Instapundit took an inflammatory three-year-old speech at a third-rank college which someone sent him and alleged that it was in some way an embarassment to the Democrats — without giving any evidence that Churchill was a Democrat, which he probably is not. Then Bill O’Reilly relayed the story to millions of people. This is the same old lying game of taking crazies who are NOT DEMOCRATS and using them to smear Democrats.
I’ve heard that Prof. Reynolds is no longer teaching and is a full-time internet guy now. I’m sure that his income is all legitimate (well, not really), but he’s on the gravy train now, and he knows who he has to please in order to get the speaking engagement. What he did was dishonorable and slimy, but he’s not going to apologize. There’s nothing to be surprised about — that’s his job now.
Alas, on DeLong and elsewhere a lot of people are defending Churchill. I just don’t see how you can explain away the phrase “little Eichmanns”. There’s really no context that could make that OK, unless you think that every non-Native American in the U.S. should be killed.
I’ve had a lot of contact with ultra-leftists and used to be one myself. In that world you’re always wondering who the provocateur is — no one talks about provocateurs more than ultra-leftists do. Provocateursare paid by various police and intelligence agencies, and their job is to split and confuse left groups and make the left look bad to the public. Provocateurs have the loudest and most violent voices — though sometimes sincere crazies do the provocateurs’ work for them.
And many self-publicizing ultra-leftists, whether provocateurs or not, carve out little personal niches for themselves, doing pretty well without being politically effective. I can’t be sure that Churchill is a provocateur, but it seems like a sure thing that he’s running a game. Most of academic identity politics is merely futile, but Churchill’s “little Eichmanns” zinger did actual harm. (Incidentally, Churchill makes ultra-leftists look bad, too. He’s really in a class by himself.)
In this context, the doubts about Churchill’s tribal membership are relevant. Recent decades have brought us a lot of fake Indians who go around pimping white guilt, and if Churchill is one of them, as far as I’m concerned that clinches it. (That doesn’t mean, however, that if he really is a Native American everything’s cool.)
The facts are this: his splitoff faction of AIM has been denounced by the original group. (This doesn’t necessarily prove anything, since splits happen in lots of political groups). There are also accusations that he has changed his story about which Indian nation he belongs to. And the Keetoowah band of Cherokee in which he claims membership denies that he is a member. (Apparently he got listed as some kind of honorary member at one point, based on work he was doing for the tribe).
Churchill isn’t the real issue at all. There’s always going to be someone somwhere, sincere or not, shooting off their mouth saying dramatic and stupid stuff. The rightwing Wurlitzer has people who make their living scavenging up the worst of the worst, and others who make their living broadcasting it.
Except for the publicity machine, Churchill has little or nothing to do with the Democrats. Few Democrats had even heard of him before Instapundit did his dirty work,and that’s the reason why he hadn’t been denounced before. Denouncing him now, at Instapundit’s command, doesn’t do any real good, because that’s how smears work. But there’s certainly no reason to defend him.
“A lie travels around the world while the truth is putting its pants on” — Mark Twain. “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time” — Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln and Mark Twain were both Republicans, but today’s Republicans twist the meaning of these words. They were not meant to be operating instructions.