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Sunday, December 07, 2014

Debunking a myth

In the wake of Mary Landrieu's loss, Kevin Williamson addresses a falsehood prevalent in some circles:

The Democrats, being intellectually dishonest, cling to the myth that the two parties “switched places” on racial issues in the 1960s, that Senator Landrieu’s troubles are a consequence of that reversal, and that the general Southern realignment is evidence that the Republican party is a comfortable home for bigots, Confederate revanchists, and others with dodgy racial politics.

This is a strange line of argument, and an indefensible one once the evidence is considered. Democrats remained the favored party in the South for decades and decades after the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, controlling a majority of governorships, Senate seats, state legislative bodies, etc., well into the 21st century.

...
 Strange that redneck bigots would wait for so many decades to punish the Democrats for giving up cross-burning; my own experience with that particular demographic suggests that its members do not in general have that sort of attention span.
 ...

In reality, the Republican party in the South was not the party of peckerwood-trash segregationists; the GOP made its first Southern inroads among relatively affluent, educated, suburban voters, i.e., basically the same people who were Republicans everywhere else in the country, and the Southern voters least interested in segregation. And that began in the 1920s, not the 1960s. But it really picked up during the New Deal, with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s support among Southern white voters diminishing as his Prussian-style command-and-control economic fantasies became more audacious.

When Democrats push their “trading places” legend, they insistently (and dishonestly) ignore that their party, which was the party of Southern voters before Lyndon Johnson finally got on the right side of the lynching-law issue, was also the party of Southern voters long after Democrats finally packed away their white hoods for good. Instead, they will point to the presidential-election maps, which tell a different story.
...

 It was the 1994 midterm — 30 years after the fight over the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — that announced the real realignment in Southern politics. As with the New Deal, economic issues rather than racial ones were once again front and center. Bill Clinton had had the poor sense to put his wife in charge of a cockamamie project to quasi-nationalize American health care — terrible idea, right? — and Republicans responded with the Contract with America, an eight-point agenda that had zilch to do with race. Only the very finest sensibilities of the dog-whistle detectors at MSNBC could derive a racial agenda out of “require that all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress,” “cut committee staff by one-third,” or “require committee meetings to be open to the public.” (Go ahead — find the racial subtext; I’ll wait.) It was that election that saw the Southern congressional delegation go Republican for the first time. And while Clinton would still win a few Southern states in 1996, Democratic presidential candidates would subsequently find themselves largely shut out of the South outside of Florida and Virginia.
...

That the Democratic party has attempted to hijack for itself credit for the hard and often bloody work performed for a century almost exclusively by Republicans, from Lincoln to Eisenhower, is a reminder that the party of Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton is not a place for men with a very developed sense of decency.

That being the case, Democrats should spare us their batty tales about Louisiana sending off the South’s last Democratic senator — a sanctimonious white lady if ever there was one — because white bigots are being inspired by a governor one generation away from Punjab, Haitian refugees representing Utah in the House, and this National Review cruise aficionado. From George Wallace’s infamous stand in the schoolhouse door to Barack Obama’s, embarrassing racial politics are the Democrats’ bread and butter. And what happened in the 1960s wasn’t the parties’ “changing places” on racism and civil rights; it was the Democrats’ — some of them, at least — joining the ranks of civilized human beings for the first time.

It only took them a century.

Mr. Williamson provides plenty more detail and analysis to bolster his case.  Remember this next time someone tries to push the "switched places" nonsense.

25 comments:

erp said...

Uh oh Howard, get ready for Harry citing a lot of obscure experts proving you're not only wrong, but racist to boot.

Seriously, facts are funny things aren't they? Don't forget that Democrats, including Al Gore's daddy, voted against the CRA and Republicans provided the votes necessary to pass it.

Hey Skipper said...

This is a strange line of argument, and an indefensible one once the evidence is considered.

Mr. Williamson completely loses the narrative right here. As was my point -- so far uncontradicted, even and especially by Harry Eagar -- progressives simply do not care, at all, ever, in any regard, for the evidence.

(Full disclosure: Howard, I believe in paying for content, particularly worthwhile content. Your post was just the reminder I needed to hit the NRO donate button.)

Hey Skipper said...

Progressives face a very real problem: they no longer control the organs of information.

Okay, that has been glaringly apparent for at least a decade. But for a worldview that is internally directed -- a fancy way for saying "evidence be damned" -- having long since lost the ability to control what the plebs see (examples too numerous to list here) means progs are fighting a series of rearguard actions.

Once upon a time, there would have been no way to ferret out racist hoaxes*, or bloviating progfluffery.

Why? Because there was no way to sidestep the liberal bias pervading mass media purveyors.

Not anymore.

There are now waaaaayyyy too many ways to say "Whatdafuq?"

*My daughter experienced a racial hoax first hand.

