Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. —
As President Obama’s approval ratings sink, liberals—who claim to be for tolerance—have been ratcheting up their intolerance.
Almost daily, we hear a liberal politician or celebrity claiming that those who oppose Obama are racists and accusing Republicans of wanting to return to the days of Jim Crow laws that required separate facilities for blacks and whites.
Last month, Politico reporter Joe Williams said on MSNBC that Mitt Romney is “very, very comfortable” around “white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company.” He also tweeted a nasty remark with a sexual innuendo about Ann Romney.
Williams has said the Tea Party movement uses “racially tinged imagery and racially tinged sort of statements to get their point across.” He has said that opposition to Obama is a backlash against an African-American president, comparing that with support for the Ku Klux Klan.
Williams, who is black, not only covered the White House for Politico but previously was the Boston Globe’s deputy Washington bureau chief. After the remark about Romney, Politico suspended Williams, and he has left his job there, claiming he had been the target of right-wing bullying.
Not to be outdone, Salon editor-at-large Joan Walsh agreed with Williams.
“It’s almost certainly a fact that Mitt Romney is more comfortable around white people,” she wrote on Salon.com.
“It’s just so inaccurate, and it’s just so amazing that people who don’t know us can sort of put these labels on us,” Ann Romney tells me. “I think some of our black friends would be a little amused by it.”
Those who think Republicans are racists might consider the life of John Doar, a Republican who was an assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in the 1960s. In awarding Doar the Presidential Medal of Freedom in May, Obama described a scorching hot day in 1963, when Mississippi was on the verge of a massacre.
“The funeral procession for Medgar Evers had just disbanded, and a group of marchers was throwing rocks at a line of equally defiant and heavily armed policemen,” Obama said. “And suddenly, a white man in shirt sleeves, hands raised, walked towards the protestors and talked them into going home peacefully. And that man was John Doar.”
Doar escorted James Meredith to the University of Mississippi and walked alongside the Selma-to-Montgomery March.
“He laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Obama said. “In the words of John Lewis, ‘He gave [civil rights workers] a reason not to give up on those in power.’ And he did it by never giving up on them. And I think it’s fair to say that I might not be here had it not been for his work.”
From Justice Clarence Thomas to Juan Williams and Bill Cosby, blacks who express conservative views are referred to by supposedly tolerant black Democrats as Uncle Toms and sellouts.
Ron Miller, who has written the book “Sellout: Musings from Uncle Tom’s Porch,” has experienced all this and more. Miller is a black conservative who runs a website called Regular Folks United. At age 19, he realized that his values emphasizing personal responsibility rather than government handouts did not comport with Democrats’ world view. As a result, he became a Republican.
As he writes in his book, the “only thing the Democrats do for us [blacks] is keep race at the forefront of our minds and promote race-based policies, which stoke our egos but really don’t make our lives better.”
When GoProud, a gay conservative group, endorsed Romney for president, the supposedly tolerant Joy Behar said on Al Gore’s Current TV, “Could it be that the GoProud guys are just attracted to Mitt Romney's sons?”
Supposedly tolerant Obama supporter Bill Maher has compared Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker to the mentally handicapped banjo player in the film “Deliverance.”
At the center of the intolerance is Obama himself. As noted in my story “’The Obamas’” Confirms Worst Fears About the President,” confidantes of the president say he attributes criticism of his policies to prejudice against blacks. When an obstreperous black Harvard professor gave the Cambridge police a hard time, Obama took his side, saying the police “acted stupidly.”
In his speeches, Obama routinely refers to children “no matter what they look like” to suggest that opponents of his policies are racists who don’t want blacks to succeed.
For 20 years, Obama listened to the anti-white ravings of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., whom he called his mentor, sounding board, and friend. Wright portrayed blacks and the poor as victims of America’s allegedly racist society.
To be sure, the right wing has its share of intolerant people, including those who say they will not vote for Romney because he is a Mormon. Given that liberals profess to be tolerant, their intolerance becomes particularly worthy of note. But both sides should follow the example of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote, “I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance…’
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