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A Progressive Remedy for Clarence Thomas


Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas was, as he famously said at his confirmation hearing, the target of a "high tech lynching."  Tagging along with the lynching party was liberal hero Sen. Ted Kennedy, who watched in amusement as his colleagues grilled Thomas about his supposed harrassment of an attractive young woman, Anita Hill.  As I recall, Kennedy himself said little or nothing  --  a wise decision,  given that his own most famous encounter with an attractive young woman was to drown her.

As a recent gathering of progressives has now reminded us, a "high tech" lynching is not the only kind.  After gushing for more than a week about how "civility" is urgently needed in the wake of the grievous wounding of Rep. Giffords and the assassination of Chief Judge Roll, progressives gathered in California to protest a meeting of conservative business leaders.  Civility was not really their thing; shouting obscenities was.  A provocateur from Fox News started asking, among other things, what they would like to see done about Justice Thomas.

The answer, from the "civility" crowd, was "string him up."

Don't believe it?  I don't blame you, but see for yourself

Hat tip to John Hinderaker at Powerline. 


And there you have it. A provocateur from Fox News TRICKED them into making these comments, which I am sure are completely out of character.

How was the subterfuge artist able to accomplish such a feat? He asked.

Sorry Bill, this post doesn't make much sense to me. A bunch of idiots gathered for a noisy protest are about as representative of progressives as a group as the so-called "birthers" and "dittoheads" are of conservatives as a group.

And what's with the Ted Kennedy reference? Was he at the protest? Clearly not, since he's dead.

Justice Thomas's "high tech lynching" comment was dumb, and the protesters' rantings are appalling. Again, however, these protesters are not representative of the whole. That's like saying the ELF is representative of all environmentalists.

I'm sorry, I think there are quite a few holes in your argument here.

"...this kind of hate mongering is pretty much unknown among conservatives."
Ye gods and little fishes. One big problem our country has nowadays is that this kind of garbage is just all too common on BOTH sides of the political spectrum.

Those of us supporting the death penalty have been called bloodlusters, savages, Neanderthals, Nazis and a good deal more, and it's not all that uncommon. Read the comments at Sentencing Law and Policy for a week and you'll see what I mean.

Is that the sort of stuff any of us have said to our adversaries? If so, I've never heard it, even though, on the merits, we would be better justified: It's the FAILURE to impose the DP more frequently, and not its imposition, that actually results in the deaths of innocent people. This has now been shown by a sufficient number of deterrence studies that it is no longer seriously debatable.

Notwithstanding, the nastiest language I ever hear from retentionists is that abolitionists are "mistaken." Aboltionism, though a net sacrificer of innocent life, maintains a surly self-righteiousness that is just absent from our side.

Thus, with all respect, and at least as respects the topic of principal interest on this conservative blog, we are NOT in the same boat with Code Pink and that crowd. In my opinion, it is past time to show in a way they cannot deny that their endless cries for "civility" are something other than what they appear. What they actually turn out to mean is that conservatives and "law and order" types should speak in apologetic, muffled tones, while "progressives" are free to speak with all the indignant, and occasionally profane, certitude it pleases them to think they own.

The hypocrisy of this stance is so breathtaking that I thought it warranted a YouTube illustration.

Clarence Thomas got a degradingly personal and rude confirmation hearing because he was a conservative black man. The way Washington works, had he been a man of "compassion" devoted to the "underdog," and, of course, a proponent of, say, a DP moratorium (so we can, as they say, "study its issues" (said "study" to end in 10,000 years)), does anyone think the liberals on the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by now-VP Biden but with Kennedy fully in tow, would have launched the late-blooming expedition to find an Anita Hill with her sleazy, unverifiable he-said, she-said story?

I can only imagine what would happen if Obama nominated a black jurist to the Supreme Court and "law and order," pro-DP senators went after him using the exact same underlying assumption that greased the attack on Thomas, to wit, that black men have weird and uncontrollable sexual appetites. This slimy racist canard was all over Thomas's hearing, lying below -- just below -- the surface. Thomas's opponents exploited it full bore but, because their friends ran the press coverage, never got called on it.

It popped up into better view with these California demonstrators. If, in the immediate aftermath of the Tucson shootings, conservatives -- even if only a rag-tag bunch of fringe types -- had picketed an Obama appearance and suggested "stringing him up," the liberal media would have exploded. The story would have been on the NYT page one for days if not weeks.

Full disclosure: I have met Justice Thomas a few times and consider him a friend. So I am not unbiased. That said, in my opinion his confirmation hearings were a stain on the Senate. The racist undertow was unmistakable and disgusting -- a conclusion I reached long before I ever met the Justice.

