Although I put no small effort into it, I’ve been unable to recall anything in recent American politics as shameless and craven as the rush of Republican candidates to avoid the obvious about the horrific murders in Charleston.
Of course Fox will say it’s not about racism and if we’d just shut about racism already it would be a non-factor. And naturally the Wall Street Journal will opine, grossly dishonestly, that:
What causes young men such as Dylann Roof to erupt in homicidal rage, whatever their motivation, is a problem that defies explanation beyond the reality that evil still stalks humanity. It is no small solace that in committing such an act today, he stands alone.
And similarly outrageous views are to be expected from much of the GOP field based on the simple fact that most of them are stark raving bonkers, or batshit crazy as we say in the psychology biz. Of course Santorum and Perry and their ilk will try to claim the murders had something to do with religion; see previous sentence. But the nature of the marketplace for Republican primary votes is such that even the Establishment candidate Jeb! Bush is unable to bring himself to admit straightforwardly that the killings were racist in nature.
When asked about whether he thought the attack was racially motivated, Bush told a Huffington Post reporter, “It was a horrific act and I don’t know what the background of it is, but it was an act of hatred.”
When pressed again about whether race motivated the attacks, Bush said, “I don’t know. Looks like to me it was, but we’ll find out all the information. It’s clear it was an act of raw hatred, for sure. Nine people lost their lives, and they were African-American. You can judge what it is.”
The question came after a speech Bush made at a Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Washington.
“I don’t know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes,” Bush said in his remarks. “But I do know what was in the heart of the victims.”
Apparently looking into the hearts of some folks and not others is a Bush family trait; you no doubt remember how well that worked out with W. and Putin.
First, what kind of electorate both desperately needs to deny obvious racism and has the power to approve Presidential nominees? It’s a pretty disgusting group, though of course as with any large group there are individuals who don’t fit the pattern. But basically we’re talking about old white racists, many of them in the South though by no means all, and if you need their support what do you expect can come of that?
And second, why is it so hard for Republican candidates simply to state the obvious? Typically, John Kasich is the closest to sanity of the group, responding to a question whether the shooting was racially motivated by saying, “You read what they said about the guy. It sure appears that way.” What was so tricky about that? Are you afraid, a la Jon Chait, that you’ll lose the votes of all those racist potential murderers who might otherwise back you as the GOP nominee?
Update: Pope Erick has weighed in:
A society that looks at a 65 year old male Olympian and, with a straight face, declares him a her and “a new normal” cannot have a conversation about mental health or evil because that society no longer distinguishes normal from crazy and evil from good. Our American society has a mental illness — overwhelming narcissism and delusion — and so cannot recognize what crazy or evil looks like.
The technical term for this is projection. I could make a reasoned response but it would be wasted. Instead I’ll simply say, Eat it, Erick.