Saturday, December 25, 2010

Now that would be nice Christmas present: Hawaii's governor wants to finally demolish the birthers

-- by Dave

Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii's new governor, wants to give the country a Christmas present: He intends to finally demolish the conspiracy theories adopted by diehard Obama haters demanding to see the president's birth certificate, even after it has long been made available:

The governor, a Democrat and former congressman, said he has initiated conversations with the state’s attorney general and the chief of its Health Department about how he can release more explicit documentation of Mr. Obama’s birth on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital. He said he has done so of his own accord, without consulting the White House, which declined to comment.

“He’s a big boy; he can take sticks and stones. But there’s no reason on earth to have the memory of his parents insulted by people whose motivation is solely political,” Mr. Abercrombie said. “Let’s put this particular canard to rest.”

Abercrombie, you see, knew Obama's parents and met the president when he was a baby:

Mr. Abercrombie, 72, said that although he did not see the elder Obamas at the hospital with their newborn son, he did remember the couple bringing the baby to social events. He says the critics who suggest that Mr. Obama’s mother slipped off to Kenya to give birth are engaging in a “demonological fantasy.”

An L.A, Times story has more:

"What bothers me is that some people who should know better are trying to use this for political reasons," said Abercrombie, 72. "Maybe I'm the only one in the country that could look you right in the eye right now and tell you, 'I was here when that baby was born.' "

One of Abercrombie's aides said the governor is voicing the frustration of many Hawaiians who continue to be troubled by the rumors, which they see as emblematic of the view that Hawaiians are not Americans in the same way as those who live in the continental United States.

Of course, as the L.A. Times story points out, this really won't stop the birthers. But it will at least create the kind of hurdle to peddling their irrationality that will make it much, much harder to do so. And for that, he will have the nation's gratitude.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Friday, December 24, 2010

O'Reilly and Coulter try to explain why right-wing scroogery is really Christian charity

-- by Dave

Bill O'Reilly really took it personally when Stephen Colbert made fun of O'Reilly's bizarre column claiming that Jesus really wouldn't have helped the poor at Christmas time -- or at least worried about their unemployment checks.

So O'Reilly earlier this week featured an opening segment responding haplessly to Colbert, attempting a serious theological argument with a comedian -- and miserably failing:

But Judeo-Christian tradition does not require blind largesse. We are not mandated to buy people gin or cocaine, or pay someone's bills if they refuse to work. If you want to do that, you can in a free society. But to force the responsible to pay for the irresponsible is immoral in my opinion.

The U.S. government makes no distinction when it comes to entitlements. The feds do not drug test or regulate the behavior of those on the dole. And there is no question that the feds waste billions of dollars every year, money taken from hardworking people.

Americans are the most generous people on Earth, but our government does not have a right to seize anyone's assets in pursuit of an impossible social nirvana. And I do believe that Jesus would agree.

The best part came when he invited on Ann Coulter to back him up. Coulter tossed out her usual turdlike bon mots: “Liberals think sending a check to the IRS constitutes charity” was about as cogent as she got -- while claiming that good Christian Republicans are “actually giving to poor people.”

Hey, I dunno about you, but when I think of Christian charity and kindness, Ann Coulter is the first person to spring to mind. That is, as someone in deep need of it.

Grade: Massive FAIL.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Righties are mad that so much got done during the lame-duck session. Cue the whining

-- by Dave

As Ezra Klein observes, the lame-duck session of Congress was unusually productive. And one of the keys was that, for a change, there actually were a few Republicans who decided to be, you know, sane:

The incumbent -- and the outgoing -- Republicans know that the fact that Republicans will have more power in 2011 doesn't necessarily mean that they'll use that power to pass sensible legislation. So those of them who wanted to pass sensible legislation decided to get it all done now, even if that meant handing Reid and Obama a slew of apparent victories in the lame-duck session.

Ooooooh! That wascawwy Obama! Laura Ingraham and Dick Morris were all worked up about it last night on The O'Reilly Factor, turning blue in the face

Morris: But what is crucial to focus on, is they didn't get any spending cuts in return! Had the Republicans simply said, 'No dice. This is an illegitimate, lame-duck session of people who are not entitled to vote because they were defeated. And we're not going to pass anything, and we're going to do it on January 2, and then we're going to demand spending cuts!' Which now will have to be fought for in the debt limit ceiling or the new budget. And in the meantime the deficit keeps clicking.

