Those wacky Republicans

From, you will pardon the banal hyperbole, a must-read column by Bob Herbert:

And then there’s Ward Connerly, a black man who spends his days dancing passionately to the tune of the anti-affirmative-action zealots. Some of the folks in that crowd are less than progressive when it comes to race relations, and it looks as if Mr. Connerly, who heads the ironically named American Civil Rights Coalition, has decided to shimmy with the worst of their beliefs. In a television interview last week he argued that segregation of the races was not necessarily racist.

That is extremely strange.

“Supporting segregation need not be racist,” said Mr. Connerly. “One can believe in segregation and believe in equality of the races.”

That is the exact argument that the rabidly racist segregationists made in the era that Trent Lott has looked back upon so fondly. It was destroyed by the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

Herbert goes on to discuss Senator Conrad Burns, one of the 51 Senate Republicans who may be called upon to decide Trent Lott’s future:

Back in 1994, while campaigning for a second term, Mr. Burns dropped by a local newspaper, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and told an editor an anecdote about one of his constituents, a rancher who wanted to know what life was like in Washington, D.C.

The senator said the rancher asked him, “Conrad, how can you live back there with all those niggers?”

Senator Burns said he told the rancher it was “a hell of a challenge.”

There’s more. Go read the column.

* * *

At this point, it seems pretty clear that Lott is on his way out. But once that’s done, it seems that there are a few more boils to be lanced here: Don Nickles, John Ashcroft, and Conrad Burns, for starters.

It is a myth that the Lott story was driven by the right wing — nobody was on this harder than Atrios, with Josh Marshall running a close second. To their credit, the righty bloggers did pick it up — but what I want to know is, will they keep the pressure on the rest of these guys? Or will it turn out that their outrage, while certainly genuine, was proportionately related to the amount of embarassment being caused?

In other words, will the right now be willing to overlook equally egregious comments and actions, and voting records, as long as no one’s raising a fuss about them? Because that’s kind of been the whole problem all along, hasn’t it?