You really have to feel sorry for the Stupid Party. Even when handed an opportunity to make their Democratic rivals shut up about Republican “insensitivity” and “tolerance for bigotry” and embarrass the Democrats for their own embrace of hatemongers, the Republicans still manage to blow it — mainly because they refuse to denounce anti-white hatred as the anti-white hatred it is.
All during the primary season, Democrats Al Gore and Bill Bradley thumped the leading Republican candidates because they wouldn’t repudiate the Confederate flag and because Republican George W. Bush expressed insufficient outrage about anti-Catholic sentiments associated with Bob Jones University when he spoke there.
As I suggested a few weeks ago, the way for the Republicans to counter these accusations was not to apologize for Bob Jones or their position on the Confederate flag but to go on the attack. Both Gore and Bradley were fresh from meetings with black racial demagogue Al Sharpton, and neither was in any position to trash anybody for tolerating bigotry.
Articles in the Wall Street Journal, National Review and the Weekly Standard also suggested the same tactic, and at last, these ideas seeped down to the brain cells floating inside Republican skulls. As reporter Jonathan Tilove reports in a recent article for Newhouse News Service, the Republicans are “waging a campaign to make the Rev. Al Sharpton … into a central figure in the 2000 elections.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson has denounced Sharpton as an anti-Semite, and the cry has been echoed by Florida GOP Rep. Joe Scarborough, who has introduced a resolution in Congress denouncing Sharpton. “I guess on the left, if somebody makes anti-Semitic remarks in New York, they’re called a Democratic leader; if they make it in Louisiana, they’re called a Klan member,” says Scarborough, in an obvious swipe at ex-Klansman David Duke of Louisiana.
Well, the Republicans have a point. Gore and Bradley (not to mention New York Democratic senatorial candidate Hillary Clinton) remain unapologetic for their kissy-face meetings with the Rev. Al, despite his long record of vicious remarks about whites and Jews, his possible role in inciting a murderous arson attack against a white-owned Harlem clothing store and his defamations of white police officers for supposedly raping Tawana Brawley.
But the Republican tactic has backfired. What they denounce Sharpton for is almost exclusively anti-Semitism, and lo and behold, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the self-appointed world’s greatest expert on who is and who is not an anti-Semite, has said that Sharpton isn’t one.
Tilove’s story quotes Myrna Shinbaum, a spokesman for the ADL, as saying, “We don’t consider Sharpton an anti-Semite.” She admits he has “some baggage,” but he “has moved away from extremism and is a major player in the Democratic Party in New York.” Yes, well, David Duke left the Ku Klux Klan, but guess what the ADL would say if Gov. Bush met with him.
In fact, Sharpton’s record of anti-Semitic utterances is well-documented, but since the ADL, itself a liberal organization, won’t support the Republican case against Sharpton, and since former New York Mayor Ed Koch, himself Jewish, actually set up the meeting between Bradley and Sharpton also says Sharpton’s “support is acceptable,” it may not be easy for the Republicans to make their charges stick. Indeed, Sharpton has announced a lawsuit against the RNC and Nicholson for smearing his reputation.
So the Republicans find themselves once again on the defensive. What did they do wrong? Well, mainly, they chose to go after Sharpton with the truncheon of anti-Semitism. They should have said he was simply “anti-white.”
By lobbing the anti-Semitism charge, Republicans wanted to sound liberal, since it’s mainly liberals who lob it. If you say Sharpton is anti-white, that sounds — well — racist. And that’s what Republicans don’t want to sound like more than anything else.
But the liberals, whom the Republicans do want to sound like, are far too smart to let them sound that way. Hence, no sooner had the Republicans invoked the anti-Semitism charge against Sharpton then a small legion of liberals marched out to defend the man who is, in fact, the country’s most vicious racial demagogue and charlatan.
The Republicans’ Sharpton tactic backfired because the Republicans wanted to sound like liberals and thereby sign on to the liberal monopoly of moral legitimacy rather than challenge it. They might still be able to use Sharpton against the Democrats, who have embraced him, but now they’ll have to do it by denouncing him as anti-white — even if saying so makes them sound less — or more — than liberal.