by Chris Haire
You know, I've always thought that Pat Buchanan was a white racist and an anti-Semite who wrote columns that in a not-so-veiled way presented a racist and anti-Semitic point of view. I think I was wrong, at least judging by his most recent column "Has Obama lost white America".
See, Pat Buchanan isn't a racist, he just understands the mind of the average white racist. (The jury still out on the anti-Semitism.)
Buchanan's central argument is this: the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts is a product of racial discontent among the overwhelmingly white population of the Bay State. (According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Massachusetts is 86.2 percent white and 7 percent black, compared to South Carolina's 68.7 percent white and 28.5 percent black.)
What's funny about this is that I almost made this exact same argument the other day. Like my fellow columnist Jack Hunter (an unrepentant Buchananite), I lived in Boston for a spell. And during that time, one thing became crystal clear: Even when Beantown ain't covered in snow, it's all white all the time. In fact, the area of town in which I lived and played, Allston and Brookline, you could probably go an entire day and never see a black person. Well, except for Mr. Butch, God rest his soul.
Of course, I didn't write that post. There had to be reasons for Brown's victory other than white discontent. (Jon Stewart paints a pretty convincing case about why Bay Staters turned against the tone deaf Martha Coakley. Hint: The Red Sox and Yankees rivalry is involved.)
But Pat has changed my mind. He writes:
Republicans have won three major races — two of them upsets and one a Massachusetts miracle — because the white share of the vote in all three rose as a share of the total vote, and Republicans swept the white vote in Reagan-like landslides.
What explains the white surge to the GOP?
First, sinking white support for Obama, seen as ineffectual in ending the recession and stopping the loss of jobs.
Second, a growing perception that Obama is biased. When the president blurted that the Cambridge cops and Sgt. James Crowley "acted stupidly" in arresting black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates — a rush to judgment that proved wrong — his support sank in white America and especially in Massachusetts, where black Gov. Deval Patrick joined in piling on Crowley. Deval is now in trouble, too.
Then there was Obama's appointment of Puerto Rican American Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Her militant support for race and ethnic preferences and her decision to deny Frank Ricci and the white firefighters of New Haven a hearing on their case that they were denied promotions they won in competitive exams because they were white caused 31 GOP senators to vote against her.
Buchanan also has a theory about where those white voters were in 2008, back when Sen. John McCain needed their vote:
In 2008, the working and middle class had had a bellyful of the Bush-McCain Republicans. They were seen as pro-amnesty for illegal aliens and pro-NAFTA, when U.S. workers had watched 5 million manufacturing jobs disappear in a decade — and reappear in China. They were willing to give Obama a chance because Obama had persuaded them by November he was not just another big-spending utopian liberal.
You know, maybe I'm wrong here, but if memory serves me correctly, but it wasn't that these anti-McCain, anti-immigrant, Archie Bunkers cast a vote in favor of Obama over the Republican Party's candidate. Nope. These voters either didn't vote or they cast a ballot for third partiers like Chuck Baldwin or Bob Barr.
Now, things have changed. With the rise of the Tea Party movement, the Angry Archies have a reason to get their fat asses up off of their well-worn recliners: with Bush out of the White House and the Republicans no longer in control of Congress, it's safe once again for middle-age right wingers to denounce the federal government and shake their fists and bitch and moan about the injustice of everything. And for some of them, yeah, the fact that a black man is president makes this all the easier.
Thanks for clearing that up, Pat.