[UPDATE] Welcome, Instapundit readers. Do I regret? Certainly the specifics, although you can argue that the principle – standing up against bigotry – was sound.
You know, back in the day, I had a certain sympathy for Democrat Steve Cohen (TN-09): back in 2008 he had been targeted for being a Jew by primary challenger Nikki Tinker, with nary a word of objection made by then Senator and now-President Barack Obama, who Cohen enthusiastically supported. It was obvious, even as early as last year, that this theme would probably be revisited in 2010 by former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, if a bit more skillfully. At the time, I was disappointed.
My reaction now, given that he likes to call us all Klansmen and Nazis?
The black candidate, former Mayor Willie W. Herenton of Memphis, has argued that Tennessee needs a black voice in its currently all-white delegation. He is running a blistering campaign against Representative Steve Cohen, a fellow Democrat with a precarious hold on the majority black district.
“To know Steve Cohen is to know that he really does not think very much of African-Americans,” Mr. Herenton said in a recent radio interview on KWAM. “He’s played the black community well.”
“This seat was set aside for people who look like me,” said Mr. Herenton’s campaign manager, Sidney Chism, a black county commissioner. “It wasn’t set aside for a Jew or a Christian. It was set aside so that blacks could have representation.”
TN-09 being a D+23 district, the Democratic primary race is going to be of special interest – and this is… well. It’s not so much the sentiments as it is the utterly unselfconscious way that they’re being presented. Remember that full and frank discussion of race we were promised? – because I suspect that this is not what people had in mind.
PS: And one last thing: Steve Cohen did not “consider joining” the Congressional Black Caucus; he was told that he couldn’t join because of his skin color. They’re doing the same thing to Rep. Joseph Cao (R, LA-02), too – although I suspect that changing the ‘R’ to ‘D’ there might have caused them to reconsider.