Commentary Magazine


Re: Liberals and the Race Card

As a brief follow-up to Pete’s excellent post on liberals and race, the Daily Beast’s Kirsten Powers pushed back against the canard that GOP opposition to Susan Rice is racially motivated by calling out one of her fellow liberals, MSNBC talker Touré, on Twitter this morning. Noah Rothman at Mediaite has the full Twitter debate between the two, which ends in a fairly devastating victory for Powers.

Touré bases his case on the fact that John McCain called Susan Rice “incompetent,” which Touré decided was racial code. Powers tweeted back the following, which so far has elicited only silence from Touré:

(@Katrinanation is the Twitter handle of the Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel.) This is the problem with the left’s strategy of accusing opponents of racism for just about anything. Pete mentioned the ridiculous suggestion from Chris Matthews that referring to the Obama campaign as “Chicago” because of its location was racist code. Of course, the Romney campaign certainly didn’t coin this shorthand; the campaign merely followed the press’s habit of referring to each campaign by its headquartered city. But even more, “old white Republicans” aren’t the only people who use the word Chicago, of course.

And, as Touré discovered today, “old white Republicans” aren’t the only ones who use the word “incompetent.” That’s the trouble with the left’s “dog whistles”–when universally applied, they make everyone racist. And that, as Pete wrote earlier, strips the term of all significance. Good for Powers for holding her side to account.