Frank Rich spent many years as the theater critic for the New York Times, where, at worst, his venom could cause a Broadway production or two to close down.
Now, however, Mr. Rich opines on political and social issues for the Times, and, while the results are usually mildly amusing (even if unintentionally so), his reach has grown a bit, so the damage he causes can travel beyond the footlights. I’m not sure why anyone turns to Rich for political analysis—heck, you might as well read the rantings of a TV game show host—but the Gray Lady continues to pay him for his weekly column, and, at the rate she’s bleeding money, that’s no small sacrifice.
Anyway, Mr. Rich has apparently been able to get to the bottom of the vocal opposition to the “healthcare reform” bill that was recently gently shepherded through Congress.
It turns out, according to his well-crafted analysis, that it’s not the bill that’s got people in an uproar; rather, what we’re facing is the death rattle of a dwindling cadre of white, racist, sexist, homophobic males terrified by the ascent of people of color, women and gays.
As the ever-tolerant Rich reasons: “The conjunction of a black President and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play.”
So that’s it. It’s just a bunch of scared, white males who would yelp about anything this gang came up with. As Rich makes clear, this is merely a replay of the opposition to the Voting Rights Act of 1964. You get it? If you express opposition to the bill, you’re a racist, sexist homophobe.
Mr. Rich is shocked by the level of anger in the land, and he fears for the safety of our elected officials, much as I’m sure he did during the George W. Bush administration. He calls on Republican leaders to distance themselves from the more radical voices among them, echoing the demands I’m sure he made of the Democrats during the last campaign.
Welcome to post-racial America, where those who oppose a piece of legislation must defend themselves against the scurrilous charges of a man who seems much better suited to reviewing “Cats”. (He liked it, by the way.) This was a particularly shameful column, and the millions of Americans who oppose this legislation are owed an apology. Are they right? Are they wrong? Let’s discuss it. Let’s debate it. Let’s yell and scream if we want to. But would it be too much to ask that we approach the matter based on its merits and leave the psychobabble to Dr. Phil?