SAN DIEGO, December 7, 2012 — Ohio Representative Marcia Fudge may be the newly-elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, but there is nothing new about her defense of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. At a recent press conference, Fudge defended Rice against Senator John McCain and other Republicans who dare to assert that a woman who lied about the Benghazi raid on five television shows is unqualified to be the next Secretary of State.
Gambling that people aren’t tired of the race card, Marcia Fudge played her hand like a skilled casino dealer:
“All of the things they [Republicans] have disliked about things that have gone on in the administration, they have never called a male unqualified, not bright, not trustworthy … There is a clear sexism and racism that goes with these comments being made by unfortunately Senator [John] McCain and others” (Capital Outlook, 12-3-12).
Of course Rep. Fudge is not alone in her viewpoint. The road to racial defense was also paved by South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn in an interview with CNN’s Starting Point. “To call her incompetent, a Ph.D., Rhodes scholar being called incompetent by someone who can’t hold a candle to her intellectually, by someone who said — and Sen. McCain called her incompetent, as well — but he told us that Sarah Palin was a very competent person to be the vice president of the United States … That ought to tell you a little bit about his judgment.”
He then went on to describe the very term, incompetent as a “code word.”
“You know, these are code words … We heard them during the campaign … These kinds of terms that those of us, especially those of us who were born and raised in the South, we would hear these little words and phrases all of our lives and we’d get insulted by them.” (CNN, Staring Point 11-20-12)
Evidently calling Sarah Palin’s competence into question is not part of any racial code. It is merely an opinion about her qualifications. If that sounds like hypocrisy, it’s only because you don’t understand the rules: Republican critiques are always motivated by some sinister, hidden agenda. Democratic critiques, on the other hand, are sincere, wise and warranted.
The justification for these rules is somewhat fleeting. Are we to believe Republicans never challenged the competency or qualifications of Jimmy Carter? Have we forgotten that Republicans sought to remove Bill Clinton from office when he lied under oath? Neither the gender nor skin color of either president shielded them from criticism. Instead, Republicans took issue with their ethics and liberal policies.
Have we forgotten about a certain appointee under George Bush’s second term? Forgive me for making the obvious, obvious, but Condoleezza Rice was both African-American and a woman. If Republicans are so racist and sexist how do we explain her confirmation? In fact, Condoleezza filled the very office in discussion, Secretary of State. That’s three for three; four if we remember that she even has the same last name as Susan Rice. (Just in case somebody wants to suggest some additional prejudice called “Riceism”).
Of course, Condoleezza was Bush’s second Secretary of State, following Colin Powell. Republicans somehow managed to look beyond his skin color as well. Maybe they actually believed Martin Luther King and chose to judge nominees by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
Until more people remember King’s words, we will continue to live under an administration insulated from scandal and poor policy by a fear from their adversaries of being called racist. Why not? It works and they keep getting away with it.
Most citizens are content to offer Obama and his surrogates a free pass, patting themselves on the back for being progressive and eventually believing this lie that they tell themselves. Plenty of comrades help rationalize their indefensible position, from the main stream media, to a barrage of politically correct college professors. All it takes is ignoring those few voices in the wilderness crying out that the king isn’t wearing any clothes.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Bob sometimes selects reader’s comments and responds to them on his radio show. Details of his program can be found at www.bobsiegel.net.
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