No less than Mr. Ryan, Mr. Obama sure sounded like he was talking about “a cultural problem.” He didn’t mention “inner cities,” but his entire White House initiative is geared to helping young minority men, not whites. The President even concluded with an ode to self-reliance that Mr. Ryan might have considered a little too lacking in nuance: “Government cannot play the only—or even the primary—role. . . . It’s ultimately going to be up to these young men and all the young men who are out there to step up and seize responsibility for their own lives.”
So even though Mr. Ryan never mentioned race, liberals attacked his off-the-cuff remarks as racist while the President’s moral lecture was hardly noticed. Republicans are accused of racism if they ignore the least fortunate, and now they’re racist for taking poverty and its causes seriously. Unless you unreservedly favor the welfare status quo, or used to be a community organizer, the left gets you coming and going.
The attacks on Mr. Ryan are one more example of the politics of personal vilification that typifies the left these days. Its policies were supposed to reduce inequality, but instead the income gap is widening. They were supposed to lift people out of poverty, but poverty has increased.