Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 26, 2007

WHO'S WRONG ON RACE?.... In one of the more transparently ridiculous campaign ads of the 2006 cycle, the National Black Republican Association ran radio spots in Baltimore insisting that African-American voters should back the GOP, because Democrats were responsible for Jim Crow laws, the KKK, and releasing vicious dogs and fire hoses on civil-rights activists.

The ad was almost comically inane, and was quickly rejected by voters. Regrettably, Bruce Bartlett, a conservative pundit and frequent Bush critic, has decided to devote an entire book to the same idea.

In a WSJ op-ed earlier this week, Bartlett pointed to "the 200-year record of prominent Democrats" who were "openly and explicitly for slavery before the Civil War, supported lynching and 'Jim Crow' laws after the war, and regularly defended segregation and white supremacy throughout most of the 20th century." The piece included dozens of ugly quotes on race from "prominent Democrats," drawn from Bartlett's new book, "Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past."

Ironically, Bartlett's criticism of the Bush White House's economic policies elevated his stature as a credible political commentator. The premise of his upcoming book seems intent on throwing that standing away with an argument that is both cheap and silly.

One need not have a doctorate in American history to know that the nation's two major political parties have shifted significantly over the past couple of centuries. The Democratic Party, in the first half of the 20th century, was home to two competing constituencies -- conservative southern whites with abhorrent views on race, and liberals and African Americans in the north, who sought to advance the cause of civil rights. The party struggled, ultimately siding with a progressive, inclusive agenda. Southern conservatives left the party, and joined the GOP.

Bartlett insists that the Democratic Party's history must not be "swept under the rug as old news," adding that if Dems believe Reagan's racist appeals in 1980 still matter today, Democrats' history has to matter, too.

As Yglesias noted, this misses the point.

I don't think the history should be swept under the rug at all. What I think is that the history reflects well on present members of the Democratic Party. The political views of the Southern Democrats were unconscionably evil, and the corrupt bargain national Democratic Party figures struck with them was a terrible thing. But in a series of intense political battles, the Democratic Party eventually broke decisively with that heritage, prompting breakaway segregationist campaigns in 1948 and 1968 and eventually leading the bulk of the white supremacist constituency to drift to the Republican Party.

The significance of the history of race in America -- and of the centrality of the Democrats' corrupt bargain with white supremacy to American political history -- really shouldn't be minimized. But what it shows is that the Democratic Party's decision to embrace the civil rights movement and the Republican Party's decision to embrace opposition to civil rights has been integral to the Republican Party's political successes toward the end of the 20th century.

If history ended in 1965, Bartlett may have a legitimate point. But given what we've seen over the last half-century, the more salient point is that Dems have been part of the solution on race, and the GOP has been part of the problem. In this sense, I'm far more concerned with the Republicans' transparent present that the Dems' not-so-buried past.

Steve Benen 12:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

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Comments

Paraphrasing Mark Twain, some people don't know anything, but Bartlett doesn't even SUSPECT anything.

Posted by: Repack Rider on December 26, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

The real question raised by Bartlett's book is: whom does he think he's fooling by this argument?

Seriously, who's supposed to buy into it? Independent voters? The Republican base? Who hasn't heard of the GOP "Southern strategy"? Who doesn't know that the GOP know reigns in the South because of it?

Where can the argument possibly be going?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 26, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that Repubs can entice black voters by recalling the 19th and early 20th century history of the Democratic party is nothing short of brain-dead retarded.

All anyone needs to know is that today's Repubs hate blacks. The party is organized around anti-black racism and survives because of anti-black racism. Period. End of story.

Remember the old saying? Not every Republican is a bigot but every bigot is a Republican.

If the Dems wanted to waste a little money countering the Repub ads, I'd run an ad campaign that prominently featured that line.

Posted by: Auto on December 26, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

history reflects well on present members of the Democratic Party

Unfortunatly the logical error (deception) that Bartlett engages in has done and will do significantly more harm than simply allowing someone to accuse democrats of racism.

The act of conflating institutions with the individuals comprising them can cause significantly worse harm.

If anyone doubts this, consider the statement "Iran has been at war with us since 1979". To pretend that the makeup of Iran is unchanged over the course of 28 years and that such a passage of time can be ignored when trying to justify violence against the country's CURRENT inhabitants is to make the same logical error but in a far more lethal manner.

