No comment required, really. Just watch the two clips below, one of Carson’s talking this week about slaves as “immigrants” (followed by a very stern Don Lemon sounding troubled) and the other via Becket Adams of Obama at a naturalization ceremony two years ago. Carson’s point: Slaves are immigrants of a sort, and like other immigrants, they dreamed that their children might one day have a better life in the United States. Obama’s point: Slaves are immigrants of a sort, and like other immigrants, they dreamed that their children might one day have a better life in the United States. Obama’s version, uttered just 15 months ago, passed without public comment as far as I can recall. Carson’s version? Nuclear outrage yesterday among the left, starting with America’s most lackluster dynast:
This can't be real. Slaves were not & are not immigrants. 2017. https://t.co/8CuUvnR2Mf
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) March 6, 2017
Celebrities got in on the outrage party too:
OK!! Ben Carson….I can't! Immigrants ? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! MUTHAFUKKA PLEASE!!!#dickheadedtom
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) March 6, 2017
As I say, watch the clips. The Federalist found at least 11 instances of Obama using the line about some Americans having come on the Mayflower and others on slave ships, which, you could argue, isn’t quite the same thing as saying “slaves are immigrants.” What’s striking about the clip of him below is that he does make that comparison, explicitly. And it’s that point that set the left on fire when Carson made it because it supposedly showed callousness to the fact that slaves were kidnapped and sent to America as property rather than migrating of their own free will. (Carson later posted something to Facebook noting that, yes indeed, he’s aware that slave migration to the U.S. was involuntary.) It’s the same point in both clips in service to the same end, namely, that even people who came to America under the most oppressive circumstances shared the immigrant dream of a happier future for their descendants. But because Carson’s of the right and Obama’s of the left, that point is treated alternately as callous or hopeful as political circumstances require.
The first rule of partisanship, though, is “never back down” so expect some top-notch hair-splitting from across the aisle tomorrow explaining how Carson and Obama were saying totally different things and Obama’s version was, of course, comparatively both noble and profound.