South Carolina Senator Tim Scott gave a competent Republican response to Joe Biden's mendacious speech to congress this week. Considering the failed history of the opposition responses, being competent is no easy accomplishment. And boy, the contrived, hyperbolic outrage and derision we saw from liberal talking heads was something to behold.
Some of it was just farcical. Take MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, who argued that Scott's speech, in which the senator dared praise the Trump administration for its work on vaccines, was "delivered from a planet where facts don't matter." It's almost perfunctory at this point to make such claims, whether there is evidence or not. Operation Warp Speed, Wallace argued, "didn't do anything to get a needle in the arms, so a lot of disinformation."
Well, the effort did help boost the lifesaving innovation that flows through those needles — not to mention, it also led to a million doses being dispensed daily by the time Joe Biden got his own shot.
But Scott's most controversial statement, allegedly, was to contend that, "America is not a racist country." All the usual suspects took to social media to mock the senator for simultaneously contending that the nation wasn't racist and pointing out that he had personally experienced bigotry. Of course, America is a racist nation, they wailed, before getting "Uncle Tim" trending on Twitter to try and prove it. The left's demeaning of any African American who strays from leftist orthodoxy is one of the ugliest acceptable smears in our political discourse.
Scott's two claims are wholly compatible. Bad actors and ugly ideas exist among people of all nations, and always will, and yet that does not necessarily mean the nation itself is fundamentally, legally, culturally or systemically racist. We can always do better, but by the world's standards, the United States is likely the least racist place.
Indeed, Scott never alleged that racism was nonexistent in America. To do so would have been absurd. Scott, in fact, wrote a police-reform bill that Democrats such as Harris, Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin had shut down using the filibuster, which they now call a "relic of Jim Crow."
In any event, at CNN, political analyst Van Jones maintained that Scott's message "was nonsense" and that the senator had lost African Americans "by the tens of millions" by denying what everyone knew was true about the United States. This was the tone across left-wing media.
Yet, the very next morning, when asked by ABC News about Scott's comments, Vice President Kamala Harris said: "I don't think America is a racist country, but we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today."
It's one thing to see flagrant double standards in politics, and another thing to hear two people say the same thing within 24 hours and be treated completely differently. Is Harris spinning "nonsense" as well? Is Harris losing "tens of millions" of black voters for saying the obvious? If not, why not? Or are liberals simply trying to smear Scott as a quisling because they're worried about his appeal? (That last question is rhetorical.)
David Harsanyi is a senior writer at National Review and the author of the book "First Freedom: A Ride Through America's Enduring History With the Gun." To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.