I have never claimed (as Montgomery also asserts) that “white racism doesn’t exist except among the KKK set.” I have specifically written (and in Salon itself!) that everyone — white, black, left, right — has bigotry in them. It is a human condition. In fact this very perception is the core of the conservative argument against affirmative action race preferences: It requires a single standard and neutral governmental rules to civilize us all.
Although I am indeed appalled by the monolithic character of the so-called civil rights left, I do make distinctions between black leaders and I do not attack liberal black leaders, as she falsely suggests. I am on record praising and defending black leaders who are truly liberal and with whom I often disagree — specifically Urban League president Hugh Price, the late Barbara Jordan, Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy and Washington Post columnist Juan Williams to name but a few. I am indeed in battle with black leftists, but then I am in battle with the left generally in all its ethnic and racial colors.
At the same time, I have harangued Republican audiences over Republican failures to reach out to blacks and other minorities, and I have been a public leader in attempts to make the Republican Party a rainbow coalition. This is an aspect of my career that Montgomery doesn’t even address because it would reveal the racial character of her own perspective, which causes her to miss the political nature of mine. To seize on my five-hour working meeting with a group of liberal black leaders in the course of a more than five-year effort to help inner-city blacks, and to compare it (as Montgomery does) with the demented anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan’s smarmy offer to have a photo op with Joe Lieberman is beneath contempt. But it is reflective of the path Montgomery has chosen in her effort to caricature my career.
Having relied so heavily on low-grade rhetorical smears to achieve her purpose, Montgomery pontificates: “Name-calling rarely encourages dialogue.” Like this I suppose: “Right now the only ones tuning in to Horowitz are his own tribe of ditto-heads.” Is she referring to the Washington Post’s Jonathan Yardley, or Mickey Kaus of Kausfiles, or the editorialists of the Arizona Republic and USA Today — all of whom have come to my defense and have done so as liberals, as Democrats and in Yardley’s case as no Horowitz fan (his review of “Radical Son” was as negative as any written). Salon itself has reported that 70 percent of the American public, when polled, agrees with my position on reparations, a fact that underscores my concern that a left-wing black leadership is once again embarked on a destructive course that will further isolate its constituency.