Posted by: Paul Dirks on December 26, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

I'm reading Rorty's "Achieving Our Country" right now. And one of his main points is that as we've moved away from great American progressives like Dewey and Whitman and Twain even, we've moved toward Marx and the Marxist ideal of ideological purity. He blames it for splitting up the progressive coalition. As I'm reading this, I think that the idea of ideological purity is a problem in the right too. They've become hung up on it, just as we did in the 1960s -- and it will splinter them just as it did us.

Bartlett apparently is trying to use this Marxist notion against the left. Just as his side his splintering under the same weight. He knows that divide between rich and poor (which is growing) is going to push people back toward the historic progressive Left -- a mishmash of ideologies that are all working for progress and who work as a coalition because our goals are the same and we can forgive our past digressions. Because our goal of a better future is the same.

Posted by: Inaudible Nonsense on December 26, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Someone needs a little extra holiday spending cash. Throw a bone to the 'wingers and collect yer wingnut welfare check.

Since when is this past buried? Any reasonably well-educated American knows about this tremendous political shift. It's well documented by political scientists and pundits alike. This is just an extended list of talking points for 'wingers in need of something to blather about at holiday cocktail parties.

Posted by: Andrew on December 26, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Paraphrasing Mark Twain, some people don't know anything, but Bartlett doesn't even SUSPECT anything.

One of my favorite Twainisms! In fact, I've been reviving it lately.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 26, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

The really important part of this party legacy, is that the Democrats were able to make a decision to do the right thing, even though the loss of that constituency (southern Democrats) was going to cost them severely. Given the opportunity to take advantage of that abandoned constituency the Republicans couldn't resist the opportunity.

Posted by: bigTom on December 26, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

The premise of this book could be demolished in 5 minutes, 10 minutes tops.

Main exhibits: JFK and LBJ who actually started enacting meaningful civil rights legislation, not to mention Shirley Chisolm and a number of other prominent black legislators who called the Democratic Party home.

On the other hand, a party that cynically tries to exploit Nixon's southern strategy year after year is anything but hospitable to blacks and other minorities.

Posted by: Jeff from WI on December 26, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

All anyone needs to know is that today's Repubs hate blacks. The party is organized around anti-black racism and survives because of anti-black racism. Period. End of story.

They are slowly trying to replace "black" with "gay", hence their courting of homophobic black preachers.

Posted by: Juanita de Talmas on December 26, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think you may have hit the nail on the head - for conservatives, history DID end in 1965. Give or take.

Liberals? HIPPIES! Southern Democrats? RACISTS! Progressives? McGOVERNIKS!!!! Social programs? COMMUNISM!!!!1!1one!

Oh, to live in a fantasyland where I had a 389 cubic inch OPEC totem without emissions controls and a steel steering column, and seatbelts were optional. A woman's place was in the bottom of a missionary position, blacks had their own water fountains, and all you needed to succeed in business was a swell flattop haircut (and to be born male to a good white family).

Posted by: anonymous on December 26, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Yglesias noted, "history reflects well on present members of the Democratic Party."

He's almost right. Actually, history reflects well on members of the Democratic Party in the 1940's, 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. Democrats have done little or nothing for Blacks in the last 30 years or so. Dems get Black votes primarily by demonizig Republicans.

In fact, today's Dems have supported the interests of the education establishment -- teachers' unions, educrats, etc -- and opposed the interests of inner city blacks. E.g., opposition to School Choice and now opposition to No Child Left Behind.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 26, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

The book title is fascinating, "...buried past?" Yeah, I guess among his half of the country, who are afterall the very same people who still think Saddam had WMDs and was involved with 9/11. I haven't read the book, but I've read some of the quotes he has selected to promote the book, or concept. It seems clear to me this book idea is typical of the mind that embraces jingoism. His readers will pat themselves on the back for being from the party of Lincoln, though without all Lincoln's controversial baggage such as, um... ending slavery.

Embracing non-challenging symbolism, for example sporting "support the troops" magnets stuck to their cars, has become THE goal, not just a side-effect of avoiding accountability. Does this come from the fundamentalist evangelicals who've flooded the GOP? That is, the notion that accepting Jesus is the whole thing, that doing good works in this life is not only not the primary goal, but is wrong because it is a diversion? Or, have these two groups-- religious right and jingoists ended up in the same camp because their brains are wired the same way, some genetic predisposition? I hope to see this Bartlett guy on TV someday explaining "buried past." Could be he's just using his audience to make a quick buck, or maybe he is one of the jingoists. Either way he's got some 'splainin' to do.

