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An inconvenient question reappears

Blogging has changed some in the six years we’ve been doing it, but for me the essence remains the same. You read, see, or hear something that offends you and then, after a period of steaming, write what you hope is a pointed but under-control refutation.

My friend and law partner Dan Joseph has seen me in mid-process several times on the way to work, Washington Post in hand, on the metro. But last week, it was Dan who was steaming over an on-line chat with Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post. The topic was Hillary Clinton’s reliance on an AP article which, she said, found that

Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans is weakening again, and. . .whites in both states [West Virginia and Kentucky] who had not completed college were supporting me. . . .There’s a pattern emerging here.

That comment led to this exchange between Dan and Marcus:

Dan: Please explain how your opinion of Hillary Clinton is affected, if at all, by her explicit appeal to “white” voters. I believe there has not been an explicit racial appeal like this in presidential politics since Strom Thurmond’s in 1948, although of course some — particularly Richard Nixon — have made veiled racial appeals. Thanks.

Marcus: Oh, please. It is completely unfair to Sen. Clinton to compare her to Sen. Thurmond in 1948. I think she, her campaign and her husband have said some dumb things, but they are not segregationists or anything close.

To provide Dan with the true “blog experience,” not to mention the last word, I invited him to respond. After correctly noting that he had received “the brush-off,” particularly given that he did not accuse Clinton of being a segregationist, Dan wrote:

The fact remains that Hillary has used explicit racial themes go gain votes – the same thing that Thurmond did. He also had a lifelong stance as a racist – which he changed when it became politically convenient for him after enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Hillary has had a longtime political career as an anti-racist, which appears to have changed, at least partly, when it became politically convenient for her in running against Barack Obama. That’s enough similarity to be thought-provoking and disturbing. Brushing off this racist appeal as “dumb” is unconvincing, given that Hillary Clinton is one of the smartest politicians on the scene, and is indeed criticized for the perceived domination of her brains over other faculties. It may have been dumb in the sense of unsuccessful, but it was not dumb in the sense of being the unintended product of a subpar intelligence. In using the term, Marcus was trying to make an inconvenient question disappear without answering it.

If someone at a dinner party blurts out a hideously offensive remark, maybe those attending can get past the difficulty by simply ignoring it. I would not think that that remedy would be available in an election.

It isn’t, Dan, except to the extent that the MSM, or a particular member of it, favors your candidacy.

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