When All Else Fails, Call Your Opponent Racist

By opposing public spending on behalf of illegal immigrants, Jerry Kilgore “appeared to engage” in the demonization of Hispanics. That’s the inexplicable logic of Richmond Times-Dispatch political writer Jeff Schapiro in his column in today’s paper.

Schapiro takes on Jerry Kilgore for criticizing a decision by the town of Herndon, in Fairfax County, to finance gathering spots for day laborers, many of whom are Spanish-speaking illegal immigrants from Central America. The laborers have been converging at a convenience store to scout for construction, landscaping and janitorial jobs, creating something of a public nuisance.

Although he quotes Kilgore’s “handlers” as saying that government services should be available only to people who reside legally in the country, Schapiro describes that argument as “a coded appeal to voters.” Kilgore is sending signals “rooted in ostracism rather than assimilation” that please conservative voters. “Kilgore’s unspoken message is nativist, spiced with resentment and fear: It is us against them.”

Perhaps that’s all true. I’m not privy to the inside thinking of the Kilgore campaign, so I can’t say for a fact that his handlers aren’t racists and bigots. But Schapiro offers absolutely no evidence other than his own authority that they are the Machiavellians he claims them to be. What I can say is this: Many people, like me, have a problem with illegal immigrants — not because we’re prejudiced against Central Americans but because they’re here illegally! You see, some people have this funny thing about obeying the law. Obeying the law is not just something Americans should do. It’s something that everyone should do.

There may be pragmatic reasons for Herndon’s proposal. (Will Vehrs discusses some of them here.) But to describe Kilgore’s position than anything other that what it is — that government should not provide services to illegals — is to engage in reverse race baiting.

Schapiro and others “appear” to characterize conservative Republicans as racists and bigots with the goal of turning law-abiding voters in the Hispanic community against them. Unlike Schapiro, I have concrete evidence to back up my assertion: Schapiro’s own words. Noting the divide between Kilgore Republicans and President Bush, who supports limited amnesty for illegals, Schapiro notes: “Perhaps Kaine and Warner can use this latest Republic fissure to mobilize the Hispanic vote for November.”

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  1. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Good piece, Jim.

    Schapiro’s comment is despicable, but when all else is failing in service of the Kaine/Potts axis, why not use the nuclear bomb of political debate? What’s Kilgore supposed to do? Point out that some of his best friends are Hispanic?

    One also wonders whether indifference to the legal status — and making the distinction between legal immigrants and illegal ones — is also a hangover from the Clinton interregnum, and its indifference to crime at the highest level of American government.

    Charges of racism, though, are the last refuge of a political scoundrel.

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Thanks Jim. Race-baiting was the specialty of the Democrats when it was to bait the Whites to vote against the Blacks. Now it is the specialty of the Democrats to bait the Non-Whites and any other group identity with an affinity for victimhood against supposedly still racist Whites. Remarkable how the names change but the point in politics is the same.

    Liberals, including Republicans, who fail to distinguish between legal and illegal when it comes to aliens show a symptom of a greater disease which is a dysfunctional lack of understanding of the Rule of Law and our Constitution.

  3. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    I beg your pardon, Mr. Bowden, but I seem to recall that this country was founded by a dysfunctional bunch of aliens. Yes? No?
    Thank God they had so little regard for what went at the time as ‘Rule of Law.’

  4. I love this. “Democrats were racist in the 50s and 60s, and they’re still racist.”

    More like “conservatives were racist in the 50s and 60s and conservatives are still racist.”

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    If you want to create criminals and destroy the rule of law, just make laws that people cannot obey, as King George did.

  6. RTD Schapiro wrote: “First, Kilgore offers a defense of homosexuals. Then, he appears to demonize Hispanics.”

    Classic ‘sex-race’ bait and switch tactics by ‘Good Copy’…

    I think that Joseph Pulitzer just did a double back flip in his grave!

