Buchanan makes the case for race baiting

BUCHANAN MAKES THE CASE FOR RACE BAITING…. Of all of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s conservative critics, few have been quite as offensive as Pat Buchanan. For anyone who’s followed Buchanan’s record, this isn’t surprising.

What’s interesting, though, is Buchanan’s advice for the Republican Party. In an odd piece for Human Events this week, Buchanan argues that the GOP’s response to the Sotomayor nomination may produce “Hispanic hostility for a generation” towards the Republican Party. Sounds like a warning about electoral disaster? On the contrary — Buchanan suggests the key to GOP success in the future is doing more to appeal to whites.

In 2008, Hispanics, according to the latest figures, were 7.4 percent of the total vote. White folks were 74 percent, 10 times as large. Adding just 1 percent to the white vote is thus the same as adding 10 percent to the candidate’s Hispanic vote.

If John McCain, instead of getting 55 percent of the white vote, got the 58 percent George W. Bush got in 2004, that would have had the same impact as lifting his share of the Hispanic vote from 32 percent to 62 percent. […]

Had McCain been willing to drape Jeremiah Wright around the neck of Barack Obama, as Lee Atwater draped Willie Horton around the neck of Michael Dukakis, the mainstream media might have howled. And McCain might be president.

He doesn’t just see the benefits of race-baiting opportunities gone by. As this relates to a strategy for today, Buchanan urges Republicans to tell whites that “their sons and daughters are pushed aside to make room for the Sonia Sotomayors.” Buchanan added that the GOP should also tell whites that Sotomayor has “a lifelong resolve to discriminate against white males.”

Jason Linkins notes that Buchanan’s critique of Sotomayor’s record isn’t even close to reality, but we can safely assume that doesn’t matter. Buchanan isn’t making a substantive argument against a qualified jurist; he’s making a demagogic argument in support of race baiting.

Ta-Nehisi Coates does a nice job today summarizing why this isn’t just disgusting, but is actually bad strategic advice: “Amping up the race-baiting isn’t just going to turn off black people (most of whom are already turned-off) it turns off Latinos also. The second problem is that it likely turns a significant portion of white people also. The GOP’s problem isn’t that it needs to shore up Alabama — at least not yet. It’s problem is, well, basically everywhere else that isn’t Alabama. I don’t know how bashing Sotomayor makes you more competitive in, say, Colorado or Oregon. I’d assume the opposite.”

I suspect Buchanan assumes that whites everywhere share his attitudes. All whites must hate affirmative action, hate immigration, and be politically motivated by images of Jeremiah Wright. He believes, in other words, that the United States really is Alabama, and the GOP will benefit if they believe it, too.

Democrats are no doubt hoping that Republicans take Buchanan’s advice.