If you’re an up-and-coming politician looking to raise your name recognition, a profile in a national newspaper like the Washington Post is a great way to do so. There are two primary categories of exceptions, however: if you are either a Republican candidate for president or present a threat to the left’s carefully constructed fictions about party identification and identity politics, your profile in the Post is likely to be an excessively dishonest hit job.
It is the latter category into which South Carolina Senator Tim Scott falls. Scott is one of only two black U.S. senators, and the only such Republican. (He was joined in the Senate by the Democrat Cory Booker last year.) As such, the left believes he must be destroyed, and the Post puts in quite an effort in the sadly predictable attempt by the left to delegitimize Scott as a black man. The piece begins cheerily enough, with Scott meeting constituents and doing charity work “undercover”–without telling people he’s their senator. In fact, for a while the article seems downright positive, except for this extraordinarily racist paragraph:
This year, he is poised to be the first black politician to win statewide election in South Carolina since Reconstruction. He’s young (for the Senate), affable and able to blend in where his colleagues would stand out — just try to imagine Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talking about understanding the misguided allure of drug dealing, or being asked whether he had been assigned mandatory community service.
Get it? Because he’s black, the Post believes he can be easily mistaken for a drug dealer or an ex-con. It’s a mystery as to how such a paragraph could possibly make it to the printer unless it reflected the noxious racial beliefs of every Post editor and proofreader along the way. Unfortunately, however, it’s a sign of things to come.
The story begins to really go off the rails when Scott tries to explain why he’s taking this approach to meeting constituents: “This is about becoming credible.” The Post calls this an “odd assertion,” and seeks to make sense of it:
Scott is a steadfast conservative, not looking to alter his opinions so much as convince others that his party has something to offer. While a cynic might call this the move of a con artist, Scott prefers the term “salesman.”
It is at this point that the reader begins to wonder if the reporter responsible for this story and his editors have completely lost their minds. And then it all comes into focus. After goading Scott into criticizing his fellow black conservatives, the Post starts asking others what they think of Scott. Here’s the pro-Scott voice:
Just a few miles away from the Goodwill, there’s the Greenville Museum and Library of Confederate History, a place where the director, Mike Couch, will tell you that slavery was in fact not racist.
“It was a matter of economics, most likely,” Couch says. He walks over to a wall covered with pictures of black Confederate soldiers. “We judge people by character, not skin color.”
Couch, who is white, is a fan of Scott’s.
So speaking for Scott we have a neoconfederate white man who defends slavery. And who do we have on the other side criticizing Scott to, you know, provide balance? See if you can guess where this is going:
“If you call progress electing a person with the pigmentation that he has, who votes against the interest and aspirations of 95 percent of the black people in South Carolina, then I guess that’s progress,” says Rep. James E. Clyburn, a black congressman who serves in the state’s Democratic leadership.
Scott got an F on the NAACP annual scorecard. He voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he voted to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress, opposed the Congressional Black Caucus’s budget proposal and voted to delay funding a settlement between the United States and black farmers who alleged that the federal government refused them loans because of their race.
Hilary Shelton, the NAACP’s Washington bureau director, says it’s great that Scott is reaching out to the community with messages of self-determination and religion, but that it’s not enough.
“He’s not running for preacher,” Shelton says. “We can tell when people are coming to sell snake oil.”
This isn’t to say that Scott can’t find common ground with the other side. He recently teamed up with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), the only other black U.S. senator, on a bill to help create thousands of paid apprenticeships.
“Would I vote for him in South Carolina? No,” Booker says. “But do I think he is sincere of heart on many issues? Absolutely.”
That’s the Post’s evenhanded approach: supporters of Scott are neoconfederates, and opponents are black politicians in both the House and Senate and black community leaders. Which side are you on?
The Post’s attack on Scott is really nothing new, though the overt prejudice of the piece is a bit brazen. It’s part of the left’s standard line that non-liberal black politicians are the wrong kind of African Americans, and their racial identity must then be denied or delegitimized while equating true racial identity with the political platform of the American Democratic Party, thus erasing black Americans’ history and experience because it is inconvenient to liberals’ quest for political power.