Yesterday's Dixiecrats Are Today's Republicans (or conservatives or whatever)

"But it was southern Democrats who formed the line to defend Jim Crow. Georgia governor Lester Maddox famously brandished ax handles to prevent blacks from patronizing his restaurant. He was a Democrat. Alabama governor George Wallace stood in front of the Alabama schoolhouse in 1963 and thundered, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." He was a Democrat. Birmingham Public Safety commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor sicced dogs and turned fire hoses on black civil rights demonstrators. He was a Democrat. In 1954, Orville Faubus tried to prevent the desegregation of a Little Rock public high school. He was a Democrat. President Eisenhower, a Republican, sent in federal troops to prevent violence and enforce a court order desegregating the school. As a percentage of their respective parties, more Republicans voted for the passage of the Civil Rights Art of 1964 than did Democrats. A Republican President, Richard Nixon, not John F. Kennedy or Lyndon B. Johnson, instituted the first affirmative action program with goals and timetables."

Larry Elder
The Ten Things You Can't Say In America


Roadkill said...


Your headline withstanding, excellent post. Larry Elder is correct; yesterday's Democrats were yesterday's racists.

I applauded the Democrats when, in 1964, they removed from their party platform all those 150 year old planks of racism, took off their KKK outfits, and repealed their Jim Crow laws. Good for them, and good for the country.

But as Larry Elder accurately points out, this was not a cake-walk. There was real doubt as to whether or not enough Democrats would join with a larger majority of Republicans to pass the 1964 Civil Right Bill. That very same legislation, introduced in eight years earlier by the Eisenhower Administration, had gone down to defeat in 1957 at the hands of those same Democrats.

LBJ's leadership was key. Pushing though the Civil Rights legislation was the most positive and consequential act of his presidency.

The question remains, however, as to why you think 1) that all the most virulent racists in the Democrat party decided to become part of the GOP - a.k.a. the party of emancipation and civil rights, and 2) why the Republicans - again, the party of emancipation and civil rights - would want or accept those racist neanderthals.

Personally, I think its a case study in psychological projection, but I could be wrong.

Sunny B. said...

I think the progressive Democrats pushed the Democratic Party to meet up with the Northeastern Republicans -- the country clubers. I think it took LBJ to step forward and put all his leadership skills and legislative coalition building together and push for Civil Rights.

JFK's assination and the expansion of TV into most homes in America by the mid 1960s helped. It was pretty hard to hide the truth about what was happening down South. The media was able to lift up the long rotten board of racism and bring the slime roaches and maggots on to the evening news.

The way I see it now is that the Dixiecrat wing of the Republican Party is trying to chase out the country club Republicans because they are too moderate. Of course, the Dixiecraters prefer to call themselves "conservatives" and will tell you the GOP has shifted to the left or center. That's why you see Michael Steels and Colin Powel being verbally lynched. It think there is still an anti-Catholic stain that eminates from the Southern wing of the Dixiecrats.

I know a lot of guys who are guntotting "conservatives" who tell me point blank they hate Blacks and Mexicans because those two groups are living off the government and not paying taxes. When I ask if they personally know or socialize with any Blacks of Mexicans, they say no. I make sure I point out that the only people I personally know who are scamming the system and living off my tax dollars are White people.

Those are the racist idiot element of today's "conservative" movement. Occassionally I run into a "conservative" who isn't proud to be a racist. Unfortunately, I think the GOP is going to shrink into the modern day Dixecrats and the moderates will fade into independents or maybe regroup into a third party that might include some of those Blue Dog Democrats.

I definately don't think the Democrats have all the answers. But I certainly don't think the redneck conservatives have the answers either. As history has shown, the answers lay in the pragmatic middle ground. Unfortunately, I think the partisan megaphones are screaming so loud on the right and left that any intelligent dicussion in the middle gets drown out.

Roadkill said...


Thank you for echoing my point regarding LBJ’s leadership. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the people he had to exert leadership and coalition building on were the racist Democrats. The Republicans were already (and in fact had always been) on the side of emancipation and civil rights.

I do not understand your assertion that there is a “Dixiecrat” wing of the GOP. Who are these people, and what have they done to be so categorized? As I have pointed out to you many times, Republicans have always stood to advance a color blind society, where people are judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”

It is unfortunate that the Democrat Party has moved beyond the vision of Lincoln, King, and the GOP generally, and has come to regard black Americans as pathetic waifs in constant need of government succor, support, and attention. The Democrat party seems to reject the idea that black people have any sort of independence or self-reliance, and must have them, the Democrats, to protect them from the heartless Republican boogeymen. And of course all this protection is provided for free; all that is asked is for black votes to keep them, the Democrats, in power.

The Democrats of yesteryear exploited black America for economic gain. The Democrats of today exploit black America for political gain. Same, Same. Its all plantation mentality.

