Republican Clowns

January 12, 2010

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.


Valentines – Kiss & Make Up!

February 14, 2008


Krugman and Dowd – do these two read each other’s columns?  Certainly.  Do they talk to each other, I wonder?  Do they call each other on the phone for shouting matches?  I wonder if they talk to people who don’t make it their business to comment publicly on current politics, people at whom the nomination campaigns are directed?

First, Dowd lets loose with a, yes, vitriolic critique of Hillary Clinton, and speaks hysterically of the Clinton Attack Machine.  Whaaa?  Way over the top!  I haven’t heard anything outside the very wide bounds of the usual American campaign scurrilousness.  Check out Thomas Jefferson’s election fliers and the limericks written against him!  Dowd goes through periods of writing good, sharp columns, but I wonder why she thinks that we are interested in her buckets of bile.

Then, Krugman weighs in with his hissy-fit assessment of Obama as cult-icon, comparing him to Nixon and, get this, to GWB in a flight jacket on that aircraft carrier, USS Mission Accomplished!  Is he on this planet?  Yes, Obama’s wife was wrong to hem and haw about whether she  would work on a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign – she’s rooting for hubby.  But she’ll have plenty of time to smooth that over should her man not clinch the spot.

Krugman, for all his exceptional service to the nation as a tireless and generally spot-on critic of the Republicans, does have a tin ear at times when he ventures out of policy wonkdom.  For all his anger over Bush’s Iraq policy, he can’t seem to fathom that other voters feel the same way, and hold a grudge against Clinton.  Not just a grudge – they think it says something about her judgement and leadership.  He castigates the Obama campaign for making a mountain out of a molehill regarding Clinton’s remark that LBJ’s skills and courage were crucial to moving forward MLK’s agenda.  Her proposition may be true, but there’s that tin ear again, this time Clinton’s ear.  And he ignores Clinton’s radical distortion of Obama’s comments on Reagan, that Reagonzo successfully moved the country in a new direction in a way that Bill Clinton did not.  He was citing Reagonzo’s politicial skills – he didn’t say it was a good direction!