The Last Ditch -- DOUGLAS OLSON -- Racial treason: the conservative malady


The Olson file

Racial treason —
the conservative malady


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"That's the penalty we have to pay for our acts of foolishness — someone else always suffers for them."

       — British dramatist Alfred Sutro (1863-1933)

As a prominent conservative writer observed long ago, "Whenever our friends get into power, we suddenly discover that they're not our friends any more." That was proven anew after the GOP takeover of Congress in 1994, which clearly could never have occurred without the dollars, hard work, and votes of millions upon millions of sincere conservative citizens.

What did those people get for their money and their efforts in 1994? A majority led by Newt Gingrich (who was never a real conservative) as Speaker of the House, and by Bob Dole (who had already "gone along to get along" in a Democrat-dominated Congress since 1961) as Senate majority leader.

Very early in the Republican interregnum — a 12-year lost opportunity between two periods of control by the Left — the pair held a press conference during which they dramatically condemned affirmative action as "discrimination" and solemnly promised to end it.

Dole admitted, "This is not a difficult issue: Discrimination is wrong, and preferential treatment is wrong, too." Working with Rep. Charles Canady (R-Fla.), he proposed legislation to ban racial preferences. "We must begin by ending the ridiculous pretense of quota tokenism — special contracts, a set-aside there, a couple of TV stations, a seat or two in the Cabinet," Dole said on introducing the bill.

"Our bill reflects the belief that preferential treatment and equal opportunity are fundamentally incompatible," echoed Canady.

But when it came time to put up or shut up, Dole allowed the Judiciary Committee to smother the measure without a whimper. When Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) proposed an amendment to repeal government set-asides, Dole declined to twist any arms to get it passed, leaving it to die by a 61-37 vote. Leftist Ralph Neas then crowed, "There's a strong bipartisan consensus against the elimination of affirmative action."

Gingrich played his part in the betrayal by allowing the House Judiciary Committee to thwart Canady's efforts to gain a hearing for his measure. At the same time, the new Speaker demonstrated his infection with the conservative malady by establishing a Minority Outreach Task Force to propose legislation that would appeal to Negroes.

Though once claiming there was "a pretty good opportunity" to bring up repeal of affirmative action during 1995, Gingrich soon thereafter complained about members of his party who were "too eager to do away with affirmative action." Those people, he whined bizarrely, were "jeopardizing the GOP's chance to become a genuine, multi-ethnic majority ... one that could rule for generations." When his conservative crowd expressed reservations about that approach, the infected Gingrich airily dismissed them as "suburbanite whites who just didn't get it."

He later gave additional lip service to doing away with affirmative action, which he still admitted was "wrong," but would not allow it to be considered until he could develop a "positive message" for minorities: "We know what the negative half of our message is: This is wrong. But the truth is we don't have right now a very good, clear-cut positive."

Of course, the Republican politicians who broke the historic Democratic filibuster to enact the oppressive Civil Rights Act of 1964 made no attempt to develop any "positive message" for Southern whites when they turned those people's whole world upside-down in a foolish, doomed effort to court ungrateful Negro voters. It is incredible that both whites and blacks remain so deliberately, aggressively ignorant of the Republicans' part in passing both that statute and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — laws that remade American politics into a perpetual battlefield of race. The whites, whom the GOP betrayed, still support the party; the blacks, who profited from that Republican treachery, despise their benefactors to this day.

Rep. Gary Franks of Connecticut, one of only two black GOP House members in the mid 90s, offered an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have eliminated racial set-asides. After first approving the move, Gingrich then kept the Rules Committee from allowing consideration of the proposal. Franks strongly denounced the Speaker for betraying him. "As far as I'm concerned, I've been lied to," he complained. "I will never again go out on a limb thinking I have Newt Gingrich behind me." Gingrich, it was obvious, was too infected with the conservative malady to craft a "positive message" even for blacks in his own party. Franks left Congress soon thereafter, in undisguised disgust. The betrayed Canady was not far behind, but he left more quietly because he did not have the right skin color to escape being pilloried in the media for denouncing Gingrich on racial grounds.