Posted by: dennisS on December 26, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Don't waste your time.All this goon is doing is taking advantage of the R's book buying club.Ann Coulter is another one who uses the repug book buying club to steal money from rightwingers.In case you don't know,The idea is to get to the magic number of book sales to get on NYT bestseller list.The righties buy up blocks of these books and then give them away to used book stores.But the money there is drying up also.(Which is why Rove can't get a good deal).

Posted by: john john on December 26, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter version. The southern racists switched from D to R rather than give up their racism.

Posted by: eCAHNomics on December 26, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Desperation, thy name is Bartlett. Check out Yglesias' comment thread for B-squared's hilarious attempt at a self-defense. Really, some people can't quit when they're behind.

Posted by: shortstop on December 26, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

that quote from Yglesias is well written and makes the correct point. That's the best I have ever seen from him.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 26, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

"The premise of this book could be demolished in 5 minutes, 10 minutes tops.:

It can be demolished with two words: Strom Thurmond.

Posted by: arkie on December 26, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: In fact, today's Dems have supported the interests of the education establishment -- teachers' unions, educrats, etc -- and opposed the interests of inner city blacks. E.g., opposition to School Choice and now opposition to No Child Left Behind.

There are ways that present Democratic policies hurt some or most blacks, and other ways that present Republican policies help some or most blacks. In my readings I find that there are "racist" policies of both parties, that is policies that treat all blacks the same without recognizing individual differences.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 26, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Paraphrasing Mark Twain, some people don't know anything, but X doesn't even SUSPECT anything.

Shit, sometimes I go through life thinking X is me. :(

In the meantime frankly0, I am a bit surprised with your comment, but I hope it is true. I fear that 85% of America has not heard of the GOP Southern Strategy.

I suspect the book is targeted to be pushed over the next year by Sean Hannity, et. al., and that's where we'll be hearing from Bartlett.

I believe DeLong had a pretty good takedown of the book a day or two ago.

Posted by: jerry on December 26, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

A few years ago conservative activists realized the African-American community was a potential constituency; they tended to be religious and socially conservative. Norquist even courted the Nation of Islam until the neocons closed down his project. One of the reasons the activists have been pushing an anti-gay message is that it appeals to black voters. They also run conservative blacks whenever they can. They have been suggesting for some time the Democratic Party is the party of Jim Crow and oppression. Sure it is a big lie, but it only needs to wedge away a few blacks to give the GOP the appearance of diversity. Voting is also a zero sum game and every vote taken away from Democrats is an advantage to the GOP. They also appeal to the dissatisfaction of blacks with liberals, who seem to have abandon them, and with government which the Republicans work hard at making fail.

As usual they are prepared to work long-term at this and the rationality of the propaganda doesn’t matter. But the activists have a hard time with the real racism in the party. Katrina did a great deal of damage to the GOP.

Posted by: bellumregio on December 26, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

I think we need to reevaluate our relationship with Britain.. didn't we fight a war against them 230 years ago? Damn those redcoats..

Posted by: Andy on December 26, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Steve B: I'm far more concerned with the Republicans' transparent present that the Dems' not-so-buried past.

Yeah, me, too.

I met Harold at the Playboy party....
...
The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.
Harold, call me!
E.J. Dionne wrote at the time of the ad runnning, "And there is what will, sadly, become the most famous advertisement of this [2006] election cycle, the "Harold, call me'' ad run by the Republican National Committee against Rep. Harold Ford Jr., the Democratic candidate for the Senate from Tennessee. To claim that an ad depicting a pretty blonde woman coming on to an African-American politician does not play on the fears of miscegenation on the part of some whites is to ignore history...."

How convenient for Bartlett to ignore this recent GOP history.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 26, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

This is a very interesting topic. Bennen has the historical analysis right and even Yglesias, who is not often right, has it mostly right (except his bias drives him to massively overtstate the anti-Republican argument: "the Republican Party's decision to embrace opposition to civil rights has been integral to the Republican Party's political successes toward the end of the 20th century" -- he can't help himself). For example, I think history will be very kind to LBJ, the improbable champion of civil rights.

One of the most interesting facts of American political history is that the electoral college map flipped almost entirely between the 1900 (or 1896) election of McKinley and the 2000 election of Bush (and race certainly had something to do with that). The Republican states became Democratic states and vice versa. It makes one wonder what might happend over the next 50 to 100 years.

To a certain extent, Bartlett also has it right. If the Reagan speech of 1980 is relevant today (a marginal argument), then Democrats' historical positions also should be relevant.

