July 27, 2008

The Birth of an Obsession

Let me comment on Grant Havers?s response to my attack on the GOP?s outrageous hypocrisy in the wake of Obama?s Berlin speech. Grant is right (and so are the other respondents to my piece) that Kemp made into a high art form what Obama recently did on foreign soil. Indeed Kemp pioneered the ?America as racist and bigoted? rhetoric now being denounced by the GOP media, and he accomplished this while Obama and his spouse were still attending the Ivies as affirmative action recipients. But, even more important, as Grant intuits, in the 1970s and 1980s Kemp was becoming the progenitor of the socially leftist Republicanism which has triumphed with McCain. The father of this type of Republicanism was not the tax-and-spend patrician Nelson Rockefeller; nor was it really Richard Nixon who tried to kill two birds with one stone, by giving blacks set-asides while denouncing those who were permissive on crime, in the context of a hastily thrown-together ?Southern strategy.? The leftist Republicanism that Grant and I have in mind is not about mere spending or about sleazy tactics that are employed to keep Southern whites as voters while slyly reaching out to minorities. The Kemp-McCain liberal Republicanism is more recognizably victim-based and expiatory than those earlier GOP styles that are still mistakenly considered ?liberal.? In fact by now this groveling style seems less characteristic of Democrats than Republicans. After all Democrats can win black votes without having to crawl before the civil rights lobby or call for the removal of all Confederate battle flags from the solar system. Republicans by contrast feel driven to go the extra mile to win minority votes. Moreover, as long as their core constituency (which may be brain-dead) doesn?t object to this groveling and to any accompanying concessions, ?liberal republicanism? seems destined for a radiant future?whether or not it also attracts what it claims to be attracting.












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