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Whitewashing The Klan

A whole generation of Southern gentlemen were apparently duped into joining the Ku Klux Klan, as opposed to the Rotary Club or other such organizations, at least that's the impression you might get from news reports of those recollecting about the nature of the Klan.

In the case of the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, that's what one witness is saying about the defendant's membership in the Klan.

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) -- The defense rested Monday in the trial of a former Ku Klux Klansman in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers after a former mayor testified that the white-supremacist group was a "peaceful organization."

Harlan Majure, who was mayor of this rural Mississippi town in the 1990s, said Edgar Ray Killen was a good man and that the part-time preacher's Klan membership would not change his opinion.

Majur said the Klan "did a lot of good up here" and said he was not personally aware of the organization's bloody past.

"As far as I know it's a peaceful organization," Majure said. His comment was met with murmurs in the packed courtroom.

Ironically that's the same spin Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) puts on his KKK days, as detailed in The Washington Post's story, A Senator's Shame:
In the early 1940s, a politically ambitious butcher from West Virginia named Bob Byrd recruited 150 of his friends and associates to form a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. After Byrd had collected the $10 joining fee and $3 charge for a robe and hood from every applicant, the "Grand Dragon" for the mid-Atlantic states came down to tiny Crab Orchard, W.Va., to officially organize the chapter.

As Byrd recalls now, the Klan official, Joel L. Baskin of Arlington, Va., was so impressed with the young Byrd's organizational skills that he urged him to go into politics. "The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation," Baskin said.

The young Klan leader went on to become one of the most powerful and enduring figures in modern Senate history. Throughout a half-century on Capitol Hill, Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) has twice held the premier leadership post in the Senate, helped win ratification of the Panama Canal treaty, squeezed billions from federal coffers to aid his home state, and won praise from liberals for his opposition to the war in Iraq and his defense of minority party rights in the Senate.

Despite his many achievements, however, the venerated Byrd has never been able to fully erase the stain of his association with one of the most reviled hate groups in the nation's history.

"It has emerged throughout my life to haunt and embarrass me and has taught me in a very graphic way what one major mistake can do to one's life, career, and reputation," Byrd wrote in a new memoir -- "Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields" -- that will be published tomorrow by West Virginia University Press.

The 770-page book is the latest in a long series of attempts by the 87-year-old Democratic patriarch to try to explain an event early in his life that threatens to define him nearly as much as his achievements in the Senate. In it, Byrd says he viewed the Klan as a useful platform from which to launch his political career. He described it essentially as a fraternal group of elites -- doctors, lawyers, clergy, judges and other "upstanding people" who at no time engaged in or preached violence against blacks, Jews or Catholics, who historically were targets of the Klan.

Byrd, and others, would have you believe KKK membership was a youthful indiscretion... pitiful...

Update: A reader notes:

Senator LeRoy Percy nipped the klan in the bud in Greenville, Mississippi with a speech saying that a gentleman never does anything for which he has to cover his face. Growing up, one heard this often. I think my uncles heard it so frequently they thought my grandfather had made the original statement. Many southern *men* belonged to the KKK; no *gentlemen* belonged.
So noted.


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Comments (52)

Interesting. I live in the ... (Below threshold)

Interesting. I live in the south. All my family for GENERATIONS have lived in the south. Tennessee and Georgia to be exact. We're white. And none of my family has ever been in the "clan." And we're what you would call "Southern Gentlemen."

Byrd laments the impact his... (Below threshold)

Byrd laments the impact his relationship with the Klan had on his political aspirations. Just as Ted Kennedy was only sorry abour Chappaquidick because it ruined his chance to become President, so is Byrd remorseful.

The guy's been in the Senate for 40 years! Can you imagine a Republican senator who was a Klan member getting a free pass for 40 years? Yeah, the MSM would let that one slide. Pathetic.

Condi '08!!!!

You heard about "The Boys F... (Below threshold)

You heard about "The Boys From Brazil"?

How 'bout "The Kids From The Klan"?


So the Klan was a peaceful ... (Below threshold)

So the Klan was a peaceful springboard for entry into politics? And Hamas is a Palestinian version of the Fraternal Order of Elks? Pravda was a small-time, harmless tabloid?

Well, basically, Senator By... (Below threshold)
Eric Blair:

Well, basically, Senator Byrd was a domestic terrorist, pure and simple.

Given how the KKK is americ... (Below threshold)

Given how the KKK is america's premier terrorist organaization, I'm not surprised at the white wash from the perspective of demagoguery. Adding the just and proper label of "domestic terrorist" would require the most serious of legal action, and I don't think people who are all too happy to call someone with whom they disagree a 'Klansman' a) want to give up the freebie and dramatic ad hominem, and b) would lack the resolve and fortitude to call in the long arm of the law against its real members. Calling people names is easy. Calling Homeland Security or the local DA isn't.

He described it essentia... (Below threshold)

He described it essentially as a fraternal group of elites -- doctors, lawyers, clergy, judges and other "upstanding people" who at no time engaged in or preached violence against blacks, Jews or Catholics, who historically were targets of the Klan.

Well, I guess everyone should join then. We must all be wrong about the Klan, they seem like such a nice, upstanding group with nothing but good contributions to society. Why were the blacks, jews, and other non-whites so afraid of these people?

It really is disgusting to see Byrd and Kennedy as such iconic figures in the Democrat Party. They have no shame whatsoever.

I was hoping for something ... (Below threshold)

I was hoping for something more than the usual Right Wing tactic of mentioning the Klan to attack Sen. Byrd. Didn't get it, obviously. It intriguing that these attacks on Byrd are about the only time the Right is willing to discuss the Klan.

As any student of history knows, most Klan sympathizers would have been part of the migration of the Dixiecrats to the Republican Party. It is the party that adopted opposition to integration and minority rights as part of its Southern Strategy.

The mayor who testified is a local realtor, and, one suspects, a supporter of the GOP, considering his conservative views. He reminds us, like Sen. Trent Lott, that segregationists are still very much among us, sometimes in leadership positions.

