January 14th, 2013 at 12:06 pm
Artur Davis Defends Tea Partiers
The ever-thoughtful former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, who is definitely of the center-right rather than the Tea Party right, nonetheless does a nice job defending the energy and many of the motivations of Tea Party activists in this essay at his web site.
The shortest distance in modern politics is the one between a Republican willing to denounce his party for extremism and the set of a cable or Sunday morning talk show. The gift of exposure is waiting for the cheap ticket of describing today’s Republicans as an intolerant set of know-nothings whom one no longer recognizes…. One modest proposal for Republican moderates: spend more time traveling the side roads to the buffet chains and libraries where, for example, local Tea Parties organize. The virtue of the trip, for a moderate, would be a discovery that a Tea Party conclave is as likely to include a civil engineer, or retired university professor as is the regular party committee, and far more likely to contain volunteers than are the luncheons of platinum level donors. Among other discoveries, to draw on personal experience, the presence of people like one Tea Party activist in Virginia, whose other major volunteer engagement is a network in Richmond for tutoring homeless young adults; or a Tea Party activist in Fairfax County who risked a lucrative career in business development over exposing a client’s wage scale that systematically discriminated against blacks.
Davis does not specifically refer to Colin Powell’s demagogically unfair remarks on Meet the Press yesterday, but his essay’s message (if not its direct intent, which surely had nothing to do with Powell) stands as a tacit rebuke to the Powells of the world who rush to denounce and smear good, decent Americans.
Again, though, that’s not the point of his essay. The point is that centrists and rightists should work to find common ground and build on that, rather than seek areas of disagreement and bash each other over those disagreements. (As it so happens, I have an essay coming out in the February print edition of The American Spectator that makes a plea for a similar approach.) He’s correct, and his constructive advice is one that everybody right of center ought to take to heart.
January 14th, 2013 at 11:44 am
Colin Powell’s Rank Falsehoods
I and others have rightly blasted some of Colin Powell’s cheap shots in his Meet the Press interview yesterday, but I missed one of them until just now. He accused Republicans of deliberately “making it hard for these minorities to vote, as they did in the last election.” He also said “the courts struck most of that down.” Both parts of that allegation are incorrect. As Hans von Spakovsky(among others) has repeatedly noted, there is no evidence that any voter ID laws have disenfranchised legitimate voters, and plenty of evidence to the contrary. And courts have repeatedly found voter ID laws to be perfectly reasonable, legitimate, and constitutional, with the DC Circuit issuing yet another ruling just last week in favor of such laws and against the Obama administration. Of course, when the Supreme Court itself heard a challenge to voter-ID laws, it ruled 6-3 in favor of the law’s constitutionality.
Now, let’s move on to Powell being aghast at Sarah Palin’s use of the expression “shuck and jive.” Granted, as soon as I heard Palin use it, I realized she had made a big error. I do think the term can carry racial connotations. What’s key here is the context. If you use the expression to describe a black man currying favor with whites, that’s a rather insensitive remark, to say the least. But if Powell is so concerned about governors using the term, he really ought to make sure he denounces current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. And if he’s of the opinion that the statement of one governor (or former governor) is ipso facto evidence or even proof of a deep racial insensitivity on the part of the governor’s whole political party, then surely Powell today will clarify his remarks by blasting Cuomo’s Democratic Party as well. After all, Cuomo’s remarks were more directly descriptive of the sort of behavior that creates a racial/racist caricature than Palin’s ever were. “You can’t shuck and jive at a press conference,” he said, adding “all those moves you can make with the press don’t work when you are in someone’s living room.” As the original “shuck and jive” slander specifically referred to minstrel-show-like movements, Cuomo’s use of the term hit far closer to the racist home than Palin’s ever did.
And, as many others have noted, Obama’s own press secretary used the term “shuck and jive” as well. So why hasn’t Colin Powell denounced him?
(NOTE: One of those videos to which I linked had an extended piece on the controversy over Obama’s birth certificate. I do NOT, NOT, NOT, endorse anything having to do with those allegations. It was just the only link I could find in a QUICK search that included both parts of the interview that I address in this post.)