An article in today’s New York Daily News is sure to add fuel to the already raging inferno over former mayor Rudy Giuliani’s questioning whether Obama loves his country. In the latest installment of what might be called PatriotismGate, the onetime presidential hopeful states:
Look, this man was brought up basically in a white family, so whatever he learned or didn’t learn, I attribute this more to the influence of communism and socialism [than to his race]. The ideas that are troubling me and are leading to this come from communists with whom he associated when he was 9 years old.
It will be interesting to hear Democrats attempt to explain away Obama’s associations with Frank Marshall Davis, his self-avowed mentor growing up, and other radicals, like black nationalist professor Derrick Bell, who shaped his worldview. Let’s hope they do a better job of getting the history right than Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who responded to Giuliani’s initial comments with this tweet:
Rudy Giuliani questioned how much,or even if, President Obama loves America.Maybe he thinks he loves it 3/5 as much as Giuliani & his pals
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) February 20, 2015
Cohen is referring of course to the three-fifths compromise, outlined in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution:
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
Cohen points to that 3/5th figure as an indication that our founding fathers were a bunch of racists who believed that the African slaves were less than human. He is not the first Democrat to demonstrate his ignorance of this ruling or the history surrounding it. The Heritage Foundation notes:
The three-fifths rule for counting slaves is often misunderstood. When the Constitutional Convention debated the issue of how to count population for the purposes of representation, the Southern delegates to the Convention would have been pleased if nonvoting slaves had been counted as full persons. That way, the Southern states would have had a greater representation in the House of Representatives. In contrast, some Northern delegates resisted counting slaves at all. Why, asked Elbridge Gerry, “shd. the blacks, who were property in the South, be in the rule of representation more than the cattle & horses of the North?” Among other things, counting slaves provided an incentive to import still more slaves.
Cohen’s flub here goes hand in hand with liberals’ cluelessness of the political party that gave rise to the Ku Klux Klan. For Cohen’s benefit, I will reveal that the party started with the letter “D” and ended with the letters “EMOCRAT.”
Howard Portnoy contributed to this report.
Cross-posted at The Lid