Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Like a kid in a candy storeYou're walking along the street. Suddenly, a bag filled with hundred dollar bills falls from the sky at your feet. Whoopee! Paul Krugman is acting as if he's that lottery winner right now. For a couple of years, he has been bashing Republicans as evil liars who are out to destroy the country. Now, thanks to Trent Lott's idiocy, Krugman gets to call all Republicans racist. He's been chomping at the bit for years to claim that opposition to excessive government was the equivalent of joining the KKK, and Trent Lott handed him his own head on a silver platter.
And even so, Krugman couldn't resist overreaching in a desperate attempt to smear all Republicans:
Indeed, this year efforts to suppress nonwhite votes were remarkably blatant. There were those leaflets distributed in black areas of Maryland, telling people they couldn't vote unless they paid back rent; there was the fuss over alleged ballot fraud in South Dakota, clearly aimed at suppressing Native American votes. Topping it off was last Saturday's election in Louisiana, in which the Republican Party hired black youths to hold signs urging their neighbors not to vote for Mary Landrieu.Say what? Accusing people who commit fraud of fraud is "an effort to suppress nonwhite votes?" Asking people not to vote for one's opponent is "an effort to suppress nonwhite votes?" Next Krugman will complain that Republicans have to all stop buying campaign ads, because these ads are insidious attempts to get people to vote against the Democrats.
Anyway, even if Krugman thinks the media isn't playing up the Trent Lott story enough, that will probably change tomorrow, now that Al Gore has weighed in. He thinks the Senate needs to censure Trent Lott for his racist statement. (Incidentally, I didn't hear Gore suggesting that the Congress censure David Bonior, Jim McDermott, or Mike Thompson for their pro-Saddam Hussein comments in Baghdad. Which is worse: supporting a murderous dictator, or supporting a guy for segregationist views when he himself abandoned those views decades ago?)
I don't know whether Trent Lott is a racist. But if he's not, he's a jackass who's doing a damn good job of faking it. And if he is, well, that speaks for itself. Apologizing isn't enough; he has singlehandedly driven a stake through the "compassionate" side of "compassionate conservatism." I don't know that he needs to leave the Senate, but I don't think the Republican party can afford to keep him in a leadership role anymore. Sorry, Trent, but as Ari Fleischer tried to warn you last year, "Americans need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is."
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