The Victor Wasn’t on Stage
Last night’s debate was rowdy, chaotic. Perhaps the worst job in America was being last night’s moderator. Whether it mattered or not or changed anyone’s opinion is still unknown. The right questions were asked, but the answers were messy. As Charles Lipson notes in Spectator, American voters don’t want a replay of the 2020 election.
The debate at the Reagan Library did nothing to change that prospect.
Donald Trump wasn’t present at the debate. Instead, he held a rally in Michigan.
Although New Republic condemned Tim Scott, Sen. Scott had the most moving comments of the evening. Raised in “grinding poverty,” the black senator seized the opportunity to criticize Florida’s revised high-school curriculum.
The history course condemns slavery, obviously, but adds one sentence that some slaves acquired skills that benefited them. Scott wasn’t having it. Governor DeSantis responded that the sentence had been written by esteemed black scholars and that his work on school choice was helping all Floridians.
Scott’s real success came when he moved beyond that point to offer a fundamental criticism of the Democrats’ Great Society programs and their impact on black families. To quote him: “Black families survived slavery! We survived poll taxes and literacy tests. We survived discrimination being woven into the laws of our country. What was hard to survive was Johnson’s Great Society, where they decided to put money – where they decided to take the Black father out of the household to get a check in the mail.”
The New Republic immediately condemned him from the left, calling his comment “deplorable.” As they saw it, he was really saying modern welfare programs were worse than slavery. He didn’t say that.
In fact, it takes a genuinely mendacious and malicious misreading of his comments to reach that conclusion. Still, the magazine’s comments are instructive for two reasons. They show both how deeply committed the left is to these big-state programs and how it is nearly impossible to debate these issues seriously without being slimed.
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