All Out of Eyerolls

By | 2018-09-09T21:01:32+00:00 September 8th, 2018|
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Senate Democrats unleashed a flurry of coordinated rhetorical assaults this week against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. At its center were their shopworn tropes about how Kavanaugh, a white man, is a racist, affiliates with white supremacists, and wants to see women die in the streets.

The charges fell flat.

The only people even mildly impressed with the antics, it seems, was a sliver of the progressive base. They happened to be in the hearing room, actually, screaming unintelligibly and hurling themselves at the poor Capitol Policemen who were tasked with dragging them out.

(The exchanges were hilariously ironic: “We will not be silenc…” [Scuffling. Door slam.])

But to the rest of the world, the Democrats looked incompetent, desperate, and out of touch with a general population now so tired of hearing that every white person, by virtue of the fact that he is white, is somehow a racist, that they simply tune it out.

This isn’t a new phenomenon for the Trump era. Though the media deify him now, they were quick to tag Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign ad calling then-Senator Barack Obama a celebrity as “deliberately and deceptively racist,” a “racially tinged attack,” “subliminal racism,” and “pushing a caricature of Obama as an uppity young black man.” Ezra Klein, the co-founder of Vox, accused McCain of “running crypto-racist ads” during his campaign (whatever that means). CNN anchor Don Lemon openly speculated that the McCain campaign was “inciting hate and hate speech.” (For a fun exercise in cognitive dissonance, read the recent tributes to McCain from those same outlets who now tout him as a pillar of bipartisanship and decency.)

And it wasn’t just McCain. For years, the Left has treated every Republican presidential candidate as heralding the end of the world. George W. Bush was complicit in a hideous racist murder in Texas. Hurricane Katrina wasn’t simply a failure of government planning and foresight, but a blatant indication of his disregard for black people. He was a fascist, a war-criminal, and a theocrat.

Even squeaky-clean, Mormon-raised Mitt Romney was, according to the Left, the misogynist mastermind behind a “war on women.” He apparently hated all Latinos because of his policy calling for “self-deportation.” He was too cold-blooded, too rational, too awkward. Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) claimed that Romney hadn’t paid taxes for over a decade (Romney released his returns showing that, in fact, he’d overpaid).

And so it goes.

Entirely Predictable Accusations
The charges never change, just the target. And in the crosshairs this time is Brett Kavanaugh, a man so humanely decent and refreshingly boring that, as a friend wearily told me recently, “trying to criticize him is like trying to find something wrong with wheat toast.”

That hasn’t stopped Democrats from trying. But their attempts to back up their hysterical charge of RACISM!™ against Kavanaugh this week were so amusingly incompetent as to prompt a Trumpian “Sad!” from more than one observer.

Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a presumed 2020 presidential candidate, ground the hearing to a halt on Thursday morning, saying he planned to release a “confidential” email showing Kavanaugh discussing racial profiling—and then practically begged Republicans to try and expel him for violating Senate rules.

“Bring it,” Booker said. “I’m going to release the email about racial profiling.” He then added, “This is about the closest I’ll probably ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment.”

The eyerolls in the hearing room and across D.C. were so collective they were almost audible.

The whole thing unraveled minutes later. The document, it turns out, was already cleared for release by committee Republicans, leaving the Senate’s self-designated Spartacus looking like a pretentious show boater (one could even say Spartacus wasn’t looking very smartacus). Worse, the document didn’t even show Kavanaugh supporting racial profiling. It showed just the opposite.

“The people who favor some use of the race/natl origin obviously do not need to grapple with the ‘interim’ question,” Kavanaugh wrote in the document, referring to the terrorism prevention methods taking place in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. “But the people (such as you and I), who generally favor effective security measures that are race-neutral in fact DO need to grapple—and grapple now—with the interim question of what to do before a truly effective and comprehensive race-neutral system is developed and implemented.”

Oh. So, Kavanaugh, who, according to Democrat histrionics is the most racist Supreme Court nominee who has ever existed, was the guy apparently pushing against racial profiling as a terrorist prevention method back in 2002. Ouch.

Wild Incompetence, Flippancy, and Carelessness
Further compounding the incompetence was a similar stunt pulled by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who followed Senator Spartacus Booker in releasing confidential documents in which she claimed Kavanaugh revealed himself as a racist for questioning the constitutionality of Native Hawaiian programs.

This is so bizarre that it could actually be satire. Native Hawaiian legislation has for years sought to create a separate government within the Hawaiian Islands whose membership would be defined not by geography, but by blood. In fact, various iterations of the legislation have, over the years, proposed identifying people by “blood quantum”—certifying members of the group based upon how much Native Hawaiian ancestry they possess down to a genetic degree.

This is—actually and literally—racist. A test based solely on race, and a policy that offers people of that race the ability to exempt themselves from the laws of the United States, is in clear violation of the Fifth and 14th Amendments. The Supreme Court has said as much. Twice.

All of this is apparently lost on Hirono, who continues without intended irony to tar Kavanaugh as a racist by promoting his opposition to a factually racist policy. It’s enough to make you laugh if you weren’t already banging your head against a wall.

The wild incompetence, flippancy, and carelessness with which Senate Democrats bandy about the charge of racism is in keeping with their decades long tactics. Racism, to Democrats, is less a weighty societal issue to be discussed and more a smear tactic for any Republican who happens to be in front of them; an easy way to avoid substantive issue discussions by provoking falsely placed moral outrage.

The result is obvious. Apart from embarrassing themselves, they dangerously devalue what ought to be a serious charge. By maintaining that there is no difference between David Duke and Brett Kavanaugh, between the Jim Crow South and modern America, they are actually allowing our common enemy—you know, actual racists—to slip into the crowd, unnoticed.

In other words, when everyone is a racist, no one is.

Voters, however, are smarter than politicians give them credit for being. They are onto the game, if completely exhausted by it. Trump continues to have an 85 percent approval rating from his own party despite Democrats heralding every day of his tenure as the end of the world. Employment among African Americans is higher than it has been in years. Despite constant calls of racism, Republican senators and the White House continue to push forward on tangible policies important to African Americans like criminal justice reform and school choice.

We are, in fact, all out of eyerolls for the race-baiting, misogyny-claiming, Handmaid-dressing, apocalypse-announcing liberal Left and their brethren. We’ve given up on sighing and shaking our heads. Now we are just pressing mute.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

About the Author:

Rachel Bovard
Rachel Bovard is senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute. Beginning in 2006, she served in both the House and Senate in various roles including as legislative director for Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and policy director for the Senate Steering Committee under the successive chairmanships of Senator Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), where she advised Committee members on strategy related to floor procedure and policy matters. In the House, she worked as senior legislative assistant to Congressman Donald Manzullo (R-Il.), and Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas). She is the former director of policy services for the Heritage Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @RachelBovard.