Liberals ignored my book “Mugged: Racial Demagoguery From the Seventies to Obama” throughout the fall. Now that I’m safely home from my book tour, they feel free to jabber on about their make-believe history of the civil-rights movement with abandon.
In the hackiest of all hacky articles, Sam Tanenhaus, the man responsible for ruining The New York Times Book Review, has written a cover story in The New Republic, titled: “Original Sin: Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people.”
MSNBC has been howling this cliche for a decade – or, as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said of Tanenhaus’ article, “a bold headline”!
Being interviewed by a giddy Matthews – who has no black friends, employees or neighbors – Tanenhaus announced the startling fact that once, long ago, some Republicans supported civil rights!
“In the 1950s, as I say in the piece you read, Republicans looked pretty good on civil rights under Eisenhower. We had the Brown decision, the Central High in Little Rock, where he did the tough thing and sent the troops in, and we had the first modern civil rights act.”
It wasn’t a “tough” decision for Eisenhower to send troops to Little Rock in 1957.
In the presidential campaign the year before, the Republican platform had expressly endorsed the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The Democratic platform did not.
To the contrary, that year, 99 members of Congress signed the “Southern Manifesto” denouncing the court’s ruling in Brown. Two were Republicans. Ninety-seven were Democrats.
As president, Eisenhower pushed through the 1957 Civil Rights Act and the 1960 Civil Rights Act. He established the Civil Rights Commission. It was Eisenhower, not Truman, who fully desegregated the military.
Meanwhile, the Brown decision was being openly defied by the Democratic governor of Arkansas (and Bill Clinton pal), Orval Faubus, who refused to admit black students to Little Rock Central High School.
Liberals act as if Eisenhower’s sending federal troops to Little Rock was like Nixon going to China. No, it was like Nixon going to California.
Only someone who knows no history could proclaim, as Tanenhaus did, that the 1957 act “wasn’t great, it wasn’t what LBJ gave us, but it was something.”
If Eisenhower’s 1957 civil rights bill was weak, it was because of one man: Lyndon B. Johnson. As Robert Caro explains in his book, “Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson,” it was LBJ who stripped the bill of its enforcement provisions. Even after that, the bill was still opposed by 18 senators – all of them Democrats.
To the easily astounded Chris Matthews, Tanenhaus breathlessly remarked, “Not one Republican voted against that bill!” – as if the 1957 Civil Right Act was a Democratic idea and they were delighted to get any Republican support at all.
Imagine a modern German historian saying: “Remember – it wasn’t just Germans who opposed the Holocaust. The English and Americans did, too!” Such a historian would be beaten bloody, quite rightly so.
The 1957 bill was sent to Congress by Eisenhower, passed with the intervention of Vice President Richard Nixon and opposed exclusively by Democrats. Not “Southern Democrats,” not “conservative Democrats,” but Democrats, such as Wayne Morse of Oregon, Warren Magnuson of Washington, James Murray of Montana, Mike Mansfield of Montana and Joseph O’Mahoney of Wyoming.
With absolutely no evidence (because there is none), Tanenhaus then asserted that Republicans decided “they were not going to be pro-civil rights. … They were going to side with the Southern oppressors.” Cretin Matthews seconded this gibberish by saying Nixon was “playing the Southern Strategy electorally with Strom Thurmond and those boys.”
Who exactly does Matthews imagine he means by “Strom Thurmond and those boys”? Every single segregationist in the Senate was a Democrat. Only one of them ever became a Republican: Strom Thurmond.
The rest remained not only Democrats, but quite liberal Democrats. These included such liberal luminaries as Harry Byrd, Robert Byrd, Allen Ellender, Albert Gore Sr., J. William Fulbright, Walter F. George, Russell Long and Richard Russell.
Fulbright was Bill Clinton’s mentor. Gore was “Al Jazeera” Gore’s father. Sam Ervin headed Nixon’s impeachment committee. The segregationists who were in the Senate in the ’50s were rabid Joe McCarthy opponents. In the ’60s, they opposed the Vietnam War and supported LBJ’s Great Society programs. In the ’90s, they got 100 percent ratings from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
These “Southern oppressors” were liberal Democrats when they were racists and remained liberal Democrats after they finally stopped being racists (in public). If Republicans had a racist “Southern strategy,” it didn’t work on the racists.
Nor did Nixon – or Reagan – ever win over segregationist voters. Republicans only began sweeping the South after the segregationists died.
Even as late as 1980, when Reagan won a 44-state landslide, the old segregationists were still voting Democrat. Although Reagan handily won Southern states that had been voting Republican since the ’20s, he barely won – or lost – the Goldwater states.
According to numerous polls, Reagan swept Southern college students, while losing college students in the Northeast. Meanwhile, The Washington Post called the elderly “a bedrock of Carter’s southern base.”
As LBJ explained to fellow Democrats after doing a 180-flip on civil rights as president and pushing the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which resembled the 1957 Civil Rights Act he had gutted as a senator): “I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for two hundred years.” That’s according to a steward on Air Force One, who overhead him say it.
It’s one thing to rewrite history to say the Holocaust was when the Swedes killed the Jews. But it’s another to say that the Holocaust was when Jews killed the Germans.
That’s how liberals rewrite the history of civil rights in America. For the truth, get “Mugged.”