Thursday, February 6, 2003

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HE MUST HAVE BEEN JEALOUS OF TRENT LOTT'S SPOTLIGHT: House Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., who chairs the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security that supervises the U.S. Department of Justice, including laws aimed at preventing terrorism, praised the decision to intern Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. He observed that some Japanese-Americans ``probably were intent on doing harm to us... just as some of these Arab Americans are probably intent on doing harm to us.'' Note that, by this logic, we might want, in future months/years, to round up and intern all Korean-Americans, Chinese-Americans, and potentially Franco-Americans.

The obvious comparison of this jackass statement is to the Lottroversy. What's chilling is the extent of the parallels:

1) Both are Republicans in positions of leadership.
2) Both praised racist policies that were instituted/proposed more than 50 years ago by Democrats.
3) Both of them have a track record of such embarrassing statements: According to the San Jose Mercury News, "Coble made similar remarks about internment camps in 1988, when he voted against paying reparations and extending a national apology to Japanese-Americans interned during World War II." (Eric Muller links to the specific comments.)
4) Both made their comments at public functions where the media was sure to record them accurately.

Coble wins special dummy points, however, for making his comments a mere six weeks after Lott demonstrated the political danger of praising racist policies.

When Coble received his subcommittee chairmanship last week, he was quoted: "I think we'll be in the eye of the storm. ... It's going to be challenging," I'm pretty sure this is one storm the good Representative can clear up by resigning his chairmanship and beating a hasty retreat to the back benches. On one crucial dimension, this flap is even more serious than the Lottroversy: Coble has direct oversight authority for the type of activity he so enthusiastically supported. Shudder....

One interesting side note: Eric Muller appears to be the first to blog about this, but unlike the Lottroversy, it was old media that first reported on this. Hopefully the Blogosphere will not need to get as exercised this time around, as Coble gets caught in his own perfect media storm.

UPDATE: Coble is not the only idiotarian North Carolina representative. According to this report, "Republican Sue Myrick, commenting on domestic security threats, said -- quote -- 'Look at who runs all the convenience stores across the country.'" [UPDATE: The APhas the fuller quote: "You know, and this can be misconstrued, but honest to goodness (husband) Ed and I for years, for 20 years, have been saying,`You know, look at who runs all the convenience stores across the country.' Every little town you go into, you know?'"]
Her representative said the remark was "not intended as an insult to any ethnic or religious group." I'd like to see exactly how that assertion can be reconciled with the original statement.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Josh Marshall is now blogging about the North Carolina delegation. Yep, it's just a matter of time before they fall like dominoes.

FINAL UPDATE: Coble's press spokesman tries to dig out of the hole his boss created. Now, if you read the text, play devil's advocate, and ignore Coble's history of idiotic remarks on the subject, the rationaly might fly. I'm pretty sure, however, that the last thing a Coble press spokesman would have wanted was the headline: "Coble says internment remark meant to illustrate segregation."

posted by Dan on 02.06.03 at 10:09 AM