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The Civil Rights Legacy Democrats Stole from Republicans

April 16, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Racism

president-dwight-d-eisenhower-signing-the-civil-rights-act-of-1957It’s been nauseating watching liberal media members patting one another on the back for the past few months in this, the year of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, when it’s Republicans who deserve 95% of the credit for African-American civil rights advances.

In liberals’ fantasy world, Democrats spearheaded the push for civil rights while dragging along reluctant Republicans; and President Johnson did the morally right thing even though he knew Southern Democrats would switch parties and become Republicans.

In fact, Republicans had been pushing civil rights legislation throughout the 1950s, trying to get recalcitrant Democrats to cooperate.  And the long transformation of the South from Democratic to Republican began in the 1920s, wasn’t complete until the 2000s, and had nothing to do with race.

Until the mid-20th century, Democrats were the party of slavery, secession, Jim Crow, lynching, the KKK, and segregation.  (Someone ought to tell Hank Aaron.)

Throughout the 1950s, Republicans were integrating schoolhouses against the violent opposition of Southern Democratic governors.  President Truman signed an executive order desegregating the military in 1948, but dragged his heels and never followed through on implementation except in South Korea, where he needed additional troop strength.  It was Republican President Eisenhower who pushed to complete the task and disbanded the last segregated regiment in 1954.

In the late 1950s, Congressional Republicans passed several civil rights laws that never once received a majority of Democratic support—most notably the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960.  One-hundred percent of Republican Senators and 90% of Republican Representatives voted for the GOP-sponsored bills, compared to a measly 52% to 70% for Democrats.

The first civil rights bill that a majority of Democrats supported was the Civil Rights Act of 1964—so naturally it’s the only one the liberal media will talk about today.  Even so, Republicans supported it in far greater percentages than Democrats in both House and Senate.  Republicans supported the act 82% in the Senate and 80% in the House, compared to Democrats’ 69% and 61%.  Republicans also voted 94% and 82% for the 1965 Voting Rights Act, compared to Democrats’ 75% and 78%.  For the 1968 Fair Housing Act, it was 91% and 86% vs. 71% and 71%.

But, you might object, all that was 50 years ago.  Didn’t racist Southern Democrats switch parties and become Republicans?

After the dissolution of the Dixiecrat Party in 1948, 23 of the 26 Congressional and gubernatorial Dixiecrats returned to being lifelong Democrats.  Only three became Republicans: Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and Miles E. Godwin, Jr., the first two of whom you hear about endlessly.

Those Dixiecrats who went back to being Democrats for the rest of their lives included Senators Robert C. Byrd (Democrats’ “Conscience of the Senate”), Thomas Pryor Gore (Al Gore’s father), and Sam Ervin (chair of the Watergate Committee).

Only 1 of the 97 Democrats who signed the Southern Manifesto in 1956 opposing enforcement of Brown v. Board of Education switched to the Republican Party and kept his seat—Strom Thurmond again. (Thanks, Strom!)

How about Southern Democrats who were disenchanted with the 1964 Civil Rights Act?  Weren’t they ripe recruits for Republican nominee Richard Nixon?

According to the legend of Nixon’s Southern Strategy, Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and won the four southern states that went for the Dixiecrat Party in 1948, plus Georgia.  Though Goldwater did win those states, he was not opposed to civil rights: he had voted for the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, was a longtime NAACP member, had long since voluntarily racially integrated his own businesses, and had funded a major anti-discrimination lawsuit in the 1950s.  As a strict libertarian, Goldwater opposed (like Rand Paul today) one of the ten titles of the Civil Rights Act, the one giving the federal government the power to interfere with private hiring decisions.  While many Dixiecrats supported Goldwater because of his opposition to the act, Goldwater inarguably did not appeal to their racism to get their votes.

In enacting the apocryphal Southern Strategy in 1968, Nixon supposedly appealed to racist Southern Democrats so he could win the Dixiecrat-Goldwater states.  However, Nixon won only one of the five states his diabolical strategy had allegedly poised him to take: South Carolina.  All four of the other states (plus Arkansas) went to segregationist former Alabama Governor George Wallace, who ran for President as a third-party candidate in 1968, but as a Democrat in 1964 and 1972.

