But the switch was tactical and didn’t reflect any change of values. The Democratic party remains racist even today. It’s not the color of the skin of its leadership, who with the notable exception of the President are all white – and Obama’s skin might be black but he is a product of liberal white culture, it’s the unspoken racism of keeping African-Americans chained to government programs and sending the dogs after any that leave the plantation by questioning liberal orthodoxy like Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain. It’s the racism of low expectations that keep African-Americans from developing a sense of self-worth that comes from succeeding on one’s own.
It’s time the GOP drops its obsession with the moral high ground and fights just as dirty as its opponent. Republicans must accept that they will be accused of fighting dirty just as the Tea Party has been accused as being just as “bad” as OWS even while no one was ever raped at a Tea Party rally. The moral equivalence argument will be made regardless, so Republicans should grab any and every weapon they can use against their opponents to win. People will be disgusted with politics until they begin to actually penalize one side for fighting dirty by shifting their votes to another that adheres to a higher moral standard. People haven’t done this, nor do I expect them to do it anytime soon. Therefore the Republicans should use each and every opportunity to play the race card against Democrats. Sorry Condi!
UPDATE: Dr. Helen Smith agrees:
Life isn’t a nostalgic TV show or fiction book. The good guy doesn’t always win just because you want him to. And though you can feel noble about being the honorable one, honor is no substitute for the loss of freedom, increased government regulation, and economic woes that our country will suffer if the left wins on election day.