Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Thankfully Democrats aren't going overboard on this Trent Lott thing: Except for the New York Times editorial page. Specifically, columnist Bob Herbert.
Look, Lott said something very stupid. It definitely hurt his reputation, and it is also hurting the Republican party. Lott should probably step down as Senate Majority Leader.
But, Bob Herbert goes too far.
But Mr. Lott is not the only culprit here. The Republican Party has become a haven for white racist attitudes and anti-black policies. The party of Lincoln is now a safe house for bigotry. It's the party of the Southern strategies and the Willie Horton campaigns and Bob Jones University and the relentless and unconscionable efforts to disenfranchise black voters. For those who now think the Democratic Party is not racist enough, the answer is the G.O.P. And there are precious few voices anywhere in the G.O.P. willing to step up and say that this is wrong.
What a steaming load of crap. Does Herbert, an intelligent man, really believe the tripe that the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons, hatemongers both, peddle?
Willie Horton, does Herbert forget that it was Democrat Al Gore that first brought up that name in a primary debate?
I'll see you're Willie Horton and raise you a James Byrd. Talk about disgusting, racist, inciteful advertising.
I'll see your Bob Jones University, and raise you just about every other college campus on this nation. (By the way, I'm not defending Bob Jones -- I think they've got problems too.)
As for the few voices...Herbert must be legally deaf.
See, but a grand conspiracy against blacks need more than just a senator from Mississippi.
So Herbert finds a president.
Much of the current success of the Republican Party was built on the deliberate exploitation of very similar sentiments. One of the things I remember about Mr. Reagan's 1980 presidential run was that his first major appearance in the general election campaign was in Philadelphia, Miss., which just happened to be the place where three civil rights workers ? Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney ? were murdered in 1964.
During that appearance, Mr. Reagan told his audience, "I believe in states' rights."
Wow! Didn't know Regan advocated the murder of civil rights activists did you? It's more than a little bit scary that a columnist for the New York Times actually believes that the Republican Party is nothing more than a latter-day Ku Klux Klan.
Herbert's entire slander is laughable to the vast majority of Americans, but there are some who believe what they read on the Times' editorial page. (These people should probably have their heads examined.)
I'll be curious to see the response Herbert's column generates. It's outrageous. But I guess it's to be expected from the party without ideas and without a "destruction" machine.
Over at the Wall Street Journal, John Fund offers a little historical context that Herbert seems to lack.
But criticism of Mr. Lott has also come from the right. The four Republican appointees to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, who include civil-rights scholar Abigail Thernstrom, issued a joint statement in which they said his comments "were particularly shameful coming from a leader of the Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln, and the party that supported all of these essential steps forward far more vigorously than the Democratic Party, which at the time was the home of Congressional southerners committed to white supremacy." The landmark 1964 Civil Rights legislation, as historians have noted, could not have passed without lopsided support by Republicans. Twenty-one Senate Democrats voted against the bill, but only six Republicans voted nay--although one of them was Barry Goldwater, the party's presidential standard-bearer that year, who opposed it on libertarian rather than racial grounds.
Oh, and one of those southern senators who voted against the bill was none other than Al Gore's father -- a Democrat.
Fund also notes that last year the liberals gave one of theirs an undeserved pass.
The crescendo of criticism now coming in comes from all the usual suspects, including liberals who gave a complete pass last year to Sen. Robert Byrd, then the Appropriations Committee chairman, when the West Virginia Democrat and former Ku Klux Klan member referred to "white niggers" in an interview with Fox News Channel's Tony Snow.
Is Trent Lott a racist? Maybe, maybe not. That is a valid point to debate.
Is every registered Republican a racist. No. And Herbert slanders every one when he says that.