Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

June 22, 2005

Durbin Apologizes?

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:21 pm

Ah, the saga of Senator Durbin — the number-two Democat in the Senate leadership — continues, and has broken into the mainstream media. And this, Durbin acknowledges, warrants some sort of response. The day after comparing American troops to “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, … Pol Pot and others that had no concern for human beings,” he refused to apologize and called on the Bush Administration to apologize instead.

Now, a commenter notes that he has broken his word — and apologized. Sort of:

“Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line,” the Illinois Democrat said. “To them I extend my heartfelt apologies.”

Is he apologizing for his remarks — or for the fact that some people crossed the line? He certainly does not seem to be apologizing for thinking that American troops are Nazis/Communists. Just for being “over the line” about it.

His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks.

“They’re the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them,” he said.

Ah, so calling someone a Nazi and a Communist and a Gulag-operator is not “intended” as “disrespect”? Should we therefore conclude that Senator Durbin resepects “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, … Pol Pot and others that had no concern for human beings”? I think we should, at least until Senator Durbin apologizes for this “apology”!

Laura Ingraham pointed out on her radio show this morning that when Senator Trent Lott — then the Republican leader — said at Strom Thurmond’s birthday party in 2002 that it would have been good if Thurmond has won when he ran for president in 1948 as a segregationist, the story made the front page of the Washington Post for three out of four consecutive days (December 12, 14, and 15, 2002) — and each time, the Post’s news story (not editorial, but “objective” news story) brought up the possibility of Lott’s resigning from the Senate, or resigning or being removed from his Senate leadership post. Ultimately, the Republicans removed Lott from his Senate leadership post.

Last year, Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd said of Senator and former Democratic Leader Robert Byrd, “I cannot think of a single moment in this nation’s 220-plus-year history where he would not have been a valuable asset to this country.” Presumably, that includes the moments when Senator Byrd filibustered all the major civil rights legislation in the 1960s, the moment when then-Representative Byrd opposed integration of the armed forces and called African-Americans “race mongrels,” the moments (years, actually) when Byrd organized and led a new chapter of the KKK in his home town. Dodd and Byrd both went unpunished.

It would be good for the Democrat’s credibility if they would remove Durbin from his leadership post. It would be even better if they found a candidate to run against him in his next primary.

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