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Conservatives: Shaking the Hand That Strikes Them
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For some time now I’ve been intrigued by the bizarre length to which conservatism, inc. goes in trying to woo minority groups that vote consistently Democratic. I’ve heard from Republican journalists that the Democrats, and especially Obama, are abusing blacks by not lending enough support to charter schools. Before that I recall being serenaded (especially by the late Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich) about how Democrats were denying blacks the chance to move up economically by refusing to turn black neighborhoods into “enterprise zones.” If only taxation were temporarily suspended in inner cities, this would supposedly turn these blighted areas into capitalist oases. Everyone and his cousin would move their business ventures into what are now crime-ridden asphalt jungles because of the tax breaks that would become associated with broken down, crime-infested neighborhoods.

And what about racist Democrats blighting the lives of young black males each time they raise the minimum wage? Apparently violence-prone black teen-agers would mend their ways if only they had access to low-paying jobs. Although young black males did work more energetically and committed fewer violent crimes in the 1950s, the reason may have been that they were living in a far more structured society, in which some semblance of parental authority survived. In all likelihood the minimum wage has not risen as steeply in relation to the cost of living as some Republicans would like us to believe

A recently published biography Sharpton by Carl Horowitz leaves no doubt as to the obsequious lengths that Republican and Fox-news operators have gone in trying to cultivate influential black personalities. For about ten years Bill O’Reilly, Newt Gingrich, Dean Hannity and other Murdoch media celebrities built close friendships with a race hustler, who among his accomplishments incited black rioters against Jewish business owners and vulnerable Hasidic Jews and who helped manufacture lies about a black girl being raped by white policemen. The same GOP noisemakers who continue to scream against David Duke and other white anti-Semites flattered Sharpton on TV, donated money to his slush funds, and appeared as his supporters at political gatherings. The break between Fox-news and Sharpton came over the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer. But this may have been no more than a convenient point at which to break off a relation that was not yielding benefit to the ”conservative” side.

More recently a Fox-news regular, Andrea Tantaros, has revealed that President Obama has gone against Benjamin Netanyahu because the White House is awash in anti-Semitism. Ms. Tantaros, who hosts a tedious program full of GOP hacks, “Outnumbered,” has gone out of her way to repeat her inflammatory accusation, each time a cooperative Murdoch employee obligingly poses the question: “Do you consider the Obama administration to be anti-Semitic?” This has not been an isolated item in the Fox-news bazaar. Rather it has come during a period, in which Netanyahu’s congressional oration is being hailed throughout the GOP press as a “Churchillian performance.”

In recent days, viewers of Fox-news have seen graphic pictures located in the lower right corner of their screens. There one can behold pictures of two juxtaposed pairs, Chamberlain and Churchill and Obama and Netanyahu, pairs that keep alternating on the screen, particularly during evening hours. The German city, which has become a shamelessly overused symbol, Munich has been mentioned multiple times in the last week on Hannity’s talkathon, followed by ominous, repeated references to the Holocaust. So much for neoconservative subtlety! Oh, and lest I forget, a website full of National Review contributors “The Federalist,” spoke about the urgency of stressing the horrors of the Holocaust given the existential danger evoked by Bibi before Congress.

The website even featured a picture of the Israeli prime minister in a very friendly pose with Hillary Clinton’s close friend and Holocaust-memory-activist Elie Wiesel, which was meant to highlight the need to draw our wagons together in the face of the rising tide of anti-Semitism. Like Sean Hannity, Cal Thomas, Mike Huckabee, and scores of other Republican celebrities, Tantaros and “The Federalist” assume that any critical opinion about Israel or dissenting view about the Iranian danger represents a surging tide of anti-Semitism, to which the Democrats are succumbing.

Although it is possible that all these actors feel attached to Israel at some level and although I wouldn’t doubt that Jewish neoconservatives breathe Israeli nationalism, I strongly suspect that the current melodrama has its more mercenary side. GOP media celebrities and GOP politicians, like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, would like to attract Jewish voters and Jewish philanthropists and are throwing all taste to the wind in their pandering. Republicans who are good on Israel already have their nests feathered by such munificent Zionist moneybags as Sheldon Adelson and Rupert Murdoch. But it never hurts a national party to recruit more funders with deep pockets.

Of course there is no reason to think the GOP will do any better in attracting Jewish voters than they’ve done as missionaries to the blacks. In the best of times the party may max out with about twenty percent of the Jewish vote and a few percentage points of the black. But there may be something else at work when Republican leaders and their journalistic servants cater so furiously to certain unappreciative groups. I identify that other factor in my book on the politics and culture of guilt, namely that white Christians, and particularly Euro-American Protestants, feel guilty about not being better appreciated by those whom they designate as targets of their outreach.


