Mr. Scott will replace Senator Jim DeMint, who is leaving to run Heritage Foundation. He will be the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction; the first black Republican senator since 1979, when Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts retired; and, indeed, only the seventh African-American ever to serve in the chamber.
But this “first black” rhetoric tends to interpret African-American political successes — including that of President Obama — as part of a morality play that dramatizes “how far we have come.” It obscures the fact that modern black Republicans have been more tokens than signs of progress.
. . . .
Mr. Scott’s background is also striking: raised by a poor single mother, he defeated, with Tea Party backing, two white men in a 2010 Republican primary: a son of Thurmond and a son of former Gov. Carroll A. Campbell Jr. But his politics, like those of the archconservative Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, are utterly at odds with the preferences of most black Americans. Mr. Scott has been staunchly anti-tax, anti-union and anti-abortion.
Even if the Republicans managed to distance themselves from the thinly veiled racism of the Tea Party adherents who have moved the party rightward, they wouldn’t do much better among black voters than they do now. I suspect that appointments like Mr. Scott’s are directed less at blacks — whom they know they aren’t going to win in any significant numbers — than at whites who are inclined to vote Republican but don’t want to have to think of themselves, or be thought of by others, as racist.
Crazy thought here: maybe Scott’s appointment was aimed at getting a good man for the job. Oh no wait, that can’t be right, Mr. Reed assures us, because he’s black. If he were white, he might have been picked for merit, but since he’s black, it has to have been racial politics behind the decision.
Who’s the racist again?
For Mr. Scott, the true test will come in 2014, when he will have to run to complete the final two years of Mr. DeMint’s term. (If Mr. Scott wins, he’d have to run again, in 2016, for a full six-year term.) As Mr. Obama has shown, the question is not whether whites are willing to vote for a black candidate, but whether black candidates can put together winning coalitions (no matter their racial makeup) and around what policies. I suspect black South Carolinians will not be drawn to Mr. Scott.
The trope of the black conservative has retained a man-bites-dog newsworthiness that is long past its shelf life. Clichés about fallen barriers are increasingly meaningless; symbols don’t make for coherent policies. Republicans will not gain significant black support unless they take policy positions that advance black interests. No number of Tim Scotts — or other cynical tokens — will change that.
Let me translate that for you. Tim Scott isn’t allowed to think the way he does because of the color of his skin. And you have to understand, there are “black interests” that are different from the interests of others. And if you don’t cater to those interests, then you aren’t a real black person and you will never win over black people.
Who’s the racist again?
I, for one, am sick of this kind of rhetoric, and disappointed (though certainly not surprised) to see such racism splashed across the pages of the nation’s pre-eminent journal.
Time to drag out something from a post from 2010:
Check out Larry Elder addressing the same issue to a skeptical black correspondent:
Do you know that inner-city parents want vouchers — the right to determine where their children go to school? Do you know most Democrats, including Barack Obama, oppose this? Republicans, for the most part, support vouchers. Where vouchers have been tried, kids appear to perform better, with higher parental satisfaction. You tell me, how many things are more important than a child’s education?
Do you know that 36 percent of babies aborted are black, while blacks make up 17 percent of live births? Do you know that polls show blacks are more pro-life than are whites? Yet the Democratic Party — to which over 90 percent of blacks belong — is the party of Roe v. Wade, requiring states to legalize abortion on demand. Do you know that Margaret Sanger, the founder of the organization that became Planned Parenthood, believed that poor blacks were inferior and that aborting their babies made our society better? Look it up.
Do you know that blacks stand to benefit more than whites through Social Security privatization, a position opposed by Obama but supported by McCain? Are you even familiar with the issue and what a powerful income-generating vehicle it would be for blacks? If not, take a look at the research done by the libertarian think tank Cato Institute and the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation.
Good, huh? He’s just getting warmed up.
You speak of policies that have “proven not to work.” What about the “war on poverty” that began in the ’60s, the policies that Obama and his party want to continue and expand? Do you know that today 70 percent of black children and over 50 percent of Hispanics are born outside of wedlock? The welfare state — which Democrats want to expand — has played a huge role in discouraging marriage and destabilizing families. . . . Compassion is not about making people dependent on government. Compassion is about encouraging personal responsibility, and getting people to understand that life is about making choices.
Read it all at the link.
Are there racist Republicans? Sure, just like there are racist Democrats.
But there are a lot of us who think our policies are actually best for black folks. And white folks, and brown folks, and all kinds of folks. Letting the market work isn’t just for white people. It benefits everybody.
I don’t accept the argument that black people in America have a separate set of issues that we have to cater to. They are Americans and we need to work to make the lives of all Americans better. If that happens, we should win elections.
And maybe black people will be allowed to think conservative thoughts without being called inauthentic tokens.
Nah. Who am I kidding?