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The Lie That Will Not Die

In a piece on whether Obama will be Al Smith, or JFK (ummmmm...neither), John Judis (who should know better) writes:

Blacks began entering the Democratic party during the New Deal, but even as late as 1960, Richard Nixon won a third of the black vote. After Democratic support for and Republican opposition to the civil rights acts of the 1960s, the overwhelming majority of African Americans became Democrats.

Emphasis mine. I've discussed this before.

The ugly fact, of which ABC is either unaware, or worse, deliberately misleading their readers about, is that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not have passed without Republican support, due to the continued opposition by southern Democrats. Contra ABC's implication, it was not the minority Republicans who filibustered it, but the majority Democrats, and the cloture vote to end debate was achieved only with the votes of many Republicans. Former Klansman Robert "Sheets" Byrd (shamefully still representing the state of West Virginia, even in his dotage and senility) was the last debater on the floor before that cloture vote (it then required 67 votes, rather than the current 60) was passed. Other stars of the filibuster were Richard Russell (D-GA), Albert Gore, Sr. (the last Vice President's father) (D-TN), and William Fullbright (D-AR) (Bill Clinton's mentor).

But I guess when you're a modern liberal Democrat reporter, all that can just go down the memory hole, as long as it's in service to a greater cause--to preserving the myth of Republican racism and opposition to civil rights, and demonstrating the continuing horror of George Bush's and the Republican's "theocracy."

This is simply false history, but it's become a matter of faith to Democrats. The Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, but they couldn't muster the votes to pass the bill on their own. Everyone who filibustered the Civil Rights Act was a Democrat. In order to get cloture, and passage, they had to get significant Republican support. The notion that it was Republicans who were opposed to true civil rights (as opposed to the modern reverse discrimination) remains pernicious. But the story has to be told that way, otherwise the narrative of Republicans as "racists" falls apart.

[Update a few minutes later]

Historical inaccuracies aside, what is particularly annoying about Judis' thesis is that it takes as a given that if Obama loses, it will be because of his race, and have nothing to do with his extreme lack of experience, and the fact that he'll be the most left-wing candidate nominated since George McGovern.


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ken anthony wrote:

In our modern clintonian world, if one democrat supported it and one republican opposed it then the journalist can claim that the statement is true.

Frankly, they should be humiliated out of the profession but as long as they say what most want to believe that's not going to happen.

How long can this Orwellian world and a nation dependent on our foundational principles last?

I hope this doesn't cause offense, but it fits bible prophecy that we will be amazed as the nations are led by a nose ring like a bull to the slaughter. I don't much like it when other people spout off about what the future will be according to prophecy. So I rarely do it myself, but I'm at a loss for any other explanation for the general irrationality of the voting public.

How can so many drink the kool aid?

Chris Gerrib wrote:

In the 1960s, the Democrats and the Republicans swapped sides on this issue. In 1960, the "Solid South" was solidly Democratic. In 2000, the south is very nearly "solid" again - solid Republican. The decision by the Democratic Party leadership to push civil rights is arguably the cause of this.

A lot of folks in the South who ended up Republican started out Democratic - see Jesse Helms for example.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Well Condolezza Rice started out as a Democrat as well, a particularly striking example considering her childhood experiences.

Reagan started out as a Democrat as far as I know and at least some of the neocons are disgruntled former Democrats fed up with the foreign policy idiocy and freedom hypocrisy of the DP, lots and lots of people switch for many reasons.

And Rand voted for Carter once upon a time which is kind of funny to me ^_^ (I hope I got that right, would be terrible to get it wrong).

All of those examples just proves that anyone can not only make mistakes but luckily also recover from them.

Larry J wrote:

It doesn't matter where they ended up, the historical fact of the matter is that Democrats from the "Solid South" not only opposed civil rights legislation, they imposed the Jim Crow laws and other legal obscenities. If you looked under any Klansman's hood back then, you would've found a Democrat.

I was born in Alabama in 1957. All through my childhood, Democrats like George Wallace, Bull Conner, and Lester Maddox actively worked to maintain legalized racism.

"Segregation now. Segregation forever!"
- George Wallace - lifelong Democrat

Rand Simberg wrote:

at least some of the neocons are disgruntled former Democrats fed up with the foreign policy idiocy and freedom hypocrisy of the DP

Not "some" of them, HH. All of them. That's the definition of a neocon (something that mindless leftists who use the word, like the word "fascist," to simply mean someone who disagrees with them, don't seem to understand).

