- The Washington Times - Friday, December 20, 2002

Lott's example
The New York Times yesterday welcomed Sen. Trent Lott's sudden embrace of racial preferences on Black Entertainment Television earlier this week, and urged the Bush administration to do the same or be accused of racism.
"With Trent Lott's recent remarks casting doubt on the Republican Party's commitment to racial equality, there is more reason than ever for the administration to stand up for affirmative action" when the issue goes before the Supreme Court next year, the newspaper said in an editorial.
According to news reports, the administration is divided over whether to argue against racial preferences or to stay out of the case entirely lest it offend black voters.
"It is fitting that the administration's dilemma arises during the firestorm over Mr. Lott, because both are about turning back the clock on race," the newspaper said.

The race card
"The Trent Lott apology tour continues, and as each day passes, we get further away from clear thinking about race. Especially because the liberals who were slow to criticize Mr. Lott last week are playing catch-up by using his words to smear conservative ideas and all Republicans," the Wall Street Journal says.
"Democrat Carl Levin took to NBC's 'Meet the Press' Sunday not only to denounce Mr. Lott, but to attribute Republican electoral success to 'code words' designed to polarize by race. This after a November GOP election sweep that was all about taxes and the war on terror," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Right on cue, People for the American Way has declared that every vote in favor of a conservative judge or against racial quotas is akin to Mr. Lott's nostalgia for 1948 Mississippi. The Washington Post chimed in that many conservatives are criticizing Mr. Lott's racist remarks not because they were offended, but because he has now become an obstacle to their own racist policies.
"The irony here is that Democrats are the politicians who have played the race card in recent years. Republicans may once have used race to polarize the electorate, especially in the South. But that strategy long ago stopped being useful. In the modern South, GOP gains have come in the suburbs, and not with crackers but among Northern transplants who know nothing of the Dixiecrats. Racial appeals turn those voters off. One reason Republicans did so well this November is because race wasn't an issue.
"Democrats in the South, on the other hand, need a large black turnout to win. So election after election they look for some way, any way, to raise racial fears to drive that vote. This year in Florida, it was the treatment of Haitian refugees. In 2000, it was the NAACP TV ad that linked George W. Bush to the lynching of James Byrd, even though his killers had got the death penalty in Texas. Going back to 1998, Missouri Democrats ran a radio ad implying that a vote for Republicans was a vote to burn black churches.
"This is the reality that Mr. Lott's offensive words have obscured. And his serial, unprincipled apologies are only making it worse. Surely this is something his GOP Senate colleagues will have to consider as they contemplate whether to replace him as their leader."

Battle-flag battle
NAACP activists are calling on Republican Sen. Trent Lott to condemn the display of the Confederate battle flag in his native Mississippi.
At a news conference in Gulfport, Miss., officials of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People "said Lott should ask state leaders to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag. They said he should also push to remove the Rebel flag from the Eight Flags display, the Harrison County beach landmark that served as the backdrop for the news conference," the Biloxi Sun Herald reported.
"Last summer, when local student Jason Whitfield staged a 77-day sit-in at the Eight Flags display, Lott called the Rebel flag's inclusion there 'a local issue.'
"'I don't see how he can call it a local issue,' NAACP board member Kathy Egland of Gulfport said Tuesday. 'He is from Mississippi.'"
Mr. Whitfield compared displaying the Confederate flag with Mr. Lott's "retroactive endorsement of Sen. Strom Thurmond's segregationist campaign for the presidency," the Sun Herald reported.
Mississippi voters approved the Confederate-themed state flag by a margin of nearly 2-to-1 in a 2001 referendum, and 58 percent of Harrison County voters on Nov. 5 approved the flag's inclusion in the Eight Flags display.

Kentucky candidate
Kentucky state Rep. Steve Nunn kicked off his campaign yesterday to become Kentucky's first Republican governor since his father left office in 1971.
"The people of Kentucky are ready for a change, and I think they're ready for a Republican governor," Mr. Nunn said during a rally at a Louisville high school.
Gov. Paul E. Patton, a Democrat who became immersed in scandal when rumors of an extramarital affair surfaced in September, cannot run again because of term limits.
Mr. Nunn whose exploratory campaign was co-chaired by his father, former Gov. Louie B. Nunn will face U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher and possibly others in the May 20 primary, the Associated Press reports.
Among the Democratic contenders is Attorney General Ben Chandler, grandson of Albert B. "Happy" Chandler, a former governor, U.S. senator and baseball commissioner. State House Speaker Jody Richards is also expected to run.
Lt. Gov. Steve Henry has been organizing a campaign, but remains plagued by claims that he overbilled the federal government for his work as a surgeon.
The general election is Nov. 4.

Carville's letter
Democratic bulldog James Carville says he forgives Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, for his recent remarks about Strom Thurmond's "Dixiecrat" campaign in 1948 and will no longer bring up the subject.
Appearing Wednesday on CNN's "Crossfire" as a guest rather than in his usual spot as a co-host, Mr. Carville read from a letter he said he sent to Mr. Lott.
"I'll read you two paragraphs just to give you a sense," Mr. Carville said. "You've asked for forgiveness. This letter is to inform you that, on the heels of a statement by my dear friend, Congressman John Lewis, a man I admire and respect as much as any living American, I do forgive you.
"As a result of that forgiveness, I will never criticize or attack any of your past actions or remarks concerning matters of race relations or civil rights. Remember Senator, we all make errors. Committing errors is not a tragedy, but failing to learn from them is a great one.
"You say you've learned, I believe you. That settles it."

Barr's new gig
Rep. Bob Barr, who will be leaving office in a few days, has accepted a post with the American Conservative Union Foundation.
ACUF Chairman David Keene announced yesterday that the Georgia Republican will head the foundation's new Privacy and Freedom Center.
"Bob's strong record of striving to find an appropriate balance between the need for security and the need to preserve our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms make him the perfect person to head our new privacy and freedom initiative," Mr. Keene said in a prepared statement.
"He epitomizes the ideals and conservative values that our movement embraces, and we look forward to working with him in this capacity."

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