Thursday, December 20, 2012

NYT Op-Ed: Black Republicans like Tim Scott are 'tokens'

Adolf Reed, a writer for the Nation and the Progressive, has column in the New York Times today in which he reflects on the elevation of Republican Tim Scott to the Senate. He is not enamored, to say the least:
But this “first black” rhetoric tends to interpret African-American political successes — including that of President Obama — as part of a morality play that dramatizes “how far we have come.” It obscures the fact that modern black Republicans have been more tokens than signs of progress. (Emphasis added.)

The Washington Examiner:

This is a classic damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t scenario. If the Republicans are all white, that is proof of the party’s inherent racism. If they make the effort to recruit like-minded minorities, well, those minorities (somehow) don’t really count.

To put it another way, if the Tea Party really is as racist as Reed claims, then why did it back Scott over two white Republicans?The real, underlying argument in Reed’s column is that African-Americans simply are not allowed (in his mind) to be conservative. He asserts flatly: “little … connects these (black Republicans) to mainstream black politics.”

The National Review:

Professor Reed bases his contempt for black Republicans on the idea that almost no blacks share Republican views on key issues and thus those blacks who do join the GOP constitute some kind of race traitors. But the initial premise is emphatically not based in reality, even if it is the case that blacks do pretty much wholly reside in one political party and not the other; the following conclusion, of course, is lazy noxious racialism. This is the New York Times opinion page, after all.

Crazy thought here: maybe Scott’s appointment was aimed at getting a good man for the job. Oh no wait, that can’t be right, Mr. Reed assures us, because he’s black. If he were white, he might have been picked for merit, but since he’s black, it has to have been racial politics behind the decision.


"Tim Scott is a good guy. I like him," Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told me. The assistant Democratic Leader in the House made it clear that Scott "certainly is no gadfly. He's not anything close to [being an] Allen West….[H]e's serious." That's good for South Carolina, good for the Republican Party and good for the nation. [I]t would be a mistake for Democrats and progressives who don't know anything about Scott — except that he's a black Republican — to dismiss him as mere window dressing for for the GOP. Lord knows we're all used to that sort of thing.