Friday, January 28, 2005

Race Baiters

The Moose notes the pathetic attempts of the elephant to play the race card.

For years, the right decried the use of the race card by liberals in political debates. Lately, conservatives are trying their hand at racial demagoguery. During the debate on both the Rice and Gonzales nominations, Republicans have not restrained themselves in suggesting that their opponents either have racial motives or will pay a price with minorities.

The way these Republicans talk you would have thought the denizens of the right were there with John Lewis back in 1965 on the Edmund Pettus Bridge when civil rights marchers were brutally beaten. Perhaps, if you closely look at the photos you will see Strom and Trent. Many Republicans argue these days that the majority of the GOP supported the civil rights legislation in the '60's. Of course, since that time, the southern Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation migrated to the Republican Party and the moderate civil rights Republicans faded away.

There are two "Republican" issues that seem to have genuine appeal in minority communities - family values and school choice. Democrats should be concerned about Republican inroads into the African-American and Latino communities where these issues resonate.

However, the Republican exploitation of the race card to obscure their economic agenda is pathetic. It is almost amusing when the big business groups attempt to find an African-American farmer whose family will lose the farm if the estate tax is not eliminated. Lately, the right has suggested that the Social Security System is anti-black and privatization will provide the community with a bonanza of riches.

In today's New York Times, Paul Krugman eviscerates this argument. At the heart of the right's contention is that high mortality rates prevent many African Americans from receiving benefits. Krugman writes,

"It's true that the current life expectancy for black males at birth is only 68.8 years - but that doesn't mean that a black man who has worked all his life can expect to die after collecting only a few years' worth of Social Security benefits. Blacks' low life expectancy is largely due to high death rates in childhood and young adulthood. African-American men who make it to age 65 can expect to live, and collect benefits, for an additional 14.6 years - not that far short of the 16.6-year figure for white men...

"The persistent gap in life expectancy between African-Americans and whites is one measure of the deep inequalities that remain in our society - including highly unequal access to good-quality health care. We ought to be trying to diminish that gap, especially given the fact that black infants are two and half times as likely as white babies to die in their first year."

So, if the Moose's dear former colleagues on the right and the Bushies are so very concerned about African-American mortality rates perhaps they would address the genuine child health care coverage crisis. John Kerry did just that with a bold proposal that he offered yesterday in an important address.

He made this insightful observation,

"That's how the president who promised to usher in a 'responsibility era' proposes to deal with a real and present health care crisis, even as he seeks to hype a phony crisis in Social Security," Mr. Kerry said, after telling his audience that Mr. Bush's plan would raise insurance premiums and leave families and children without care. "You know what that sounds like to me? Sounds like a cradle-to-grave irresponsibility plan."

Now that's the Real Deal!
-- Posted at 10:17 AM | Link to this post | Email this post