One of the trends I noted and commented on during the campaign was the insidious suggestion that one could only oppose Barack Obama’s election as president out of racism. Now, it seems, we’re seeing the evolution of that theme: racism must be behind any opposition to President Obama’s policy aims.
Glenn Reynolds contends that only “idiots” would charge racism in genuine policy disputes but the demonstrably bright Andrew Sullivan fell into the trap — although quite decently taking it back after reading Megan’s posts. Yet, he continues that line of reasoning more generally, asserting without any evidence or argumentation whatsoever that opposition to Obama’s taking control of the Census in the White House “was championed by Republicans for the usual ‘the-darkies-are-taking-over!’ reasons.”
Because Obama is black, there can be no other reason for disagreeing with him. QED.
Megan’s absolutely right:
But accusing someone of deliberately using racial code-words to inflame prejudice against Barack Obama is a serious thing. The very reason it is a serious thing is that in order to try and stomp it out, we have made overt prejudice into the social equivalent of a capital crime. I approve of this. But the severity of the punishment means that accusation of the crime should be held to a high standard–“beyond a reasonable doubt”. It should not rest on a single infelicitous word choice.
Or, in the case of the Census debate, less.