Larry Elder misquoted Donna Brazile, used discredited race-based argument for Social Security privatization

Conservative TV and radio host Larry Elder quoted Gore-Lieberman '00 campaign manager Donna Brazile out of context to claim falsely that Brazile “referred to the Republican Party as the party of the white boys.” Elder then opined that it would be “far more accurate” to describe the Democratic Party as the “party of the black boys.” Discussing Social Security, Elder also repeated the Bush administration's faulty claim that “private accounts will disproportionately benefit black people.”

Though Brazile did say in 1999 that she would not let the “white boys” win, she made clear that she was referring to the “white-boy attitude” toward a black woman participating in politics, which she believes prevails in the political establishment as a whole. She did not attribute this attitude specifically to Republicans or any other group. The Washington Post reported Brazile's remark on November 16, 1999:

“A black female in America is the most invisible object in the world,” Brazile says. She will not let the “white boys” win. And that's not a description of “gender or race, it's an attitude. A white-boy attitude is 'I must exclude, denigrate and leave behind,'” Brazile says. “They don't see it or think about it. It's a culture.” It is the sense of utter entitlement. And that she will not have.

Elder's attack occurred on the March 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, when co-host Sean Hannity asked him about Brazile's March 1 Roll Call column (subscription required), which examined Republican efforts to court black voters:

ELDER: Well, Sean, let's consider the source. Donna Brazile was Al Gore's campaign manager. She referred to the Republican Party as the party of the white boys, and nobody in the liberal media called her on it.


ELDER: I see her on show after show. She was not called on it.


ELDER: I know you did. But she was not called on it. Outrageous. "Party of the white boys." Suppose the chairman of the RNC referred to the Democratic Party as a party of the black boys, which by the way, would be far more accurate since the Democratic Party gets 90 percent-plus of the vote.

Elder took the same quote out of context in a January 13 Capitalism Magazine article, which accused Brazile and Democrats in general of “play[ing] the race card for political gain.” Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter has also taken Brazile's remark out of context, as Media Matters for America has noted.

Elder's claim that “private accounts will disproportionately benefit black people” is based on two faulty premises: first, that the current Social Security system shortchanges African Americans because they have shorter life expectancies than white people and therefore often pay more into the system as workers than they receive in benefits as retirees; and second, that a partially privatized system would specifically benefit African Americans by allowing those who die prematurely to pass their private accounts on to their heirs, unlike in the present system. But the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Social Security Administration actuary Stephen C. Goss and Center for Economic and Policy Research economist Dean Baker have all refuted this claim, as Media Matters has detailed.

Elder, who calls himself “The Sage from South Central,” is host of the syndicated daytime TV show The Larry Elder Show, distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. He also hosts a radio show syndicated by ABC Radio Networks and writes a column syndicated by Creators Syndicate. Elder is the author of two books, The Ten Things You Can't Say in America (St. Martin's Press, 2000) and Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies, and the Special Interests that Divide America (St. Martin's Griffin, 2002).