The Bartlett Plan


I had to resort to time travel scenarios to try to make sense of Bruce Bartlett's contention that African-Americans should like the GOP on the grounds that "Historically speaking," -- though, crucially, not currently or at any time in the recent past -- "the Republican Party has a far better record on race than the Democrats." John Holbo, however, sees zombies as the relevant issue:

But surely if African-Americans feel the need to be specifically receptive to long-dead candidates of not just one but both parties, then a oijia board, not a ballot box, is the appropriate medium.

It would be kind of fun to flip this Bartlett logic over and sort of cross it with Mark Penn microtrends. You could have necrotrends: McCain needs to reach out to recently deceased left-handed soccer moms. Or: Obama needs to be sensitive to the concerns of long-dead jai alai dads. So forth. So long as political considerations are divorced from concerns about biological vivification, the possibilities are endless. If some politician is caught with a ballot box stuffed with the names of the deceased, he could defend himself on the grounds that only letting the living vote is sheer ‘animism’.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping the reanimated corpse of Jesse Helms won't be haunting us, but the hosannas directed at him by the leaders of the conservative movement should remind us that the contemporary Republican Party has little continuity with the racial legacy of the pre-Goldwater, pre-Buckley version of the thing.