Fasten your seat belts, It’s going to be a bumpy campaign. Ann Althouse notes (HT: Instapundit) that a NPR host Diane Rehm used a very McCarthyesque tactic to make sure everyone knows Bernie Sanders is Jewish. Said Althouse:
An outright lie about him doesn’t work, does it? Well, yes it does! It made everyone take notice that Bernie Sanders is Jewish. He’s not an Israeli citizen. That’s cleared up, but the impression remains: He’s Jewish. That stirs up any free-floating anti-Jewishness that may be useful to his opponent.
Yep, that’s about it. I don’t know what is spookier, the “list” reference that Rehm made to justify her “question” – a tactic quoted from the Joe McCarthy handbook – or the echoes of Mike Huckabee’s “innocent” question to a NYTimes reporter about Mormons in the lead up to the Iowa Caucus’ in 2007/8. This kind of thing is beyond hardball politics – it’s just playing dirty. It drives a wedge into fissures in our society that we are desperately trying to heal.
What concerns me is that this particular fissure is one that is currently festering. Given that African-American voters carried the day for Obama – twice – and that they are now “disillusioned,” and given the historical animosity between the African-American and Jewish communities this tactic is like throwing gasoline on a fire.
The biggest lie of all in this circumstance may not be Rehm’s question, or it’s justification – the biggest lie here is that Democrats are perceived as the party of social justice. Nothing in this kind of play is about social justice. This is setting one ethnic group against another – there is no social justice about this whatsoever.
Obama has set the electoral template for the Dems – play up the demographics and play down the issues. He has raised identity politics to a whole new level. But then he had nothing else as his presidency has shown. He has left the Democrat party in a position where they have nothing else. They have no traction on foreign policy. Given the utter failure that is Obamacare, they have no traction on domestic policy. All they have is identity politics.
If Hillary actually wanted to help the country she would try and steer the party in a different direction. But all she really wants is her coronation and so she will play the game that Barack Obama designed. Even if she loses, the nation will be much worse for having had to last through the campaign. I do not envy the next president.