Carol Platt Liebau: The One-Way Ratchet

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The One-Way Ratchet

Frank Rich works hard to make sure race (and gender) are injected into the presidential race:

What distinguished [McCain's] posse from Mr. Obama’s throng was not just its age but its demographic monotony: all white and nearly all male.

Let's think about this for a moment -- and consider exactly what that means for race relations in America. If it's okay to put down McCain's "posse" for being all white, is it likewise okay for those of a particular (bigoted) turn of mind to hold it against Obama if he ever shows up with a "posse" that's all black? If a lefty feminist like Rich sees it as a shortcoming that there aren't enough women around McCain in the photo ops, does that make it all right for the chauvinists in America to vote against Hillary Clinton just because she's a woman?

There's an inherent inconsistency with the identity politics the Democrats have loved unleashing against the Republicans all these years. For lefties, there's just a one-way ratchet -- you can take race and sex into account if, and only if, it makes you more likely to support the woman or minority. And, of course, if that woman and minority is a Democrat.

No doubt the focus on race and gender can make for some pretty huge inconsistencies. Think of Lynne Martin's Senate bid in 1990 (when NOW supported her male opponent), Clarence Thomas (smeared and attacked primarily because he was a black conservative), or even Hillary Clinton (who has watched NARAL superfeminist Kate Michelman back Obama).

Rich writes:

There are no black Republicans in the House or the Senate to stand with the party’s 2008 nominee.

Well, where was Rich when Michael Steele was seeking Maryland's US Senate seat last year against white male Ben Cardin? Did he support Rep. Ann Northrup of Kentucky last year when she was up against the "handsome" Jack Conway? Or Ken Blackwell, up for governor of Ohio against Ted Strickland? Of course not. Does that make him a racist or a sexist? Certainly not. But it likewise doesn't make him a principled advocate of the supposedly "inclusive" politics he's discussing here.

For too long, identity politics have been little more than a way for Democrats to try to gain a political advantage over Republicans -- at whatever cost to relations between the races or sexes. In their world, "diversity" is supposed to be about skin color (at least when that benefits Democrats), not thought (as Condolezza Rice could no doubt testify).

The only way out? Color-blindness. But until the majority of women and minorities become Republicans, don't look for Democrats to be fighting for that concept any time soon.


Blogger Sacchiel said...

That is a sheer double standard! Thanks for posting.

2:02 PM  

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