Republican Clowns

Republicans playing the ‘race card’ always make me chuckle.  Clarence Thomas was one of the first, and his “high-tech” lynch mob has perhaps never been equaled for weird political finesse.  Now we have Michael Steele of the RNC calling for Harry Reid to resign, and deploring the “double standard” at play in race-talk.

Yes, well, I think the root of the problem is that we Americans still don’t like being reminded that race is an issue in this country.  So Reid’s comments, quoted in the NYTimes as

suggesting that Barack Obama could become the first African-American president because he was “light-skinned” and because he did not speak with a “negro dialect” unless he wanted to…

strike me as a simple statement of fact about the mind of the American electorate.  The guy who cuts my hair said before the election,

I don’t know if I’m ready for a black president.  Have you seen Michelle Obama?  She’s really black!’ 

So, was Harry so far off the mark, about some Americans at least?

Then there’s Trent Lott, the martyr of the Republicans:

At a 100th birthday tribute to Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 2002, Mr. Lott alluded favorably to Mr. Thurmond’s campaign for president as a segregationist Dixiecrat in 1948, saying the nation would have been better off had Mr. Thurmond been elected.

This displays poor political judgement or a strong committment to segregation, take your pick.  I’m not arguing here that Lott deserved to be forced out, although I think he’s a right-wing ideologue, but the two statements are hardly equal. 

Interesting also how the republicans get to have it both ways.  When Thurmond was accused of secretly fathering a child with a black woman, it was denounced as vicious propaganda and slander.  (What was the accusation of sin that most upset them I wonder – sex with a black woman or adultery?)  When it turned out to be completely true, somehow it became evidence of his all-too-frail humanity.

5 Responses to Republican Clowns

  1. zeusiswatching says:

    It’s the hypocrisy that offends and sometimes amuses me. Having been a “Hill Rat” and an inside the Beltway type for much of my professional career, it all turns my stomach because for most of these guys (press people included) its all showbiz.

    Like it or not, if Reid were a Republican you know the liberal pundits would be calling for his head. This last week, it was the conservatives turn to be self-righteous and demand a resignation. Trent Lott’s words were deeply offensive too, but in his case the racism was obviously at the core of the remark, not bad taste which was Reid’s problem.

    The guy who was the Republican nominee in ’48 was not Strom Thurmond so Lott was plugging a guy’s ancient,failed, and mostly forgotten campaign who was both a racist back in the day and not a Republican at that point in his storied career either. Lott was basically saying that segregation and racism were the reasons he liked Thurmond’s quixotic campaign as a Dixiecrat.

    We are still diseased by racism. Yes, we have come a long way from Jim Crow laws, but we are still a society that suffers from this problem in very real ways. I believe the reckless way the bailouts on Wall Street were initially disbursed is indicative of the continued racism that exists in American culture that we don’t really grasp, but it is still alive and impacting our lives.

  2. lichanos says:

    …because for most of these guys (press people included) it’s all showbiz.

    Maybe the most upsetting part of your comment. Journalism has become totally showbiz.

    I agree with everything you’ve said. I didn’t mean to imply that liberals don’t act like clowns too, but I don’t usually find it offensive (bigotted) so much as depressing and stupid.

    What did you do up/inside there? Did it give you ulcers?

  3. zeusiswatching says:

    Gee, I didn’t infer anything like that. Sadly, I can verify my cynicism all too well. I’d love to be wrong about this sort of thing.

    Still, I think Reid’s comments, tasteless and ill considered were more akin to Berlusconi’s tone deaf, not with the program comments about Obama. Lott’s words were different, they came from a different place.

    I remember the right wing press (NRO in particular) and a number of GOP pols (Sen. John Warner of Virginia, not exactly a right winger) taking the lead on calls for Lott to step down. Considering where Lott’s comments were coming from, I think those calls were 100% justified. Reid’s comments just deserve derisive replies.

    As for me? IT and Admin, nothing too exciting.

    • lichanos says:

      Still, I think Reid’s comments, tasteless and ill considered were more akin to Berlusconi’s tone deaf, not with the program comments about Obama.

      Not quite fair to Reid, since he made his comment in a conversation that was related to an author of a just published book – isn’t that how it went? Berlusconi utters his stupidities in news conferences, etc.

  4. troutsky says:

    I think you nailed it. There is a narrative about skin color that can’t be pretended away. I’m medium white but can tan up.

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