So you're a Southern Democrat in a tough run-off election, and you are thanking a 75-year-old civil rights veteran who has been helping you out. How do you say goodnight to her?
Well, if you're Rep. Carla Blanchard Dartez, you say"Talk to you later, Buckwheat!"
And now, to put it bluntly, she's fucked.
Boykin, 75, helped desegregate restaurants and the parish school system in the 1960s. Her son, Jerome, is president of the Terrebonne Parish chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
"I've never had no one talk to me that way, and I considered it a racial slur," Hazel Boykin said. "I know the meaning of it; it's just like the N-word."
On Monday, Jerome Boykin held a news conference asking voters to cast ballots against Dartez, who faces Republican Joe Harrison in Saturday's runoff.
Rep. Daretz has apologized publicly, saying that she regrets her "choice of words" and that she did not intend to offend. She probably didn't. But this, to me, is a Gary Hart issue — an example of a politician doing something so utterly foolhardy that it calls their greater judgment into question. Whether or not politicians' affairs should be private matters in general, Hart was profoundly foolish to dare the media to catch him in one. Similarly, whether or not you believe (as some do, though usually not I) that people are too sensitive to comments with racial overtones, a politician who addresses a 75-year-old civil rights veteran as "Buckwheat" demonstrates such a lack of judgment or ignorance of modern social norms that her capabilities are fairly called into question.
Moreover, conduct can call a person's conduct into question whether or not the people attacking that conduct have ulterior motives. Of course Al Sharpton will show up any moment, medallions swaying indignantly, to holler about Daretz. Of course Michelle Malkin is turning this into a morality play about how conservatives are unfairly singled out for racist comments and also about illegal immigration (no, really). It doesn't matter. The act is stupid whether or not the people playing up the act have an axe to grind. When Gary Hart had an affair and then dared reporters to catch him in the affair and they did, some of the people who crowed about it were political opponents. That doesn't change even a little the fact that Gary Hart was a fucking idiot, and that it was reasonable to wonder if he's also be a fucking idiot in other more important contexts. As to Daretz, if she thinks that calling a 75-year-old African-American supporter "Buckwheat" is a riot, what other moronic things will she think, and act on, in Congress?
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