In what is otherwise a too poorly written piece to merit a serious response, Rich Lowry comes awfully close to a line:
Somewhere, the late Democratic Senator James Eastland deserves an apology. Not because the Mississippi segregationist's substantive views look any less odious than they did 40 years ago. But because the same progressives who once excoriated the obstructionist tactics he used to block civil-rights bills in the 1960s have come, with the fullness of time, to see the wisdom of his procedural ways.
Eastland, were he still alive, would nod his head as liberals make the Senate filibuster sound like America's last bulwark against tyranny, and as they conduct a flirtation with states' rights. Eastland might be bewildered, but relieved that, at long last, his party was breaking his way.
Oh, how times change. Democratic Rep. John Lewis is a heroic emblem of the civil-rights movement. He was beaten with other marchers in Selma, Ala., in 1965, spurring passage of a federal civil-rights law that year premised on the notion that Washington couldn't trust states like Alabama to protect its citizens. But during the fight over whether the federal government should act to ensure that Terri Schiavo's right to due process was being honored, Lewis was on the floor of the House pleading, "Where is the respect tonight for states' rights that we said we hold so dear?" Where, indeed?
Saying that the Civil Rights Act was premised on "on the notion that Washington couldn't trust states like Alabama to protect its citizens" is, of course, wrong, because it was actually premised on the notion that African-Americans have civil rights. But what might be more offensive is implying that Lewis is a hypocrite for issuing a statement that is meant to call out republican hypocrisy. (I'm sure Lewis was never one to go around saying that he held states rights that dear); that as well as the implication that a family trying to decide what to do about a relative in a vegetative state is comparable to the civil rights movement.
More offensive still, is juxtaposing Lewis' history with Eastland's history. As if to say, 'in 1965 John Lewis was a civil rights activist; today he's a Democratic obstructionist. Ya know who else is obstructionist? A RACIST!'
That, combined with Lowry's ability to criticize Democrats for something that hasn't happened yet
When No Child Left Behind comes up for renewal, it might be ripe for a filibuster
must make this a truly hacktackular column, even by his standards.