One liberal blogger and Lamont supporter, Sundog at TPM Cafe, dismantles the unapology pretty handily.
To the extent that rightwing Republicans like Michelle Malkin are trying to harm Ned Lamont with this ginned up controversy by "defending" his opponent with these absurd charges of racism — I regret it and I invite them to take it up with the person who did it, namely me. I answer to nobody and I operate entirely on my own volition. If you have a problem with something I’ve written, you know where to find me.
But perhaps it’s also time people started asking why the Republicans suddenly feel they have a dog in this fight in the first place. First David Horowitz, then the College Republicans and now the rightwing blogosphere are all championing a particular Democrat in a Democratic primary. Perhaps they have come to admire what seem to be ever increasing Rovian tactics, such as that flyer accusing Lamont of being a racist (which inspired the satirical graphic in the first place.) Whatever it is, it certainly should give Connecticut voters pause as they consider whether they are really voting for a Democrat in the Democratic primary on August 8th.
Ironically, liberal blogs such as Eschaton and TalkLeft have criticized the use of blackface in other settings. And even more ironically, Hamsher herself went ballistic last fall when first lady Laura Bush made a reference to comedian Eddie Cantor, who gained a following with his blackface routine.Hugh notes that Lamont tried to disown the blogs today, in an attempt to rid himself of the bad pub blackface jokes are wont to bring about (who knew?). But Lamont had Kos starring in his campaign commercials-- his real, TV ads. He knows the blogs he was getting coverage and support from and he knows exactly what they're about.
"Does the first lady not know who Eddie Cantor was?" Hamsher wrote. "Or does she actually think it's appropriate to invoke a comedian famous for appearing in blackface when talking about minority students, and then crack wise about their erstwhile future as criminals?"
And Jane Hamsher isn’t just an anonymous member of the blogging hordes who supports Lamont. A producer of the Oliver Stone vehicle “Natural Born Killers,” Hamsher is apparently something of a fixture of the Lamont campaign apparatus. According to the Hartford Courant, “She was part of the entourage accompanying Lamont to New York on Monday for the taping of ‘The Colbert Report’ on Comedy Central.”...Lamont has been opening up a lead on Lieberman. One wonders if this will change that. It reminds me of Busby's late-game slip-up on immigration in California earlier this year (in that the Dems always seem to find a way to shoot themselves in the foot), but it isn't getting much attention at all outside of the blogosphere. The Post story linked above doesn't mention the incident. You think they might find room in the copy for that if it were a conservative blogger posting minstrel illustrations?
THEN AGAIN, PERHAPS THERE’S MORE SINCERITY in Lamont’s claim that he doesn’t “know anything about the blogs” than there appears to be at first blush. Anyone with even a vague familiarity with the left wing blogs knows that they are capable of showing spectacularly poor judgment. Some of Moulitsas’ intemperate comments are legendary, and it’s not like he’s an outlier. The nature of the commentary in the progressive blogosphere is of a sort that any prudent politician would decline to identify himself with it. And yet the closeness between the Lamont campaign and the bloggers (suggested by Hamsher’s presence in his entourage and Moulitsas’ starring role in his campaign ad) indicates that Lamont had no such qualms.
So perhaps Lamont really “doesn’t know anything about the blogs.” That would provide one explanation for why he has so warmly embraced them. The other explanation is that Lamont in fact knows a lot about the blogs, but chose to lay with them anyway.
Neither explanation puts the candidate in a very positive light.
Make no mistake about it, the problem is not what was said, but who said it.
Limbaugh is a conservative, white man who, in the eyes of the overwhelmingly liberal media, has no right to talk about race. As soon as the word "black" comes out of his mouth, he's a racist.
On the other hand, if you're a minority or a liberal, you can say pretty much whatever you want and the press, ever the rooter-out of racism, has nothing to say about it.
Take Dusty Baker, who is black. The Chicago Cubs manager made some gross ethnic generalizations in July when he said:
"Personally, I like to play in the heat," he said. "It's easier for me. It's easier for most Latin guys and easier for most minority people.
"Your skin color is more conducive to the heat than it is to the light-skinned people, right? You don't see brothers running around burnt and stuff, running around with white stuff on their ears and nose and stuff."
And what did the press do? It didn't demand an apology; it didn't call Dusty a bigot.
In fact, very little was written about the incident. Conservative critics roared that white men would have lost their jobs for comments like that.
In fact, two white men already had.
In the late 80s, sports commentator Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder and Dodger executive Al Campanis were both fired for making racial statements very similar to Baker's.
And it's not just sports where racist remarks from minorities are treated with kid gloves.
New York City Councilman Charles Barron attended a reparations rally in Washington, D.C., in August 2002. The black councilman addressed a crowd of several thousand, including many reporters, saying: "I want to go up to the closest white person and say 'You can't understand this, it's a black thing' and then slap him, just for my mental health."
Hamsher and her co-bloggers at FiredogLake, Jackson, Sharpton, and the media would all go ballistic, and rightly so, if some righty blogger had blackfaced a politician. Hamsher calls this dust-up "manufactured," but these folks show the false nature of their own outrage when blackface is apparently socially acceptable political commentary for one side of the aisle. I mean, blackface? Seriously? And she defends it? Probably right before she bemoans the loss of civility in political discourse in these times.
No wonder more reasonable folks like Sundog are mad at her.
If I ever did a blackface post, I would hope the rest of the blogosphere would whoop my butt. And, if I tried to defend and excuse my use of blackface, I would hope the blogosphere would whoop my butt even harder. I think I can count on the right blogosphere to do that, and I know I can count on the liberal blogosphere to do it-- to me, but only because I'm conservative. Otherwise, minstrel away my friends.