It's sure been a sport watching John McCain and George W. gouge each other's eyes out. It's like watching a porcupine mud-wrestle a weasel. I haven't had this much fun in years.
While McCain portrays himself as the fount of goodness arrayed against the forces of evil, he hasn't exactly been a profile of courage on race issues.
He originally opposed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in Arizona (yeah, I know, he apologized for that; but apologies take you only so far.)
More recently, as in two weeks ago, McCain's top strategist in South Carolina was one of the most reactionary voices in the state, Richard Quinn, editor of Southern Partisan magazine. One 1996 article in that magazine stated that "slave owners . . . encouraged strong slave families to further the slaves' peace and happiness."
When criticized about Quinn's presence in the campaign, McCain steadfastly refused to dump him.
Plus, on the "Straight Talk Express," McCain was known to throw around the term "gooks" to refer to the Vietnamese--until he had to apologize for that, too.
Now McCain's got religion?
And speaking of religion, did you read the text of Bush's letter of February 25 to Cardinal John O'Connor of New York?
Bush went out of his way to say he was not anti-Catholic. "I have profound respect for the Catholic church--a sympathy beyond mere tolerance," he wrote.
He added: "As a Christian, I see Catholics as my brothers and sisters in Christ--sharing the same ancient creed and core beliefs."
What I wonder is, how does Bush feel about non-Christians: Jews, Muslims, Hindu, atheists, and agnostics?
Do those of us who don't "share the same ancient creed and core beliefs" earn less sympathy from George W?
It was no accident that George W. spoke at Bob Jones (before Bush rued his "missed opportunity," he told one network reporter that he just got off the plane, made a speech, and got back on, as if he didn't know where he was).
And it was no accident that McCain hooked up with Quinn.
A sizable portion of the Republican electorate is situated on the far reaches of reaction. And for decades now, Republicans have wooed this constituency, whether it was with Ronald Reagan's welfare queen quips, George Bush's Willie Horton ads, Pete Wilson's anti-immigrant policies, the all-out attacks on affirmative action, the opportunistic defense of the Confederate flag, or the hateful campaigns against gay and lesbian rights.
McCain acts like he suddenly discovered this. Where's he been all his life?
The Republicans have lain down with the dogs of bigotry, and now they've got a bad case of the fleas.
I, for one, don't mind seeing them itch.