Step one: Mandatory re-education.

Back in the day, there was no step two.

erp said...

Skipper,

We experienced a similar hoax at a college where my husband was an administrator and as it happened he was also the student's advisor. He was a very nice kid, a graduate of Boston Latin, once one of the best high schools in the country who was a victim of Affirmative Action. He was in way over his head at this college and couldn't handle it, so he smeared excrement all over his dorm room door and spray painted racial epithets. Interestingly, the truth came out when he was sent to the college counselor to help him deal with the trauma and because he really was a good kid, he confessed to the misdeed. He transferred to a less demanding college and did well.

There were lots of other cases of kids at the college whom I knew personally who were also victims of AA and they also had a very difficult time dealing with the work load mostly because they were woefully unprepared and many dropped out. A lovely girl who worked for me for a couple of hours a week all during her four years at the college had difficulty with the simplest office tasks when she started. Her command of the English language was atrocious. We worked on it and she tried very hard and in the end she did graduate, but at what price.

If their earlier schooling demanded more of them, many of these kids could have matriculated on their own and done very well. This is why I so despise AA.

Bret said...

The thing is, the hoaxes really aren't. They are a class of new articles and pieces, pioneered by Dan Rather at CBS of "fake but accurate." They're accurate to the narrative, just fake in the details. I've just posted about another recent "fake but accurate" story.

When CBS/Rather got caught at the fake part, there were at least some consequences. What I'm seeing now is that the purveyors of fakeness just say that the fakeness doesn't matter, the accuracy to the narrative is what counts.

Hey Skipper said...

Are any of those purveyors not progressives?

Annoying Old Guy said...

A related explanation for this Southern shift which I find very plausible - people who live in the South have noticed the Democratic Party hates them. Here, we have Mr. Eagar as our exhibit A for that thesis.

Annoying Old Guy said...

I've cited this before in the comments here but this article remains relevant.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper asks: "Are any of those purveyors not progressives?"

Off the top of my head, the Obama citizenship/birth certificate (or lack thereof) seemed fake-but-accurate to me. Well, more fake than accurate. I have little doubt that I could come up with quite a few more from non-progressives if I put in the effort. Indeed, if I was in an anti-religious mood (I haven't had one of those moods for decades at this point), I might point out that religious dogma itself is a humongously immense fake-but-accurate body of literature. But I'm not in one of those moods, so I won't.

I'm obviously going to notice fake-but-accurate from those with whom I disagree than from those I agree with, so I'd be able to list progressives' fake-but-accurates more than libertarians' and conservatives'. Certainly not the basis for statistical analysis.

Also, it may be that the main-stream-media is in a better position to pull off fake-but-accurate than the alternate media (blogs, social media, etc.) just because a single outlet can pull in such wide readership very quickly, whereas the alternate media is networked and the fake stuff may get caught more quickly before there's widespread distribution. That's also just conjecture on my part.

erp said...

Bret, the issue of the birth certificate is easy. Obama was adopted by his Indonesian stepfather and when kids are adopted, their birth certificates are altered accordingly.

Obama then got an Indonesian passport. When this happens, adopted children at age 18 have the option to petition the court to reclaim their U.S. citizenship.

There is no record of Obama having done so. In fact, he entered Occidental as a foreign student and went to Pakistan using an Indonesian passport.

So much is known.

That he wasn't vetted as he should have is deliberate malfeasance on so many levels, I can't believe it really happened.

Hey Skipper said...

[Bret:] Off the top of my head, the Obama citizenship/birth certificate (or lack thereof) seemed fake-but-accurate to me. Well, more fake than accurate.

I hadn't thought of that one, although (I don't think) due to ideological blinders. I paid scarcely any attention to it (which, I suppose should let me off that hook from the outset). Also, to the extent I paid any attention, I put essentially all the Obama's-not-a-citizen claims into the general Truther box that also holds Vaxxers, Chemtrailists, 9/11 truthers and moon landing were hoaxes crowd: all single issue obsessives outside the realm of ideology.

But it is almost certain that at least some people jumped on the citizenship bandwagon for ideological reasons.

Peter said...

Things conspiracists like the John Birch Society and Truthers are into probably count. There is a particularly nasty xenophobic strain among some commenters on the right today who seem to spin danger and subversion out of everything Muslims in North America do or say. If they say America is the greatest country in the world, they don't say it loud enough, etc.

But generally I think the answer is no because non-progressives simply don't embrace a notion of history unfolding according to preordained historical imperatives that would unfold steadily but for Fox News. Plus they are addicted to dystopic scenarios. They need crazy Christians getting their weather reports from the Bible and stereotypical JimBobbys spouting racial epithets to explain to themselves why people don't pay attention to them despite their erudition, and to deflect everyone's attention from their predictions that never seem to pan out.

Annoying Old Guy said...

