It’s not many times that I link a Richard Cohen column (the grand total would be one, after this one). It’s also not many times that Cohen strays from the comfortable liberal reservation of the Washington Post, but he takes the Democrats to task and in the process defends Bill Bennett.
…the Democrats preferred to pander to an audience that either had heard Bennett’s remarks out of context, or merely thought that anytime that conservatives talk about race, they are being racist. The Democrats’ obligation as politicians, as public officials, to see that we all hear the widest and richest diversity of views was suspended in favor of partisan cheap shots. (The spineless White House also refused to defend Bennett.)
Because I came of age in the McCarthy era, I have always thought of the Democratic Party as more protective of free speech and unpopular thought than the Republican Party. The GOP was the party of Joe McCarthy, William Jenner and other witch-hunters. Now, though, it is the Democrats who use the pieties of race, ethnicity and gender to stifle debate and smother thought, pretty much what anti-intellectual intellectuals did to Larry Summers, the president of Harvard, when he had the effrontery to ask some unorthodox questions about gender and mathematical aptitude. He was quickly instructed on how to think.
His point is that the Democrats are reinforcing the Republican argument that Democrats are out of ideas and are only focused on attacking a Republican or Conservative. They seek to (as is their philosophy) drag others down instead of moving up themselves.