Bamboozled: How Americans are Being Exploited by the Lies of the Liberal Agenda.
Angela McGlowan. Nelson, $25.99, 265 pages.
Review by David Forsmark
Today, class, a quick pop quiz in political history.
Which American political party’s "Southern Strategy" included the following:
a. Going to war to protect slavery
b. Using the Ku Klux Klan as an electoral advantage
c. Killing voting rights legislation for nearly a century
d. Blocking anti-lynching legislation to protect members in good standing
e. Had Sheriff Bull Connor as a dues-paying member
Need a hint? Let’s just say it was not the party of George W. Bush, whose handpicked party chair recently apologized for a "southern strategy."
On the very first page of Bamboozled: How Americans are Being Exploited by the Lies of the Liberal Agenda, political strategist Angela McGlowan nails the issue of liberalism and race in a way that signals she is a fresh new voice -- one that deserves to break through a cluttered book market littered with political pamphleteering and self-serving sophistry.
There have been many fine books since Thomas Sowell’s classic Race and Economics -- many by Sowell himself -- that refute liberals' take on race in America and their "solutions" for the problems the Left imagines plague us. McGowan eventually treads that territory too.
But first she illuminates the Democrat Party's real motive for the divisive racialist rhetoric it has spouted for decades. The Dems simply can't afford to have their support in the black community drop below 90 percent, she asserts. If they do -- as happened in Ohio in 2004 when John Kerry got a mere 84% of the black vote, McGlowan points out- - they face irrelevancy as a political party.
Americans have become so used to blacks' lockstep fealty to the Democrats that it’s easy to forget just how unique that is in American politics. You can’t get 90 percent of Americans to believe that Al Qaeda was behind 9/11 assaults on New York and the Pentagon. (As a recent unsettling Rasmussen poll showed, fully a third of Democrats believe President Bush had at least some advance knowledge of the attacks.)
Not one Republican-leaning demographic group polls at 90 percent for the GOP, much less is there a voting block that can be relied on to to deliver those numbers. Evangelical Christians were on their way to such support before the electoral disaster of 2006, perhaps, but they have the disadvantage of being dispersed geographically throughout districts.
The cold, hard truth is Democrats depend on American blacks being both segregated and radicalized in order to have any chance at national power. That requires constant and cynical racially divisive tactics that the rest of America is only vaguely aware of.
And too often, the cowardly response by Republicans is—as was the case with the anti-Affirmative Action ballot proposition in Michigan in 2006—to not engage ideologically in order to keep black turnout low. I have heard comments in meetings from Michigan Republican operatives who are pretty high up the food chain that are only a couple of words off of: "Our best chance is to keep the natives from getting restless."
McGlowan reveals she got her first taste of the cynicism that rules racial politics in America when she found that it was easy, as a young black Democrat staffer who had been Miss Washington D.C., to get appointments with liberal lawmakers to discuss policy.
But when she tried to discuss empowerment and restoring traditional values in the black community, the reception turned frosty.
"The more I tried to find a sympathetic ear for my views, the more clearly I saw, and the more disappointed and disgusted I became," McGlowan writes.
Up close and behind closed doors, these wannabe "leaders" were hustlers, charismatic shakedown artists and bamboozlers whose power depended on the ideological and economic enslavement of women, blacks and Latinos.
Perhaps the most openly cynical example of gaining votes from destructive behavior is in the liberal attempt to allow felons — including those still behind bars — to vote. While people like Hillary Clinton work to get what McGlowan calls the "cell block voting block" available by 2008, arguing that the black voting block is disproportionately affected by the situation, McGlowan points out that these criminals also disproportionately committed crimes against black people.
Another crime issue is almost as blatant. Since crack cocaine is cheaper than powder, the Congressional Black Caucus initially fought for tougher sentences against crack because it devastated their communities. Later, however, it became the party line that this was discriminatory punishment for much the same reason.
This would not do. The liberals argued that Hispanics disproportionately buy powdered cocaine! "Imagine," McGlowan jabs, "Punishing powdered cocaine use is a conspiracy against Latinos."
