May 21, 2002


Is the GOP Capable of Self-Criticism? : Its silence about NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre suggests not. (Timothy Noah, May 16, 2002, Slate)
Two weeks ago, Chatterbox invited any nationally prominent Republican to come forward and endorse the proposition that comments made by Wayne
LaPierre, the National Rifle Association executive vice president, about Andrew McKelvey, the CEO of, were "lunatic" and "completely wrong." In a speech, LaPierre had compared McKelvey, who provoked LaPierre's ire by founding a gun-control group called Americans for Gun Safety, to Osama Bin Laden. [...]

The GOP's reluctance to condemn LaPierre suggests that its capacity to police its constituencies has weakened since 1995, when former President George Bush resigned very publicly from the NRA to protest LaPierre's characterization of federal law enforcement officials as "jackbooted thugs." In that instance, LaPierre actually ended up apologizing. This time out, Bush fils was entirely silent about LaPierre's crack and LaPierre, unsurprisingly, hasn't apologized.

Maybe it's escaped Mr. Noah's notice, but that resignation by the former president helped convince white male conservatives that the senior Mr. Bush wasn't one of us, didn't share our concerns, but was instead a captive of Washington. As a result, Ross Perot was able to field one of the few serious third party candidacies in recent memory, largely by appealing to angry white males. Two years later, the GOP having returned to first principles and President Clinton having embraced gun control, these same wahoos (amongst whom we include ourselves) handed the GOP control of the Congress for the first time in a generation.

What now would be the point of denouncing our own allies? After all, Democrats couldn't even summon the courage to denounce Bill Clinton for his sexual assaults and prevarications, why must Republicans now denounce a private citizen for some overly colorful remarks? If I didn't know better, I'd think Mr. Noah does not really have the GOP's best interests at heart.

Now McKinney's lunacy sounds like the Democratic Party line (Clarence Page, May 21, 2002, Jewish World Review)

[T]he paranoid wing of Bush's opposition, as represented by Rep. Cynthia McKinney, feels vindicated. When the Georgia Democrat called for a probe
in mid-April into whether the Bush administration had prior knowledge of the attacks, right-wing commentators rose up to lambaste her as a wacky conspiracy theorist.

Even fellow Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia called her remarks "dangerous, loony and irresponsible."

Suddenly, barely a month later, her remarks sound like the Democratic Party line.

Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress sternly called for wider investigations. Why, they asked, did it take eight months for this new information to dribble out? Even Republican Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, questioned why the folks at the FBI, in particular, were "asleep."

The only difference between McKinney and her party leaders, it appears, is that they waited to gather a few more facts before making their charges. McKinney, by contrast, did not wait for facts when broad, sweeping conjecture would do.

Okay, here's a deal for Timothy "Chatterbox" Noah, when a "nationally prominent" Democrat comes forward to endorse the proposition that the Democratic Party line on 9-11 is "lunatic" and "completely wrong", then we'll agree that a ranking GOP member should denounce Wayne LaPierre.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 21, 2002 8:35 AM
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