SOMETHING THAT’S BEEN LARGELY OVERLOOKED IN ALL THE RACIAL POSTURING: The cop who shot Philando Castile was a Latino named Jeronimo Yanez. But for our “racial justice” crowd, it’s always 1963 — but a 1963 in which Bull Connor is a Republican instead of the Democratic National Committeeman he actually was.
ROBBY SOAVE ON PHILANDO CASTILE:
During a subsequent press conference, Diamond Reynolds—Castile’s girlfriend—insisted that he had done nothing wrong. And she’s right. They were stopped because their car had a broken tail light. That’s it.
In Minnesota, citizens are allowed to carry firearms if they have a permit to do so. Castile was merely exercising his Second Amendment rights. His decision to inform the officer about his weapon was courteous, but not legally required. Permit holders in Minnesota do not need to tell cops that they are carrying firearms unless specifically asked.
It seems fairly clearly, then, that Castile is in some sense a Second Amendment martyr: He was killed by a police officer because he was exercising his rights.
I’ve seen some carry-rights advocates — e.g., Nikki Goeser — making just this point. On the other hand, I’m slower than I used to be to weigh in on these cases because the initial reports — see, e.g., Ferguson — were so one-sidedly wrong. For example, the officer who shot Castile was apparently “Chinese,” which suggests that efforts to shoehorn this into a Bull Connor-style white-racism narrative may be off base, not that that’s stopped anyone.
—Heat Street, Friday.
But of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy.
* * * * * * * *
Fascist movements, too, had no coherent ideology, no clear set of prescriptions for what ailed society. “National socialism” was a bundle of contradictions, united chiefly by what, and who, it opposed; fascism in Italy was anti-liberal, anti-democratic, anti-Marxist, anti-capitalist and anti-clerical. Successful fascism was not about policies but about the strongman, the leader (Il Duce, Der Fuhrer), in whom could be entrusted the fate of the nation. Whatever the problem, he could fix it. Whatever the threat, internal or external, he could vanquish it, and it was unnecessary for him to explain how. Today, there is Putinism, which also has nothing to do with belief or policy but is about the tough man who singlehandedly defends his people against all threats, foreign and domestic.
To understand how such movements take over a democracy, one only has to watch the Republican Party today.
—“This is how fascism comes to America,” Robert Kagan, the left-leaning Brookings Institute, yesterday.
To listen to the manner in which our friends on the left now talk about Donald Trump is to suspect that it is not. Time and time again, Trump has been compared to Hitler, to Mussolini, to George Wallace, and to Bull Connor. Time and time again, self-described “liberals” have recoiled at the man’s praise for internment, at his disrespect for minorities and dissenters, and at his enthusiasm for torture and for war crimes. Time and time again, it has been predicted — not without merit — that, while Trump would almost certainly lose a general election, an ill-timed recession or devastating terrorist attack could throw all bets to the curb. If one were to take literally the chatter that one hears on MSNBC and the fear that one smells in the pages of the New York Times and of the Washington Post, one would have no choice but to conclude that the progressives have joined the conservatives in worrying aloud about the wholesale abuse of power.
Hence my initial question: Have they? And, if they have, what knock-on effects has that worrying had? Having watched the rise of Trumpism — and, now, having seen the beginning of violence in its name — who out there is having second thoughts as to the wisdom of imbuing our central state with massive power?
That’s a serious, not a rhetorical, question. I would genuinely love to know how many “liberals” have begun to suspect that there are some pretty meaningful downsides to the consolidation of state authority.
— “Is Trump’s Rise Giving Progressives Second Thoughts?”, Charles C. W. Cooke, NRO, March 16th.
SO SEPARATE — BUT EQUAL — TO COIN A PHRASE: Oregon State University to Hold Segregated Workshops on Race.
Democratic National Committee member Bull Connor would certainly have approved. Presumably, the workshops would also be approved by former Obama mentor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who noted that “African-American children have a different way of learning” in his speech to the 2008 NAACP national convention, which then Time-Warner-CNN-HBO spokeswoman Soledad O’Brien dubbed “a home run.”
DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY: Politico illustrates story about race and the modern GOP with a picture of Democrat George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door. Even more amusingly, it’s labeled “History Dept.”
