EDITORIAL: Biden: Back on the chain gang

Obama campaign takes race-mongering to new low

Vice President Joe Biden told a racially mixed audience Wednesday that if Republicans take back the White House, “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.” It’s hard to say what is more offensive: Mr. Biden’s overt use of inflammatory racial symbolism, or someone from Delaware saying “y’all.”

Stephanie Cutter, the Obama campaign’s apply-named hatchet man, claimed Mr. Biden was “using a metaphor to talk about what’s going to happen” and that “the bottom line is that we have no problem with those comments.” That makes sense. There’s no reason for the Obama campaign to apologize because hacking at the raw wound of racism is critical to the Democrats’ reelection strategy.

This race is about race because if it were about issues, Democrats would lose. Mr. Obama’s moribund economic record would guarantee that. Democrats haven’t fared well with majority white voters generally at the presidential level. According to Gallup, the only Democratic presidential nominee to win a majority of the white vote in the last 60 years was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Currently, white men favor Mr. Romney by a 24-point margin, and white women back the Republican ticket by 7 percent, according to Gallup.

White voters are still an overwhelming majority, but Democrats calculate there are enough self-loathing liberals of pallor who will vote for Mr. Obama even as they are being castigated for their ethnicity. Victor Davis Hanson wrote in National Review that the campaign is trying to convince independent white voters that voting for Mitt Romney will mean “becoming socially unacceptable; it will be tantamount to embracing a Neanderthal sort of mindset that opposes Obama not on his disastrous economic policies but simply because of his race.”

Racial code language and anti-white statements are being tolerated, even lauded, in ways that would spark a firestorm of indignation if directed at any other ethnic group. Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons wrote that Mr. Romney and his running-mate Rep. Paul Ryan are “two men who will destroy our people and laugh all the way to the bank with their rich friends.” MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry quipped that Mr. Ryan quoting the Declaration of Independence, “is a lovely thing to say as a wealthy white man.” She accused him of “misusing” Jefferson’s words by downplaying what she “as an African-American woman” sees as the central role of government in the “pursuit of happiness.”

Mrs. Harris-Perry echoed an important Obama campaign theme, tying identity politics to government handouts. What black leaders once denounced as racism - namely the implication that minorities must be dependent on government to survive - the Obama White House embraces as a symbol of dignity.

This racial jiu-jitsu can backfire. Democrats have abandoned what was promised to be one of Mr. Obama’s strengths in 2008: his alleged ability to rise above the racial divide. Now the president has given up pretending to usher in a post-racial America because his political future depends on exacerbating racial tensions. Mr. Obama no longer seeks to heal the breach but to rub salt in the wound.

The Washington Times

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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