Many column inches were wasted in January discussing the accusation that Newt Gingrich’s pronunciation of the word “Juan” during a Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C. was part of a secret, racist code, the exposure of which proved that the GOP is packed full of veiled racists. (As WFB liked to say, “Then, pray, unveil them.”) Yesterday, the man who moderated that debate, Juan Williams, bowled into the fray on The Hill:
The language of GOP racial politics is heavy on euphemisms that allow the speaker to deny any responsibility for the racial content of his message. The code words in this game are “entitlement society” — as used by Mitt Romney — and “poor work ethic” and “food stamp president” — as used by Newt Gingrich. References to a lack of respect for the “Founding Fathers” and the “Constitution” also make certain ears perk up by demonizing anyone supposedly threatening core “old-fashioned American values.”
The code also extends to attacks on legal immigrants, always carefully lumped in with illegal immigrants, as people seeking “amnesty” and taking jobs from Americans.
But the code sometimes breaks down.
This, lest we forget, is coming from a man who was fired from NPR for their hyper-sensitive reaction to his comments about Muslims. Speaking to Bill O’Reilly back in October, 2011, Williams had this to say about that decision:
Look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.
It does seem a touch odd that Williams would be so quick to conclude that Republican candidates were masking bigotry, given that he was (unfairly) crucified on a similar altar last year. He, as much as anyone, should understand the cheap way such accusations are thrown around in the modern political climate. Still, that Republicans are racists is an article of faith for the Left; perhaps Williams has seen a chance to rehabilitate himself in the media’s eyes and taken it with both hands?