Deliberately Obtuse?

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Newsbuster Scott Whitlock offers a lame attack on David Shuster for questioning the NRCC's habit of referring to Charlie Rangel as a "Harlem Democrat":

MSNBC's David Shuster on Monday attacked Republicans as racist for calling embattled Congressman Charlie Rangel a "crooked, Harlem Democrat." Talking to ex-Virginia Governor Doug Wilder, the host complained about a press release by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC): "They could have called him the crooked New York Democrat. They could have called him a crooked Democrat." [Audio available here.]

Shuster continued, "Why crooked Harlem Democrat? And did you see that as being racially tinged?" Clearly, the provocative part of the NRCC's press release was labeling Rangel corrupt. How is it inaccurate to refer to the Representative as a "Harlem Democrat?" Harlem is in his district. [Emphasis added]

Is it even possible that Whitlock doesn't understand that this defense falls apart unless the NRCC regularly refers to members of Congress by towns and neighborhoods in their districts?

This NRCC press release criticizing Rep. Suzanne Kosmas doesn't refer to her as a "New Smyrna Beach Democrat." This one criticizing Rep. Michael McMahon for not calling for Rangel's resignation refers to McMahon as a "New York Democrat" rather than a "Staten Island Democrat" -- even as it calls Rangel a "Harlem Democrat." This release twice calls Rangel a "Harlem Democrat," but this one about Earl Pomeroy doesn't say anything about a "Bismark Democrat," and so on.

None of which proves that the NRCC is "racist," of course. There could be a perfectly good reason why they treat Rangel and McMahon differently. Then again, Shuster didn't call them "racist," despite Whitlock's claims. Shuster asked why the NRCC insists on identifying Rangel as a "Harlem Democrat," and whether doing so was "racially tinged." Whitlock's childishly simplistic response that "Harlem is in his district" doesn't undermine Shuster's question -- not when the NRCC doesn't similarly identify McMahon as a "Staten Island Democrat."

Scott Whitlock
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