The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

April 21, 2014

Race card season again?

After years of mostly hedging any suggestion that racism has anything to do with President Barack Obama’s ferocious opposition, there’s a new racial etiquette in town. Top Democrats are slipping off the kid gloves.

“To a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism,” said Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, during CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “That’s unfortunate.”

Asked by host Candy Crowley as to whether he thought his “Republican colleagues in Congress are racist,” the New York Democrat replied, “Not all of them. No. Of course not.”

“Not all of them?” Gee, Congressman, care to name names?

Israel’s comment was particularly notable because it came only a few days after an even more prominent Democrat, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, said pretty much the same thing about the Grand Old Party’s position on immigration.

“I think race has something to do with the fact that they are not bringing up an immigration bill,” she said at a news conference. “I’ve heard them say to the Irish, ‘If it was you, it would be easy.’”

She didn’t say who she heard talking to which “Irish,” but she sounded like an old-school wheeler-dealer in the sort of ethnic-tribal politics that have produced big turnouts for generations of urban Democrats.

That’s partly because she was responding to a question about Attorney General Eric Holder’s earlier remarks in a speech to the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

Without specifically mentioning race, Holder heatedly suggested that the “unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity” that he received from Republicans during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing a day earlier was because of, well, you know what distinguishes Obama from his predecessors, right?

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