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Didn't see that one coming

Exhibit A in Why Trent Lott Needs To Go: Bob Herbert's column in today's New York Times. It's entirely predictable, entirely dangerous, and very simple: Republicans are all racist. Trent Lott proves it.

But Mr. Lott is not the only culprit here. The Republican Party has become a haven for white racist attitudes and anti-black policies. The party of Lincoln is now a safe house for bigotry. It's the party of the Southern strategies and the Willie Horton campaigns and Bob Jones University and the relentless and unconscionable efforts to disenfranchise black voters. For those who now think the Democratic Party is not racist enough, the answer is the G.O.P. And there are precious few voices anywhere in the G.O.P. willing to step up and say that this is wrong.


There are calls now for the ouster of Trent Lott as the Senate Republican leader. I say let him stay. He's a direct descendant of the Dixiecrats and a first-rate example of what much of his party has become.

Keep him in plain sight. His presence is instructive. As long as we keep in mind that it isn't only him.

Okay, I misspoke earlier. Republicans aren't all racist. Just most of them. "Much" of the Republican party wants to return to segregated schools, in Bob Herbert's mind.

And why should those of us who aren't Republicans care? Because Herbert also says this:

Much of the current success of the Republican Party was built on the deliberate exploitation of very similar sentiments. One of the things I remember about Mr. Reagan's 1980 presidential run was that his first major appearance in the general election campaign was in Philadelphia, Miss., which just happened to be the place where three civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were murdered in 1964.

During that appearance, Mr. Reagan told his audience, "I believe in states' rights."

Enough said.

Yes, enough said. As long as people like Trent Lott are spewing their idiocies, perfectly legitimate principles such as federalism will be tarred with the racism brush, either by demagogues like Al Gore or by people like Bob Herbert who are too dumb to know better. Republicans are never going to win over black voters on issues like affirmative action, but there is common ground -- school vouchers, the elimination of the death tax -- on which they could work. But not as long as Trent Lott is one of the major faces of the Republican party. It's not like he's some sort of genius; if he were, he wouldn't be in this mess. He's replaceable. And Republicans need to replace him, yesterday.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 12, 2002 7:08 AM.

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