Personally, I have no use for Jesse Helms. He’s one of the few conservative Republicans in politics today who truly DESERVES the epithet “racist,” and I find him a major embarrassment to conservatives everywhere. And yet…
And yet, it’s ALMOST worthwhile to have him around, precisely BECAUSE he drives liberals so crazy. And the reason he drives them so crazy is that (drum roll), he’s one of the few Republicans who really couldn’t give a rat’s behind what the New York Times editorial page thinks of him!
MOST Republicans, even those who start out with right wing principles, are guys who WANT to be liked. And when the New York TImes editorial page says that “cutting taxes is irresponsible and will lead to children starving to death in the streets,” your average Republican is reduced to a quivering mass of jelly? “Who, me? Starving children? No, no, no! I LOVE children. Look, I’m dropping that silly tax cut stuff, and supporting the PResident’s budget.” And MOST Republicans are TERRIFIED of being called racists. So, when Jesse Jackson or Bill Clinton suggests that reducing welfare or abolishing affirmative action is tantamount to cross burning, MOST Republicans are quick to knuckle under, “Racist? Us? Oh no, we LOVE black people! Affirmative action is just SWELL!”
Jesse Helms is a true slimeball, but he’s been a SUCCESSFUL slimeball, far more often than not. He’s more interested in winning than he is in mollifying people who hate him and everything he stands for. Frankly, I wish the more responsible conservatives had a FRACTION of his cojones.