Honestly, Politico’s performance has been poor enough lately that I wonder if they’re hiring from the same pool as the Secret Service.
Tom Wolfe once wrote that “the greatest hoax of modern history” occurred when “Russia’s ruling ‘socialist workers party,’ the Communists established themselves as the polar opposites of their two socialist clones, the National Socialist German Workers Party (quicknamed ‘The Nazis’) and Italy’s Marxist-inspired Fascisiti, by branding both as “the fascists,” which quickly led to those two socialist clones as being described, per Stalin’s orders, as “right wing” for the rest of the 20th century with very little pushback from limited-government conservatives and libertarians until recent years. The Democrats’ ongoing efforts to offload their shameful racist past onto the GOP has to run a close second. Don’t let them get away with it.
Nope. The Democrats were the party of Jim Crow. Bull Connor was a member of the Democratic National Committee. He set dogs and firehoses on civil rights protesters.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Speaking of Democrats: “On October 10, 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy committed what is widely viewed as one of the most ignominious acts in modern American history: he authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to begin wiretapping the telephones of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.”
MICHAEL BARONE: Would black voter turnout matter in key Senate races?
Jonathan Martin of the New York Times reports on how Democratic Party strategists are hoping to maximize black turnout in order to preserve their Senate majority. One might question whether this really counts as news, given that black Americans have been voting overwhelmingly Democratic for a half-century: It always makes sense for Democrats to mobilize black turnout. But the fact that Democratic spinmeisters are evidently pitching this line carries a whiff of desperation. For the fact is that there are relatively few blacks in most of the states with seriously contested Senate races. . . .
It’s apparent that even the most vigorous black turnout effort in the eight states with low black percentages is not going to make much difference. Democrats there must hope that their candidates can maintain levels of support from whites at or above the levels achieved by Obama in 2008 and 2012. In addition, Democrats in Colorado must hope they can maintain something like the 75 to 23 percent margin Obama won among Hispanics there in 2012 according to the exit poll. . . .
In the five states with above-national-average black percentages, there’s obviously good reason for Democrats to try to bolster black turnout. But to win a Democratic candidate must also do significantly better than Obama did among whites in Arkansas, Georgia and Louisiana and somewhat better than in North Carolina. Black turnout was very robust in North Carolina, thanks to both the Obama organization and to spontaneous enthusiasm. And it was robust in the three other states as well, due to spontaneous enthusiasm and despite laws requiring voters to show photo identification, a measure which some have likened to the police dogs and fire hoses that Democratic National Committeeman Bull Connor unleashed on peaceful blacks in 1963.
No hyperbole there. . .
ROGER L. SIMON: The Real Villain Of Ferguson. “The Great Society. There, I’ve said it. The Great Society, which I voted for and supported from the bottom of my heart, is the villain behind Ferguson. Ferguson is the Great Society writ large because the Great Society convinced, and then reassured, black people that they were victims, taught them that being a victim and playing a victim was the way to go always and forever. And then it repeated the point ad infinitum from its debut in 1964 until now — a conveniently easy to compute fifty years — as it all became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Great Society and similar policies screwed black people to the wall. It was racist to the core without knowing it. Nobody used the N-word. In fact, it was forbidden, unless you were Dr. Dre or somebody. But it did its job without the word and did it better for being in disguise.”
UPDATE: By the way, the press coverage of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on this doesn’t seem to emphasize that he’s a Democrat. But as the party of Bull Connor and Richard Daley, the Democrats have a long, ugly track record in dealing badly with urban unrest. . . .
WELL, HE’S A DEMOCRAT — JUST LIKE BULL CONNOR WAS! Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Once Tried to End Desegregation of St. Louis Schools.
REMINDER: BULL CONNOR WAS A MEMBER OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE. Dems paying black staffers 30% less than white ones. “If you’re a person of color hoping to get hired by a political campaign, here’s the ugly truth: You’ll probably get paid less than your white counterparts, if you’re even hired at all. . . . For example, African-American staffers on Democratic campaigns were paid 70 cents for each dollar their white counterparts made. For Hispanic staffers in Democratic campaigns, the figure was 68 cents on the dollar.”
