Writes Robert Tracinski in “It’s the Liberty, Stupid“:
[…] a major part of Obama’s appeal was his symbolism as the first black president, which was supposed to give Americans an opportunity to put the whole ugly history of racial politics behind them. Yet here we are, less than eight months into Obama’s administration, and the racial politics are worse than they have been in a long time. Within days of Saturday’s giant “tea party” rally in Washington, Obama’s supporters in the press began denouncing the protesters as racists.
[…] The common theme of the signs was individual rights versus collectivism, an advocacy of limited government held to the restrictions placed on it by the Constitution. One of the signs in the photo essay sums up the message of the tea party rally: “It’s the Liberty, Stupid.”
The fact that the tea party had such a clear philosophical message, and that the bogus racism smear so thoroughly evades this message, says a lot about the intellectual confidence of the tea party movement—versus the lack of philosophical confidence on the left. The tea partiers are very happy to have a philosophical debate on the most basic political issues. The left, by contrast, wants to change the subject with personal, ad hominem attacks—which indicates that they are not confident that they can win the debate if it stays on the question of the size and role of government.
[Those on the Left] are resorting to a decades-old politics of racial slander, reflexively accusing any opponent of racism in an attempt to shut down discussion. Racism is one of the worst insults you can throw at someone today, only a few steps up from accusing him of being a child molester.