Last week, I took a lot of heat for my article on "Obama and the Left's Insulting Identity Politics." I asserted that the left was obsessed with racial justice, diversity, and identity politics. That from the DNC's selection of Obama as the primary candidate, to the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, to Obama's own selection of Amanda Simpson, the first transgendered appointee, time and again the left has let identity politics trump merit and used political correctness to stifle dissent.
Considering the first year of the Obama administration, pockmarked by episode after episode of amateurish, unthoughtful, and badly nuanced presidential politics, President Obama's own staff have made the case for me that an identity-based selection process is flawed, as well as pedantic and insulting to the intelligence of the American people. I asserted that Obama might be better suited by an appointment policy based on the merits of the candidates, and not their race or gender. In the ensuing discussion, I admitted that in order to "keep up with the Joneses" on the left, and not appear completely out of touch, the right has engaged in identity politics as well, most notably with the selection of RNC Chair Michael Steele, as well as, in an attempt to share the claim of a "historic presidency" with the Obama candidacy, with the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate in 2008.
The difference however, is that the right isn't a proponent of identity-based government legislation that intrudes on our lives, such as affirmative action and quotas, all of which actually wind up hurting race relations further, while not really solving anything. Meanwhile, the so-called true believers on the left actually practice a much more dishonest form of manipulation, setting race relations further and further back, by making a spectacle of every first "hyphenated-American" this or that, and promoting flawed and divisive legistlation pandering to minorities in an effort increase the size of their tent and get more votes.
While many agreed with my characterization of the choice of Michael Steele, few could admit that Obama has engaged in any identity politics of his own, or that the left as a whole seems to place identity over merit, or that this had anything to do with the selection of Barack Obama as the general election candidate. But a mere week later, Senator Harry Reid has proven my argument correct, having been quoted in the new book Game Change as saying that the country was ready for a black president, particularly one that was "light-skinned" and with no "Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
The problem with this glimpse into Harry Reid's wily and inappropriate mindset is that this view isn't unique to Reid. Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, was speaking for many in the Democratic party at the time, who no doubt had visions of high voter turnout and a historic presidency dancing in their heads and ultimately picked the novelty of Obama over the experience of Clinton. That, my friends, is using race to manipulate, and completely calls into question the so-called noble left's racial justice campaign plank.
And I totally agree with Michael Steele, that by the same standard that saw Trent Lott exorcised from his leadership role for toasting Strom Thurmond at his retirement party, Harry Reid should have to give up his post as Senate Majority Leader. The left predictably and hypocritically has tried to circle the wagons, with both DNC Chair Tim Kaine and Senator Dianne Feinstein on the Sunday shows suggesting that it was enough that Reid apologized to Obama. It's not. Yet another stunning example of the type of hypocritical double standard, embodied by the left, who insincerely and continuously attempt to use race and identity politics to stoke racial and classist angst merely to get more votes for a platform focused on reducing our freedoms, intruding on every aspect of our lives, and increasing our dependency on the state.
Republicans stand for a conservative interpretation of the constitution as a guide for governing, abiding by the wisdom of the framers. Perhaps the Democrats should drop the pretense of their faux morality and have the guts to run on their real platform of a continuous reinterpretation of our rights, in favor of centralized federal management and bigger government as the only solution to our ills.