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BOOK REVIEW: ‘Mugged’

- - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

MUGGED: RACIAL DEMAGOGUERY FROM THE SEVENTIES TO OBAMA
By Ann Coulter
Sentinel, $26.95, 271 pages

In her new book, "Mugged: Racial Demagoguery From the Seventies to Obama," Ann Coulter provides a thorough and timely primer on the misuse of race in politics in the decades after the passage of the landmark civil rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has said that America is "a nation of cowards" when it comes to discussions of race. He clearly was not talking about Ann Coulter.

Ms. Coulter demolishes the notion that Democrats are the historic champions of civil rights. As she reminds us, all opposition to the Republican-sponsored civil rights acts of 1957 and 1960 came from Democrats. Republican support for the landmark laws of 1964 and 1965 was essential to their passage and far outstripped Democratic support. Ms. Coulter quips that Lyndon B. Johnson "had ferociously opposed civil rights laws up until five minutes before he became president." She supports that assertion and many more of similar thrust.

Throughout, Ms. Coulter skewers the fact-resistant mainstream media. For example, after the 2008 election, Adam Nossiter wrote in the New York Times that Virginia and North Carolina "made history" by "breaking from their Confederate past and supporting Mr. Obama." The author's dry rejoinder: "To review some first-grade history, the Confederates were Democrats and the Union, led by Abraham Lincoln, was Republican."

As for the GOP track record on civil rights, Ms. Coulter's long list includes support for the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, all opposed by Democrats. She contrasts the parties' platform positions on civil rights and anti-lynching laws spanning a century. She acknowledges that Democrats "have finally come out in favor of civil rights," but says it would have been "a lot more help if they had done so when their own party was denying blacks the right to vote, to go to school, to sit in nonsegregated diners and to use the same water fountains as whites."

We are given a tutorial on racial demagoguery from the 1970s forward, with summaries of incidents in which hucksters such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, aided and abetted by the liberal media, distorted or fabricated facts to create stories of racially motivated attacks on blacks by whites. These false claims of race-based attacks against blacks often resulted in real "retaliatory" crimes against whites. Yet when frauds were exposed, in the Tawana Brawley case and others, there were seldom any consequences for the fraudsters.

Ms. Coulter is at her best explaining how "common sense was outlawed" in the 1970s and that liberal policies dating from that era are more harmful to black Americans than any lingering effects of such Democratic Party-supported enterprises as slavery and the Jim Crow laws. For example, "between 1890 and 1950, blacks had higher marriage rates than whites, according to the U.S. Census." Then "liberals decided it would be a good idea to start subsidizing illegitimacy." By 2010, "only 30.1 percent of blacks above the age of 15 were married, compared to 52.7 percent of whites."

The author plausibly asserts that recognition by blacks of the "vital importance of the institution of marriage is reflected in [their] overwhelming, ferocious opposition to gay marriage." In 2008, high black voter turnout in California delivered votes to candidate Barack Obama and cemented the victory of Proposition 8 (banning homosexual marriage), supported by 70 percent of black voters. "Liberals responded to the undeniable fact that blacks killed gay marriage by attacking Mormons." Meanwhile, the press "dedicated itself to clamping down on anyone who looked askance at the dysfunctional black culture that liberals had done so much to cultivate."

In an era when young adults have grown up in "a world in which blacks were only the beneficiaries of race discrimination," Ms. Coulter opines that "liberals use blacks" to promote their pet causes including abortion on demand and homosexual marriage. The concept of "civil rights" has been expanded by suggesting a false equivalence between the historic struggle for civil rights for blacks and the demands for special treatment made by illegal immigrants, homosexuals and feminists.

Reviewing the overuse of "racism" charges by Democrats, Ms. Coulter concludes that "racism" has become a liberal code word for "Republican positions." During the George W. Bush presidency, dissent was patriotic; today, dissent is racist. These days, a "racist" is "a conservative winning an argument with a liberal."

The author's own words summarize the book well: "This isn't a story about black people -- it's a story about the left's agenda to patronize blacks and lie to everyone else." She concludes by saying that the most harmful lie "is the idea that black people's condition in America depends on white people's beneficence. It's Bull Connor's last revenge."

"Mugged" is a refreshing and informative antidote to the divisive narratives about race perpetuated by politicians and the mainstream media.

Ray Hartwell is a Navy veteran and a Washington lawyer.