This most recent episode calling for "stringing him up" takes root in the same racist brew; I mean, yikes, the phrase "string him up" AS APPLIED TO A BLACK MAN has a special, and especially disturbing, resonance in American life.

Yes, I agree it was probably only a few kooks. But conseratives in general and law-and-order people in particular are routinely bashed as racist or worse for doing no more than making the kind of arguments that Kent and I do on this forum. Given that, shining a spotlight on what some of Left is willing to do, and say, when confronted with a black with whom they disagree is, in my view -- and if not made a regular affair -- fair game.

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens's creme brulee. That's just a joke, for you in the media."

Remarks by Ann Coulter at Philander Smith College (26 January 2006), as quoted in "Coulter Jokes About Poisoning Supreme Court Justice" at Fox News (27 January 2006)

(BTW, I don't believe Ann Coulter is representative of conservatives, either. She is, however, the prime example of a conservative who spouts hateful hyperbole to get press and make a buck.)

Is this a "conservative" blog, or simply a "law and order" blog?

With respect to Coulter's comment, she was probably making a point about the media, not, as the anti-Koch Bros. protesters were, calling for the death of someone. As for Bill's point, my guess is that he is commenting on the curious silence of the NAACP. The NAACP has a habit about being hypersensitive, but says nothing here?

"Is this a 'conservative' blog, or simply a 'law and order' blog?"

There is a close relationship between being conservative and being "law and order."

The key unifying theme is that both conservatives and "law and order" types have the same fundamental view of human nature: That adults of sound mind make choices about how they behave, and are responsible for the results of those choices. Other people who are victimized by them should not wind up footing the bill. The wrongdoer should foot the bill.

Conservatives and "law and order" types also tend to believe that the use of force by the state, be it in war or in employing imprisonment or the death penalty, is acceptable to a greater degree than liberals believe this.

Of course those are generalizations, but it's the best I can do in the one minute I have just now.

Notablogger and CalProsecutor,

A few points.

First, the "birther" concept came from the liberals, not conservatives. Look up Philip Berg. And even those conservatives who now believe that Obama may not have been born in Hawaii, are they calling for his lynching or just removal from office?

The chasm is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Second, what is so radical about "dittohead?" In the few times I have listened to Rush, I have never heard him call for a lynching or death of any liberals. He sounded much like a traditional conservative that uses humorous methods for making his points.

I am not sure why you would compare the two groups to the Common Cause rally.

Finally, we have been hearing ad nauseam for the last two years that the Tea Party is the most dangerous bunch of radicals to ever threaten American society. Strangely, there are no videos of them making similar statements.

As much as you may want to hide your eyes and claim otherwise, there is no doubt that the worst of the vitriol and hate comes from the left. You are either a party to or the victim of the left's Rules for Radicals gameplan.

And one more point...

Notablogger stated: "A bunch of idiots gathered for a noisy protest are about as representative of progressives as a group...

...And what's with the Ted Kennedy reference? Was he at the protest? Clearly not, since he's dead."

Not to speak for Bill, but I believe the point is that Ted Kennedy IS representative of "progressives as a group" and engaged in similar behavior, albeit in a more high tech manner.

This is what always puzzles me. The Progressive movement has ALWAYS been filled with the most vile and racist garbage, yet no one is ever "representative of Progressives as a group."

Margaret Sanger who called blacks, Irish, Italians, and Jews "human weeds"--Progressive hero

GB Shaw asked for a panel to be formed for the purpose of having all people justify their existence periodically and also a "humane gas" to kill those unfit (a decade before Hitler)--Progressive hero

Wilson: Fired almost every black holding a federal position, segregated the military, feared that reconstruction would ultimately cause southern whites to be “ruled by an ignorant and inferior race,” and stated (and was even quoted in the film A Birth of a Nation): "The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self preservation… until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.”--Yes, a Progressive hero

The entire eugenics movement? 100% Progressive

Yet, NONE of these are representative of the Progressive movement. Sure...

“Those of us supporting the death penalty have been called bloodlusters, savages, Neanderthals, Nazis and a good deal more...”.

Look who’s talking. A man who smears death penalty opponents in states like New Jersey and New Mexico as opportunistic. A man who smears death penalty opponents as self-righteous and egotistical. A man who callously plays the race card to insinuate that European opponents of the death penalty look down on other countries’ cultural practices. Not to mention a man who cherry-picks a few protesters on a YouTube video to engage in raw partisan mudslinging.

For the past couple of my months my conscience has tormented me over my prior lack of civility on this blog. But your comments now make me realize that my conscience also deserves to burn with righteous indignation at your own immature and adolescent behavior.

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