Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Obama and Lott

If you called for the ouster of Trent Lott from his leadership role in the Senate after his joke about Strom Thurmond, I'd think you are morally bound to demand the ouster of Barack Obama. Cries for Obama's immediate demotion have been strangely absent. It seems the Democrats are willing to tolerate racism, just so long as it is within their own ranks.

You'll recall that Trent Lott fawned over the 100 year old Thurmond by saying that if we'd elected the Dixiecrat presidential candidate Thurmond, "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years."

The furor following the remark was astonishing. People accused Lott of being racist for saying anything nice about someone else who had once been a racist.

But wasn't Lott just making the kind of hyperbolic comment so typical in a funeral or 100 year birthday party? We flatter people at such events. It is human nature.

Obama (who happens to be black) essentially asked voters (who happened to be black) to vote for Harold Ford (who also happens to be black) because "I'm feeling lonely in Washington." Sure, you could argue that he didn't mean something racist by his comment. There are several ways to interpret it so that Obama didn't come out and say he feels lonely surrounded by white people.

But that's what he said, isn't it?

(The amusing aside noted by James Taranto is that, only two days before, the AP reported that Obama "urged hundreds of blacks not to vote along racial lines" in a race where the Democrat was white and the Republican was black.)

If you believed that Lott should have been thrown out for his "racist" remark, do you think the same of Obama?

Incidentally, I think both Lott and Obama made harmless jokes. I'm just mad at the double standard.

1 comment:

Scott Hinrichs said...

While I believe there is a double standard, I do not believe the case to be as cut and dried as you have portrayed it.

Lott had a long history of making remarks that definitely came off as racist both publicly and privately. He had been called on it before. He had done better for a couple of years in very public settings, but there was a somewhat higher sensitivity to the remark because it seemed to demonstrate that he had not changed his stripes.