December 21, 2002


Blogging will be intermittent in the coming week, as I'll be on the road visiting family. I may post here and there, but I'll also be using the week to recharge the creative batteries, enjoy seeing family and friends that I don't see nearly often enough, and to keep in mind what the Christmas season is all about. It's about peace on earth, goodwill toward men, and salvation for all. We give gifts at Christmas to celebrate the greatest gift ever given--redemption.

Chris Regan will be popping in during the week from time to time to post a thought or two, but like me (and all of you I'm sure) Chris will be tending to the holiday more than the blog, which is appropriate. I'd like to thank Chris in advance for any pieces he posts.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 20, 2002


Some bureaucrat over at the EPA thinks he's found a way to pump up his budget. It's a dandy idea--he wants to tap in to President Bush's faith-based initiative fund to promote green causes.

It's not tough to figure out this guy's political bent: He works at EPA, and wants to use money that's supposed to go to help people do things like eat a good meal, wear serviceable clothes, maybe stay in a warm place during the winter months, and turn it around to help out his pet causes like global warming. Putting unproven abstractions before actual people's needs--sums up the leftier fringe of the environmental movement rather nicely.

And by the way, the bureaucrat in question should be fired, because what he's "exploring" amounts to fraud, waste and abuse of federal dollars.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


How can Josh Marshall continue writing on the one hand that he doesn't personally believe the entire Republican Party is racist, yet move to smear every elected or nearly elected official it has? Now that Trent Lott has stepped aside, Marshal is already doing opposition research on Sen. Bill Frist, Lott's likely replacement. Today, he's highlighting some campaign quote from Frist mocking former Washington DC Mayor Marion Barry. Marshall never comes out and says Frist made a racist comment (which is good, because he didn't), but sure implies it. The craft of innuendo is reaching the state of the art at TPM. Marshall says his intention is not to "pile on" the Republicans regarding race but to provide context or something like that. But in attacking Frist, piling on is exactly what he's doing.

By the way, I emailed Marshall last night and gave him my take on Clinton's CNN comments equating all Republicans with racism. Marshall said he didn't buy my premise, and has apparently declined to respond further. I'll leave it to you readers to decide who's correctly interpreting Clinton's comments. I say Clinton left no room for any other interpretation than that he believes all Republicans are racists, and that by agreeing with Clinton Marshall is saying the same thing. That is what leads me to say and believe that Marshall lacks the courage of his convictions. I think he really does believe all Republicans are racists, and is setting out to "prove" it, but doesn't want to come out as Clinton did and state his actual beliefs because he knows how ridiculous it will come across. Either that, or he's just being unwittingly incoherent. Marshall disagrees without justification.

While I'm attacking Josh Marshall, he misread a post by Pat Ruffini, willfully or not is not mine to say, regarding the Republicans and race. In this post, Ruffini argues that the Democrats have just as much racial baggage as the Republicans do, and cites a number of examples from the 60's forward, including a paragraph full of recent incidents. In this post, Marshall critiques Ruffini largely on the grounds that the cited incidents of Dem racial hostility are long past. In so doing, Marshall is focusing on one paragraph and blithely ignoring the one that follows immediately, citing more recent (as recent as 1999 by date) examples of Democrat racist commentary. And Ruffini never even mentioned Cynthia McKinney or her father and their anti-Semitic remarks, which are very recent. Not that I wish to pile on or anything.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:12 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


Check this out: Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) thinks Osama's Third World appeal is tied to his building roads and health care clinics, arguing that he's more popular than we are "because we have not done that."

Osama is more popular than the US? Where is his UN mandate to blow up our buildings then?

Ever heard of the Peace Corps, Senator? Ever heard of foreign aid? Ever heard of peacekeeping missions? How about the Marshall Plan, by which we rebuilt an entire continent? To say that the US hasn't done enough to help other countries is to demonstrate a breathtaking ignorance of history.

How do these clueless people get elected?
Posted by B. Preston at 11:12 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Fox is reporting that he won't run for SML. Thankfully, he's staying in the Senate, so my nightmare scenario won't play out. It's likely that Sen. Bill Frist will take his place, which is a welcome improvement. Frist will be tough for the Dems to demonize, and he's a real conservative at the same time. Things are lookin' up.

UPDATE: John Podohoretz sums it up well.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


A few posts back I blasted Josh Marshall and Ed Kilgore for their cynical formulation of the Lott situation. According to's latest newsletter, I was dead right. Here's what it has to say about why James Carville accepted Trent Lott's latest round of Apologiapolooza:

Democratic strategist and Crossfire co-host James Carville "faxed a letter to
Lott's office Wednesday, both accepting the senator's apology and pledging not
to criticize him further for comments made recently or for comments Lott has
made in the past on the issue of race. 'If, as you have claimed, your recent
troubles have truly spurred you to seek redemption and find ways to improve race
relations in this country, I applaud you,' Carville wrote." Of course,
Carville's letter just makes Lott's political situation within the Republican
Party worse. Republicans could forgive Lott for groveling to Democrats for
forgiveness, but they could never forgive Lott for receiving a ringing
endorsement from someone they loathe as much as Carville. You go James!

Straight from the donkeys' mouths.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 19, 2002


Months ago, maybe a year ago now, Peggy Noonan speculated that perhaps a mole inside the FBI was responsible for quashing field reports detailing the activities of the 9-11 terrorists. In spite of the infamous espionage cases that have come to light in recent years, from Aldrich Ames to Robert Hanson, most people discounted the possibility that our own FBI might have been infiltrated by people who either sympathized with al Qaeda or might even be on its payroll.

