Sigh …

Hey, Nation: Mark Green ran for mayor in 2001, not 2002. The primary was held on September 11, then cancelled, and Green tumbled in the polls after he said he could have handled the crisis just as well as Rudy. Aren’t you based in New York? Shouldn’t you catch these things?

Well … you did print Green’s piece … so I guess you didn’t read it in the first place.


Me, the activist

I got the sudden urge to call my Republican senator, Peter Fitzgerald, around 11 a.m. My natural cynicism was off the charts – yes, yes, I know that my opinion should matter, but I kept thinking from the perspective of the poor staffer who’d intercept my call, and I kept picturing her eyes rolling as some guy claiming to be from Illinois told her boss what to do. But I did it, in my own halting manner.

“Hello, Sen. Peter Fitzgerald”

“Hi. I … I never do this, but I’m a constituent of the senator, I live in Evanston, and I wanted to register my opinion about something.”


“I … well, this is weird, but … I wanted to express my desire that, when the situation arises, Sen. Fitzgerald does not support Sen. Lott for another run as majority leader. I’d like him to support someone else, like Sen. Frist.”

“OK. I will let the senator know.”

“Thanks, have a fine day.”

Democracy in action. Are thousands of my fellow citizens making the same call? Fingers are crossed.


Fun with the Times

The Grey Lady hits the nail on the head, repeatedly and with great force, in today’s editorial “Fire Trent Lott.” The key graf, brilliantly written:

No one has put more effort than George W. Bush into ending the image of the Republican Party as a whites-only haven. For all the disagreement that many African-Americans have with his policies, few can doubt Mr. Bush’s commitment to a multiracial America. But unless the president wants to spend his next campaign explaining the majority leader’s behavior over and over, he should urge the Senate Republicans to get somebody else for the job.

I would never have suspected the New York Times to articulate the way I feel about my party, but there you. Fate is tricky.

Luckily, the same page boasts a truly wretched Bob Herbert column – or “a Bob Herbert column” for short.

The Republican Party has become a haven for white racist attitudes and anti-black policies.

There is a difference between a “place that some people end up” and a “haven.” Eleven years ago the Republican party, led by George Bush, beseeched Louisiana Republicans to vote against David Duke and support Democratic felon Edwin Edwards. You tell me if that’s a party that welcomes racists.

The party of Lincoln is now a safe house for bigotry. It’s the party of the Southern strategies

which were about opposing busing and affirmative action, not bigotry. Maybe the difference is too broad for Bill to grasp.

and the Willie Horton campaigns

which were 1.)inspired by Al Gore and 2.)about Horton’s crimes, not his race. Again, painting with a broad brush does not make this logical mah jongg true.

and Bob Jones University

Ok, given.

and the relentless and unconscionable efforts to disenfranchise black voters.

If I had a nickel for every time I’d heard this allegation proven, I’d be broke.

And there are precious few voices anywhere in the G.O.P. willing to step up and say that this is wrong.

Outright lie. If we’re talking about Lott, ask Rush Limbaugh what he thinks. Ask the National Review. Ask the Weekly Standard. Ask the four Republicans on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who called it a “particularly shameful remark coming from a leader of the Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln.” And if we’re talking about race issues in general, the examples are too numerous for me to entail while studying for finals.

One of the things I remember about Mr. Reagan’s 1980 presidential run was that his first major appearance in the general election campaign was in Philadelphia, Miss., which just happened to be the place where three civil rights workers � Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney � were murdered in 1964.

During that appearance, Mr. Reagan told his audience, “I believe in states’ rights.”

Enough said.

Yes. Because he was pissing on their graves, obviously. Was it an endorsement of what “states’ rights” meant in the 1950s? The phrasing didn’t suggest that. Carter suggested it in mid-September, according to the Washington Post:

President Carter steered his way along a road of invective that has already become well-rutted in this young fall campaign, suggesting today to an all-black audience that Ronald Reagan had injected hatred and racism into the contest by using “code words like ‘states’ rights.”