To riff on some other comments, there is the fact that stuff that bubbles up from the right wing is of much better quality to a large extent because it has to fight its way to the top and so such things are strongly vetted. A story like the UVA one would be ripped apart long before it achieved some level of general awareness. Bogus stories from the tranzis, however, can easily get shot directly to national awareness just because it's a tranzi narrative with, as in this case, no vetting whatsoever. Therefore we will naturally be far more of the latter than the former.

Harry Eagar said...

I need to cite only one fact: Judge Howard Smith.

It is, in fact, arithmetically impossible for a party to capture a large majority of the voters in a region without absorbing the members of the party that formerly had the allegiance of the large majority.

The time lapse is accounted for by the necessity of the born-and-bred Democrats to die off and the seniority system.

Harry Eagar said...

'But generally I think the answer is no because non-progressives simply don't embrace a notion of history unfolding according to preordained historical imperatives that would unfold steadily but for Fox News.'

That is pure nonsense. If you want an extended (and hilarious) survey of why it is wrongheaded you cannot do better than read the many Sundays with the Christianists posts by Doktor Zoom at Wonkette. (And I will note that the apparent top dog woman in Congress among GOP members is a graduate of the school (I use the term mirthfully) that generated the text. It is not a fringe set of ideas.)

Hey Skipper said...

Doktor Zoom at Wonkette

Elsewhere, you wrote this: Interestingly, the valid critique of the story has come from the bad ol' MSM (Erik Wemple has hit the hardest I have seen), while the critique from the right has been just ideological blather.

And you have the gall to direct us to Doktor Zoom? Really?

I also can't help but noticing you once again failed to provide any links to what you consider "ideological blather", or any justification as to why.

I need to cite only one fact: Judge Howard Smith.

No, actually, you need to state at least one other fact: when.

Oh wait, maybe another fact: like who were some of Smith's contemporaries Hints: Famous progressives. New Dealers.

One more hint: And eugenicists.

Hey Skipper said...

[AOG:] Bogus stories from the tranzis, however, can easily get shot directly to national awareness just because it's a tranzi narrative with, as in this case, no vetting whatsoever.

You mean like racist hoaxes?

Or the Duke Lacrosse team?

Or Lena Dunham?

Phil Robertson?

McMartin preschool?

Treyvon Martin?

Guifford shooting?

In the realm of racist hoaxes, my daughter experienced first hand the one at GVSU

She was put through a full day of re-education camp. And when the hoax was blown?

Not a word.

Do NOT get her started on progressives. Especially if you are one.

Hey Skipper said...

... while the critique from the right has been just ideological blather.

Like this?

erp said...

Skipper, and leave us not forget that perhaps the greatest hoaxer of our time whose antics have led to innocent people dying, is now a presidential adviser with his own TV program.

Harry Eagar said...

'stuff that bubbles up from the right wing is of much better quality to a large extent because it has to fight its way to the top and so such things are strongly vetted.'

Really? How many rightwingers know that the program that spawned Solyndra has now produced a profit -- a very good profit -- for the taxpayers; or that the company being managed most openly according to libertarian principles is now sinking out of sight?

I am going to guess: none

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Really? How many rightwingers know that the program that spawned Solyndra has now produced a profit ...

Links, please.


Harry Eagar said...

Well, thanks, I'll take your request as confirmation that rightwingers don't know what's going on around them.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/13/1344565/-NPR-After-Solyndra-Loss-U-S-Energy-Loan-Program-Turning-A-Profit#

erp said...

If that's the case, they better pay the taxpayers back for the loans.

Howard said...

Solyndra as a political and economic issue was primarily about cronyism. Nothing in the article rebuts that.

Hey Skipper said...

From your link:

The agency also has collected $810 million in interest payments, putting the program $30 million in the black.

Thirty million dollars represents what rate of return on a $34.2B investment?

.0875% Whoo-de-frickin-doo.

If memory serves, that close as darnnit to zero rate of return is over 6 years. Hmmm -- what has the inflation rate been over that time? I'll pick a low ball figure of 1% ...

Do you still want to stick by that story, or could it be that to the folks at the Daily Kos, numbers are a foreign shore?

And how much did California sink into a Solyndra tax credit sinkhole?

No wonder it is only progressive apologists know about something so paltry. Granted, that is an insult to truly paltry things, but it is the best word I could come up with short notice.

And I couldn't help but be further impressed by how fact free the rest of that article was:

Moniz points to a small company called Beacon Power as an example. It got an Energy Department loan, went bankrupt and defaulted on about $14 million in debt. Today the company is back in business, providing a valuable service to electricity grids and repaying the rest of its loan.

How quickly? How much of Beacon Power's profit is dependent upon tax breaks and direct subsidies?

I'll take this as confirmation that progressives are hopelessly, impenetrably, innumerate.