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March 07, 2014 12:38 PM Schoolhouse Doors

By Ed Kilgore

If Rick Perry’s CPAC speech gets the initial prize for rebel-yell inducing radicalism, the most audacious remarks belong to that perpetual master of religio-political nastiness, Ralph Reed. MoJo’s Tim Murphy has the story, with a special Bobby Jindal chaser:

Top social-conservative strategist Ralph Reed compared President Barack Obama to segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“Fifty years ago George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door and said that African-Americans couldn’t come in,” said Reed, the founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, in response to the Department of Justice’s attempt to block Louisiana’s school voucher program. “Today, the Obama administration stands in that same door and says those children can’t leave. It was wrong then and it was wrong now and we say to President Obama, ‘Let those children go.’”
Remarkably, Reed wasn’t the first speaker at CPAC to compare the Obama administration’s policies to the Jim Crow South.
On Thursday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal made the same comparison in his address to the conference. “We’ve got Eric Holder and the Department of Justice trying to stand in the schoolhouse door,” he said.

Comparing legal objections to Louisiana’s highly dubious voucher program—which is extremely light on any sort of educational accountability for use of tax dollars at conservative evangelical madrassas, to efforts to bar African-Americans from public schools—is precisely the sort of rhetorical jiu-jitsu we’ve come to expect from conservatives trying to parry accusations of (and historical association with) racism. It’s particularly rich coming from the likes of Ralph Reed, who once took down an entire Republican state ticket with a heavy-handed racially-tinged campaign on behalf of a statewide candidate during his brief career as a paid political consultant.

While you are mulling the mendacity involved in the ideological heirs of the Dixiecrats accusing the first African-American Attorney General and the first African-American president of channeling George Wallace, check out Tim’s profile of Bobby Jindal, which is especially rich in detail of Bobby’s early days, including his famous involvement in an exorcism.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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