Frustrated and embarrassed by Ben Carson’s smashing success in the crowded Republican race, white liberals are now turning towards the ugly racial politics they often wield when confronted with conservative minorities.
Responding yesterday to one of Jonah Goldberg’s columns at National Review, The New Republic’s Brian Beutler lashed out at both the Republican Party and Carson in a strikingly ugly way:
Carson is an incredibly accomplished and respected neurosurgeon, and the recently minted frontrunner of the highly competitive Republican field. Dismissing him as a “token” is both nasty and shallow, even coming from a writer of Beutler’s lackluster caliber. This has become the standard response of progressives who believe that the only political home for minorities is the Democratic Party: slander and belittle black conservatives for following their own political interests rather than those of Democrats.
When Reality Contradicts a Narrative
With his rude, classless attack on Carson, Beutler misses three other important points. The first is that, contrary to Beutler’s hysterical denunciation, Jonah is in fact correct: Carson’s current success in the Republican primaries deals a satisfying and humiliating blow to the progressive narrative that the GOP is a party of racist bigots.
The untruth of this narrative is obvious, of course, and has been obvious to anyone whose media consumption consists of anything more than The New Republic, but now it is impossible even for the liberal gatekeepers of the media to cover it up. This is mortifying for pundits like Beutler, who have staked their professional lives on the laughable claim that the Republican Party is hostile to minority politicians and voters.
If you factor in Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, then three out of the four current frontrunners in the GOP race are racial minorities; statistically speaking, at this point it’s the white guys in the race that are becoming “tokens.”
The second point Beutler misses is this: accusing Carson of being a “token” tells us much more about Beutler than it does about the fever-dream Republican Party that he imagines exists. It is, after all, Beutler who is dismissing Carson as a serious candidate based purely upon Carson’s race. Nearly a third of all voters polled by the Wall Street Journal feel otherwise.
Hi, Pot? Yeah, It’s Kettle
You can critique Carson’s politics or his policy, and you’d assuredly have plenty to criticize, but by denouncing Carson purely as a “token” candidate, Beutler betrays his own narrow-minded inability to get over the fact that Carson is a black man enjoying a whole lot of prestige within the Republican race.
Perhaps most poignantly, it is rather ironic for any liberal to be making a “racial critique” of the GOP or conservatives when the Left often drips with barely-concealed racial hostility. Dismissing Carson as a “token” is but one example from this election cycle alone. Consider the others which, if Republicans had done them, would merit round-the-clock coverage on all major news networks: Mark Halperin obsessing over Cruz’s Cuban heritage during an interview. Democratic strategist L. Joy Williams dismissing Carson as a “safe negro.” Kevin Drum referring to Rubio as a “Republican piñata.”
And it’s worth pointing out that Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan. So if we are indulging any “racial critiques” of U.S. political parties, perhaps we should start there.
Beutler is welcome to look down at Carson for being a black Republican. This is a feature of modern liberalism. But he should at least be aware of how pathetic he sounds. Whatever his faults or shortcomings, the Republican base likes Carson very much. Within the ranks of the GOP he will rise or fall based on his merits, not the color of his skin. Would that he could expect the same from the editors of The New Republic.