Never forget that Bull Connor was a member of the Democratic National Committee.
TRIGGER WARNING: When sentimentality leads to the gas chamber.
From the comments:
Time for an ’empathy bullshit’ tag?
First civility, now empathy, keep your eyes peeled for the next one.
It’s out there.
As long as people can be manipulated by emotion, they will be.
A MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY REMINDER: Bull Connor Was A Member Of The Democratic National Committee.
LAUGHING AT CANDY CROWLEY IS USUALLY A GOOD IDEA: Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) laughed at State of the Union host Candy Crowley Sunday when she asked if he would consider becoming a Democrat. “Paul said he was proud of the Republican Party’s history, particularly for its fight against Jim Crow in his home state of Kentucky, and couldn’t imagine changing sides.”
Paul’s comment: “I’m really proud of the fact that the ones who overturned Jim Crow in Kentucky were Republicans fighting against an entirely unified Democratic Party, so I am proud to be Republican. I can’t imagine being anything else.”
UPDATE: From the comments: “Yep, that’s why you never see documentaries on Jim Crow, it was run by Democrats and even the Northern Democrats supported it indirectly by supporting their Southern Democrat brothers.”
Maybe someone should make such a documentary. Say, have I ever mentioned that Bull Connor was a member of the Democratic National Committee?
ACTUALLY, HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: WSJ: A history note for President Obama: Bull Connor was not a libertarian.
Jackson is not alone in seeking to trivialize civil-rights history. As Commentary’s Seth Mandel noted the other day, Rep. John Lewis–who suffered a fractured skull when a racist mob beat him on Bloody Sunday–in 2008 scurrilously likened the McCain campaign’s criticism of Barack Obama to the Birmingham church bombings. Lewis has a long history of similar comparisons, and his undisputed heroism 48 years ago does not excuse his inflammatory and irresponsible rhetoric.
Some of the efforts to evoke the civil-rights movement today are downright laughable. The Washington Times–in a story reporting that the Smithsonian Institution is trying, no joke, to acquire the sweatshirt Trayvon Martin was wearing when George Zimmerman shot him in self-defense–reports: “The National Museum of African American History and Culture is set to open in 2015 and will display objects related to the Civil Rights Movement, such as the handcuffs used to restrain Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.”
Was Gates arrested at Selma? Unlikely, since he was 14 at the time. It’s a safe bet the event in question is the one that happened in Cambridge, Mass., in 2009, when Gates was trying to break into his own home and a passerby mistook him for a burglar and summoned police. This column sympathized with Gates. But to characterize the kerfuffle as “related to the Civil Rights Movement” is ludicrous.
Yes, but if you admit that Selma is in the past, people will have to rethink a lot of things. Including their own self-image. Meanwhile, a reminder from the real civil-rights era: Bull Connor was a member of the Democratic National Committee.
MEGAN MCARDLE: We Don’t Need Tougher Standards For Self-Defense.
Right now, it feels wrong to many people because a boy who was walking home with Skittles and iced tea has ended up dead. But as lawyers say, “hard cases make bad law.” The law will always have some sad cases that can’t be prosecuted, or some cases where someone doing something understandable gets jail time for breaking the law. Laws written in response to public outcry about those hard cases are usually bad laws. They are the equivalent of deciding to give everyone an ANA test because of the tragic death of someone with undiagnosed lupus.
In both cases, we’re focusing on the emotional impact of the false negative that is right before us, and not all the other cases where false positives could be disastrous. Imagine that someone you have had words with — your editor, perhaps — attacks you, and there are no witnesses to the attack. Fearing for your life, you stab him, and he dies. Should the law require you to prove that you acted in self-defense, beyond a reasonable doubt? How could you?
Imagine now that it is a black teenager attacked by a racist 23-year-old looking for a fight, or a woman whose abusive boyfriend finally threatened to kill her. Do you want those people to have to prove that it was self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt? Should the prosecution be able to send them to prison for decades because it’s possible that they were the aggressor — not even likely, just possible? Should they have to wait until they have suffered life-threatening damage in order to justify protecting themselves?
That seems insane to me.
