I wrote here about the Democratic Party’s disgraceful attempt to smear Paul Ryan and Bill Bennett as part of their ongoing fundraising effort. Last week, Ryan appeared on Bennett’s Morning In America radio show and, among other topics, he and Bennett discussed urban poverty. This is what Ryan said, as transcribed by me:
Bennett — Fatherless problem is a big one.
Ryan — Absolutely — that’s the tailspin or spiral that we’re looking at in our communities — your buddy Charles Murray or Bob Putnam over at Harvard, those guys have written books on this, which is, we have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities in particular of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work — so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with. Everybody’s got to get involved. So this is what we talk about when we talk about civil society. If you’re driving from the suburb to the sports arena downtown by these blighted neighborhoods, you can’t just say “I’m paying my taxes, government’s going to fix that.” You need to get involved. You need to get involved yourself, whether through a good mentor program or some religious charity, whatever it is to make a difference, and that’s how we help resuscitate our culture.
The party of slavery and Jim Crow responded by sending out an email calling Ryan’s words a “thinly veiled racial attack” and a “dog-whistle to ugly racial politics.” The Democrats claimed–without actually quoting Ryan, of course–that he “told ultra-conservative radio host Bill Bennett that poverty in America is caused by a ‘culture problem’ of ‘inner city’ men too lazy to work.” The Democrats’ goal, as always, was to stir up and mislead their party’s faithful so as to raise money. They also called on their followers to sign an online petition denouncing Paul Ryan.
On Friday, I got a follow-up email from the Democratic Party:
From: Democratic Headquarters [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, March 14, 2014 11:13 AM
To: Hinderaker, John H.
Subject: Denounce Paul Ryan
Thanks for signing!
I did not, of course, sign the Democrats’ petition.
This week, Paul Ryan cited a white nationalist…
They are referring to Charles Murray. Unbelievable.
…to claim that inner city men have a “culture problem” of “not working.” Paul Ryan can use all the code words he wants but make no mistake — his comments are nothing but a thinly veiled racial attack.
Labor force participation among African-Americans is at a record low of around 60%; in the inner cities, which Ryan was talking about, it is far lower. Barack Obama has acknowledged the problem: “Barack Obama says fewer black, Latino young men participate in the labor force than young white men.” So Ryan was just telling the truth.
When Republicans use dog whistle politics to justify their dangerous agenda, we need to call them out.
We want to get as many signatures as we can denouncing Paul Ryan’s thinly veiled racist attacks.
Far from being a “thinly veiled racial attack,” Ryan’s point was that listeners should become personally involved through mentoring and supporting religious and other organizations to try to improve labor force participation, and not just leave the intractable problem of urban poverty in the hands of the government.
Forward this email to three friends right now and ask them to denounce Paul Ryan >>
SIGN YOUR NAME HERE –> http://dccc.org/Denounce-Paul-Ryan
It is impossible to overstate not just how dishonest, but how vicious the Democratic Party is. “Denounce Paul Ryan!” For what? For expressing concern about a very real human problem and urging his radio listeners to try to do something about it.