Morris then went on to list all the Republican Senators who were going to be facing primaries -- from Tea Party challengers, no doubt -- in the near future because of their various sins in the lame-duck session. Considering this is the guy who predicted a 100-seat gain for Republicans in the House, I'm sure they're quaking.

But I'm also struck by Morris's proposal: Evidently he doesn't care that the Constitution pretty explicitly lays out how this election stuff works. Congress keeps meeting after elections, and new members do not take office till they take their oaths. It's all there in the 20th Amendment.

Don't these guys have great reverence for the Constitution? Except, as always, the parts they find inconvenient.

Like every other Republican right now, Morris also seems to have conveniently forgotten about the 1998 lame-duck session when Republicans impeached President Clinton. Which is quite a remarkable case of amnesia.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fox & Friends appalled Daily Show gets 9/11 responders credit: People 'think his show is real news, which is a problem'

-- by Dave

Now that the 9/11 first responders' health bill has passed the Senate, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show obviously deserve a round of applause for stepping up and playing a critical role in getting it done.

That really seemed to stick in the craws of the crew at Fox & Friends this morning. Check out this exchange between Gretchen Carlson (who I think is just still mad at Stewart for calling her out on the dumb-blonde schtick), Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, culminating with this:

Carlson: I think it's interesting when you have Jon Stewart, who apparently decided to get really serious on this topic, have a serious show about it. That's like mixing apples and oranges, c'mon! I mean, people already think that his show is real news, which is a problem.

So then when you have comedy and then one day you decide to just get totally serious --

Doocy: He's an activist.

Carlson: But I don't know if that works in the mind of the -- mind of the American people.

You know what's an even bigger problem, Gretchen? That people already think every show on Fox News other than Shep Smith's is real news. When in fact, it's demonstrably little more than lying, smearing, fearmongering propaganda. Now THAT'S a problem.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Barbour's 'clarification' of White Citizens' Council apologia is still more whitewashing

-- by Dave

Haley Barbour is obviously eager to walk back his boneheaded apologia for the old White Citizens Councils in Mississippi, so yesterday he issued a "clarification":

"When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns' integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn't tolerate it and helped prevent violence there. My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the 'Citizens Council,' is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time."

Barbour is actually just making matters worse, because this too is false information and incredibly misleading. First of all, Yazoo City certainly did not reject the Klan -- it was very much a significant and well-reported presence on the local landscape at the time.

Moreover, it didn't need violence because the White Citizens Council in Yazoo City had so thoroughly intimidated and threatened its local black population into abject fear and silence. Let's recall Barbour's original exchange here, especially the question that prompted it:

Both Mr. Mott and Mr. Kelly had told me that Yazoo City was perhaps the only municipality in Mississippi that managed to integrate the schools without violence. I asked Haley Barbour why he thought that was so.

Well, as Adam Nossiter describes in some detail in his remarkable book, Of Long Memory: Mississippi and the Murder of Medgar Evers, the real answer is that the White Citizens' Council's intimidation campaign was so successful that it took years before blacks had the wherewithal to challenge school segregation in Yazoo City:

And fear forced people out of the NAACP. It atomized the community, making any kind of association a frightening undertaking. Whites saw any grouping of blacks as a threat.

"The Negroes will not come together, and our former president has not cooperated at all," Evers wrote despairingly from the Delta town of Yazoo City in 1956. Blacks there had filed a petition to desegregate the schools, as they had in a number of other Mississippi town, in the wake of the Supreme Court's desegregation decision in 1955. The Citizens' Council responded with a well-honed campaign of intimidation and published in the local newspaper the names of parents who had signed the petition. The people working for whites almost immediately lost their jobs, and soon all but two of the petition signers had backed down.

The Citizens' Council had intimidated the local NAACP president to such a degree that the group could no longer hold meetings in Yazoo City. "It appears that they have gotten next to him and we just can't get any results, not even a call meeting. One thing, the people are afraid. I would say is is worse than being behind the Iron Curtain," reported Evers.