Which is why you’ll never get a gig at MSNBC. But, to be fair, many of these people would be happy with special rules for black youths, or battered women, or whatever, so that they get the result they want. And if the categories don’t fit, well — you can always re-arrange them ad hoc, as the media did when they turned part-black, part-hispanic George Zimmerman into the reincarnation of Bull Connor.
This narrative has transformed Zimmerman, a man of racially mixed heritage that included white, Hispanic and black roots (a grandmother who helped raise him had an Afro-Peruvian father), into an honorary white male steeped in white privilege. It has cast him as a virulent racist even though he once had a black business partner, mentored African-American kids, lived in a neighborhood about 20 percent black, and participated in complaints about a white police lieutenant’s son getting away with beating a homeless black man.
This narrative has perpetuated the lie that Zimmerman’s history of calls to the police indicates obsessive racial paranoia. Thus, discussing the verdict on the PBS NewsHour, University of Connecticut professor and New Yorker contributor Jelani Cobb asserted that “Zimmerman had called the police 46 times in previous six years, only for African-Americans, only for African-American men.” Actually, prior to the call about Martin, only four of Zimmerman’s calls had to do with African-American men or teenage boys (and two of them were about individuals who Zimmerman thought matched the specific description of burglary suspects). Five involved complaints about whites, and one about two Hispanics and a white male; others were about such issues as a fire alarm going off, a reckless driver of unknown race, or an aggressive dog.
In this narrative, even Zimmerman’s concern for a black child—a 2011 call to report a young African-American boy walking unsupervised on a busy street, on which the police record notes, “compl[ainant] concerned for well-being”—has been twisted into crazed racism. Writing on the website of The New Republic, Stanford University law professor Richard Thompson Ford describes Zimmerman as “an edgy basket case” who called 911 about “the suspicious activities of a seven year old black boy.” This slander turns up in other left-of-center sources, such as ThinkProgress.org.
It has to be 1963 forever. Otherwise they’d have to ask some tough questions — of themselves. Read the whole thing.
The story that George Zimmerman told about his fight with Trayvon Martin, the one that yesterday persuaded a jury to acquit him of second-degree murder and manslaughter, never had anything to do with the right to stand your ground when attacked in a public place. Knocked down and pinned to the ground by Martin, Zimmerman would not have had an opportunity to escape as Martin hit him and knocked his head against the concrete. The duty to retreat therefore was irrelevant. The initial decision not to arrest Zimmerman, former Sanford, Florida, Police Chief Bill Lee said last week (as paraphrased by CNN), “had nothing to do with Florida’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law” because “from an investigative standpoint, it was purely a matter of self-defense.” And as The New York Times explained last month, “Florida’s Stand Your Ground law…has not been invoked in this case.” The only context in which “stand your ground” was mentioned during the trial was as part of the prosecution’s attempt to undermine Zimmerman’s credibility by arguing that he lied when he told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he had not heard of the law until after the shooting. During his rebuttal on Friday, prosecutor John Guy declared, “This case is not about standing your ground.”
So how did Benjamin Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, respond to Zimmerman’s acquittal last night? By announcing that “we will continue to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws in every state.”
Because they are, as usual, willing to try to exploit tragedy for political gain. Zimmerman’s case isn’t about black-white relations either — both Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman (who’s blacker than Homer Plessy) would be counted as African-American by any college “diversity” office in America, and Zimmerman was hispanic, too, but from the press coverage you’d think he was Bull Connor. The only thing that Zimmerman has in common with Bull Connor, though, is that Bull Connor was a Democrat too.
Meanwhile, people are raising a case that actually did involve stand your ground — the case of Marissa Alexander — as evidence of racial bias in the judicial system. But Angela Corey was the prosecutor there, and she seems to want to lock up anyone who uses a gun in self-defense. The main difference seems to be that the jury in the Alexander case believed Corey, though that may simply be because Zimmerman got better representation. Which opens up a whole different kettle of judicial fish that I doubt anyone really wants to talk about.
ILYA SHAPIRO: Jim Crow Is Dead. Long Live the Constitution.
Yeah. Bull Connor was a member of the Democratic National Committee. Now the South is mostly Republican.
