Monday, 9 December 2002

Let's play “Parse the Paragraph” (updated)

Here goes: my first Fisking. The quote is from Trent Lott, in case you've been under a rock all weekend.

I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him.

That, at least, is true.

We're proud of it.

Who's “we”? I sure ain't. “We were proud of it” (past tense) might be an accurate statement, but unless I didn't get a memo, the present tense version sure isn't.

And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.

Which exact problems are those? The Dixiecrats were basically southern populists who never met a big government program they didn't like (at least when it mostly benefited whites), not Goldwater conservatives, so Lott can't be referring to the expansion of government power, something Truman had relatively little to do with anyway. The 1949–53 period is hardly known for anything except the Korean War, and I don't think Lott believes U.S. involvement in that conflict was a mistake. In short, unless Thurmond would have had a conversion experience on par with Earl Warren's (supporter of rounding up Japanese-Americans becomes big fan of civil rights) while in the White House, it's hard to imagine what “problems” might have been avoided.

NewsMax has the gall to think that Lott doesn't deserve what little roasting he's getting from the media on this. Not that Robert Byrd doesn't deserve flak either. At least fellow Mississippian Miscellaneous Heathen is with me:

I'm ashamed of our past, ashamed that my fellow Mississippians voted this way in 1948, and I'm ashamed of Lott for continuing to make us look like unreconstructed hicks.

He also refers to Lott as a “plastic-haired weasel” — now that, my friends, is a word picture.

Matt Drudge is reporting that Al Sharpton has joined Jesse Jackson in protesting Lott's comments. Talk about the periphery of American politics... No word yet from Louis Farrakhan and Sister Souljah.