Indeed, the assassination of Evers in the nearby city of Jackson, was committed by a charter member of the White Citizens' Council, a Greenwood man named Byron de la Beckwith -- who also happened to be a leading member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Leonard Zeskind has a good deal more on this:

Actually, the line between the Klan and the Citizens Councils in Mississippi was often a distinction without a difference. Consider Byron de la Beckwith, a member of the Greenwood Mississippi Citizens Council. He was also associated with Sam Bowers' White Knights Klan. In 1963, Beckwith used a sniper rifle to gun down the president of the Mississippi State NAACP, Medgar Evers, while he was virtually on the doorstep of his home in Jackson. And when Beckwith went to trial the first time for this brutal slaying, the Citizens Councils provided essential aid and succor. Haley Barbour would have been a sophomore in high school the year of the murder. In 1994, when Beckwith was finally convicted of first degree murder in that crime, Barbour would have been head of the Republican National Committee. Certainly he read the newspapers then. He has no excuse for even a momentary lapse with a Weekly Standard reporter.

Further, when Barbour claims that the Citizens Councils kept the Klan out of Yazoo City through the threat of economic boycott, that was actually the tool the Councils tried to use to keep the NAACP out. Across the South, Citizens Councils would gather the names of NAACP supporters and threaten them with economic sanctions if they continued to support desegregation.

Compare that historical reality to Haley Barbour's original description of this history:

“Because the business community wouldn’t stand for it,” he said. “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

This is such a gross distortion that it really amounts to a baldfaced lie. Especially when you consider, as Ta-Nehisi Coates observes, the kind of history he is attempting to blot out here.

On Fox, the criticism is described as raising questions of racism on Barbour's part. But that's really not the immediate issue -- though it may be lurking at a deeper level down the road. The real issue here is that Haley Barbour is covering up for and whitewashing one of the most vicious white-supremacist organizations ever to have formed on American soil -- winking and nudging at them, and thereby enabling both them and their legatees. And he wants to run for president?

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Barney Frank completely pwns hapless CNS reporter attempting 'gotcha' DADT question

-- by Dave

You can tell that all these reporters for right-wing propaganda organs like the Media Research Center spend waaaay too much time watching Fox News and their army of would-be ambush journalists. Because they often try to imitate their betters only to discover that it can seriously backfire on them.

Especially when the intended victim is a seriously smart person like Barney Frank.

This happened yesterday to a young reporter for CNS (an MRC outlet), as Terry Krepel at Media Matters reports:

Apparently feeling confident (and sufficiently homophobic), CNS decided to target Rep. Barney Frank with a question about the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – specifically, whether he thought gay and straight soldiers should shower together. This was based on a statement calling for a ban on separate showers from the Pentagon’s report on the impact of repealing DADT that CNS had previously singled out.

Frank saw this coming from a mile away. As CNS reporter Nicholas Ballasy slowly got out the words “shower with homosexuals,” Frank let out an exaggerated gasp and responded, “What do you think happens in gyms all over America?” After calling it a “silly issue,” Frank added, “What do you think goes wrong with people showering with homosexuals? Do you think it’s the spray makes it catching? ... We don’t get ourselves dry-cleaned.”

Frank then turned the tables on his interviewer by quizzing Ballasy: “I know you’re looking for some way to kind of discredit the policy. Do you think that gyms should have separate showers for gay and straight people? I’m asking you the question because that’s the logic of what you’re telling me. You seem to think that there’s something extraordinary about gay men showering together. Do you think gyms should have separate showers for gay people and straight people?” Ballasy wouldn’t answer, insisting that he was “just quoting the recommendation.” Frank responded: “Don’t be disingenuous. You’re quoting those you think may cause us some problems. You’re entitled to do that, but you shouldn’t hide behind your views.” Frank again asked the question of Ballasy, who again wouldn’t answer, trying to change the subject: “So that’s the question you would pose to people who have an issue with that part of the report, the recommendation?” Frank made his point one more time, and that’s where the CNS ends the video.

As is often the case with Barney Frank, it is a delightfully thorough humiliation.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Nuclear-arms expert Jon Voight warns Mark Steyn about Obama: 'This man is capable of destroying our country'

-- by Dave

Mark Steyn is filling in for Sean Hannity this week on Fox, and he wanted to have an in-depth, thoughtful discussion of the START nuclear-missile treaty. Naturally, this meant he brought on wingnut actor Jon Voight, who springs to mind immediately as an careful and knowledgeable analyst of nuclear issues, thanks to his incisive portrayals of FDR in Pearl Harbor and Jonas Hodges in 24.

And it was deeply insightful indeed. It opened up a tremendous window on the full-blown idiocy and paranoia of the wingnut Right. F'r instance:

VOIGHT: And now I hear Obama trying to convince the American people that if we give up our nuclear weapons, this will set a fine example and all other countries will follow suit. What a dangerous and naive notion that is. If President Reagan wasn't such a powerful force of strength, we never would have seen Premier Gorbachev take down the Berlin Wall.

In reality, of course, it was Reagan who opened the negotiations with the Soviets in 1982 that eventually led to the first START treaty, ratified in 1992 under George H.W. Bush. Reagan often remarked in his speeches that his "ultimate goal" was the "total elimination of nuclear weapons."

Maybe Jon was too busy on the set of Lookin' To Get Out back then or something. Because he nattered on in this vein for awhile -- including this utterly incoherent bit:

VOIGHT: Well, our President Kennedy in September of 1961 and by the way, of course he served in the World War II nearly losing his life and he stated that American military might is the only way to keep our freedom. Of course, President Reagan was of the same point of view. And thank God he had the foresight not to sign away our national missile defense when he saw the world full of presidents and future threats from multiple nuclear powers.

Steyn obviously found this deeply insightful:

STEYN: Do you think the Republicans are going to stand firm on this? The president tonight seems to be pretty confident he can get enough Republicans to get on board with this thing to pass it with 67 votes. Are you confident the Republican Party will stand firm?

VOIGHT: Well, I certainly hope, so. And I think, again, a lot of it has to do with the American people. Get on the phones, folks, and make sure that we encourage our senators to reject this thing. You know, I don't -- we have seen this before. We have seen it coming towards Christmas as well. This idea that we push something through and people are thinking about, you know, presents for their grandchildren and wanting to get out of town, they come in and no one is thorough in their questioning or their reading of the materials. And they push something through. I don't know how many more wrong Obama policies we need to see before we wake up to the possibility that this man is capable of destroying our country.

The whole segment reminded me of an earlier Jon Voight performance:

1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: I want to serve this to the men. Taste it and let me know what you think.

[Yossarian takes a bite]

Yossarian: What is it?

1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: Chocolate covered cotton.

Yossarian: What are you, crazy?

1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: No good, huh?

Yossarian: For Christ's sake, you didn't even take the seeds out.

1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: Is it really that bad?

Yossarian: It's cotton!

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Barbour's spokesman wants specifics on racist leanings in his past. Well, OK.

-- by Dave

After Haley Barbour's wink-and-nudge act about the White Citizens Councils caught a lot of people's attention, Eric Kleefeld at TPM called up Barbour's spokesman, Dan Turner, who gave Kleefeld a decidedly prickly and paranoid interview -- including this nugget:

"Tell me what in Gov. Barbour's past gives any indication of any racist leanings, and I'll be glad to address the question," said Turner. "Otherwise, it's not a legitimate question. There's nothing in his past that shows that. If you pick out a sentence or a paragraph out of a fairly long article and harp on it, you can manipulate it. And that sounds to me like what you're trying to do."

Hmmm, that's tough. Oh yeah. There is this:

This is Barbour on July 19, 2003, at the Black Hawk Barbecue and Political Rally, held to raise money for [wink wink, nudge nudge] "private academy" school buses. The barbecue is the big fund-raising shindig thrown every year by the Council of Conservative Citizens -- the successor organization to the White Citizens Councils and one of the nation's most prominent white-supremacist outfits. On the far right (appropriately) is the CofCC's national field director, Bill Lord.

Barbour later tried to claim, incidentally, that he didn't know anything about the CofCC. Considering how knowledgeable he appears to be regarding the White Citizens Councils, this doesn't seem particularly credible anymore. Still, he declined to ask them to remove his photo from their website:

"Once you start down the slippery slope of saying 'That person can't be for me,' then where do you stop?" Barbour said. "Old segregationists? Former Ku Klux Klan like (Sen.) Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.? You know?

"Once you get into that, you spend your time doing nothing else," Barbour said. "I don't care who has my picture. My picture's in the public domain. It gets published in newspapers every day."


Wanna bet if an outfit called the "Council of Conservative Pedophiles" ran Barbour's picture, he'd be so sanguine?

Kos had details at the time about Barbour's participation in the picnic.

