January 23, 2006

The "Plantation" Goes Up In Flames

Shelby Steele, author of A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America, eviscerates Hillary Clinton's pandering MLK Day "plantation" speech in today's WSJ OpinionJournal.

An excerpt:

Mrs. Clinton came to Al Sharpton's MLK celebration looking for an easy harvest of black votes. And she knew the drill--white liberals and Dems whistle for the black vote by pandering to the black sense of grievance. Once positioned as the white champions of this grievance, they actually turn black resentment into white liberal power. Today, Democrats cannot be competitive without this alchemy. So Mrs. Clinton's real insult to blacks--one far uglier than her plantation metaphor--is to value them only for their sense of grievance. Mrs. Clinton's husband was a master of this alchemy, and his presidency also illustrated its greatest advantage. Once black grievance is morphed into liberal power, it need never be honored. President Clinton notoriously felt black pain, won the black vote, and then rewarded blacks with the cold shower of welfare reform. And here, now, is Mrs. Clinton sidling up to the trough of black grievance, eyes wide in expectation, but also a tad contemptuous. It is hard to fully respect one's suckers.


Steele continues:

Precisely because Republicans cannot easily pander to black grievance, they have no need to value blacks only for their sense of grievance. Unlike Democrats, they can celebrate what is positive and constructive in minority life without losing power. The dilemma for Democrats, liberals and the civil rights establishment is that they become redundant and lose power the instant blacks move beyond grievance and begin to succeed by dint of their own hard work. So they persecute such blacks, attack their credibility as blacks, just as they pander to blacks who define their political relationship to America through grievance. Republicans are generally freer of the political bigotry by which the left either panders to or persecutes black Americans.

No one on the current political scene better embodies this Republican advantage than the current secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.

I've been working toward this idea in past posts and comments, pushing the idea that one party cannot address the needs of all people in an ethnic group, because people within any ethnic group have different economic and social realities. Race does not equal party affiliation, or at least it shouldn't.

I don't know if it is properly a disagreement with Steele, but I'd say that while Secretary Rice might be the most visible example of black conservativism, others are as well or better equipped to handle electoral office.

Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell has more experience as an elected politician, and simply lacks the national stage that Rice currently occupies. If he wins in Ohio (where he is currently ahead according to Zogby), the small government champion Blackwell may be in a position to think about a 2008 run at the GOP nomination for the Presidency, precisely because unlike other GOP hopefuls, Blackwell has a solid reputation as a true fiscal conservative. If you can find any other Republican candidates with his fiscal track record, please feel free to correct me.

Blackwell's small government leanings and his history of broad, cross-party appeal in Ohio should translate well across the country, and Rice's obvious foreign policy experience would balance the ticket. I for one would like to contemplate a Blackwell/Rice run for the GOP in '08.

Quite frankly, I don't see a Democratic ticket that could hope to compete.

Others blogging this topic:
Dr. Sanity
Austin Bay
Kobayashi Maru

Update: Jeff Goldstein over at Protein Wisdom riffs along nicely. Check it out.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 23, 2006 11:13 AM | TrackBack

Hey CY...what does this mean:

questionable content: t o p - s e c r

I got it when attempting to post. What do I have to fix?

Posted by: Specter at January 23, 2006 11:44 AM

CY - never mind. Duh....quick search of what I was posting pointed it out real clear.

Posted by: Specter at January 23, 2006 11:48 AM

Never underestimate the power of the MSM, combined with an entrenched system for voter fraud in Democratic precincts to swing an election their way. And never underestimate the potential for bloody primary battles and/or years of relative complacency in power on our side to make this closer than it ought to be if only the logic of the arguments were in play. One thing Kerry's win over Lieberman in the '04 primaries should teach us (or Gerald Ford's over Ronald Reagan in 1976) is that getting the candidate most likely to win the general election *to* the general election can be a lot trickier than it seems and sometimes downright impossible.

Posted by: Kobayashi Maru at January 23, 2006 04:54 PM