Jewish World Review May 2, 2011 / 29 Nissan, 5771
The Promiscuous Use of the R Word
By Bernard Goldberg
Yes, they're all liberals and liberals tend to see racism all over the place. It's one of the things that make them feel morally superior to everyone who doesn't see racism all over the place. It's one of the ways liberals tell black people, "We're the good white people. So please don't blame us for the past."
The ammo Trump handed his critics includes his fascination (for a while, anyway) with Barack Obama's birth certificate; his comment that Mr. Obama should get "off his basketball court or whatever he is doing at the time" and pressure OPEC to lower gas prices; and his shot that President Obama may have gotten crummy grades at Columbia and still managed, somehow, to get into Harvard Law. Can you say affirmative action?
On the View, Joy Behar said, "It's very racist. He can't fathom that a black man could be that smart. That's what's behind this."
Whoopi Goldberg said, "I'm getting tired of trying to find reasons not to think of stuff as being racist. Being black, when you say, 'You know, this is racist,' 9,000 people say, 'Oh, no, you're just playing the race card!' Well, you know what? I'm playing the damn card now!"
Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, "That's just code for saying he got into law school because he's black. This is an ugly strain of racism that's running through this whole thing."
David Letterman said, "It's all fun, it's all a circus, it's all a rodeo, until it starts to smack of racism. And then it's no longer fun."
Ed Shultz kept it short and sweet: "I think Donald Trump is a racist."
Let's see if I have this right: It's racist if Donald Trump questions Barack Obama's academic credentials, if he wonders what kind of grades he got in college but it was perfectly okay for liberals to make fun of President Bush because of his so-so grades at Yale. Really?
Of course it's not just what Donald Trump said about Mr. Obama's grades. The fact is if you say just about anything negative about President Obama there's a good chance you're going to be called a racist. Against his stimulus bill? You're probably a racist. Against ObamaCare. Yup, you're a racist. And it started even before he was elected.
Back in 2008, when Mr. Obama was running for president, Jacob Weisberg wrote a piece for Slate, the online magazine, which ran under this headline: If Obama Loses
Racism is the only reason McCain might beat him
Are there some racists out there who hate Barack Obama simply because he's black. Sadly, yes. Are the birthers, especially the ones who still don't believe Barack Obama was born in the United States, unbearably stupid. Yes again. In a country of more than 300 million people, there are going to be some stupid bigots in the crowd. But the haters don't begin to represent all, or most, or even a significant percentage of the president's critics. The nuts and the haters play at the fringe. And whatever one may think of Donald Trump, he is no racist. His many liberal New York friends would have spotted it years ago if he was, and would have dropped him like the proverbial bad habit.
Yet, even smart liberals apparently can't fathom that it might be Mr.Obama's liberal policies that Donald Trump and the vast majority of conservatives don't like, not the color of his skin. So let's make it easy for my liberal friends. Let's play pretend.
Let's pretend that two years ago voters elected America's first black president. Except this one is a Republican and as conservative as Rush Limbaugh. Let's call him President Smith.
President Smith is against raising taxes on the wealthy. He's against massive healthcare reform that forces everyone who can afford it to buy an insurance policy. He's against going on a world tour apologizing for America's supposed sins. He's for lowering taxes on individuals and businesses. He's for cutting federal spending to get control of both the short term deficit and the long term national debt. He thinks citizens should have the right to own a gun and he's against any federal money going to pay for abortions or NPR.
Okay, here's the question: Are we supposed to think that Donald Trump or any other critic of President Obama would condemn our pretend President Smith because he's an African-American? I don't think so. Not even if he had a Muslim-sounding first and middle name. Not even if his father was born in Kenya. Not even if he had questionable grades way back in college and liked to play basketball. My guess is the overwhelming percentage of conservatives would be thrilled that they finally, at long last, had a true-blue conservative back in the White House and couldn't care less if he was black.
And who would be criticizing our make-believe President Smith for his hard right positions. Liberals would, that's who. Does that make them racists? After all, Mr. Smith is black?
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JWR contributor Bernard Goldberg, the television news reporter and author of several bestselling books, among them, Bias, a New York Times number one bestseller about how the media distort the news. He is widely seen as one of the most original writers and thinkers in broadcast journalism. Mr. Goldberg covered stories all over the world for CBS News and has won 10 Emmy awards for excellence in journalism. He now reports for the widely acclaimed HBO broadcast Real Sports.
He is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey and a member of the school's Hall of Distinguished Alumni and proprietor of BernardGoldberg.com.
• 04/19/11: The Man Behind the Million Dollar Smile
© 2011, Bernard Goldberg