But, in general, conservatives fatally remain vulnerable to panic over accusations of racism. Edwards points out a recurrent weakness of conservative organizations:
"In a futile attempt to pander to blacks and get the media to stop calling them ‘racists,’ they elevate just about any black person that shows up to a position of prominence. As soon as they come on board, the white leadership starts promoting them in the vain hopes the movement won’t get called racist, which never works.”
Michael Steele, the inept chairman of the Republican National Committee, is only the most obvious example of this. Edwards writes:
“Then the black ‘conservatives’ start talking about how the Democrats are the real racists who want to keep blacks on the liberal plantation, etc., etc., etc., and before you know it, the whole movement has been derailed, and the focus turns to how the other guys are more racist than we are, and we’re better for blacks than the liberals are, etc.”
African-American conservatives explain that the only racists are those who worry about race-based prejudice.
By David Weigel
Posted Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010, at 7:26 PM ET
When the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People introduced a resolution calling on the Tea Party movement to "condemn extremist elements," I wondered what possible good it would do. How might it help liberals who felt frustrated, increasingly, that their attacks on "racism" in the new conservative movement were never taken seriously?
The resolution didn't do much for the NAACP, but it did plenty for liberals. Three weeks later, after the Shirley Sherrod mess, and after the implosion of Mark Williams, spokesman for the Sacramento-based Tea Party Express, conservatives are still bristling at the charge of Tea Party "racism." On Wednesday morning, Williams' old organization organized a two-and-a-half-hour event at the National Press Club in order to rebut the charge the best way it knew how—with a chorus line of black conservatives attacking anyone who dared call the Tea Party racist.
Back in the Fifties, the GOP slogan was "Unleash Chiang" (referring to that unstoppable military juggernaut Chiang Kai-Shek, by then huddling on Formosa 200 miles offshore behind the U.S. Navy). In this century, the GOP motto is "Unleash Keyes."
(Personally, I liked George H.W. Bush's peptalk to himself while playing tennis: "Unleash Chang!" It was a tribute to 1989 French Open Champ Michael Chang.)