Well, if this ABC News story is correct, such a mole may have been identified. But it seems he has (or had) support higher up the chain of command. Very disturbing. When you consider the FBI's similar treatment of possible Middle Eastern connections to Oklahoma City, and that Chicago (which figures prominently in the ABC story) just happened to be one of the places Abdullah Muhajir (Jose Padilla) once lived, it brings all sorts of questions to mind. Like just how high did the FBI's "let sleeping dogs lie" mentality go?
Posted by B. Preston at 11:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Well, it's just a little word, two syllables, and its meaning is pretty obvious. But the ordinarily reasonable liberal is on a Clintonian tear tonight. He thinks that what Clinton said on CNN the other night--that we conservatives are mad at Lott because he has exposed some dark strategy of ours--is correct. "Couldn't have said it better myself," opines Marshall after running Clinton's full quote.

A post or two away from that one, Marshall does allow that Republicans might actually be humans. Maybe not even mouth-breathing racists. How charitable of him. First, he claims to know exactly what all we conservatives think with regard to race by agreeing with Clinton's mass indictment, then allows that our party as a whole isn't necessarily itself racist. He says that's too big a word. He's either a coward or he's just trying to look more reasonable than he is. Here's what Clinton actually said:

But I think there is something a bit hypocritical about the way Republicans are jumping all over him. I think what they really are upset about is he made public their strategy.

The whole Republican apparatus supported campaigns in Georgia and South Carolina on the Confederate flag. There is no action coming out of the Justice Department against all those people, Republicans, who suppressed black voters in the South, in Arkansas and Louisiana, and lots of other places. Telephone operations telling people in Florida they didn't have to vote on Election Day, that they could vote on Saturday but not if they had parking tickets. I mean, this is their policy.

So I think the way that the Republicans treated Senator Lott is a pretty hypocritical since right now, their policy is in my view inimical to everything this country stands for. They tried to suppress black voting, they ran on the Conferederate flag in Georgia and South Carolina and from top to bottom Republicans supported them. So I don't see what they're jumping on Trent Lott about.

There's more, including a nasty innuendo about how the GOP got its majority in the South in the first place, but the above is the relevant part. Basically, Clinton says the entire Republican Party, from the top down, is racist. There is no other way to interpret that quote. It's a bit awkard to square that notion with the appointment of Colin Powell to Secretary of State and Condi Rice to National Security Advisor, but in Clinton's mind facts that contradict him simply don't exist.

Furthermore, everything that Clinton cites is a lie. Pure and simple, he's lying--about Republicans running on the Confederate flag in the Georgia and South Carolina, about suppressing the black vote, all of it. He's making it up. The one credible suppression of the black vote in Florida in 2000 was by the Democrats, and they were trying to suppress a small community of black Caribbean immigrants who happened to vote Republican. Anyway, it's as though to Clinton the one central issue around which all other issues revolve right now--the war--had no role in the November elections. But some strategy aimed at flying the Stars and Bars is what carried the day.

Does that make any sense at all? Marshall thinks is does. Which is why I call him a coward. Clinton has presented us with an either/or: Either we believe him, and therefore the entire Republican Party is racist to the core, or we don't believe him, and therefore he's full of it and anyone that sides with him is either cynically hiding behind his words, or is a fool. Marshall says Clinton's right, but then says that he doesn't think the Republican Party is itself racist. He's trying to be charitable I suppose, but in reality he's fallen into incoherence.

After that little trip to wonderland, Marshall then he goes into some alleged history, the Southern strategy, all that. No history of the Dem side of the aisle, though, and none of Clinton's own. More on that in a little bit.

They did the same thing on Hardball tonight, going into Ronald Reagan's speech in Philadephia, MS all those years ago in which he is supposed to have used racial code as red meat for rapid Republican consumption. The best quote Hardball could come up with was something about doing the right thing--quite bland stuff actually, compared to Reagan's bigger "tear down this wall" kind of rhetoric. So they had no smoking gun. They didn't even run the better quote, in which Reagan talked about states' rights, but it's clear from Reagan's history that he actually is talking about the overweening power of the federal government. Ronald Reagan was one of the few American politicians in either party with no segregationist past. It may shock some Democrats to hear this, but Reagan often said exactly what he meant. I can imagine how confusing this must be for liberals, but when Reagan actually talked about an issue, he really meant what he said about it--no decoder ring required to figure him out. I think that that's probably what confounds liberals the most about him--that he actually did what he said he'd do, and that he actually meant what he said. There hasn't been a liberal politician like that in, I don't know, several decades.

But back to the history point. Marshall implies that the GOP's history is relevant to the Lott situation, and to an extent he's right. In recent history we have been accused of pining for the days when lynching was legal, we've been accused of fomenting violence against blacks (and against Tom Daschle as recently as a month ago), and that history makes us extremely sensitive to any appearance of racist talk and action within our ranks. So when Lott said what he said, we knew based on history he would become a lightning rod for the race hustlers in short order. That, in addition to our geniune horror at what he said, made us very quick to act against him. So history is relevant here, just not in the way Marshall thinks it is. But the relevance of history cuts both ways. Is it relevant that Bill Clinton did nothing about the Arkansas state flag during his tenure as governor? Have you seen that flag? It's got a big Confederate flag embedded in it. Is it relevant that Clinton made Robert E. Lee's birthday a holiday in Arkansas? It would seem to be, given that Clinton feels entitled to critique the GOP on race. Is it relevant that Clinton gave J. William Fulbright the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in America, and that Fulbright was a rabid segregationist?

Democrat apologists like Marshall are playing with fire here. Their history is replete with false charges of racism--church burning hoax, anyone?--and political tactics that cross the line in nearly every election. Remember how they got the NAACP to use James Byrd's daughter to accuse President Bush of killing him all over again by not breaking the law and sentencing Byrd's actual killers to death himself? Shameless.

