Racism, Racism, Everywhere! Plus: ‘Fact-checking’ Paul Ryan

September 4, 2012

Lately a lot of liberals seem to think that our desire to elect Republicans can only be explained by racism.

Rich Lowry discusses some examples (full version at Politico, short version at National Review Online).

[Michael Eric Dyson] wrote a blog post for The New York Times contending that, by attacking Obama for cutting Medicare to pay for “Obamacare,” the Romney campaign is engaged in a politics of “racially freighted resource competition.”

Why? Because Medicare beneficiaries are “largely white” and “Obamacare” beneficiaries will be “disproportionately minority.” Edsall calls this supposed strategy “subtle.” Very, very subtle.

. . .

Work is not some racist code. It’s a core American value. Ninety-seven percent of conservatives thought able-bodied welfare recipients should be required to work or prepare for work, a 2009 Heritage Foundation poll revealed. Ninety-two percent of liberals agreed.

The usual suspects probably consider this universal sentiment as prejudiced. What a dim view they take of their countrymen. They believe the American public is keenly attuned to racist dog whistles and—though they elected Obama with 53 percent and still give him a healthy personal favorability rating—is ready to reject him partly because he’s an African-American.

(Read the whole thing.)

Michelle Malkin catalogues more examples.

Left-wing Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky accused Romney of “race-baiting” by wielding the term “Obamacare.” The Beltway shorthand for this behemoth federal spending program exposes Romney as a “spineless, disingenuous, supercilious, race-mongering pyromaniac” because it is a “heavily loaded word,” Tomasky railed.

How then to explain the use of the Bull Connor–channeling epithet by none other than the Obama campaign, which peddles “I like Obamacare” T-shirts on its website? Logic is racist.

Mark Steyn, as usual, is must-read material (National Review Online or the Orange County Register).

Time’s Mark Halperin wrote this week that “Obama can’t win if he can’t swing the conversation away from the economy.” That’s a pretty amazing admission. The economy is the No. 1 issue on the minds of voters, and, beyond that, the central reality of Obama’s America. But to win the president has to steer clear. That doesn’t leave a lot else. Hence, the racism of golf, the war on women, the carcinogenic properties of Mitt Romney.

James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal might say that the “argument” that all conservatism is racist doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously; so he doesn’t.

CBS’s Jan Crawford noted on Twitter that there were “two reactions to his birth certificate joke: reporters gasped—and a crowd of thousands laughed and cheered.” The crowd heard the straightforward meaning: It was a joke and an applause line. The watchdogs of the press heard the whistle, and so did other lefties. To judge by this MSNBC clip, and this one, it drove them into a mad and wonderfully entertaining frenzy.

. . . The thing we adore about these dog-whistle kerfuffles is that the people who react to the whistle always assume it’s intended for somebody else. The whole point of the metaphor is that if you can hear the whistle, you’re the dog.

Jonah Goldberg weighs in on the “racism” problem, as well as the way liberal “fact checkers” recently seem to want to correct reality to fit their preferred narrative.

Here’s more information on that, fact-checking those who were so eager to “fact-check” Paul Ryan’s convention speech:

Avik Roy at Forbes magazine discusses four accusations:

  • Charge #1: Paul Ryan accused Obama of cutting Medicare by $716 billion, but Ryan’s own budget preserved those cuts.
  • Charge #2: Paul Ryan criticized Obama for ignoring the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission. But Ryan voted against those recommendations himself.
  • Charge #3: Paul Ryan blamed Obama for Standard & Poor’s downgrade of American government debt from AAA to AA+, but Paul Ryan is actually to blame because he resisted tax increases that would have closed the deficit.
  • Charge #4: Paul Ryan opposed the stimulus, but he lobbied for stimulus grants that went to his district.

The short of it: “Yes, Paul Ryan Spoke the Truth About Obama’s Fiscal Record at the Republican Convention”.

Jim Geraghty and Jonathan Adler wade through the facts of the accusation involving the closure of the Janesville GM plant.  They find that Paul Ryan was correct.  As Adler remarks, “It seems the fact-checkers need to double-check their facts . . . .”

Christian Schneider and Greg Pollowitz ask (in Schneider’s words), “More Importantly, Why Did the Janesville Plant Close?”

It is easy to see why Democrats want to argue about when the plant closed and not why it closed. Both the crushing weight of employee benefits negotiated by unions and the failed state stimulus plan don’t comport well with their narrative.

— James C. Capretta has more on “Ryan and His Panicky Critics”.

These criticisms of Ryan’s speech are absurd. Everything Ryan said is factual and a fair reading of the record and prior events.

He addresses some of the questions also addressed above, and comes to similar conclusions:

  • Did Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare?
  • The Janesville plant
  • “Then there is the business of the U.S. credit downgrade and the Bowles-Simpson commission.”

So Paul Ryan remains not only good on policy but also, apparently, correct about the facts, while liberal “fact checkers” are not.  As Jonathan Adler memorably puts it,

It’s quite strange that some want to turn every political disagreement into a question of “fact.”

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11 Responses to “Racism, Racism, Everywhere! Plus: ‘Fact-checking’ Paul Ryan”


  1. I can’t comment on the fact-checking side of things, but I’m not sure you adequately refute the ‘GOP=racist’ charge, whilst your highlighting of the motives is exemplary. Just at the RNC, crowdmembers threw peanuts at a black speaker, and chanted “USA! USA!” to drown out a Puerto Rican’s speech. Whilst this might be an unrepresentative minority, it certainly doesn’t help the party’s image.
    Similarly, the birther joke, however innocent, clearly shows Romney is sympathetic to Tea Party worries (as do his wisely-muted lines on ‘marriage’ and ‘sanctity of life’.)

  2. Snoodickle Says:

    Do you consider racist certain Republicans’ insistence that President Obama was not born in America?


  3. Replying to both of you about birtherism: Whatever else can be said about it, it is a conspiracy theory that was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign. It is not true—President Obama was indeed born in the United States—and I am not aware of any nationally prominent serious conservative, neither in the political class nor in the commentator class, who doesn’t agree. (Donald Trump is certainly not a serious conservative.)

    If it is racism to believe that Obama was born elsewhere, you might ask President Obama why he or his agents encouraged this erroneous belief when they wanted to sell his books.

    Mitt Romney publicly agreed that there’s nothing to the conspiracy theory almost a year and a half ago, in no uncertain terms: As Politico put it, “Mitt Romney to birthers: Barack Obama was born here. Period.” Given that the conspiracy theory is on all sides acknowledged to be false, nothing is wrong with Romney’s joking about it—as indeed President Obama has also done (see below) and continues to do.

    • Snoodickle Says:

      I ask you again, why did Donald Trump’s popularity skyrocket at the same time he made the birther claims?

      P.S. You probably shouldn’t ban your only regular poster.


  4. […] agree.  I have been concerned for some time (see, e.g., here, here, and here) about poisonous attempts to silence one’s opponents or delegitimize dissent.  Yes, those […]


  5. […] the way, in case it comes up in other discussions, don’t forget that Democrats were the party of slavery, then the party of […]


  6. […] for the (increasingly inaptly named) “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” was supposedly somehow racist?  Until, that is, the Democratic Party started using the term itself and selling “I (heart) […]


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