In the wake of an NAACP resolution calling on Tea Party leaders to condemn racist elements among their ranks, some conservatives have responded by claiming that any allegations of right-wing racism are an unfounded smear.
Fox News political analyst Dick Morris attempted to make this point on Wednesday during an appearance on Fox & Friends by quoting the line, "A racist is somebody who is winning an argument with a liberal."
The odd thing about Morris's use of this quote to deny the reality of racism, however, is that it comes from Peter Brimelow, founder of the anti-immigration website VDARE, which has been accused of being a white nationalist hate site.
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, for example, VDARE columnist Steve Sailer was widely condemned for his statement that African-Americans "tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups." Even John Podhoretz at the conservative National Review called this "the most disgusting sentence yet written about Katrina."
"VDARE.com is an anti-immigration hate website 'dedicated to preserving our historical unity as Americans into the 21st Century,'" the Southern Poverty Law Center asserts. "Now run by the VDARE Foundation, the site is a place where relatively intellectually inclined leaders of the anti-immigrant movement share their opinions. VDARE.com also regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites."
Brimelow strongly rejects these and similar charges, referring to them as "guilt-by-association conspiracy theories spun by the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which, despite that noble-sounding name, has been pretty thoroughly discredited as a left-wing shakedown scam preying on the elderly, Holocaust-haunted rich."
Brimelow does acknowledge, however, that his site has provided a platform for well-known white nationalist writers.
Now I will boldly go etc. We also publish on VDARE.COM a few writers, for example Jared Taylor, whom I would regard as Ã¢â‚¬Å“white nationalist,Ã¢â‚¬Â in the sense that they aim to defend the interests of American whites. They are not white supremacists. They do not advocate violence. They are rational and civil. They brush their teeth. But they unashamedly work for their peopleÃ¢â‚¬â€exactly as La Raza works for Latinos and the Anti-Defamation League works for Jews.
Get used to it. As immigration policy drives whites into a minority, this type of interest-group "white nationalism" will inexorably increase.
The Brimelow quote has been widely cited online since the NAACP resolution was passed ten days ago. Morris's use of it occurred as he and Fox's Brian Kilmeade were discussing a recently leaked email from journalist Spencer Ackerman, the contents of which were featured Tuesday at conservative website The Daily Caller.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, a number of liberal reporters held a private discussion of ways they might defuse the Jeremiah Wright controversy. Ackerman wrote to the group, "If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they've put upon us. Instead, take one of them -- Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares -- and call them racists."
After Kilmeade cited Ackerman's comment, Morris responded by saying with a chuckle, "I read a quote somewhere that a racist is somebody who's winning an argument with a liberal."
Morris is a longtime Republican strategist who briefly became an adviser to President Bill Clinton between 1994 and 1996 before being brought down by a prostitution scandal. He has repeatedly come under fire for using his appearances on Fox News to appeal for donations to Republican candidates and groups, to some of which he has financial ties.
During the 2008 election, for example, Morris was accused of having a conflict of interest with regard to the National Republican Trust PAC, which according to Politico "spent $7.5 million in 2008 - most of it running ads featuring Jeremiah Wright in the closing days of the presidential campaign."
More recently, Morris has been arguing that President Obama "is letting his supporters strip away his image of a post-racial president by their increasingly racial rhetoric and his support for radical black activists."
"Attorney General Eric HolderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s refusal to prosecute the Black Panthers so obviously guilty of racial intimidation at the Philadelphia polling places in 2008 is of a piece with the NAACPÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s loud denunciation of the Tea Party movement as racists," Morris writes, presenting what has been described elsewhere as a highly distorted version of both situations.
"In a bid to increase enthusiasm and, therefore, turnout among minority voters, Barack Obama is sacrificing his white support and his non-racial image," Morris continues. "Obama, as president of the United States, is increasingly taking sides in the old racial debates, reigniting them and lending new fuel to their flames. He is no more the president of all the people, but is retreating into the racial cocoon of a supportive minority vote."
This video is from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast July 21, 2010.