Be sure to read all of Kleefeld's interview, which is pretty remarkable -- especially these exchanges:

After being pressed further on whether Barbour's comments about the Citizens Councils were accurate, Turner said: "I'm aware of what the governor said in this interview. I'm not gonna get into the business of trying to twist what the governor said, or to manipulate it."

What does he mean by manipulate it, I asked?

"Your questions are very angular, let's say that," said Turner. "You have a very specific point that you're trying to drive at, and you're trying to paint the governor as a racist. And nothing could be further from the truth."

I then responded that I was not asking about whether Barbour is a racist, but was asking about whether it is true or not that the group he praised was a racist organization?

"It was an organization in Yazoo City that was, you know, a group of the town leaders and business people," Turner responded, then referring back to Barbour's comment. "And they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. And that doesn't sound like a racist to me. Does it to you?"

Turner then repeatedly asked me that question, whether the group in Yazoo City sounds racist from its anti-Klan policies. I responded again by asking about the same Yazoo City group that launched boycotts of African-Americans who sought civil rights.

In other words, because the WCC actively badmouthed the Klan -- for giving the South a violent black eye -- it couldn't possibly have been racist. Right. Those archives are just an illusion.

More generically, Barbour also loved to trumpet the Confederate flag when he was campaigning. No doubt his spokesman can gussy up a whole deluge of words to explain that away too. But the stain is pretty indelible. And becoming more obvious all the time.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Monday, December 20, 2010

Colbert follows O'Reilly's logic: 'We've got to pretend Jesus was just as selfish as we are'

-- by Dave

Stephen Colbert had some fun at Bill O'Reilly's expense over his bizarre column claiming Jesus wasn't all that concerned about the poor. The capper:

Colbert: Because if this is gonna be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we've got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition -- and then admit that we just don't want to do it.


Apparently O'Reilly is all bent out of shape, and is planning a segment tonight attacking Colbert for his supposed lack of scriptural accuracy. Should be amusing.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Haley Barbour winks and nudges at the ol' White Citizens Council folks again

-- by Dave

Our favorite would-be Republican presidential nominee, Haley Barbour, got a wide-eyed adulatory write-up in the Weekly Standard yesterday that included this nugget:

Both Mr. Mott and Mr. Kelly had told me that Yazoo City was perhaps the only municipality in Mississippi that managed to integrate the schools without violence. I asked Haley Barbour why he thought that was so.

“Because the business community wouldn’t stand for it,” he said. “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

In interviews Barbour doesn’t have much to say about growing up in the midst of the civil rights revolution. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” he said. “I remember Martin Luther King came to town, in ’62. He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white.”

Just to stipulate: In reality, the Ku Klux Klan in the South, both immediately after the Civil War and in its post-1915 reincarnation, in fact always was an organization of town leaders -- but secretly. The White Citizens Councils were merely their public face. As the Wikipedia entry puts it:

Members of the Citizens' Council were sometimes Klansmen, and the more influential the Citizens' Council member, the more influence he had with the Klan. In fact, the WCC was even referred to during the civil rights era as "an uptown Klan," "a white collar Klan," "a button-down Klan," and "a country club Klan." The rationale for these nicknames was that it appeared that sheets and hoods had been discarded and replaced by suits and ties. Much like the Klan, WCC members held documented white supremacist views and involved themselves in racist activities. They more often held leadership in civic and political organizations, however, which enabled them to legitimize discriminatory practices aimed at non-whites.

If you want to see for yourself, check out the archives of the old WCC newsletters. You get the flavor pretty quickly.

Matt Yglesias runs a sample from the archives and observes:

The Citizens’ Councils were, right in the state of Mississippi where Barbour is from, the respectable face of white supremacist political activism. Here’s an example from the Association of Citizens’ Councils pamphlet: “Why Does Your Community Need a Citizens’ Council?”

Maybe your community has had no racial problems! This may be true; however, you may not have a fire, yet you maintain a fire department. You can depend on one thing: The NAACP (National Association for the Agitation of Colored People), aided by alien influences, bloc vote seeking politicians and left-wing do-gooders, will see that you have a problem in the near future.

The Citizens’ Council is the South’s answer to the mongrelizers. We will not be integrated. We are proud of our white blood and our white heritage of sixty centuries.

Haley Barbour gives these people credit for keeping things calm!

