Yesterday, thanks to a tip from The Ed Schultz Show. Media Matters for America reported that William Bennett had made the following, blatantly racist comment: "But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down."
So how does Mr. Bennett respond to the uproar? By claiming that his remarks were taken out of context and demanding that others apologize to him!
But the problem with Bennett's response is that his remarks were clearly not taken out of context. It was carefully presented to show the larger context of the conversation that inspired his words.
To listen to Bennett, you would think that the charges of racism were over the fact that folks were saying he was recommending genocide. The problem is not that anyone thinks he is advocating the wholesale slaughter of blacks to reduce the crime rate. The issue is that Bennett is saying that the propensity to commit crime is innate to being black.
If that wasn't the case, Bennett could have referred to the results of aborting the 'poor' baby, the 'unwanted' baby, or the 'disadvantaged' baby. But he said the "black" baby.
The comment was indeed racist and Bennett needs to take responsibility for it.
But, maybe it is easy to slime it up, when you have professional mudslingers like Rush Limbaugh to defend you. Limbaugh, on his show, outright lied and said that Media Matters for America did not produce the quote in its context.
The White House, in wording that, for some reason, was being hailed as disapproving in news reports, called Bennett's comments "not appropriate."
New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg had a great response for that. Senator Lautenberg said that "Not appropriate is wearing white shoes after Labor Day. These comments were reprehensible and racist."
But, compared to Limbaugh's lame defense, at least it is something that demonstrates that the GOP is not completely living in some alternate dimension.