Wednesday, November 17


For a long time the term "revisionist history" was considered anathema to republican faithful, unless it was the stuff of holocaust denyers or Dinesh D'Sousa running with the Bell jar thesis. As was moral relativism, which quickly joined the DoDo when the Abu Ghraib scandel broke out, but i digress. Apparently the new historical perspective is that the famed Willi Horton ad was not racist, or an example of race baiting and to suggest otherwise means that you drink the blood of christian babies. Thanks to Atrios for the tip.
When Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg referred to the infamous "Willie Horton" attack ads as "racial politics," U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone accused Greenberg of "blood libel on the American people."
Thems some harsh words my friend, are you sure you want to use a term that has sent many angry christians out to bash some Jews throughout history, and when I say history I mean it. the first known instance occured in sunny old England, not a hundred years after the Battle of Hastings.
England, 1144

March 20 (Passover), the first blood libel in Europe against Jews. Jews of Norwich are accused with both ritual murder and blood libel after a boy (William of Norwich) is found dead with stab wounds. The legend gets turned into a cult, William acquires status of martyr saint and crowds of pilgrims bring wealth to local church. In 1189, Jewish deputation attending coronation of Richard the Lionheart is attacked by the crowd. Pogroms in London follow and spread around England. On Feb 6 1190 all the Norwich Jews found in their houses were slaughtered, except few who found refuge in the castle. Jews would later be expelled from all of England in 1290 and not allowed to return untill 1655.
Jeeze o' Pete. I might take this time to state that I believe the accusation falls a little bit beyond the pale, but that's just me YMMV. From the transcript of the show.
GREENBERG: Well, first of all, I don't know, welfare queen, Willie Horton. That strikes me as racial politics in the 1980s.

BARONE: I think you are absolutely wrong about Willie Horton, and I want to strenuously disagree.


I think this whole Willie Horton thing is a slur on the American people. The argument has been made by Democrats and liberals that the Bush campaign in '88 supposedly showed pictures of this man. It did not. There was an independent expenditure ad that did. But they did not. They showed white prisoners in the ad. And the argument against Michael Dukakis, which he never effectively countered because there is no effective counter, is that giving furlough to people who have life without parole is a position that Dukakis defended over 11 years as governor of Massachusetts or governor candidate, is a crazy law, and he supported it over 11 years. You don't have to be a racist to want a murderer, whatever his race, to stay in jail and not be allowed outside on the weekend. To say that the American people were racist and they just want black people in, is blood libel on the American people.
I think Mr Barone, that you may have jumped the shark a bit, I believe that Ms. Greenburg (who may justifiably be quite upset with the use of the term "Blood Libel") was actually somewhat genteel in her characterization, referring to the add as an example of "racial Politics", and not as you suggest accusing the American people of being racists (although far to many of them are, in fact. given your protestations, i would not be suprised if present company was included) But maybe to put an end to this controversy, we'll let the architct of the ad speak for himself
In 1991, Bush's 1988 campaign manager, Lee Atwater, apologized to Dukakis for promising in 1988 to "make Willie Horton his [Dukakis's] running mate." According to a January 14, 1991, Associated Press report, Atwater, who was gravely ill at the time, regretted the statement "because it makes me sound racist, which I am not."
Deathbed confession is good enough for me, I just hope it was enough to get Lee past the biggest Goalie of all, St. Peter.