Jewish World Review May 3, 1999 /17 Iyar 5759
Gore race-baits with impunity
(JWR) ---- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com)
IT WAS A VINTAGE AL GORE PERFORMANCE. Speaking at the annual dinner of the
Detroit chapter of the NAACP last week, the vice president drew fangs and
horns on opponents of racial preferences.
"I hear the critics of affirmative action. They talk about a colorblind
society. Give me a break!" Gore growled. "They use their 'colorblind' the
way duck hunters use their duck blind. They hide behind it and hope the
ducks won't figure out what they're up to." It's hard to miss the imagery --
quota opponents are gunning for minorities.
Gore's legendary hyperbole was also conspicuous. The man who invented the
Internet disclosed that his father, the late Albert Gore Sr., lost his
Senate seat due to his support for civil rights legislation.
In reality, Gore Sr., who voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, had a
mixed record on race. But the vice president is constantly reinventing
himself and his family. Soon, Gore will claim he signed the Emancipation
Race baiting isn't a tactic Gore suddenly seized on in preparation for the
2000 campaign but a strategy he and his party have been perfecting for
In December 1997, after mounting criticism that his race-relations panel is
an echo chamber, Bill Clinton met with critics of same, including Ward
Connerly, the California regent who led that state's anti-quota initiative,
and Linda Chavez, staff director of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission under
In his book "Gore: A Political Life," Bob Zelnick notes that at the
meeting, "Gore's reputation for stiff-necked condescension was very much in
evidence." The princeling who was raised in a D.C. hotel suite lectured
black and Hispanic proponents of merit on the reality of racism in America.
"I think it is naive in the extreme to assert that there is no persistent
vulnerability to prejudice," the veep pontificated.
But no one claims racial prejudice is extinct. When a man can be dragged to
death because he's black, and Louis Farrakhan can draw nearly a million men
to a hate fest in the shadow of the Washington Monument, it's clear that
we've yet to banish bigotry.
Still, as Linda Chavez explained to Clinton and Junior, "So long as you've
got government picking winners and losers on the basis of the color of their
skin ... you can't get beyond racism."
If the vice president was bad at the White House meeting, he was wicked a
month later at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. Speaking from the pulpit
once held by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Gore rhetorically wondered
where quota opponents "stood" on atrocities like the murder in Jasper,
Sane people have no position on lynchings, other than
to abhor them. It is evil to imply that opposition to the injustice of
apportioning opportunities on the basis of race calls into question one's
At the Rose Garden press conference following Clinton's impeachment, Gore
hailed his boss as "one of our greatest presidents." In light of Juanita
Broaddrick's charge that Clinton raped her in 1978, I wonder where the vice
president stands on sexual assault.
When it comes to playing the race card, some in his party put Gore to
shame. In last year's Missouri Senate race, Democrats ran commercials on
black radio stations warning: "When you don't vote, you let another church
explode. When you don't vote, you allow another cross to burn. ... Vote
smart. Vote Democratic." Before slavery returns?
Democrats engage in such slander because they know they can get away with
it. Quotas is an issue Republicans could win but dare not touch.
Clearly, the public understands what Gore does not. In 1996, Californians
voted to abolish racial preferences in state employment and higher
education. Last year, voters in Washington state approved a similar
initiative by a vote of 58 percent.
So, why don't Republicans run with the issue? Their timidity is based on
bitter experience. Those who tackle preferences can count on being maligned
by the media.
If a GOP candidate attacks quotas, the headlines will read "Republican
Against Affirmative Action." For most readers, affirmative action means
voluntary outreach. The spin will be that here is another callous Republican
who's unconcerned about the plight of the less fortunate.
Democrats like Gore are thus free to pander and stereotype to their hearts'
content, knowing their opponents have been cowed to silence.
Clinton says he wants to "get people together across all the racial ...
lines that divide America." He could start by muzzling his
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©1999, Creators Syndicate