Monday, January 14, 2008

Wrong man

David Brooks makes a bizzare reference to Ward Churchill in tomorrow's (here in Denver) New York Times column on the "identity politics" of Hillary and Barack:
Both Clinton and Obama have eagerly donned the mantle of identity politics. A Clinton victory wouldn’t just be a victory for one woman, it would be a victory for little girls everywhere. An Obama victory would be about completing the dream, keeping the dream alive, and so on.

Fair enough. The problem is that both the feminist movement Clinton rides and the civil rights rhetoric Obama uses were constructed at a time when the enemy was the reactionary white male establishment. Today, they are not facing the white male establishment. They are facing each other.


All the rhetorical devices that have been a staple of identity politics are now being exploited by the Clinton and Obama campaigns against each other. They are competing to play the victim. They are both accusing each other of insensitivity. They are both deliberately misinterpreting each other’s comments in order to somehow imply that the other is morally retrograde.

True again. But then Brooks outs with this:
All the habits of verbal thuggery that have long been used against critics of affirmative action, like Ward Churchill and Thomas Sowell, and critics of the radical feminism, like Christina Hoff Summers, are now being turned inward by the Democratic front-runners.
What's that again? Ward, against affirmative action? The self-identified Indian? Brooks must have glitched on the name, and the editors (layers and layers of 'em) just missed it. That'll be a nice surprise for Thomas Sowell, finding himself linked romantically to Ward Churchill like that.

Update: "the" radical feminism? That sounds as weird as MIM's habit of leaving out the definite article before "FBI."

Update II: As roughly 24,000 people have noted, Brooks meant Ward Connerly, not Churchill.

Update III: Fixed, way too late, via stealth edit.

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