Does anybody remember the Mount Rushmore-sized brick the Republican Party collectively shit when Howard Dean described them as "pretty much a white Christian party" -- as if anyone with two brain cells to rub together didn't kind of already instinctively know that? Oh, those were the days. Good times.
If you're a Republican and you don't want to be seen as overwhelmingly lily-white, though, there are certain "Dos" and "Don'ts" you'd probably do well to keep in mind. And call me crazy, but I'm almost certain that refusing to sign a Senate resolution formally apologizing for decades of Congressional inaction on anti-lynching legislation falls under the "Don't" column. Yet here we have 16 Senators who didn't want to sign on as co-sponsors of Mary Landrieu's resolution to do just that, and guess what? One Democrat, 15 Republicans. Haven't been this shocked since someone told me the Pope was Catholic.
Oh, and let me just guess what the Republicans and their defenders are going to say: That since we can't go back and change history, resolutions like this don't really mean anything, they're just easy, trivial gestures. And you know what? Maybe they're right. But if this gesture was so easy and trivial, what does it say about these 15 Republicans that they couldn't even be bothered to make it? I mean, one phone call to Mary Landrieu's office saying "Yeah, put my name on that sucker," and bickety-bam, there it is. But no. Not even that. Here's Trent Lott, who still hasn't entirely lived down the shame of those comments he made at Strom Thurmond's birthday bash about how great America was before we had to start giving black people rights and stuff, and he won't take five freaking minutes out of his busy schedule to at least pretend he's regretful about racism and the harm it's done to this country. When they were handing out stupid, ol' Trent must've gotten in line for seconds.
But anyway, my point is that if more than a quarter of your party's Senate delegation couldn't be bothered to make one lousy phone call to get on board with a freaking anti-lynching resolution -- I mean, as resolutions go, Lynching Is Bad should be no more controversial than Puppies Are Cute or Chocolate Ice Cream Tastes Delicious -- then perhaps you should shut the crap up and quit being such crybabies the next time a Democrat makes the not-so-earth-shattering observation that dang, there sure don't seem to be a lot of colored folks in your party. Look, I'm just saying. I'm trying to help you guys here.
FYI, I called Richard Shelby's office this morning and asked why his name wasn't on the resolution. The very polite young lady who answered the phone didn't know why. I don't expect that either one of us is going to find out anytime soon.
(By the way, Republican visitors, while I may not have a lot of respect for your party's various positions on race, I do have enough respect for your individual intelligence levels to expect that you're not going to whip out that "Robert Byrd was in the KKK!!1!1!!!!" tennis ball this many years after Byrd condemned the KKK and admitted his involvement was a mistake. So don't disappoint me.)
UPDATE: Daily Kos says the one Democrat who didn't have his name on the resolution, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, got off his ass today and added it. Apparently you can actually retroactively add your name as co-sponsor to these types of resolutions after they're passed. OK, yippee -- so where are those 15 Republicans? I'll be sure to let you know if I find out.
UPDATE 2: Bill Frist lies to cover the tracks of the Repubs who didn't want to get on board with the resolution. And to think this guy was the one obsessed with up-or-down votes just a couple of weeks ago.
UPDATE 3: Off the subject, but Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who did put his name on the resolution all the way back when it was first submitted in February, is a pimp.
UPATE 4: Two GOP senators have signed on after the fact, and it turns out two others who were on the co-sponsor list shouldn't have been -- here's the updated list of the offending 15. It still includes Lamar Alexander, who evidently didn't support the resolution because he'd already done his racially sensitive deed for the year. No, really -- read his staffer's explanation and tell me that's not what he said.