New on NewsReal – Do Haley Barbour’s Racial Recollections Expose a Bad Memory, or Something Worse?

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

So common are accusations of racism from the Left that everyone with a right-of-center political disposition should expect to be accused of hating people with different skin colors at some point in his or her life. This week, it’s Haley Barbour’s turn. The Republican Governors’ Association chair is in hot water for comments that allegedly downplay racial strife in segregation-era Mississippi:

Both Mr. Mott and Mr. Kelly had told me that Yazoo City was perhaps the only municipality in Mississippi that managed to integrate the schools without violence. I asked Haley Barbour why he thought that was so.

“Because the business community wouldn’t stand for it,” he said. “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

In interviews Barbour doesn’t have much to say about growing up in the midst of the civil rights revolution. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” he said. “I remember Martin Luther King came to town, in ’62. He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white.”

At the Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg finds Barbour guilty of first-degree bigotry:

Writer Andrew Ferguson takes Barbour at his word, arguing that if Barbour’s segregationist roots become an issue in his presidential campaign, it will be because of “Washington political reporters who enjoy moralizing about race and public education while sending their own children to progressive schools like Sidwell Friends and St. Albans.”

The piece is an exquisite example of the conservative racial two-step: a blatant expression of racism, followed by aggrieved wailing at the mere thought of being called a racist. It proves that Barbour is either dishonest or so blindly ignorant that one can scarcely imagine how he’s managed a successful political career.

Of course, Goldberg has falsely smeared conservatives as racists before, undermining the idea that she’s accurately identified some common right-wing trope in the “conservative racial two-step.” But what of Barbour’s case?

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

Rand Paul & the Civil Rights Act

Robert Stacy McCain’s point about Rand Paul’s partial opposition to the Civil Rights Act stemming from concerns over government overreach rather than bigotry is well taken.  But I think he’d do well to familiarize himself a bit more with Rand’s record (and how it ties into his father’s) before proclaiming that “Having now crossed this bridge, however, conservatives must fight the fight we are in and not waste time  wishing we had met the enemy on some other field.”  Yes, conservatives will always be victimized by left-wing race baiting, but the Pauls are special cases, given how much they benefit from racists. (Hat tip: Lisa Graas)

The Paul File Continued (Updated)

The following is an addendum to my recent NewsReal posts about Ron & Rand Paul’s disgusting relationship with radicalism and their dangerous misrepresentation of facts on all things national-security and foreign-policy related:

During the 2008 Republican National Convention, Ron Paul held a counter-event, & the campaign invited crackpot Jesse Ventura to speak there. Ventura’s tirade about what “really happened” on 9/11 was met with wild applause by Paul’s audience.

On 9/11 Truther Alex Jones’ show in 2007, Paul claimed, “if you have a 9/11 incident or something like that, they use that to do the things that they had planned all along.”

In January 2008, Paul’s Midland County, MI, campaign coordinator was one Randy Gray, who happened to moonlight as “a longstanding active and vocal organizer for the Knight’s Party faction of the Ku Klux Klan.”  The campaign did not comment on the controversy, but did scrub all traces of Gray from their websites. Continue reading

Little Green Freakshow

There’s a special place in hell waiting for Charles Johnson, regardless of whether or not he believes it’s really there.

Once one of the heavy hitters of the blogosphere (he helped in blowing the lid off Rathergate and founding Pajamas Media), in the past couple years Johnson has shifted the focus of Little Green Footballs to rooting out any perceived extremists (real & imagined alike) from the right-of-center, a venture that has its place (I’ve made clear my opposition to Birthers, Paultergeists, and other genuine loons & bigots), but for Johnson that crusade has morphed into something else entirely: a smear campaign based on specious (if any) evidence against…well, darn near every conservative blogger & commentator who isn’t him.

Ever expressed doubt as to man’s contribution to global warming?  Evolution?  You’re an extremist who has to be destroyed.  Host a blog, but don’t police the comment threads to Johnson’s exacting, jackbooted standards?  You obviously endorse every word there, then.  Is there an out-of-context or unsourced quote attributed to you floating around the Internet?  Good enough for Chuck!  Burn the witches!

Mind you, I hate Ron Paul every bit as much as the next sensible conservative, but that doesn’t justify dishonest attacks on him.  Likewise, I happen to believe in evolution (yes, I’ve changed my position since reading Godless, thanks in part to the excellent work of Dr. Francis Collins), but is creationism in public schools really a dire threat to the Union?  Please.

It was only natural that Johnson would jump on the bandwagon to keep Rush Limbaugh out of the NFL, and his conduct in this matter perfectly illustrates the (empty) content of his character.  Ace picked up on Johnson’s sleazy peddling of a fraudulent list of racist Rush quotes, and his utter indifference to their veracity.  Now the Media Research Center has released a report on the smear campaign, in which they mention Johnson as one of the perpetrators.  Johnson’s reaction?  Does he feel a shred of professional or personal obligation to honesty?  Nope: “I’ve finally made it. I’m an “offender” in this Rush Limbaugh idolizing article at the far right Media Research Center. My life is complete.”

That and a list of “racist and race-baiting quotes from Rush Limbaugh that are sourced and verified”:

“Right. So you go into Darfur and you go into South Africa, you get rid of the white government there. You put sanctions on them. You stand behind Nelson Mandela — who was bankrolled by communists for a time, had the support of certain communist leaders. You go to Ethiopia. You do the same thing.”

If Johnson or Media Matters would care to explain how speculation about the motives behind inconsistent stances on Iraq & Darfur (right or wrong) constitutes racism, I’d love to hear it.  Speaking bluntly about racial components to political issues is not “race-baiting.”

“Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.”

Rather than a “look at those violent blacks on the field!” comment that Johnson would like you to believe this is, it comes from a larger discussion on class & maturity in NFL culture—in which he compliments San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson and Philadelphia Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison as “the two most classy individuals playing in the National Football League today, in skill positions.”  As clicking on their names reveals, a little context can be a dangerous thing.

“Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?”

I can’t find context for this one (maybe Rush was trying to prod lefty sensibilities), but okay, it sure doesn’t sound good.  Absent a good contextual basis, he should apologize.  But is Rush Limbaugh a racist?  Ask his producer.

“Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”

Rush apparently said this early in his radio career, to an unintelligible black caller.  Crude?  Insensitive?  Yes, but Rush openly regrets it, and an ill-considered quip uttered in frustration is hardly worth crucifying the guy over.

“I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They’re interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there’s a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn’t deserve.”

This is commentary on media sensibilities regarding race, not race baiting.  Next.

“Obama’s America: white kids getting beat up on school buses. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety, but in Obama’s America, white kids now get beat up, with the black kids cheering, ‘Yeah! Right on! Right on!’”

*sigh* Johnson has already been called out for this faux controversy.

Since I began writing this post, Johnson has updated his post with the Snopes analysis of the “disputed” (that’s LGF-speak for what the rest of us call “phony”) Rush quotes—y’know, the only ones that show any actual racism.  He offers them without commentary, expresses no regret for his role in peddling them, and probably didn’t add them until it occurred to him that they might help him save face.  To Charles Johnson, blogging means never having to say you’re sorry.

Why the obsession with smearing people?  Why the abandonment of integrity?  Who knows—maybe his departure from Pajamas Media left him with a chip on his shoulder.  Maybe he’s overcompensating for similar charges that have been leveled against him in the past.  Whatever the cause, Little Green Footballs is no longer worthy of its once-revered place in the blogosphere, and is now nothing more than a Little Green Freakshow.

Tell a Lie Loud Enough and Often Enough….

The New York Times has a celebrated history of shame, up to and including disclosing government secrets, and their latest editorial is another disgusting affront to journalism:

We know that operatives in modern-day presidential campaigns are supposed to say things that everyone knows are ridiculous — and to do it with a straight face.

Still, there was something surreal, and offensive, about today’s soundbite from the campaign of Senator John McCain.

The presumptive Republican nominee has embarked on a bare-knuckled barrage of negative advertising aimed at belittling Mr. Obama. The most recent ad compares the presumptive Democratic nominee for president to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton — suggesting to voters that he’s nothing more than a bubble-headed, publicity-seeking celebrity.

The ad gave us an uneasy feeling that the McCain campaign was starting up the same sort of racially tinged attack on Mr. Obama that Republican operatives ran against Harold Ford, a black candidate for Senate in Tennessee in 2006. That assault, too, began with videos juxtaposing Mr. Ford with young, white women.

Mr. Obama called Mr. McCain on the ploy, saying, quite rightly, that the Republicans are trying to scare voters by pointing out that he “doesn’t look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills.’’

But Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager, had a snappy answer. “Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck,” he said. “It’s divisive, negative, shameful and wrong.’’

The retort was, we must say, not only contemptible, but shrewd. It puts the sin for the racial attack not on those who made it, but on the victim of the attack.

It also — and we wish this were coincidence, but we doubt it — conjurs
[sic] up another loaded racial image.

The phrase dealing the race card “from the bottom of the deck” entered the national lexicon during the O.J. Simpson saga. Robert Shapiro, one of Mr. Simpson’s lawyers, famously declared of himself, Johnny Cochran and the rest of the Simpson defense team, “Not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck.”

It’s ugly stuff. How about we leave Britney, Paris, and O.J. out of this — and have a presidential campaign?

There’s no secret racist message in
McCain’s ad, implicit or otherwise. The intent was to call Obama vapid and his hype overblown, nothing more. If you’re looking for vapid, overrated celebrities, you’d be hard-pressed to find more worthy examples of any skin color. Is there really any doubt that if the campaign had used images of, say, Halle Berry instead, that would have been called a clue to the Right’s deep-seated yearning for segregation?

And the supposed OJ allusion? To say it was deliberate is wishful speculation at best, and “dealing the race card from the bottom of the deck” seems to accurately describe both situations: a minority figure invoking race victimhood to divert attention from the real issue.

The Times has no evidence for their thesis other than that
Barack said so (speaking of which, if that was Obama “call[ing] Mr. McCain on the ploy,” why did he initially try to deny it? And if his comments were in response to McCain, why did he say them back in June, too?). There’s no lie the Left, and their propagandists in the media and blogosphere, won’t tell or spread in the pursuit of power.

Odds & Ends

Rock for Life’s YouTube page has new video of numerous pro-life Congressmen taking Planned Parenthood to task. Glad to see some Republicans still have spines…especially after this moment of GOP brilliance.

Your brain on drugs: Frederick Douglass
belongs to the Left?

Ever wonder how Jesse Jackson feels now that Barack Obama’s stolen the spotlight?
Well, now we know. Surprised? Me neither.

In case you missed it, “the father of Quebec Medicare” has
second thoughts about his creation.

Iran is
faking photographs of missile tests. Yep, reaaaal stable regime there…(hat tip: Jihad Watch)

Bobby Jindal, conservative champion? Sadly, his “new politics”
seem awfully familiar, too. Conservatives need to be careful not to build up fairytale heroes (*cough*Fred!*cough*), but I still think we should keep an eye out on Mitt, as well as Sarah Palin.