In the Atlanta church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. preached for years, Carter cautioned his audience that if the Republican is elected, there probably will never be a national holiday in memory of King’s slain son.

Right. That would explain why there’s no national holiday for MLK jr. Oh, wait …

I say let [Lott] stay. He’s a direct descendant of the Dixiecrats and a first-rate example of what much of his party has become.

Well, Lott’s first job was as clerk for segregationist Democratic Rep. Bill Colmer – who retired in 1972. When Lott switched parties he, in Michael Barone’s words, “he moved … from Colmer’s support for racial segregation to the small town Republicans’ backing for civil rights.” Maybe this isn’t Herbert’s point, but it shows his ignorance.

Keep him in plain sight. His presence is instructive. As long as we keep in mind that it isn’t only him.

Gotta love slander.


Who can run against Lott?

OK. Weblogs don’t matter. Nothing I say here will transform into a meme and change minds around America. But I don’t want Trent Lott at the reins of my party in the Senate. I want one of the following senators to run and get the 26 votes needed to succeed him.

1. Bill Frist, Tennessee
Frist is a powerhouse in his home state and a reliable conservative – the ACU gives him an average 92 percent rating, he favored voluntary social security privitization as early as 1998. He led the Republican Senate Campaign Committee this year, which showed how effective he can be. And, elected in 1994, he doesn’t chair anything outside of a few subcomittees – there’s not much for him to lose if he makes the trade.

2. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania
Another class of 1994 senator, Santorum quickly became Republican Conference Chairman and overcame unfavorable press in his home state concerning his ultraconservative reputation. He won my heart when he spoke for raising the social security benefits age and survived – not at all easy in Pennsylvania. But he’s comparatively lightweight and lacks the cuddly personality of Frist.

3. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska
He has spoken in the past about running for leader (not in those terms, but in slamming Lott publicly several times since 1996). He’s well-liked by his peers and the media, which is incredibly important for a fresh majority leader. But … he endorsed McCain in 2000 and took tons of flack from the right in 2002 when he jumped on the anti-“Chickenhawk” bandwagon. If he were one of two candidates, it’s hard to see how he’d win.

4. Kit Bond, Missouri
He’s only head of the Small Businesses committee, if I’m not mistaken – not exactly a tough job to acquiesce. He was the chief GOP sponsor of the Family and Medical Leave Act and is probably the most moderate of the candidates listed here – and he’ll look even more moderate when Jim Talent joins his delegation next month. But I’m not sure if he has the charm to compete with Tom Daschle or the party faith to satisfy conservatives.

5. John Kyl, Arizona
A rock-solid conservative whose effort to end the estate tax, his biggest-profile move to date, was vetoed by Clinton, Kyl scores just about every point you’d expect from an Arizona Republican. But he is a hawk against immrigation, illegal and otherwise, which would not be a step up from the image broadcast by Lott. Otherwise, he’d be a superlative leader. Cheney liked him so much he kept him on the VP list for Bush until very late in the game.

I’ve neglected mentioning senators who would be giving up powerful committee assignments if they were elected leader – Orrin Hatch, Dick Lugar, et al. I didn’t nominate anyone women because, with the exception of Kay Bailey Hutchison, they’re too liberal to lead the party (but not liberal enough to switch – that’s right, Tompaine.com), and I have never gotten the indication that Hutchison is jonesing for leadership roles. I didn’t nominate any southerners (apart, technically, from Frist) because they don’t help the party’s image – but you already knew that.

UPDATE: There’s some recent precedent for a successful Senatorial Campaign Chairman being elevated to the leadership. Sen. George Mitchell (D-MN), who spearheaded the Dems’ 1986 Senate sweep, was elected majority leader in 1988 to replace the ineffective Robert Byrd (D-WV). Mitch McConnell (R-KY), recently elected Republican whip, was the party’s CC in the 1998 cycle – and that wasn’t even much of a success. Don Nickles (R-OK), his predecessor, rose to prominence the same way, chairing the RSCC in the 1990 cycle. The Frist boom continues!

