What Was Forbes Thinking?

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/66301564@N00/3450910519">Photo: Candie_N/Flickr</a>

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum comments on Newt Gingrich’s endorsement of Dinesh D’Souza’s recent Forbes cover story claiming that Barack Obama’s mainstream liberalism can best be understood as the neocolonial racial animus of the son of a Luo tribesman:

As for the underlying D’Souza article that inspired Gingrich, what is there to be said? When last was there such a brazen outburst of race-baiting in the service of partisan politics at the national level? George Wallace took more care to sound race-neutral.

Here’s the question, though, for the rest of us: Why do Forbes (which presumably has many choices of cover material) and Gingrich imagine that such a message will resonate with their conservative audience? Nothing more offends conservatives than liberal accusations of racial animus. Yet here is racial animus, unconcealed and unapologetic, and it is seized by savvy editors and an ambitious politician as just the material to please a conservative audience. That’s an insult to every conservative in America.

This is the right question. Newt Gingrich is a firebrand who will say almost anything to get attention. Dinesh D’Souza is so consumed with a revulsion toward modern society that he sees demons everywhere he goes. It’s hardly news that they’re dishing out shameless bombast like this.

But Forbes? Why on earth is a mainstream business magazine giving this kind of obscenity cover story treatment? One can only assume they think their audience will buy it without complaint. Frum again:

With the Forbes story and now the Gingrich endorsement, the argument that Obama is an infiltrating alien, a deceiving foreigner — and not just any kind of alien, but specifically a Third World alien — has been absorbed almost to the very core of the Republican platform for November 2010.

Apparently so. Even for the cynical among us, the events of the past few months have been pretty astonishing. The only glimmer of good news here is that maybe — just maybe — movement conservatives are finally riding the racial animus bandwagon too hard and too blatantly. Maybe — just maybe — it’s finally gotten out of control and it’s going to lead to the backlash of disgust and revulsion they so richly deserve. Maybe.

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