By now, we’ve all heard of the egregiously racist things spouted by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling to his trophy girlfriend in a recorded phone conversation that was recently released to every media outlet, with the possible exception of the “Sesame Street News Flash.”
Immediately, right-wing media leapt into action, their crack investigative teams digging hard for the answer to the most important question of all: How do we turn this into an attack on the Democrats?
“Racist Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Is a Democrat,” blared a blog post on the National Review website. “Report: Clippers Owner Caught In Racist Rant Is a Democratic Donor,” said Fox Nation. Right-wing icon Matt Drudge and his Drudge Report told us that “NBA Sterling is a Democrat,” while Tucker Carlson’s vanity project The Daily Caller claimed “Race Hate Spewing Clippers Owner Is Democratic Donor.”
All of this, it seems, was based on the fact that, as The Daily Caller put it, “Between 1990 and 1992 Donald Sterling made a $2,000 donation to former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, a $1,000 donation to current Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, as well as a $1,000 donation to the recalled former governor of California, Gray Davis.”
Got that? A multibillionaire makes donations of his pocket change to three Democrats 22 years ago, and suddenly he’s a “Democratic donor,” for purposes of right-wing smear campaigns.
I suppose they were desperate for something to latch onto after the debacle in which rising star Cliven Bundy turned out to be not only a freeloading welfare rancher and domestic terrorist, but a racist nutball as well — but only after he was embraced by the likes of Sean Hannity and Rand Paul.
Now, of course, they’re backpedaling on their support for Bundy faster than Wile E. Coyote when he realizes he’s gone over the edge of the cliff, while the wingnut media scramble desperately to find someone to take the heat off. I guess Donald Sterling looked like the perfect target.
Problem with the Sterling-as-Democrat charge is that, according to California’s voter registration rolls, it turns out that the creepy old dude’s a registered Republican and has been since 1998. Oops. Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to make an issue of Sterling’s party affiliation — huh, guys?
Once again, members of the right-wing media have fallen flat on their faces in their desperate attempt to support one of the most absurd Republican tropes: “We’re not racist. Democrats are the real racists, because of Robert Byrd. So there.”
Apparently, the party whose supporters wave signs showing President Obama as an African witch doctor with a bone through his nose, a party that courts the support of a washed-up rock star who calls that president a “subhuman mongrel,” a party that has no problem with its most prominent talk show host referring to the first lady as “uppity” and playing songs about “Barack the Magic Negro,” a party that embraced a candidate who told Iowa primary voters, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money” (even though there are more white than black welfare recipients) — apparently it’s very important to that party to distract from the pervasive racism in its own current ranks by convincing the American people that it’s the Democrats who are the real racists because Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, Southern Democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago (although most Northern Democrats supported it), and Sen. Robert Byrd was in the KKK before most of us were born.
Forgive me if I don’t find this argument convincing, especially after the years since 1964 — those years that brought us the GOP’s race-baiting “Southern Strategy,” giving us gems like Bush the Elder’s Willie Horton ad (AHHH! SCARY BLACK MAN!) and Jesse Helms’ infamous “White Hands” spot (“You needed that job, but the government said it had to go to a minority”).
I’m not saying that all Republicans are racists or that there are no racists in the Democratic Party. Clearly neither of those is true. I’m saying that an awful lot more racists seem to find a welcoming home in the GOP, and that the first step to solving your problem is to admit that you have one. It’s a simple truth the Raging Republican Right doesn’t seem to have learned.
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