First, read Barry’s righteous repudiation of Lott’s 96-hour-late apology for how we the people misinterpreted what it was he’d had to say (careful of the bile still dripping from that hideously neutral word, “discarded”); if every Democrat and moderate Republican had done the same thing to this wilted, diseased, insulting attempt at a high-hand, I’d feel marginally better about the current political discourse. (If every journalist on the White House beat peppered Ari Fleischer with repeated questions about his boss’s support of an unreconstructed segregationist until he tossed them all out and briefed an empty room from then on; if every journalist on Capitol Hill kept asking every Republican Senator what they felt of their elected leader’s views until they cracked and said something altogether unscripted—well, it’d still be only marginally better, but it’d be a nice, comfortable margin.)
After a fiery speech by Mr. Thurmond at a campaign rally in Mississippi for Ronald Reagan in November 1980, Mr. Lott, then a congressman, told a crowd in Jackson, “You know, if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are today.”
—Yes, this is hardly news for those who’ve been watching Lott and his associates for years. But the fact that outrage is sparking in some highly visible watchfires, that it’s starting to catch in wood we’d never thought would burn, that this man will be made to feel even if only a little still uncomfortable (or more; or more) for having profited so egregiously by winking and nudging at his own hate and fear—that’s news. Or at least some tasty schadenfreude.
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