Why do people pay attention to this guy? (Yes, I know, I am writing an entire post about him. Quiet! I’m trying to make a point here.)
It’s challenging to keep up with the latest in racist tirades, so let’s attempt a brief review. Last week, Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who became a conservative folk hero for his refusal to pay his debts to the federal government, said that he often wondered if black people fared better as slaves. Then, over the weekend, a tape of what appears to be the voice of Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, surfaced, and it featured Sterling instructing his girlfriend to avoid being photographed with black people and to refrain from bringing African-Americans to the Clippers’ basketball games.
Bundy and Sterling represent an ugly corner of contemporary American life, but it is one that is entirely invisible in recent Supreme Court rulings. In the Roberts Court, there are no Bundys and Sterlings; the real targets of the conservative majority are those who’ve spent their lives fighting the Bundys and Sterlings of the world.
Toobin goes on to argue that Justice Sotomayor’s dissent is the opinion that is in touch with how racism affects minorities, while the white males in the majority are simply out of it, man.
Let me say up front that I do not have any respect for Jeffrey Toobin, and this sort of lazy, reflexively leftist argument is the reason. Toobin nowhere explains why the existence of racism means that the Constitution requires affirmative action, a policy that provides an unneeded leg up to wealthier minorities while doing nothing for the lower-income people who, if anyone, suffer the effects of racism. More to the point, what do the attitudes of Cliven Bundy or Donald Sterling have to do with this case — or even with the argument that affirmative action is necessary for people to, say, have jobs in this society? Is Toobin saying that if Cliven Bundy were not a racist, he might finally hire a black bodyguard — one so devoted to him that he would “take a bullet” for him? Is Toobin saying that affirmative action is necessary to force Donald Sterling to hire black basketball players? News flash, Toobin! These things have already happened, and not as a result of affirmative action, either. In fact, affirmative action would hurt blacks in professional basketball, as it would require owners to bypass more qualified black players in order to give less qualified whites a chance.
In short, Toobin’s argument will play well with his New Yorker readers, who take their knee-jerk leftism as a given, and are unaccustomed to being challenged on their political beliefs, ever. But to the rest of us, Jeff Toobin is a lazy hack — and worse, he’s boring, because soporific and sophomoric screeds like his are everywhere, threatening to put readers to sleep the second they start reading.
Get a job, Toobin.