Conservative radio host Monica Crowley on Friday smacked down Newsweek's Eleanor Clift over racism in the Tea Party.
In the second segment of "The McLaughlin Group," the host addressed July's controversial resolution by the NAACP condemning so-called racist elements within the Tea Party.
Liberals Clift and Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune predictably supported the NAACP while bashing the conservative organization.
Crowley with the support of Pat Buchanan defended the Tea Party while calling the NAACP irrelevant.
With McLaughlin surprisingly taking Crowley and Buchanan's side, sparks flew in an oftentimes heated discussion (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
MONICA CROWLEY: Look, the Tea Party has an issue with the content of Obama's policies, not the color of his skin, and I find it amazing that the NAACP would waste its time on nonexistent racism in the Tea Party when there are so many problems that still plague the black community like black on black violence, like fatherlessness, like education and drugs and guns in the inner cities. And so it seems to me to be a straw man that the NAACP set up because they are less willing to really confront all of those vexing problems in the black community.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Exit question.
CLARENCE PAGE: I think they are confronting them, but they don't get the publicity until they attack the Tea Party. But believe me, they are dealing with those problems.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Let's have you do a radio show on what they're doing on all those other issues.
CROWLEY: And I have, Eleanor, I have. But you clearly don't listen to it. [...]
After McLaughlin asked what kind of damage has the NAACP's resolution done to race relations in this country, the sparks really flew:
After some crosstalk, Page pressed the issue:
CLIFT: The NAACP is not hurting race relations. We have a very active faction on the right using racial issues as a wedge to try to defeat Democrats and a black president and I think that is where...
CROWLEY: Oh boy.
CLIFT: You're gonna say that's not true?
CROWLEY: Well, I'm saying that you are making our point that when the left goes out there and stokes these kinds of racial issues when they don't exist, what happens is it dilutes real racism and that's the danger.
CLIFT: Oh, so this is called stoking?
And that's the real problem, Clarence. This comes from the vantage point of African-Americans and most liberals despite lacking evidence to support that position:
PAGE: Well, I was just going to say, these are, these are kind of a smokescreen, they're kind of totems. The NAACP is as important to the base of the Democratic Party as the Tea Party is to the base of the Republican Party and so that so never the twain shall meet. But, for you to say racism is not a problem anymore, that's exactly the kind of thing...
CROWLEY: No, that's not what I said. I said nonexistent racism in the Tea Party. I didn't say racism doesn't exist in America.
PAGE: Nonexistent racism in the Tea Party. That's the same thing. From the vantage point of African-Americans and most liberals, they would say, "No way."
CROWLEY: That's not what I said. Let's be clear.
MCLAUGHLIN: Can we restore order here?
CROWLEY: My point was that when we start slapping on the racist label, whether it's on the right or the left, we end up diluting real racism.
MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama said he was introducing a post-racial America. Do you think this action by the NAACP...
PAGE: When did he say that, John?
MCLAUGHLIN: ...has torpedoed that?
PAGE: When did he ever say that?
MCLAUGHLIN: In his speech, in his speech on race.
PAGE: No, no, he was introducing a post-racial America.
CLIFT: The media announced that.
PAGE: The media said that.
That's correct! Whether Obama specifically said that in his March 2008 speech in Philadelphia is somewhat irrelevant if that's the way media reported it at the time:
MCLAUGHLIN: On the basis of his speech.
PAGE: No, this is important, John, because Barack Obama...
MCLAUGHLIN: You mean he doesn't stand for a post-racial America?
PAGE: Throughout Barack Obama's campaign, I defy you to find me where he ever said it. No, he only talked about race when he had to, and that was after Reverend Wright.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he gave a 35, 45-minute speech on race, remember that?
PAGE: Yes he did, he never said anything about a post-racial society.
MCLAUGHLIN: I think he said it.
PAGE: Go back to that speech and find me the bite.
MCLAUGHLIN: Does he in the mind of Americans stand for a post-racial America? The answer is yes.
PAGE: That's different.
MCLAUGHLIN: The NAACP torpedoed it, yes or no?
PAGE: They did not torpedo it, not at all.
MCLAUGHLIN: I think they torpedoed it.
PAGE: Americans still view Barack Obama basically as the embodiment of racial progress. He didn't have to say it.
BUCHANAN: John, you're right. Stick to your guns, you are exactly right. It damaged the whole idea of a post-racial America for no reason whatsoever.
PAGE: We'll be post-racial when we're post-racist.
MCLAUGHLIN: How much damage, on a ten scale? Is it cataclysmic damage?
BUCHANAN: I think the series of things that's not only Rev. Wright, but it's Sgt. Crowley and this and the Black Panther thing has severely damaged what everybody hoped would be a post-racial America.
CLIFT: When a political party stops using race as a wedge, not because that party is racist...
BUCHANAN: You all don't use race as a wedge? For heaven sakes.
CROWLEY: Eleanor, come on!
In the end, what happened on that set was the embodiment of the condition of race relations in this nation today, as Left and Right have a diametric view of the problem as well as the causes.
Yet, maybe most telling was how both Clift and Page blamed the media for the perception that Obama was going to create a post-racial America.
They, of course, were quite correct in their accusation, but neither chose to accept responsibility despite their shameless.
I wonder why that is?