posted by avenger in Politics

The GOP’s self-defeating image of minorities as ‘takers’

November 8, 2012

I’m seeing and hearing a lot of this kind of thing, on this blog and elsewhere, as Republicans attempt to come to grips with Tuesday’s election defeat and try to seek explanations for why they lost.

Bill O'Reilly: “The white establishment is now the minority. And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You are going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”

In one sense, you can understand why that kind of rationalization would be appealing. In effect, O’Reilly is telling his listeners that “We lost by being better than they are. It’s not our fault and there’s nothing we can or should change.” He applies the powerful salve of moral superiority to a open wound, and by doing so he makes people feel better. People like to feel better, so they’ll come back to Fox for more.

But O’Reilly’s wrong. He’s wrong as a matter of politics, he’s wrong as a matter of morality, and he’s wrong as a matter of history. His listeners are equally wrong to believe him. To the degree that they continue to do so, they are likely to experience more tough election nights in the years to come.

Think about it. While older white voters might find O’Reilly’s message reassuring, imagine that you’re black (93 percent for Obama), or Latino-American (71 percent for Obama), or Asian-American (73 percent for Obama). Imagine that you’re flipping through the news coverage on Election Night and you hear O’Reilly make those comments. How do they come across? They come across as condescending and even racist, because they ARE condescending and racist. The comments equate the fading “white establishment” with all that is good and great in this country, while the rising minority tide is treated as “takers,” as leeches.

By Jay Bookman, AJC

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