This is really starting to look like a Samson strategy to me--since the Dems have by every measure taken a thumping at the polls in the last couple of elections and see no real way to build their own base honestly, they seek to tear down the GOP with smear tactics and fear mongering. That seems to be the only way to weaken the GOP apart from actually developing something approaching a non-idiotarian view of national security and terrorism. It's apparent that the bulk of the Democrat Party has no honor and knows no level to which it will not sink.

As for Josh Marshall, coherence requires a choice. Choose to side with Bill Clinton, and therefore declare the entire Republican Party racist as he has, or choose to disbelieve him, and repudiate your own endorsement of his remarks. There's no middle ground here.

UPDATE: By the way, the GOP's majority in the South is built primarily on two things--strong national defense and low taxes. The McGovernite Democrats lost the South because they were seen as tax-and-spend liberals who were soft on Communism, which they actually happened to be. Don't let anyone fool you that some dark racist strategy is behind the Republicans' solid South. The Dems have never quite gotten over this, and have tried to blame it on racism ever since.

UPDATE II: Walter Williams sees a Samson strategy at work too. Hmmm. Williams is a conservative, yet he's black. Is he one of Clinton's racists, too?

UPDATE III: Ok, I'm a doofus. I mischaracterized the Arkansas flag, which doesn't have the Stars and Bars embedded in it, but does have a single star above the state's name to signify its membership in the Confederacy. Here's what it looks like. No one wrote in or commented that I'd gotten the flag wrong, I just went and checked it out and found the mistake myself.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


Henry Kissinger says we're now on a direct course for war with Iraq. I suspect he's right, given today's news that the Bush Administration views Iraq to be in "material breach" of UN disarmament sanctions. Given that Hans Blix has until January 27 to file his report on Iraq's weapons dossier, it seems we're heading for combat in early February.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Iraq is said to be readying a "scorched earth" defense should we attack. Iraq will destroy its own oil fields, even kill its own people, to create a humanitarian disaster that'll get Amnesty International mad at us, and therefore we'll halt in the face of worldwide criticism. Sadly, it's a plausible strategy: We would likely take the blame should Saddam decide gassing his own is in his best interest. That's how idiotic much of the world is today--blame the liberator for the actions of the tyrant we're there to overthrow.

If he attacks our troops with unconventional weapons, a majority of Americans favor nuking him in retaliation. Thirty-seven percent oppose, and 3 percent have no opinion. I guess that's the statistical margin of error there--how could you not have an opinion about whether we should nuke Saddam if he hits us with a WMD? I'd rather that 3 percent oppose a retaliatory nuclear strike than just sit on the fence. If you can't make up your mind about something like this, I wonder whether you have a mind to make up.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Well, he didn't stay silent as long as I thought he would. I gave him a month, but he only lasted about a week. Bill Clinton has joined the smear fest, accusing Lott of doing nothing more than exposing the dark strategy of all Republicans. Supposedly, that's why we're all mad at him. Well, I told you whatever he said would be outrageous, and there you have it.

By the way, he's as full of crap as usual. Note how he insults the entire South (where he was born, by the way) by saying that the only way the Republicans could get a majority there is to be racists. Nice. I hope your cousins read that, Bill. Here's another choice quote:

"I think the way the Republicans have treated Senator Lott is pretty hypocritical since right now their policy is, in my view, inimical to everything that this country stands for," Clinton said.

Inimical to everything that this country stands for? Well, that sure clarifies what he thinks about GW Bush, as well a majority of the voters in this country. So which of our policies is "inimical to everything the country stands for," Bill? Defending it from terrorists? That was issue #1 in November, in case you were out on the town with Demi Moore and missed the festivities. Lower taxes? That's another biggie for us. Or how about reforming education, or Medicare and Social Security so that they're both actually around long enough for current taxpayers to use them? Yeah, that must be bad because you never touched it. Right to life? You once supported that too. So which policy, and be specific now, is so inimical to the nation's heart?

I could go on about Bill, but I'm also mighty angry at Dee Dee Myers, his former press secretary. She was on Hannity and Colmes tonight, and boy did she say some stupid things. For instance, she said that Bill Clinton did more to bring the races together than any president in history. Hmmm. Are we talking about the same guy that hoaxed a series of church burnings to scare blacks and smear Republicans? Yup, that's the guy. And in Dee Dee's mind, that constitutes bringing the races together? I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about that one. To me that sort of stuff constitutes tactical segregation--it has the real world effect of dividing the races through suspicion. Maybe Fulbright's mentoring Clinton paid off after all.

Meanwhile, the usually most reliably partisan Dems are all over themselves accepting Lott's apologies and trying to save his hide. Alan Colmes and Lanny Davis got into a forgiveness fest tonight, trying to out-forgive each other and at the same time lauding their "consistency" in that they also rushed to forgive Clinton and his perjury, subordination of perjury, witness tampering, and so forth. James Carville's come out now and done the same thing. Yeah, it's really the same thing to forgive a guy for saying something stupid at an old man's birthday party and forgiving another guy for actually breaking several laws as well as his oath of office. Sheesh. The Dems continue to demostrate two things: an inability to make real distinctions based on hard facts, and a genuine hatred for the consequences that often accompany misdeeds. They also demonstrate a staggering hypochrisy when it comes to race and history, but I've ranted about that at length and just honestly don't feel like getting into all that now.

UPDATE: So what was I talking about when I accused Clinton of hoaxing church burnings? Well, from 1993 to about 1996 the nation experienced a wave of church arsons across the South, and most of the churches burned were predominantly black. Or so the government and media led us to believe at the time. Bill Clinton was all over the place decrying the arsons, as he should have been had they represented an actual racist conspiracy or exhibited any aberrant statistical patterns indicating some new phenomenon. But they didn't, and his Justice Department was in the position to know this. So during that period, the Clinton Administration went about in what appears in retrospect to have been a deliberate campaign to smear Southern whites and scare their black neighbors, and thereby divide people along racial lines and keep the blacks voting Democrat out of fear. Clinton himself went as far as to "remember" churches burning during his Arkansas boyhood, until the Little Rock media culled state records and could find no mention of any church burnings during those years in Arkansas. He ended up retracting the statement in his usual fashion, claiming to be remembering some more generalized pattern of black community building arsons at the time. He was basically making the whole thing up.

