Thursday, April 08, 2004

Circling the Wagons

When Republican senator Trent Lott praised the "principles" for which fellow Republican senator Strom Thurmond had once stood for, there was much lamentation in the land, both on the left and (albeit belatedly in some parts) on the right; but when Republican senator Chris Dodd makes the same error with regards to Democratic senator (and former Klansman) Robert Byrd, we learn that, well, some animals are more equal than others:

Distinguished "progressive" economist and anti-war ideologue Max Sawicky, in an effort to airbrush Christopher Dodd's recent Byrd-inspired brainfart completely out of existence, puts on the rhetorical high hat and waves his hand dismissively:
The effort to cook up an analogy between Chris Dodd/Robert Byrd and Trent Lott/Strom Thurmond needs a few sentences.

Robert Byrd is a great senator. His hands shake, but he is still sharp. Strom Thurmond was a great segregationist. In his final months as a senator, he was more out-of-it than in. Among other achievements, Byrd was a prime mover in blocking balanced budget amendments that would have screwed up the nation's finances even more than the Bush Administration has. Thurmond evolved from a segregationist to a garden variety political hack. Byrd's association with the KKK ended over fifty years ago. Trent Lott's remark, not for the first time, reflected nostalgia for Thurmond's glittering racist past. Comparison over. Can we please move on to the next canard?

I've never had much respect for left-wingnuts like Max Sawicky and Nathan Newman, but this just takes the cake. Praise for Strom Thurmond was bad, but when it comes to Robert Byrd (who not only was a Klansman but also tried to filibuster to death the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and who could still speak of "white niggers" on TV as recently as three years ago), it's OK because his hands don't shake and he isn't out of it? Sawicky is a disgusting little cockroach, and the silence of other liberals who were more than willing to be vocal during the Lott episode says volumes about the extent to which partisan advantage matters more in their eyes than moral principle, if it means being seen to take a stand against one of their own.