Barr's Buddies: Blacks Find Common Enemy in Clinton's Foes

By Cynthia Tucker, Editorial Page Editor
Atlanta Constitution, Wednesday, December 16, 1998, page A22
� Copyright 1998 The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

US. Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia's leading Clintonphobe, is trying to distance himself from the peculiar and racist utterances of the Council of Conservative Citizens, claiming he had no idea that the council was a group of white supremacists obsessed with the purity of the white race.

Interestingly enough, the group has not distanced itself from Barr, who delivered a keynote address to a Council of Conservative Citizens semi-annual national board meeting in June. The group's Web site gleefully welcomes new friends who have learned of its existence from the controversy surrounding Barr's speech, revealed by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a Clinton ally, during last week's impeachment hearings. The council forgives Barr, whom it proclaims a "courageous individual," any political rhetoric he must use to placate his critics.

Now we know whom Barr meant when he referred to "real Americans."

If some people still wonder about the un-yielding support President Clinton enjoys among African-American voters, the story of Barr's address to a white-supremacist group ought to provide clarity.

African-Americans are not running toward Clinton; they are running away from the lynch mob out to get him, recognizing that the same crew will turn on blacks as soon as it is finished with the president. This is just a modern-day spin on the adage: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

For the sake of this exercise, let's assume that Barr had no idea what the Council of Conservative Citizens stood for when he took his place as their honored guest last summer. Let's assume he was ignorant of the organization's views when he embraced one of the group' s leaders to pose for a photograph.

There is still this to consider: Why did the group choose Barr? Its members knew what he stood for, didn't they? Those right-wing extremists who are engaged in a jihad against the rest of us have a way of picking one another out.

The fevered hatred of Clinton that drives his fiercest critics (including Barr, who first suggested the president be impeached last fall, before Monica Lewinsky's name had hit the airwaves) is a phenomenon that could keep a university psychology department in publication for years. I certainly cannot explain it.

But I have always suspected that Clinton's easy and natural relationships with a number of black Americans --- perhaps his noblest instinct --- animate some of that hatred. That is not a social standard the wacky right wing can easily accept.

So it is that we find columnist H. Millard, featured on the Web site of the Council of Conservative Citizens, offering the following commentary on Clinton, described as "the first liberal black president":

"It seems likely that his beliefs are actually a result of his inner black culture. Call him an Oreo turned inside out. Whether it' s Clinton blowing some Jazz on his sax . . . or having black Vernon Jordan as one of his closest friends or having black Betty Currie as his secretary . . . or having Jesse Jackson over to watch the Super Bowl . . . the picture of Bill Clinton that emerges is one of a liberal black who doesn't like whites very much."