As someone who does not share the attitudes in question, I can only describe those who do as exemplifying what for me is weird behavior. Perhaps, because of my cultural limitations, I cannot really empathize with George W. Bush, who grieved when he discovered that a black rap singer Kanye West called him a “racist” for not responding suitably to the Katrina hurricane. Bush referred to the moment when heard this charge from the black entertainer as “the alltime low of his presidency.” Apparently Bush and other white Christian Republicans care very deeply that those who reject and may even loathe the WASP America their party once represented don’t want to join them in their big tent. And so spurned “conservatives” fawn all the more frenetically on hostile minorities in a way that liberal Democrats, to their credit, would never do when they address the gun lobby, the Christian Right, or opponents of gay marriage. This has produced a very one-sided relation, as seen for example, when Rand Paul went to Howard University to convince his unreceptive black listeners that they should embrace his libertarian philosophy and solutions. Needless to say, these efforts were met with heckling, although the Kentucky Senator hopes to reach out again if he runs for the presidency, perhaps by offering the same arguments he tried at Howard without any evident success. Among other problems with this approach, is that those whom Paul was addressing have no compelling practical reasons to endorse him. These minority members live disproportionately off government funds and the anti-discrimination industry. Why would they favor reducing a vital source of their incomes?

I’m sure libertarians could make high-fluting argument that intellectuals might enjoy pondering about why “in the long run” blacks, Latinos, feminists and gays would benefit from less government. One could also explain to Jews, who are clustered in the left wing of the Democratic Party, that their real interests is to stand with WASP plutocrats and the fervently pro-Israel Religious Right, both of whom are housed in the GOP. But that line has been tried many times and shown to fail. And I predict that the GOP’s feigned hysteria about Bibi and their anachronistic warnings about Munich, 1938 will leave the party at least in terms of Jewish voters equally empty-handed. But all this noise may bring certain other benefits, namely psychological ones, to those who want minorities to smile at them benignly and who fear the very thought of being considered “prejudiced.”

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Conservative Movement, Republicans 
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  1. Priss Factor [AKA "K. Arujo"] says:

    But do cons really have a choice?

    Politicians must go where the power and money are.


  2. Another well reasoned and observed piece by Dr. Gottfried.

    If there were a paleoconservative media, some pol’s might pander to it. Since there is none, and there will be none, no such pandering will happen. I note that Fox now expands it’s umbrella to include hip young libertarians.

    This is no reflection on Dr. Gottfried but effective politics relies on the loop between economic players, the political hacks who survive by servicing them, and the media, who play the role of showcasing and reinforcing all the memes that keep the money-politcs relationship going.

    No moneyed interest or industry survives by representing the interests of White, Christian Americans. And as long as that’s true, there will be no paleoconservative media to feed the political hacks that might serve their cause. It’s that simple.

    So the cause is truly lost unless we connect our cultural interest with some actual power interest. It’s distressing to me that this point is so rarely mentioned, much less addressed. Perhaps if we can just persuade one of the Koch brothers to give a damn about their fellow, traditional Americans? OK that’s too much to hope.

  3. Trumped says:

    Another outstanding article. As a paleo-libertarian, I sadly have to agree that Rand Paul’s efforts are basically a waste. The large black demographics are about as likely to vote to end their AA and govt handout welfare policies as the military industrial complex employees are to start voting against war mongering neo-cons and progressives.

  4. Noah172 says:

    This column is missing an important piece of the story: moderate white voters. Republican candidates want to be seen pandering to various victim groups not really so much because they expect to get many votes from these factions (Republican politicians aren’t actually that stupid and blind, although maybe Jack Kemp was and Rand Paul is), but to reassure moderate whites that Republicans aren’t the meanie racists that the mostly leftist MSM claims that they are.

    Gottfried is right that GOP pandering to the Jews is mostly about money, not votes (ditto for the Dems, for that matter), it should be noted that Romney got 30 percent of the Chosen, according to the 2012 exit poll — the best Republican performance among that subgroup since 1988. This may be attributable to the growing Orthodox proportion of American Jewry, or the realization among smart Jews that the Republicans really aren’t going to ban abortion or roll back gay rights, leaving Jews free to vote on Israel policy or taxes or health care or what have you. I fear that Romney’s little bump in a little voting bloc will convince (has convinced) Republicans that their slavish Zionism is reaping electoral reward, so they should amp it up, soldiers in coffins be damned.

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