Stories online clearing up the mess are hard to come by, but here's a nice skeptical piece from the Columbia Journalism Review. The article cites an AP report by Fred Bayles (who later won an award for his work on this issue) demonstrating that the number of church fires across the South during that period wasn't unusual, and that though there was some rise in church burnings many of those churches burned were predominantly white. It also turned out that while racism was the motive for some fires, other motives ranged from Satanism to juvenile hijinxs to insurance fraud to just about anything else you can think of. Some of those who burned black churches were black, and some of those who burned white churches were white. In a couple of instances, pastors set their own church buildings on fire. There was no discernable pattern to the fires at all, save one: When the Clinton Administration and the media began to pound the issue, the number of fires spiked. Many of the arsonists responsible for those fires admitted to setting them as "copy cat" crimes mimicking the fires already being highlighted. So in trumpeting the crime wave, the Clinton Administration and the media actually made it worse. Or to be more accurate, they created a wave where there had been none.

Here's a Michael Fumento piece that's a little more pointed, but offers some of the same details. Michael Kelly also wrote a piece or two about this, but thus far I'm having no luck finding them.

Some of you won't like the source cited, but here's a story about Clinton's childhood memories.

Here is a profile of one church arsonist responsible for about 25 fires. He wasn't motivated by racism--he just hates Christianity in general. His name is Jay Scott Ballinger, and he was the most prolific of the church arsonists, and was even-handed enough to burn both black and white churches.

This story highlights how the Dems used the church burnings in its campaign ads in 1996, stating that if blacks don't vote, they're "letting another church explode."
Posted by B. Preston at 12:25 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 18, 2002


If us right-wingers are such fanatical racists, such crypto-segregationists, why do we like Alan Keyes so much? During the 2000 primaries, full disclosure here, I was four square behind Alan Keyes' run for the prize. I kind of knew deep down he wouldn't win--he had no organization, little name recognition, didn't have the big-time donors and the clout of George W. Bush and John McCain--but I liked him. Still like him, actually, and think he'd make a great Secretary of State or ambassador to some whiny country like France. Can you imagine Alan Keyes levelling Gerhard Schroeder's nonsense right in front of the UN Security Council? I'd pay serious money to see that.

Nearly all of the right-wing co-conspirators that I know personally, many of whom are further to the right than me on an issue or two, also liked Keyes. We all thought his ideas and his passion were what the country needed. Our support for Keyes had nothing to do with the fact that he's a black man--we didn't support him because of it or in spite of it. We supported his ideas, and liked his spirit.

But we're conservatives, so we must be racists like Trent Lott, right?
Posted by B. Preston at 11:47 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


I figured since I ranted a day or so ago about PBS and its documentary, Mohammed, that I should at least watch it and see if it was everything I thought it would be. I'm not here to rip Mohammed or get into all the ways the documentary glossed over history, but I am here to rip PBS for funding and airing it tonight. From the looks of it, this two-hour documentary cost at least a couple million dollars. More likely, given the travel to location shoots in the Middle East as well as numerous locations around the US, and the fact that it was apparently produced in expensive HDTV format, it cost upwards of 3 or 4 million. And it was absolutely uncritical in every conceivable way, never once offering a skeptical view of Mohammed's life and deeds.

Had so uncritical documentary been proposed to treat the life of Moses or Jesus, PBS would never have funded it. Not a cent. I know, because I once pitched a documentary idea I'd been carrying around for a while to a room full of producers. One is a freelance producer who has done a great deal of work with PBS, producing episodes of Nova as well as full documentaries, and the others were all producers in some stage of getting their own work funded. My idea was (is, actually, since I haven't given up on it) to produce a documentary on Christian missionaries throughout history, treating their good deeds as well as their bad ones, and show what a huge effect Christian missions have had and continue to have throughout the world. With one exception (not the PBS producer, but a fellow Christian sympathetic to my point of view), the entire group wanted me to skew the documentary more negatively, play up the bad things while playing down the good. They wanted me to water down the message components of the piece, even at the expense of the meaning of the story. I had included a quote from William Blake in the proposal--"The glory of Christianity is in conquering by forgiveness"--and all but one found that benign quote highly offensive. The plain meaning of the quote, that Christianity isn't a faith of the sword but of the heart, was lost. And I was told that this documentary would never get PBS funding of any kind, because it won't be interested in the subject matter.

Which is no big deal to me, since I think PBS should get defunded anyway. But along comes Mohammed, and PBS apparently ponied up a princely sum and gave it high billing in prime time. And as I said in the opening, this documentary was as uncritical a look at a historical figure as you'll find. The producers took great stylistic lengths to soften the piece for an American audience, resorting to European stringed instruments to fill the score instead of using instrumentation indigenous to the Middle East, and filling out its roster of commentators with women to soften the misogynistic tendencies of the Arabian (and therefore dominant) strains of Islam. The section on 9-11 never explored why 19 Muslims and their legion of supporters thought themselves justified by their faith to kill so many innocents, but instead offered up the same kind of "killing of the innocent is never justified in the Koran" statements that we are by now used to hearing. Yasser Arafat never got a mention, though interestingly several commentators mentioned that they feel more free to be Muslims in the US than in their native Muslim countries. The producers failed to explore why this might be. PBS should never have funded Mohammed--by casting such an uncritical glow on Mohammed it used your tax dollars and mine to proselytize for Islam to a national audience.