So Nixon didn’t turn the Dixiecrat-Goldwater states Republican—he didn’t even win most of them himself.  Republicans didn’t start winning even a majority of these five states until 1992—by which time most of the Dixiecrats had died off—with the exceptions of (uninformative) landslide elections in 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988.  In 1976, Republicans won precisely 0 of the 5 Dixiecrat-Goldwater states.

The Southern Strategy is a perversely, willfully perpetuated myth concocted to explain away Democrats’ racist past by attributing it to innocent Republicans.  There is no evidence that it was consciously planned, much evidence that it wasn’t, and solid electoral proof that it yielded nil results.

Yet the left-leaning media continue to use ignorance about the history of civil rights to cultivate support for insane policies such as opposition to voter ID laws.

To take one example, New York Times columnist Charles Blow recently wrote, “Republicans are leveraging the deep pockets of anti-Obama billionaires and sinister voter suppression tactics that harken back to Jim Crow to wrest power from the hands of docile Democrats.”

Note the crafty, deceptive construction of that sentence: to uninformed readers, it would sound as though Jim Crow had been used “to wrest power from the hands of docile Democrats,” when in fact the wresting refers to something mentioned before the Jim Crow reference.

But I’m sure Blow doesn’t mind if uninformed readers misinterpret his meaning, not if it gins up opposition to voter ID laws.

And I’m sure liberal journalists with even an inkling of Republicans’ dominant role in pushing civil rights legislation throughout the 20th century will continue to conspire to keep their historically ignorant audiences in the dark.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics (Part 1 and Part 2)

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Zimmerman Verdict Will Save Black Lives

July 17, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Neighborhood Watch signNotwithstanding their chances of being hit by rubber bullets at mob rallies glorifying Trayvon Martin as a civil rights hero, African-Americans unquestionably will be safer as a result of George Zimmerman’s acquittal of second-degree murder charges last weekend.

The Zimmerman verdict demonstrates that anyone—of any color—brave enough to risk his life to protect other community members—of any color—against potential criminals—of any color—won’t be punished by being tossed in jail to soothe a nation’s collective racial guilt.  And any law-abiding citizens lucky enough to live near such neighborhood watchmen will benefit from their service.

Ignoring the unseemly labels applied to Zimmerman by penthouse liberals with six layers of home security in front of them who never have to dirty their manicured hands to protect themselves, what is the purpose of a neighborhood watch?

It’s to allow neighbors who live where police are unwilling or unable to respond to every instance of rampant crime to band together, in the hopes of supplementing the efforts of overburdened law enforcement officers.

The neighborhood watch is a storied American tradition that dates back to colonial times, developed in its modern form in the late 1960s, and has spread to countries as far-flung as Australia and South Africa.  During the high-crime late 1980s, criminologists estimated that one in five Americans participated in a neighborhood watch.

Neighborhood watches reflect the twin American values of self-reliance and community engagement, and are demonstrably effective at reducing crime.  Their participants should be commended, not castigated.

But the left insists that crippling private citizens’ efforts to defend their neighborhoods will somehow promote public safety, just as they believe restricting lawful firearm ownership will somehow shame criminals into going straight.

The left calls Zimmerman a “wannabe cop” for putting himself in danger to shield his neighbors at The Retreat at Twin Lakes from a rash of burglaries.  (At least Zimmerman was volunteering his own time.  Can we refer to liberals as “wannabe philanthropists” for volunteering our tax dollars to support their causes?)

The New York Times declared, “In the end, what is most frightening is that there are so many people with guns who are like George Zimmerman.”

No, in the end what is frightening is that there aren’t more people with guns who are like George Zimmerman, and that they are treated like monsters for trying to protect their neighborhoods from vicious criminals who, unlike Martin, often wield firearms.

