If one listens to the left, Robert Bork’s name has come to symbolize political action. “Borking” has passed into their political lexicon but in terms of the 1992 election, it could also come to be seen as Bork’s Revenge.

Clarence Thomas is now a member of the United States Supreme Court. Though he was damaged publicly and privately, he’s made of sterner stuff and will ultimately survive.

He convinced a majority of the American people and the U.S. Senate that he was treated unfairly by Anita Hill, the dominant fringe groups on the left and the Senate staff whose leak catapulted what the Senate Judiciary Committee deemed a “non-issue,” into the public arena for debate.

GIVEN HIS background, I suspect this good and decent man will handle this tragi-comic affair with the same grace and class with which he has handled other obstacles in his life.

On the other hand, grace and class is not how the Republicans should conduct their campaigns in 1992. In short, the GOP can “Bork” the liberals, in part by using the Clarence Thomas issue.

Blacks supported Thomas in astounding numbers according to most polls. This is, in part, due to Thomas’ charge that an “uppity black” who deigned to speak and think for himself would be lynched by the liberal establishment.

But the media and the liberals obviously, “just don’t get it.” What Thomas meant, quite simply, is that liberals expect blacks to stay on their ideological plantation and never question the Democrats’ failed social experiments that have led to a downward spiral in the quality of life for black Americans.

THOMAS QUESTIONS the programs, the success and, yes, the motives. The plight of black Americans is, by all accounts, worse than it was 25 years ago when Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, because, guess what — poverty won.

Billions of dollars later, more black children are born out of wedlock, fewer stay in school, and thus, more are trapped in the grinding malaise of poverty. The liberal establishment’s answer to their failed programs is ever bigger government and more money.

And the black “leadership” on the liberal plantation understand that they must toe the line if they want to keep getting money and power. But more and more blacks motivated by courage, not greed, are stepping forward like Clarence Thomas.

AS FAR AS white liberals are concerned, blacks should hold only one politically correct view of the world. And in this belief, white liberals expose themselves as the true racists.

Thomas’ charge of racism is on target because liberals genuinely see the black community as monolithic, rather than as it is, characterized by people on the left and right, as well as a significant portion (like whites) who are open minded. Republicans should understand that among black Americans there is a seething and growing resentment to what they see as plantation politics.

Not so astonishingly, the bulk of Thomas’ support among blacks came from those occupying the lower end of the economic scale, not middle or upper middle class blacks. Blacks want to be treated as individuals . . . not a terribly surprising concept, except to Ted Kennedy, Howard Metzenbaum, and the radical elements who tried to destroy Thomas through a campaign of leaks and lies.

THE GOP can capitalize on this growing resentment and, yes, this attempted “high tech lynching of an uppity black.” The message Republicans should project now and through 1992 is, on Election Day, don’t forget it was liberal Democrats who attempted to lynch a good and decent black man.

If you want to be treated as if you live on a plantation, if individuality and self-respect mean nothing to you, vote Democratic. But if you’re sick and tired of being treated as a second class citizen, if you’re sick and tired of being told that you’re a victim instead of being given an opportunity to take charge of your life, if you’re sick and tired of being taken for granted by the white liberals, then vote Republican.

Obviously, this message alone cannot suffice. The GOP must also emphasize positive and practical alternatives for black Americans, in the form of economic, political and cultural electives as opposed to redistribution politics. Republicans must work for empowerment by pushing the idea of enterprise zones, rewarding families that stay together with tax breaks, and providing an incentive to leave the welfare trap. Such a message can make blacks walk away from the liberal plantation.

Editor’s Note: Craig Shirley, a former Syracusan, is a Washington, D.C. GOP consultant.

LOAD-DATE: February 12, 2003


Copyright 1991 Post-Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *