Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Democrats divided by race, class, or both?

Is there a civil war inside the Democratic Party? Michael Barone thinks so. He writes the battle pits the “gentry” (the liberal elite, the ruling class) against the party’s union core, and the unions seem to be on top:
the most stark demonstration of unions' power came in the District of Columbia, where Mayor Adrian Fenty was defeated [following] his appointment of Michelle Rhee as school superintendent. Rhee’s reforms have produced higher test scores, stable rather than declining enrollment, a teacher-evaluation system that has resulted in dismissals of dozens of incompetents and a union contract giving administrators greater flexibility. . . [While g]entry liberals and public-employee unions were allies in the Obama campaign in 2008. . .now they're in a civil war in city and state politics. This raises the question of whether the Democratic Party favors public-employee unions that want more money and less accountability or gentry liberals and others who care about the quality of public services. Right now, the unions are winning.

Thomas Sowell, also writing about D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s defeat, saw the election not as a struggle between liberals and unions, but instead between white and black:
[Fenty’s] serious efforts to reform the schools through an Asian school superintendent and to lower crime through a white woman police chief brought about his rejection by D.C.’s black voters, even as student test scores rose and the murder rate declined. Fenty, who is black himself, also suffered for not using enough black contractors, and because most of the teachers fired were black.

Sowell, himself also black, asks:
How did we reach the point where black voters put racial patronage and racial symbolism above the education of their children and the safety of everyone? . . One key factor was the creation, back in the 1960s, of a whole government-supported industry of race hustling [playing the race card].

President Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty"-- a war that we have lost, by the way-- bankrolled all kinds of local "leaders" and organizations with the taxpayers' money, in the name of community "participation" in shaping the policies of government.

These "leaders" and community activists have had every reason to hype racial resentments and to make issues "us" against "them." . . ACORN, Jesse Jackson and other community activists have been able to transfer billions of dollars from banks to their own organizations' causes, with the aid of the federal government[‘s] Community Reinvestment Act and its sequels. Racial anger and racial resentments are the fuel that keeps this lucrative racket going.

The liberal elite use class and they use race to maintain their position—at the expense of Republicans—atop the political pyramid. How ironic, if both class and race now bite back.

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