Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Professor Dean's Course in Alternative History

Here's Howard Dean's take on the reason American blacks are ditching the Democrats:
There's a new generation of African-American leaders and a new generation of African-Americans. We can't go out and say could you vote for us because we were so helpful during the civil rights era.
Umm ... no. No, you can't go out and say that, because it would be a wild distortion of history.
Unless, Dr. Dean, you mean helpful like these Democrats?

George Wallace
When this Democrat was inaugurated governor of Alabama in 1962, he declared, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever." In a flip-flop that should make John Kerry jealous, Wallace later said that he hadn't read the speech before giving it. That didn't stop him from becoming a poster boy for racist hold-outs just one year later, when he stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to block black students from entering the school. And despite that little bit of nauseating public relations work he still made a strong showing as candidate in Democrat presidential primaries in 1964 in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Indiana. In fact, his racism never hurt him much among voters. He won broad support in both the 1968 and 1972 Democrat presidential primaries.

Lester Maddox
Maddox became famous for driving black college students out of his restaurant at the point of a gun. He subsequently parlayed his fame into the governorship of Georgia, as a Democrat. How Dean interprets this as being "helpful during the civil rights era," I'm not quite sure. Maddox would later be praised by Jimmy Carter as the "essence of the Democratic party."

Robert Byrd
Senator Byrd voted against the Civil Rights Act. He also belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. Helpful? I doubt it. Perhaps he was a secret double agent.

Bull Connor
Bull Connor worked in Wallace's Alabama as the public safety commissioner of Birmingham. He ordered the use of attack dogs and fire hoses against civil rights demonstrators. Wikipedia gives us a sense of how Dean may see this as helpful:
The spectacle of this being broadcast on national television helped to catalyse major social and legal change in the South and helped in large measure to assure the passage by Congress of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, so ironically Connor's tactics helped to bring about the very change that he was opposing.
Oh, brother. Maybe soon the NAACP will come to its senses and have a statue of Connor erected in Birmingham. Wikipedia also fails to mention that he was a staunch Democrat.

Ernest Hollings
Hollings is an interesting case, in that the Democrats attempted late in his Senate career to use his position in the party's ugly past to manufacture a new rationale for their lukewarm support for civil rights. According to Hollings' Alternative History, Democrats weren't really resistant to civil rights for blacks. It was just a political deal between the segregationists and the Democrat party (now conveniently parsed into two distinct groups for your voting pleasure). The story goes like this: the misguided segregationists say to the well-intentioned-but-politically-frustrated Democrats, "We’ll go along with all your programs, if you’ll go along with our segregation." The heart-of-gold Democrats grit their teeth and make a deal with the devil for the sake of social programs. Brer Rabbit must come in here somewhere.

Jesse Helms
You may be wondering what he's doing here. Helms was a Democrat until 1972, when he capitalized on a split in the North Carolina Democrat Party by switching party affiliation and taking enough votes away to win as a Republican in a state that was 73 percent Democrat. Segregationist Democrats may not have been able to see past skin color, but they sure could see past party affiliation. Helms won another four terms as Republican senator from a state where Democrats have a two-to-one advantage.

Al Gore, Sr.
Senator Gore voted against the Civil Rights Act. That was helpful.

J. William Fulbright
Senator Fulbright voted against the Voting Rights Act. That was helpful, too. President Clinton said he considered Fulbright one of his mentors.

In case all this seems insubstantial to you, consider this:

The Congressional Record shows that Republicans voted in higher percentages for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did Democrats. In the House of Representatives, 80 percent of Republicans voted yea (138 to 34) compared to 61 percent of Democrats (152 to 96). This means that 39 percent of House Democrats voted against the Civil Rights Act.

In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act (27 to 6), while 69 percent of Democrats supported it (46 to 21). If Senate Republicans had opposed the bill with the same strength, it would have failed, despite the fact that the Democrats held a nearly two-to-one majority.

Click here for an in-depth look at the history of the Civil Rights Act.

