JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS

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Wednesday, December 18, 2002
 
Well, that's one way to put it

Now that Mickey Kaus has just linked it, I'm sure Timothy P. Carney's recent article on the National Review site is going to get a lot of readers.

Near the end of the piece, Carney writes about Trent Lott, "If [James] Carville wins — if the bar for branding someone a racist is lowered to a single careless comment, an unreflective childhood in the south, and a belief in states' [sic] rights — that puts every Republican politician or nominee in a little more danger." It all sounds okay at first, but let's think about what Carney actually wrote.

A single careless comment? Lott said it more than once.

An unreflective childhood in the south? An explaination, perhaps. It's not an excuse, though. Lots of people who have grown up in the South don't share Lott's vision (there are millions, of course, but easy ones to point to are Alabama's Howell Raines and Arkansas' Bill Clinton). And, Carney must believe in Henry Hyde's defintion of childhood, for Lott has volunteered that even at 42 years old, he did not really know who Martin Luther King Jr. was.

A belief in states rights? Well, that's one way to sugar coat it. What Lott and Thurmond were exposing wasn't the states rights of today's federalism. It was an ideology of interposition, nullification, and segregation.

Perhaps if people like Carney can successfully spin this episode for Trent Lott, Lott may be able to stay as Senate Majority Leader. If that's the case, I'd put my money on the Democratic nominee in 2004.

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