Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Democrats Sic Identity Politics on Their Own

It's come to this.

From Glenn Reynolds, at USA Today, "The left has handicapped its ability to debate policy, even among themselves":
They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney, we'd have a condescending president who looked down on his female critics as "little ladies" who didn't understand how the world works. And they were right! I voted for Romney, and, well, keep reading.

Sure, we wound up with President Obama, not with Mitt. But that didn't change how things turned out. Just ask National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill. Right before Obama's trade bill cratered in the Senate last week, Obama complained that its chief Senate critic, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., didn't understand the real world. O'Neill then chalked Obama's attitude up to sexism.

O'Neill told The Hill she took issue with Obama calling Warren by her first name during an interview with Yahoo News published May 9.

"Yes, I think it is sexist," O'Neill said. "I think the president was trying to build up his own trustworthiness on this issue by convincing us that Sen. Warren's concerns are not to be taken seriously. But he did it in a sexist way."

O'Neill said Obama's "clear subtext is that the little lady just doesn't know what she's talking about."

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, joined the chorus, also suggesting Obama's remarks were sexist, and then refused to apologize. Now some are tittering over Obama's supposed "seven-year history of sexism." This caused Twitter humorist David Burge to joke: "NAACP president: NOW president's critique of Obama's critique of Elizabeth Warren is racist."

Well, that's fair. The worst aspect of Obama's presidency has been the willingness of some defenders to characterize any and all criticisms of his policy or style as racist. With Warren (despite her denials) revving up for a potential 2016 presidential campaign — and already with Hillary Clinton's effort — we're seeing a new line of argument: That any criticism of a female politician is sexist. Apparently, the only kind of politician you can criticize on the merits in America nowadays is a white male.

The Democrats' tendency to argue identity politics over policy is more awkward when it's aimed at other Democrats. As The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin comments: "Is the 'war on women' being waged by the White House, or have Democrats become so accustomed to demonizing their opponents that they can't engage in civil debates even among themselves? It does not speak well of the Democrats' ability to persuade and lead. But it does portend a non-stop stream of gender bias claims in the 2016 presidential election."
Ugh. I'm dreading it!

Keep reading.