I recall the Klan in 1964. ... (Below threshold)
Joe McNulty:

I recall the Klan in 1964. I worked beside two Klan members that year after graduating from high school. I remember the Klan newspapers, which showed blacks as subhumans, as bad as anything that I have seen from Hitler's Germany, defiling white maidens with race mixin', as if the dream of every black person was exclusively to fall in white arms. Trent Lott was driven from leadership for a stupid comment that was in no way as bad as Sen. Byrd's sin. But of course he is potected because he is a Democrat.

Mac - Perhaps you ... (Below threshold)

Mac -

Perhaps you only hear about the Klan in connection with Robert Byrd because he is the only former Kleagle in a position of power and influence.

Your statement that Republicans "adopted opposition to integration and minority rights as part of its Southern Strategy" is at odds with the voting record on, among other things, the Civil Rights Act. Which, come to think of it, was filibustered unsuccessfully by Robert Byrd.

The migration of conservative Southern Democrats to the Republicans was not entirely a matter of race; much of it had to do with the capture of the Democratic Party by the hard left and the resulting (and ongoing) culture war.

As any student of histor... (Below threshold)

As any student of history knows, most Klan sympathizers would have been part of the migration of the Dixiecrats to the Republican Party. It is the party that adopted opposition to integration and minority rights as part of its Southern Strategy.

As any serious student of history knows, the above is a laughable progression. Clinton and Carter carried the south, and the GOP didn't become the majority Congressional party until the 1990s. The integration and minority rights battles were *won* before the onset of the dreaded Southern Stategy, which was just an effort to peel younger voters away from their Yellow Dog Democrat heritage.

The racists and segregations didn't migrate, they expired. And so the South has been lost to the Democrats.


Dixiecrats were conservativ... (Below threshold)

Dixiecrats were conservative, supported the military and would often describe themselves as super-patriots and were the ones who opposed civil rights along with conservative Republicans. Liberals, in the Republican Party (back when they had such things), and in the Democratic Party were the ones who supported civil rights.

"The racists and segregatio... (Below threshold)

"The racists and segregations didn't migrate, they expired. And so the South has been lost to the Democrats."

So the "racists and segregations (sic)" were and are Democrats, Rick? That must be why 90 percent of African-American voters and 98 percent of African-American elected officials are Democrats. They like being around racists and segregationists, eh?

Its pathetic, really. The GOP has little minority support because it has attracted most bigots in the South and elsewhere, and, because it opposes the interests of minority voters. Trying to deflect those facts by disinformation fools no one.

I look forward to someday reading an entry by a conservative which comdemns the Ku Klux Klan for what it stands for instead of merely condemning Sen. Byrd for his brief membership.

Political scientists cite 1978 as the beginning of the Southern Strategy by name. However, the shift of white Southern voters to the GOP began during the civil rights movement and is directly related to integration. David Vest had some interesting thoughts on the topic.

"As any student of history ... (Below threshold)

"As any student of history knows..."

Why is it lately that that phrase seems always to preface some anti-historical politically motivated comment?

Or how often lately have we heard:

"As any student of science knows..."

to justify some sloppy politically motivated science?

How much you want to bet that the people that use those phrases are neither students of history or of science, having never read either a first person historical source or a scientific journal in thier entire lives? Instead, these are cliff notes academics, who read populist essays by poltical pundits and imagine themselves scholars.

I defy anyone to go back to the historical accounts and find the Republican party "adopted opposition to integration and minority rights as part of its Southern Strategy". What you will find is that the Democratic party under the guidance of Hubert Humphrey coopted the civil rights movement by changing the terms of the debate from a debate over equality, to a debate over entitlement - thereby alienating the Republican libertarians and economic conservatives. You can be a principled supporter of civil rights and not be a supporter of entitlement programs. Indeed, you can be a principled supporter of civil rights and feel that entitlement programs are a betrayal of those principals. But that is irrelevant, because you will find is that the Democrats lost the South not by becoming a champion of minorities - afterall, George Wallace only managed to avoid becoming the Democrats 1972 nomination by getting killed - but by running George McGovern's psuedo-communist platform in 1972 and hitching thier wagon to the most radical elements of the anti-War movement. The South didn't change over to being Republican until after Carter's failure in office, and when it did so race wasn't even an issue on the table.

Okay, does anyone think a G... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Okay, does anyone think a GOP former Klansmen could get by with that kind of whitewash? Would the MSM even let them? Should they?

Who knew that the Klan was really just a nice little citizens organization that didn't do anything violent to other people-gee better go back and reread my history books.

"The GOP has little minorit... (Below threshold)

"The GOP has little minority support because it has attracted most bigots in the South and elsewhere, and, because it opposes the interests of minority voters."

You are a niave fool. Let me relate a little ancedotal evidence about those 'bigots in the South' and elsewhere.

While I was in High School in the deep South, I had a certain teacher who belonged to one of the old landed families in the county. I competed in an academic squad, and it happened that that teacher was an advisor for the squad. So, while on a class trip, the teacher - believing as liberals generally do that anyone intelligent most obviously share thier beliefs - began to confide in the all-white group about her politics. This turned out to be a rather eye openning experience for me. She told me how abortion was a necessary evil because 'it killed more brown babies than white ones' (typically this is probably false, but whoever said that liberals base thier beliefs on facts), and talked about how integration had been good for the 'the right sort of families' because it had allowed them to shut down black owned businesses, and how welfare was necessary because 'blacks can't take care of themselves'.

No, my experience in the South - a place you know nothing about except what you recieve from the media - is that the bigots in the south stayed in the party of bigots, and my suspicion is that Byrds position in the party is no mere coincidence.

It's no secret how the Democrats became the party of minorities. They bought thier vote, coopting a platform of equality and replacing it with the lure of entitlement, quick fixes, and easy money. They plied a culture of victimhood in order to create an indentured class of perpetual victims. But I tell you the truth, sooner or latter the black community is going to get fed up with the Democratic parties hypocracies, and the Southern black vote will move in mass to the Republican party because in many ways the Southern black community is far more conservative than thier white counterparts.

And the notion that everyone who is a believer in Federalism is a racist is to be blunt, dumb beyond description.

