Wash. Times' resident race-baiter pushes Drudge's "race card" claim

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Yesterday, Simon Maloy brought you the right's unspeakably dumb response to President Obama's videotaped appeal urging his supporters to turn out "the young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008" during the 2010 midterm elections. According to Drudge, Limbaugh, and company, this was Obama playing the "race card." According to sanity, this was Obama doing what politicians do: Urge the constituencies that elected them to vote.

Today, Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden -- who once reportedly called the Confederacy "a country that will endure for as long as men and women know love" -- takes the right's "race card" argument to disturbing extremes. He compares Obama's comments urging his supporters to turn out African-American and Latino voters to the racist screeds of ardent segregationists.

No, really:

When George Wallace lost his first race for governor of Alabama, back in the benighted days, he vowed never to be "out-segged" again. He was making polite conversation. Sen. Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, whose name was synonymous with mean-spirited race politics in the South, once felt the hot breath of a challenger and called in his campaigners to tell them "it's time to start yelling n


." Bilbo and his campaigners quickly obliged and the backwoods p

w--, r

and w-- t-- obliged with enthusiasm and votes.

Those days are mercifully behind us, but now Barack Obama wants to join the sordid ranks of the race hustlers, like the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, if not necessarily the race baiters. Maybe there's only a small distinction between hustling and baiting, but once the toxic stuff is let loose, it doesn't matter what you call it.

The Democratic National Committee released a video clip Monday of the president rousing his troops with what Politico, the Capitol Hill political paper, calls with artful euphemism, "unusual demographic frankness." The auguries for November do not look good, the president concedes, and he wants "young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women who powered our victory in 2008 [to] stand together once again."

Pruden's comments are breathtaking, especially in the context of Pruden's own record of race-baiting. Below the fold, I contrast Obama's comments with statements made by Pruden.

A comment Pruden thinks involves playing the "race card":

In 2010, it will be up to each of you to ask folks like Claudia to stay involved, and to explain why, this year, the stakes are higher than ever. It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again. [Obama's video for the DNC, 4/23/2010]

A comment Pruden apparently thinks doesn't involve playing the "race card":

It's no fault of the president that he has no natural instinct or blood impulse for what the America of "the 57 states" is about. He was sired by a Kenyan father, born to a mother attracted to men of the Third World and reared by grandparents in Hawaii, a paradise far from the American mainstream. [Pruden's Times column, 11/17/09]

Playing the "race card":

In 2010, it will be up to each of you to ask folks like Claudia to stay involved, and to explain why, this year, the stakes are higher than ever. It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again. [Obama's video for the DNC, 4/23/2010]

Not playing the "race card":

I will never fail to respond to you when you call on me for help, because I believe in what you are doing to cherish and protect and preserve the heritage of our great Southern people. ... Southerners ... hold loyalty to two countries in our hearts. [The second country is one] "baptized 137 years ago on this very field in the blood of First Manassas, a country no longer at the mercy of the vicissitudes in the tangled affairs of men, a country that lives within us, a country that will endure for as long as men and women know love. ... God bless America, God bless the Confederate States of America, and God bless you all. [Pruden's reported speech to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1998]

Playing the "race card":

In 2010, it will be up to each of you to ask folks like Claudia to stay involved, and to explain why, this year, the stakes are higher than ever. It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again. [Obama's video for the DNC, 4/23/2010]

Not playing the "race card":

Mr. Obama's revelation of his "inner Muslim" in Cairo reveals much about who he is. He is our first president without an instinctive appreciation of the culture, history, tradition, common law and literature whence America sprang. The genetic imprint writ large in his 43 predecessors is missing from the Obama DNA. He no doubt meant no offense in returning that bust of Churchill ("Who he?") or imagining that a DVD of American movies was appropriate in an exchange of state gifts with Gordon Brown. Nor did he likely understand why it was an offense against history (and good manners) to agree to the exclusion of the Queen from Saturday's commemoration of the Anglo-American liberation of France. Kenya simply routed Kansas. [Pruden's Times column, 6/5/2009]

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
Network/Outlet
The Washington Times
Person
Wesley Pruden
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