Posted on December 18, 2002
Dixiecrats, Jesusmobiles, sheep, etc.
* For his remarks at Strom Thurmond's one-hundredth birthday party, Trent Lott will deservedly be remembered as one of the great lardheads of our time, but does he deserve to be remembered as the man who wanted to bring back segregation in the 21st Century? Surely nobody believes that, if Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948, Jim Crow would have survived all the way to this day. Lott would have to have believed that was possible, in order for "all these problems over all these years" to refer to desegregation. Lott may be obtuse, but there's no way he has as little sense of the world around him to have meant what most of his critics assume he did.
* Mort Kondracke of the Fox News Channel has an answer for this. He claims that Sen. Lott is subconsciously a segregationist. There's no way for Lott to respond to such a charge, since the premise is that he's not even conscious of his own malicious thoughts. How convenient. Once Lott's world apology tour is over, he deserves to receive an apology himself, from Kondracke, whose liberal zeal got the better of his professionalism, on this occasion.
* That 1980 Jackson Clarion-Ledger story that is supposed to have proven Lott's guilt actually contains exculpatory information. When Lott followed Thurmond to the podium at a rally for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign, he said, "You know, if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in this mess today." Of course, segregation had been the central issue of Thurmond's presidential campaign, so even if Lott wasn't talking about that issue, his retroactive endorsement of the former Dixiecrat was remarkably callous. But apparently, that was the extent of the offense. Thurmond had just finished railing against Jimmy Carter's economic policies. Lott's spokesman later explained that his flattery of Thurmond was merely meant to amplify Lott's criticism of Democrat positions on budget issues. That means that "this mess," which re-emerged in Lott's recent speech as "all these problems," had nothing to do with race. This point was certainly worth a few minutes of air time during the cable news networks' week-long Trent-a-thon.
* Some Republicans are angry with President Bush for piling on Sen. Lott, but he was right to do it. It's unthinkably insulting that the President of the United States, in the year 2002, should be forced to publicly renounce racial segregation as if it were possible he might think otherwise. And it was all because one senator in his own party had to be a boob. Lott's thoughtless yammerings will now be the source of a lot of aggravation and insult for many Republicans who themselves have said and done nothing to deserve it. One especially unfortunate victim will be Charles Pickering, who was subjected to fabricated charges of racism by the Democrats in the Judiciary Committee, when they blocked his appointment to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The accusations that had been made against Pickering could not bear scrutiny, but now they won't have to, because there won't be any. Bush was going to re-nominate him once the Republicans regained control of the Senate, but if he does that now, all the public will know about the judge is that he's a Mississippi Republican who has been personally endorsed by Trent Lott. As long as Sen. Lott is handing out apologies, he should make a point of it to give one to Judge Pickering, who has withstood quite enough slander already.
* Democrats commonly refer to former KKK recruiter Sen. Robert Byrd as the "guardian of the Constitution." Can you imagine one of them saying such a thing, and then having reporters descend on him, asking if he believes the Constitution allows segregation and forbids free exercise of religion? Of course you can't.
* Even after multiple apologies from Lott, the Congressional Black Caucus continues to demand his resignation. But when the other members of their own party selected Byrd to be President Pro Tempore of the Senate, that was apparently fine with them.
* Does the CBC have no sense of irony, that they would create a separate sphere within Congress for all people of the same skin color, and then presume to lecture the rest of us about segregation?
* Sen. Lott lifted his "mistake of the head and not of the heart" explanation from Jesse Jackson's apology for his anti-Semitic "Hymietown" remark. Interestingly, Jackson is among those now saying that Lott must resign. The folks at the Anti-Defamation League would probably have demanded that Jackson resign also, if only he'd had a job.
* The late Sen. William Fulbright of Arkansas was a segregationist who signed the Southern Manifesto in protest of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, yet Bill Clinton says Fulbright was his "mentor." When Clinton was president, he presented Fulbright with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Upon doing so, the First Black President said of his mentor, "The American political system produced this remarkable man, and my state did, and I'm proud of it." After Fulbright's death, Clinton dedicated a statue to him in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he said, "If he were here today, I'm sure he would caution us not to be too utopian in our expectations, but rather utopian in our values and vision." The protestations from the CBC and the NAACP must have been drowned out by the sound of the chirping crickets.
* According to the Lott standard, one would have to assume that Clinton is a racist, but let's be fair instead. William Fulbright was a Soviet apologist, who wanted to scrap the U.S. Constitution in favor of a parliamentary government like they have in Great Britain. He was also one of the first to propose that the United States relinquish its sovereignty to international bodies like the U.N., and he was known to use the word "patriot" as if it were an obscenity. So, obviously, Clinton's adoration of him had nothing in the world to do with racism. There -- the Clinton Legacy is saved.
* If the Republicans vote to depose Lott as Senate Majority Leader, and they definitely should, they could do a lot worse than to select Rick Santorum to replace him. The Pennsylvania senator is a consistent social and economic conservative, and a reliable supporter of the U.S. military. He's also been an unwavering defender of the Second Amendment, and probably the Senate's most eloquent and influential opponent of abortion. Furthermore, Theresa Heinz loathes him. Show me a better resume.