Interesting claim, Rick. S... (Below threshold)
Warmongering Lunatic:

Interesting claim, Rick. So, given that more Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in raw numbers and by percentage, and your assertion that liberals are the ones who supported civil rights, we can conclude that the party that nominated Barry Goldwater was more liberal than the party that nominated Great Society architect Lyndon B. Johnson.

Since 1864, the party that has always and continuously called for nondiscrimination and color-blindness has been the Republicans. The Democrats have always favored racial classification and favoritism; the party merely changed its preferred skin color in the second half of the 1960s.

Yeah. Let's obsess about wh... (Below threshold)

Yeah. Let's obsess about what Robert Byrd was doing 60 years ago instead of the incompetently run war that Bush lied us into and Tom Delay's crooked dealings.

Interesting that Byrd relea... (Below threshold)

Interesting that Byrd releases his autobiography on West Virginia's 142nd birthday. Coincidence, or is it an attempt to lay claim to "West Virginia Day" as "Robert C. Byrd Day."

My family has lived in the ... (Below threshold)

My family has lived in the deep south for generations, since well before the Civil War in fact. And my family has always taught our children that people who joined the Ku Klux Klan were trash. I'll be extending the lesson to include people who make excuses for high-ranking Democrats who joined the Ku Klux Klan.

Celebrim, don't tease Mac D... (Below threshold)
Al Maviva:

Celebrim, don't tease Mac Diva. Her rhetorical goof - Most Blacks vote Democratic ergo Republicans are racist - should serve as a warning that your puny hu-man logic is of no use here.

hell i aint ben to nary a c... (Below threshold)

hell i aint ben to nary a crosburnin in a montha sundies, since my sheets got holes in it!

"I defy anyone to go back t... (Below threshold)

"I defy anyone to go back to the historical accounts and find the Republican party "adopted opposition to integration and minority rights as part of its Southern Strategy'."

Please do any reading on Jesse Helms or politics in North Carolina between the 1960's and 1990's whatsoever.

Celebrim, George... (Below threshold)

George Wallace was not killed in 1972; his presidential ambitions were halted when he was shot in 1972 but he lived many more years. And while he won several primaries (both before and after he was shot as I recall), he never came as close to winning the Democratic nomination as you imply.

I suspect that Republicans ... (Below threshold)
Party of Lincoln:

I suspect that Republicans are the most reasonable on issues of race because they aren't riddled with guilt for past misdeeds as Democrats are.

Democrats' need to atone has justified all sorts of ill-conceived and paradoxically racist policies which only serve to keep what should be a dead issue on life support for yet another generation.

That's the partisan explanation, and it's accurate for some of us: the Republican base has always been for free markets, against racism, and for a strong military, in an unbroken line stretching back to our intellectual founder Abraham Lincoln.

I doubt, however, that present Republican popularity is the result of a widespread awakening of muscular libertarianism (Neoconservatism?) embodied in the personage of Lincoln.

I think mainstream American culture you'd have to call "populist", and the populists have by and large moved past racism as an issue -- that was their grandparents' issue, not theirs.

Their issues are jobs, health care, a strong military, the right to bear arms, and moderation of the strict separation of church and state in the public arena.

Of those issues, the only ones in play for Democrats are jobs and health care, and even then only when the economy is bad, making the promise of a planned economy comparatively more tempting.

There is yet another reason, though, which I think is the "real reason" Democrats lost the populists, which we can sum up as "Osama's Law":

"Given a choice between a weak horse and a strong horse, people will tend to choose the strong horse."

Democrats stand for weakness. They encourage it, enable it, revel in it, and worse seek to make America weaker. They create victims where none exist, see every problem as a social injustice requiring a government program to solve, and in general disdain the idea of strength and self-sufficiency as some kind of class warfare con game played by the wealthy against the poor.

Populists believe that nobody got anywhere by being weak. Particularly now that we're at war they sure as heck don't want to be the "weak horse".

That's how Democrats lost the South and how they're losing more and more of the immigrant population as well. People who come here to be winners don't want to join the party of losers.

What was the point of Saint... (Below threshold)

What was the point of Saint Reagan's starting his presidential campaign in ?Philadelphia, Mississippi? He was obviously smarter than me, will be known to history. This former child of 'The Land of Lincoln' sort of had his way whith Lincoln's legacy, misquoting him with a false quotaion from a book of quotations, and starting his campaign about as due South from Springield, IL, as you could go and in a different color's radar.

Posted by irving psychiatrist at June 20, 2005 09:03 PM

"I'll have those n*ggers vo... (Below threshold)

"I'll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years." -- Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One according Ronald Kessler's Book, "Inside The White House"

"You f*cking Jew [email protected]" -- Hillary Clinton to political operative Paul Fray. This was revealed in "State of a Union: Inside the Complex Marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton" and has been verified by Paul Fray and three witnesses.

"There are white n*ggers. I've seen a lot of white n*ggers in my time." -- Former Klansman and Current US Senator Robert Byrd, a man who is referred to by many Democrats as the "conscience of the Senate" in March of 2001 .

Yep, the democrats aren't racist at all, and Robert Byrd finally proves he's put his Klan ways behind him. These well documented quotes prove it.

You know in your heart it's... (Below threshold)

You know in your heart it's true. Good God-fearing Christian white Republicans have always loved their Negro brothers as equals.

It's those hippie politically correct Liberal civil rights marching Democrats like Klinton that have always spewed racism, conducted lynchings, opposed miscegenation, and generally hated on the poor Negroes.

God said it, I believe it, and that's good enough for me.

irving psychiatrist:<... (Below threshold)
Party of Lincoln:

irving psychiatrist:

Reagan's act of conciliation in Philadelphia, Mississippi mirrors his laying of a wreath at Bitburg Cemetery for German soldiers who died in WWII.

His message in both cases was forgivness, that what happened in the past is in the past, now is the present, and it is time to move on.

Republicans then and now have the wisdom to see that neither are modern Southerners racists nor modern Germans Nazis. The "Southern Strategy" is nothing more than extending the common courtesy to the innocent of not finding them guilty for the crimes of their ancestors.

"... and in a different color's radar."

Interesting thing about the color of radar: radar receives its own reflected signal. Whatever color you project will be the one you perceive.

