Friday, December 27, 2002

I read the following in an article in USA Today about other Republicans that have found themselves in hot water for "racially insensitive" remarks following the Trent Lott controversy:

In Albany, N.Y., state Senate GOP leader Joe Bruno was forced last week to defend as a "poor choice of words" his use of a lynching metaphor.

Bruno urged critics of Lott to "cut him some slack" after the Mississippi senator apologized but still had not stepped down as GOP leader. "What else do you want to do? You want to hang him up from an oak tree?"

At about the same time, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said on CNN about the Lott controversy: "I think we should not lynch him."

In both remarks, Bruno and Shelby appeared to equate the attacks on Lott with the brutal murders of more than 3,000 blacks by white mobs from 1882 to 1968.

Trying to quell a firestorm that quickly flared, a contrite Bruno said a day later, "I used a metaphor that was admittedly a poor choice of words and inappropriate given the increased tensions generated by Sen. Lott's comments."

Some critics called for Bruno's resignation from his leadership post, but the uproar seems to have subsided. Shelby was the target of some initial criticism but little more.

One thing that bothered me was that these critics of Senator Shelby and State Senator Bruno appear to have very selective indignation.

Doesn't anybody remember these same civil rights leaders who presumably have called for the Senator's resignation making constant references to the "Taliban wing of the Republican Party?" I do. Specifically, during a speech last year at the NAACP national convention in New Orleans, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said that President George W Bush has "selected [political) nominees from the Taliban wing of American politics, appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing and chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection."

Isn't equating the beliefs of conservative Republicans to the practices of a group that tortures women for showing a little skin, doesn't allow women to learn to read, and sees it as its Allah-given duty and privilege to murder those who do not share their wacked-out view of Islam, a little beyond the pale as well?

Based on the writings and musings of several prominent Democrats over the past year or so, I guess not.

Some specifics:

In a September 15, 2002 op-ed in the Commercial Appeal Memphis, Susan Adler Thorp writes in reference to the black Democratic mayor of Memphis giving support to Republican Lamar Alexander's candidacy for the U.S. Senate:

Although some local Democrats may be unhappy with Herenton's participation, believing it gives Alexander credibility in the predominantly Democratic black community, some local Republicans also are disgruntled about Herenton's public support of Alexander - particularly those who come from the Taliban wing of the Republican

"A lot of people in the party violently disagree with it, because many people who live out in the county just don't like Herenton," said Conrad, a member of the local GOP steering committee.

Notice how Ms. Thorp equates country people who don't like a city mayor to the Taliban. She implies that the only reason they don't like him is that he is black. Sure seems like she is just as guilty of using "code" to inflame racial tensions as anyone on the right.

Notice also how Mr. Bond in one sentence (1) likens Republicans to the Taliban; (2) calls conservatives wretched; and (3) portrayed Bush cabinet officials as "nearly canine" (granted, he only portrayed the devotion as canine, but the message was clear).

In a June 21, 2002 editorial praising the recent Supreme Court decision that stated that executing the mentally retarded violated the Eighth Amendment, the Morning Star of Wilmington, NC the editorial writers averred that Justices Scalia and Thomas and Chief Justice Rehnquist comprise "the court's Taliban wing." This sort of rhetoric even after 9/11! I did not hear the any outcry from the left for equating inerpretations of our consitution with the murder of innocent women for showing their ankles.

On January 22 of this year, the New York Times ran a column entitled: "Good riddance to three from the Senate's Taliban wing" by columnist Bill Keller (op-ed, Jan. 22) about the impending retirements of Senators Thurmond, Graham, and Helms. I can understand how a liberal may disagree strongly with the views of these men. But again, isn't equating Senate voting records with murder innocent women a bit unfair. Evidently, nobody on the left thought so as we did not hear even a whimper of protest.

I could go on, but I guess my point is that the things that are "racially insensitive" when said by Republicans are part of the everyday discourse of the left. While I agree that Senator Bruno and Senator Shelby's comments were probably inappropriate considering the circumstances (Shelby's less so, since the term "lynching" is commonly used metaphorically in American political discourse), I could point out example after example of people on the left using language and metaphors that are far more inappropriate.

Kind of makes it hard to take the critics seriously.

Friday, December 20, 2002

GOC Will Love This One

Responding to Sen. Trent Lott's recent comments, Rep. Cass Ballenger told a newspaper he has had "segregationist feelings" himself after conflicts with a black colleague.

Ballenger, a North Carolina Republican, said former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., so provoked him that "I must I admit I had segregationist feelings." "If I had to listen to her, I probably would have developed a little bit of a segregationist feeling," Ballenger told The Charlotte Observer in Friday's editions. "But I think everybody can look at my life and what I've done and say that's not true. I mean, she was such a bitch."

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Extra, Extra Read All About It: Conservative Woman Is Published on NYT Op-Ed Page!

From the Volokh Conspiracy via Andrew Sullivan:

GREAT OP-ED BY ABIGAIL THERNSTROM in the New York Times today, on Lott but also on much more.

My question: Would the NYT ever publish Abigail Thernstrom if she were criticizing someone other than a Republican?

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

When will I post my thoughts on Trent Lott? How can I call myself a Blogger and not post something?

Not yet (still have one final to take), but believe me I have an opinion, and I think that it might be a little different than most everything else that has been written about the situation.

Buffy Rules

I just caught the tonight's episode of Buffy (on at 8:00 PM Tuesdays, UPN). Wow! This season is just awesome! I've always said that the second season of Buffy back in 1998 was one of the finest seasons of television ever (incidentely, I'd place 24 from last year in the top 5 as well). Before you start ridiculing me, keep in mind that no less of an authority than Entertainment Weekly named Buffy the best television show that year.

Season 2, for those of you who are familiar, is the one in which Buffy sent Angel into the depths of Hell by killing him in order to close the Hellmouth. This season so far has the makings of actually surpassing the second season. I quit watching Buffy last year after two less than mediocre seasons of poor storylines and almost no character development. This year I am back. If you are a disgruntled Buffy fan, I recommend you forgive and forget. This season is too good to miss out on.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

OK, just a quick post since I have two exams on Monday.

I just glanced over Bob Novak's column from today where he tells us:

Communications technicians at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the only unionized employees of the Democratic Party, have been laid off indefinitely.

This is just precious on any number of levels, but due to the shortness of time available I will highlight only one:

The Democrats claim to support unions. To show their support, they:

(1) Only allow one group of organized workers to work for their party.
(2) When times get tough, they lay these guys off before cutting anyone else.

Wow. The unions must feel lucky to have guys like these in their corner.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Sorry for the serious lack of posting. I'm in the middle of final exams, which means that I'm trying to learn a semester's worth of law in about two weeks.