High standards at the Washington Post Op-Ed page

A white pride advocate is invited to argue that Barack Obama and John Edwards are girly gays.


Glenn Greenwald
May 17, 2008 4:38PM (UTC)

(updated below - Update II)

Last week, The Financial Times highlighted some of the ugly sentiment in West Virginia against Barack Obama, including comments such as "I heard that Obama is a Muslim and his wife's an atheist." The article reported that "several people said they believed he was a Muslim." It ended by quoting West Virginian Josh Fry as saying "he would feel more comfortable with Mr. McCain" than Obama because: "I want someone who is a full-blooded American as president."

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In one of the most repellent columns one will ever read, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker defended Fry's claim that Obama is something other than "a full-blooded American." Advancing an argument that Atrios guest blogger aimai aptly described as "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!," Parker said "we now have a patriot divide" in America that "has nothing to do with a flag lapel pin . . . or even military service." Instead:

It's about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots.

Some run deeper than others and therein lies the truth of Josh Fry's political sense. In a country that is rapidly changing demographically -- and where new neighbors may have arrived last year, not last century -- there is a very real sense that once-upon-a-time America is getting lost in the dash to diversity.

We love to boast that we are a nation of immigrants — and we are. But there's a different sense of America among those who trace their bloodlines back through generations of sacrifice.

It goes on and on like that. So according to Parker, what makes McCain a "full-blooded American," but not Obama, has to do with "blood equity," "heritage," "rapidly changing demographic[s]," and "bloodlines." She then wrote that "white Americans primarily -- and Southerners, rural and small-town folks especially -- have been put on the defensive," and that:

What they know is that their forefathers fought and died for an America that has worked pretty well for more than 200 years. What they sense is that their heritage is being swept under the carpet while multiculturalism becomes the new national narrative. And they fear what else might get lost in the remodeling of America.

Obama's grandfather fought in World War II -- for America -- and enormous numbers of people who are something other than "white Americans" have fought in one American war after the next. But never mind that. These arguments about "bloodlines" are Parker's reasons why Obama shouldn't be President and why he's not a "full-blooded American."

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Today, The Washington Post has invited the very same Kathleen Parker onto its Op-Ed page to share her views on the Democratic candidates, and specifically to opine on the matter of John Edwards' endorsement this week of Obama. She abandons her White Pride argument today in favor of the important and Serious claim that Obama and Edwards are gay girls.

The Post promotes her Op-Ed on its front page this way: "Kathleen Parker: Two Democratic Pretty Boys." Here's how her Op-Ed begins:

Well, at least they didn't kiss.

I was bracing myself for the lip lock Wednesday when John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama.

That appears under the Post headline: "The Democrats Hug It Out." We then learn that "the two men exchanged a manly air-hug" when they appeared together; that "Obama and Edwards make an attractive picture -- Ultra Brite cover boys of youth and glamour"; that Edwards has a "28,000-square-foot house and $400 haircuts"; and that "Obama and Edwards look and talk pretty, but Clinton, unflinching and steely, exudes pure brawn." All of that makes Obama and Edwards too girly "to sit across from the likes of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

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Those are some very Serious political arguments brought to us by The Washington Post from an important and Serious political commentator. As always, while everything to the Left of Marty Peretz's New Republic is too fringe and radical to be heard from, there simply is no such thing as being too far to the Right to fall off the mainstream spectrum. Is there any better proof of that than the appearance by Kathleen Parker on the Post's Op-Ed, fresh off her White Pride column, to write an Op-Ed that has little purpose other than to argue that Obama and Edwards are pretty, weak girls who wanted to hug and kiss each other?

UPDATE: Brad at Sadly, No notes a few other points about the Parker Op-Ed.

UPDATE II: Hilzoy notes that because Parker's columns are distributed by the Washington Post Writers' Group, the White Pride column by Parker noted above (Obama is not a "full-blooded American" because of his "bloodlines") "ran all over the place: in the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, all sorts of places." So The Washington Post is distributing white supremacist cant about Obama's "blood equity" and "heritage," along with today's column insinuating that he and Edwards are pretty, girly gays who want to hug and kiss each other.

Hilzoy says of the Post: "they should be ashamed of themselves." They should, but they won't be. Then again, as uptoolate notes, accurately, in comments: "As for Obama vs. McCain, try to remember that this kind of tripe is just the warm-up act."

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Glenn Greenwald

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