More important than these largely historical questions are the questions of which party best addresses racial issues today, how effective have democrats been in helping African Americans, can Republicans actually re-capture any significant number of African American votes, and more generally how racial influences on politics will play out over the next 50 years. I don't think 90% of one race voting for one party is good for the race or the country. Inevitably, it will lessen over time. But the best hope for it changing significantly in the short term would be a charismatic african american becoming a republican president or vice president. In the long term, republicans do need to do something about their poor standing with minorities in order to maintain competitiveness on a national level and, more importantly, for the benefit of the country. A voting electorate that is split between 90% minorities for democrats and 75 to 90% whites for republicans is conceivable and would be bad for the country.

Posted by: brian on December 26, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

n the meantime frankly0, I am a bit surprised with your comment, but I hope it is true. I fear that 85% of America has not heard of the GOP Southern Strategy.

I grant that only a small fraction of American voters know about the GOP "Southern strategy" by that name, or understand all of its meaning.

Yet I'd be very surprised if most American voters didn't know by now that the GOP's greatest stronghold is in the South, and that they appeal only to the white voters in the South, and not the black voters. And I'd guess that the majority of American voters know further that the GOP does so by implicit appeals to the racism of white voters in the South.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 26, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

If the Reagan speech of 1980 is relevant today (a marginal argument)

Yes, it's not as if Ronald Reagan was one of the patron saints of the modern Republican party, lionized by every candidate, with ongoing efforts to put his name on roads, institutions and schools. Pointing out the racist implications of his 1980 campaign is exactly like associating modern Dems with discredited dixiecrats who later became Republicans. Right.

Posted by: jimBOB on December 26, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think 90% of one race voting for one party is good for the race or the country.

Have you tried asking the members of that race why they vote as they do, rather than condescendingly telling them they're wrong--then have you tried actually listening to what they say and working for policy change within your own party? No, of course you haven't; it's not what the GOP's offering that's the problem. Those stupid black people just don't understand what's good for them, no matter how many times you explain it to them nicely.

But the best hope for it changing significantly in the short term would be a charismatic african american becoming a republican president or vice president.

That is certainly an impressive goal. You might start by getting a single Republican into the Congressional Black Caucus and working from there. You guys can't even manage that.

Posted by: shortstop on December 26, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

This book seems to be a longer explanation of the argument that because, as the saying goes, Robert Byrd was a racist 30-40 years ago, all Democrats today have to be ashamed, and blacks should vote for the Republicans. It's a truly insane point of view, but what's even more astonishing is the number of people who believe it.

Posted by: Brian on December 26, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Someone needs a little extra holiday spending cash. Throw a bone to the 'wingers and collect yer wingnut welfare check.

As Andrew noted above, Bartlett got himself thrown of the wingnut gravy train when he wrote a book disparaging the Bush economic program and he misses the cash. This is just his way of ingratiating himself with the moneymen.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on December 26, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

That's not right. It's not even wrong

….Democrats have done little or nothing for Blacks in the last 30 years ….ex-lax at 12:59 PM

Demonstrably false
….To a certain extent, Bartlett also has it right. If the Reagan speech of 1980 is relevant today (a marginal argument), then Democrats' historical positions also should be relevant….brian at 2:24 PM

However, Republicans did not shift their position: They're still the white Americans party.

Posted by: Mike on December 26, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Bartlett criticized GWB but still believes in the conservative myths. He's a smart man, and he's addressing a real problem: After seven years of Bushco, Republians have lost ground with young Americans, women and the Latino and African-American population.

So, if Republicans can't run on their record to win hearts and minds, they can at least obfuscate and drag the competition into the mud with them. The true believers will buy it--they've never been disturbed by reality--and those who know differently aren't the audience for this book.

Mind you, if Barack Obama is the next Democratic candidate for POTUS, Barlett's book will be irrelevant.

Posted by: PTate in MN on December 26, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Lincoln freed blacks and made us all slaves.

Posted by: buggy whip on December 26, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

I think you guys continue to make too much out of one line in Reagan's 1980 speech. The guy was elected president twice. If there is something racist about him or his presidency, then you should talk about that. The fact that Reagan now is being judged a great or near great president and having things named for him does not mean that anyone is championing the one line of his speech or even the so called southern strategy.

shortstop, you don't really dispute that 90% of one race voting for one party is bad for thecountry. You just seem to say that the Republicans deserve the lack of support, but whether that is the fault of republicans or African Americans, it is a fact of life that 90% of african americans vote democrats, the same as probably 90% used to vote republican. What I think would be good for the country is if the African American vote was not heavily aligned with either party, and the parties were forced to compete for their votes. Why should a voter in America be voting for one party because of the color of his/her skin? The sooner we leave that behind, the better.

