One of the great themes of the current conservative movement is Liberal Fascism — the idea, promoted by Jonah Goldberg’s book of that name, that liberals are the true heirs of Hitler and Mussolini, and that they effect fascist outrages in the present day via their “speech police,” “thought police,” “eco-police,” etc.
You may be tempted by this to imagine that conservatives would also be concerned with the actions of actual police when they make questionable arrests. But when Henry Louis Gates had his now-famous run-in with the Cambridge Police in and in front of his own home, rightbloggers were generally disinclined to argue that the officers overstepped their authority by hauling Gates in for disturbing the peace.
In fact, they saw in the affair a justification of aggressive policing — provided it is used on black history professors, not in the interests of environmentalism or anything like that — and proof of the racism and treachery of Professor Gates and President Obama.
In early returns, Jules Crittenden was satisfied that the police were just doing their job. “As a homeowner and vehicle owner,” he said, “I hope cops who suspect anyone of breaking into my property will ask to see ID, even if it is me, and satisfy themselves that I am who I say I am.” Gates did produce ID, but that didn’t acquit him of the crime of talking back to a cop. “It is always a bad idea to yell at them when they are doing their jobs,” said Crittenden. This is a home truth, but Crittenden did not say out loud whether this was in his view a just state of affairs. But he mentioned Al Sharpton and added “I’m interested to see from the Globe coverage that there are people who think Harvard professors should be immune from arrest on those grounds,” so we may assume he’s cool with it.
So was Prairie Pundit, who claimed “I live around a lot of less educated black people and I believe that most of them would have handled the situation better than Gates. One reason is that they do not go through life with a chip on their shoulder.” Macsmind went farther: “Based on what I read of the report, I would have hit him with a taser.”
Tasers were also on the mind Wizbang, who was reminded of a woman who was tasered by an officer in Texas earlier this year. She claimed to have been cooperative at her traffic stop, but a video showed she was not. “In both cases the punishment may be excessive,” said Wizbang, “but all indications are that they both brought there subsequent arrests upon themselves by their actions.” (The video of the tasering of the woman, who is 72 years old, is a fascinating choice of example.)
At American Spectator, William Tucker recalled being unfairly challenged by a transit cop for bringing his bike on the New York subway; though this is perfectly legal, Tucker meekly acceded to “the gun and the legal authority” of the cop. This demonstrates to Tucker that “Gates is an egotist” who probably wanted to be arrested.
Intellectual Conservative finally offered what we may take as the definitive rightblogger legal analysis: “Being a ‘black man in America’ does not grant you the right to be obnoxious.”
All this bodes ill for the Resistance if Obama uses the police to implement his liberal fascist agenda in America. Maybe they’ll find a way to resist politely enough to evade arrest.
American Power attacked Gates from a sociological angle. In the disordered mind of Gates, he said, “‘The Man’ is always getting down on the black dude. But those dudes commit the most crimes, and profiling is perfectly legitimate as a crimefighting tool when the odds are that a certain demographic is prone to particular types of criminal activity.” He offered further evidence: “I frankly can understand the fears of people flying cross-continental airliners when they see Middle Eastern and Muslim passengers on board.” You see the connection: Maybe the officer mistook Gates’ bronchitic rasp for a call to jihad.
Slate’s Mickey Kaus pioneered what became a popular theme: that contrary to Gates’ claim of police discrimination on account of his race, it was actually Gates who “has stereotypes” about policemen. “Isn’t it pretty clear that Gates had a narrative in his head too?” he said. “…Again, from his own words it looks like he rushes a bit to the conclusion that a white man in a similar situation would have been treated differently.” One wonders where Professor Gates got such an idea. Maybe as a Professor of African American Studies, he read it somewhere. (Patterico seconded: “The Officer Didn’t Stereotype Henry Louis Gates — Henry Louis Gates Stereotyped the Officer.”)