    ~ the blue dog

  7. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Barnie:Actually, this country was created by English citizens (including many foreigners under English soveriegnty) who appealed for their rights as Englishmen. And when the primary right – no taxation without representation- was denied by a Parliament and the King, these English citizens (not illegal aliens) declared their independence based on the higher natural law that superceded the decrees of the English soveriegn and his rule of law to establish a new soveriegnty in individual citizens (legal citizens not illegal aliens) and a new, better rule of law.
    Paul: The party labels apply. I know this is painful for a former Dem party chair. But it was and is and maybe in the future the Dems who do the race baiting. Conservative in 1954, 1964, 1980 and 2005 has changed in meaning. Most conservatives in the commonwealth prior to 1980 were democrats and republicans who bought into big government. The populist, Christian, less government flavor conservative since 1980 are a different lot of folks – and not race baiters. We are the colorblind people who actually honor Dr Martin Luther King Jr in spirit and letter and don’t pimp race for politics like Jesse Jackson and company.

  8. a nun a mouse Avatar
    a nun a mouse

    As to the Herndon situation, let me quote a guy named Matthew: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

  9. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    Charges of racism, though, are the last refuge of a political scoundrel.

    How about racism itself? That’s, what…the second-to-last refuge of a political scoundrel?

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    How are we supposed to be able to point out racism when it exists without calling it racism? Thank God my ancestors got here when all you had to do was show up!
    I know, how about somebody just set up a team (not tax supported by the way) to stop by 7-11 in the morning and just gun ’em down? Word will shortly filter back to Mexico and they’ll just stop coming here! Taxes will stop, traffic will no longer be an issue, there won’t be any hospital or health care problems, kid’s teeth will stop getting cavities, no more crime, no more abortion, everyone will go to church, gas will cost less, Iraq will calm down, the government will give you back all the taxes you’ve ever paid plus interest, and all the work will be done by responsible native born church goin’ white non-gays (of English heritage) who have been unfairly shoved aside every time they try to get minimum wage part time jobs in 95+ degree heat. Problem solved. Right Bluedog? Right Mr. Bowden? Right Mr. Young?
    I’ve got your shovel right here…
    Now watch folks as these three sterling examples of culture and conservative self responsibility go on about another anonymous post…

  11. subpatre Avatar

    ‘A Nun A Mouse’ – The least you could do –since your comment has nothing to do with state funding of minor lawbreakers– is give accurate attribution. Matthew didn’t say it, Matthew was the reporter.

    Anonymous 1:35 – Calm down please, you’ll get spittle on our monitors too. Yuck! The functional word is illegal, as in
    “government should not provide services to illegal drivers” OR
    “government should not provide services to illegal aliens” OR
    “government should not provide services to illegal drug users”.

    Quite frankly, the assumption of violence against people one doesn’t agree with, and projecting that onto others, makes the rest of your nonstop, run-on raving seem tame. It’s beyond the pale.

  12. a nun a mouse Avatar
    a nun a mouse

    Subpatre complained that Matthew didn’t say the words about giving to the poor but merely reported it. Actually, there’s a dispute about whether those were authentic words of Christ, because real biblical scholars know a part of the gospel was made up out of thin air, in great part to make the religion more appealing after it was apparent the prophecy of an imminent judgment day wasn’t happening. That’s why we ended up with all these doctrines that copied pagan doctrine, and why there is such sharp conflict in the stories about Christ’s life and death. Before you sputter and dribble on the monitor, go read Elaine Pagels and some other critical commentaries. Thomas Jefferson way back when figured this out — that’s why he was a Deist and that’s why he came out with a condensed version of the gospels. It’s still for sale on Amazon. If you want humor and accuracy in your biblical commentary, Mencken’s “Treatise on the Gods” will open your mind and keep you laughing, too. So if you have a copy of “The Five Gospels, What Did Jesus Really Say?” by the Jesus Seminar, that particular section of Matthew is put into the “maybe” category. Give a point to both sides.

    The best political point so far is this one by Anonymous: “Thank God my ancestors got here when all you had to do was show up!” I thought my immigrant grandfather produced a pretty good family, like his grandson (my brother) who is slogging through the dust in eastern Afghanistan now VOLUNTARILY.