Moving on, I understand your concern regarding the ostracization of what you call “country club” Republicans; those are the guys and gals who forgot who elected them – low tax, limited government types – and agreed to large increases in spending and government programs (e.g. No Child Left Behind, Medicare Drug Benefits, bloated Farm Bills). We conservatives call those types “Rockefeller Republicans,:” they have succumbed to inside–the-beltway hubris and a comfortable incumbency, and we do not find them of much use. They betray conservative principles, and advance only their own personal and special interests. They are a blight on Conservatism.

As to your point about “gun-toting conservatives” hating blacks and Mexicans, I think that is yet another Democrat strawman designed to inflame the passions of the ill-informed. I am one of those God- and gun-clinging conservatives, and know many others, but at no time do we in our discussions disparage blacks or Mexicans other than to assert that people in this country should be here legally and should advance according to their mental and physical merits. It is not the Government’s job to try and ensure equal outcomes; Government should merely ensure equal opportunity for all regardless of race, creed, or national origin. It may well be that those grumblers you hang around with are more put off by government accommodation and support for the lazy, the drug addled, those of limited ability and/or industriousness, and those here illegally, than by any problem with race or national origin. This country did not become pre-eminent in the world by leveling society; rather, it became rich and powerful by allowing the most talented and industrious to flourish.

Equal Opportunity is a social good, promoted by conservatives and all people of good will. Equal outcomes is a social malady, promoted by social engineers and political opportunists.

But this canard you push – that conservatives are some sort of closeted (or un-closeted) racists is party propaganda from lefties who think history started when they became sentient. Step back a few feet, read up on history a bit more, and realize that while you may disagree with Conservatives on various social and economic issues, race and race relations is not one of them.

Sunny Badger said...

Certainly, you would agree that the Republican Party is made up of different fractions of people with different viewpoints, desires, fears, passions, etc. The Dixiecrats wing in the redneck racist wedge of the GOP. Let's say the fit the Southern redneck gun-totting group who talk loud, read little, think less and pretty use the numbers in math to tell the cars apart in NASCAR races.

I'd be interested in learning the breakdown of welfare and gov't payments by race. My guess is the white people get the most. I've always thought it is important to make sure that my race is nearly perfect before expecting other races to be the same. Then again, if there skins a darker shade and the speech has an accent, it's easier to pick them out in a crowd.

Of course, I don't lump all Republicans or conservative into the knuckle-dragging redneck category...just like I'm rather amused at how many of today's Republicans want to tag all liberals, progressives or Democrats as socialists. Hell, when I ask them what a socialist is most don't really have an answer. Just like when they start blaming the financial crises on ACORN. I ask what ACORN is and they don't have a clue. It's a code word for inner city Blacks and other non-Whites and was used to pull the urban Whites toward the Republicans in the 2008 election. They already used Willie Horton.

Why do you suppose so many minorities are in prison or out of work or killed at an early age? Do you think it is a genetic thing? Do you think it has anything to do with the institution of slavery and it's aftermath that prevailed so long in other country's history. It's still with us and most of the people I have grown up with and know in Western Wisconsin have had little, if any, social interaction with Blacks...still they harbor vocal and closeted racist attitudes.

Like much of what has always passed for politics in the country, ignorance and emotion have driven the masses. The voters seem to tire of one group in power and put another in power every 4-12 years. I'm more attracted to the moderate Republicans like Powell, Steele, Romney or McCain (without Sarah Palin). They make more sense to me. I like the business sense of Romney and have respect for Mormons and their hardworking attitude and their grasp of charity and helping others. The goofy religion part doesn't bother me anymore than the arm-waving fundementalists on the Christian right.

On the canard you speak of, my point is the true "conservatives" are being defamed not by Democrats or liberals or progressives, but by the roughnecks in the movement. Certainly, Newt Gingrich knows how to hit the buttons that ignite the base. Certainly, you can tell me you agree and support all the viewpoints the fire up the GOP base.

I'm waiting for the day when a true conservative gets in power. If I every suspected that one might be in the running I might vote for him. However, I distrust the money dumped in by big business and the special interests representing them. I'm not anti-business, but I'm probably anti-big-business. I don't think the tax breaks for to small business and I don't think the tax breaks go to the low and middle-income groups. I distrust money and the power it buys and I see it has a major influence on both political parties. My perspective of politics is shaped by my experience and whence I came from in life. I keep my eyes and ears open and keep sniffing the winds for change. For the next 4-8 years we will see what change the great American experiment has in store for us. For eight years I heard the Democrats predict doom under Bush and now it looks like we'll get 4-8 years of the Republicans predicting disaster under Obama. Other than Shaun Hannity, I don't know many who will argue that we were better off after 8 years of Bush than after 8 years of Clinton. Time will tell. Besides, like Rush the entertainer, what do I know, I'm a supply chain analyst who plays the banjo and sings hillbilly songs that appeal to the rednecks of this world.

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