Reagan's act of conciliatio... (Below threshold)
Party of Lincoln:

Reagan's act of conciliation in Philadelphia, Mississippi mirrors his act of conciliation in Bitburg, Germany, where he placed a wreath for Germans who died in WWII.

It is an act of forgivness, not of Nazis or Confederates, but of their children. The "Southern Strategy" is nothing more than the extension to innocents the common decency of finding them not guilty for crimes they did not commit.

"... and in a different color's radar."

Interesting thing about radar: it receives its own reflected signal. Whatever color you project will be the one you perceive.

Sorry for double-post. Got... (Below threshold)
Party of Lincoln:

Sorry for double-post. Got a server error on the first post, had to re-type it all from memory.

I would like to beg the pardon of the moderator and ask that this message and one of the above be deleted.

I wouldn't necessary say th... (Below threshold)

I wouldn't necessary say that they always loved them, but not one of them ever asked them to prostrate themselves to the government and stay a victim class of people.

I note that one of your posters tried to change topic to Bush and what the Left says he is doing to the country and the world. Must have had no proof against what has been said about Sen. Byrd.

It's only an indiscretion i... (Below threshold)

It's only an indiscretion if you're a liberal. If you were, say, a segragationist in your youth- and you're a conservative- well then obviously you're of the devil. Plain and simple.

Unlike the Republican Party... (Below threshold)

Unlike the Republican Party which preached discrimination and intolerance, Senator Byrd and the Democratic Party has done MORE THAN ANY OTHER Party for minorities and blacks. You people who are WHITE MALES are pathetic. Me and my family, who are all African Americans, have voted for Byrd ever since we could. Only you Rich, White Republicans complaign about Senator Byrd. I can tell you that every Black Democrat and Their church members WILL BE VOTING for Senator Byrd.

He is no Strom Thurmond or DeLay.

You people want to bring up African Americans and other minorities in the parties? There are hardly any in your party. And the appointments you made to high offices are filled my minorities who are nothing more than "yes men & women". They betrayed their race, their family and country for money. That is all.

I havd the privilege of meeting Colin Powell and Condi Rice in Wasington, and I can tell you that I was not impressed. As I began to converse with both of them, they seemed to tremble at loud voices and Condi's head twitched whenever I said something she didn't like. The resembled cowards. First impressions make up the mind, and I can tell you my impression of them is not good. And if you take the time to meet these people, and drop the sinful idolatry you have for them and see them as people, not Gods, then you will understand where I am coming from.

But you can't and won't. Your greed and lust has blinded you. If you really cared about us minorities, then you would do something about it in your party.

I do not vote for the person, I vote for the party. I vote for who I feel will vote the way I would or want. And the Democratic Party voted 99/100 what is best for you. Republicans are more along the lines of 37/100

Now, you tell me who I should vote for. Those who are all mouth and rhetoric? Or those who actually do what they say?
That's right, Democrats will do what they say.

There were two organization... (Below threshold)
Ric Locke:

There were two organizations, separated in time, both called Ku Klux Klan.

The first one, organized immediately after the Civil War, was only secondarily racist at the beginning. I have an ancestor who was one of the founders. He came back from Vidor and announced that "all them crackers want to do is beat up on the n-s." He renounced his membership, and he and his brother were instrumental in suppressing the Klan in our county. The function he intended for the Klan was, in modern terms, a Popular Front for the Liberation of the Confederacy -- and wouldn't that have been fun if it had gone over?

The second Klan dates mostly from the 1920s and was always and directly racist. It arose because blacks going to the North to work in the newly growing industries there were returning home and becoming "uppity." The function of the second Klan was never anything but suppression of blacks.

But there's a kicker.

During the early 1900s up to the crash in '29, there was an explosive growth of what we would call today investment clubs. The function of those was to pool the funds of the members, buy stocks and bonds, and accumulate retirement benefits. Those organizations always had a social component of some kind. Elks, Odd Fellows, Moose Lodge, and many others were originally founded for that purpose. Call it a private Social Security arrangement. But they also held socials and dances, and during Prohibition organized parties and the like.

The Klan pretended to be a similar organization, and I wouldn't find it incredible that one or two Klaverns around the country actually worked that way. I wouldn't bet on Bobby Boy being a member of one that did, though. The reputation of the West Virginia Klan is not good; not only were they racists, they were union busters, out of the same sorts of motives.

The Crash and Social Security put paid to the "fraternal" organizations, and without cover the Klan began to wither. By the Fifties it was primarily a social club with some really nasty parties, and when the push for integration came along it reverted strongly to its roots. It's known that Condoleeza Rice knew the girls killed by the Klan in Montgomery. Likely Sen. Byrd's contributions bought some of the gas for that fire, hmm?


*sigh* a few typos were mad... (Below threshold)

*sigh* a few typos were made in the heat of frustration and anger. Please over look them. I did not take the time needed for proofreading, and yes before any racist says something, I am educated.

"complain" and vote the way "I" would, not "you".

The defense rested earli... (Below threshold)

The defense rested earlier Monday after a former mayor testified that the Klan was a "peaceful organization."

So is Hammas. And the Nazi party was merely a political party as well. Can't really blame the man for making the claim, however, because it is his JOB, being a defense attorney. Still takes some balls to say that though.

"the part-time preacher's ... (Below threshold)

"the part-time preacher's Klan membership"

Are there alot of born again christians in the KKK?
Anybody know?

An ignoramus said: "You ar... (Below threshold)

An ignoramus said: "You are a niave fool. "

Celebrim, get back to checking for Commies under your bed and spare me more of your nonsense. This North Carolina gal knows history. The fantasy you and some other apologists for racism are promoting has nothing to do with history or any form of reality. And, by the way, not only are you ignorant of history, you can't spell.

Gordon, Preacher Killen, former Mayor Majure and their cohort will tell you that Christianity requires racism. They will use the Bible to try to justify it. They feel no remorse because they don't believe they've done anything wrong. Killen has been escorted into the courthouse by Klansmen most days of the trial. Majure's performance was meant to communicate to jurors that it is acceptable to support the Klan. We will see if these efforts to uphold Southern tradition were successful when the verdict is rendered.

