TARANTO ON BUSH AND MICHIGAN:
Had Bush and the Republicans stood behind Lott, it would indeed have been much harder to present the Michigan stance as a principled one. And it’s noteworthy that many of the conservatives who were most emphatic in calling for Lott’s ouster–people like Ward Connerly and Abigail Thernstrom–are also among the strongest critics of racial preferences. The Connerlys and Thernstroms of the world rightly do not want to be associated with those who take the same position as they on this issue–but for what is very much the wrong reason.
There’s a lesson here for our friends on the Democratic left, though one they probably won’t learn. Republicans and conservatives have generally been much better at policing their own ranks for extremists and haters. Pat Buchanan, for example, no longer commands any respect within the Republican Party or the conservative movement, and David Duke never did.
In contrast, look at the freak show that makes up the American left: Jim McDermott, Al Sharpton, Cynthia McKinney, Patty Murray, Maxine Waters, Ramsey Clark, Noam Chomsky–the list could go on and on. Obviously one could make many distinctions here: Clark and Chomsky are not active in Democratic politics; most Democrats don’t actually endorse McKinney’s anti-Semitism or McDermott’s pro-Saddam stance; Patty Murray may be more naive than evil.
And of course the Democratic Party includes many serious and sober political leaders. But the point is that they don’t make these distinctions, at least not publicly. They don’t repudiate the McDermotts, Sharptons and Chomskys of the world, the way conservatives repudiate their Lotts, Dukes and Buchanans. The result, to take the Iraq issue as an example, is that if there is a principled antiwar position, it gets drowned out amid the voices of extremism, who run the gamut from hyperpartisan to downright anti-American.
Speaking of downright anti-American, be sure to read about the terrorist speaking at Duke, on your way to the above quotes.