And Rand voted for Carter once upon a time

Hey, give me a break. I was a stupid kid. I'm much better now. ;-)

Sisyphus wrote:

Another thing to note in discussions of the historical places of the parties is that Eisenhower was the first President since Reconstruction to support a civil rights bill. It was narrower than the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but Ike was an incrementalist and knew he could not get more out of Congress at that time.

And of course, the 1991 Civil Rights Act passed under President G.H.W. Bush with his support, after quota-related portions were removed.

Voice of Reason wrote:

something that mindless leftists who use the word, like the word "fascist,"

Like that recent bestseller, "Liberal Fascism"...oh wait...

ken anthony wrote:

We needed Carter as a bad example. Too bad the lesson has not been learned. He did for Reagan what Neville did for Churchill. But the left see Carter as a hero. How do they view Neville I wonder?

Although I didn't vote for him, an engineer businessman against Ford (Chevy Chase?) in the aftermath of watergate seemed reasonable. Who knew he would be a seditious traitor (much worse than the Clintons although they tried harder?)

Rand Simberg wrote:

Voice of Idiocy wrote:

Like that recent bestseller, "Liberal Fascism"...oh wait...

Jonah Goldberg is a mindless leftist?

Who knew?

DaveP. wrote:

Remind me, Chris: Which party has an actual member of the Ku Klux Klan as an honored elder statesman?

...oh yeah... that's right.

Ryan Olcott wrote:

Funny that, why I had a great-grandfather who was a lifelong Democrat, and he was in the Klan, sheets and all.

I'm not too upset he died before I was born.

john smith wrote:

Rand strategically leaves out that the lead
for the Southern fillibuster on Civil Rights was
led by Strom Thurmond who left the Democratic Party
to run as a segregationist and then later became a
republican where he was welcomed with open arms.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Strom Thurmond

This is called "grasping at straws." He was involved in the fight in 1957 (in the face of Republican President Eisenhower's support of that year's bill), and was the only one to become a Republican. And this has nothing to do with the 1960s battles.

memomachine wrote:


"Rand strategically leaves out that the lead
for the Southern fillibuster on Civil Rights was
led by Strom Thurmond who left the Democratic Party
to run as a segregationist and then later became a
republican where he was welcomed with open arms."

If the guiding principle of Democrats is "once a racist, always a racist", then please explain the continued support of Robert Byrd.

Ryan Olcott wrote:

I always find it funny that the Republicans = Racists argument made by Democrats always falls to one man, Strom Thurmond.

If thats the only bigot they could find in the GOP, thats not too shabby. Even better, the only GOP bigot they can find was a Democrat. Who ever thought up that line of argument was a jeanyus. What do they call that... Hasty Generalization perhaps?

If the current acceptance of Byrd is any figure of measure, I guess Strom's only really unforgivable sin was switching parties.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Thanks for the correction Rand, I started out with all in the way of not having any qualifier, then edited it to "most", and then continued second-guessing myself all the way down to "at least some" --a small study of a slow brain fart in motion ^_^

BD wrote:

I think what perpetuates the myth is the false assumption that, because the Dems in the 60s became a pro-civil-rights party, that means the GOP must have in some way become the ANTI-civil rights party. But that's not true at all. The GOP is clearly just as strongly opposed to racial discrimination as the Dems (arguably more so, in fact, given the Dems' support for affirmative action).

That said, it seems to me the reason blacks since the 1960s have come to support the Dem Party in such overwhelming numbers is not primarily because of the GOP's record on civil rights, but because the Dems generally support the expansion of government spending, "social services" programs, welfare and entitlements, etc. Blacks obviously benefit disproportionately from Big Government. For one thing, government itself is a MAJOR employer of black Americans. Blacks, far more than whites, are apt to see government as a benevolent protector of their economic and social interests, so naturally they're in lock-step with the Democrats.

Andy Freeman wrote:

> In 1960, the "Solid South" was solidly Democratic. In 2000, the south is very nearly "solid" again - solid Republican.

Not so fast.

While a couple of Dems switched sides, the vast majority of the Jim Crow dems retired as dems in good standing. Moreover, repubs didn't start picking up seats until after the successors of the Jim Crow dems started to retire.

The South is not "solid" Repub - we're still seeing "first repub elected since reconstruction."

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on June 4, 2008 9:08 AM.

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