You’re Wrong, Congressman: I’m Not Waging a War on Whites

Republican Rep. Mo Brooks twists immigration analysis into race card.

National Journal
Ron Fournier
Aug. 5, 2014, 5:10 a.m.

Re­spond­ing to my un­spec­tac­u­lar ana­lys­is of the GOP’s self-im­mol­a­tion over im­mig­ra­tion, Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama ac­cused me of be­ing part of a Demo­crat­ic Party “war on whites.” Where do I start?

First, two facts for the re­cord: I am white (not that it should mat­ter), and I am not a Demo­crat (nor am I a Re­pub­lic­an). Like most Amer­ic­ans, I am dis­gus­ted with both ma­jor parties for reas­ons that the im­mig­ra­tion de­bate — and Brooks’s baff­ling re­marks — un­der­score.

This strange epis­ode began on Fox News Sunday, when host Chris Wal­lace sug­ges­ted to con­ser­vat­ive act­iv­ist Mi­chael Need­ham that “everything” the House GOP had done to op­pose im­mig­ra­tion re­form since 2012 ran counter to the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee’s own post­mortem of Pres­id­ent Obama’s reelec­tion win.

“Well, I don’t rely on the same polit­ic­al con­sult­ants who have run every single Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial cam­paign since 1992 to tell [me] the solu­tions that are best for the party,” Need­ham replied. He ar­gued that the party’s best in­terest are served by fo­cus­ing on is­sues like af­ford­able hous­ing and gas prices, which mat­ter to all Amer­ic­ans, in­clud­ing His­pan­ics.

It was a fair point and a con­ser­vat­ive talk­ing point, but it didn’t an­swer Wal­lace’s ques­tion. I jumped in, “The fast­est grow­ing bloc in this coun­try thinks the Re­pub­lic­an Party hates them. This party, your party, can­not be the party of the fu­ture bey­ond Novem­ber, if you’re seen as the party of white people.”

After some back and forth, I ad­ded, “The pres­id­ent had a chance to have im­mig­ra­tion re­form in 2010 [and 2009]. His party passed on it. They wanted the is­sue.”

Both state­ments are un­for­tu­nately true, and par­tis­ans can’t handle the truth. The first state­ment un­der­cuts the nar­rat­ive of un­com­prom­ising con­ser­vat­ives. The second pierces the White House claim that Obama is ab­so­lutely blame­less for the im­mig­ra­tion grid­lock.

The White House ig­nored me. Brooks should have had as much sense. In­stead, when con­ser­vat­ive ra­dio host Laura In­gra­ham asked Brooks to re­spond to my ana­lys­is, he did. Ac­cord­ing to Jonath­an Cape­hart of The Wash­ing­ton Post, their con­ver­sa­tion went like this:

Brooks: This is a part of the war on whites that’s be­ing launched by the Demo­crat­ic Party. And the way in which they’re launch­ing this war is by claim­ing that whites hate every­body else. It’s a part of the strategy that Barack Obama im­ple­men­ted in 2008, con­tin­ued in 2012, where he di­vides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class war­fare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true. OK?

And if you look at the polling data, every demo­graph­ic group in Amer­ica agrees with the rule of law, en­for­cing and se­cur­ing our bor­ders. And every one of them un­der­stands that il­leg­al im­mig­ra­tion hurts every single demo­graph­ic group. It doesn’t make a dif­fer­ence if you’re a white Amer­ic­an, a black Amer­ic­an, His­pan­ic Amer­ic­an, an Asi­an-Amer­ic­an, or if you’re a wo­man or a man. Every single demo­graph­ic group is hurt by fall­ing wages and lost jobs.

And so the Demo­crats — they have to dem­agogue on this and try and turn it in­to a ra­cial is­sue, which is an emo­tion­al is­sue, rather than a thought­ful is­sue. If it be­comes a thought­ful is­sue, then we win, and we win big. And they lose, and they lose big. And they un­der­stand that, and as they get more des­per­ate, they are go­ing to ar­gue race and things like that to a much heightened emo­tion­al state …

In­gra­ham: … [C]on­gress­man, don’t you think … that char­ac­ter­iz­a­tion is a little out there?

Brooks: But that is, in ef­fect, what they’re do­ing, though. That’s the polit­ic­al game that they’re play­ing …

In­gra­ham: No, they’re play­ing the “race” card. They’re play­ing the“‘race” card just like they’re play­ing the “war on wo­men” card. This is what the left does. But I just think that phras­eo­logy might not be the best choice.

Cape­hart had an in­ter­est­ing re­sponse to the ex­change. “You know you’ve vaul­ted over a line when even a firebrand con­ser­vat­ive talk­er like In­gra­ham feels com­pelled to call you out.”

I don’t know about that, but I do feel com­pelled to re­mind Brooks that noth­ing I said should sur­prise him, be­cause his party lead­ers agree with me. If I am part of a war on whites, so is RNC Chair­man Re­ince Priebus and the 2,600 fel­low Re­pub­lic­ans in­ter­viewed for the “RNC Growth Op­por­tun­ity Book 2013,” the so-called GOP autopsy.

“If His­pan­ic Amer­ic­ans per­ceive that a GOP nom­in­ee or can­did­ate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-de­port­a­tion), they will not pay at­ten­tion to our next sen­tence,” the re­port reads. “It does not mat­ter what we say about edu­ca­tion, jobs, or the eco­nomy; if His­pan­ics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.” That es­sen­tially echoes my counter to Need­ham.

