An unfortunate corollary to the left’s big push to make changing the team’s name the new bien-pensant cause celebre. I say “unfortunate” not because Krauthammer’s opinion is unfortunate — he makes the case against “Redskins” as effectively and unsanctimoniously as anyone could — but unfortunate in the sense that people who are repelled by liberal self-righteousness over an issue that the left discovered five minutes ago will end up wanting to oppose them on the underlying issue, whatever the actual merits of their position. A month ago, whether you thought “Redskins” was tacky or just fine, you probably didn’t care much either way. A month later, with Obama having weighed in and MSNBC having informed you that you’re a new George Wallace if you disagree, the temptation is to embrace “Redskins” in a big bear hug just to offer a well-deserved middle finger to self-congratulatory progressives. It’s not really about the word anymore, in other words; if anything, there’s a temptation to back “Redskins” to the hilt now just because it annoys smug liberals. So on the one hand we’ve got lefties screeching about bigotry and on the other we’ve got irritated fans shouting “Redskins! Redskins!” in hopes of offending them. That seems … not like progress.
The upshot is, Krauthammer’s going to get accused here of selling out to political correctness even though he strains to make clear that he’s not accusing people who disagree him of bad motives. Oh well. For what it’s worth, a majority of people polled in D.C. by the Oneida Indian Nation say they’d still back the team even if the name is changed. There’s still a large “don’t care much either way” contingent, in other words, just less of one every day.