I really believe that most prominent conservatives aren't racists, at least, not by any definition of the word that I'd accept. I think the Left uses that word too often, and diminishes its power. I think we always need to keep in mind that these are people who feel as strongly as we do, but who simply disagree with us. And just as our passions get aroused by politics, so do theirs, so we should always give the other side the benefit of the doubt.
But sometimes, you really have to wonder if there isn't some actual, honest-to-God racism taking place [pause while you gasp in astonished horror]
Take, as an example, this piece in the Weekly Standard by Michael Goldfarb. He excerpts a 35-year-old op-ed by Justice Sotomayor, in which she accuses Princeton of ignoring its heritage by refusing to hire enough people of Puerto Rican or Chicano descent. A pretty fair point, and I can only imagine how much more fair it would have been 35 years ago, at one of the most prominent Ivy League institutions - an old (white) boys club if ever there was one.
Goldfarb's response? To note that Obama is using the same logic in nominating Sotomayor that she used in excoriating Princeton - that he's elevating experience and background, that he's giving her this position because of her ethnicity (a charge that, on its merits, could not possibly be more full of shit. It's not like she went to Princeton and Yale, or has served on the federal bench longer than any justice appointed in over 100 years.)
That would be bad enough, but what really moves Goldfarb over the line from "opportunist asshole" to "this guy is probably an actual racist" is this bit:
on the issue of diversity, Obama seems to have the views of a 21-year-old Hispanic girl -- that is, only by having a black president, an Hispanic justice, a female secretary of State, and Bozo the Clown as vice president will the United States become a true "vanguard of societal ideas and changes."
Wow. "21-year-old Hispanic girl", as though she were a teenager with no valid argument, instead of an adult student at one of the most prestigious institutions on the planet. The overt argument that Obama's commitment to diversity clearly stems only from his superficial belief in a Benetton rainbow for a cabinet. The implicit argument that a white male president, justice and secretary of State would be so much more serious, not some flaky tableau with no real substance.
That sentence could not be more dripping with condescension for Justice Sotomayor, nor a more blatant attempt to trivialize her intellect or her concerns.
What a racist asshole.