28 January 2005

God Bless America.

Iraq Athabakumu Allah.

Ofc. Krupke at 5:33 PM
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27 January 2005

Let's say you're a Senate Democrat. You're dealing with a nominee for Secretary of State that you don't like. You know she's pretty much guaranteed confirmation, but you want to do a little grandstanding first, a kind of mini-filibuster to put the administration on notice. Your mission is complicated slightly by the fact that the nominee is a black woman, the first to be National Security Advisor and first to be nominated for Secretary of State, and also that she has a formidable biography that includes being a childhood friend of Denise McNair, one of the girls killed by the infamous Birmingham Church Bombing in 1963. All this is normally the sort of thing the Democratic Party likes to make a big deal of. You are, truth be told, a little miffed that the Republicans managed to pull this off first. So, who do you get to lead the charge?

I know! How about a geriatric ex-Klansman? A Klan recruiter, to be precise? A man who wrote, three years after he later claimed he had disassociated himself with the Klan, "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia."? And of course, this little gem:

"Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."

And, of course, someone who voted against both the Civil Rights Act and the appointment of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court? And to top it all off, make sure he's a vindictive cuss from a backwater state with a penchant for naming everything after himself.

Now, you can bring up Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond, of course, and you wouldn't be wrong. But those guys were at least never actually in the Klan, they aren't in the Senate any more, and anyway they were used for decades as rhetorical evidence of the racism in the heart of the Republican Party. Nobody will ever call Byrd, or the Democrats, on this. Recall, for instance, how Zell Miller's ugly past statements suddenly became relevant again only when he started siding with the Republicans. And the Trent Lott birthday speech controversy speaks for itself.

I don't object to Rice being questioned; I don't even really care about the grandstanding for fundraising purposes - that's the political game, have at it. Being a conservative and a policeman, it irritates me when race gets injected into everything; it's annoying that I even have to talk about this. It's the flagrant double standard that really burns me. If the parties were reversed, the Rice confirmation hearings would be the subject of challenging Off-Broadway plays for years to come.