UPDATE II: If you came here via Instapundit, welcome! This weblog is a portion of the main site – this’ll take you there.


Embracing defeat

There are times when your enemy scores a major triumph, on your terms, and you don’t know how to react. That’s how I felt today, when I read the Times’ glowing profile of Chesa Boudin, adopted son of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and winner of the Marshall and Rhodes scholarships. Maybe “glowing” is the wrong word. I’ve seen depleted uranium that gleamed less brightly then this piece.

In brief, Boudin is the son of 60s anti-American (I use that phrase not because I don’t like them, but because they specifically campaigned FOR Vietnamese Communists and AGAINST America) terrorists Katherine Boudin and David Gilbert. Best of the Web highlights this graph, for good reasons:

His parents, members of the 1970’s radical group the Weathermen, have been in prison since he was 14 months old, for roles in a 1981 Brink’s robbery in Rockland County in which two police officers and a guard were killed. They missed his Phi Beta Kappa award, high school graduation, Little League games.

How about that? All they did was murder three people, and they have to go to prison! Oh, what a cruel oppressive society this is!

See the sarcasm I displayed above? Boudin the Younger would say that with 100% sincerity:

“I’m sad that my parents have to suffer what they have to suffer on a daily basis, that millions of other people have to suffer as well.”

I don’t assume he’s referring to the families of the murdered cops, or the families of Vietnam P.O.W.s. Maybe he is. But for some reason I doubt it.

Boudin the Younger was raised by Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. I’m well acquainted with Dohrn and Ayers; the former is on the payroll of my university, Northwestern. My newspaper reported on her hiring seven years ago. We covered last year’s scandal when The Times, again, published a profile of her and her husband when he published a revisionist autobiography about his days as a revolutionary terrorist. Ayers has remade himself as an expert on education – Dohrn, smartly, has cut herself off from press interviews that touch on her radical history. Have they repented?

A red-star revolutionary pin on his jacket, his Weatherman tattoo (and 17 others) hidden from sight, Mr. Ayers smiled as he watched his adopted son, fresh from his Rhodes interview, in the suit that Ms. Dohrn had helped pick.

This isn’t suprising. The Weathermen took their name from Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and the line “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” They titled a 2000 paper “Look out kid, it’s something you did,” after a line from the same song. That doesn’t exactly reek of soul-searching. The word I’d use is “reveling.” As in “reveling in their criminal records.”

Boudin the Younger shares their pride, if you go by his statements to the Times:

“We have a different name for the war we’re fighting now � now we call it the war on terrorism, then they called it the war on communism,” Mr. Boudin said. “My parents were all dedicated to fighting U.S. imperialism around the world. I’m dedicated to the same thing.”

This isn’t really spelled out, and I’m normally loathe to read someone’s mind through the third-hand medium of a newspaper report, but there are all sorts of implications in that sentence. I’m reminded of the Black Panthers and their assertion that all black men in prison – all of them – were “political prisoners.” This attitude, this philosophy, is Marxist – it is wedded to the idea that the “political power is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another” (as Marx put it in the Communist Manifesto), no wrong can be committed by those who are not in power, and that any struggle against the oppressive United States is righteous. It’s an abhorrent philosophy. But Boudin the Younger is writing a memior:

“It’s about growing up with parents in prison; it’s about growing up in America,” he said. “It’s about two very different worlds, one of extreme privilege and opportunity, and the other of degradation and humiliation.”

This is the kind of a brain that wins a Rhodes scholarship. That’s monumentally depressing. I don’t know how to react this news, but I can rule out anger. I’ll remain hopeful. I’ll hope that Boudin doesn’t make the same mistakes as his parents. I’ll hope that Ayers is right, and Boudin “confirms the natural cycle that your kids are always so much smarter and better than you.”