In 1965, Democrats and Republicans had to choose sides over the Voting Rights Act. And again the Republicans came out in greater percentages in support of equal rights. More than 80 percent of House Republicans voted yea. Ninety-four percent (!) of Senate Republicans voted for the bill. More than a quarter of Senate Democrats voted against it. This is history--documented history. Not Howard Dean's version of history.

Over the last five years, support for Republican candidates among black voters has increased--and increased substantially in some southern states. The number of black voters identifying themselves as Republican has nearly doubled since 2000, while the number identifying themselves as Democrats has decreased by more than ten percent.

Howard Dean is not going to reverse this trend with lies. How stupid does he think we are?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, the passing of the civil rights act of 1957, the first piece of civil rights legislation since the civil war, was due to the support of the democratic senate majority leader, lyndon johnson. furthermore, the other landmark civil rights laws- the civil rights bills in 1964 and 1968, the voting rights bill of 1965, were supported and signed by johnson.

also, it was a democrat that put thurgood marshall on the supreme court.

also, al gore sr. was one of the three senators not to sign the racist "southern manifesto".

you can pull out all the shit you want on how those "racist democrats" hurt civil rights, but without democrats like kennedy and johnson, many of those laws never had a chance.

1:54 AM  
Blogger tompain said...

Thanks for the input. Civil rights legislation was passed on at least three occasions in the 1860's, 1870's and 1880's. Granted the 1957 Civil Rights Act was the first in a while, but it was Eisenhower's baby. All Johnson did was hobble it, making the Voting Rights Act of 1965 necessary by removing all enforceability from the 1957 act's voting rights provisions.

I believe that all of the ninety-some-odd legislators who did sign the "racist 'southern manifesto'" were in fact Democrats ... something I guess I should have mentioned in the original post. Bravo to Gore (and the one other southern senator who didn't sign--I'm pretty sure there were only two of them). Anyway, it seems to me the southern manifesto only bolsters my argument.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a knee-jerk Democrat-basher. Some of my best friends are Democrats. Actually, all of my friends are Democrats. I just have a particular distaste for lies and distortions, and no matter how you cut it, the Democrat party as a whole was not "helpful" in the civil rights era.

2:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Presuming the notion that a person's intellect and character are produced by internal body chemistry; in other words ascribing moral, social or political significance to a person"s genetic lineage is the underpinning of most wrongdoing in this world"s history. Whether this be ascribed to the Afro-Americans or any other sect of humans, it is in fact the wrongdoing you are both addressing.

It is dangerous to back up your defense of any political party with repsect to this process. Racism invalidates our faculty of reason; that which distinguishes us from all other living species.

Forgetting about 1964 or 1968 or any other dates you two "historians" can pull out of some mindless reasearch that sustain any "he said_she said" argument.. the fact is that the current president is the president of the christain right..rooted in the very baseless arguments that sustained racism in its truest sense.

Yours truly,

8:44 PM  
Blogger tompain said...

Like the Democrat Party, the Christian Right was no friend to the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's. Unlike the Democratic Party, the Christian Right does not now attempt to convince American blacks to come over to their side because of how "helpful" they were to the movement.

You raise an interesting point though by bringing up the Christian Right. Whether or not you like it, an increasing number of blacks find today that their views on certain social issues are more in line with the Christian Right than with MoveOn or the Mainstream Coalition. That doesn't mean blacks are going to join the Christian Right, but it does mean that they may start voting like the Christian Right, which is Republican. If Howard Dean wants them to do otherwise, he'd better find a more truthful rationale.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Pain:
Thomas PAine would have surely had a better response than this.... listen... you have totally misinterpreted my point. The reason why there is predujice against blacks is because people associate or ascribe moral, social or political significance to a person"s genetic lineage. That is where we go wrong folks.

Republican= Christian religion

Its the law of syllogism (basic logic). Please at least attempt to refute the fact that afro-americans do not realize that they are the least benefitted by the GOP as they constitue the majority of the lower class in american society. With the class gap widening every day under Bush's watch (and the democrats) we must look at a more fundamental basis for the racism issue and that is closely related to religion. Religion has been at the root of the GOPs current state of power


10:24 PM  
Blogger tompain said...

Tom Paine certainly shared your contempt for religion. I do as well (take a look at my Secularism Whimpers post). Whether or not Mr. Paine would have better luck following your reasoning through to your contempt for the Bush administration, I can't speculate.

