The mask slips

December 11th, 2002 – 10:00 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

“Last week, at Strom Thurmond’s 100th-birthday party, Mr. Lott recalled Mr. Thurmond’s 1948 race for the presidency. ‘I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.’

What, exactly, did Mr. Lott mean by ‘all these problems’? Mr. Thurmond ran a one-issue campaign: ‘We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race,’ declared his platform.

Is it possible that a major modern political figure has sympathy for such views? After all, the Bush administration includes figures like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice; some of Mr. Lott’s best friends . . . Yet during the 1990′s he was extensively involved with the Council of Conservative Citizens — a descendant of the White Citizens Council — telling them at one point that they ‘stand for the right principles and the right philosophy.’ When this came to light in 1998, Mr. Lott declared himself ignorant of the group’s aims. Was he also ignorant of the aims of the 1948 Thurmond campaign? Or was he just, in the excitement of the moment, blurting out his real views?”

There’s been quite a furor over Lott’s remarks, and rightly so, and there have also been far too many comments from the right about how people are just overreacting. Paul Krugman’s piece [registration required] in the New York Times is one of the best I’ve read on the topic, but check out more commentary here and here.

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