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Saturday, December 21, 2002



Flood the Zone I: Josh Marshall on Race In American Politics

Josh Marshall explains what it is about race and the Republicans that is a problem:

The question is whether the party as a whole benefits from the use of racism or race-tinged wedge issues in certain parts of the country and whether the party as a whole makes any efforts to say such behavior won't stand. In the case of Republicans and race the answer to the first question is clearly 'yes' and the answer to the second question is 'not nearly enough'.

As an example of this phenomenon, let me offer this excerpt from an interview with a (then) vice-chairman of the DNC:

I've had this experience around the country. When it's a minority candidate and it looks like the race is close, they [the opponents] go negative and use divisive tactics.

Oh, my mistake! The chap is talking about the behavior of Democratic candidates in primaries around the country. The interview paid special emphasis to the 2001 NYC Mayoral race. In fact, the author is Jill Nelson, who was roughed up by Andrew Sullivan a while ago, so lefties may relax - you are amongst friends. A more complete excerpt:

I've had this experience around the country. When it's a minority candidate and it looks like the race is close, they [the opponents] go negative and use divisive tactics. The reason I'm so upset about it now is that it looks like the party in which I am an officer can't help themselves. They are just as bad as the so-called common enemy, the Republicans.

Over the years, every time there has been a minority candidate, they play the race card. I have had enough; that's basically my position. I don't know what will change my mind on that. Maybe when I see it, I'll know it. But I can't say if Mark [Green, presumably] does A, B, C, and D, then I'll come aboard. If these things had happened in a fight against a Republican, I would have said it's just the Republicans, brushed myself off, and moved on. But this has happened too much in the party that I'm in, and the leadership at the state and national level don't seem to get it.


Oh, my, trouble in paradise? Democrats playing the white racial card against each other? I must credit Matthew Yglesias for pointing this out - a "man of honor" on the left sort of thing, and I loved his brother Julio's music.

Well, more on race in NY by Jill Nelson here, and a righty account of the mayoral race-baiting. Also George Will, boldly predicting a Mark Green victory over Bloomberg, and DeWayne Wickham in USA Today.

As noted in the previous post, Josh Marshall seems to believe that the Dems left their analogous problems behind 70 or 80 years ago. Please. Save it for "The Onion".

UPDATE: Oops, been there, done that - in another post, Josh Marshall said this about a Patrick Ruffini post on examples of race-baiting amongst Democrats:

That said, Ruffini's list of particulars is pretty revealing in its weakness. He says it's a list he came up with off the top of his head of instances since 1968. Oddly, most seem to be from 1968 and 1969. They're examples of the original Mayor Daley or George Wallace when he ran as a Democrat in 1972. Isn't this sort of pitiful?

Well, Marshall does say "most", so its my own pitiful fault for not checking. Ruffini mentions NYC and Ferrer. But I have more and cooler links!


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