The title of this Washington Post piece from yesterday really tells you the whole story: Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ attack leaves fellow Republicans squirming (again).
Please. Spare me.
The “Pocahontas” line spurred chatter at former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s ideas summit Friday in Park City, Utah, where some attendees said they were aghast at Trump’s many race-based lines of attack.
Stuart Stevens — the chief strategist on Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, who, like Romney, has vowed not to vote for Trump — said the candidate’s use of “Pocahontas” to attack Warren was both racist and inappropriate…
“This is a sick guy, and Americans are not longing for a president who’s going to go out and use ethnic slurs against people,” he said. “It’s amusing in the same way telling dirty jokes around a frat house can get laughs, but most people grow out of that. It’s childish.”
This is the latest flavor of the day for the Democrats and, as usual, they are being mimicked (and quoted) by the #NeverTrump forces. When it comes from Democrats I can simply roll my eyes yet again and skip over the story in question. After all, cultural outrage – usually fauxrage – over racial, gender or sexual orientation lines are their bread and butter. But the Republicans still bitter over Trump’s primary victories should tread a bit more carefully.
We’re seeing it regularly now on the starboard side of the political divide. The entire “Trump’s a racist” theme has become the stock in trade for plenty of conservative pundits who likely find the accusations resting a bit uncomfortably on their tongues. For one example hitting somewhat close to home, one of our colleagues at RedState (Streiff) is a regular critic of the Donald who recently chimed in to agree with Paul Ryan about how all of these racist outbursts are unacceptable.
There is really no other way of saying it. What Trump has engaged in is a very ugly example of race-baiting for political gain and his statements about Judge Curiel are, as Ryan says, textbook examples of racist speech.
If that’s how you really feel, no harm, no foul. But we don’t have to peer too far back into the pre-Trump era to see the same author having a bit more of a sense of humor about such things.
With apologies to our usual collection of conservative friends, there are too many people currently clucking their tongues at the Pocahontas reference who previously didn’t seem quite so easily sent off to the fainting couch. Some are the same folks who thought that the reference to Elizabeth Warren’s bizarre claims of Native American ancestry when applying for school admission and jobs was either hilarious or at least not offensive enough to be bothered over. And why would they?
Taking a jab at Warren over this and referencing Pocahontas is neither racist nor some sign of antipathy toward indigenous peoples. The woman was caught up in an obvious bit of malfeasance which opened her to mockery. Her situation is very similar to that of Rachel Dolezal and her claims of being black when she’s actually more Caucasian than your average viking. There were plenty of black pundits completely aghast at Dolezal, not at the people who joined them in mocking her, and if anyone had decided to call her Rosa Parks (which actually happened) I wouldn’t expect any national outcry or claims that the author was disparaging African Americans.
There’s a bit too much convenience in this sudden outrage over Pocahontas or Fauxcahontas sarcasm in conservative circles. There’s also far too much water under the bridge already to ignore on the same subject.