Sunday, October 02, 2005

the other bennett

I popped over to Eschaton to catch the latest gossip, and saw a pointer to Wolf Blitzer's interview of Robert Bennett. Unlike Atrios, I'm not surprised to hear that guests are brought on shows to discuss particular topics, and I don't see any way to conclude from the transcript that questions rather than broad topics are agreed on ahead of time. On the other hand, I conclude from Bennett's response
I mean, I suppose I'll get in trouble by saying that it's well established that men are more violent than women and so maybe if we abort all male babies, we would have a safer world. So I think this is really much ado about nothing.
that I was wrong in my evaluation of why the other Bennett's response had legs. It wasn't that he said blacks are inherently more criminal or violent, but that some people really believed he advocated abortion as a cure for the societal problems that resulted. If his problems stemmed from racism, his "good lawyer" brother wouldn't have defended him by emphasizing that the claim about blacks was factual, would he?

Which makes the responses of Kleiman and DeLong even more puzzling. One would think that if Bennett's problem stemmed from a belief he'd advocated abortion rather than his clear belief in the inherent violence or criminality of blacks, his biggest problem would be with the Republican base. Why DeLong felt it was essential to smooth the waters of Republican discontent is a little beyond me, but I understand the compulsion toward intellectual rigor, even in arguments one would otherwise avoid. Kleiman's response ("Bennett was right on the facts") is simply astounding.

Of course, Atrios also thought R. Bennett's annoyance at the question was more important than his confirmation--and indeed personal claim--of his brother's racism. Clearly, I'm just out of my depth.

DeLong, btw, now sees the racist underpinnings of Bennett's comments as indefensible, and has narrowed his defense to, "Bennett didn't actually propose genocide."

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