Here’s a new statement just out from Joe Lieberman
Senator Lott’s recent comments about Strom Thurmond’s 1948 presidential
campaign were hurtful, divisive, and fundamentally un-American. And the
hurt they have caused is not going away, and will not until Senator Lott
speaks out more explicitly.
The policies of the past that Senator Lott’s initial statement appeared
to embrace — specifically, racial segregation — are not just
“discarded,” as his apology put it. They are deeply offensive, morally
wrong, and wholly contrary to our nation’s most important ideal. And
the revelation today that Senator Lott expressed nearly identical
sentiments in 1980 raises some troubling questions that Senator Lott
must answer immediately and fully if he is to restore his credibility as
a national leader.
In particular, I would urge Senator Lott to come forward with a specific
renunciation and repudiation of the indefensible days of segregation,
which are a painful stain on our history, and which either ruined the
lives or compromised the freedom of millions of our fellow Americans.
It’s not enough to say his words may have been misinterpreted. He needs
to speak from his moral center and make clear his commitment to racial
equality. One way to do that would be to go beyond issuing another
apology and meet directly with the members of the Congressional Black
Caucus and show that he understands the hurt his comments have caused.
That would go a long way toward healing the wounds that are widening
This is not about politics. It’s about the fundamental American
principle of equal opportunity — about the core American value that we
are all equal because we are all children of the same God. That’s
evident from the fact that Americans across the political spectrum —
liberals, centrists, and conservatives; Republicans, Independents, and
Democrats; and people of every race — have expressed outrage at what
Senator Lott said.
To that end, I believe that President Bush also has a responsibility, as
the nation’s leader and the leader of Senator Lott’s party, to show us
where he stands and make clear that Senator Lott’s words were
unacceptable. The President has spoken vaguely so far through his press
secretary, but that is not enough. These harmful words and their
underlying message have hit a nerve among the American people —
offending our most basic values — and I’m confident the President
understands that. But the longer he waits to speak out, the more
troubling his silence will be.
Honestly, Joe seems a bit late to the party. But he’s at least right on the last point. The president’s silence is becoming, well … deafening.