All My Party People Gonna Do What?*


I don't know how the "name that party" meme got started. I want to say it started when news reports failed to identify Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson, he of the famous freezer, as a Democrat. Rush Limbaugh and a number of conservative/libertarian blogs started pouncing on reports of political corruption that fingered a Democrat but didn't mention his party—unfair, because it always seemed like the Larry Craigs had their party affiliations trumpeted again and again and again.

But if it ever had a purpose, it's gotten really stupid. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been charged (by the Wayne County prosecutor who might succeed him) with perjury and misconduct in office. Kilpatrick is a fiend, as anyone who saw his State of the City address (where he blamed a "lynch mob" for his problems and claimed "in the last 30 days I've been called a nigger more than any time in my life"). The righty blogosphere response is… bitching about how no one says he's a Democrat! Don Surber:

AP discloses everything about the charges against Detroit's mayor — except his party.

John Hinderaker:

If only the AP had been similarly reticent about Mark Foley!

Captain Ed:

In an Associated Press report on a perjury indictment for Kwame Kilpatrick, reporter Corey Williams leaves a little something out of the story. Guess which political party Kilpatrick represents?

I'll guess. The mayor of Detroit, whose name is "Kwame," and whose city is 82 percent black and gave 92 percent of its vote to John Kerry in 2004, is probably a Democrat. Alleging conspiracy on the part of AP wire editors is just loopy, unless you see party-naming—as Hinderaker seems to—as a moral question, the kind of thing that affects the way Americans think of their to parties.

Still loopy. Mark Foley's political affiliation was played up because 1)it's not automatic that a Florida congressman is a Republican and 2)Foley's party status had a role in the scandal. It was fairly quickly revealed that Foley's betters knew that he had problems and kicked the story underneath the carpet. His betters were people like the speaker of the House and the head of the committee that funded Republican campaigns to the House. Kilpatrick, by contrast, is a boor whom his party tried to defeat in a 2005 primary. The all-Democratic city council has asked him to resign. So let's stop conflating tight edits with a vast conspiracy. Come on, already.

UPDATE: If you're a Wire fan, you'll get a kick out of this picture from Kilpatrick's re-election bid. Check out the slogan. Keep in mind he was running against another black Democrat, albeit a more fair-skinned one.

*The answer is "get buck."