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Conservative Cannibals?
December 20, 2002
By Ted Westervelt

In the immediate wake of the event, Senator Daschle brushed off Trent Lott's daydreams of segregation. Democratic pundits stood largely mute. Bill Clinton still hasn't made a public peep. Al Gore, God bless him, finally lampooned him on SNL. Given the current political climate, who could blame them for thinking that paying homage to a segregationist's Presidential candidacy wouldn't have legs?

The real story here is that the corporate media ran with this story. After spending 25 months massaging of George W. Bush's ego, carrying Republican PR initiatives ad nauseam and glossing over any serious attempt at investigative journalism into their roles in innumerable corporate scandals, Dick Cheney's secret energy task force or Saddam's dubious connections to bin Laden, General Electric, Fox and America Online suddenly turned on an incoming Senate Majority Leader through their news affiliates.

Democrats are still wondering how it all happened. We have become so accustomed to the kid glove treatment that every Republican has gotten in the 24 hour spin cycle - we didn't think that Trent Lott's wistful reminiscences of segregation could even create a ripple. And obviously neither did he.

We were all wrong.

Somehow, in a sea of unreported Republican scandals, general warmongering/electioneering, and the international posturing that all of these heavy GOP contributors have been doing through their 24 hour news arms, they found time, space and editorial wiggle room to lambaste a southern Senator for admittedly cryptic racist remarks for the umteenth time.

What the... Who the.... Where the.... Huh?

Turn off your flashlights and get into your sleeping bags, this is getting a little creepy. Hold your friends close, and enemies closer. The GOP boogeymen are again on the loose, and this time, party affiliation provides no protection. Having recently slain so many key partisan enemies with mega-million dollar fusillades of vicious ads, derogatory statements and blurted whispers questioning the very patriotism of their Democratic rivals, did we really expect them to turn their bloodthirsty tendencies off like a light switch on November 6?

Instead, with their Senate majority hanging by a thread, Republicans are willing slice into their own razor thin majority in what amounts to a leadership and PR battle, and appear to have given their clients in the corporate media enough editorial rope to hang one of their own. You don't have to look too closely to see the it in Pat Buchanan's face.

Trent Lott's dark faux pax(s) were as well documented as Jesse Helm's, David Duke's, even Ronald Reagan's. Not to mention that the man whose birthday celebration provided the gruesome stage for the Roman tragedy ran for President as a segregationist, after all. He wasn't the first target of dark and stealthy group of predators whose keenly honed attack senses were picking up a long awaited scent of blood. But he was the first to be stalked by a dark and stealthy group of Republican predators whose keenly honed attack senses were picking up a long awaited scent of blood.

Meantime, their illustrious leader in the White House was willing to go to extreme lengths to keep crazy old uncle Jeff hidden in the deepest darkest corner of their bags of campaign trix. Rules of engagement would have to be enforced: The ghost of President Davis was only to be trotted out on special occasions in front of very select crowds. Trot that ol' boy out in Washington, DC in front of a bipartisan crowd and live TV, and you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack.

So George W. Bush, despite his recent history of making campaign speeches at a university that banned interracial dating, loudly offers no comfort or aid. Other aspiring Republican leaders, themselves fresh from kissing the ring of the former segregationist Presidential candidate, steal in from the shadows to tear his wounds open wider. We are witnessing a bizarre spectacle usually reserved for avid Discovery Channel viewers like myself.

This isn't like the story a group of survivors from a horrific plane crash in the Andes or a hapless wagon train in the Sierras going to extreme lengths to insure their mere survival.... Or is it?

Pull up a chair, pop some corn. They're coming for their own blood. Wouldn't it be cool if this was finally the "new tone" we've heard so much about?

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