Monday, December 16, 2002

Foot-Shooting II: Your post brings some threads together. Yes, the GOP does seem to get caught in situations that hint at sinister motives. You can bring up (as many people have) the Jesse Jackson "Hymietown" remark. But there is a difference. Jackson is not, and wasn't, an elected representative of the people. Which brings me to the next point: the racist blowhard one. I think it's important to be agnostic on this one. First, I don't know if the man is a racist. Grow up in Mississippi and you can end up with some serious racial blinders. (This, by the way, is just as true of Boston, though the blinders are different.) That said, he has clearly in the past, at the very least, pandered to a group of people with views like the ones now ascribed to him. In one sense, this is just politics -- you have to court the votes that are available, which is why every Democrat running for president in 04 will eventually kiss the netherbits of Al Sharpton during a trip to NYC. In another sense, the most important sense, this is political mountebankery. Whether it's Sharpton or the Council of Conservative Citizens or whatever they're called (huh, just noticed CCC ... KKK ... I suppose I'm the last one to figure this out, right?), the charlatanism of skirting the edges of their vile beliefs, just enough to catch the votes but keep the plausible deniability, is reprehensible. There's no place for Lott in the GOP leadership, and if Lott weathers the storm it will be a pyhrric victory for him and for the GOP.

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