    I also agree that racism charges are a refuge for scoundrels. Isn’t that what Dick Black charged recently when the Connection newspapers noted he had taken money from a Muslim corporation under investigation? (Jim Moran did too in 2002, but he gave the money back.) By the way, I think it’s interesting that the Muslims say they backed certain Republicans because of their similar stands on social issues. Now there’s an endorsement.

  13. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    nun a mouse: The illegal aliens would be given food, water, clothes and shelter during their confinement and deportation. You could visit them in confinement as a good work.

    Ah, for other comments….Liberals screaming racist, homophobe, Christian-bashing, etc etc and disputing the authority of the Bible… like the sun rising in the East. The Liberal Holy Trinity is race, class and gender(s). Thanks for being predictable you. Bless your hearts.

  14. subpatre Avatar

    Got to love it! The excuse for wrong credit of a bible source is: ‘It doesn’t matter, the Bible’s all lies anyway’. What a delightfully clear illustration of modern leftist thought.

    After surveys showed Democrats losing votes among religious people, Party leaders decided they should target ‘people of faith’ and connect their policies with religious values.

    Forgotten in their analysis is that religions are beliefs; the DLC strategy is to say religious things, not follow or believe them. ‘A Nun A Mouse’ provides an example.

    The issue is illegal behavior, not immigration; and ditto to Bowden’s remarks about decent, humane treatment of anyone in the criminal justice system.

  15. Salt Lick Avatar
    Salt Lick

    Then again, when Bill Richardson, the nation’s only Hispanic governor, declares a “state of emergency” in four New Mexico border counties due to “a chaotic situation involving illegal alien smuggling and illegal drug shipments,” you know the Democrats have interesting challenges on this issue:


  16. a nun a mouse Avatar
    a nun a mouse

    I’m such a leftist liberal that I had three Republican political jobs on the federal level, voted for Reagan twice, was in the White House the day after Reagan took office (shook his hand and Bush Sr.’s too — had a political job at the time. I’ve contributed to GOP Virginia candidates. I had a minor in Theology at a top (non-liberal) college. Much of this theology scholarship is new, owing to people figuring out how to deal with the Nag Hammadi discoveries of the Gnostic gospels. (Your preachers are not anxious to talk about these discoveries, because of what they contained and why these were suppressed.) But basic textual comparisons disclosing severe contradictions in Biblical text have been a part of biblical study for a long time — see my comment on Jefferson. These problems start in Genesis — there are two creation tales, and they don’t dovetail. And yes my comment is relevant because political analysis must include a moral, theological analysis. Otherwise we could just kill whoever we didn’t like. Hey, this is basic Poly Sci 101 stuff –there are laws based on morality (thou shalt not kill), laws based on policy choices (let’s tax the middle class at 33%), and laws that mix the two to one extent or the other. Immigration law is mostly a policy based law. At one time the U.S. wanted all the foreigners that could get over here. The policy has changed because we’re no longer a start-up economy. We’re rich. We have millions of illegal aliens here — we cannot physically deport them even if we wanted to. We’ve got to work with what we have. You can’t just go in and bulldoze people with force. Moreover, you should thank your lucky stars these latest generations of immigrants chose to come to the U.S. Did you ever look at the honors lists for Fairfax high schools? And the composition of the Fairfax magnet school? But if you do not see that laws and policy must contain a moral foundation, and if you refuse to educate yourself in adult theology (which I personally believe is offensive to God), please just don’t bother continuing this debate. I’m sure you can self-justify any belief you have or action you want to take by reading the Bible without any critical thinking. (Oh, no, Edith, he’s a relativist too!) You have to think critically about the Bible or it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in many places. My favorite tale to illustrate that is Elisha. Suppose someone makes fun of a bald spot on your head. According to the tale of Elisha, God found it expedient to send a bear to maul (or kill, depending on the translation) 42 children who said “Baldy! Baldy! to Elisha. 2 Kings 2:24 (Now, I think this is another made up tale, but if you’re a believer in inerrancy . . .) You can use unbalanced reasoning like that to punish people disproportionately (like the Saudi versionn of Islam does); you can throw hard working human beings into jail, I suppose, just because they’re “illegal.”

