The Corner

Will Dick Durbin Ever Apologize for His Offensive Loretta Lynch Comment?

Imagine that President Obama had nominated Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz as America’s next attorney general. Imagine further that, during an unrelated Democratic filibuster, Senator Dick Durbin complained that a Republican delay of Dershowitz’s confirmation vote made him suffer a modern-day Kristallnacht.

Such an unnecessary, inappropriate, and grotesque comment would appall people across the political spectrum.

Americans should be no less disgusted by the rhetoric that Durbin actually deployed last week on the Senate floor. During a Democratic filibuster against a GOP-backed anti-human trafficking bill, Durbin had the chutzpah to blame Republicans for stalling a vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as attorney general. Lynch would become America’s second consecutive black AG and the first black woman to serve in that prestigious post.

Durbin could have limited his remarks to stressing the need for new leadership at the Justice Department amid monumental domestic and foreign challenges. Instead, he played the race card. That’s what Democrats do.

Lynch “is being asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar,” Durbin said. “That is unfair. It’s unjust. It is beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate. This woman deserves fairness.”

Democrats like Durbin throw down the race card as a first resort. This is revolting. How will America ever achieve racial peace so long as people like Durbin squirt Tabasco sauce into the nation’s oldest wounds?

GOP senators oppose Lynch because she agrees with Obama’s strategy of circumventing Congress and issuing decrees, particularly on amnesty for illegal aliens. These Republicans have zero tolerance for dictatorship, and are disinclined to empower a new attorney general who countenances Obama’s anti-constitutional rule.

Also, the Senate unanimously endorsed Lynch for her current position as U.S attorney for the Eastern District of New York. So, some of the “racist” Republicans who now resist her evidently were not racists on April 22, 2010 — the day that they confirmed her.

To his tremendous credit, Senator John McCain (R – Arizona) avoided the average Republican’s reflex upon seeing the race card: dive under the nearest table and hide. Instead, he stood up and shamed Durbin for his despicable behavior.

“What is beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate — I would say to the Senator from Illinois — is for him to come to this floor and use that imagery and suggest that racist tactics are being employed to delay Ms. Lynch’s confirmation vote,” McCain roared. “Such inflammatory rhetoric has no place in this body and serves no purpose other than to further divide us.”

As McCain observed, Durbin twice filibustered, and then ultimately voted against, the nomination of Judge Janice Rogers Brown to become the first black woman on the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals. She waited 684 days — almost two years — for a vote.

Republicans should follow McCain’s example: When Democrats play the race card, pick it up, fold it in half, and cram it all the way down their throats.

McCain did not mention Durbin’s opposition to Condoleezza Rice’s nomination as secretary of state. One wonders if Durbin engaged in anti-black racism or mere sexism.

Meanwhile, the immediate delay in voting on Lynch is because of a Democratic filibuster against legislation to stop human trafficking including, as the bill puts it, “involuntary servitude or forced labor.” So, Durbin audaciously calls Republicans racists while blocking a GOP bill to combat slavery.

“Some 150 years after Gettysburg, the Democrats are still filibustering on behalf of slaveholders,” explains my National Review colleague Kevin Williamson. “All that talk about being ‘on the right side of history,’ and they cannot even get on the right side of slavery.”

This measure includes restrictions on federal taxpayer funding for abortions. Democrats suddenly are throwing a tantrum over this language, even though it had been there all along — including when Democrats co-sponsored the measure. Apparently, they never bothered to read the bill before suddenly growing allergic to it.

As far as abusing blacks, Durbin also should apologize for leading the effort to defund the Washington, D.C. school voucher program within weeks of Obama’s January 2009 inauguration. They both sent their children to private school and then, nauseatingly, battled this program to help poor, predominantly black children escape a district that was No. 1 in per-pupil spending that year ($19,698 v. a national average of $10,591) and No. 51 in math and reading scores — dead last, behind all 50 states. Among D.C.’s fourth graders, 83 percent scored below proficient in reading, as did 86 percent of eighth graders.

Thankfully, then-senator Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) and House speaker John Boehner (a “racist” Republican from Ohio) eventually secured money to keep the D.C. voucher program alive and, thereby, pry Dick Durbin from the schoolhouse door.

Editor’s Note: This post has been amended since its initial posting.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


The Latest