Byrd wasn't just a youngste... (Below threshold)

Byrd wasn't just a youngster "swept-up" in the moment. As an organizer of a local chapter, Byrd was the Exalted Cyclops. Byrd was no ordinary member of the Klan. He was management.

Mac Diva...two questions:</... (Below threshold)

Mac Diva...two questions:

Is Senator Byrd a leader in the Democratic party?

Was Senator Byrd an organizer of, leader of and Grand Kleagle of a klan troop in the 1040s and early 50s?

If the answer to those questions is yes...then stop trying to change the subject. We're not talking about what every...or ANY...one else did. We're talking about Byrd.

"As I began to converse wit... (Below threshold)

"As I began to converse with both of them, they seemed to tremble at loud voices and Condi's head twitched whenever I said something she didn't like. The resembled cowards."

Are you clinicaly insane? I ask only because this passage seems to be pure fantasy.

POL,It was a littl... (Below threshold)


It was a little insensitive of Ronny to do the reconciliation thing with Germany at the graves of the SS.


Democrats have always been Kluxers and Copperheads.

It is in their blood.

They don't know how to behave any different.

The Dems have always been racialists. Look at Dean going on about white Christians. The object changes the hatered is the same.

Some Dems hate Blacks, Some hate whites, some hate Jews, etc. what brings them all together is the enjoyment of hatered.

The purpose of gun control ... (Below threshold)

The purpose of gun control laws that started in tthe South in the late 1860s was to disarm blacks.

Which is why the dems are in the lead on gun control.

Civil Rights Info from:... (Below threshold)

Civil Rights Info from:


The Vote In The House:

Republicans favored the bill 138 to 34; Democrats supported it 152-96. It is interesting to note that Democrats from northern states voted overwhelmingly for the bill, 141 to 4, while Democrats from southern states voted overwhelmingly against the bill, 92 to 11.

And In The Senate:

Senator Richard Russell, Democrat from Georgia, led the so-called opposition forces. The group was also known as the "southern bloc." It was composed of eighteen southern Democrats and one Republican, John Tower of Texas.

And In A Broader Context:

The Republican Party was not so badly split as the Democrats by the civil rights issue. Only one Republican senator participated in the filibuster against the bill. In fact, since 1933, Republicans had a more positive record on civil rights than the Democrats. In the twenty-six major civil rights votes since 1933, a majority of Democrats opposed civil rights legislation in over 80 % of the votes. By contrast, the Republican majority favored civil rights in over 96 % of the votes.

Those who argue that it's the Republican Party who have the most to feel bad about Civil Rights do so either out of ill information or active revisionism. In every instance where some Senators filibustered Civil Rights legislation, it was Democrats in the extreme majority of those doing the filibustering, including (actually, especially) every federal anti-lynching law in the last 100 years, for which the Senate recently apologized.

@Just Me: Okay, does anyone... (Below threshold)
Jabba the Tutt:

@Just Me: Okay, does anyone think a GOP former Klansmen could get by with that kind of whitewash? Would the MSM even let them? Should they?

It's worse than just that. Imagine a GOP Senator, who had a background in the Klan, a history of filibustering Civil Rights legislation, the only Senator to oppose both black nominees to the Supreme Court and a record of opposing black nominees (Condi Rice) to high appointive office.

This GOP Senator would be hailed as the 'conscience of the Senate' and considered an expert in the traditions and history of the Senate and looked to as a constitutional expert, all the while he used his clout as a ranking Senator to move large junks of the Federal government to his home state as pork project.

BTW, West Virginia had the best road I've driven on in the US.

This hypothetical GOP Senator also would have a record of bizarre statements and stories given from the well of the Senate. This Senator would be beloved of the MSM and routinely given a pass and treated as a great man.

There's no liberal bias.

Should the Klan be called a... (Below threshold)
jeff moore:

Should the Klan be called an insurgency? Since the members were/are homegrown rather than imported from South Africa or somewhere maybe that word has some accuracy in this case.

Rehabilitating the Klan in the press. I don't think I ever thought I'd see the day. The Left will support any tyrrany and evil if they think it helps their current attack on America and Bush.

We live in Indiana, a state... (Below threshold)

We live in Indiana, a state with a racist history to rival the south. My great grandfather was duped into joining the Klan. He really did think it was a civic organization like the Rotary club. But you know how long it took him to figure out he'd been misled? The first meeting he attended. He left early, embarrassed, ashamed, and resentful at the way he'd been lied to, appalled at those of his friends who remained. He came home and forbade his family to ever, ever mention the episode (obviously, they ignored that injunction, or I wouldn't know about it).
Just based on his experience, I can believe that the Klan convinced some people to join based on false representations- but it shouldn't have taken anybody more than one meeting to figure out their mistake.

I still find it amazing tha... (Below threshold)

I still find it amazing that despite the fact that practically every famous racist that had walked the sphere of American politics in the past 100 years had worn a 'D' behind his name, Republicans are considered the "racist party." Ben 'Pitchfork' Tillman, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Bilbo, Richard Russell, John Sparkman, Orville Faubus, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, Ross Barnett, etc. all hardcore racists, all high profile (Senators and Governors, one a President), all Democrats. Bull Connor himself was a registered Democrat till he died. Much like the relationship between Sinn Fein and the IRA, the Ku Klux Klan was the terrorist arm of the Democrat Party in the South for decades, and had enough clout that it even sent delegates to National Conventions. And it was not just in the South, the unions and city machines often played the same role for the Democrats in the North, manning the polls to prevent black people from voting.

To be honest, it is hard not to be overcome with admiration at how the Democrats have managed to transfer all the bad karma they have richly earned on race to the GOP. They would never have succeeded without the assistance of their friends in the Press, but the GOPs own active stupidity and blindness (the GOP is not called the Stupid Party for nothing) was probably just as essential. Of course, one could justifiably say that all that is just ancient history. The real story is what the parties have done since the 1960s, when the GOP lost, permanently, whatever competitiveness it still retained in the black community. The Democrats/Press claim that the Republican Party turned against Civil Rights to pick up the racist vote, which is offered as the primary reason why the South went from being solidly Democrat to solidly Republican.

