Barbour Swims Upstream Towards a Bridge Too Far

I played with the children of my grandmother’s “colored” maid and still remember my own young soul’s recoil over “separate but equal” schools.  It took neither a genius nor a saint to fully understand a systematic wrong occurring every single day right under one’s nose.

Those “Citizens Councils,” to which Governor Barbour gave such mitigating virtue in his Weekly Standard interview, were in fact the upper class version of the Klan.  No, the Citizens Councils did not resort to cross-burning, lynching, threats of lynching, or even public anger to keep life as it had always been in the South -- segregated.

Instead, the Citizens Councils relied on the same type of financial and public-pressure machinations regularly now employed by Democrat race-hustlers and their NGO friends in the community-organizing outfits, like ACORN.  The fact that racialists of a new variety have replaced the ones of old doesn’t change the nature of the beast at all or the immorality of their actions.

But if Haley Barbour thinks for even one minute that asserting the two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right mantra will save him from the consequences of his truly egregious comments on the race issue, then he needs a long vacation, not a presidential campaign.

That there is indisputably a double-standard on racial issues between Democrats and Republicans ought to be apparent to any ninny with a working set of eyes and ears.  If a Republican had said of candidate Barack Obama that, of course, he was an appealing candidate as the first “articulate, clean-cut African-American” to run, that man would not now be vice president but would have been consigned to the farthest corner of social oblivion.

If a Republican had said that Barack Obama had the advantage of having no “negro dialect,” but that he could put one on any time he wanted to, that man would not still be on the White House guest list, even if he was the Senate majority leader.

If a Republican former president had said of candidate Obama that in former years he “would have been fetchin’ us coffee,” that man would not have been invited to take over a White House press conference but would never have been heard from again.

Haley Barbour may be a fine governor of Mississippi.  He may be the best good ole boy lobbyist that the inside-beltway folks have ever heard spin a good yarn for his clients or constituents.  And all of that may be just wonderful for the citizens of Mississippi, the Republican governors, and the whole Grand Old Party.  But taking those assets onto center national stage in prime time, carrying the baggage of Jim Crow and an obviously muted understanding of its legacy in the minds and hearts of all who lived through it -- both black and white alike -- is a bridge beyond too far.

Only someone who habitually denies reality, in my humble opinion, could possibly think otherwise.