As news spread of Gates’ disrespectful attitude toward the police, rightbloggers became more enraged. “TODAY I AM SGT. JAMES CROWLEY,” proclaimed MsUnderestimated. “I stand in solidary with Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley after his lawful arrest of Harvard Professor and obvious professional Race Pimp, Henry Louis Gates Jr., pictured here,” she added, in case someone didn’t get what the problem was. She also said, “Mr. Gates, you have met your match, and ‘we’ will never apologize for doing our jobs.” She didn’t specify whom she meant by “we,” but we’re sure you will have guessed.
Of course nothing serves as a better rightblogger rage-multiplier than the involvement of President Obama, who said at first it appeared the officer acted “stupidly” in arresting Gates. “Meanwhile, any notion of a post-racial era in America due to Obama is likely doomed,” said Riehl World View. “Obama may not be an Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson type in terms of overt race-baiting,” graciously admitted Sister Toldjah, “but that’s only because he knows how to play the race card in much more subtle ways that Sharpton and Jackson do… He knows that the liberal black community will stand behind him 100% on this, and white liberals — forever wrapped in a cocoon of liberal white guilt over America’s laws against black people decades ago — will, too.”
As you will remember from the coverage, Obama’s comments spurred race riots across America, and the President modified his comments and invited the Sgt. Crowley for a beer. Rightbloggers responded with customary grace. “Barry created a big tar-baby by playing the ‘race’ card,” said the playful Right Soup. Roger L. Simon said Gates and Obama suffered from “nostalgia for racism,” which of course “also increases the very thing it pretends to oppose — racism itself.”
Actually, rejoined Debra Moore of Exposing Liberal Lies, that may have been Obama’s plan: “Could it be a lingering resentment for white people that Obama has carried since his youth?” She asserts that his book Dreams of My Father proved that “Obama was obsessed with the issue of race. Add that to his twenty years as a student of Jeremiah Wright, and the result is one angry black man. Isn’t it interesting that Obama is friends with a Harvard professor who is clearly a racist himself?” (This last bit proven, presumably, by Gates’ arrest.)
Moonbattery went even further: “Our country is now run by people who hate it. No wonder they’re deliberately crippling it with debts too vast to be repaid.” Like his Kenyan birth, the Gates arrest was actually part of Obama’s long-term plot to destroy America. Rightbloggers assure us it will backfire. “The Obama presidency is nearly over,” said Angry White Dude. “One hit from Al Qaeda on our soil and the masses will circle the White House.”
Sgt. Crowley is scheduled to have a beer with Obama and Gates. Rightbloggers cry for him to renege. “Sgt Crowley; for heaven’s sake – DON’T DO IT!” cried Barry Soetoro. “Don’t pander to Barry Hussein Obama’s race cards. He will put the race cards on the table and the race cards will be stacked against you… here’s what I would do I were invited to have a beer with Obama and Gates: order two beers – one to be thrown the each of their faces!
“I HOPE SGT. CROWLEY STAYS CLEAR OF THE WHITE HOUSE LOVEFEST (‘LET’S HAVE A BEER’),” said Give Us Liberty, “WHICH WILL BE ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF OBAMA’S HYPOCRISY AND POLITICAL MANIPULATION… SGT. CROWLEY, PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE USED BY A MAN WHO HAS NOTHING BUT CONTEMPT FOR AMERICAN VALUES AND THE RULE OF LAW…ESPECIALLY A WHITE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER WHO HAD THE AUDACITY TO ARREST AN ANGRY, DISOBEDIENT BLACK MAN WHO MAKES A LIVING BEING A PROFESSIONAL VICTIM.”
These irate citizens have been joined by Cornell law professor William A. Jacobson. “We Need The Truth, Not Beer and Apologies,” he said. He believes American hungers for resolution to the case, requiring a full investigation. There is little doubt as to what conclusion Jacobson expects: “‘Driving while black’ racial profiling certainly takes place. But less discussed is the related phenomenon of ‘policing while white,'” etc.
The principals are unlikely to oblige, but we’re sure the story of Professor Gates’ and President Obama’s assault on white America will live on in the archives of rightbloggerdom.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2009