NYT op-ed: Tim Scott’s just a token for the GOP
posted at 9:21 pm on December 19, 2012 by Allahpundit
Of the offense of Disagreeing With The Left While Black, Tim Scott stands guilty as charged:
But this “first black” rhetoric tends to interpret African-American political successes — including that of President Obama — as part of a morality play that dramatizes “how far we have come.” It obscures the fact that modern black Republicans have been more tokens than signs of progress…
Even if the Republicans managed to distance themselves from the thinly veiled racism of the Tea Party adherents who have moved the party rightward, they wouldn’t do much better among black voters than they do now. I suspect that appointments like Mr. Scott’s are directed less at blacks — whom they know they aren’t going to win in any significant numbers — than at whites who are inclined to vote Republican but don’t want to have to think of themselves, or be thought of by others, as racist…
For Mr. Scott, the true test will come in 2014, when he will presumably run for a full six-year term. As Mr. Obama has shown, the question is not whether whites are willing to vote for a black candidate, but whether black candidates can put together winning coalitions (no matter their racial makeup) and around what policies. I suspect black South Carolinians will not be drawn to Mr. Scott.
The acid test of whether a staunch conservative like Scott is a token is whether black voters, who are overwhelmingly liberal, will vote for him? I thought, per the excerpt above, the point of his alleged tokenism was to attract more centrist but Republican-leaning voters to the party, not black Democrats. In that case, even if he wins with 60 percent of the vote in 2014, he’ll still be a token, right? He’ll have won conservatives and centrists, just as the supposed token strategy imagines. Smoking-gun proof.
None of you needs me to explain the point of this. You’ve seen it before, most vividly with Clarence Thomas and more recently with Allen West. The left needs a near-monopoly on the black vote to win elections (at least until there’s a bigger pool of Latino voters) and questioning the integrity and racial authenticity of minority conservatives is one way to shore up that monopoly. That an attack this nasty can slip easily onto the op-ed page of the country’s most esteemed newspaper (whose editorial board is itself nearly lily white) tells you all you need to know about how mainstream the tactic is among liberals. As an antidote, let me recommend two pieces on the wires yesterday. One is Josh Kraushaar’s look in National Journal at how the tea party has been an engine of racial diversity in the GOP. Which is not surprising: Tea partiers are desperate for leaders who won’t bend their principles under political pressure and minority conservatives have special practice in that area from having had to endure endless amounts of “Uncle Tom” sleaze from the left. It takes character and profound commitment to their beliefs for Clarence Thomas and Tim Scott to stick with conservatism when they’re being accused of tokenism for doing so. Who wouldn’t want to vote for someone like that? The second piece is lefty Jonathan Capehart’s take on Scott at WaPo yesterday. He’s no fan of Herman Cain or Allen West, whom he dismisses as rhetorical bombthrowers, but he does respect Scott as a serious legislator despite his ideological disagreements with him. So does James Clyburn, apparently, who told Capehart that Scott is a “good guy” and “serious” about policy. Exit quotation: “That’s good for South Carolina, good for the Republican Party and good for the nation.” Somebody let the Times know.