The Mad, Mad World of Race

by Jay Nordlinger

One MSNBC commentator, Chris Matthews, has told us that “Chicago” is racist. To mention the word Chicago, in connection with President Obama, is to express racism. Because Chicago is black, or something. I did a little post on this the other day:

When I think of Chicago, I think of the Daleys, Georg Solti, the Sears Tower, Al Capone, Mrs. O’Leary, and Ernie Banks.

Well, you got me on Ernie Banks, I guess.

Now another MSNBC commentator, Lawrence O’Donnell, has told us that the mention of golf is racist. In Tampa, Republican senator Mitch McConnell said, “For four years, Barack Obama has been running from the nation’s problems. He hasn’t been working to earn reelection: He’s been working to earn a spot on the PGA Tour.”

This, O’Donnell said, was racist: because the senator was associating the president with “the lifestyle of Tiger Woods.” That wouldn’t have occurred to you? Well, that’s why you don’t make the big bucks, as a political analyst. Moron.

I wish to make a few points (unsurprisingly). First, I’m not sure the “lifestyle of Tiger Woods” is all that unpopular. Hollywood morality, if that’s the term, triumphed long ago in this country. That triumph appears permanent. Bill Clinton was more popular after Monica and impeachment than before. Clint Eastwood is given a rhapsodic welcome at the Republican convention. JFK is some kind of American saint. Boris Johnson seems headed to No. 10. (Sorry, switched countries there.)

Adultery, divorce, and booze are as American as apple pie. If you doubt it, look about you.

(Incidentally, some Republicans are worried that voters will hold Romney’s not drinking against him. Both candidates, however, seem to be faithful husbands. Couple o’ squares. No wonder America’s losing its edge!)

But back to golf: Republicans are always picking on Obama for his golf, which I have never liked. Two years ago, I wrote a piece called “Hail to the Golfer-in-Chief.” Golf is a most healthful pastime. That Obama loves golf is one of the best things I know about him. Besides, it keeps him out of the Oval Office.

Conservatives are always praising Calvin Coolidge for staying out of the way. In the next breath, they say, “Obama is on the golf course when he should be governing! Quelle scandale!” (They may not say that last bit.) The way Obama governs, you should prefer him on the golf course, right?

My final point: You just can’t win, if you’re a Republican. No matter what you say, you’ll be a racist. You know this — but here is an illustration, and one that features golf:

Two or three weeks ago, Bill Maher said about President Obama, “In many ways — especially for progressives — he is too white for them. He plays golf, he’s too cozy with bankers.” So, golf is white, in the “progressive” mind (or at least in Maher’s).

But then comes Lawrence O’Donnell to say, No, golf is black — and if you’re associating Obama with golf, you’re associating him with blackness. (Or Cablinasianness or something.) (Years ago, Tiger Woods coined the word “Cablinasian” to encompass his mix of races.)

Remember, if you’re a Republican, you can’t win — you just can’t. So you might as well just go ahead and live life.

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