Presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina wants to put “an end to identiy politics.” In a not-so-vieled attack on Hillary Clinton, Firoina suggested Monday that voters need to focus less on the candidates’ DNA and more on the candidates’ policy positions on economics and foreign affairs and their qualifications to be president.
Fiorina’s candidacy certainly takes the steam out of Clinton’s pitch for support on the basis of gender. At the very least, it demonstrates that there are other impressive female leaders besides Clinton and suggests that, even if 2016 is not the year of the woman, the election of a female president can’t be too far off.
But Fiorina’s attack on identity politics is more than just a critique of candidates whose most compelling selling point is that they will “make history.” It is also an attack on the Democratic party’s divisive, fear-mongering campaign tactics.
For the past three decades, Democratic activists and their friends in the media have portrayed conservatives as closed-minded bigots who are hostile toward women and minorities. Think of the Left’s trumped up “war on women;” Obama’s infamous “bitter clinger’s” speech; MSNBC’s constant complaining that every criticism of Obama is “a dog whistle;” even the late Ted Kennedy’s preposterous claim that “in [then Suprme Court nominee] Robert Bork’s America . . . blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters.”
Rather than debate the merits of conservative ideas, Democrats prefer to spew vitriol in an attempt to cast Republicans as racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic. Fiorina says this needs to stop. And, so, without even saying so, does the diverse array of declared and potential presidential candidates that includes U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz (both of whom are Hispanic), neurosurgeon-turned-conservtive-activist Ben Carson (an African-American), and Louisiana Governnor Bobby Jindal (whose parents are from India).
It comes as no surprise, of course, that the liberal media regard the diversity of the GOP candidates as somewhat ironic — if not outright hypocritical. They mock Fiorina and Carson as mere window dressing — candidates who are unlikely to win and who are being used by the GOP to create an illusion of inclusiveness. They criticize Jindal for saying that he “is against the idea of hyphenated-Americans,” and they question repeatedly whether Cruz and Rubio truly understand the Latino experience.
This is to be expected. Why? Because Fiorina, Carson, Jindal, Cruz, and Rubio are poster children for the American Dream. All five refute the liberal stereotype of the permanently victimized woman or minority and undermine the narrative of grievance and the push for a craddle-to-grave entitlement state.
Rather than being ironic, however, the diversity of the Republican field is, in fact, the fulfillment of the conservative belief in an equal opportunity society — in a society where race, ethnicity, and gender should neither be a liability nor an unfair advantage. It is a testament to a society in which, with hard work and a proper upbringing, even those who are born into poverty or are newcomers to our shores can succeed.
In 2008 we were told that Obama would be a post-racial president. We were told that he would usher in a new era of harmony, where skin color no longer mattered. Instead, we got a president (and an attorney general in Eric Holder) who looked for every occassion to use the bully pulpit, not to bring us together, but to further Balkanize our nation. By running on substance, rather than DNA, GOP female and minority candidates are helping America to reject identitiy politics. Looks like Carly Fiorina may just get her wish.