Idiocy of the week indeed

· long story short

At Salon this week Andrew Sullivan writes, “Where, one wonders, has Denby been? The main argument on the right these days is not white supremacism (I know that’s news to Joe Conason, but then a lot of what’s going on in the world is).”
The line is designed to have conservative readers nodding in sympathy with Sullivan. It’s a piece of simple credentializing. But what is he saying? It’s OK to make common cause with racists, playing the race card when convenient, because one does not advocate white supremacy?
He goes on, “Whether you agree with it or not, the conservative case against affirmative action, and other forms of racial engineering, is based on the doctrine of color-blindness, purloined from the liberals a couple decades ago.”
Purloined is a good word for this early Republican example of triangulation (taking on the popular ideas of your ideological opposites in order to continue selling your own tilt to the extent possible). I think of this as the “hold the line” theory. Let’s blow a whistle and freeze race prerogatives and relations exactly wherever they happen to be. There will, of course, no longer be any social “engineering” going on.
Part of the fun of reading some parts of the right these days is seeing just how out of touch they can really get. And in this respect, Sullivan is pioneering new ground every week.