Saturday, January 22, 2005

Criticism Of Rice Over the Line?

Via RCP today, I found this column from Colbert King writing in the WaPo: Why the Crass Remarks About Rice?

King takes exception to the way Condoleeza Rice was characterized by Senator Boxer in her confirmation hearing, and cartoonist Pat Oliphant. In different ways, both depicted Rice as an empty-headed rubber-stamp for anything President Bush wanted.

It's hard to imagine a more demeaning and offensive caricature of a prospective secretary of state, let alone the most senior official on the national security staff. It's equally difficult to understand what prompted Boxer to imply that Rice is little more than a diligent echo of Bush's thoughts. There's nothing in Rice's background or in her performance to suggest that she is a mindless follower of presidential orders. In fact, Rice comes across as just the opposite.

Very true. No person of intelligence and honesty could look at the record of Condoleeza Rice and come away with the assessment: sycophant. We may give Boxer a pass due to the intelligence test, but still King may be on to something.

King is no conservative, and finds ample ground to criticize Rice. Thus his puzzlement at why these fellow liberals drive away from substance, instead attacking Rice personally.

What's the motive behind this kind of assault? Is it a desire to demean or put her down? Is it a wish to marginalize Rice in the public eye, to suggest that by reason of her intelligence, ability or integrity, she is unqualified to hold her present post or to become secretary of state?
Curiously, King doesn't answer this question. But gives a fairly strong indication he knows what the answer is all the same:

It calls to mind John Sylvester, a white radio talk show host in Madison, Wis., who recently went Boxer and Oliphant one better -- or worse. "Sly," as he calls himself, went on the air and caricatured Rice as a servile black, laboring slavishly for the Bush White House. He called her, of all things, an "Aunt Jemima."
Interesting implication. And I think accurate. A certain segment of the Democratic party seems to believe that adopting thinly-veiled racist rhetoric is an acceptable political tactic provided the target is conservative.

It isn't that white liberals invented it either. This has long been the tactic of demagogues and race-hustlers within the black community. Think of the despicable way Clarence Thomas was (and continues to be) characterized for daring to dissent from views deemed acceptable for his race.

Perhaps we're beginning to see an end to the acceptability of this behavior. If so, it will have to begin by the black community going after liberals like Senator Boxer and Pat Oliphant with the same fervor they would go after Trent Lott. (And perhaps finally this guy.)

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