But what about the racial angle?  The left believe they have made the absolutely devastating point that if Zimmerman had been black and Martin white, the nation would have dismissed Zimmerman as a thug and thrown him in jail.

Salon’s Paul Campos wrote, “Suppose Trayvon Martin had been a 230-pound 30-year-old black man, with a loaded gun in his jacket.  Suppose Zimmerman had been a 150-pound 17-year-old white kid…  How do you suppose the big scary black man’s claim of ‘self-defense’ would have gone over?”

A site called The Political Freakshow photoshopped racially reversed images and cited their juxtaposition as proof that a black Zimmerman “would be headed for death row.”

But you can’t just reverse the races in this hypothetical Freaky Friday scenario.  You have to reverse all of the other details as well.

You have to assume that young white men had committed a recent rash of burglaries in a majority-black community.  You have to assume that the black man had been part of the neighborhood watch and had been the victim of a burglary himself.  You have to assume that the black man had come from a mixed-race background, had a white grandfather, and was tutoring a white woman and her daughter; and that the young white man had a history of vandalism and assault; and that all of the forensic evidence and eyewitnesses suggested that the young white man had been the aggressor.

Under those circumstances, not only would the jury have acquitted the black man on grounds of self-defense, they would have submitted him to the Vatican for canonization.

Look how easily the left turned Martin into a saint.  Beyoncé actually started her Nashville concert Saturday night with a moment of silence for Trayvon and a rendition of “Halo.”  One can only imagine how the media would have treated a black neighborhood watchman who got himself a smashed skull and broken nose fending off the equivalent of a teenaged Alec Baldwin.

The Guardian’s Gary Younge declared “open season on black men” and proclaimed, “Those who now fear violent social disorder must ask themselves whose interests are served by a violent social order in which young black men can be thus slain and discarded.”  When the young men in question—black or otherwise—happen to be high on pot, have an affinity for gang culture and a history of assault, and propagate violent social disorder against a neighborhood watchman, I’d say that all law-abiding citizens’ interests are served.

As is his wont, President Obama butted in a day after the verdict to announce, “We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.”

No, we’re not.  We should be scrapping draconian state and local gun control laws, especially in vulnerable high-crime and minority neighborhoods; issuing more concealed-carry permits; and refraining from demonizing volunteer patrolmen who perform a dirty and dangerous job.  That would be a good start.

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Obama Schedules Beer Summit With Ben Jealous and Andrew Breitbart

July 21, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Racism

Ben Jealous
Image by jdlasica via Flickr

Ben Jealous, President of the NAACP, declared at last week’s annual convention that the impetus for the Tea Party is hatred of nonwhite people and resentment of a black president.  Of the rise of the movement, Jealous announced, “Here comes the genetic descendent of the White Citizens Council, burst from its coffin.”

I don’t know if Tea Partiers are genetically descendent from the White Citizens Council or not.  (Hey—isn’t an obsession with “genetic descendents” usually associated with racism?)

What I do know is that they’re not politically descendent.

The overwhelming majority of voters and congressmen who identify as Tea Party supporters are Republicans.

In contrast, the early leaders of the White Citizens Council were Louisiana politicians William Rainach and Joseph Waggonner, Jr., justice Leander Perez, and publisher Ned Touchstone, all Democrats.  The group was formed in reaction to political activities carried out by the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, led by black Republican T. R. M. Howard.

As part of its recent campaign against the Tea Party, the NAACP posted on its website a slideshow of Tea Party rally signs bearing such patently, explicitly anti-black sentiments as “Now Look!  Nice People Forced To Protest!  This Must Be Serious,” “Obama & His Gang of Thieves = America’s Toxic Assets,” “Freeloading Illegals Are Raping U.S. Taxpayers,” “Obama Was Not Bowing.  He Was Sucking Saudi Jewels!” “It’s 1939 Germany All Over Again,” “The American Taxpayers Are the Jews for Obama’s Ovens,” and “Hang ‘Em High!  Traitors in Congress—Pelosi, Reid, Waters, Schumer, Frank, Dodd, Conyers, Kerry, Clinton, Kennedy.”

