Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Getting Over It

The Raw Story this morning gives some publicity to comments by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who told an audience in Tennessee that he and his fellow South Carolinians have had a hard time "getting over" Abraham Lincoln. "We don't do Lincoln Day dinners in South Carolina," he told them.
Strange, yet not really surprising words, coming from a Republican talking about the greatest of all Republican presidents.
The Democratic National Committee has rightly pointed out that the comment is inappropriate and offensive, which no doubt will compel the Ann Coulters and Christie Whitmans of the world to point out that Democratic Senator Robert Byrd was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Like a younger sibling fighting back, their first line of defense generally seems to be, "Well you're poopier!"
I'm not going to defend Sen. Byrd's Klan membership, but I will point out that it was 70 years ago and he has not only apologized but characterized it as his biggest mistake in life. Even Mississippi's Senator Trent Lott has apologized for his insensitive remarks at the 100th birthday party of Strom Thurmond a few years ago.
I don't want to make either too much or too little of Sen. Graham's comment either. Clearly, it was insensitive, coming from a politician who represents a state that is 30 per cent African American. But I suspect it was thoughtless rather than malicious. So, it's a sin, but not a greivous one, if he does the right thing and apologizes for his insensitivity. As iddybud points out this morning, he probably is reflecting the views of a good portion of his constituency, and that really is the bigger problem.
Still, Sen. Graham should apologize --and not least of all to Ronald Reagan, who once admonished party members never to speak ill of a fellow Republican.