Posted by: brian on December 26, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Thirty one comments and no one has mentioned the *ahem* watershed event that caused blacks to flee the Republican Party in droves. The 1927 Mississippi flood. Prior to that event, blacks were overwhelmingly Republican, but the response to that tragedy destroyed support for Republicans among African Americans practically over night. Some socially conservative blacks were warming to the Republicans when history repeated itself in 2005, and a Republican president was inept and feeble in dealing with the tragedy.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 26, 2007 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

whether that is the fault of republicans or African Americans [!], it is a fact of life that 90% of african americans vote democrats

What I think would be good for the country is if the African American vote was not heavily aligned with either party, and the parties were forced to compete for their votes.

LOL. Yes, we know that's what you think, brian, and we know your definition of "forced to compete" is: The GOP wants black votes and thus deserves to get them without altering any of its fundamental policies. It's really unfair of the black electorate to overwhelmingly vote for Democrats because of a stupid thing like preferring Democratic policy.

Look, nothing is stopping you from seriously competing for black votes now--nothing except your party's critical reliance on directly appealing to the racism of some whites and the GOP's supreme indifference--no, outright hostility--to many of the issues the majority of black voters keep telling you ("La la la, I can't hear you!") are important to them. If you want more black votes, go out and earn them. Don't keep sitting on your ass whining at us (this is the fifth or sixth time I've heard you make these comments at this blog) that blacks don't know what's good for them and that mean old Democratic Party won't get out of the way.

Posted by: shortstop on December 26, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans have already begun the long long soul-searching trod though the desert. They won't find a soul though. That party conveniently doesn't have to worry about carrying that baggage around. They can't make a profit with it and it just wears on them.

Yesterday I watched a C-SPAN show with Frank Luntz, George Lakoff and a psychologist. Actually, they've shown it 3-4 times now. Luntz has got to be the most disgusting transparent propagandist of all time. The man had the temerity to say "Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party's nominee." Of course, some in the crowd booed him. But, after he polled the audience and learned they mostly supported Edwards he started sweating profusely. I think the Republicans know the jig is up, Bush ain't gonna save 'em and they're already packing up and heading for the desert.

I hope they forget to take water.

Posted by: MarkH on December 26, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

To attract black voters, it's not enough for Republicans to implement policies that are important to black voters; they have to stop doing things that damage minority interests. As an example, there's the recent shift in direction in the US Commission on Civil Rights, cancelation of projects to look at the effectiveness of civil rights enforcement actions, whether minority college students have sufficient access to financial aid, and census undercounting of minorities. Basically, Republicans need to stop digging.

Posted by: RSA on December 26, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

The idea is to get to the magic number of book sales to get on NYT bestseller list. -john john

Exactly. It is a book for people that don't bother to read.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 26, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,

Since you seem to be so knowledgable about the reasons for black voting patterns (which I do not claim to know), what is the reason that about 90% of blacks vote democrat and about 60% of whites vote republican? What specifically is there currently in the difference between republican and democrats that causes the disparity? Don't you think it would be in the country's best interest if somehow that disparity shrinks.

By the way, it is not true that the 1927 Mississippi flood "destroyed support for Republicans among African Americans practically over night." I think 44% of blacks voted for Nixon in 1960.

Posted by: brian on December 26, 2007 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Since you seem to be so knowledgable about the reasons for black voting patterns (which I do not claim to know), what is the reason that about 90% of blacks vote democrat and about 60% of whites vote republican?

First of all, 90% of blacks do not vote democrat. They vote Democratic. But thanks for signalling your tell, the mark of the screaming wingnut.

Second, the overwhelming majority of blacks vote Democratic because (a) they agree with broad Democratic policies in favor of civil liberties, economic opportunity, economic fairness and social justice, (b) they disagree with Republican policies in favor of militarism, economic rapaciousness and in general screwing over the poor and disadvantaged in favor of the wealthy elite, and (c) they know that the Republican Party engages in subtle and not-so-subtle appeals to racism, which repels them.

I think 44% of blacks voted for Nixon in 1960.

Again, what you think isn't what is true. Richard Nixon received one third of the black vote in 1960. Remarkably, a mere four years later the Repubican candidate Goldwater received only six percent, and the GOP hasn't done better than about 15% since then.

Posted by: Stefan on December 26, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

What specifically is there currently in the difference between republican and democrats that causes the disparity? Don't you think it would be in the country's best interest if somehow that disparity shrinks.

Yes, it would indeed be in the country's best interest if the Republican Party abandoned its commitment to racism. But then again, what are the odds that the Republican Party will ever act in the country's best interest....?