But on closer examination, there are too many gaps in the logic upholding this particular theory. First of all, the first Civil Rights Bills passed since Reconstruction in 1957 and 1960 were sent to Congress by the Eisenhower Administration and steered though to passage (though much weakened by Democrat Amendments) by Senate Republican Leader William Knowland of California. In the congressional battles for Civil Rights in the 1960s, the GOP, in both the House and Senate, consistently voted for Civil Rights in far greater percentages than the Democrats. In fact, the Senator at the forefront of writing the Senate versions of the Civil Rights Acts and breaking the 1964 filibuster was none other than the Senate Republican Leader, Everett Dirksen of Illinois. He and his fellow Republicans were far more instrumental in the passage of the Acts, so much so that the NAACP gave him the Leadership Conference of Civil Rights Award (though the rabidly anti-Republican Julian Bond is very likely to posthumously withdraw it anyday now).

So, it cannot be denied, the GOP acquitted itself well during the Civil Rights Acts' fights for survival in congress and were key players in getting them passed. In fact, of the twenty Senators who filibustered the key Civil Rights Act in 1964, only one was a Republican, John Tower of Texas. The rest of them, Richard Russell, Allen Ellender, Jim Eastland, Al Gore Snr., Robert Byrd, Herman Talmadge, J. William Fulbright, etc. were all Democrats.

But among the other things the happened in the 1960s to sour the black community on the GOP is its Presidential nomination of Barry Goldwater, who had opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But, anyone who has any familiarity with Goldwater's record knows that he had always been an opponent of segregation; before he entered politics he desegregated his department store, and he desegregated the Arizona National Guard when he served as its Chief of Staff a full two years before Harry S Truman ordered he desegregation of the Armed Forces. He was also a strong supporter of the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights bills. Interestingly, he was a founding member of the Arizona NAACP and remained a member till his death. So why did he oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964? He thought it was unconstitutional (he is the founding father of modern American Conservatism in Government, after all), overextended the role of the Government and could possibly lead to racial preferences and quotas (he got that part right). He got 8% of the black vote in the 1964 election.

But Goldwater is not as often mentioned as the supposed "Southern Strategy" supposedly instituted by the Nixon campaign in 1968 and has supposedly since then been utilized by the GOP to win the South away from the Democrats. According to the narrative offered by the Democrats/Press, this "Southern Strategy" led the Dixiecrats to move en masse out of the Democrat Party and into the Republican Party, thus firmly delivering the South into Republican hands and the black community to the Democrats. This Southern Strategy was allegedly instrumental in Nixon's victory over Humphrey.

No doubt there was some sort of "Southern Strategy", but there are far too many ahistorical holes in this story as well. In other words, how much of it is reality and how much of it is myth? For one, when Democrat news outlets like the New York Times write about the 1968 campaign and attribute Nixon's victory to the "Southern Strategy" they invariably fail to mention that there were two Democrats running in 1968, Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace. It is my belief from looking at the history it was neither long-lasting nor in any way effective. Taking the following Southern states into account and judging the amount of votes Nixon got against Kennedy in 1960 and the votes he got against Humphrey in 1968.

John F Kennedy 324,050 56.8
Richard Nixon 237,981 41.7
Richard Nixon 146,923 14.0
Hubert Humphrey 196,579 18.7
George Wallace 691,425 65.9

John F Kennedy 215,049 50.2
Richard Nixon 184,508 43.1
Richard Nixon 190,759 30.8
Hubert Humphrey 188,228 30.4
George Wallace 240,982 38.9

John F Kennedy 458,638 62.5
Richard Nixon 274,472 37.4
Richard Nixon 380,111 30.4
Hubert Humphrey 334,440 26.7
George Wallace 535,550 42.8

John F Kennedy 407,339 50.4
Richard Nixon 230,980 28.6
Richard Nixon 257,535 23.5
Hubert Humphrey 309,615 28.2
George Wallace 530,300 48.3

John F Kennedy 108,362 36.3
Richard Nixon 73,561 24.7
Richard Nixon 88,516 13.5
Hubert Humphrey 50,644 23.0
George Wallace 415,349 63.5

John F Kennedy 713,136 52.1
Richard Nixon 655,420 47.9
Richard Nixon 627,192 39.5
Hubert Humphrey 464,113 29.2
George Wallace 496,188 31.3

John F Kennedy 198,129 51.2
Richard Nixon 188,558 48.8
Richard Nixon 254,062 38.1
Hubert Humphrey 197,486 29.6
George Wallace 215,430 32.3

John F Kennedy 481,453 45.8
Richard Nixon 556,577 52.9
Richard Nixon 472,592 37.8
Hubert Humphrey 351,233 28.1
George Wallace 424,792 34.0

John F Kennedy 441,786 52.7
Richard Nixon 395,995 47.3
Richard Nixon 307,555 40.8
Hubert Humphrey 374,091 49.6
George Wallace 72,560 9.6

Note that in 1968, there was nowhere where Nixon's numbers went up consistently, i.e. he consistently lost support in the percentage of votes he recieved from 1960, and in many cases even lost votes in terms of raw numbers. In other words, Nixon's "Southern Strategy" yielded him absolutely nothing in terms of electoral success; raw numbers or percentages. Yet, strangely, Nixon's victory is always attributed to appeals to racial hatreds; despite his campaign's explicit statement in 1966 that it would leave it to the "party of Maddox, Mahoney and Wallace to squeeze the last ounces of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice."

Furthermore, considering what Nixon did while in office; raised the Civil Rights Enforcement Budget 800%; made numerous appointments of African Americans to high federal offices; virtually invented current Affrirmative Action (the Philadelphia); oversaw the aggressive desegregation of Southern schools; the people who voted for Nixon on account of racism must have felt extremely stupid and misled.

