There’s a serious double standard in Washington when it comes to who can say what.
First, there is the acceptable language standard applied to Trent Lott that doesn’t apply, say, to Democratic senators Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Fritz Hollings of South Carolina – both of whom have racist pasts and have made racist remarks in recent years.
Then there is Democratic Senator Patty Murray from the state of Washington, who told a group of high school students last week that Osama bin Laden is a humanitarian and that’s why he is so popular in much of the Middle East.
Murray has not even apologized. Her office issued a statement about the senator having a "challenging and thoughtful discussion about America’s future" and accusing her critics of attempting to "sensationalize and distort in an attempt to divide."
One might say that Senator Murray, like Senator Lott, is the one who opened her mouth. There is a way to explain Osama bin Laden’s popularity without suggesting he is a good man.
But then that would require a different standard than the one applied to Republicans.
I’m Cal Thomas in Washington.