On Tuesday, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) took to the Senate floor and defended Trent Lott’s controversial comments on former senator Strom Thurmond, despite claiming in 2002 that he was “deeply dismayed” by them. Today, Smith’s home state paper, the Oregonian, sharply criticized the senator:
It’s true that speakers at retirement tributes are under no oath to tell the whole truth; if they were, such events might be a little less warm but a lot more interesting. And nobody thinks that Smith’s remarks on Lott’s remarks on Thurmond somehow make Smith a racist twice removed.
But on issues carrying as much emotional freight as race — and there aren’t many — a U.S. senator needs to speak with care and consistency.
Otherwise, he could find people speaking at his own retirement tribute.
(HT: The Crypt)