Outspoken conservative commentator William Bennett had a mouth-full of his own foot last Friday. You’ve probably by now heard his latest comments.

Mr. Bennett on his radio show, “Morning in America,” responded to a caller’s question concerning an opinion in a recent book linking abortions to a reduction in crime. Mr. Bennett, though, disagreed with that premise. But he did know this for sure: “If you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every Black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

“You could abort every Black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down?!?”

He added, “That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”

This isn’t, however, the first time Bill Bennett has had something to say about Black people.

He was Education Secretary under Ronald Regan in the ’80s and often cited poor Black schools as a reason to end federal funding for education. Mr. Bennett later became George Bush Sr.’s drug czar. In that job, he would sometimes use crime-riddled Black neighborhoods as an argument for tougher drug laws.

After his public service, he went on to pen several books about values and morality. Mr. Bennett’s various ‘Book of Virtues’ were wildly popular, especially when he attacked out-of-wedlock Black mothers, dead-beat Black dads, and rap music. And now, while trying to make some absurd point about abortion, he says: “You could abort every Black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

Extreme conservatives like Mr. Bennett make the most racist, ignorant, inaccurate and outrageously distorted statements on a regular basis. Whether that’s Rush Limbaugh, the drug-addicted, three-times divorced and deaf-in-one-ear radio host, who says kids who learn international studies can’t learn anything else; or right-wing Christian zealot Pat Roberson who thinks it’s OK to assassinate foreign leaders.

All of them, including Bennett, are fools. But Mr. Bennett, you’ve taken your foolery to a whole new low. Why, Mr. Bennett, did you use “Black baby?” Again and again, you routinely and recklessly use Black people to make your moral points. In this latest instance, you could have used whites, but consciously chose not to?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, whites committed more than 800,000 assault and robbery crimes as of 2003, compared to little over 230,000 committed by Blacks. Blacks do commit high rates of crimes, and those rates are unfortunately disproportionately higher within the total Black community than with others. But Mr. Bennett ?” you poor, pathetic soul ?” if you really, and I mean really, wanted to make whatever point you were trying to make, you could have picked on your own race. Oh, Mr. Bennett tried to restate his words to make them sound more reasonable, a tactic which conservatives are masterful at.

On a cable talk show last Thursday, Mr. Bennett responded: “I said, arguments in which you take something that’s far out, like the GNP and try to connect it up with abortion are tricky. I said make the case of abortion on the basis of life and protecting life. I said abortion is invoked in another way; you could make an argument that if you wanted to lower the crime rate, you saw the quote; you could practice abortion in very large numbers. You could do it in the Black community; you could do it in other places.”

No, Mr. Bennett, that’s not what you said. You didn’t say “in other places”; you targeted the Black community. You didn’t say ‘ a baby’ of another race, you said Black babies. You once again used Black people as your moral scourge, your ace-in-the-hole, your way of standing on the high moral ground while standing on Black folks’ backs.

You’re a sycophant of the twisted sort. You don’t butter people up; you throw hot grease in the face of Blacks and dare to act defiant when you’re called on your stupidly and hypocrisy. You’re a stone-cold gambler, who never once found anything “un-virtuou” or immoral about that. I’m tired of you using the ills of the Black community to show off your moral self-righteousness. Here’s some more numbers for you, Mr. Bennett:

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 7,000 Black children under age 5 were victims of a homicide from 1976 to 2002. And, according to the Juvenile Justice Bulletin, between 1980 and 2000, the murder rate for black children in the 2-to-11 age group averaged 3.3 percent, nearly four times the average murder rate for white children in the same age group.

And, according to the Children’s Defense Fund, every hour a Black baby dies before his/her first birthday. Every four hours, a Black child or teen dies in an accident. And every eight hours, a child or teen is killed by a firearm.

Mr. Bennett, I’d love to see you use your”‘powers of virtue” to actually help save America’s Black population rather than using us to sell your distorted political views.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com