(continued from the previous post)
On the same subject, I am very disappointed with Bill Clinton's recent intimation that the GOP enjoys a strong Southern base primarily due to, shall we say, the embrace of a less progressive philosophy. Those comments went way too far. As my friend Dodd eloquently declared, there are many elements of the GOP philosophy that appeal to Southern values quite apart from racism. However, I am open to the idea that the GOP does flirt with, shall we say, less progressive elements through the use of code phrases, if not by the prominence of people like Trent Lott, whose views were hardly a secret, or John Ashcroft, who has stroked some of the same racist organizations that have Lott in trouble.
I'm also disappointed that so much of the discussion over whether Lott should keep his job as Majority Leader revolves around political calculations. Statements like "There is now a substantial question as to whether Senator Lott has the capacity to move [the Republican] agenda forward" (by Republican Missouri Senator Jim Talent) seem to be a symptom of raging just-don't-get-it-itis. Putting it like that implies that Lott's statements are only unaccesptable for the political damage they caused, and not on their own (de)merit. Earth to GOP: Lott's statement alone should be the criteria; either it was acceptable, in which case endorse it by keeping him, or assert that the GOP will not associate itself with the ideas Lott expressed and dump him. It's that simple.
As I've said, this sordid occasion brings a golden opportunities for all Americans to cunduct a long-overdue examination of conscience with regard to race in this country. Just as I reject the claim that a reasonable assertion of imbalance in economic or tax policy is "class warfare," examining policy or campaign tactics for in light of their effect on race relations is not inherently racist. Clinton absolutely went too far, but that does not mean the policies and tactics of the GOP (and the Democrats, of course) does not deserve close scrutiny to see if they've really abandoned the Southern Strategy that has tainted its politics from the Dixiecrat days through the Nixon era and at least up to the practices of the late Lee Atwater.
It's about walking the walk, not just talking the talk.