Seems like a good way to run the country. Brand your opponents as racist.
I mean, the guy isn’t even running for reelection again. At this point, for President Obama, playing the race card is just sport.
That’s exactly what the White House did Monday. Knowing full well Republicans plan to keep Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana in the leadership as majority whip, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest suggested in no unmistakable terms that to do so was racist. It only follows that Republican leaders must be racist.
That Earnest used the Scalise controversy to pivot to an indictment of Republicans with about the worst charge that can be lodged against them is unfortunately too typical of a White House that routinely claims moral superiority for itself and divides the country with bilious attacks.
Obama, through Earnest, could not merely against Scalise’s selection. He had to talk about Republican “values.” Earnest said:
There is no arguing that who Republicans decide to elevate into a leadership position says a lot about what the conference’s priorities and values are. I mean, ultimately, Mr. Scalise reportedly described himself as David Duke without the baggage. So it will be up to Republicans to decide what that says about their conference.
Scalise has denied knowingly addressing a gathering of David Duke’s racist followers, and there is some evidence he may not have done so at all. The comment about Duke “without the baggage” is based on one person’s allegation. And if Scalise said it, he may have just meant that he was a conservative minus Duke’s racism. Of course, for this White House, conservatism and racism are inseparable.
But I’m not writing to defend Steve Scalise. It’s still unclear what the extent of Scalise’s association with Duke and his ilk was. The allegations may be based in truth. Which is just the point – the White House is joining the effort to destroy this man and use it to demonize Republicans before the jury has even come in.
It will. Believe me, journalists are probably all over this in a way they never investigated Benghazi.
But while Scalise’s ties to racist figures remains unproven, there was one leader of a political party who in fact acknowledged belonging to the Ku Klux Klan.
This man, a former Exalted Cyclops of the Klan who later opposed desegregation and the Civil Rights Act, was the Democratic leader for 12 years from 1977-1989 and, yes, majority whip at the very moment in 2002 that Scalise was supposedly addressing the Duke meeting. What’s more, he was an unrepentant liberal statist who in his many years on the appropriations committee and as its chair allotted billions of taxpayer dollars to untold numbers of government projects and programs.
What does Obama think the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia says about Democrats?