In a Monday article in The Hill, Juan Williams of Fox News accused Republican Presidential candidates of using racist “code words” in their campaigns. In comments reminiscent of Eric Holder in his “nation of cowards” speech, Mr. Williams called for an “honest debate” on why hard-working poor people cannot find good jobs. He claimed that “a lack of work ethic on the part of the poor, who are disproportionately minorities” is not the problem. But the last thing Mr. Williams or Mr. Holder wants is an “honest debate.”
Mr. Williams’ article was about the January 16 Republican debate in South Carolina, in which he was one of the moderators. It soon became clear that Mr. Williams’ main purpose that night was to ask questions about race, especially about blacks. Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Ron Paul all tiptoed through the muddy water and emerged from their racial litmus tests relatively unscathed. Newt Gingrich, however, shot back at Mr. Williams’ racial guilt-tripping, and got a standing ovation from the South Carolina crowd. Mr. Gingrich’s refusal to back down was probably a major reason why the former Speaker triumphed in the South Carolina primary—his only win thus far. (Some people think he got the ovation because of his ringing endorsement of equal treatment for people of all races, and not for standing up to Mr. Williams. Watch the exchange below and let us know what you think by posting a comment.)
But Mr. Williams has refused to let the encounter fade. In Monday’s article, he accused Mr. Gingrich of using “the same rhetorical technique of the segregationist politicians of the past,” and “playing to the American people’s resentment of liberal elites, minorities, and poor people.” What Mr. Gingrich really did was much simpler: He stood up to a race-obsessed black news analyst, and scored points with the relatively race-conscious electorate of South Carolina.
Mr. Williams’ race obsession is not hard to see. On Martin Luther King Day he wrote an article called “How Race Plays out in the 2012 Campaign,” in which he joined Mr. Holder in accusing Republicans of trying to suppress black and Hispanic voter turnout (read: prevent widespread voter fraud) in South Carolina and other states. In both this and his more recent article, Mr. Williams gloried the fact that the United States is becoming more colored, even though this is almost entirely due to an increasing Hispanic, not black, population. If Mr. Williams thinks Hispanics will be nearly as receptive as whites to black cries for pity, he is mistaken.
Mr. Williams seems to have an ability to read racism into just about anything whites say or do. He suggested that appeals to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers resonate with white voters who want to hold blacks down. According to Mr. Williams, anyone (inside the GOP, at least) who complains about “entitlement” or a “poor work ethic” is really just demonizing blacks.
Mr. Williams finishes his latest article by admonishing GOP candidates to focus on the “real issues” of minority poverty, unemployment, and hopelessness. But how are GOP candidates or anybody else supposed to do this when any reference to the real problems that afflict blacks are decried as racist “code words?” Mr. Williams and his ilk do not want an “honest debate.” That would drag up uncomfortable facts about black crime, illegitimacy, dropout rates, and maybe even racial differences in IQ. Instead, Mr. Williams would rather play the trusted game of using racial blame to get the upper hand and shake loose more handouts for blacks. That is what he is paid to do.