At the time, a GOP aide told a reporter that the party leadership was determined to "approach with the right words. We feel that ... affirmative action programs function as quotas. At the same time, we are very close to a major breakthrough with black voters. We are trying to weigh both of those goals."

It's now a dozen years later, and the GOP is out of power again — not because it failed to "connect" with minorities, but because its share of the white vote fell to a disastrous 51 percent last November. It appears many Republicans are so infected that they are still waiting for that "major breakthrough" with Negroes (or, now, with Hispanics) to recoup their losses. If, as Samuel Francis pointed out in his analysis of the 2000 election, George W. Bush had gotten just one additional percentage point of the white vote, he wouldn't have needed any minority ballots at all to win. But no, the party reacts with abject horror at the very idea of appealing to its natural constituency; it much prefers to kiss the posteriors of its natural enemies and grovel for votes that will never come.

Further illustrating the perfidy and stupidity of the fatally infected Republicans in 1995, Gingrich ally Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) urged GOP congressmen to hire more black staffers and "reach out" to minorities. Kingston repudiated Canady's bill, boasting of lunching with "the NAACP chairman from one of the 22 counties that I represent. One of the things we need our members to do is more interfacing and dialogue with the black community, and black leaders." He urged the party to "address affirmative action without being accused of being racist" — as if such an oxymoronic feat were actually possible.

As willfully blind as Gingrich and Kingston — and even dumber and more self-righteous than they — GOP "moderate" (and Dole's 1996 VP candidate) Jack Kemp demonstrated his pitiful inability to see a winning issue if it spit in his face: He vowed not to participate in the campaign if the party "were to run just on dividing America" by opposing affirmative action. He insisted on using scarce resources to campaign personally in Harlem and similar environs. The ticket, not surprisingly, lost miserably.

This tragic and still ongoing story of cowardice and betrayal magnificently illustrates the modern conservative malady — a fatal schizophrenia where any racial issue is involved. The GOP knows how to win elections: by taking the white side of such issues. Once elected, though, the party then becomes paralyzed by delusions of attracting large numbers of nonwhite voters. It fails utterly to deliver for its voting base, while its supposed new masses of black and Hispanic voters remain just a sweaty fantasy. Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for twelve years, and the White House for half of that time, and made absolutely no effort to deliver on their solemn anti-affirmative action promise of 1995. They failed miserably in their half-hearted efforts to defend U.S. borders, and made no real attempt to even slow the massive invasion by illegal aliens, measures that, however libertarians view such exercises of state power, would surely have earned white votes for Republicans. Now their party is again in the minority — and they wonder why.

Democrats are similarly schizoid, but in reverse. They campaign by promising their dusky allies equality and prosperity, but never deliver either — the former because none of their laws and resolutions will ever be able to overrule Mother Nature, and the latter because minority prosperity is not in the real interest of their party. If either Republicans or Democrats — the two wings of our single National Party — actually did deliver on their promises, then nothing would bind their voting blocs in the future except gratitude, that flimsiest and most fleeting of all political bonds, most aptly defined by Ambrose Bierce as "expectation of further favors."

Republicans were able to stay in power, at least until the last election, because conservatives regularly emptied their pocketbooks and herded themselves to the polls like cattle to the slaughter, believing — or desperately wanting to believe — that there was really going to be an end to illegal immigration, oppressive taxation, irresponsible government spending, anti-white discrimination, "judicial activism," and other outrages, as well for as the preservation of "patriotism," "family values," "traditional marriage," and other chimeras. And at every opportunity for serious change on any of those issues, the GOP balked — or worse, as in the case of recent immigration "reform" efforts, actually made the problem worse.

That is why the party is now in the minority. And deserves to be. Democrats didn't win — Republicans lost. The real tragedy is that Americans never had a chance to vote for honest, principled, citizen legislators; their only choice was between trading one set of National Party oppressors for another, or staying home and allowing it to happen without them.

January 11, 2007

© 2007 Douglas Olson.

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