The Corner

More Blaming the Messenger

Andrew Sullivan has devolved into one of those fringe, and by now hysterical, voices that almost no one on their own initiative quotes or refers to for enlightenment—but ends up on occasion replying to, since his stock and trade methods of gaining exposure are reduced to constant venom and unfounded falsities. I’ve corrected him twice in the past on his accusations (once in front of a Columbia audience he dishonestly claimed that I was on record supporting torture). And his latest is more of the same.

Now he accuses Charles Krauthammer, Sean Hannity, me, and others of being part of a “right wing freak show” since we ignore Barack Obama’s “post-racial, post-partisan appeal.” This is once again a pathetic statement and untrue.

It was not the right-wing, but sadly Barack Obama’s own pastor and “spiritual advisor” whom he subsidized and frequented with for 20 years, who addressed a NAACP audience on the nature of genetic differences based on race that explain why blacks are spiritual and whites analytical—an outage that far too many of the liberal media (and Barack Obama) ignored.

It was not the right wing, but Obama himself who evoked “typical white person.”

It was not the right-wing, but Barack Obama who stereotypically caricatured the white middle class, as xenophobic, racist in its distrust of others, and, in its ignorance, clinging to guns and religion.

It was not the right-wing, but Barack Obama, the Clintons, and liberal Democrats who turned a primary fight into a racial divide, in which 90% of African-Americans are now voting along racial lines for Obama, not in some measure for the ultra-liberal wife of our first “black” President, who himself has for weeks been responding by playing up racial differences, (albeit in his trademark ‘they did it first’ way) to win white block voters.

And it was not the right-wing, but Barack Obama who for months now has first excused (e.g., “not particularly controversial”), then contextualized, and then belatedly distanced himself from Wright’s serial hate speech against Jews, Italians, Americans, whites, and almost anyone else other than Rev. Wright. Indeed, Wright has remained remarkably consistent in his venom throughout this entire sordid episode; it is Obama, in contrast, who has changed radically his defenses of Wright—not on principles or probably on truth either, but simply in response to changing political realties that apparently demanded changing exegeses.

Sullivan and other liberal apologists cannot accept that the 2008 Democratic primary is the logical culmination of an era of identity politics in which questions of race and gender were always to be essential for personal and political advancement, not incidental to one’s persona. True, much of talk radio, bloggers, and cable news distrusts the liberal agenda of Barack Obama. But they have done only a faction of the damage to his campaign that Barack Obama himself did by his steady contextualization of the racist Wright, his own cast-off racialist stereotyped remarks, and the tired condescension and mock-grievances of his wife Michelle.

If Obama will “disown” Wright, and himself cease characterizing entire groups of people by their race or class, while politely instructing his wife to occasionally suggest that this country is admirable, and that they are a rather fortunate couple, then we can get back to the issues and let Obama make his undeniably eloquent case for a liberal agenda of the sort we haven’t seen defended and advanced since Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Mike Dukakis.

The country needs that promised postracial debate between two skilled candidates—not the embarrassing racialist speech and creepy associates that Obama thus far has brought to, and so overwhelmed, it.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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