Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Three Cheers for Guilt by Association

The New York Times has turned Barack Obama's denunciation of Jeremiah Wright into a racial injustice.

The paper of record's editorial today on Obama finally heeding calls to break with his race-baiting minister bitches that "African-Americans are regularly called upon to explain or repudiate what other black Americans have to say, while white public figures are rarely, if ever, handed that burden."

It takes a willful disregard of recent history to make that claim. When the white supremacist David Duke ran for Louisiana State Representative in Louisiana almost two decades ago the national GOP and then-President George H. W. Bush unequivocally denounced him, as liberals demanded.

To cite another of many examples: when right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan made blatantly anti-Semitic remarks in 1990 there were calls for conservative patriarch William F. Buckley, Jr. to condemn him. Buckley rose to the occasion with a 20,000 word essay--later turned into a book--that branded Buchanan an anti-Semite.

Ronald Reagan also unequivocally broke with the far-right John Birch society when he ran for California governor in 1966. Guilt by association is the standard by which blacks and whites are usually judged. And for good good reason. The willingness to break ranks with compatriots is a crucial moral test for anyone engaged in public ranks. It takes tremendous courage to denounce allies or associates for unconscionable behavior. You can end up with diminished influence and your former comrades new found enemies. It's a price honorable men and women, of all ideological stripes, have willingly paid over the years.

Cold War liberals such as Joe Rauh and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. founded Americans for Democratic Action in 1947 to separate liberals from communists. The ADA's charter explicitly barred membership for communists.

More recently, in the 1980s, David Dinkins, the first black mayor of New York City, with little public pressure denounced Louis Farrakhan, even though Dinkins had almost nothing in common with the minister other than skin color. Renouncing allies is a rejection of the ends justify the means ethos. The demand for solidarity in the ranks, by contrast, is the stuff of totalitarians.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Donna Brazile sides with McCain in Hagee flap

The rappers who support Barack Obama would likely call Democratic strategist Donna Brazile a "n-----" and "b-----." But she's not concerned.

Brazile, a CNN talking head who managed Al Gore's 2000 Presidential campaign, tells this reporter that it's "plain stupid" to expect Obama to renounce the rappers and equally dumb to ask John McCain to "renounce, denounce and explain" his endorsement by controversial minister John Hagee.

"If we get into the business of asking every political leader to renounce, denounce and reject people who are favorably inclined to back someone, will we ever get anything done?" she asks.

Still, Brazile, a Democratic superdelegate, expects the Republicans to make an issue of Obama's collaboration with rappers.

"Of course, the GOP will play their old hand in roughing up Obama, Clinton, etc," she says.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Humorlous Hillary


Scores of books and thousands of articles have been written about Hillary. Every conceivable angle, all sorts of minutia, her every step; these are all covered. But has anyone ever discovered any evidence that Hillary has a sense of humor.

Has she ever told a joke not written for her? Has she ever made any witty off-the-cuff remarks.

Nothing comes to mind.