But Democrats need to mine the criminal element for votes because a few of their issues were coming in direct conflict with the pastors of black churches, who are key to their get-out-the-vote efforts. For decades, many ministers did not rock the boat on the abortion issue—though Jesse Jackson, once upon a time, called it genocide against blacks — but the gay marriage debate has been the last straw for many preachers who have seen their communities devastated by the unmarriage phenomenon.
School choice is another possible wedge between the Democrat Party, which is beholden to teachers unions, and black churches — many of whom would like to start schools. Michigan again provides an interesting case, Democrats and diversity-worshiping school officials went to the suburbs with segregation-tinged whisper campaigns. They spread the fear that unless ritzy towns like Birmingham wanted Detroit crack whores to send their kids north up Woodward Avenue, they had better vote the measure down. (Interestingly, 2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate, Amway billionaire Dick DeVos backed the school choice campaign, which got about 30 percent of the vote, but did not have the courage to back Proposal 2 to end affirmative action, which got about 60 percent of the vote.)
McGlowan dares to say that Democrat policies insure a steady stream of Democrat voters by keeping them poor, ignorant and in dire straits. And unlike other books which focus on the failures, she asserts that it is more than just a convenient self-perpetuating coincidence.
By tying the Democrats' segregationist past to their current failed policies on race, McGlowan makes the case that Democrats have gone from excluding the black vote to exploiting the black vote — and that it’s all part of one story.
High school history texts present segregation, the KKK, and Jim Crow as merely white vs. black, robbing this subject of its partisan context. If those texts cover the defection of blacks in the 1930s to the New Deal, they imply that blacks had been voting Republican by mere habit because it was "the party of Lincoln." But as McGlowan points out, the Democrats were the party of Jim Crow and the KKK, which acted as the "terrorist arm of the Democratic Party."
The KKK wasn’t merely whites keeping blacks from voting, McGlowan notes, it was Democrats keeping blacks from voting Republican. In fact, white Republican candidates were also targets of the KKK. As McGlowan says in the book's best line:
In fact, if you've ever seen a case where a black was stoned, lynched, tarred and feathered, or prevented from voting, the person or persons who did this to them was most likely a Democrat.
The party that once went to war to protect slaveholders, now encourages various segments of society to enslave themselves. History books portray the Democrat journey from slavery to Civil Rights (if they even include the former) as a transformation. McGlowan thinks it might be same stuff, different day.
Does McGlowan purport that Democrat strategists sit around in a room and ask, "How do we keep blacks dependent, promote divorce, encourage crime and mock faith in order to keep our voting blocks intact?" No, but that’s not necessary, though it’s hard to believe that in a profession surrounded by pollsters and strategist that a lot of them don’t know exactly what they are doing.
McGlowan devotes two rushed chapters on Democrat efforts to bring Latinos and women into the 90 percent voting block victimhood club; but they feel like an unnecessary attempt to broaden the book’s base.
Her chapter on how feminism failed to radicalize women by flying in the face of human nature is a decent summary of the big issues, but it has been done more thoroughly elsewhere;. Meanwhile her chapter on Latinos and Bush’s efforts to woo this constituency has been overtaken by events and is possibly softened by McGlowan’s current status as "a Republican strategist."
That might also explain her glossing over of Republican failures and capitulation in other places. For instance, when Ken Mehlman went to the NAACP to apologize for the Republicans "southern strategy," he reinforced the historical errors and omissions Bamboozzled was written to correct.
As McGlowan demonstrates, the "solid South" was effective for the Democrats for a century—and racism was the biggest reason. Woodrow Wilson’s election, for example, was the death blow for Republican sponsored voting rights legislation similar to the 1964 act. Wilson effectively extended Jim Crow for another 50 years — and the great icon FDR himself did nothing to further the cause. His appeal to impoverished blacks in the Great Depression was welfare, McGlowan points out, not civil rights.
Angela McGlowan is an important new voice for conservatism. Bamboozled is a very good first effort, and hopefully just a taste of things to come.