A Better Class of Punditry Pt. 3
And the projects, is screaming that "Somebody gotta die" shit
It's logic, as long as it's nobody that's from my clique.
I was thinking this morning on my jog about Beinart's piece and Matt's thorough dismantling of the thesis. The thing that really got me was the unseriousness of the entire effort. We frequently are treated to statesmen-like recitations of all the issues one shouldn't play politics with--patriotism, foreign policy, personal tragedy etc. But its completely fine to argue that we should "play politics" with the color-line. That is the undergirding of Beinart's argument--that we should woo racists by appealing to thier base fears. This, almost literally, his argument. Again:
even racists can be wooed. Think about it this way: Many of the voters who right now won't vote for Obama because he's black would probably vote for Colin Powell even though he's black. That's because they don't see Powell as a racial redistributionist, a guy who would favor his community at their expense. There's no rational reason to believe Obama would, either.
Beinart concedes not only that voters who oppose Obama because he's black are racist, but also that they are irrational. But he actually argues that we appeal to that irrationality--not attmept to stamp it out. This is a curious notion indeed. I am going to be blunt--I find it unfathomable that Beinart would approve of the same tactics if we were talking about, say, Jews. In other words, were we dealing with a group who Beinart conceded were antisemites, and who's fears were irrational, that Beinart would say "even antisemites can be wooed" strains credulity.
There a sort of intellectual dishonesty at work here, a revoliting amoralism bred by too little acquaintance with the people who've been on the other side of this kind of thinking. I want to be clear--there are very principled reasons for supporting class-based Affirmative Action. Furthermore, there are very principled reasons for opposing Affirmative Action in any form. But romancing the mental paralytics who regard my eight-year-old black boy as subhuman isn't one of them.
UPDATE: More thinking. How are pundits who urge Democrats to use "white resentment" to suit there own ends, any different than 'Black Leaders" who use "black resentment" to their own ends? What gets me is that these guys will stand up and excoriate Sharpton and Jackson to the ends of the earth but turn around and run the same hustle themselves.