Former Obama White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, now a political commentator for CNN, casually admitted that, yes, his party uses race to convince minorities that Republicans seek to oppress them.
Before the midterm election, Carney said: "Republicans are going to pick up seats in the Senate and the House, and they may win control of the Senate. So (Democrats) need to mobilize their base voters, and that is especially true of minority voters."
Carney also admitted that the use of the race card is cynical: "Equating support for stand-your-ground law ... doesn't mean you supported the action that took Trayvon Martin's life. So that's the kind of, you know, rough ad - similar to the one we saw from the Republican. I think we've come to expect that, and hopefully a lot of voters ... kind of tune it out."
Carney claims both sides use race to gin up their base. But when Republicans do it, he insists, they do so out of racism. Consider this exchange with Bill Kristol, the conservative publisher of the Weekly Standard. Carney claims that the Republicans' push for voter ID is motivated by the racist Republican desire to suppress the black vote:
Kristol: I voted in Virginia last Saturday. Since I was going to be in New York next week, I voted early absentee in person, and I had to show my driver's license. Do you think that's really a problem?
Carney: You know what the statistics say. You know who is most affected by the requirements, essentially poll tax-type requirements.
Kristol: Poll tax? Showing an identification is like charging people a fine, a tax?
Carney: Bill, you know that the fraud isn't substantial and real. You know it doesn't have a significant impact, because it's so minimal, on election results and you know what the motivation is behind it. You know it.
Kristol: I just totally disagree. But that's OK.
Carney: No, you don't.
So here we have two white guys - three counting host Jake Tapper - discussing black-white relations. White Democrat accuses white Republican of being racist against blacks. White Republican denies it. White Democrat says: Oh, yes, you are, and you can deny it all you want. But you are a bigot unless and until I say otherwise. White Republican meekly denies the charge. The subject is changed. Let's move on.
Conservative commentator Ben Stein recently called out Obama and the Democrats on their vulgar use of the race card: "What the White House is doing is trying to racialize all politics, and they're especially trying to tell the African-American voter that the GOP is against letting them have a chance at a good life in this economy. And that's just a complete lie. ... The President is the most racist president there has ever been in America. He is purposely trying to use race to divide Americans." Memo to RNC Chair Reince Priebus: Stein has just shown how to counter the race card - with facts.
How pathetic is Obama's use of it? When running for president in 2008 - and to prove he wasn't at all like the Reverend Al Sharpton, Obama refused to even appear with the race-hustling flamethrower. Today, they are BFF's.
Six years in, the Obama administration cannot brag about growth. This recovery is the nation's worst in 80 years, arguably ever. Dems cannot talk about declining black poverty because the rate is about where it was when Obama took office. Black Inner-city teenage unemployment exceeds 50 percent in some cities.
A black 82-year-old grandmother, a lifelong Democrat, recently called C-SPAN to explain why this time she "voted straight Republican": "I have noticed ... what the Democratic Party has done to my people. Unemployment is high in the black community - we are double with unemployment - than it is anywhere else. ... And I'm not talking about the people that need help - because with so many people getting help that doesn't need help, it prevents the people that really need help from getting it. ... I hear my people calling in all the time saying that every time you say something against the ideology of President Obama, that you're doing it because he is black. We need to stop that foolishness. This man is destroying this country, and it's what he intended to do. He said he was going to transform America, and that's what he's doing."
More alarming for Democrats, it's not just 82-year-old black grannies who are reconsidering their allegiance to the Party. Young black people, the "hope and change" voters who turned out in record numbers for Obama, have also been mugged by the reality of uncommonly high unemployment and underemployment. They see that government, even when led by a young, progressive, empathetic black President, will not solve their problems. Among black 18- to 29-year-olds, nearly one-third of them now self-describe as political "independents."
After Tuesday's election, Democrats better order some new race cards. The deck is getting thin.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host.