Posted by: Stefan on December 26, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

it is not true that the 1927 Mississippi flood "destroyed support for Republicans among African Americans practically over night."

Bullshit, brian.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 26, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Whadya know. Here is another link.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 26, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Wikipedia points it out, too, brian.

Maybe you might want to check 'teh google' before you pop off and show your ass? I typed in "1927 flood, black people, republican party" and got 84,700 links in .28 seconds. Just sayin' - I mean, I have no problem smacking you around, in fact I quite enjoy it. But sometimes you are just pathetic.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 26, 2007 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Whew! Bruce Bartlett is not the Bartlett of Bartlett and Steele, co-authors of the more-or-less progressive books, "America: What Went Wrong?" and "America: Who Really Pays the Taxes?"

That was Donald Bartlett.

Interestingly, Bruce Bartlett worked for Congressman Ron Paul in the 1970's. What a peach. I'm just relieved he's not the Bartlett & Steele guy.

Posted by: Jalmari on December 26, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect Bartlett, along with that other clown Jonah Goldberg and his Liberal Facism nonsense, are trying to lay groundwork for the Republican comeback in 2020 or whenever.

The crap that Bartlett, Goldberg et. al. publish today will become the Limbaugh/O'Reilly talking points of tomorrow, which influences the GOP operatives of 2012 and beyond. Get ready for a decade or more of this type of nonsense.

Posted by: Jalmari on December 26, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce Bartlett worked for Congressman Ron Paul in the 1970's.

You mean, he worked for the prominent Republican candidate currently in the news for saying that Lincoln was wrong on the Civl War? Full circle . . .

Posted by: rea on December 26, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

blue girl,

I know it is pointless to argue with you, but your cites do not support your statement that the flood "destroyed support for Republicans among African Americans practically over night." One of your cites actually says Hoover used the flood to get elected. They generally say the flood shifted some African American support from Republicans to Democrats, which is not a remarkable proposition, and which is something different than what you said.

Stefan said I wrong about the 44% black vote for Nixon (probably true) and that it was "only" 33%, which also contradicts your assertion that black support for republicans was destroyed. I also saw that Ike got 39% in 1956 and then Goldwater got only 6% in 1964. Jackie Robinson backed Nixon and Martin Luther King Sr. endorsed Nixon, until after King Jr. was put in jail and Kennedy contacted his wife. So the 1964 election was when African American support for republicans was destroyed.

Regardless of the history, no one explains why today 60% of whites vote republican, if it is a racist part.

Look, there is no doubt that (1) a greater percentage of republican senators than democratic senators supported the civil rights act of 1964; and (2) post 1964, the republican party secured southern support from the persons who were or had been on the wrong side of the civil rights movement. Now, 40 years later, question is why 90% of blacks still vote democrat and 60% of whites vote republican, and whehter that is a good thing.

Posted by: brian on December 26, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Here is an interesting quote from Ronald Reagan about racial prejudice during a 1967 debate with Robert Kennedy:

"if we take the lead in saying those who operate their businesses or their lives on a basis of practicing discrimination and prejudice are practicing what is an evil sickness. And that we would not knowingly patronize a business that did such a thing, and we urge all right-thinking people to join us and not patronize that business. Soon we will make those who live by prejudice learn that they stand alone ..."

Posted by: brian on December 26, 2007 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

what is the reason that about 90% of blacks vote democrat

Because they can hear the GOP's dog-whistle crap just like the rednecks?

Posted by: jimBOB on December 26, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

jimBOB,

And then why do 60% of whites vote republican?

Posted by: brian on December 26, 2007 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

And then why do 60% of whites vote republican?

A few are economically driven, a few more are socially conservative, and a whole hell of a lot of them are racists. Especially in the deep south.

Can you honestly say that you have never been told a racist joke by someone you never thought of as a racist, and been surprised by it?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on December 26, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Martin Luther King Sr. endorsed Nixon, until after King Jr. was put in jail and Kennedy contacted his wife."

That is correct. Nixon decided after consulting with his advisors that calling Coretta King would alienate too many white racists, whose votes Nixon was courting. So he chose the racists.

Your examples aren't doing much for you, but they sure help illustrate the modern history of the Republican party as blatantly racist.

Posted by: Monty Python's Lie of Brian on December 26, 2007 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

And then why do 60% of whites vote republican?

Because they can hear the GOP's racist dog-whistle crap, which is aimed straight at them?

