From the Washington Times:
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott has inadvertently provided ammunition to those who would perpetuate the blood libel against conservatism in general and the Republican Party’s Southern-based expansion in particular that it is tainted by bigotry. The conservative movement has spent more than a half-century driving out even the hint of racial or religious bigotry…
So you see, the crazy notion that there’s any sort of linkage whatsoever between conservatism particularly Trent Lott’s style of good old boy Southern conservatism and racism is equivalent to the ancient anti-Semitic “blood libel.” And Trent has “inadvertently” helped perpetuate this baseless accusation. And we denounce this, oh yes we do, but only insofar as it provides our enemies with ammunition, because certainly Trent didn’t really mean what it sounded like he meant.
But they’ve got it partially right here. There has been a concerted effort among the more moderate-libertarian wings of the Republican party to exorcise the old ghosts of segregation and states rights (though I think the Washington Times overstates the time frame by maybe three or four decades). They’re smart enough to realize that that particular dog’s hunting seasons are long behind them. Which is exactly why some of the loudest voices howling on this one have been conservative. They’re trying to convince you to move into their lovely planned community, and as they take you around in a little electric golf cart and point out all the convenient amenities, the last thing they want you to see is the unpleasant muck which occasionally bubbles up to the surface, because then you might start wondering if the muck has really been eradicated, as the brochure promised, or just covered up with an attractive lawn which, though meticulously-tended, may not survive much longer than the time it takes for you to close on your new condo.
It also plays hell with that whole “conservatism is cool” meme.
As Tapped notes:
In a way, this all makes Tapped feel bad for younger conservatives, especially the cosmopolitan-intellectual types who talk a good game about the virtues of Red America but live in places like Washington, New York and Cape Cod. Guys like (Washington Times columnist Robert Stacy McCain) and Lott are throwbacks, a dying breed, and clearly it legitimately pains the younger guys that they have to play on the same team as these jackasses. It’s tough being the Blue-state intellectual arm of an Old South-led political movement.
(Follow that link, by the way, for more info on this McCain fellow not to be confused with Senator John McCain, of course. Interesting stuff.)
But you know, our conservative friends who are shocked, shocked by Trent Lott’s comments have, well, maybe not been paying such close attention to the esteemed Senator’s history. As Atrios (who I’m finding increasingly invaluable) writes:
Lean Left notes that Trent Lott has written 14 columns, from 1992-1998, for Citizen Informer, the newsletter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. Hey, where all you righty bloggers been on this issue?
The socialists were on this.
Gays and lesbians were on this.
FAIR was on this.
Those leftists at Democracy Now! were on this.
Afrocentric News was on this.
Molly Ivins was on this.
Shall I go on?