If Dick Harpootlian were a Republican, liberals would be jumping over one another to call him a bigot. In 2002 Harpootlian called Lindsey Graham, then running for a South Carolina Senate seat, “light in the loafers,” thus fueling a nasty whispering campaign about Graham’s sexual orientation. Last Friday he struck again, telling activists to “send Nikki Haley”—South Carolina’s Indian-American governor—“back to wherever the hell she came from.”
But Harpootlian isn’t a Republican. Until he retired last Saturday, he was chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. He made his comments about Haley at the party’s annual dinner, just before Joe Biden took the stage. And as a result, the liberal response has been muted. So far, neither Biden nor Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, whose candidacy for a South Carolina congressional seat has gained national attention, has repudiated Harpootlian’s comments. And for now, at least, conservatives are just about the only ones asking them to.
That’s a problem, because unless offenses like Harpootlian’s are slapped down hard, Democratic Party bigotry is likely to get worse. The reason is simple: the Republican Party is getting more diverse.
Also, Democrats are traditionally the party of racial bigotry. Bull Connor, remember, was a member of the Democratic National Committee.
WHITE MEN DON’T COUNT: Robert VerBruggen on the demographics of mass shooters. “Certainly, mass shooters differ from other murderers (and from the general population) in various ways. But mass shooters are not as overwhelmingly white as the authors imply, and the conclusions they draw are utterly bizarre. . . . Nowhere do the authors give the only two numbers that matter: the percentage of mass shootings committed by white males, and the percentage of mass shootings we might normally expect to be committed by white males.” Well, that wouldn’t fit the narrative. “I’m not sure this even deserves a response, but take a look at the numbers for murder in general. Blacks are dramatically overrepresented. Has anyone demanded that blacks as a group, not just the individual murderers, be ‘held accountable’? Has anyone said that black organizations that suggest ways of reducing violence should be scrutinized more heavily than non-black groups that similarly offer solutions? Of course not.”
It’s fine to be a racist bigot in America, as long as you’re a bigot in support of Democratic causes. Which, come to think of it, is how things were in Bull Connor’s day, too.
SO WITH TIM SCOTT’S APPOINTMENT, the GOP has the nation’s only black senator and both of its two latino governors. Kinda busts the racial narrative, doesn’t it?
UPDATE: The narrative isn’t giving up: “The linked WaPo article identifies Thurmond — ‘the former segregationist’ — as a Republican, but when he was a big-time segregationist, he was a Democrat.”
Yep. Just like DNC-member Bull Connor. Plus, from the comments:
A female, Indian GOP Governor appoints a black man to the Senate.
Do you really need any more evidence to believe that the GOP is engaged in a racist, sexist war on minorities and women?
Not if you’re at the WaPo, apparently.
ER, BECAUSE THEY’RE RACIST AND SEXIST? Why The Dems and the Media Won’t Stand For Condi As Veep.
UPDATE: More: “Will they have to worry that she’s more authentically black — American black — than Barack Obama? How will that debate about race be framed? Complicated. Here’s something Rice said to the Republican National Convention in 2000: ‘My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did.’ What will the Obama people do if that sort of thing is thrown in their face? Let them worry about it.”
ROGER SIMON: The Democratic Party As The Party Of Race. Well, it always has been. Bull Connor was on the Democratic National Committee.
MARK STEYN: Fauxcahontas And The Melting Pot. “Martin Luther King dreamed of a day when men would be judged not on the color of their skin but on the content of their great-great-great-grandmother’s wedding license application. And now it’s here! . . . Just in case you’re having difficulty keeping up with all these Composite-Americans, George Zimmerman, the son of a Peruvian mestiza, is the embodiment of endemic white racism and the reincarnation of Bull Connor, but Elizabeth Warren, the great-great-great-granddaughter of someone who might possibly have been listed as Cherokee on an application for a marriage license, is a heartwarming testimony to how minorities are shattering the glass ceiling in Harvard Yard. George Zimmerman, redneck; Elizabeth Warren, redskin. Under the Third Reich’s Nuremberg Laws, Ms. Warren would have been classified as Aryan and Mr. Zimmerman as non-Aryan. Now it’s the other way round. Progress!”
TEN YEARS AGO ON INSTAPUNDIT, Michael Barone emails a correction from Italy:
You mention that the Democrats are running against Bull Connor.
