Ed Driscoll

New Republic Wrangles Rangel

Last week, we noted that Congressman Charlie Rangel’s (D-NY) advanced case of Bush Derangement Sydrome had gotten the better of him in recent speeches. Kudos to the liberal New Republic for calling him on it:

Last Thursday, at a New York town-hall meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Charles Rangel took the stage vacated minutes earlier by Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and declared, “George Bush is our Bull Connor.” This comment is preposterous enough on its own–Bull Connor, the Birmingham police chief who turned hoses and dogs on civil rights marchers in 1963 and became a symbol of Southern racism, would never have had a black secretary of state. To equate Bush’s faltering attitude toward blacks during Katrina with Connor’s brazen, unrelenting bigotry is an insult to those activists who endured Connor’s persecutions. But, incredibly, instead of repudiating Rangel, various black leaders have opined that his comparison is insulting–to Bull Connor. “I think that’s an insult to Connor,” New York City Councilman Charles Barron told The New York Sun. “What [Bush] did in New Orleans [is] worse than what Bull Connor did in his entire career as a racist in the South.” Others agreed, dragging the conversation down to breathtaking lows: Al Sharpton remarked, “We’ve gone from fire hoses to levees,” and Representative Major Owens pointed out that “Bull Connor didn’t even pretend that he cared about African Americans. You have to give it to George Bush for being even more diabolical.”

There is a rich and horrible irony here: Martin Luther King Jr. once said of Bull Connor that he “didn’t know history.” But today it is Rangel and his defenders–who lay claim to the mantle of the civil rights movement–who don’t know history. Or, rather, they believe bad history makes for good politics. It doesn’t. It makes for demagoguery. King would have known the difference.

(Via Cassandra of Villainous Company.)