Artur Davis. Allen West. Mia Love. It would appear that a bumper crop of black
What a cornucopia of black and brown Tea Party delight! Can we buy them by the bushel?
Mitt Romney's campaign on Wednesday announced its Black Leadership Council, chaired by Reps. Tim Scott and Allen West. The council will "help facilitate dialogue between Mitt Romney and respected leaders who provide unique expertise, experience and knowledge on a range of issues impacting black American communities," according to the campaign.In all, I guess any black guy would do. Given that Mitt Romney is polling at zero percent among African-Americans, Allen West and company can do no great harm (I still would have preferred Beetlejuice for the position) to his chances with black folks. Given his habit of sending fried chicken to the Congressional Black Caucus, West's position with Romney's campaign may actually increase turnout among Right-leaning, racially resentful white Independents and conservatives. Romney is playing a very deep game after all; never forget that fact.
[Although this does beg a math and polling methodology question, is it possible for a candidate to receive negative support in a survey and thus to measure below zero?]
As we have discussed here on WARN many times, Black conservatives have a lucrative gig--they are the professional "best black friend" that every white conservative needs when they get caught race-baiting, playing in the feces of white racism and throwing such metaphorical scatology about, or saying racist things against people of color.
Being a black (or brown) conservative is also a de facto welfare and subsidy program for a good number of professional right-wing race hustlers. When underemployed, in need of money, or a boost in one's career, a black person of otherwise mediocre/suspect talent can decide to "come out" as a black Republican. The riches and attention soon follow: a good freak show or novelty act can always find work.
In another life, I would decide to switch lanes and join up with the Tea Party GOP. My swerve would involve a public revelation about how Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh spoke truth to power and made me realize that I had been a slave on the evil Democratic Plantation.
Suffering from false consciousness, I at first retreated from the bright sun that loomed outside of the Platonic cave. When my eyes adjusted to the light of Right-wing conservative white populism I realized that the Republicans were my friends.
I then would tattoo Ronald Reagan's kind face on my back, write my own version of Conscience of a Conservative, and start the Black Folks for Barry Goldwater Superpac. I would laugh all of the way to the bank after a lucrative book deal and a series of one hour specials on Fox News.
Apparently, my get rich quick black conservative hustle is not uncommon. Writing for New York Magazine, Ann Friedman is already onto my con and I hate her for it. Damn her prescient insight:
Almost every political writer I know who isn’t a straight white man has made the joke at least once: If I ever need a major operation or find myself in serious debt, I’m selling out and going conservative. There’s a tried-and-true formula for this: Rise to a moderate level of success as a liberal-leaning writer, politician, or commentator. Drop out of the spotlight for a few months or years, then reemerge as a beautiful conservative swan, disavowing everything you said in your liberal ugly duckling days. You were just brainwashed, you’ll say, following the script. Now you know the truth: that everything you have, you have because you worked for it yourself. Sure, straight white politicians cross over, too — but to far less effect. In a party full of Clint Eastwoods, who’s going to sit up and take notice when there’s one more?As I offered up here in my open letter to a lost soul black conservative who is doing her best to mouth vomit the talking points of Mitt Romney and the neo-John Birchers, Friedman has also identified the psychological needs and moral deficits that often drive a person of color to join a political movement and party that has nothing but utter contempt for non-whites:
I understand why the GOP elevates non-white Republicans so quickly. But what about the candidates themselves? Are there benefits to being a token? The workplace provides a helpful analogy: Think about your experiences with older women in male-dominated professions, women who are used to being the lone female in a pack of bros. They’ve earned their spot in the social order both despite and because of their gender. It’s both a badge of honor and a rarefied role they have to protect — which may be why, in my experience, they can be cold to young female newcomers who stand to threaten their status as an exception.Ann Friedman has outsmarted me. Is it still possible for me to have a lucrative change of heart by joining up with the Republican Fox News Break in Case of Emergency Water Carrier Negro Brigade? Or has that ship sailed? How would you write the script?
And I get it. At least, I think I do. Sometimes people (almost always men) will tell me that I’m “not like other women” — meaning I’m aggressive, I make dick jokes, I drink whiskey, stuff like that. I usually roll my eyes and say something like, “Lots of women are witty” (true), or “All of my lady friends drink Jameson” (mostly true). But I confess that, deep down, I get a little thrill to be distinguished from the pack. Based on that, I can imagine how good it feels to be Artur Davis or Mia Love right now. To be the venerated exception that proves all of conservatives’ rules.