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The Democrats' Race to the Bottom

There they go again. . .

Dec 30, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 16 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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But Clinton's effort failed, and the Democratic campaign had to be shelved. This had nothing to do with a sudden emergence of conscience. Rather, it was a product of poor planning. Clinton unveiled his attack on Cheney's vote in speeches at three fundraisers for Democrat Bill Nelson, now the junior senator from Florida. The problem was, Nelson had been in Congress with Cheney, and he had voted the same way. As a spokesman for Nelson explained at the time: "Bottom line is that Nelson strongly supported two components of the measure, and he considers Mandela one of the century's great leaders. He could not support the third, recognizing the ANC, because it was dominated by the Communist party. This vote should be looked at in context."

There were similar efforts to paint Republicans as racists throughout the country. Democrats were behind some of them. Their allies in the NAACP and the civil rights establishment were responsible for others. In a 2000 campaign that even Bill Clinton conceded had little to do with race, race was everywhere.

It would have been again in 2004 had the Democrats had Trent Lott to kick around. They don't, so it won't be as easy for Democrats to play the race card, but Lott's absence won't cause them to stop trying.

Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.