But when Connor set the police dogs and fire hoses on peaceful civil rights demonstrators, he was the Democratic National Committeeman from Alabama–a member of the Democratic National Committee!
Worth reminding people of again.
JEFF GOLDSTEIN RESPONDS TO STANLEY FISH: Progressivism And The Authoritarian Impulse. “Fish’s single standard, distilled and properly understood, is that liberals are (they’ll claim) morally superior by virtue of their very belief in their own political identities — which identity is tied to an ideology that, manifested politically, privileges governmental theft, sanctioned inequality as a function of tribal identity, and a giant foundational question beg: namely, that moral superiority comes from being on the left, so therefore being on the left means you can really do no fundamental moral wrong.” Progressivism is a religion that preaches salvation by faith, and utter damnation for the nonbelievers.
UPDATE: An illustration: “You and I are not racists. I just gave my imaginary child’s college fund to Barack Obama, and your mother is Nancy Pelosi. So of all the people in the world — we are not out to fuck black people.” Democrats can’t be racist. Just ask Bull Connor.
JAMES TARANTO: Why They Stood and Cheered: Gingrich confronts the left’s insidious theory of racial supremacy. “Next to the election of a black president, we’d say that Gingrich’s standing O was the most compelling dramatization of racial progress so far this century. Which isn’t to say that racism has been completely eradicated. It lives on in the minds of liberals who see Bull Connor when they look at Ozzie Nelson.”
Bull Connor was a Democrat, by the way.
KRUGMAN, KING, BLOW AND RICH: BLINDED BY HATRED OF TEA PARTIERS. Millions of law-abiding, peaceful, middle-aged female protesters, and they see firehoses and “good ol’ boys.” Tell ’em to watch Letterman.
And “firehoses?” Wasn’t Bull Connor a Democrat? And one who was — like Krugman, King, Blow, and Rich — frightened into wild overreaction by people peacefully protesting?
THE CBS FOLKS SEND THIS TRANSCRIPT of Bobby Rush on The Early Show, discussing Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris to fill Barack Obama’s seat.
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ, co-host: We’re joined now also from Chicago by Congressman Bobby Rush, whom you just heard from in the piece. Good morning, Congressman.
Representative BOBBY RUSH (Democrat, Illinois): Good morning, Maggie. How are you?
RODRIGUEZ: I’m fine, thank you. Yesterday we heard you say that they shouldn’t hang and lynch the appointee to punish the appointer. But do you believe that this is the way the only African-American Senator should be seated? Tainted, rightly or not, by a scandal and against the objections of most of his own party?
Rep. RUSH: Well, let me just say this, you know, the recent history of our nation has shown us that sometimes there could be individuals and there could be situations where school children–where you have officials standing in the doorway of school children. You know, I’m talking about all of us back in 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas. I’m talking about George Wallace, Bull Connors and I’m sure that the US Senate don’t want to see themselves placed in the same position. I know my friend Harry Reid…
RODRIGUEZ: But it’s not just the Senate, Congressman. It’s Barack Obama who is African-American also who disagrees with this.
Rep. RUSH: Well, I think what needs–what needs to happen now is that all these folks who are opposed to Governor Blagojevich, they need to take a chill pill. We’re still a nation of laws and I believe that Roland Burris and Governor Blagojevich, they’re on solid constitutional grounds in terms of them being–of him being selected. I think that the US Senate will have to accept him. Let me just say this, you know, the real political tragedy, the real political issue, the moral issue that we face is why in the US Senate there are no African-Americans? There are two Asians, three Latinos, 11 women, but no African-Americans. And I just must applaud the people of the state of Illinois because in the last 150 years, we have sent two of the three African-Americans to the Senate over a period of 150 years. Now something is really, really wrong with that. So are you saying is this–is this…
RODRIGUEZ: But shouldn’t Governor–let me interrupt you for a minute and ask you this.
Rep. RUSH: Yes.
RODRIGUEZ: Shouldn’t Governor Blagojevich maybe have given Roland Burris the chance to go in as the only African-American senator in a legitimate way that everyone would approve of?
Rep. RUSH: Well…
RODRIGUEZ: Is he being selfish here by appointing him this way? By remaining so defiant?