I get your syllogism. I just think your first premise (and possibly your second as well) is flawed, so your logical outcome is likewise flawed. Let's try this one:

religion = prejudice
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. = Christian religion
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. = prejudice

... You see how it goes wrong? I'm sorry, but I think you need to work on your first premise more.

Clearly some members of the black community in America feel that there interests are best represented by the Republican Party. Are you suggesting that they do not know their own interests?

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not suggesting that... I am stating that clearly.
Yes Martin Luther King used religion as a basis for their freedom and although I praise the outcome, it is a flawed means to an outcome. Using religion is perhaps the best way to pursude the Afro-American masses as well as the hill-billy pro-Bush ass whipes. Dr. King stated G-d creqted men equal... I dont need a creator to have made man.. I take out that stage and just say all are created equal as to link lineage and moral or intellectual status is the root of most otrocities. Bush supports religion both personally and politicvally and that is more dangerous than anything the democrats have gotten themselves into (with the exception of the Cuban Missle Crisis and some other stuff wehich could have killed us all. Listen.. both parties suck.. if we can understand that the Democrats are the lessor of the two evils in the present... insterad of looking to the past.. we will be better off. John Adams was a religious man, but not in his politics. Bush should follow his example.

11:12 PM  
Blogger tompain said...

You've come up with another premise I find flawed: that the Democrats are the lesser of two evils. You don't want me to judge the party by its past behavior, but that's part of how judgement works. To estimate how someone will behave, we can examine what he has done, what he says he will do, and his truthfulness. The Democrats' past performance does not impress me. Their "plans" do not inspire me. And mendacity has practically become a plank in the the party's platform. I'm not alone in this judgement. And I am neither black (which you seem to equate with gullible) nor a hillbilly ass-wipe.

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The African Americans are not gullible. I am simply stating that they argued for something pure through a device that has worked for many people throughout history.. religion. I know religion will be around for a while but the the greatest threat to our society is religion. The greater the gap between religion and politics the better. I think you agree with me. I would guess that you believe in stem cell research and you do not seem like a religious fanatic ( based on some of your writings and comments). You fascinate me however with your pro-Republican rhetoric. You can be pro-capitalist and be a democrat.

Getting back to our initial argument.. racism is fuelied by religion as it predicates the same devices which dull the mind. (I have already described them). I simply dont get why an intelligent man such as yourself cant pick up on that.

Yes the future can be learned from the past but you need to think outside the box sometimes... what has the GOP done for the blacks... yes all the stuff you said but they have kept them on the leash of hatred in America because it is an America ruled by association of God. This device will continue to fuel the mechanism by which people's morality and mortality is linked with something outside themselves. Just think about it. Its the same thing the Catholic church has done for years.

I am sure you have some smart capitalist democratic cronies (as you have mentioned) that woudld agree with me.

I did not mean to suggest you or anyone was ignorant.. just manipulated.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one question... Are the Afro-Americans better off now than 8 years ago? And since the answer from a soci-economic perspective is likely a "No", then why are they for a President and a party that is widening the class gap. Both parties are to blame and credit for the past. The Democrats cannot be ignored... but to quote the phrase "What have you done for me lately" should have been what Dean said.


12:31 PM  
Blogger tompain said...

Thanks again for taking the time to comment, Malcolm. Sorry about the belated reply, but I've been spending time trying to draw more minds to my blog. I'd appreciate your help, if you think it worthwhile ... invite friend or foe, but let's bring some more voices to this discussion!

Regarding your last comment:

Why should American blacks be expected to vote according to a single criterion ("Are you better off now than before?") while the rest of the nation considers a range of other criteria (foreign policy direction, court appointments, the elusive sense of "principled governance")? The Democrat Party's vision of a monolithic black electorate is exactly what is now costing them votes. Many black voters today vote just like I do: according to the respective vision and ability of the candidates, not duped into absurd allegiances based on hot air. And what Dean offers with his specious invocation of his party's alleged support for civil rights in the 60s is just more hot air.

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Barry said...

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6:04 PM  

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