Former New York Times reporter Timothy Egan doesn't hide his hostility for conservatives on his nytimes.com blog "Outposts," and last week he accused the GOP of being "troglodytes," "know-nothings" and, in the case of a special Congressional election in Mississippi, "scare-mongering" racists. All that and more in Egan's Wednesday posting, "New Math for November."
McCain surely knows this, even if his party has yet to get the message. The speech that he gave here on climate change marked a big break with President Bush and the troglodyte wing of his party. Look for similar divorce announcements in coming months, even on race. In that speech, McCain envisioned a nightmare of runaway forest fires, heat waves stifling the cities, storms swamping the coasts, unless something is done. "The United States will lead," he said, "and will lead with a different approach." In every way, the speech was a slap at know-nothings like Rush Limbaugh, who tells his 20 million listeners almost every day that global warming is a massive hoax.
It is buried deep in the Republican family tree, but the environment used to be an issue that the party owned. And here in Oregon, the stunning ocean beaches are accessible to all, cities are livable and open space is plenty because of a sainted, long-ago Republican governor, Tom McCall.
Meanwhile, McCain's party tried to hold onto a Republican Congressional seat in Mississippi this week by using racial scare-mongering from the Jim Crow era. There, a Democrat, Travis Childers, won a district that President Bush carried by 25 percentage points in 2004, the third red seat lost this year in special elections for the House. Republicans aimed for the deepest fears of white southerners by tying Childers to Obama's nutty former preacher, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.