The common assertion made by the Democrat/Press alliance is that the Dixiecrats moved en masse into the GOP in protest against the Democrats' supposed wholesale rejection of racism (while Talmadge, Stennis, Russell, etc still proudly wore Ds and leadership positions in the Senate ... and the lone black man in the Senate, Edward Brooke, wore an R) is patently nonsensical. Hardly any Dixiecrats ever offered to cross the aisle. The often repeated assertion that the Dixiecrats became Republicans is one of the most ahistorical myths in the history of American politics. In fact, except for Strom Thurmond, no Dixiecrat left the Democrats for the GOP in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Acts, and his leaving had virtually nothing to do with race. In fact, it seemed as if he remained in the Democrat Party only because of its stand against civil rights, because he switched after the GOP overwhelmingly voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and continued to vote just as overwhelming for Civil Rights bills in 1965 and 1968. Once Jim Crow met its end, Thurmond simply made an honest man of himself and moved to the party whose ideology lay closer to his long held antipathy to an intrusive and activist federal government.

Either way, every Southern state was controlled by the Dixiecrats in 1960s, 1970s and some even up to this day. If a massive switch of partisan allegiance took place with the Dixiecrats leaving the Democrats to become Republicans in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement, then the historical record would show huge amounts of Democrat politicians switching parties in Southern states. But if you check the records of every Southern state, that's clearly not the case. Hardly any such switches took place. In fact, legislatures of many Southern states like Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have never known control by the Republican Party, the current GOP Governor of Georgia is its first in near a century, the current junior Senator from Louisiana is the very first Republican Senator produced by the state, etc. So the simple fact remains that 99.9% of Dixiecrats stayed in the Democrat Party. They're dying off. And, the South, moved Right even as the Democrats moved Left (witness the landmark nomination of McGovern in 1972 and the subsequent takeover by the far Left of the Democrat Party).

Once it is pointed out that Nixon's election in 1968 could not have had anything to do with a supposed "Southern Strategy," the next most common assertion is that Nixon and every Republican thenceforth have used "racial code words." Such code words include "law and order", "crime", "welfare queen"**, "liberal", "tax hiker", "quota", "cut taxes", "federalism". In the vast majority of these cases, most are attempts by the Democrats and their friends in the Press to declare areas in which they are politically weak off-limits to debate. The two most commonly cited examples of Republicans using "code words" or "code actions" are Reagan supposedly endorsing "states rights" in Philadelphia MS, and the elder Bushs' use of Willie Horton against Dukakis in 1988.

In the case of the phrase "States' Rights," there is a strong case to be made that consistent and extensive use of the phrase, especially in the South, is an attempt to stir up racial tensions, though how successful this particular tactic would be today is far different from the 1960s. But saying something positive about "States' Rights" in a campaign speech, even in the South, does not a racist make. The concept of "States' Rights", i.e. Federalism, is a key element of small government Conservatism. Unfortunately, in defense of racism, the Dixiecrats poisoned the phrase and almost succeeded in poisoning the very idea of Federalism in the first place. Either way, I have long heard the story of how Reagan began his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, MS (where three civil rights activists were murdered by Kluckers in 1964) and proclaimed his support for "States' Rights" in his speech. According to the Democrats/Press, the choice of venue and words is conclusive evidence that Reagan was appealing to the racist vote as, the story goes, there could have been no other reason for Reagan to begin a campaign in Mississippi.

Of course, the story is a little bit lacking in facts and context. Reagan was in Philadelphia MS, to take advantage of the Neshoba County Fair, an annual political event in Mississippi, and a huge deal in the state's politics. A major part of it are speeches by politicians. We are told that Reagan then unambiguously endorsed "States Rights," in its racial context when he said; "I believe in States' Rights ...". But the full quote is; "What we have to do is bring back the recognition that the people of this country can solve its problems. I still believe the answer to any problem lies with the people. I believe in state's rights and I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level. 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."

This was the first and last time Reagan uttered the words "state rights" in the speech, which is far from an outright "endorsement" or even "positive mention" of "states' rights" (i.e. segregation). While I believe he should have substituted "federalism" for "states' rights", I do not believe that the average member of his Mississipi audience immediately thought that within his explication of a basic principle of Conservatism, he had buried a promise to re-institute Jim Crow. Yet, according to the Press, upon hearing the phrase "States Rights", average Southern whites, much like Pavlov's dogs, fell hypnotized, their latent inner Nazis surfacing and making them reflexively pull the GOP lever, months later on election day. A commonly held conceit among limousine liberals, particular those that inhabit the halls of journalism is that white Southerners are primarily or even only motivated by race and racism, therefore anyone who wins the Southern white vote MUST have appealed to racism (of course, this doesn't apply to Democrats). When a Democrat wins the majority of the vote in a Southern state, like Carter, it's because of his policies, sex appeal, pragmatism, etc. but when a Republican does, it's because he used "code words" like "law and order" to appeal to the Southern inner-Nazi.

The legendary Willie Horton ad is another supposed sign that Republicans are racists, but in actuality is more of a sign of what a biased Press can do. Willie Horton was a convicted first degree murderer who had been let out of prison unsupervised under the aegis of the Massachusetts Furlough Program, of which Michael Dukakis, a limousine Leftist of the first order was particularly fond. So much so that he actually vetoed a bill banning the granting of such furloughs to first degree murderers. When Horton was released, he never came back and instead went over to Maryland, where he tortured a couple, cutting the man nearly two dozen times and savagely raping the woman.

The Democrats/Press realized that the Bush campaign had found Dukakis' major achilles heel (he was notoriously soft on crime) and swiftly attempted to shut the Bush campaign and its supporters up. The Democrat/Press charged that by revealing through a mug shot that Horton was black, the National Security PAC which produced the ad ("Weekend Passes") in support of, but independent of the Bush campaign, had no other motive but appealing to racism. The thought apparently never occured to any member of the Press that the ad would have run even if Horton (the most notorious of furloughed re-offenders) had been white because the issue, as the vast majority of Americans recognized it, was one of crime, not race. But the Democrats and their allies in the Press strove mightily to switch the subject from being one of crime to one of race. Even though the ad "Revolving Doors" officially produced by the Bush campaign, on the same theme, featured 19 nine furloughed murderers, rapists, etc., sixteen white, two black and one Latino, Dan Rather and friends have managed to get it remembered more for the racial controversy they and their friends at the DNC injected into issue.

