The racially charged attacks against Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele are despicable, dispensed as they are with a staggering amount of hypocrisy.
They are deemed appropriate because of Mr. Steele's race, incriminating as that justification is.
This obtuse thinking comes from a party that professes to be tolerant, inclusive and touchy-feely, except around those who happen to think outside the group and identity politics of the times.
Mr. Steele is a black Republican seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate, which apparently has left him open to attacks intended to show that he does not know his place.
Try not to let this hypocritical stench overwhelm your senses.
Democrats are all about trying to understand the evil strain of Islam that threatens us all. They are all about seeing the humanity in the eyes of a terrorist who is about to take a steak knife to the head of an infidel. They profess to have all this acceptance of other people's cultures, no matter how absurd the descent into cultural equivalence can be.
But they turn rabid around a successful black politician who does not wrap himself in the victim's cloth of the leadership on the left.
The resort to vicious name-calling reveals nothing more than their lack of character and mental acuity. They are left to grasp the basest playground insults.
As a rising star of the Republican Party, Mr. Steele is open to challenges over his political beliefs and ideas. He is a representative of the people, and the people have a right to know where he plans to lead them as he attempts to advance up the political ladder in a state that aspires to be Berkeley East.
You name the loony idea or fringe group -- the X-rated cucumber, the outdoor-smoking ban, granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens, the ex-Maoists and Socialists -- and Maryland is welcoming to a fault.
Maryland is welcoming to all, with the exception of Republicans, as Mr. Steele is discovering since announcing his U.S. Senate bid last week.
He has been pelted with Oreos and called an "Uncle Tom" and "Sambo" on liberal Web sites. This is ugly stuff, but fairly typical of a party that superimposes Hitler's likeness on President Bush and imagines the vast heartland to be stuffed with unsophisticated, unenlightened, Bible-reading, flag-waving, blue-collar sorts.
None of this bile would pass the smell test of the old press if the party affiliations were reversed, if Mr. Steele were a Democrat and Republican operatives were slinging this kind of icky mud.
You can be certain the abundant cheeks of Chris Matthews would be worked into a feverish lather.
But with Mr. Steele, the standards are different.
You see, he has strayed from his flock, and he must be rebuked in the vilest language possible. He is a turncoat, if not a victim of the Stockholm syndrome. He has taken up with the oppressors and blah, blah, blah.
This passes as political dialogue in 2005.
The game is to take a little of this and a little of that, then twist, bend and compress in order to come up with a caricature worth exploiting in the 24/7 news marketplace.
The goal is not to engage in dialogue but dissuade it, largely because all too many Democrats have come to be a gasping alliance of moaners and whiners clutching the ghosts of yesteryear.
Mr. Steele has a tough campaign ahead, which is no surprise in a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Those numbers are daunting enough.
Yet liberals who should be confident of the numbers to argue their positions reflexively resort to invective.
Their approach is mean-spirited and useless to the voters.
Mr. Steele has been called out because of the color of his skin, an unacceptable tactic if he were anything but a Republican.