* Something called the Evangelical Environmental Network recently launched an ad campaign against that scourge of modern society, the SUV, by employing the slogan "What Would Jesus Drive?" The way the news media reacted, you'd think that fewer than ninety percent of them were atheists. The slant taken by ABC News was that Christians had turned against the Republican Party, for being selective in its application of Christian values. Get it? On the one hand, Republicans oppose human cloning, but on the other, they're doing nothing to save the planet from SUVs. The hypocrites! Of course, this criticism assumes that the EEN's answer, that Jesus would drive a fuel-efficient vehicle, or else he'd take the bus, is correct. However, Scripture tells us that Jesus actually didn't travel in a motor vehicle of any sort, but instead exploited a defenseless donkey. Who will be the first member of the Religious Left to propose that we all follow His example?
* Wouldn't the folks at the EEN be a little embarrassed if they were all driving their hybrid cars, and Christ came back to us riding around on one of those "Its" that were supposed to have become all the rage by now?
* Scientists at Stanford University have announced that they are about to begin cloning human embryos. They must really want Tyrone Willingham back desperately.
* Kellen Winslow Jr. will be playing for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl, as a starting wide receiver for the Miami Hurricanes. If Kellen Sr. had gotten his way, his son would now be on a losing team at Stanford or Michigan State, and playing for an offensively-colored head coach anyway.
* Tom Daschle says that Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu's runoff election victory "proves that we [Democrats] can win anywhere." Actually, it proves they can still win in a state that has elected only Democrats to the Senate for its entire existence, provided they have the advantage of incumbency, and just as long as their candidate advertises her support for the Republican president, pretends to be pro-life, and avoids Clinton, Gore and Daschle as if they all had head lice. But who's counting?
* Bill Clinton says he had drawn up plans to destroy North Korea's nuclear reactor in 1994. If it was anything like his planned Ninja attack on al-Qaeda, it probably consisted of launching a great big anvil at the reactor, by jumping on the other end of a giant teeter-totter.
* A man was arrested recently in Charleston, WV, for committing lewd acts with a sheep used in a live nativity scene. If he's clever, which men who share this hobby of his probably don't tend to be, he'll claim he was doing it as a form of protest against religious displays in public. Then the ACLU would surely come running to his aid. They'd probably even bring along an animal psychologist, to explain that the sheep had consented.
* As long as our judicial system is taking the position that nobody is responsible for his own actions, people should be encouraged to start suing their state governments for all the money they've lost over the years while playing the lottery. Maybe then, politicians would find that they have more empathy for cigarette companies, gun manufacturers and fast food restaurants than they ever thought possible.
* Al Gore's decision not to run for president in 2004 will open the Democratic primary race up to many candidates who otherwise wouldn't be thought to stand a chance. One of those is Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont. To get an idea of how a Dean campaign against Bush might sound, get a load of this zinger: "There was a great saying, at one time, that if we really wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein, what we should do is send the president's economic team over to advise Saddam Hussein on the economy of Iraq, and that would be the end of Saddam Hussein." What an ideal representative for the Democratic Party: James Carville's hysterics, Terry McAuliffe's wit and Ralph Nader's charisma, all rolled into one.
* At this point, the most formidable potential Democrat candidate is Gore's former running mate, Joe Lieberman. Unlike Gore, who was cynically gambling on the war effort going badly, Lieberman has been the most hawkish among leading Democrats, so he figures to grow dramatically in stature if Saddam is overthrown within the next year. If this proves to be the case, the Democratic Party will have to do everything it can to stop Lieberman from running. In 2000, the Democrats tried to capture the Jewish and anti-Semitic vote simultaneously, and generally succeeded. They will not be able to use this formula, however, after a devout Jew has defeated Al Sharpton in the primaries. This publication is not in the habit of advising Democrat politicians, but watch your back, Joe.
* Somebody must have sent a memo around to all the TV boxing announcers, because most of them are becoming remarkably nonjudgmental about fighters' criminal records. Now, when they mean to get across the point that a boxer has recently been released from prison, they say that he has been away from the ring for an extended period of time "due to legal problems." If a man is being sued because somebody tripped and fell down his front steps, then he has legal problems. If he has a criminal history of beating up his girlfriend, dealing cocaine and fencing stolen goods, then he has a behavioral problem. And anyone who follows boxing for a living has seen enough of those to know one when he sees it.
* The people at Planned Parenthood don't see why anybody would take moral offense to their pro-abortion Christmas cards. After all, the "Choice On Earth" slogan that is printed on them seems perfectly innocuous to the PPFA. And you know, they've got a point. It does sound much cheerier than "Termination On Earth" or "Dilation and Curettage On Earth." Even "Evacuated Skull Contents On Earth" carries with it certain unpleasant connotations. All things considered, the PPFA's Christmas card promotion was, by its standards, rather tasteful.
Return to Shinbone
The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press
Mailbag . Issue Index . Politimals