Rep. RUSH: Well, you know, he has the constitutional responsibility as governor of the state of Illinois to appoint. The General Assembly met a week or so ago, they passed the buck, they shifted, they punted, they did not declare a special election. Let me just say this. On January the 20th, President-elect Obama wants on his desk the Congress to deliver to him a stimulus package, hundreds of millions of dollars, and the people of the state of Illinois should not be deprived of a representative in the US Senate to be at the table to help decide where that money should go.
RODRIGUEZ: All right.
Rep. RUSH: We have many other issues and I just think that it is incumbent upon the US Senate and President Reid and others to make sure that Illinois is not short-changed as it relates to representation.
RODRIGUEZ: OK, Congressman Rush.
Looks like we’ll have fun in the new year. Plus, “President Reid?” I know it’s just a verbal stumble, but don’t scare me like that.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 45 years since Bull Connor’s firehoses, and a reminder that things weren’t as some might think.
ADVANCE STATE OF THE UNION EXCERPTS: Click “read more” to read more.
To the delight of Republicans, Cindy Sheehan will reportedly be in the audience. GayPatriot will be liveblogging. And RightSideRedux has a lot of reports from the blogger event on Capitol Hill this afternoon; just keep scrolling. And reportedly Rumsfeld took a hand. Daniel Glover has more. This early bird report is amusing, too. But David Corn isn’t excited. The Corner is moreso, and is liveblogging.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey will be liveblogging, too. I don’t know if I’ll liveblog, but I’ll at least have some thoughts later.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Full text available now — it’s below the excerpts. Just click “read more” and scroll.
Lots more livebloggers here.
“Every year of my presidency we’ve reduced the growth of nonsecurity discretionary spending.” Not a barn-burner of a line. But a bit later he endorses earmark reform, a key PorkBusters goal!
MORE: N.Z. Bear: “George W. Bush — Porkbuster!” The Bear continues: “Having the Presidential bully pulpit keeping Congressional feet to the fire on the need for earmark reform is a Very Good Thing — and one that I sincerely hope is not a This Night Only performance.”
STILL MORE: I don’t like the cloning ban endorsement, though.
To the delight of Republicans…’ »
ANDREW SULLIVAN SAYS TRENT LOTT MUST GO:
Why are the Republican commentators so silent about this? And the liberals? (Josh Marshall, to his credit, states the obvious. And Bill Kristol, to his great credit, expressed disbelief.) And where’s the New York Times? Howell Raines is so intent on finding Bull Connor in a tony golf club that when Bull Connor emerges as the soul of the Republican Senate Majority Leader, he doesn’t notice it. And where’s the president?
Or at least Karl Rove, who ought to see the handwriting on the wall.
UPDATE: “Good for Andrew,” writes Josh Marshall, who, like me, is mystified by Lott’s response so far.
GEITNER SIMMONS HAS MORE ON TRENT LOTT AND STROM THURMOND:
Lott’s praise for the Dixiecrat movement certainly moves the Republican Senate leader’s post a long way from the days of Everett Dirksen, who encouraged his party in 1964 to vote for Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act — a sterling moment in congressional history. . . .
The Dixiecrat movement began to come together in 1948 when segregationist-minded dissidents walked out of the Democratic national convention in Philadelphia. A leader of the walkout was “Bull” Connor, the Birmingham, Ala., police commissioner whose fascistic tactics in attacking civil rights demonstrators would shock the nation in the 1960s. . . .
Thurmond’s pretense that Dixiecratism was devoid of racist sentiment was hard to square with the South Carolinian’s own stated racism. The national press noted, for instance, an incident involving Thurmond and William H. Hastie, appointed by Truman as governor of the Virgin Islands.
Thurmond invited Hastie for a visit to the Governor’s Mansion in Columbia, and Hastie responded appreciatively, extending an invitation for Thurmond to visit the Virgin Islands.
But when Thurmond learned that Hastie was black, matters abruptly soured.
“I would not have written him if I knew he was a Negro,” Thurmond thundered. “Of course, it would have been ridiculous to invite him.”
How refreshing: No double-talk, just the ugly truth.
As always, the whole post, and all of Simmons’ blog, is worth reading in full.
