Democrats Waited to See Which Way the Wind Was Blowing
...and other news from the "Trent Lott wants to keep black children out of public swimming pools" front
Cartoon (+ Column) Roundup
I have no idea if my cartoon was one of the first on the Trent Lott's racist comment topic, but I didn't see any others until today. Instead I just saw a lot of cartoons (like this one from Mike Keefe) poking fun at Thurmond's age, which is an easy way of distracting from actual issues. But as far as cartoonists who actually deal with the racism thing, we've got B. Deutsch on the real apology, Rex Babin on water fountains, J.D. Crowe on what's behind Lott's racist words, John Cole on a more appropriate candle for Strom's cake, Caricaturist extraordinaire Ann Telnaes on Lott's "apology", Stuart Carlson and Jack Ohman on nostalgia, Jeff Danziger on apologies, Joel Pett on holiday lights, Tom Toles on presidential runs, Tony Auth on a more appropriate kind of birthday hat. And last but not least, Derrick Jackson's column ("Lott's mind-set is the issue") is right-on, as always. A few choice quotes:
The issue is not whether Trent Lott should apologize. His words are now worthless. What counts is where Americans stand on Lott and whether he should continue to stand as majority leader of the Senate.
And (regarding Lott's statement that if other states had followed Mississippi's lead and voted for Thurmond "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years.''):
All these problems. And if the rest of the country had followed their lead, one can imagine how many more bodies would have been strung up and how many more Americans because of color, sexual orientation, or being a woman would be on the outside looking in at equal opportunity in schools and in the workplace.
Daschle Realizes the Error of His Ways... (that's what I call leadership!)
So six days after Lott made his now infamous "all these problems" comment, Daschle realized that his sad excuse for Lott's racism wasn't going to cut it anymore. But after the revelation that this was the second such statement, he changed his tune:
"It is profoundly disturbing that Sen. Lott's statement last week was not an isolated event," said Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, who said Monday he had accepted Lott's insistence that he hadn't meant to be interpreted as he was.
Bush still stubbornly refuses to criticize his evil henchman in the Senate, and spoke indirectly through his press secretary. From the AP:
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer on Wednesday, for the second day in a row, declined to directly criticize Lott or his statement. "America is a much richer and better nation as a result of the changes that have been made to our society involving integration and improvement of relations between races," Fleischer said. "The president is grateful for that effort." On Tuesday, Fleischer made similar comments, adding that "the president has confidence in him as Republican leader, unquestionably."
and from similar AP stories:
Fleischer said President Bush thinks Americans should take pride in the "tremendous strides and changes and improvements" that have been made in race relations since 1948. "We were a nation that needed to change," he said.
Of course, if people like Strom Thurmond and Trent Lott had had their way, we wouldn't have changed at all.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Lott "has apologized for his statement, and the president understands that that is the final word from Senator Lott."
It's probably unnecessary to note that Jesse Helms and Pat Buchanan have come to Lott's defense, but...
Helms, who along with Thurmond is retiring from the Senate this year, said Lott's critics leapt on the comments "like a puppy dog on a dog biscuit." ... "What did Trent Lott really say? He said that when Strom Thurmond ran, my state voted for him. He was at a function where Strom Thurmond, a hundred years old, was having his friends say the nicest things they could think of," Helms said. "Trent Lott in no sense was sending a message of any sort. He was just trying to be nice to Strom Thurmond at a time everybody was being nice to him, and I praise him for that."
The AP then appropriately notes that:
Before his election in 1972, Helms sometimes used his television and radio commentaries to defend the owners of segregated businesses and condemned civil rights marchers. He also fought a Martin Luther King holiday in 1983.
And last night on Hardball With Chris Matthews, Pat Buchanan had the following exchange with Maxine Waters (see full transcript):
BUCHANAN: Well wait a minute; let’s say-look-I don’t think it was a mistake. I don’t think there was anything wrong with it. It’s like saying, you know, if old Stonewall Jackson had ridden up to Washington after the battle of Bull Run we wouldn’t have this problem.
It is simply a gracious gesture to a man on his retirement, it seems to me, and-and-you know he-Strom ran against Harry Truman but, Maxine, Adlai Stevenson, the great liberal, picked two segregationists to run with him for president. 1964 — Al Gore’s dad voted against the Civil Rights Act, stood solid with Strom. I mean, aren’t you trying to judge Mr. Lott by a gracious statement for a man who comes out of another era?
WATERS: Absolutely not. This country has had a problem with racism and discrimination. This is a serious matter and the civil rights movement paid a great price to try and rid this country of racism and these-of segregation and so this is an issue that we must all be forever aware of and concerned about...
BUCHANAN: All right, Maxine...
WATERS: ... you don’t simply talk this way and not expect to have some negative feedback on it.
BUCHANAN: I don’t see anything wrong with the talk but let’s talk about action. You’re a member of the Black Caucus. They don’t allow any Hispanics in it, they don’t allow any Asians in it, they don’t allow any White folks in it. Why isn’t that a racist organization?
And so on...