Monday, March 10, 2003

Not Quite, Glenn

Instapundit has this post, titled "IT'S A TRENT LOTT MOMENT FOR THE DEMOCRATS." I don't think he's quite right on that.

It started back on Monday, March 3, when U.S. Rep. James Moran, Democrat from Virginia, speaking to an anti-war group at an Episcopal Church, made remarks that seem pretty clearly anti-Semitic:
"If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq we would not be doing this," he said. "The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going and I think they should."
Jewish leaders, as the example on Instapundit's site shows, are reacting. Even the Washington Post now has a story, on the reactions from a variety of Jewish organisations.

The problem is, this doesn't track as the Lott controversy did. Lott made his ignorant remarks on a Friday evening, and by Saturday the conservative forum Free Republic was already ablaze with calls for his resignation and condemnations of his stupidity. The furor had reached crescendo by Sunday night and it was already clear, even if Lott didn't realize it for a couple of weeks, that he was on the way out.

Even so, no national media picked up on the story. It wasn't until Rush Limbaugh spoke about it in mid-week that papers like the Post started running the fiasco, and television news had it by end-of-week. Then, the whole thing became the steamroller that finally flattened Lott.

It was, however, the uproar in conservative quarters, nearly a week before the story broke beyond the Republican/conservative community, that ended Lott. Go to Free Republic and look around; read the threads. In the Moran case, I searched Democratic Underground, roughly the liberal equivalent to FR, and came up with nothing. No posts or threads or articles. No uproar. Nada. In fact, the newspaper story that first broke Moran's remarks is already a week old! The Washington Post story, detailing Jewish reaction, is dated today. It's only now that Jewish leaders are moving, compared to the Republicans who were already moving against Lott within 36 hours.

The Democrats who are quoted in the Post story are a single local colleague and a State of Virginia Democratic functionary. In the Republicans' case, there were already prominent leaders and others who had staked out positions, or were fleeing as fast as they could, by this point in the story.

To his credit, Moran has already unequivocally apologised. He noted, in his original remarks, that he felt emboldened by the supportive, anti-war, audience to speak boldy; he was also speaking to a Jewish woman. Moran noted that his own daughter is marrying a Jew and coverting; something he is happy with. So, some of the sting of those remarks is taken away. One is hard-pressed to see Lott in anything similar, with a black person.

So, no. It's not at all the same. But we'll see a whole lot of folks, Republicans and conservatives, pumping this for all it's worth. That's a shame, as the tit-for-tat; you do one, we get one mentality has to stop. I just hope this stays below the media feeding-frenzy radar.

What's more noteworthy is the other comments Moran made, indicative of some serious strategizing on his and his party's part:
"The protest marches so far have been relatively ineffective in the United States," he said. "The speakers chosen have not been credible."

When asked who these speakers were, he said: "The worldwide socialist movements, the Al Sharptons of the world, the Cynthia McKinneys."

For the protests to be successful, he said, they have to become a middle-class suburban effort. Only when middle America started opposing the Vietnam War did it finally come to an end, he noted.

"People like you need to take control of the movement," he said.

But war is inevitable, he said, and the best the anti-war movement can hope for is to be recognized by history for their doomed efforts.

"I think it's going to be a frustrating process," he said. "But at least in the end we'll be able to say, 'I told you so,' and the history books will record that the nation was divided."
Now there's a wealth of material for pundits to chew over! Stuff with real value, and not some mock-equivalency of bigotries.

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