Friday, 20 December 2002

Another idiot senator

This time, it's Democrat Patty Murray of Washington. I haven't seen a display of moral relativism like this since I was taught the positive contributions of Adolph Hitler in 7th grade. Murray deserves to be nibbled to death by cats.

Ronald Reagan and the Neshoba County Fair

Over the past few weeks, a lot of people have been making a big deal out of Ronald Reagan's appearance in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1980; they suggest that somehow choosing Philadelphia, in and of itself, illustrates Reagan trolling for racist votes; Radley Balko, for example, discusses this argument.

Philadelphia does have its own ugly racial history; it was the site of the killings of three northern civil rights workers in 1964, famously dramatized in the film Mississippi Burning.

But there is another explanation for Reagan's appearance. Philadelphia, Mississippi is also the site of the Neshoba County Fair, established in 1889. According to their history page, the tradition of political candidates speaking at the fair dates back to 1896. And, lo and behold, Ronald Reagan spoke at the fair in 1980 to kick off his post-convention campaign. An appearance at the fair, in and of itself, does not suggest a racial motive; former Massachussetts Governor Mike Dukakis spoke at the fair during his 1988 presidential campaign, for example, and most candidates for major statewide or regional office from both parties participate in the fair.

Of course, what you do at the fair also makes a difference. And in 1980, there can be no question that a “states' rights” strategy was in play, with South Carolina's Strom Thurmond on hand as well as then-representative Trent Lott. To a roaring crowd, Reagan emphatically declared his support for states' rights, and in front of that same crowd Trent Lott first publicly said that Strom Thurmond ought to have been elected president in 1948.

On balance, the question has to be: what did Reagan say, not where did he say it. Ultimately his words, and not his location, should indict him.

LottWatch Day 14: Dénouement

Due to the downtime, let me be the last to say good riddance to Trent Lott as majority leader. However, if you think this story is over, it isn't:

  • The media will attempt to portray most Republican legislators as racist due to low NAACP voting scores, even though the scores include numerous votes that are, at best, tangentially related to civil rights.

  • Democrats are attempting to tar Bill Frist with allegations that he was nebulously involved in an effort to suppress black turnout in Louisiana.

  • Some civil rights groups are seeing this as an opportunity to advance their agenda; how much will the GOP cave? Or will they make a principled argument against the traditionalist civil rights pantheon?

  • If the censure measure against Trent Lott proceeds regardless, expect a concerted effort to add the names of current and past national figures to the list, probably starting from George Washington through Woodrow Wilson up to Cynthia McKinney.

Some people with particularly interesting thoughts: Daniel Drezner, Virginia Postrel, Glenn Reynolds, and Radley Balko (on Arlen “Often-Wrong” Specter).

Tacitus also has some thoughts on distancing the GOP from the neo-Confederates; if they did that, I might actually be inclined to start voting Republican.

Downtime today

There apparently was a power outage this morning that took down the system that is hosted on. While it was down, I took the opportunity to replace the motherboard and CPU (upgraded from a P-III 450 to an Athlon 750) and upgrade the system memory (from 512 MB to 784 MB), since I had the spare parts laying around the house gathering dust anyway.

No comment

I pass this link along without any comment whatsoever, except to say that I do not recommend attempting this at home (or at least without my personal supervision).

LottWatch Day 14: Ok, now he's toast

In what has to be the world's most slow-motion political coup (with the possible exception of the current Chávez situation in Venezuela, which may be over by the time I'm a grandfather), the most recent developments are Bill Frist throwing his hat into the ring (sorta, kinda) and the continuing evaporation of public support for Trent Lott among his Senate colleagues. Daniel Drezner predicts the final stroke will be when a Lott ally, probably Mitch McConnell, puts his own hat in the ring; Daniel also reports the results of a poll of Republican National Committee members, in which only 20% of the respondents backed Lott.

He also discusses Ken Layne's post on the role of the White House in the situation; Daniel argues that there's a separation-of-powers issue at work here. As others have noted in recent days, the last time a president overtly forced a leadership change in the Senate, it backfired on both Roosevelt and his majority leader.

Daniel's also picked up my term “Lottroversy”; hopefully we can get that on one of the Sunday shows...

Reason Online writes on the Dixiecrat who made it to the White House. You'll never read Congressional Government the same way again.

Obligatory Twin Towers Post

Just got back from seeing The Twin Towers with friends. Jacob T. Levy has a comparison between the novel and the film, and Glenn Reynolds comments as well. I enjoyed the film for the most part, especially since my recollection of the book is so dim that it's entirely possible I never read it. It's a bit like Shakespeare though; you already know the ending (even without having read the book), so ultimately the execution is key. Now I have to dig out my Fellowship of the Ring DVD.