Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Apples and Oranges

Over at Bloggingheads, Jamie Kirchick responds to concerns about the right's canonization of Jesse Helms by wondering if the left will do the same to Jimmy Carter when he dies. While it's unlikely that anyone in the mainstream American left will lionize Carter the way the mainstream right has lionized Helms, Kirchick's objection almost totally ignores the most important point: incompetence is not the same thing as bigotry. Democrats might memorialize Carter's legacy by embracing his viewpoints and ignoring his unsuccessful presidency - but embracing Helms means embracing his racism and homophobia, because they were crucial elements of his politics.

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