Hitchens is almost right

Christopher Hitchens is totally right when he notes that Mike Huckabee’s defense of the Confederate flag harmonizes perfectly with racist views.  That is, a person could argue that the defense of the flag is all about States’ rights, but the fact is that the Confederate flag is so inextricably intertwined with the KKK and Jim Crow that such an argument is stupid or disingenuous at best, and fraudulent at worst.  Hitchens is also right that the press gave Huckabee a pass for this nasty remark.  Assuming that the pass was deliberate, and that the Huckabee story didn’t simply get swamped by the infinitely more fascinating fight between Clinton and Obama, one has to ask why the press was so passive.  Hitchens thinks it’s because it was afraid of offending racist Southern rednecks:

But when real political racism rears its head, our easily upset media falls oddly silent. Can you guess why? Of course you can. Gov. Huckabee is the self-anointed candidate of the simple and traditional Christian folk who hate smart-ass, educated, big-city types, and if you dare to attack him for his vulgarity and stupidity and bigotry, he will accuse you of prejudice in return. What he hopes is that his neo-Confederate sickness will become subsumed into easy chatter about his recipes for fried squirrel and his other folksy populist themes. (By the way, you owe it to yourselves to watch the exciting revelations about his squirrel-grilling past; and do examine his family Christmas card while you’re at it.) But this drivel, it turns out, is all a slick cover for racist incitement, and it ought not to be given a free pass.

I actually don’t think that’s the case.  Just as I’d prefer Hillary to win the Democratic primaries because I think she’ll be easier to beat than Obama, the press would prefer that Huckabee win the Republican primaries, because they know he’ll go down in flames in the Presidential election.  That’s why they’ve handled him with something approaching TLC — he’s their favored candidate because he’ll lose.

Speaking of different press approaches to the different parties and their candidates, Patrick, my favorite Paragraph Farmer, has an elegantly written article up at the American Spectator examining the way in which reporters delve deep into Romney’s and Huckabee’s theological beliefs (something that may be fair game because their beliefs stand out), while treating with kid gloves rather unusual theological revelations from candidates on the left.  Even if one pulls back from specific theological peculiarities, there is no doubt that the press has carefully ignored Hillary’s politically activist Methodism, which has more to do with socialism than God, and Obama’s truly unfortunate, and very strong, ties to a black supremacist church.  Likewise, a speech from a pulpit is non-news if you’re on the Left, and a threat to the separation of church and state if you’re on the right.  Double standards, anybody?

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  • http://sp75.wordpress.com/ sparrow

    You lost me at the end of this post. I can’t think of any presidential candidate from either party that hasn’t given a stump speech from a pulpit. That has nothing to do with Huckabee being a racist.

  • jj

    Inevitably a defense of things such as the Confederate flag can be made to seem racist – it can be made to seem almost whatever anybody wants. I don’t know that it’s any more “inextricably” entwined with the KKK and Jim Crow than it is with Scarlett O’Hara, dogs named Blue, or fast orange cars; but it is a state issue that doesn’t have any place in a presidential campaign.

    It isn’t fodder for anyone wishing to head up the Confederation; which is what the job of president translates to. (Isn’t it interesting that the old South had the precise, identical governmental model that Jefferson, Adams, et al did, only they even went so far as to actually call it a confederation, which Jefferson, Adams et al did not.)

    But political “racism?” I think not – what would be the point? I don’t know what Huckabee actually said, and I don’t much like him; but I don’t find him “vulgar” or “stupid,” and I don’t know enough about him to know if he’s sunk in the depths of “bigotry.”

    Christopher Hitchens, who to my eye always seems to be extraordinarily satisfied with himself and his own general brilliance when I see him on the tube, evidently knows Huckabee quite well, and can speak to these things. We are fortunate to have his incisive mind available to us to allow us to see through that “slick cover” to the underlying racism. (Though Christopher doesn’t explain where this s***kicker ever acquired a “slick cover,” I notice.)

    I don’t think that’s the case, either. The media would love to have Huckabee, or McCain as the GOP nominee, because neither is a danger to win. McCain is so widely disliked he would’nt get all the republican voters even in the face of Hillary.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Sparrow, I wasn’t saying Huck’s racist because he gives political speeches in churches. I was saying that the MSM tends to have a problem when conservatives give speeches from pulpits, but no problem — indeed, they’re boastful — when liberals do the same.

  • http://Synova.blogspot.com Synova

    “I don’t know that it’s any more “inextricably” entwined with the KKK and Jim Crow than it is with Scarlett O’Hara, dogs named Blue, or fast orange cars;”

    Agree.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Just wait until Huckabee (and to a lesser extent this goes for McCain, as well) is the Republican nominee — guess just how long the “free pass” for all KINDS of things will last…..

    Mike and John, being pretty well convinced that it’s something about their personal warmth, charisma, or “non-GW” personalities that has the media fawning on them, are in for a HUGE surprise, if (God forbid) they win enough votes to be the candidate from the “right wing”……..

  • Trimegistus

    Racism aside, it’s about judgement. A significant proportion of the people in this country find the Confederate battle flag offensive. A national leader should be aware of that and, as a matter of sheer politeness, accomodate them. Doing otherwise shows poor judgement or a stunning ignorance.

  • swampacreage

    Stick a pole up your butt.(could be a Freudian slip on his part ) Huckabee .Some Christians and others as well to be fair just want to reach and hurt you with all that love (not that there is anything wrong with that. . . the love not the hurtin ) !

  • http://jeremayakovka.typepad.com Jeremayakovka

    One Ann Coulter essay that made a strong impression on me is the one where she writes appreciatively of he Southern military tradition. She affirms American fighting spirit – generations of heroes coming from the Deep South (Sgt. York, e.g.) – as being especially, even disproportionately, Southern, and allows a necessary link between mroe recent Southern military men today and their (dare I say?) “roots” sources in the Confederacy.

    It’s one of the least bilious pieces she’s ever written.

  • http://jeremayakovka.typepad.com Jeremayakovka

    (I can’t think of it’s name, but the essay is in her collection, “How To Talk To A LIberal….”