Like I mentioned before, without the Press, the Democrats would nowhere near as strong in the black community as they are now. Thurmond's fellow Senator from South Carolina for over three decades, Fritz Hollings, was the Governor who first flew the Confederate flag over the South Carolina Capitol to show his support for segregation. This was/is hardly ever mentioned in the Press, even in articles and stories about him that devote space to detail his fellow Senator's less than illustrious past on race. No newspaper article ever mentioned the late Strom Thurmond without duly informing its readers about Thurmond's past as a segregationist Dixiecrat. Yet, despite a segregationist past every bit as repugnant as Thurmond's, despite the fact that they both were numbered among the Senators who filibustered the Civil Rights Acts, despite his once being a Grand Kleagle in the Ku Klux Klan, Robert Byrd has no fear of his racist past appearing in any newspaper. Both Byrd and Thurmond long ago apologized, and there is nothing to suggest one was any less sincere than the other. Thurmond, interestingly, was the very first Southern Senator to hire a black legislative aide. But Byrd is a member of the Democrats/Press while Thurmond had the temerity to switch parties, and therein lies the difference. Thurmond's membership in the GOP is treated as a black mark against the party while Robert Byrd, who served twelve years as the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, is often cited as a credit to the Democrats. In fact, according to the Democrats/Press, he's the "Conscience of the Senate."

When Douglas Wilder won the nomination for Governor in 1989, many Press outlets made it a point to inform the nation that Wilder was the first black man to recieve a major party nomination for Governor since Reconstruction. Which proves my point that the Press can be remarkably color-blind when it comes to minority Republicans ... because the Michigan GOP had nominated a black man for Governor, William Lucas, just three years earlier, in 1986, to run against Jim Blanchard. Reagan, (the so-called racist) headlined fundraisers for the man. But, outside of Michigan, no-one knew that the man running for Governor was an African American***. Contrast that to the hagiographies that the Press ran nationwide about Wilder (I'm glad Wilder won, by the way).

In the end, I think the GOP routinely and unfairly gets the short end of the stick regarding its reputation and history on racial issues. And, the sad part of it is that this has become so ingrained into what is common knowledge in America that there are college students who would bet their trust funds that Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat and the Republicans were the party of the South during the Civil War. If the GOP had been smart enough to start gunning, for real, after the black vote just a decade ago, we would probably be thinking about how to get at least 35% in 2006, not a paltry 15%.

To add a bit more to what S... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

To add a bit more to what Susan wrote:

George Wallace was not killed in 1972; his presidential ambitions were halted when he was shot in 1972 but he lived many more years. And while he won several primaries (both before and after he was shot as I recall), he never came as close to winning the Democratic nomination as you imply.

Wallace was put in a wheelchair by Authur Bremer's bullet in 1972, and he was never in very good health for the remainder of his life. This didn't knock him out of politics. He ran for and won one final term as Alabama governor in 1982 -- with the full support of the state NAACP and other black organizations. I think of this as what marks the beginning of the sellout of the civil rights movement, because while Wallace had moderated his public statements, the political machine he had built and ran for decades hadn't changed much.

Susan, I do think that if Wallace hadn't been shot, he would have stood a real chance of winning the nomination in 1972. He certainly would have given Nixon more of a fight than McGovern did. It was early in the primary season when he was shot, and if memory serves, he had won about half of the states contested up to that point. (In fact, I think he won Michigan the day he was shot.) Now he wasn't going to win California, and that was a big obstacle given that the South didn't have nearly as many electoral votes then. But he had the momentum at the time, and I believe he had at least a 50-50 chance of winning. Remember, the assassination attempt put him in the hospital for weeks and effectively nipped his campaign in the bud.

And, for the record, I'm not saying I would have been happy had Wallace won. Very much the opposite. I've always regarded Wallace as the worst sort of populist demogague, all the worse because he didn't really have conviction of belief in anything he said. He would literally say anything at all to get elected, as long as he could make it resonate with his chosen target group.

And one other thing to remember about Wallace (I'm talking to you, mac diva): On his last day in public office, in 1986, he was still a Democrat. At no time did he ever consider for a minute becoming a Republican.

I'm really happy that old m... (Below threshold)
William D. Tomany:

I'm really happy that old man in Mississippi was found guiltyof manslaughter

I never questioned whether ... (Below threshold)

I never questioned whether or not any one is educated. Normally you can tell those who are not when they claim they are not and then state that only racists will say otherwise.

This is just personal opinion, but I would never trust a party that sounds like they are saying that we must give you things because you were not born white. This is essentially how I see the Democratic Party as of late.

Before going further, yes I am white. I was born white and had no choice in it. I assume you didn't get to choose your skin color either. Since this is something that is not chosen, why should it be used to promote or degerate an individual?

I am also male and damn proud of it, but once again I didn't have a choice in the matter. See above for my feelings on that subject.

I am a Christian, a Catholic to be precise, that is choice, however since it is a choice I have choosen there is no reason to be hateful towards it. I don't hate other people for choosing other religions and ask only that same respect.

Another very important name in the Democratic Party is Howard Dean. I was actually impressed with the scream and saw no reason to poke fun with it. We all have those times. However logic dictates that if Dean hates Republicans, and Republicans are a White Christian Party (which begs the question so?) than Dean hates White Christians. Dean also claims to be Christian and is white, so logic follows that he hates himself, which actually explains a lot about the man. Of course, just because logic is valid, it doesn't mean it is truth.

Sen. Byrd was a member of the KKK. Fine, we all make mistakes during life, but that doesn't mean we cannot be called on them. Right wingers have a lot of proof that Byrd still doesn't like blacks. It doesn't mean it is true, but besides being told that he no longer hates blacks we have nothing that proves he doesn't. And just saying so should not mean we should just happily say yeah, your right, and leave it at that.

Through our education system we have successfully linked liberal with progressive, despite the humonguous drop in actual liberty in their policies. Ask a communist some time why their progressive system seems so much like the feudalism that came before capitalism, and why capitalism that allows every individual to own private property is a regressive thing.

They also have gone out of their way in making conservative mean regressive. Tell me, how does an ideology that stands for the continuence of the statis quo if not in whole, then as much as possible equal an ideology of returning to how things were before which would bother conservatives more than quick change in a futuristic setting?

I think I got off topic here, but that's all I really had to say anyways.

Besides, I appologize for any spelling errors and grammar problems. I was taught at a public school and raised with spell/grammar check.






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