Of course he does. That's because, as we pointed out, Barbour won election in 2003 by openly consorting with the Council of Conservative Citizens -- which is in fact the direct descendant of the White Citizens Councils, having been organized on its bleaching bones. Barbour also campaigned by promoting the Confederate flag.

When he was finally called on it, Barbour just winked and nudged and pretended that it was all just harmless gee-whiz folks stuff. Just as he is now.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

John McCain's viciousness on DADT, phoniness on DREAM Act secure an unpleasant legacy

-- by Dave

I dunno about you, but my initial instinctive sense of John McCain, even when he was giving George W. Bush heartburn on the campaign trail back in 2000, was that he really was a world-class phony. That whole "maverick" schtick was so transparently a cover for opportunism that he always had me counting my spoons, if you know what I mean.

This past week, he put his utter phoniness -- and the really vicious streak that it has always hid -- out there for the whole world to see, leading the Republican charge against Don't Ask Don't Tell in a truly ugly fashion. But every bit as phony, and significant, was his vocal opposition to the DREAM Act -- a bill he had once vocally championed in the Senate and on the campaign trail. Because of McCain, only a tiny handful of Republicans were willing to vote for what had once been a consummately Republican immigration bill.

He caught everyone's attention with his utter nuttiness on DADT repeal:

If John McCain gets any more hostile toward his Senate colleagues, they might consider having him go through the metal detector before he enters the Capitol.

Saturday's debate on the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was only half an hour old when the Arizona Republican burst onto the floor from the cloakroom, hiked up his pants and stalked over to his friend Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Ignoring Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who had the floor, McCain hectored the men noisily for a few moments, waving his arms for emphasis.

When McCain finally stormed off, Durbin shook his head in exasperation and Lieberman smiled. A minute later, McCain returned -- he had apparently remembered another element of his grievance -- and resumed his harangue.

As Steve Benen observes:

When we look back at the apartheid-loving segregationists of the 1950s and 1960s, most decent people see racists and misguided monsters. Yesterday, it seemed as if McCain decided, perhaps deliberately, that he wanted to be that guy for the 21st century. Why? I obviously can't read the conservative senator's mind, but it seemed to have something to with (a) his intense disgust for President Obama and anything he wants; and (b) his revulsion towards gay people.

... This isn't another "Whatever happened to the old McCain?" piece, which we've all seen too many times in recent years. Rather, this is to suggest McCain has done more than make the transition from "maverick" to petulant right-winger. Yesterday, the man waving his arms on the Senate floor was a misanthropic hack who's abandoned basic decency, and trashed any hopes he might have had about a respectable legacy.

Indeed, McCain has now secured a kind of legacy for himself.

Today, we look back on figures like "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman and Theodore Bilbo and John Rankin and Strom Thurmond and James Eastland -- all ardent defenders of segregation and the sanctity of white womanhood -- as tragic monsters, bigoted misanthropes who fell on the wrong side of history defending a system of xenophobic hatred and human evil.

Fifty years from now, Americans will look back on McCain as that kind of politician too -- not just for his vile efforts to defend DADT, but for his utter betrayal of his onetime supporters among the Latino community by coming out against the DREAM Act.

As you can see from the video atop this post, even on the campaign trail, McCain flip-flopped all over the place, telling some right-wing bloggers in 2007 that he now opposed the DREAM -- even though he had cosponsored versions of it in 2003, 2005, and 2007. In 2008, before a crowd of Latinos, he said he supported the act. Later, on the campaign trail, he had an Arizona backyard barbecue with some DREAM Act proponents, and as you can see he was very warm about helping them. He expressed similar sentiments on the campaign trail in Florida in 2008, when he met with several DREAM Act students, including Gaby Pacheco.

Yet when he encountered Pacheco a few months ago, threatened to have her arrested:

A few days before the Senate left for the Thanksgiving break, Pacheco met the new McCain when she tried to lobby him on the DREAM Act, the bill he'd once championed.

When Pacheco approached McCain, she said, he dismissed her and threatened to call the Capitol Police on her if she continued to follow him.

As he entered an elevator, the DREAM Act supporters told the senator that all they want is to serve their country.

"Go serve them then," McCain told them, according to Pacheco.

Brooke Buchanan, spokeswoman for McCain, said the protesters approached the senator, but said McCain did not say he would call the Capitol Police. She said she was not aware of him telling the protesters to "go serve them then."

Like I said: A world-class phony.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars].