As Marge Schott-impersonator Donald Sterling and honorary professor of Afro-American Studies Cliven Bundy could tell you, nothing writes you out of polite society more quickly than being outed as a racist.
Which may be one of the reasons that politically savvy Democrats are never slow to equate advocates of limiting the size, scope, and spending of the federal government with racism, slavery, and white supremacy. Who can blame them, really? Even after the “success” of Obamacare, the president somehow has managed to chalk up his lowest approval ratings ever, and things don’t look so good for the Donkey Party in the fall’s midterm elections, either.
Salon’s Joan Walsh is quick to cry racism in the face of arguments or developments she doesn’t like, as are MSNBC hosts Chris Matthews, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Ed Schultz. Jimmy Carter, who himself stooped to race-baiting during his 1970 campaign for governor of Georgia, has chalked up “an overwhelming portion” of negativity toward Barack Obama to the fact that “he is a black man.”
Then there’s New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait, who recently averred that“America’s unique brand of ideological anti-statism is historically inseparable…from the legacy of slavery.” Unlike many of his liberal-progressive confrères, Chait recognizes that “advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense racist” and that even if small-government conservatives and libertarians were really secretly bent on moving the nation’s capital to Stone Mountain, that doesn’t mean particular policy proposals can simply be written off: “Individual arguments need and deserve to be assessed on their own terms, not as the visible tip of a submerged agenda; ideas can’t be defined solely by their past associations and uses.”