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Conservative Lies #2

October 27th, 2003

Sorry for the lull. Had quite a few midterm exams to go over, grading, and all that, and then personal stuff came up. But here we are with another common conservative lie.

Lie #2: “Democrats are racist.”

When Miguel Estrada’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court was successfully blocked by Democrats in the Senate, Republicans went on a rampage of accusing Democrats of being “racist,” with a few examples here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Why? Because Democrats slung epithets at him? Because Democrats have a history of blocking any and all Hispanic nominees? Because there’s even the slightest scrap of evidence of racial bigotry? Of course not. It’s simply because they blocked the nomination of a far-right-wing nominee who also happened to be Hispanic. If there is any racism here, it is in the racial exploitation of Estrada by the GOP–part of their campaign to win over the crucial Hispanic vote by putting token Hispanics like Estrada and Alberto Gonzales into prominence, wearing the heck out of their Hispanic origins and rags-to-riches tales, and then admonishing Democrats for assaulting the tokens on any grounds, always claiming race is the only reason Democrats are attacking them.

Naturally, Democrats did not block his nomination because he was Hispanic; they blocked his nomination because he is an “outspoken conservative” (read: “ultraconservative”) and a staunch constructionist. Estrada belongs to the firm that defended Bush in Bush v. Gore. The Bush administration denied the Senate committee access to internal memos written by Estrada when he worked Office of the Solicitor General; his office handled cases that would go before the Supreme Court, and would give a better look into what his legal philosophy is. He flatly refused to discuss his legal philosophy and claimed that he never pondered Roe v. Wade.

Democrats standardly challenge nominees whom they regard as being far too conservative, and conservatives, like Orrin Hatch, try to obfuscate by saying, they don’t want an “African- American on the court who’s conservative,” or a “conservative Hispanic,” suggesting that it is the race, not the political philosophy, which is important.

This is not the first time that Republicans have tried to exploit race as a shield against turning down an ultra-conservative judicial appointment. They did so with Clarence Thomas, who “just happened” to be black, a sorry sop to the African-American community, as if Thomas somehow represented them in any way, not to mention being any kind of replacement, judicially or otherwise, to Thurgood Marshall. But the Estrada nomination is just an example of the acceleration of this exploitation; expect Alberto Gonzales’ name to come up next.

Nor is this the only situation that conservatives use to try to tag Democrats as racist. A long-standing charge against liberals is that Affirmative Action (the conservative code word for quotas) is racist–not just reverse-racism against whites, but also racist against minorities, because it regards them on the basis of race. Well, how else are you going to regard people who have been victims of racial discrimination? Quotas may be a bad solution, but the alternative is far worse: allowing racism to go unchecked. More on that topic in this post.

Bottom line: Democrats, for all their faults, have been the people who have always fought racism in all of its forms; conservatives, when not outwardly racist, have always associated with and defended the institutions that contribute to and benefit from racism.

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  1. Dave
    November 26th, 2003 at 01:48 | #1

    What do you think of the Medicare Reform Bill just pased by congress. The conservative faction is pushing it and the lobbyists are on hand, not the seniors that will be effected. Also what could they possibly object to the way it is now. We have fair medical coverage, prescription drugs we have available from Canada and we are making do with what we have, how can they possibly believe that giving 400 billion to the drug companies and the insurance companies help us Seiors or the country.
    Yours DP

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