For the record, I agree with you that having a very sharp racial divide in voting patterns isn't healthy. However, the cure isn't for minorities to just ignore the past 30 years of history and start voting for the party that has depended on racism, and is likely to continue to depend on it. The cure is for the party of racists to stop fomenting bigotry.

Given that immigration is one of the current GOP's main political draws, and also given that all of the mainstream GOP candidates are white guys, I think they have a ways to go with eschewing racism.

Posted by: jimBOB on December 26, 2007 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

jimBOB,

I don't think you gave a good reason for 60% of whites voting for republicans (I think it has very little to do with race); however, I appreciate your candor in agreeing that a sharp racial divide on voting is not healthy. I agree with you that the current black voting pattern in favor of democrats is understandable based on the history of period from 1932 to at least 1980, and particularly from 1964 to the mid-70's.

What I don't see is any significant current difference between the parties that would justify the 90/10 split. I don't agree with you that the republicans are a "the party of racists . . . formenting bigotry." I think African Americans are just hanging on to their now traditional radical party allegiance for no compelling policy reasons that would justify the 90/10 ratio. It likely will evolve slowly in favor of republicans, unless there is what I suggested, a republican african american who becomes president or perhaps vice president. Interestingly, if Hillary succeeds by beating up Obama as a former cocaine user and former Muslim, it might nudge some African Americans back to the republican (especially if JC Watts or some other black republican becomes VP or President).

Posted by: brian on December 26, 2007 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

What I don't see is any significant current difference between the parties that would justify the 90/10 split.

Then you might want to take some remedial reading courses. How about opposition to enforcement of civil rights legislation and the legislation itself? Promotion of voter ID bills that revive memories of poll taxes? Lax enforcement of voting rights violations in Ohio and Florida? Promotion of judges who invalidate affirmative action programs? Tax cuts for the wealthy paid for by either deficit spending or cuts in social programs?
I especially like your invocation of JC Watts, the last major black republican office holder and one who has been out of office since 2003. Yeah, he's the one to turn that record around.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on December 27, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

"if we take the lead in saying those who operate their businesses or their lives on a basis of practicing discrimination and prejudice are practicing what is an evil sickness. And that we would not knowingly patronize a business that did such a thing, and we urge all right-thinking people to join us and not patronize that business. Soon we will make those who live by prejudice learn that they stand alone ..."

Reagan didn't mean it.

Repubs like Bush, Cheney and others patronize rightwing radio and TV that spew all manner of discrimination toward ethnic groups.

I'm still waiting on Ron Paul to publicly denounce his white supremacist supporters.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 27, 2007 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Apollo,

Reagan said it on national television and was later elected to two terms as president. I am not persuaded by your declaration that he did not mean it. He had a pretty good personal history on not being prejudiced.

Col bat,

A lot of the stuff you cite is not necessarily something that would offend blacks. Identification at voting places in particular is something that liberal politicos are up in arms about, but it is hard to believe that normal folks (black or white) have much of a problem with. Have republicans recently opposed civil rights legislation that affects blacks? The Florida and Ohio stuff is just political argument. Convervative judges and tax cuts are things that probably are not popular in the black community, but I doubt that they would warrant 90/10 opposition. I don't find it a persuasive list of reaons for such a drastic racial divide on voting.

Posted by: brian on December 27, 2007 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

"I think you guys continue to make too much out of one line in Reagan's 1980 speech."-brian

Where was that one line spoken and what did it signify?

"Philadelphia is most famous as the site of the murder of three civil rights workers in 1964. This incident later became the basis for the movie Mississippi Burning. Eighteen persons, including the sheriff and deputy sheriff, were charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating the civil rights of the three dead men; 7 were convicted. No legal action was taken on the actual murders by the state of Mississippi until 2005, when one of the participants, Edgar Ray Killen, was convicted on three counts of manslaughter (one for each of the dead men).

In 1980 Ronald Reagan kicked off his general campaign for president of the United States in Philadelphia, announcing at the annual county fair, "I believe in states' rights ... [I] believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment." He went on to promise to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them".

Some thought Reagan's speech marked the continuation of the successful Republican "Southern strategy"; this was supposedly evidence of Reagan's libertarian belief in federalism and a greater role for states in determining their own policies. However, given the history of Philadelphia, and Reagan's use of the words "states' rights", often interpreted as a desire to return to pre-Civil War laws regarding segregation, many felt that Reagan was at least insensitive to the concerns of blacks, or that he even was using this location and these words as a cynical appeal to the white racist vote."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia%2C_Mississippi

"The national Democratic Party of 1948 was split between liberals who thought the federal government should assertively guarantee civil rights for non-whites and southern conservatives who thought the states should be able to choose what civil rights their citizens would enjoy (the "states' rights" position).