If you missed the documentary, here's a taxpayer-funded website PBS put together to accompany it. You can use it to take a "virtual hajj." You might as well--you did pay for it.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:33 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


This Shelby Steele column on l'affaire Lott is a must-read. So go read it.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Our dear friends at are milking the Lott affair for all it's worth today, smearing every Republican in sight. Here are a few headlines from today's email newsletter:

Lott's Rivals Are Even MORE Conservative than Trent Lott

Don Nickles (R-OK) is Just as Racist as Trent Lott

While Trent Hangs with BET, His Daughter Hangs with the New KKK

Lott Embraces Affirmative Action - For Doomed Republican Klansmen

Lott Treats All of America Like a Bunch of 'Foolish Niggers'

Rove Calls Russert to Tell Lott The Gig is Up

Et Tu, Karl? Rove Buries the Final Dagger in Lott's Back

Yes, I'm quoting directly from what looks like's Byrd moment. Of course, being Democrats they'll never have to say they're sorry.

They're also attempting a two-fer grab, zapping all Republicans for Lott's unwise words while also thumping Karl Rove for trying to get rid of Lott. If there was any doubt that these people try and spin everything, even things that contradict each other, to their advantage, this should remove that doubt. Ya just can't please these people know matter what you do, if you're not one of them.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:32 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 17, 2002


Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points Memo, with which I almost wholeheartedly disagree while occassionally enjoying his style, offers up a post quoting Ed Kilgore, the Policy Director of the Democratic (sic) Leadership Council. Kilgore has this to say about why Trent Lott is in trouble with fellow conservatives:

The angle some people may be missing about conservatives and Lott is that they are eager to pursue a number of things--a scaleback of affirmative action policies, private school vouchers, appointment of conservative judges with backgrounds more questionable than Lott's--that will create some concerns that the GOP is not exactly the reborn Party of Lincoln that appeared on TV screens at the 2000 convention.

I can see why scaling back affirmative action would be controversial, though not in DLC circles where criticism of AA policies was once the norm. And appointing more conservative judges--yup, Dems of all stripes won't like that and they'll make it controversial if they have to pop every vain in Pat Leahy's forehead to do it. But school vouchers? This is where the ideology trumps good sense. School vouchers are soooo controversial that a certain Senator who was recently the Dem candidate for VP once gave them his wholehearted support. So why lump vouchers in between those other issues? Well, the other two issues resonate to the Dems' favor with black voters, every one of whom the Dems need just to have a chance at winning nowadays. By putting school vouchers--an issue very popular with black voters--between the other two, Kilgore (and JMM) hopes to taint it. It'll backfire. People want their children to get decent educations, and since the NEA has such a stranglehold on the DNC and therefore prevents real education reform, vouchers are the way to make good education attainable for many who can't afford it otherwise. The Republicans support vouchers because it's good policy. I've yet to hear a compelling reason why the Dems oppose vouchers, and I don't suspect one will be forthcoming from these guys.

Nice try.

And then there's the cynicicm of Kilgore's reasoning on Lott's troubles, which Marshall supports. They think conservatives are all over Lott to protect some mad right-wing agenda. It's inconceivable to them that conservatives just might be mad at Lott because he actually did something wrong. Just like it was inconceivable that we were mad at Clinton because he might have done something wrong. To people like Marshall and Kilgore (Democrats, in other words), right and wrong never enter the equation at all. It's all about positioning and strategy. We're mad at Lott because he's endangering our agenda, and we were mad at Clinton because he was from the other party. Lott's racial troubles and Clinton's actual lawlessness never get a second thought from these guys, except in how they affect the political spin of the day.

A very revealing talking points memo, this one.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


Trent Lott has vowed to fight on. I wish the guy would stop for one second and think about who he's fighting. His own party, which is increasingly and justifiably mortified at the prospect of his "leadership" continuing next year. To recap a bit, Lott's brand of "leadership" left a perjuror in the Oval Office two years longer than justice should've dictated. Lott's "leadership" helped convince Jim Jeffords to bolt the party. Now Lott's "leadership" is ripping the GOP apart at the seams, and exposing his fellow Senators and other office-holders to witch hunts like those going on at Tapped and that toad Atrios' site.

Go, Mr. Lott. Resign if you have to. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. But for heaven's sake, go. You can't lead if no one wants to follow you.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


I've never been a fan of Bob Jones University. I grew up cranking the music of Steve Taylor, and one of his 1984 vintage songs, "We Don't Need No Colour Code," hit that sorry place right between the eyes (and the song had this cool Bo Diddley repeating riff, too). The words go something like this:

Down in Carolina way
Lived a man name of Big B J
B J went and got a school
Founded on caucasian rule
Bumper sticker on his Ford
Says "Honkeys if you love the Lord."

Taylor was and is a Christian musician and producer, and you've heard his work if you've heard the band Sixpence None the Richer (he discovered them and produces their stuff). "Colour Code" was a great song with a great message that I pretty much took to heart right when I heard it. So as long as I've known that Bob Jones University existed, I've pretty much detested it.

But, it's a private university, and allegedly a religious one, and as such has the right to determine its own standards for student behavior, right? You know, freedom of association, the Constitution, all that stuff that schools don't teach anymore. Yes, it gets to enjoy a tax exempt status as a "religious institution," but then again so do lots of mosques that teach terrorism and lots of cults that force people to wear purple Nikes, build web sites and kill themselves when comets buzz the planet. In the grand scheme of things, Bob Jones U is a nasty place, but far less nasty than some other places that get all the same tax breaks.

