September 14, 2002
A touch of race

Democratic Senate candidate Ron Kirk has suggested that GOP opponent John Cornyn's strong support for an invasion of Iraq may have some racial undertones:

Democratic Senate candidate Ron Kirk suggested Friday that Republican opponent John Cornyn's comfort in sending U.S troops to Iraq may come down to racial and class differences between him and those who would be actually taking enemy fire.

"Look who would be doing the fighting," he said following a joint rally with Tony Sanchez, the Democratic candidate for governor. "They're disproportionately ethnic, they're disproportionately minority."

Kirk said that if the children of Cornyn's wealthy friends and acquaintances were destined to be on the front lines, "he would be just as deliberative as the rest of us."


The issue is not that minority soldiers are not prepared to do their duty, Kirk said.

"The point is, I would be curious to see if we would go to war without any thought of loss if the first half-million kids to go came from families who made $1 million," he said.

I should note that Kirk is at least in part responding to pro-Cornyn TV ads that have accused him of being soft on defense. These ads also use the word "liberal" as an epithet, showing a photo of Hillary Clinton trying on a Yankees cap for maximum effect. I haven't paid close enough attention to tell if these ads are paid for by the Cornyn campaign or by some phony advocacy group, but I've seen them several times now.

Ron Kirk is certainly not the first person to make this charge, either - it was commonly made during the Vietnam War, as children of privilege avoided the draft via student deferments and political influence. The Creedence Clearwater Revival song Fortunate Son protests this inequality.

(On a side note, is anyone else offended by Wrangler Jeans' use of this song's first two lines - "Some men are born, made to wave the flag/Ooh, the red, white, and blue" - as part of a patriotically-themed advertisement? You can bet that if John Fogerty controlled the rights to CCR's songbook that this wouldn't have happened.)

That said, I don't know that this was the best way of countering the soft-on-defense charge. The GOP has already taken pot shots at the so-called "Dream Team" by claiming that the Democrats are trying to make the election about race. Seems to me this plays into their hands. The Cornyn camp didn't respond in this article, but I won't be surprised if that changes.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 14, 2002 to Election 2002

I didn't find the Wrangler ad offensive as much as I did hilarious. I still laugh when I think about it.

And I'm laughing at Wranglers, not Fogerty. If I were Forgery, I'd be rightfully pissed off.


Posted by: R. Alex on September 16, 2002 10:48 AM