The re­port notes that oth­er minor­ity groups con­sider the GOP un­wel­com­ing, and cata­logues the steep de­cline in sup­port since Pres­id­ent George W. Bush earned 44 per­cent of the His­pan­ic vote. “As one con­ser­vat­ive, tea-party lead­er, Dick Armey, told us, ‘You can’t call someone ugly and ex­pect them to go to the prom with you. We’ve chased the His­pan­ic voter out of his nat­ur­al home.’ “

War on whites, really? Does Brooks con­sider the RNC and 2,600 Re­pub­lic­ans from around the coun­try to be an­ti­white? Is Dick Armey at war with whites? How about the con­ser­vat­ive Wall Street Journ­al ed­it­or­i­al page, which wrote the morn­ing of my Fox News  Sunday ap­pear­ance: “The GOP again gave the coun­try the im­pres­sion that its highest policy pri­or­ity is to de­port as many chil­dren as rap­idly as pos­sible back from wherever they came.”

The Journ­al chas­tised “De­port­a­tion Re­pub­lic­ans.” Are the pa­per’s ed­it­or­i­al writers ra­cial dem­agogues?

Ser­i­ously, Rep­res­ent­at­ive Brooks, please Google “Ron Brown­stein” and read his wa­ter­shed work on polit­ic­al demo­graphy. Start with the story titled, “Re­pub­lic­ans Can’t Win With White Voters Alone.”

This much is un­dis­puted: In 2012, Pres­id­ent Obama lost white voters by a lar­ger mar­gin than any win­ning pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate in U.S. his­tory. In his reelec­tion, Obama lost ground from 2008 with al­most every con­ceiv­able seg­ment of the white elect­or­ate. With sev­er­al key groups of whites, he re­cor­ded the weak­est na­tion­al per­form­ance for any Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee since the Re­pub­lic­an land­slides of the 1980s. 

In 2012, Obama won a smal­ler share of white Cath­ol­ics than any Demo­crat since Jimmy Carter in 1980; lost groups ran­ging from white seni­ors to white wo­men to white mar­ried and blue-col­lar men by the widest mar­gin of any Demo­crat since Ron­ald Re­agan routed Wal­ter Mondale in 1984; and even lost among Demo­crat­ic-lean­ing col­lege-edu­cated wo­men by the widest mar­gin since Mi­chael Duka­kis in 1988, ac­cord­ing to the latest Na­tion­al Journ­al ana­lys­is of the trends that shape the al­le­gi­ances of Amer­ic­an voters. 

And yet, be­hind rous­ing sup­port from minor­it­ies every­where, and of­ten much more com­pet­it­ive show­ings among whites in both Demo­crat­ic-lean­ing and battle­ground states, Obama not only won reelec­tion but won fairly com­fort­ably.

You see, sir, I’m not part of a war against whites. What I said is in­dis­put­ably, if un­com­fort­ably, true. Un­less a broad­er swath of the GOP com­munity learns to ac­cept and ad­apt to the fact that the United States will soon be a ma­jor­ity-minor­ity na­tion, the Re­pub­lic­an Party is doomed not to lead it. Fi­nally, sir, bury the straw men: Blanket am­nesty and wide-open bor­ders aren’t the price for polit­ic­al rel­ev­ancy. For starters, let’s try com­pas­sion, wide-open minds, and com­prom­ise.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 5149) }}

What We're Following See More »
CYBER THREATS INCREASING
Clapper: ISIS Will Try to Attack U.S. This Year
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

“Leaders of the Islamic State are determined to strike targets in the United States this year,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a congressional panel today. Clapper added that “al-Qaida, from which the Islamic State spun off, remains an enemy and the U.S. will continue to see cyber threats from China, Russia and North Korea, which also is ramping up its nuclear program.”

Source:
CLYBURN WEIGHING HIS OWN NOD
CBC PAC to Endorse Clinton This Morning
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC will formally endorse Hillary Clinton this morning, and “nearly a dozen CBC colleagues will descend on” South Carolina next week in advance of that state’s important primary. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the highest ranking black member of Congress, reversed his earlier position of neutrality, saying he’ll make a decision “later in the week.” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has pointed out that the CBC PAC is not the same things as the CBC itself, while the Intercept notes that 11 of the 20 board members of the PAC are lobbyists.

Source:
MORE TENSIONS ON KOREAN PENINSULA
Senate Votes 96-0 to Sanction North Korea
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a unanimous vote Wednesday night, the Senate echoed the House’s move last month to stiffen sanctions against North Korea. The bill “would sanction anyone who engages in, facilitates or contributes to North Korea’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, arms-related materials, luxury goods, human rights abuses, activities undermining cyber security and the provision of materials for such activities.” Senate Democrats said they expect the president to sign the bill. In related news, after South Korea suspended operations at a jointly run power station in the North, Pyongyang declared the area a military zone and cut off a hotline between the two countries.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Large Is Hillary Clinton’s Delegate Lead?
4 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Three hundred fifty-two, thanks to superdelegates pledged to Clinton, and the vagaries of the delegate allocation process in early states. Not bad, considering her results have been a virtual tie and a blowout loss.

Source:
HE’D SIPHON OFF DEM VOTES
RNC Chief Would Welcome Bloomberg
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

“The lead­ers of the Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic na­tion­al com­mit­tees on Wed­nes­day weighed in on the pro­spect of an in­de­pend­ent pres­id­en­tial run by” former New York City May­or Mi­chael Bloomberg (I). “DNC Chair­wo­man Debbie Wasser­man Schultz sug­ges­ted that the former New York City may­or’s pri­or­it­ies are already ‘well cared-for’ in the Demo­crat­ic plat­form, while RNC lead­er Re­ince Priebus wel­comed the idea, say­ing Bloomberg would si­phon off votes from the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate.”

Source:
×