The Drudge debate

First let me express my thanks, appreciation and respect to Matt Drudge for publishing my open letter to him about race-related stories. As I wrote to him, I am fully confident that in his personal relationships Drudge is a gentleman of integrity and fairness. This is a debate about professional standards. Let me respond here to some of the comments and private email I have received.

Most of the private reaction I have received, of which there was much, was thoughtful and friendly, including from many Republicans and including from some very high-level Republicans whom I promised not to identify but who thanked me for offering the advice I offered to Mr. Drudge and Republicans.

There were, of course, the wishes for a premature turn on the negative side for my health. And there were some who proclaimed their desire that I be fired from The Hill.  If I am, I cannot think of better issues to be fired for than fighting for equality in the country I love, and for higher standards in the profession I love, which has sometimes gone astray. As for my health, that is for higher authorities than myself. As for my work, I do not expect to be fired.

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Regarding the small number of responses that included outright racism, you do not speak for Republicans on this matter, I do. My only regret is that more notable Republicans who expressed private support for my letter asked me to keep their names confidential, which I regret, but will honor.

For those who wrote but do not know me, and suggested I should challenge those who unfairly attack Republicans, very often, I have. I defended Ann Romney when she was outrageously attacked by a Democratic pundit on television. I criticized an unfair Obama super-PAC that falsely suggested Mitt Romney was responsible for the death of a woman, and my criticism was bannered on the Romney campaign website and quoted approvingly on Fox News.

I have defended Michele Bachmann from a sexist attack. I have criticized certain things said by Bill Maher, whom I usually agree with, when he crossed the line. I fiercely defended John McCain in 2008 when his military service was unfairly attacked by opponents, and received a thank-you call from the McCain campaign plane.

Regarding some of you holding distasteful views that cast racial aspersions, I knew William Buckley, and respected him, and he moved to throw people like you out of the Republican Party which paved the way for Ronald Reagan, whom I praised in the National Review, who deplored the politics of racism and hatred.

Regarding the president, no president should have to defend his Americanism, his faith, his Christianity or his citizenship. This is a sickness all Republicans would be well-advised to condemn, and a view Republicans would be wise to purge from their party, and this includes a certain television personality who recently ran for the Republican nomination on the birther platform and did Mitt Romney and Republicans no service.

As Michael Douglas said in “The American President,” we have serious challenges in this country that require serious leaders.

Let’s put bigotry and race in the past, and have the real debates between competing points of view from our leaders, and across our media.

And on the matters I wrote about in my open letter to Drudge, most registered Republicans in America are good people who agree with me, and most Republican leaders are good people who agree with me as well, and should summon the courage to save their party from certain views they deplore, as much as I do, which hurt their party and sell our country short.