Saving Senator Whitehouse

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D–R.I.) has been caught belonging to an all-white beach club in Newport, Rhode Island, though technically it’s his wife who belongs to Bailey’s Beach Club, not the senator, since he transferred his membership to her. There may be eminently defensible reasons for that transfer (e.g., to avoid the high death taxes so loved by Democrats), but it looks fishy. The senator also belongs to the all-white Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport. 

Who cares?!

The members of the right-wing press apparently do, and they have gathered triumphantly to have a summer hootenanny at the senator’s expense. 

When confronted with the gory details, Senator Whitehouse explained that such social clubs are “a long tradition in Rhode Island and there are many of them, and we just need to work our way through the issue. Thank you.” Thank you for what wasn’t clear. But the senator was verrrry polite, as you would expect a former member of Bailey’s Beach and the Ida Lewis Yacht Club to be. 

Senator Whitehouse looks like a hypocrite, and his opponents intend to enjoy themselves hugely at his expense—and you can’t blame them. 

But Senator Whitehouse is correct: it is a long tradition in Rhode Island towns for such clubs to be all white, and not just in Rhode Island but probably in every state and town where there are old families and posh clubs that only the rich can afford to belong to, and have belonged to for decades—and where there are few black residents

A glance at Newport real estate prices is illuminating: look for “mansions for sale” and you’ll find them, starting at $35 million—for a summer house. At the moment there are only 48 listed. It’s a thin market.

The people who buy those kinds of houses are the kind of people who belong to Bailey’s Beach and the Ida Lewis Yacht Club. 

Well, actually, that’s the way it used to be: now probably only the nouveau buy those houses—you know, the kind of people who have to buy their silver. The old rich have moved to less ostentatious cottages. But they’ve been in Newport for years, generations, actually: Senator Whitehouse’s grandfather was commodore of the Ida Lewis Yacht Club from 1937 to 1940. It’s a very small, very well-heeled social set.

A club can be all-white for two reasons: either blacks are kept out or no blacks have sought to get in. 

How many blacks would you expect to find among the posh Newport set? If you answered “none,” then you shouldn’t be surprised that Senator Whitehouse’s clubs have no black members. 

If you answered “some,” please tell us how many ultra-successful blacks have been spending their summers in Newport for the last, oh, decade or so? And tell us how many successful blacks you would expect to start going to Newport for the summer, and why. He (or she) could not realistically expect to join any of those clubs the first summer (or perhaps the first generation) that they were there—even if they were white. 

Should Senator Whitehouse be deprived of belonging to clubs he and his family have belonged to for decades just because no blacks are members? Of course not. 

Senator Whitehouse was correct when he said, “We just need to work our way through the issue,” though he probably doesn’t understand why he is correct. 

“The issue” is that blacks (69 percent of whom born today are illegitimate—and illegitimate with the blessing of the Democratic Party) tend to be poorer and less educated than whites. The net worth of a typical black family is about one tenth that of a white family. Non-rich, less-educated people, whether they’re black or white, don’t belong to fancy clubs: they never have and they never will. 

Senator Whitehouse’s real failing (like many rich liberal Democrats, he lives in all-white enclaves but is quick to blame others for being racists) is that he supports policies that keep blacks from rising: minimum wage, rampant immigration, and kowtowing to the politically powerful teachers’ unions, which oppose school vouchers and privatized education (e.g., charter schools), the only hope black children have of escaping from the Democrats’ ghastly public school plantation. 

But Democrats are worried. Most blacks have no interest in defunding the police (who will protect them if not the police?). And Donald Trump got way more black votes in the last election than he “should” have. Desperate times call for desperate measures, which is why the Democrats (maliciously and perhaps suicidally) are at war against both blacks and whites. Democrats are all about race and power: they bang the race drum to divide America so they can amass power. 

So, yes, we need to “work our way through the issue,” but not by accepting critical race theory or the New York Times’ “1619 Project” version of American history (all slavery all the time), which even Democrat wokeies are probably not stupid enough to believe, but which divide—by design—Americans on the basis of race. Those projects will, also by design, keep blacks down on the plantation for the next decade, or century—and off Bailey’s Beach and out of the Ida Lewis Yacht Club as well. 

That’s what Senator Whitehouse should be chastised for: belonging to what is essentially a party of racism (his party’s heritage) at war against Americans, blacks, whites, and everyone else; not for belonging to a couple of elite, expensive, social clubs that few people have ever heard of and even fewer people care about. 

Full disclosure: I know Senator Whitehouse, and members of my family have known members of his family for four generations. 

 

About Daniel Oliver

Daniel Oliver is chairman of the board of the Education and Research Institute and a director of the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was executive editor and subsequently chairman of the board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review. Email him at Daniel.Oliver@TheCandidAmerican.com.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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