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Travis Rowley: Race-Baiting Democrats

Saturday, January 21, 2012


“Democrats have been running our inner-cities for the past 30 to 40 years, and blacks are still complaining about the same problems. More than 7 trillion dollars have been spent on poverty programs since Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty with little, if any, impact on poverty. Diabolically, every election cycle, Democrats blame Republicans for the deplorable conditions in the inner-cities, then incite blacks to cast a protest vote against Republicans.” – Frances Rice, Chairman of the National Black Republican Association

Not that liberals ever relent in their shallow quest to widely characterize Republicans as racist, but the Democratic race-baiters seemed to be particularly busy this past week.

Here in Rhode Island we saw Rep. Charlene Lima (D - Cranston) join a chorus of Democrats across the country when she likened Rhode Island’s new Voter ID law to “Jim Crow” policies.

Last summer Rep. Jon Brien (D – Woonsocket) informed everyone on A Lively Experiment that the National Democratic Congressional Committee had been contacting Rhode Island Democrats, pressuring them to reject the anticipated Voter ID bill. According to Brien, they didn’t want to “pass this legislation because you will mess up [the Democratic] paradigm. The paradigm is…the Republicans, those nasty people, are trying to bring us all the way back to the Jim Crow laws.”

I guess Representative Lima got the memo.

The Left continued their obsession with race this week when New York Times columnist Lee Siegel wrote that “Mitt Romney is the whitest white man to run for president in recent memory,” and that that is “the one quality that has subtly fueled his candidacy thus far and could well put him over the top in the fall.”

Liberals always revert back to their default position: America is racist.

In a time when it is arguably a political advantage to be anything but white, and just several years after the election of a black president, Siegel somehow views a black man’s chances in a presidential election equal to that of a Martian.

Sure, President Obama defeated a white man in 2008. But John McCain has nothing on Mitt Romney. At least not in terms of his whiteness!

This is really how liberals think.

South Carolina

Also deciding to illustrate that race is never a factor until Democrats decide to inject it into the discussion was chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party Dick Harpootlian, who criticized Republicans for holding their debate in South Carolina on Martin Luther King Day: “The Republicans are scheduling their debate [for] Monday, Martin Luther King Day, without any regard, whatsoever, [for] the civil rights issues that this state has faced…[Romney should say] 'no, I don't want to have a debate on Martin Luther King's birthday, that's a day we need to celebrate a great American leader.'"

When it was revealed that, in 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus also hosted a Democratic presidential debate on MLK Day, Harpootlian shifted his argument to another false proclamation, claiming that Republicans hadn’t bothered to even “recognize” the holiday or “approach” the black community in South Carolina. Harpootlian denied that he ever said hosting a debate on MLK Day was improper, but instead had merely argued that “it is indicative of a process in which [Republicans] have not engaged the African-American community in this state.”

Just like that, Harpootlian was right back where he started: Republicans are racist.

Blacks made up only two percent of Republican primary voters in South Carolina in 2008. Maybe if Democrats stopped lying to black people by constantly insinuating that Republicans hate them, then perhaps there would be an actual base of black Republicans that Republican candidates could speak to during competitive, small-turnout primary elections.

It seems like a fitting moment to remind everyone that Martin Luther King was a Republican and, if alive, would probably have come to his own party’s defense by telling Harpootlian to stop being such a whiny, hyper-sensitive, little weasel.

And to stop pandering black people to death.

Stopping Republicans From Helping Minorities

Ironically, by disingenuously retreating from his race-baiting comments, Harpootlian came across as if he actually wanted Republicans to steal black voters away from the Democratic Party.

But the last thing Democrats want is for Republicans to be anywhere near minority neighborhoods, speaking candidly and revealing to minorities the damage that Democratic policies have done to their communities. For Democrats, it’s best to just continue fostering an awkward relationship of mistrust between Republicans and minorities.

When Mitt Romney was approached last week by Ruth Williams, an unemployed woman in South Carolina who asked Romney for financial help, Williams reported that “[Romney] got money and he paid for my light bill.”

But because Williams is black, a Miami Herald reporter was horrified by the incident: “As an African-American woman it galls me. I don’t even like to watch it. I felt like it plays into every sort of patronizing stereotype of black people.”

Have the government give them anything they want. Just don’t show me a black person receiving personal charity. It’s too painful!

Republicans can’t help black people. Democrats get too offended.

Race-obsessed and on a perpetual mission to smear Republicans as racist, when Newt Gingrich called Barack Obama “the best food-stamp president in American history” liberals were the ones who insisted on conjuring up images of black food-stamp recipients – accusing Gingrich of racial insensitivity despite the fact that most food-stamp recipients are white.

Liberal Fox News reporter Juan Williams tried to get Gingrich to acknowledge that his words were “particularly [insulting] to black Americans” during last Monday’s debate. Gingrich’s response: “First of all, Juan, more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in history. I know among the politically correct you're not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.”

But Williams went on to argue that, when speaking about black people in particularly, Gingrich did say at one point that “black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps.”

Only Democrats could be insulted by such a message. Poverty is the condition that makes someone eligible for food-stamps. And a job is the way out of poverty. While Republicans explain how Democratic policies destroy economic opportunity, and then point out a pathway to prosperity, all Democrats can do in the face of such criticism is to remind black people to be insulted – which has gotten them absolutely nowhere ever since they migrated under the Democratic banner several decades ago.

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is chairman of the RI Young Republicans and a consultant for the Barry Hinckley Campaign for US Senate.

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Get a life, Democrats. It's getting old.

Comment #1 by Chris O. on 2012 01 21

great message. please wake up, minority community. your way out of poverty is to run as far away from Democrats as you can.

Comment #2 by Kevin O'Connor on 2012 01 21

You had me until you mentioned Gingrich and food stamps. Gingrich should know that most food stamp recipients are white. They are on food stamps because the economy has gone down the drain and they can't find jobs. They either go on food stamps or starve. Gingrich is a race-baiter.

Comment #3 by Peter Cassels on 2012 01 21

Travis, the Republican answer to the minority economic problems is to make it more a white problem. Tax policies that require only the working poor and shrinking middle class to shoulder the costs of government. Republican policies that increase unemployment. Republican policies that eliminate bankruptcy protections. ETC.
You are a writer for a moneyed few. Just another pathetic tool.

Comment #4 by Real Clear on 2012 01 21

Gingrich's exchange with Juan Williams really exposed the racist atmosphere of that Fox News debate in South Carolina. It was clear from watching that when Newt used Williams's first name, Juan, he was emphasizing the fact that Williams was not a white American, that he was different and that his question was animated by his ethnicity. Many members of the audience caught on, as they immediately started cheering and hooting, precisely at the moment when Gingrich used the name "Juan" as an epithet. It was truly a disgusting event, and all those Republicans should be ashamed for having taken part.

Comment #5 by Matthew Cento on 2012 01 22

MATTHEW CENTO - i didn't see it that way at all. But, hey, everyone, decide for yourself - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrj_iFsf8-o

Comment #6 by Chris O. on 2012 01 22

If the voter ID laws result in fewer minority and poor white and elderly voters, what would that mean?

Did Bush's 8 year long run of economic benefit poor minorities and poor whites? Did Ronald Reagan's economic policies benefit poor minorities and poor whites? You tell me.

Comment #7 by John McGrath on 2012 01 22

People see what they want to see--especially ignorant ideologues. To John McGath--yes, they did.

Comment #8 by Mike Govern on 2012 01 24

@Mike Govern ... Ignorant ideologues are those who make sweeping, partisan assertions with no specifics. Where are your specifics?

Here's something written in 2007 by Joseph Stieglitz (2007, the year before the crash brought on by Wall st's multiplication of debt through deceptive derivatives beyond the size of the world's economy).

"The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush

... The next president will have to deal with yet another crippling legacy of George W. Bush: the economy. A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, sees a generation-long struggle to recoup.
by Joseph E. Stiglitz

The American economy can take a lot of abuse, but no economy is invincible.

When we look back someday at the catastrophe that was the Bush administration, we will think of many things: the tragedy of the Iraq war, the shame of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, the erosion of civil liberties. The damage done to the American economy does not make front-page headlines every day, but the repercussions will be felt beyond the lifetime of anyone reading this page.

I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris—or even the Yukon—becomes a venture in high finance.

And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands—or so he says—that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have on his watch become more deeply dependent on both.

Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle “worst president” when it comes to stewardship of the American economy. Once Franklin Roosevelt assumed office and reversed Hoover’s policies, the country began to recover. The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of America’s being displaced from its position as the world’s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with, and struggling with, the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.

Remember the Surplus?

The world was a very different place, economically speaking, when George W. Bush took office, in January 2001. During the Roaring 90s, many had believed that the Internet would transform everything. Productivity gains, which had averaged about 1.5 percent a year from the early 1970s through the early 90s, now approached 3 percent. During Bill Clinton’s second term, gains in manufacturing productivity sometimes even surpassed 6 percent. The Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, spoke of a New Economy marked by continued productivity gains as the Internet buried the old ways of doing business. Others went so far as to predict an end to the business cycle. Greenspan worried aloud about how he’d ever be able to manage monetary policy once the nation’s debt was fully paid off.

This tremendous confidence took the Dow Jones index higher and higher. The rich did well, but so did the not-so-rich and even the downright poor. The Clinton years were not an economic Nirvana; as chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers during part of this time, I’m all too aware of mistakes and lost opportunities. The global-trade agreements we pushed through were often unfair to developing countries. We should have invested more in infrastructure, tightened regulation of the securities markets, and taken additional steps to promote energy conservation. We fell short because of politics and lack of money—and also, frankly, because special interests sometimes shaped the agenda more than they should have. But these boom years were the first time since Jimmy Carter that the deficit was under control. And they were the first time since the 1970s that incomes at the bottom grew faster than those at the top—a benchmark worth celebrating.

By the time George W. Bush was sworn in, parts of this bright picture had begun to dim. The tech boom was over. The nasdaq fell 15 percent in the single month of April 2000, and no one knew for sure what effect the collapse of the Internet bubble would have on the real economy. It was a moment ripe for Keynesian economics, a time to prime the pump by spending more money on education, technology, and infrastructure—all of which America desperately needed, and still does, but which the Clinton administration had postponed in its relentless drive to eliminate the deficit. Bill Clinton had left President Bush in an ideal position to pursue such policies. Remember the presidential debates in 2000 between Al Gore and George Bush, and how the two men argued over how to spend America’s anticipated $2.2 trillion budget surplus? The country could well have afforded to ramp up domestic investment in key areas. In fact, doing so would have staved off recession in the short run while spurring growth in the long run.

But the Bush administration had its own ideas. The first major economic initiative pursued by the president was a massive tax cut for the rich, enacted in June of 2001. Those with incomes over a million got a tax cut of $18,000—more than 30 times larger than the cut received by the average American. The inequities were compounded by a second tax cut, in 2003, this one skewed even more heavily toward the rich. Together these tax cuts, when fully implemented and if made permanent, mean that in 2012 the average reduction for an American in the bottom 20 percent will be a scant $45, while those with incomes of more than $1 million will see their tax bills reduced by an average of $162,000."

Comment #9 by John McGrath on 2012 01 24

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