MICKEY KAUS sums up, and weighs in on an interesting discussion of “Guilty Southern White Boys” in the media (Kaus has all the links). The notion (originally suggested by one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers) is that southerners — always the target of jibes and discrimination — try to out-left the left in order to be accepted in the media crowd. Postrel and Kaus disagree, and call it the lingering influence of the civil rights era when — in the South — the left really was on the side of the angels.
I think it’s a bit of both, and this discussion makes me realize what I didn’t like about Richard Marius’s generally excellent novel, An Affair of Honor, which I mentioned earlier. Marius appreciates many things about the South, but there’s something vaguely patronizing about his treatment, and it comes out in a gratuitous scene at the end of the novel, when the protagonist is sitting on an airplane next to a man in a “Georgia Bulldogs” shirt:
Charles took out a book and began to read. The Georgia Bulldog seemed miffed. “You going to read?” he said.
“Yes, I have to finish this book,” Charles said.
“Why?” the Georgia Bulldog asked.
“Because I’m dying to know how it comes out.”
“Is it a mystery?”
“No, not really.”
The Georgia Bulldog leaned cumbersomely over and stared at what Charles was reading.
“My God, it’s in a foreign language!” he said. “And I thought you was an American.”
Now overall this is a very good novel, but it’s telling, I think, that this scene — which rings horribly false and serves no purpose in the narrative — takes place in the present day, rather than in the racially-charged early 1950s where the rest of the book is set. (Interestingly, elsewhere in the book another character — a Columbia alumnus — is offended at being patronized by a Harvard professor who assumes he’s an ignoramus simply because he’s from the South. He fairly bristles at being lumped with those other Southerners).
I see this as a generational thing. Not every Southern white boy from that period suffered from this neurosis — my old law-school mentor Charles Black, though well-known for his racial liberalism (he and Thurgood Marshall wrote the brief in Brown together) never succumbed to the notion that the South was defined by Bull Connor. But he was in this way, as in many others, an exception. For too many others, it was always Birmingham in 1963. (One of my professors even had a huge blowup of the firehose photo from Life magazine on his office wall).
Those of us who are younger know that the myth of northern racial liberalism was mostly just that — a myth. (If I recall correctly, the professor with the firehose picture sent his kids to all-white private schools rather than to the New Haven public schools, and when I was a kid I spent time in Roxbury, where my dad was doing community work, and where things were not noticeably better than Birmingham). So while Howell Raines, Tom Wicker, and similar examples of GSWBs may still rule the roost, I think that the phenomenon is on the way out. Which is probably just as well.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader writes:
I grew up in suburban Philadelphia and almost everyone I came into contact with acted as though the South and Southern white people were some kind of throwbacks.
In the last five years, I’ve had occasion to work for short periods of time in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas — in rural areas as well as urban. Everyone in the South may hate each other. I don’t know what is in their hearts. But I do know what comes out of their mouths, and there is far more civility in the South than anywhere in the Northeast. People are superficially nicer and kinder to each other. Whites and blacks towards whites and blacks. In the broad scheme of things, it seems better to me that everyone act in a polite way no matter what they believe, than profess to be ideologically pure, like in the Northeast, and be rude to just about everyone in some way or other.
Also, Philadelphia and the metropolitan area are just as segregated if not more so than most cities in the South. Should anyone not believe me tell them to take the 42 bus the entire route — I know you don’t know the bus routes — it goes from the richest neighborhoods to the poorest and some middleclass ones in between. If your eyes are open, you will see the race and residency patterns.
Meanwhile Allison Alvarez knows who to blame:
I blame people’s misconceptions about the south on ‘Hee Haw’. Think about it; other than the southern lawyer dramas most shows about the south are still in love with that slow southern comfort, Gone With the Wind stereotype. Even ‘Designing Women’ was obsessed with southern charm. So, I can’t blame most people who live outside of the south for their cultural ignorance when all they see is Colonel Sanders and Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel.
I spent my entire life in Georgia before moving to Washington, DC and I’m completely astounded at the way people react when I say I’m from the south. I always get comments of my lack of southern accent or my fast way of speaking. Sometimes I’m tempted to give trolley tours in an affected southern accent just to please the tourists.
Blame “Hee Haw?” Why the hell not?