This is from a friend of mine who I think is quite right:
My own take on the Hoyer “slavishly” flap is a yawn. I don’t think he had any ill intent; I also think we need to be consistent on the issue. Conservatives stuck up for Washington D.C.’s director of the Office of the Public Advocate when he used the word “niggardly,” and rightly so. And I think we need to stay consistent in the absence of any evidence of racist beliefs by Hoyer.
I’m as partisan as the next guy, and I’m always happy to use opportunities to highlight the failures of political opponents. But this isn’t one of them.
UPDATE: Many of these e-mails too:
In addition to your reader’s insight, the moral equivalence of the two word usages escapes me. “Slavishly” can and does have multiple connotations. Only the amazingly ignorant can find anything remotely racial in “niggardly.”
There is absolutely no relationship between that word and the N-word.