Two Leaders' Ties to Bias Group Embarrass
By Stanley Crouch
New York Daily News
From: News and Views | Opinion |
Wednesday, December 23, 1998
I was in Washington earlier this week and found
the mood there one of disdain for the mess of the moment. Yet
things are far from terrible for the President.
Sure, he has been made the target of an impeachment
beating that he will probably feel until the day he dies. But
it seems to me that when the last blow is struck, Mr. Bill, like
Muhammad Ali in Zaire, will remain standing and the opposition
will be on the canvas.
The Republican Party has made itself into the
George Foreman of old, the fighter who started out with so much
muscle but ended up losing the battle with Ali in Zaire. The GOP
has thrown one incredibly strong punch after another. All of them
have created pain, but they also are reducing the strength of
the party itself, which is losing one leader after another.
I say this because there is more going on than
we see on the top of the news. There is a second-string story
that should rise to the top of the discussion. If the media do
their job seriously, the next to go will be Senate Majority Leader
Trent Lott of Mississippi and Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia.
Lott and Barr have had or now have
connections with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the contemporary
version of the White Citizens Councils of the civil rights era.
Lott has praised the CCC for its philosophy,
has been chosen its man of the year and has published a column
in its publication, sharing one issue with a man who wrote that
interracial marriage is an assault on white civilization. Barr
was the CCC's keynote speaker in June. You can check it out on
the Internet, thanks to the digging of the media watchdog, Fairness
and Accuracy in Reporting.
Recently, through a representative, Lott repudiated
the CCC, but if we are to accept the Republican concept of apology
as it has played out over these last wild and sordid months, we
can only say, "Too little, too late."
This is going to become a progressively serious
issue for the GOP because Lott and Barr can give the party the
worst kind of image. An organization like the CCC holds views
that are a challenge to everything our democracy stands for.
In our country, being a extremist of the right
doesn't not automatically mean that a man or woman lies down with
people like, say, David Duke, the airbrushed klansman. But that
is a line the Republican Party has to make clear to itself — and
clarify for the public.
There is a good precedent. When Duke looked as
though he might win his race for governor of Louisiana, the GOP
financed his opposition, understandably fearing what a klansman
elected as a Republican would do to its national image.
Lott and Barr present a remarkable problem. After
all their recent sanctimonious talk about the rule of law, honesty
and respect for the American people, we find that these men have
been quite comfortable with people who have both slept on sheets
and worn them.
That raises a question of exactly what a party
is willing to accept in its leaders. Right now, it is accepting
Barr, who has been selected as one of the team that will make
the case against the President in the Senate.
But if Republican officials are constantly asked
what they think of Lott and Barr's associating with the kind of
people who have supported segregation, anti-Semitism and terrorist
actions such as beatings, bombings and lynchings, they won't have
much of a choice but to act against them.
Well, that's not exactly true. They could continue
to flail away as George Foreman did in Zaire, reducing themselves
© Copyright 1998 Daily News, L.P.