It was probably with this principle in mind that Trent Lott supported BJU's quest to remain tax-free all those years ago. If we start changing religious institutions' tax-exempt status because we don't like something that they teach, pretty soon the slippery slope leads to a serious erosion of religious freedom, not to mention academic freedom, and the right of free association. Religious freedom is still a good thing, right? I mean, you don't often hear liberals say how good religious freedom is, but it's right up front in the Bill of Rights, so it must've been important at some point in our nation's history.

I'll go out on a limb a bit here. I don't know what BJU's current tax status is today, because I haven't checked. I really don't like BJU, don't support its racist policies, and was a bit dismayed when President Bush spoke there during the campaign. But that dismayed me a little less than Al Gore's pronouncement in his fervent enviro tract that the internal combustion engine is the greatest threat to civilization. Not some plague like AIDS, and not the bomb, and certainly not the terrorists that Gore and his boss never much liked chasing around--but the friggin' internal combustion engine. Bush played to a rough crowd at BJU, but Gore played all of us for fools.

But back to my limb. If BJU is still tax-exempt, good. If it's not, it probably should be. Standing on principle sometimes means allowing things to exist that we don't personally like. In fact, that's what the Constitution is supposed to protect--our right to be mean without breaking laws, and our right to take stands that lots of people, even most people, find objectionable. BJU is pretty far outside the mainstream of Christian thought when it comes to race, and though I don't know first-hand I'd suspect its theology is pretty whacked too. You have to gloss over an awful lot of what Jesus taught and what Paul wrote to justify racism and remain a Christian. Still, it's unfair to single out BJU for special legal treatment without also calling down the thunder on lots of places that are worse, and without thereby eroding the rights of lots more places that are far better.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Sometimes I have to wonder if the anonymous writers at Tapped live in the same reality we do. Take this post:

BLACK CONSERVATIVES VS. BLACK REPUBLICANS. Ta-Nehesi Coates has an interesting review in this month's Washington Monhtly of lone (and outgoing) GOP House Republican J.C. Watts' memoir What Color is a Conservative? Coates makes a distinction between black conservatives, of whom there are many, and black Republicans, of whom there are very few, and none in the 108th Congress. Who's to blame for this state of affairs? Republicans who idealize the past and then buy their own whitewashed version of events, writes Coates, all the while conveniently leaving out the injustices perpetrated against blacks. This allows Republicans to come up with formulations such as "the Confederate flag has nothing to do with slavery" -- which blacks know to be patently false. Or, though Coates' piece went to press too early to mention it, the more recently-employed formulation of pretending that the Dixiecrats' platform in 1948 really was all about states' rights and national defense. Until Republicans learn to talk honestly about race and the past, they'll never win the hearts of black conservatives, says Coates.

Who were the Dixiecrats, exactly? Why, they were liberal big government types who also happened to be racists. Their platform used the canard of states' rights to promote segregation, you know, Jim Crow, all that stuff. So with the Dixiecrats you get a two-fer--racist ideology and the overweening power of big government to enforce their ideals. To read Tapped's formulation of history, you'd think that the Dixiecrats hailed from the GOP, but unfortunately for the writers at Tapped, history tells a different story. The Dixiecrats were in reality Democrats who didn't want to go along with the path of integration that the national Dems, and the entire GOP, was already on. So they bolted the Democrat Party to set up their own erstwhile efforts. They failed, and some went back to the Democrat fold while others switched to the GOP.

I guess my point here is that while Tapped accuses the Republicans of being incapable of talking honestly about race and the past, the same is true of the Democrats but even more so. In the Dems' universe, emancipation of the slaves happened because Abe Lincoln made it happen, but because he was a Republican his Democrat Vice President, Andrew Johnson, should get all the credit. In the Dems' alternate reality, Jim Crow got knocked out not with a preponderance of Republican votes and support, but apparently in spite of it.

Truth is the Dems' are and always have been the party of racism. First they fought a war to preserve slavery in the South while the northern Dems tried to undermine support for that war for purely political purposes (sounds familiar, doesn't it). Then when the Dems at last broke the GOP's Reconstruction-era hold on the South, the very first thing they did was lynch blacks and set up segregationist practices, poll taxes and all that. Oh yeah, and a bunch of them set up the KKK along the way, just to mix things up. Today, having lost their segregationist policies, the Dems turn to "hate crimes" and "affirmative action" to keep the races divided. Mark Steyn has it right I think--give the Dems a few more centuries and they'll reach the point where they'll understand that Condi Rice was truly hired on the basis of her merit and ability, and they'll actually be fine with that.

Well, one can hope.

Neither political party is entirely clean of the stain of racism. Until recently, the default position of a white person living in any region in the nation was that white supremacy was basically true. Thank God those days are over. But the Dems and their Tapped supporters are in no position to lecture anyone on race, and the more they pile on, witch hunt, and smear good people, the more people they actually turn off. And the more they divide the nation, which is likely their unstated purpose.

PS: And why don't Tapped's writers sign their names to their posts? I find the whole Borg collective mentality of that site more than a little disturbing, and thus seldom read it. They should own up to their opinions like the rest of us.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Weird. Probably a hoax, but a prosecutable hoax. Let's hope the catch whoever's behind it and nail 'em.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Even though this marks the first time I've written about him. Reason: justice has prevailed, and Columbia University has rescinded his Bancroft Prize.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Check out this riveting video from the gun camera of an AC-130 gunship operating in Afghanistan. Notice the terrorist running toward the mosque, knowing full well we won't bomb it. Notice who ultimately goes home to base, and who goes up in smoke.

We'll win this thing, as long as we have the will to fight.

(via Blogs of War)
Posted by B. Preston at 04:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


It looks like a Kurdish al Qaeda leader has been killed by Kurds allied with us.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WHY... PBS proselytizing for Islam? And using taxpayer dollars to do it?

"Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet" is an outrage on two main counts.

* PBS has betrayed its viewers by presenting an airbrushed and uncritical documentary of a topic that has both world historical and contemporary significance. Its patronizing film might be fine for an Islamic Sunday school class, but not for a national audience.

For example, PBS ignores an ongoing scholarly reassessment of Muhammad's life that disputes every detail - down to the century and region Muhammad lived in - of its film. This is especially odd when contrasted with the 1998 PBS documentary, "From Jesus to Christ," which focuses almost exclusively on the work of cutting-edge scholars and presents the latest in critical thinking on Jesus.

Where's the ACLU to denounce this infringement on the separation of mosque and state?

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 12:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

MARK STEYN ON TRENT LOTT... as brilliant as ever.

Strom led the walkout from the '48 Democratic Convention because a presidential panel had proposed a federal anti-lynching law and the abolition of poll taxes designed to keep blacks from voting. That's it.

Even if he had the best policies ever on defense or NEA funding or federally mandated bicycling helmets, they're just a little sprig of garnish on the segregationist beef. And, as it happens, in those days Strom was a fairly conventional big-government Democrat. That, after all, is what a ''Dixiecrat'' is: a Southern racist Democrat. The GOP candidate that year was Thomas Dewey, a man who lives on only as a headline. If Trent Lott was eager to refight the 1948 election, that's the fellow he should have been talking up. If small government's the issue that wowed Mississippi, those guys should have voted for Dewey, and the headline would have come true. Instead, floundering through another stage of his apology tour the other night, the senator couldn't even remember the name of the Republican.

That's his gift to the Dems. For the best part of two centuries, the Democrats have been the party of race: In the 19th century, they were for slavery; in the 20th, for segregation; in the 21st, for the neo-segregation of ''affirmative action,'' ''hate crimes'' and all the other paraphernalia of the modish trickle-down apartheid determined to make racial categorization a permanent feature of the American landscape. In fairness to the Dems, this evolution represents a significant century-on-century improvement: There's no reason to believe that one day, come the 24th or 25th century, they won't have reached the position that American citizens should be treated as freeborn individuals, rather than as chorus members of their respective identity-group kicklines. That's what the Republican Party stands for: Condi Rice is an effective, black, female National Security Adviser but she holds that position not because of her blackness or her femaleness but her effectiveness; she's better than the white males who were up for the job.

It's pathetic that Jesse (''Hymietown'') Jackson should be huffing and puffing about Lott's outrageous behavior. It's ridiculous that RNC Chairman Marc Racicot has been bullied into a meeting with Al Sharpton: If Lott is unacceptable as Senate majority leader, the race-baiting Rev should be unacceptable anywhere. But that's why principled conservatives have a right to be furious with the senator.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Since 1998, Iraq has been on a bio-weapons building binge according to US intel sources. Hmmm...that's the year he kicked out the weapons inspectors, and the previous US presidential administration let him do it. Coincidence?
Posted by B. Preston at 11:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The general public and the nation's leaders don't see eye to eye on the question of immigration and its role in national security, according to this report. Sixty percent of the public view our open borders as a "critical threat," compared to only 14 percent of national leaders. This explains to some extent why the Bush administration continues to go to great lengths to avoid the border issue, and even press ahead with amnesty for illegals while neglecting to reform the INS. But Bush follows his present course at his, and the nation's, peril. Reforming the INS to secure our borders is right up there with regime change in Baghdad if you ask me.

Speaking of the INS, I personally know of an awful INS case that just boils the blood. I know a scientist from Europe who recently became unemployed. His job search led him to move to the West Coast, and during his between-jobs period his family went back to Europe. Throughout their time in the US, the scientist and his family have been nothing short of exemplary folks, and typify the kind of people we want more of here--bright, educated, hard-working. But INS is now saying that his family can't return to the States, and has yet to justify its decision. Meanwhile, dead terrorists still get their visas and more live terrorists sneak across our unguarded borders every day.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


National Review has my latest on l'affair Lott.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 16, 2002


The conservative Republican black congressman from Oklahoma was himself the victim of a race-based political ad years ago, though you'd never know it from the lack of outrage at the time. Who stepped up to denounce the demagoguery? Not the Dems, not the NAACP--but Bob Novak and the Wall Street Journal. Interesting.

(thanks to Chris)
Posted by B. Preston at 05:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


runs Palestinian state-controlled TV. Therefore, he controls what gets broadcast, and according to the mullahs who get air-time on Yasser's TV station, Israel, America and Britain will "disappear." Oh, and Muslims should butcher Jews whenever and wherever they meet them. Americans too, since we're Jew-friendly. No distinguishing between hawks and doves here, just kill 'em all say the mullahs on Yasser's airwaves.

It's tough to square this with Yasser's recent comments asking bin Laden to quit bringing up the Palestinian cause in his back-from-the-grave rants. They both seem to have the same strategic goal. But I'm sure the anti-war crowd will find a way.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 05:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I'm a little late getting to this post, in which Josh Chafetz argues that we Repubs need to shift from bashing Lott to playing defense against the smear campaign currently being waged against us in the name of getting Lott. I agree with nearly everything in this post, save one bit: Josh says we need to defend ourselves. I disagree. We conservatives have been playing defense on the subject of race for a generation, and for no good reason. Where has playing defense gotten us? Nowhere. Minority voting trends are against us--GWB garnered less of the black vote in 2000 than Reagan got in 1984 and 1980, and far less than Nixon got in 1960. We're regularly smeared by the likes of Al Sharpton, himself a racist who famously drummed up charges against an innocent man and who has on at least one occassion incited riots. We're smeared by Jesse Jackson, by Bill Clinton, by just about every Democrat politician and by many in the media. Where has playing defense gotten us? Nowhere. We just continue to get smeared, and the left continues to rewrite history in such a way that exonerates the Democrats for their racist past and pins all that baggage on us.

