Proof that liberals can see racism everywhere they look, a liberal columnist has written a piece saying that Obama isn’t the only President that white racists attacked. They “racialized” Bill Clinton, too.
On May 8, one of The Atlantic’s race-centric writers, Ta-Nehisi Coates, felt the need to disagree with another writer for his publication by insisting that, just as the do Obama, white racists did, indeed, attack Clinton with their bigoted antics.
Coates was responding to The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart who wrote a May 2 piece reminding readers that “not all Republican opposition to Obama is racist.”
Beinart summed up the feelings of liberals well saying that today they feel both frustrated and liberated at the same time.
These days, liberals feel frustrated and vindicated all at the same time. They feel frustrated because President Obama’s second-term agenda is going nowhere, even on issues like immigration, gun control, and the minimum wage where he enjoys strong public support. They feel vindicated because Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling are proving what liberals have long alleged: that despite Obama’s election, racism is alive and well.
That rings true.
Beinart went on to slam Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson, an African-American Democrat, for claiming that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “doesn’t like black people” and for then saying that Thomas, “doesn’t like being black.”
Beinart rightly told Thompson to “keep quiet on the subject” because Thompson can’t read Justice Thomas’ mind.
From there Beinart went on to say that Republicans haven’t attempted to “delegitimize” Obama only because they are racists. In fact, Beinart, claimed, the GOP has tried this tactic on every Democrat in the last two decades. He goes on to point out that Clinton was attacked in this mode, as well, and it led to his impeachment.
The Columnist warns Democrats not to fall into the it’s-all-racism trap saying that when Clinton was President, the GOP “challenged his legitimacy just as aggressively as they’ve challenged Obama’s.”
Beinart made some lucid points. Not all GOP strategies to oppose Democrats are born of racism! But this was all too much for Coates to bear.
Ignoring all of Beinart’s warnings, Coates dove straight for the wild, unsupported claims that Beinart warned people not to promulgate.
Obama is opposed because conservatives, Tea Partiers, and Republicans think he is the classic “other,” Coates proclaimed. Coates insisted that the only reason that the GOP says that Obama was born in Kenya and isn’t an American citizen is that they are harkening back to the days when “Slaveholding moderates dreamed of shipping blacks back to their ‘native land.'”
This, of course, despite that the birther movement is not supported by any leading Republican and is believed by only a tiny percentage of the center right coalition.
Coates goes on to say that all opposition to Obama is racism. It all “has a history,” he says. Even the charge that Obama didn’t write his own autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” is rooted in racism. Because, Coates says, even one of America’s most famous slaves-turned freemen, Frederick Douglas, was accused of having a ghostwriter.
Coates does not bother to notice that another famous personage of Douglas’ Civil War era has also been beset with nagging claims that his memoir was ghostwritten. General Ulysses Grant wrote a wide-ranging and famous autobiography after his two terms as president ended. That memoir has been dogged by claims that he had Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) write it for him. Grant, if you’ll recall, was neither black nor a Democrat.
Then there is the fact that President Kennedy did not write his most famous book, “Profiles in Courage.” Even though it carried his name alone as author, it was actually written by Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorenson. Two other famed books by politicians were also secretly written by others. Barry Goldwater’s book, “The Conscience of a Conservative,” was actually written by Goldwater advisor L. Brent Bozell, Jr. and Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village,” was secretly written by Barbara Feinman. All three of these books were passed off as having been written by the famed politician whose name appears on the covers. Is all that “racism”?
But this ignored history aside, Coates goes even farther than merely claiming that all opposition to Obama is rooted in the right’s racism. Coates insists that Bill Clinton was “racialized” by the evil right, too.
“Racism does not merely concern itself with individual enmity,” Coates wrote, “but with group interests. The men who killed Andrew Goodman did not merely hate him individually, they hated what he represented. By the time Bill Clinton came to prominence, his party was closely associated with black interests.”
So, racism was perpetrated against the white Bill Clinton, too, don’t you see?
It must be noted, too, that all of Coates’ claims in this piece are presented as simple fact. He makes no attempt to identify particular Republicans or conservatives who have indulged the tactics, he just makes his claims in a prima facie manner. He makes no attempt to prove his case, he simply states it as if it is all a given.
In summation, and to set the table for any opposition to Hillary Clinton also being nothing but racism, Coates then had a final warning.
“Racism–and sexism and homophobia–are about organizing power, not merely disliking the cut of one’s jib. And if Hillary Clinton becomes president, she will have to cope with being perceived as a woman representing the interests of black people and women of all ethnicities. Sexism will never be off the stage. Nor will racism.”
Yes, with his last stab Coates “went there” essentially saying that opposition to leftism is rooted solely in racism and perpetrated by people who hate blacks, gays, women, the disabled, children, pretty flowers and cuddly puppies.
Coates indulged every illegitimate accusation that his colleague, Peter Beinart, warned people to avoid. Beinart may think that not all opposition to Democrats is racism, but Coates fully disagrees. If you oppose leftism, it’s only because you are an incurable racist. And your hate “will never be off the stage.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org