Bloomberg writer Francis Wilkinson recently wrote a piece claiming that Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina–an African American–only became a senator because Republicans “lowered the bar” for his appointment. He also claimed that Scott’s candidacy serves as a “shield” for racist Tea Party members to hide behind.
In an article that is more invective than analysis, Wilkinson essentially called Senator Scott a do-nothing senator. He said Scott acted like a “shield” for racist, Confederate flag-waving Tea Party members who need someone to replace Herman Cain as the favorite candidate behind whom they can hide their racism.
Wilkinson made these assessments because Scott didn’t get a Tea Party challenger even as so many other incumbents across the country did.
But the writer answered his own question in his own piece as to why Scott may not have faced a Tea Party challenger. “Scott placed himself so far to the right that there was no space for a Tea Party challenge on ideological grounds,” Wilkinson wrote.
The columnist further reported that Scott “has an ‘F’ on the NAACP legislative scorecard” and a high score on the “right-wing Heritage Action scorecard–94 out of a possible 100.”
It would make sense that Scott didn’t get a Tea Party challenge compared to those others whom Wilkinson said were getting challenges. He cited House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, both establishment party bosses who, because of their legislative actions, have drawn the ire of Tea Party members.
Scott, however, is not a target of Tea Partiers because he has, as Wilkinson noted, “positioned himself” with them ideologically.
But this wasn’t good enough for Wilkinson. No, Wilkinson thought that the real reason was because all his white backers are undercover racists.
“The act of supporting a black conservative,” Wilkinson claimed, “is both an absolution for the past and a shield for the present and future. In South Carolina, where the Confederate battle flag still flies on the state capitol grounds, and where a recent lieutenant governor seemed a little too enthusiastic about all things confederate, that matters.”
This sort of “undercover racist” charge is all the rage among liberals. Somehow they expect America to believe that someone who hates blacks will vote for one so that people won’t know they hate blacks–as if a guttural, unthinking hatred can be disguised with a logically derived facade like that.
Then Wilkinson revealed his own biases as he intimated that black Republicans just aren’t smart enough to be worthy elected officials:
In effect, South Carolina Republicans treat Scott like the national party previously treated the ham-handed presidential candidate Herman Cain and the party’s not-quite-competent chairman during Obama’s first term, Michael Steele: They are members of an endangered political species for whom the bar is effectively lowered.
On what did the columnist base this assessment? The word of a single, unidentified Republican he dredged up in South Carolina. So much for journalistic practices of having at least two legitimate sources for something!
It seems clear this article says more about Francis Wilkinson than it does Senator Tim Scott. It makes one want to say, “Lighten up, Francis.”
But this Wilkinson has a long history of claiming that whites–all but him, of course–are racists and that Republicans just can’t stop being hood-wearing bigots. If his oeuvre is any indication, he is obsessed with race.
For example, in April, Wilkinson said that racist comments from Clippers owner Donald Sterling proved that racism is as bad in the U.S. as it ever was and hinted that Republicans and conservatives are trying to cover it up or ignore it.
In December of last year when the film 12 Years a Slave came out, Wilkinson said that conservatives “abet racism in their ranks.”
In November last year, Wilkinson dredged up the well-worn chestnut that opposition to Obama is really just white racism at its most typical.
Last July, Wilkinson wrote an article where he said that gun owners are white racists.
He has also written about income inequality and lamented that newspapers are dying and that writers are finding it harder to make a living. Meanwhile, Wilkinson admitted that in 2007, he was part of the team that helped implement Huffington Post’s scheme of populating its pages with the work of hundreds of unpaid bloggers as he earned a good salary for posting work for which he paid nothing. It seems he didn’t feel that bad about his fellow writers after all.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.