By Bob Sanchez, JMI Policy Director
Posted March 6, 2012
March 6 – “Super Tuesday” on the presidential primary calendar – also marked a notable anniversary for an iconic brand: the Oreo. The layered cookie with the ornate design made its debut on March 6, 1912. With nearly 500 billion sold, it has long been one of Americans’ favorite sweet treats.Far less sweet is the nasty tone of political discourse in this year’s election cycle. In public opinion polls, voters say they’re turned off by the negative ads that attack a candidate’s opponents, but the results often suggest that the attack ads do produce results.Coincidentally, this week also saw a distracting sideshow involving the use of negative epithets. On Monday, radio commentator Rush Limbaugh apologized for the words he had used to disparage a law student who had spoken in favor of requiring employers’ health insurance plans to provide free contraceptives.Although Mr. Limbaugh said he sincerely apologized for his choice of words, he did not apologize for his point of view, which is sound. Meanwhile, there has been no apology from media liberals who used the same words to attack conservative public figures ranging from Sarah Palin to talk-show host Laura Ingraham.Double standard? It wouldn’t be the first time for the overwhelmingly liberal mainstream news media or the entertainment industry. Moreover, the double standard also applies to what is or isn’t “politically correct” in the use of epithets in political discourse.Thankfully, the “N-word” – once common in the politics of theDeep South– is no longer welcome in political discourse. Good riddance. Likewise, crude slang terms hurtful to other ethnic, racial, and religious groups are also fading out. Hurling epithets is a poor substitute for well-reasoned discourse on important issues.Yet a double standard persists on the left, which continues to use the taunting term “Oreo” – as in “black on the outside, white on the inside” — to describe those courageous African Americans who dare to break ranks with liberal orthodoxy and espouse conservative viewpoints.Although the game of politics is hardball, the stakes are high, and passions run deep, it is time to compose an epitaph for those crude epithets and labels that distract us from the serious business of charting our nation’s future course. We deserve better than that.