Intolerable black men, &c.

Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas


There is something about the world that can’t stand an independent, conservative black man. Let me take an unpleasant walk down Memory Lane. I’m going to flick the scabs off a couple of wounds. (Nixon used to say this. Not very nice, I realize.)

A white cartoonist once drew Justice Clarence Thomas as a puppet on Justice Antonin Scalia’s hand. Scalia articulated a legal opinion. Then the bubble-lipped, grinning Thomas puppet said, “Oh, yeah! Say what?”

Another white cartoonist drew Condoleezza Rice as Prissy from Gone with the Wind. This was when Rice was national-security adviser, and there was drama over Saddam Hussein’s WMD. The cartoonist had Rice say, “I knows all about aluminum tubes. Correction. I don’t know nuthin’ about aluminum tubes.”

Recently, the head of the North Carolina NAACP had some words for Tim Scott, the Republican senator from South Carolina. “A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy.” The NAACP guy believes, or claims to believe, that Scott is a tool of far-right elements who control him. Republicans asked the national NAACP to disavow the statement, which the NAACP refused to do.

The senator, for his part, responded with good grace — extraordinary good grace. More than I could summon, probably. And get this: The host of Meet the Press asked him whether there was a “dark vein of intolerance” . . . running through the Republican party.

I didn’t make that up.

I have long believed that black Republicans, black conservatives, are among the bravest people on earth. What these people have to put up with, from various quarters, is amazing, and disgusting.

Once, Michael Steele, the Maryland Republican, said to me, “I have thick skin. I’m an elephant, after all.”

Another time, I asked Thomas Sowell, “Who has treated you worse in your life? Fellow black people or white liberals?” He shook his head, chuckled, and said, “It’s too close to call.”

Last week, I attended a gathering of a Republican club in Queens, N.Y. A black woman said, “I like people who think for themselves.” So do I.

There was a candidate for office who spoke heavily accented English. He said his name was Jesus Martinez, and he pronounced “Jesus” in an English way, not a Spanish way (not “Jesús”). I can’t remember ever hearing that.

There was another candidate, or former candidate, who was Chinese-born, apparently, and spoke heavily accented English. He wore an American-flag tie and was notably gung-ho, Republican-wise.

It was a very American crew, a very American evening. I thought of left-wingers, in politics, academia, and the media, who portray Republicans as a bunch of whitebread country-clubbers. These people, these left-wing stereotypers, make me gag.

You will remember the 2008 presidential-election campaign. The Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, said that President George W. Bush had basically destroyed U.S. foreign policy. He had embarrassed our friends, created new enemies, and besmirched our good name. That’s what Obama said. Under him, things would be different, yessir.

Everything else aside, have you listened to his latest ambassadorial nominees? They are real beauties. Bundlers, bunglers, and beauties. (A bundler, you may remember, is a type of big campaign donor.)

Let’s begin with Our Man in Norway, or our proposed Man in Norway. In his confirmation hearing, he had a terrible time of it. And he was offensive, to boot.

John McCain asked him about the Progress party. Longtime readers of this column know about the “Progs,” as some of us call them. They are the Reaganite, or Thatcherite, party of Norway. They include some friends of mine, and I have discussed this party on many occasions. In 2010, I wrote a magazine piece: “Among the Progs.”

At the time, they were the second-largest party in parliament. Today, they are in government, in coalition with the Conservative party. The Conservative party is much less conservative, or Reaganite, than the Progs. In fact, their leader, who is now the prime minister, attended the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver, which, of course, nominated Obama.


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