- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Upside down
In the upside-down world of People for the American Way, a vote for a black Supreme Court justice apparently is evidence of racism.
The liberal group, taking advantage of Sen. Trent Lott's troubles, put out a press release yesterday purporting to show that potential successors to Mr. Lott of Mississippi have voted to "undermine civil rights protections." The evidence? Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles voted in favor of Clarence Thomas' nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991.
That was just one of what PFAW described as "16 key civil rights votes over the past 20 years" in which the above-named Republicans almost always failed to vote the liberal way. It included such issues as racial quotas in federal contracting, in which, of course, those opposed to discrimination are deemed to be foes of civil rights.
Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist and Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum were included in the scorecard, although they could not be denounced for supporting Mr. Thomas, since they were not in the Senate at that time. However, they could be rebuked for such anti-civil rights sins as voting for John Ashcroft for attorney general.
"These dismal voting records make it clear that the Republican Party's civil rights problem is far broader and deeper than Trent Lott," PFAW President Ralph G. Neas said.

'Insensitive' remarks
A little over two months ago, this column reported vicious racial remarks by Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, but no one seemed to notice.
Mr. Conyers, in an interview with Cybercast News Service (www.CNSNews.com) in late October, said he agreed with singer Harry Belafonte in describing Secretary of State Colin L. Powell as a "house slave" of the Bush administration.
"I have been reading and rereading what [Mr. Belafonte] said and I am trying to find where there is something inaccurate about what he said, and I can't find it," Mr. Conyers told reporter Marc Morano.
"Do I agree with the [slavery] analogy? Yes, completely," Mr. Conyers added.
His remarks, as far as we know, drew not a peep from any politician Republican or Democrat and were ignored by the rest of media. However, the media did not hesitate to report that Mr. Conyers has called for Mr. Lott to resign for his "insensitive" words at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party.

Speaking in 'code'
"On 'Meet the Press' Sunday, Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, made clear to Republicans the price they will pay if they allow Trent Lott to get away with 'apologizing' for his egregious remarks without squarely facing up to his responsibility for them," Thomas J. Bray writes at www.opinionjournal.com.
"The Lott episode, Mr. Levin asserted, only confirms what Democrats have long known about Republicans: that they use Willie Horton-style 'code' to exploit racial fears and win elections. 'It even happened again in Michigan's race for governor this fall,' the senator said.
"He was referring to Republican candidate Dick Posthumus' attacks on his opponent's comments supporting racial reparations and a memo from Detroit's Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick outlining the spoils he would expect including a quota of 20 percent of gubernatorial appointments in return for supporting Democrat Jennifer Granholm, who ultimately won. Supporters of Mr. Posthumus ran a particularly ham-handed ad quoting the memo against the background of a glowering photo of Mayor Kilpatrick," said Mr. Bray, who is a columnist for the Detroit News.
"Mr. Levin's assertions about Mr. Posthumus' motives are highly dubious. Nobody believes there is a racist bone in Mr. Posthumus' body, and the weak black turnout in Detroit suggests African-Americans there weren't particularly exercised. And it was the Democrat, Ms. Granholm, who sought to exploit the race issue explicitly by pandering to an NAACP audience on the reparations issue, though she claimed ridiculously that she had meant something other than cash payments. Nor did Mayor Kilpatrick deny the existence of his outrageous memo, though Ms. Granholm denied ever having seen it.
"But the point is not to argue Mr. Posthumus' intentions. If Republicans ever hope to see the day when they don't get attacked for racism every time they raise such issues, they need to begin laying down the law against politicians like Mr. Lott who give even the appearance of pining for segregation."
Mr. Bray added: "No, dumping Mr. Lott won't inhibit liberal ideologues like Mr. Levin, much less professional racialists like Jesse Jackson of 'Hymietown' fame. Unable to cope with the thought that Republicans keep winning elections on the merits, they must invent conspiracy theories about a 'new racism' for their downward political spiral."

Smearing conservatives
"On Friday night, CBS' John Roberts and NBC's Norah O'Donnell smeared legitimate positions taken by many conservatives, against a Martin Luther King holiday and extending the Voting Rights Act, by offering Trent Lott's opposition to both as evidence to support the notion that he's racially intolerant," the Media Research Center's Brent Baker reports at www.mediaresearch.org.
"On the December 13 'CBS Evening News,' Roberts intoned: 'Lott had declared it was simply a poor choice of words to say the country would be better off had segregationist Strom Thurmond been elected president in 1948. But he'd said almost exactly the same thing 22 years ago, and his voting record against an extension of the Voting Rights Act, the Martin Luther King Holiday, and an African-American judge's confirmation suggested to some in his hometown a disturbing pattern.'
Said an unidentified man in the segment: "'To put it bluntly, I just think he took his hood off.'
"Roberts: 'Lott insisted tonight that though he grew up in an environment of segregation, he is no racist and will work to prove it.'
"Over on the 'NBC Nightly News,' Norah O'Donnell asserted: 'His praise of Strom Thurmond's segregationist presidential campaign has given his critics a chance to remind people that in the 1980s he voted against extending the Voting Rights Act and a federal holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.'"
Mr. Baker also noted: "A Friday front page Washington Post story impugned all conservatives as racists, or at least segregationist sympathizers. Under the headline, 'Lott Has Moved Little On Civil Rights Issues; Analysts Say Remarks, Record Consistent,' the Post recounted how Lott has failed to adopt liberal positions: 'An examination of his record shows that over the past 40 years, he has consistently taken positions at odds with those of the traditional civil rights community.' Many of those views matched most conservatives, such as opposing forced school busing. And even media hero John McCain voted against a Martin Luther King Day holiday," Mr. Baker noted.

Sid and Trent
Sen. Trent Lott's remarks at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party turned from a minor news item into a headline-making scandal. How did that happen?
Two words: Sidney Blumenthal.
So says Mickey Kaus of www.kausfiles.com, who reports that Mr. Blumenthal sent out a "mass e-mail" alerting Internet writers like Jacob Weisberg of the online journal Slate (www.slate.com) about Mr. Lott's praise of the 1948 Thurmond presidential campaign.
Mr. Blumenthal, not coincidentally, is a former colleague of Washington Post reporter Thomas Edsall, who first reported Mr. Lott's remarks. The two co-authored a 1987 book, "The Reagan Legacy." Mr. Blumenthal went on to become an aide in the Clinton White House.
Mr. Kaus explains that e-mail tips from Mr. Blumenthal helped drive the Lott story among "bloggers," as those Internet newshounds with "Web logs" call themselves.
"It was a string of pro-Democratic bloggers who immediately started whaling on Lott," writes Mr. Kaus, noting that conservative bloggers later jumped in with their own Lott-must-go chorus.

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