Traditionally, conservatives have been reluctant to fight fire with fire. Why? Because we have internalized Martin Luther King’s belief that people should be judged not “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” That’s why conservatives tend to find groups like the NAACP and La Raza abhorrent.
I think it’s time to acknowledge that this approach hasn’t helped conservatives win elections.
We should not forget that conservatives have done more than a little bit of dabbling with identity politics over the last few years. Haven’t conservatives spoken with pride about Clarence Thomas being the only black Supreme Court justice or Bush having appointed the first black secretary of state? Let’s be honest — would Sarah Palin have been selected as VP in 2008 if she weren’t female? Would Michael Steele be the RNC chairman today if he were a white man? Of course not. Yet Sarah Palin was the best thing to happen to John McCain’s campaign, and Michael Steele has done a better job than most people acknowledge.