Friday, November 19, 2004

I'm happy to see that Senator Russ Feingold and Mayor Davie Cieslewicz have condemned a liberal radio talk-show host in Madison, Wisconsin, who called Condoleezza Rice "Aunt Jemima" on the air. You know Feingold is both a Democrat and a liberal, and Cieslewicz calls himself a liberal Democrat in so many words, listens to Van Morrison, and wrote a book called City Ethic: Urban Conservation and the New Environmentalism (liberal enough for ya?). So right-wingers can't say liberal Dems won't condemn racist comments by one of their own.

Whoops -- too late. The Right's already saying that.

I'm with Feingold and Cieslewicz. I don't really have much patience with people who bring up race when criticizing Rice or Colin Powell (or Bush for appointing them). Powell's experience makes him precisely the sort of person a Republican would have appointed to a senior position in 2000 (a Republican, that is, who wasn't ideologically on the far right -- and I'm not sure Bush realized that he himself was on the far right in 2000); Rice's résumé also makes her a perfectly logical choice for Bush (if one overlooks the little matter of competence, which Bush obviously does, in himself and in all ideologically compatible others).

"He's not a bigot," one observer wrote in 2000. "...Bush truly doesn't know the meaning of the word 'intolerance.'" A fawning fan? No -- it was Paul Begala, on the very first page of his book "Is Our Children Learning?": The Case Against George W. Bush.

The Right these days is schizophrenic on race -- go to Free Republic or and you'll see love letters to Clarence Thomas and Alan Keyes mixed with nastiness about Jesse Jackson and ordinary blacks who vote Democratic (a sign to the Right that they haven't left the "liberal plantation"). Is Bush like these people -- race-blind with regard to his friends, but not his enemies -- or is he truly non-racist? I don't know, but either way, his dealings with Powell and Rice seem utterly non-racial.

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