The time for playing defense is over. On a range of issues, from school choice to tax policy to faith-based initiatives to national defense to welfare reform, it's time to shift to offense. By owning these issues and a few others, we can take the racial equality ball from the Dems once and for all.

School choice--this is an issue that enjoys overwhelming support among black voters for the simple reason that it helps them escape the crumbling public school ghetto in urban centers. It also happens that conservatives are its champions, with George W. Bush making it the centerpiece of his education proposals during the campaign before abandoning it once in office. School choice is vigorously opposed by the liberal elite, for the simple reason that it's a union-buster and the union it busts is particularly dear to the libs--the National Education Association. Who is supporting blacks here, Republicans or Democrats?

Tax policy--we want more people to keep more of their own money, and want to set tax policy up in such a way that it encourages individual enterprise and success. The liberals want to keep more people's money in elite hands to dole out as they see fit. Enterprise zones, the conservative answer to urban blight, is an effort to use tax policy to renew urban enterprise. The liberal answer is more welfare. Let's start making sure more people know what we believe here, and encourage more people to be self-sufficient.

Faith-based initiatives--who knows a neighborhood's needs better than the people who live there? That's what faith-based charity initiatives are all about, enabling local charities and organizations to help out their neighbors while keeping the government out of their way.

National defense--set aside its true purpose for the moment, the military is one of the most underrated social equalizers we have. Anyone can join, and in joining a citizen makes a bargain with the government: In peace-time, you can pursue your education and we'll help you by making it more affordable and seeing to your housing and health care needs and the needs of your family. In exchange, when war breaks out you agree to defend the nation, even though it may cost you your life. The military is both a meritocracy and a force for mass education via the GI Bill. Race plays no role in who scores well on the advancement tests, which determine to a great extent who prospers within the military's structure. Which party and which ideology most strongly supports the military? Which is always seeking to cut it, which in turn limits the number of people who can take advantage of its educational benefits?

Welfare reform--this has also been one of the most beneficial government acts of the past generation, and has come in a variety of forms. The most well-known is the 1996 bill that Congress passed (a couple of times) and President Clinton signed because he had no political choice. Welfare reform has lifted millions of Americans off the public dole and made working citizens of them. But there have been other initiatives along these lines that go back longer and have made just as much of a difference. To address urban blight in the 1980s, President Reagan used HUD to increase property ownership among urban blacks by selling at little or no cost their government-owned homes to them. This has helped renew neighborhoods, reduce crime and help families escape the welfare-tenament trap. Democrats denounced this policy and have sought to thwart it at every turn, just as they did the 1996 welfare reform measure.

There are probably half a dozen other issues we can highlight as initiatives we have long supported that have had a disproportionately positive impact on blacks and other minorities, and which liberal Democrats opposed and continue to oppose for a variety of reasons. The time for just reacting and playing defense is over, as the recent Lott flap makes clear. We conservatives will simply never earn the respect of the liberal opposition whatever we do short of total capitulation. For us, politics is a means to an end, but for them it seems that politics is the end itself and they'll do anything, smear anyone, to increase their political power or sap ours. We have the issues on our side, and if the liberals would get out of our way on any one of them we could prove that we are the party of true equality and colorblindness. So let's strip the ball and play offense. Current polls have us with somewhere between 5 to 9 percent of the black vote, so we literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


It looks to me like the GOP is going to lose its majority in the Senate, again. Six weeks after its historic midterm election gains, Republicans around the nation find ourselves on the defensive, and our agenda derailed, by the thoughtless comments of one man who happens to be the elected majority leader in the Senate. The calls are starting to rise to replace Sen. Trent Lott with someone more presentable, and less of a racial lightning rod, than he has become. There is no dearth of talent in Republican ranks, and in fact Lott's replacement is likely to be more conservative and more effective at leading the party's caucus than Lott has done. So replacing him as leader is healthy for the party in a number of ways, from removing him as one of the GOP's public faces to improving the way things will work in the Senate in the next term.

But it's likely to come at a cost. Historically, when a party's Congressional leader gets ousted against his will, that leader then leaves altogether. Should the Senate Republicans vote him out of his post as majority leader, Trent Lott is likely to follow Newt Gingrich, who though he was a far more effective leader fell under the weight of electoral losses and a trumped up scandal that nagged him in spite of his best efforts to end it, and resign his Senate seat. If Lott resigns, the Republicans are virtually guaranteed to lose his seat, as Mississippi's Democrat governor will likely name a fellow Democrat to replace him. At that point, the makeup of the Senate goes to 50-49-1, a tenuous majority and one that rests on the shakier members of the Republican membership. The chances of a defection, from a Lincoln Chaffee or another similarly "moderate" Republican, rise. Should even one Republican Senator bolt, the Senate switches hands.

But, that won't be the end of the world. In repudiating Lott's remarks, Republicans from the president on down have given a good account of themselves. They have done the right thing, knowing that it entailed a risk to the party's fortunes, because the greater good of racial harmony and justice is more important than keeping hold on power. Doing the right thing hasn't earned the respect of political adversaries, who in fact have taken the opportunity to smear Republicans as the party of racists. But the facts speak for themselves--Lott made a remark that seemed to betray support for segregationist policies, and repeatedly failed to explain himself satisfactorily, and the loudest criticism he has endured has come from his fellow Republicans. The GOP can't control what others say about us, we can only try and do what's right and let the chips fall where they may. Though tempting and not without recent historical precedent, circling the wagons around Lott would have been the wrong thing to do. Republicans should be proud that we're willing to do the right thing, even at some cost to ourselves. In this case, Lott's comments may cost us the Senate. So be it. Sometimes doing the right thing carries a high cost. That doesn't mean it's still not the right thing to do.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:36 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack