This page sets forth some other evidence (mostly pro, but some con) regarding whether the apparently racist quote in the main post is really McCain’s.
It’s also worth noting that McCain elliptically admits the quote in this post, in which he says:
However, there are people with direct knowledge of my involvement with the Southern heritage movement who can attest — and demonstrate by documentary evidence — that I was never a “racist” or a “white supremacist” or any such thing. Stogie at Saberpoint makes this clear:
Stacy and I were involved in online discussions (aka “the great listserv debates”) with a large group of interested people and, of course, the issue of race and race relations came up and was hotly debated. . . . There were some bigots in the group who wanted to add a racial component to our movement but Stacy (and I and others) strenuously opposed it. Stacy was an outspoken leader of the non-racist faction; he denounced racism as dishonorable and wrong. We fought the bigots together and took a lot of heat for our stand.
And this involves a significant error in the 2002 article by gay columnist Michelangelo Signorile, universally cited by those who have attacked me, which Stogie cites sources to correct:
Signorile claimed McCain had posted [a certain statement] to a site called Reclaiming the South. In fact, that site is maintained by [White Supremacist] Dennis Wheeler, who posted emails by McCain, George Kalas, Gary Waltrip and others, from a debate on a private email list. McCain, Kalas, Waltrip, et al., strongly criticized Wheeler’s efforts to get the League of the South (then known as the Southern League) to adopt Wheeler’s own white separatist views. McCain wrote of such racial views: “[W]e should not stomach the promulgation of odious and hateful doctrines. We must reject all such doctrines. The truth is not in them.”
Remember this was what I wrote on a private e-mail discussion group in the mid-1990s, before I ever thought about working for The Washington Times. All of those involved in the discussion were Southern history buffs, and none of them were liberals, so that I had no cause to write anything other than my own honest beliefs.
By the time Signorile smeared me, in fact, I had forgotten all about Dennis Wheeler and that e-mail list-serv debate, and it was only because of Signorile’s error that I learned that Wheeler had reposted excerpts of that discussion.
So Signorile’s “smear” was not making up the quote at the top of this post, but 1) saying that McCain had posted it to the site Reclaiming the South, when he had merely posted it in private e-mails that someone else had posted to an Internet site, and 2) failing, in McCain’s view, to include other quotes of McCain’s that showed he is not a racist.
Before I found these confirmations of the quote’s authenticity, I had previously been confused by what seemed like denials — such as in this post, where McCain says: “[C]ontrary to Michelangelo Signorile’s assertion, I never contributed to the white separatist site ‘Reclaiming the South.'” That seemed pretty definitive — until I came to understand that McCain wasn’t denying the content of the quote, but only that he posted the comments on the “Reclaiming the South” site. Instead, McCain had sent the comments to members of a private listserv, and one of the members (Dennis Wheeler) had reposted them all on the Internet. So when McCain denies that he posted certain comments to “Reclaiming the South,” understand that he is not denying having made them.
Then I listened to this exchange between McCain and Alan Colmes, in which Colmes asked him whether he said it. McCain seemingly denies it — but the way he denies it is exceedingly odd. Click and listen to the audio. (Yes, it’s Little Green Footballs — and if you refuse to listen to Robert Stacy McCain’s own words because they are reproduced on LGF, then I’m not interested in talking to you about this. Me, I seek the truth wherever I find it — and while I’m capable of critically analyzing Charles’s spin, I will not ignore facts just because they happen to appear on his site.) I find it disturbing how evasive McCain appears to be when confronted with seemingly very simple questions as to whether this example or that example shows racism. There is a lot of temporizing going on, in my view — but listen for yourself, and make your own judgments.
Others (including me) have asked McCain to address the quote on his blog. Constantine K left a comment here asking for McCain to address the quote:
Either this quote is made up or Mr. McCain was misquoted or Mr. McCain did indeed say it. And if he did, then I wonder why. Lots of us conservatives out there who do not feel the same revulsion.
There was no response. Then, on this post, McCain said:
Meanwhile, it has been noted that I elided the part of Ben Smith’s post where he described me as being opposed to interracial marriage. To explain: Both my time and the reader’s attention are limited quantities. A full-length explanation of the minute details of the accusations against me is ineffective and wasteful. The larger point is false — I’m not a “white supremacist” or an “avowed segregationist,” etc. — and a discussion of the details only lends credibility to the accuser. “Stay out of the tall grass.”
Well, he brought up the issue in his post, and the quote cited in my main post seems credible to me. So I left a comment asking him to address that quote.
He didn’t approve my comment.
It appears to me that McCain doesn’t want to discuss that quote — because he wrote it, and because it’s really indefensible.