tpm sums it up
Talking Points Memo has this take on Bill Clinton's comments:
No one compares to Bill Clinton when it comes to cutting to the chase and telling truths in a way sure to make Republicans howl. And howl they will. Because this statement is undeniably true. ...But this really gets us into the bigger story, the bigger picture.
One needn't think that the Republican party itself is racist. I don't. (In any case, that's too big a word, too general a question.) What the Republican party does have is a history -- not by accident, but by design -- of playing to and benefiting from the votes of racist and crypto-racist constituencies in certain parts of the country -- particularly, though not exclusively, in the South. They built the Republican party in the South on the foundation of racial resentment and civil rights rejectionism. Since then they've built a whole house on top of it. But the foundation's still there.
To deny this is to deny the obvious. There's just been a prohibition on saying it. And a good deal of the Republican displeasure with Lott -- though mixed with a lot of genuine outrage at his retrograde views -- is tied to his having brought this all into the open.
For more on the GOP's recent history of flirtation with the anti-progressive vote, see (once again) this excellent essay at Body and Soul, who agrees that Clinton is telling an uncomfortable truth, and Avedon Carol's comments as well. And in today's WaPo op-ed page, Jim Hoagland--hardly a raving liberal--also says "Lott has committed the unpardonable Washington political sin: He has called attention to the obvious. Lott has unlocked the door to the attic that contains a family secret no one is ever supposed to acknowledge."
(continued in the next post)