At the 1948 Democratic National Convention, the party platform reflected this division and contained only platitudes in favor of civil rights. Though the incumbent President Harry S Truman had already issued a detailed 10-point Civil Rights Program calling for aggressive federal action on the issue of civil rights, he gave his backing to the party establishment's platform that was a replication of the 1944 Democratic National Convention plank on civil rights.

...

Despite aggressive pressure by Truman's aides to avoid forcing the issue on the Convention floor, Humphrey chose to speak on behalf of the minority plank. In a renowned speech, Humphrey passionately told the Convention, "To those who say, my friends, to those who say, that we are rushing this issue of civil rights, I say to them we are 172 years too late! To those who say, this civil rights program is an infringement on states' rights, I say this: the time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights!" Humphrey and his allies succeeded; the pro-civil-rights plank was narrowly adopted.

As a result of the Convention's vote, the Mississippi and one half of the Alabama delegation walked out of the hall. Many Southern Democrats were so enraged at this affront to their "way of life" that they formed the Dixiecrat party and nominated their own presidential candidate, Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. The goal of the Dixiecrats was to take several Southern states away from Truman and thus cause his defeat. The Southern Democrats reasoned that after such a defeat the national Democratic Party would never again aggressively pursue a pro-civil rights agenda."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubert_Humphrey

So, African-Americans were very supportive of the Republican politicians for Republican policies of over 5 decades earlier for perhaps too long. When Hoover broke his promises, the compact between the Republican party and African-Americans were severed, perhaps not overnight, but enough to cause many to re-evaluate the situation, especially younger African-Americans. African-Americans were voting overwhelmingly for the Republican party prior to the 1928 election, some of that support eroded in that and the following election. FDR's policies which helped African-Americans in the pocket book if not at the ballot box (he didn't touch segration policies) further eroded the Republican base.

Truman desegregated the armed forces and Humphrey gave his groundbreaking speech in 1948.

So, that Eisenhower was getting 40% his first election and Nixon was down to a 1/3 of the African American vote. In 1964, the Republicans nominated one of only 4 non Southern Republican Senators to vote against the Civil Rights Act and he got 6% and the Republicans have not been able to get back over 15% since...

Thurman, Helms, and Reagan were all Democrats in 1948 and all supported Eisenhower in 1952 and eventually left the Democratic Party.

If you want I can explain how Republicans have fermented racists and bigots in the past and are creating new generations (homophobia and xenophobia replacing the old fears) for the new millenium to continue to hold onto that 60%.

Posted by: Harry S. on December 27, 2007 at 4:47 AM | PERMALINK

A little late, but I can't resist joining the debate with Brian (if anyone's still reading here.)

Another way to look at Brian's argument; If conservative blacks see thru the GOP rhetoric on small government and national security in such large numbers, and choose to ignore the Republican positions on favored social issues-- abortion and gay rights-- why don't more working class whites do the same and vote their own self interest the way blacks do? The difference must be race, or at least have a racial component. One side or the other is being "racist", ie. letting race influence their decision. I know which side I think it is. Therefore the real question is why Republicans get such a large share of the white vote. I'm afraid it's because xenophobia is the glue that holds the big-spending, security-incompetent GOP together. Too many white Americans are afraid of a future that is less homogenous than the past. We may have to wait for them to die off before seeing this issue go away, unless a truly inspirational leader breaks the xenophobic GOP trance.

Posted by: dennisS on December 27, 2007 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

Whew! Bruce Bartlett is not the Bartlett of Bartlett and Steele, co-authors of the more-or-less progressive books, "America: What Went Wrong?" and "America: Who Really Pays the Taxes?"

That was Donald Bartlett.

Actually, Donald's last name is Barlett (no first "t"). I've appreciated the reporting he and Steele have done since their days at the Philadelphia Inquirer back in the late '80s.

Interestingly, Bruce Bartlett worked for Congressman Ron Paul in the 1970's. What a peach.

Posted by: Jalmari on December 26, 2007 at 7:29 PM

As someone said earlier, as time goes on, Lyndon Johnson looks better and better -- a true profile in political courage, far more so on civil rights than Kennedy. After all, JFK's base constituency wasn't all that directly affected by the civil rights movement (at least when it was restricted to the South). Johnson's was, so much so that he accurately prophesied when signing civil rights legislation that it was probably going to hurt the Democratic party in the South for decades.

Posted by: Vincent on December 27, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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