You know the Obama campaign is getting desperate when its allies in the mainstream media have begun to attack voters–not just Republicans, not just the Romney campaign, but voters–as racists. The latest version of this attack came from left-wing conspiracy theorist Andrew Sullivan on ABC’s This Week, who stated that the map of Romney voters would match that of the old Confederacy if Virginia and Florida swung to Romney.
Which is why it’s a good thing that Ann Coulter included maps in her new book, Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama. Though liberals often claim that the Old South votes Republican for racist reasons (conveniently ignoring the fact that white segregationists were Democrats), Virginia and Florida went Republican in 1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, and often thereafter; they were hardly bastions of racism.
Throughout the civil rights era, in fact, when some other southern states voted for segregationist Democrats, the only time Virginia and Florida voted Democrat was in 1964, less than a year after President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Later, they split in 1976, with Florida going Democrat, and again in 1996, with Florida going Democrat again. That picture of the South is more complex than Sullivan cares to note.
Coulter takes on other false liberal claims of conservative racism, and turns the tables with historical facts. She calls Democrats “civil rights chickenhawks,” noting that the civil rights movement not only marched against the Jim Crow laws imposed by Democratic governments, but that it would not have succeeded without disproportionate Republican support. Only afterwards, she argues, did Democrats attempt to claim credit.
Another area of focus for Coulter is the phenomenon of racist hate crimes against blacks. While Coulter acknowledges that these do occur, and condemns them, she notes that some of the most notorious crimes were falsified or manipulated to stir public outrage. The resulting backlash, she says, has produced very real crimes against other minorities or whites, which the media fails to highlight to the same extent.
Coulter’s theory as to why crime and other antisocial behaviors persist in the black community consists of two claims: first, that the black community absorbed many of those behaviors from their white neighbors of Scottish, Irish, and Welsh descent; and second, that unlike those white neighbors, the black community was coddled by liberal politicians and liberal policies that traded law and order for political correctness.
The second argument is more convincing than the first, largely because it is supported by more evidence, including the breakdown of black families across the past several decades of welfare-statism. Even if the first theory is wrong, however, it is clear why Coulter is attracted to it: it is an alternative to explanations that blame slavery, or which seem to place the burden of responsibility on the black community itself.
Indeed, Coulter’s target throughout the book is white liberals, whom she blames for the state of racial politics in the United States today. They use accusations of racism as a cudgel to beat their conservative opponents, while supporting policies that make life more difficult for black Americans–sometimes intentionally. Their only interest is using black votes to maintain themselves in privileged positions of power.
Coulter’s book makes an excellent companion to Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, as well as to Andrew Breitbart’s Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, both of which confront liberal hypocrisies on race. With the media trying to shame voters into re-electing a failed president by accusing them of being a kind of lynch mob, Coulter’s Mugged is a timely intervention.