The NAACP was once, many moons ago, a pioneer in spearheading crucial and controversial civil rights work, which culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Since then, the NAACP has distinguished itself as a water carrier for every racist fringe element in society but the KKK.

The writings of former local NAACP chapter president Robert F. Williams, for example, influenced the violent tactics adopted by the Black Panthers, the far-left, quasi-Marxist/Maoist revolutionary group formed in the 1960s that sprouted the Black Power movement and instigated numerous fatal confrontations with police over the next decade.

A revived version of the group, the New Black Panther Party, started in 1989, and was soon vilified by the Anti-Defamation League as “the largest organized anti-Semitic and racist black militant group in America” and labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Law Poverty Center.

More recently, in 2000 the head of the NAACP in Dallas, Lee Alcorn, used his radio show to slam Al Gore for selecting a Jew as his running mate: “If we get a Jew person, then what I’m wondering is, what is this movement for?  [W]e need to be very suspicious of any kind of partnerships between the Jews at that kind of level, because we know that their interest primarily has to do with money and these kind of things.”

After ABC News exposed the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s incendiary racist sermons in the spring of 2008, the NAACP invited him to give a keynote address to an audience of 10,000 members at a fundraiser in Detroit, where Wright unrepentantly reaffirmed his views to a welcoming audience and accused candidate Obama of disavowing his sermons for political reasons.  (As Bill Clinton might say, Obama had a “fleeting association” with black liberation theology.)  Wright added some charming eugenics-inspired comments about how blacks and whites’ brains are different and reflect separate but equal learning styles—remarks that also met with approval from the NAACP audience.

In November 2008, members of the New Black Panther Party brandished police batons and made menacing comments toward voters outside a Philadelphia voting center.  The Bush administration filed a lawsuit against the NBPP, which resulted in a slap-on-the-wrist injunction against one of the defendants.  In June 2009, Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder dismissed the suit against the remaining defendants in the case with no explanation.  Liberal commentators have dismissed the voter intimidation incident as “street theater”—you know, like break dancing or singing James Brown tunes, only with nightsticks and paramilitary gear.

Bill O’Reilly observed, “[A] number of New Black Panthers have been shown on TV saying incredibly bigoted things.  NBPP member King Samir Shabazz even suggested that black Americans kill white babies…  One of the weaknesses of the NAACP is that it has rarely acknowledged black racism.  The organization is silent on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan.  Yet, it is outraged about the Tea Party.”

In a recent column titled “Is NAACP blind to Farrakhan & Co.?  The Nation of Islam is built on racism and lies,” Stanley Crouch highlighted the NAACP’s ongoing support for the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam and suggested that “were Jealous and the rest disturbed and vocal about [Louis] Farrakhan’s presence [in the NAACP], it would suggest some actual integrity of the sort we are not accustomed to hearing from ‘black leaders’ and ‘public intellectuals.’”

This week Andrew Breitbart unearthed video showing U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod admitting she had engaged in racist behavior toward a white farmer years earlier.  The remarks were made at an award ceremony held by the NAACP, whose audience members clapped and cheered and peppered her remarks with sounds of approval, all before they realized that she was citing her bad behavior as a mistake made on her way to embracing racial equality.

The NAACP responded to the Sherrod case by presenting video of Tea Party speakers telling audiences that tax cuts should be targeted toward whites and not blacks, and attendees shouting agreement with these sentiments.  Oh wait—no, they didn’t.

Tunku Varadarajan summed up the contrast between the two groups well: “Here we have the Tea Party, one of the nation’s most organic, Athenian, democratic movements, being attacked by a political organization—the NAACP—that is among the most sclerotic, dinosaurian, and cadaverous of America’s political groupings.

In true “post-racial” fashion, expect Obama to hold the equivalent of a beer summit between leaders of the NAACP and representatives of the Tea Party movement, in which both sides are treated as equally morally culpable, calls are made to put aside differences, and reputations and character are obfuscated rather than clarified.

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