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Monday, January 17, 2011

An Injection Of Race And Reagan

Call me insensitive, but I could care less that it's close to the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan. I'm sure that there will be more than enough Zombie Reagan deification on Fox"News" and their sister hate-site Fox"Nation" to satiate even the most ardent of Gipper-lovers. But this piece by Reagan's adopted child Micheal is a classic representation of the memes of the modern American Right - make Reagan look on par with Jesus and frame stories about Obama within the context of race.

the past two years have made one thing clear: Ronald Reagan was a far better friend to black Americans than Barack Obama has been. Just compare the Reagan and Obama records. Under Obama, black unemployment rose from 12.6 percent in January 2009 to 16.0 percent today. This means that black unemployment has increased by more than one-fourth since Obama took office.

And the Reagan record? African-American columnist Joseph Perkins has studied the effects of Reaganomics on black America. He found that, after the Reagan tax cuts gained traction, African-American unemployment fell from 19.5 percent in 1983 to 11.4 percent in 1989. Black-owned businesses saw income rise from $12.4 billion in 1982 to $18.1 billion in 1987-an annual average growth rate of 7.9 percent. The black middle class expanded by one-third during the Reagan years, from 3.6 million to 4.8 million.

Before he was elected, in speech after speech, my father said that his economic plan would improve the lives of African-Americans. In a February 1977 CPAC address, he said, "The time has come for Republicans to say to black voters: 'We offer principles that black Americans can and do support. We believe in jobs, real jobs; we believe in education that is really education; we believe in treating all Americans as individuals and not as stereotypes or voting blocs.'"


The first thing any reasonable reader will notice is the Michael is comparing almost the entire Reagan Era to one year of Obama's Presidency. The phrase "gaining traction" also leads one to understand that economic policies aren't ones that give instant gratification.

Aside from that, Michael's claims are grounded in ham-fisted representations of the realities of the 80s, relying on his citation of a "African-American" columnist to burnish his claims not on value, but on the fact that he is referencing a black man.

But moreover, this piece shows the bizarre set of standards that the modern American Right has when speaking of race, the American economy, and Presidents. Any mention of black and Obama - in regards to policy, proclamations, or initiatives - immediately results in people like Fox"News" and their talk radio allies shouting "Reparations", "Favoritism", or "White Slavery". And this piece also echoes Erik Rush's claim that Obama's "blackness" should be called into question.

At the end of the day, this is one of three things that the modern American Right only has in their rebuttal arsenal: Fear, Race, and Ignorance. While the first can work across all platforms and the later ultimately has a cure, the incessant prattling about Race from the Right will either be denied or amplified depending upon whether or not they can get any non-whites to agree with them.

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