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MSNBC: Conservatives Seek to "Stoke Racial Indignation" among Whites

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Posted on July 24 2009 12:41 pm

MSNBC television host Rachel Maddow yesterday charged that Republicans and conservatives know only one way of trying to expand their political influence – by fomenting and exploiting racial fears and prejudices among their overwhelmingly white base of supporters.

Specifically, Maddow took issue with recent conservative criticisms of Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor, who is Puerto Rican, and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, who is black. Sotomayor, of course, has been criticized because of her obvious, longstanding allegiance to race-based politics, while Gates has come under fire for recklessly accusing white Massachusetts police officers of racism.

Said Maddow:

“This is chapter one of the art of Republican politics since Richard Nixon. When surrounded by a more popular opponent [i.e., Barack Obama] whose ideas you can’t necessarily counter or you don’t feel confident countering, steer as far clear as you can of ideas and policy, and instead stoke racial indignation among your base when you can.”

In the leftist world that Maddow’s mind inhabits, there are no shades of gray; it’s all very simple: Republicans and conservatives are racists (even if they don’t realize it), while leftist Democrats are the anointed, the morally pure. It scarcely occurs to Maddow that if a white conservative criticizes a nonwhite leftist, he or she might be motivated by something other than racism. Rather, Maddow scoffs at whatever substantive criticisms conservatives may in fact articulate; to her, these are mere pretexts by means of which bigots seek to give their noxious views an air of legitimacy.

Reasoning from that premise, Maddow quite logically endorses any and all assertions by leftist Democrats that their conservative opponents are nothing more than an unschooled band of narrow-minded tribalists. Thus it would never occur to her that Barack Obama himself was guilty of trying to “stoke racial indignation” among his “base” when he said, during last year’s campaign: “They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. [They’ll say] ‘he’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’”

Nor, of course, did Maddow find fault with Obama telling his supporters on another occasion:

“They [Republicans] know that you’re not real happy with them and so the only way they figure they’re going to win this election is if they make you scared of me. What they’re saying is ‘Well, we know we’re not very good but you can’t risk electing Obama. You know, he’s new, he doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency, he’s a got a funny name.’”

For Maddow, assertions like Obama’s are nothing less than self-evident truths, not unlike these:

Rachel Maddow and her ideological ilk do not take issue with the underlying substance of any of the foregoing statements. It is no exaggeration to say that they classify those who disagree with them on matters of race as modern-day avatars of the Nazis.

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