Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Race and Presidential Politics

Andrew Sullivan, getting it mostly right:

It's extremely depressing that the first major national black politician who takes on the victimology of Sharpton and Jackson is greeted by the right with the kind of cynicism you see at Malkin or the Corner or Reynolds. It reveals, I think, the deeper truth: the Republican right only wants a black Republican to do this. They are not as interested in getting beyond the racial question, in changing the hopes and dreams of black America, as they are in exploiting it for partisan advantage. Their response to the first major black candidate for president tackling the old racial politics? "We don't believe him."
I think he's too charitable: I don't think the Wide Stance party wants a black candidate to break out of the rut any more than they want Obama to do so. I see no evidence of GOP eagerness to abandon the "southern strategy," which dries up and blows away without racial animus. At best, the Wide Stance has worked to widen its appeal to prejudice by broadening the definition of what constitutes a Scary Other: the definition now prominently includes gays, Spanish-speaking immigrants, secularists, and assorted "cultural elites," a.k.a. people who read books.

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