  17. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    “to nun a mouse,” I agree that there have been extraordinary advances in understanding the New Testament over the past 150 years. At present, it seems, we have two conflicting world views: the fundamentalist position that regards the Bible as inspired by God and continues to defend its inerrancy (in the face of a massive number of contradictions, both large and small) and the “liberals” who regard the Bible as a literary document based on oral and written traditions that evolved over time before, at an arbitrary point, they became canon. I sympathise with the second camp in thinking that the Bible should be understood as a literary document developed in the historical context of the 1st century Mediterranean world.

    But I also have a big problem with the second camp. Contemporary American and European liberals have done what Albert Schweitzer wrote back around 1900 (“The Quest for the Historical Jesus”) so many others had done before him: They projected their own values onto Jesus, in effect claiming him as one of their own. Thus, the great flaw of modern New Testament scholarship, for all of its contributions, has been to transform Jesus into a liberal social reformer whose response to the socio-political circumstances of 1st century Palestine bears remarkable similarities to the political sentiments of 20th/21st century liberal scholars.

    To accomplish this, liberal scholars exaggerrate Jesus’ resistance to Roman rule — painting Pontius Pilate as the primary architect of his crucifixion — while downplaying Jesus’ conflict with the Temple priests, downplaying his charismatic healing, and downplaying his message of an imminent, violent and world-changing apocalypse.

    As one who sees Jesus as the product of 1st-century Judaism, I am very wary of anyone who takes his sayings (whether accurate or massaged by subsequent redactors) and applies them to contemporary events in the hope of claiming his moral authority. That applies to liberals, conservatives… and to you.

    That said, I find it refreshing that there’s at least one other political conservative in Virginia who has steeped himself/herself in a non-fundamentalist study of the New Testament.

  18. subpatre Avatar

    The fundamental problem remains {puns intended} one of logic and truth. The excuse for misattribute of a bible source was essentially ‘It doesn’t matter, the Bible’s all lies anyway’. To quote; “.. there’s a dispute about whether those were authentic words of Christ….part of the gospel was made up out of thin air”

    The sin of omission is that the same scholars also dispute the existence of Matthew-the-author; of Matthew dictating or writing the gospel of that name.

    It’s the rock or shifting sand. Either you quote the text as written and ascribe the words to Jesus; or you ascribe it to neither. There’s no integrity in mixing parts to suit the argument at hand.

    I’d add that claims of ‘new scholarship’ is lame. As early as the 500 AD the titles have been “The Gospel According to ____”
    Rebutting a connection to the Democrat’s cynical exploitation of religion by claiming (anonymously no less!) Republican credentials still leaves the cynical exploitation of religion; now Republican cynical manipulation.

    Apologies to ‘a nun a mouse’ if the ‘liberal’ tag offended. (Is ‘liberal’ really worse than ‘cynical manipulation’?)

    Jim, I don’t think the word fundamentalism means what you think it means; fundamentalists have fundamentally different views than your idea of fundamentalism.

    All Protestant and other Reformation religions are fundamentalism, evidenced by their creeds. The term ‘fundamentalism’ is commonly misused to mean ‘literalism’; and almost as often used as a coded reference to blue-collar, conservative residents of rural and heartland America.

    I’m also wary of using scripture to promote policy, it’s discouraged in the bible. Better minds than mine thought reason and discourse should determine policy.

  19. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Sub Patre: Well said! I’d like add to the point about the two schools Jim mentioned about Bible worldviews. The ‘fundamentalists’ include people whose ‘priesthood of the believer’ and soul sufficiency concepts have every individual interpreting scripture with the help of the Holy Ghost through reason and discourse.

    Nun a mouse: Nice to know you know Republicans and served in high places, but 10 or 12 millions can be deported if the Nation has the Will. The Nation doesn’t have that will, yet, but it can be done. It should be, too.

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