Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

The Myth of the Racist Republicans.

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, September 16, 2007

On Saturday, Hilliary Clinton spoke to a NAACP banquet in North Charleston, SC. She outlined her civil rights agenda, “Promoting Civil Rights and Fighting Discrimination in the 21st Century” Some of my favorites:

“Restore professionalism and remove politics from hiring, case deliberations, and policy decisions across the Department of Justice.”

Do you think she will accomplish by hiring Republicans? Just as in Maryland where firing a Democrat is crass partisanship, but firing a Republican, well that’s okay. (O’Malley firing illegal over GOP ties) MD democrats spent 13 months and $1.1 million of public money to find out that Gov. Ehrlich did not fire anyone illegally. We are still waiting to see if the O’Malley administration will be held to the same standard.

Sen. Clinton proposes the following:

Direct the Attorney General to submit – within 90 days of taking office – a report that recommends how to rebuild DOJ’s traditional role in defending civil rights and the rule of law, and that reviews charges of improper, politically motivated hiring to determine whether laws were broken.

How do you think she will do this? Well, we can look at the past Clinton administration to see how they handled it before (from the Wall Street Journal) :

Congressional Democrats are in full cry over the news this week that the Administration’s decision to fire eight U.S. Attorneys originated from–gasp–the White House. Senator Hillary Clinton joined the fun yesterday, blaming President Bush for “the politicization of our prosecutorial system.” Oh, my.

As it happens, Mrs. Clinton is just the Senator to walk point on this issue of dismissing U.S. attorneys because she has direct personal experience. In any Congressional probe of the matter, we’d suggest she call herself as the first witness–and bring along Webster Hubbell as her chief counsel.

As everyone once knew but has tried to forget, Mr. Hubbell was a former partner of Mrs. Clinton at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock who later went to jail for mail fraud and tax evasion. He was also Bill and Hillary Clinton’s choice as Associate Attorney General in the Justice Department when Janet Reno, his nominal superior, simultaneously fired all 93 U.S. Attorneys in March 1993. Ms. Reno–or Mr. Hubbell–gave them 10 days to move out of their offices.

Also at the time, allegations concerning some of the Clintons’ Whitewater dealings were coming to a head. By dismissing all 93 U.S. Attorneys at once, the Clintons conveniently cleared the decks to appoint “Friend of Bill” Paula Casey as the U.S. Attorney for Little Rock. Ms. Casey never did bring any big Whitewater indictments, and she rejected information from another FOB, David Hale, on the business practices of the Arkansas elite including Mr. Clinton. When it comes to “politicizing” Justice, in short, the Bush White House is full of amateurs compared to the Clintons.

As Sen. Clinton and the Democrats try to paint Republicans as racist, maybe a little history will help. In a 2004 book review for the Claremont Institute, The Myth of the Racist Republicans and in a recent Weekly Standard article, The Party of Civil Rights, Univ. of VA associate political science professor Gerard Alexander. (h/t PowerLine) provides some context:

A myth about conservatism is circulating in academia and journalism and has spread to the 2004 presidential campaign. It goes something like this: the Republican Party assembled a national majority by winning over Southern white voters; Southern white voters are racist; therefore, the GOP is racist. Sometimes the conclusion is softened, and Republicans are convicted merely of base opportunism: the GOP is the party that became willing to pander to racists. Either way, today’s Republican Party—and by extension the conservative movement at its heart—supposedly has revealed something terrible about itself.

And from the conclusion:

The point of all this is not to deny that Richard Nixon may have invited some nasty fellows into his political bed. The point is that the GOP finally became the region’s dominant party in the least racist phase of the South’s entire history, and it got that way by attracting most of its votes from the region’s growing and confident communities—not its declining and fearful ones. The myth’s shrillest proponents are as reluctant to admit this as they are to concede that most Republicans genuinely believe that a color-blind society lies down the road of individual choice and dynamic change, not down the road of state regulation and unequal treatment before the law. The truly tenacious prejudices here are the mythmakers’.

And from the conclusion of Prof. Alexander’s Weekly Standard Article:

It took no time at all for individual commentators to point out these problems, but it took decades for the intellectual orthodoxy to develop serious cracks. In the 1980s, Reagan administration lawyers challenged head-on the most expansive racial preferences and the assumptions that justified them. Welfare came under withering scrutiny from scholars like Charles Murray, and, in the 1990s, politicians and voters from both sides of the aisle enacted welfare reform to propel more of the poor into the labor market and toward lives of greater self-sufficiency. Just in the past few years, scholarship has begun to document some perverse effects of affirmative action programs. In 2005, the fortieth anniversary of the Moynihan Report was noted with articles that validated the original conclusions and condemned the smear that greeted its author.

In the end, the position that has best stood the test of time is the long-standing conservative proposition that improving individual capabilities–through quality education–is the best means of reducing socio-economic disparities, with the additional virtue of not being zero-sum, as racial preferences and minority set-asides are.

In the half-century since the 1957 Civil Rights Act, dramatic gains occurred in many areas, but rigid intellectual orthodoxies heavily contributed to the terrible worsening of problems in other areas. Maybe after 50 years, America is finally prepared to have a debate–driven by facts and not ideology–on how to tackle the remaining racial disparities.

If you can find the time, please read the both articles.  With that, I’m off to listen to Micheal Steele and support GOPAC.

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19 Responses to “The Myth of the Racist Republicans.”

  1. cynthia vaillancourt said

    this is an honest – no particular agenda – question —

    Can you honestly say you are proud of the current national/official Republican Party?

    cindy v

  2. Ed C said

    Yes.

    I am proud of the core Republican beliefs:

    – I believe the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored.
    – I believe in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.
    – I believe free enterprise and encouraging individual initiative have brought this nation opportunity, economic growth and prosperity.
    – I believe government must practice fiscal responsibility and allow individuals to keep more of the money they earn.
    – I believe the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations and that the best government is that which governs least.
    – I believe the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people.
    – I believe Americans must retain the principles that have made us strong while developing new and innovative ideas to meet the challenges of changing times.
    – I believe Americans value and should preserve our national strength and pride while working to extend peace, freedom and human rights throughout the world.
    – Finally, I believe the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government.

    Have elected Republicans always lived up to this ideal? Hardly. However, failure to achieve these goals on an individual level does not make the goals themselves invalid. Do I believe in everything that every Republican that ever ran for office or was elected believe in? Absolutely not. (Actually I lean more Libertarian in many respects.) However, I am proud of supporting the core beliefs of the Republican Party and the candidates that ascribe to these same principles.

    At the national level, do I think that Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson or John McCain would be better for the county than Hilliary (sometimes Rodham) Clinton, Barack Obama, or John Edwards – absolutely. I’ll even go so far to say that Ron Paul would be better than Dennis Kucinich.

    – I think that George Bush is a better president than either Al Gore or Jon Carry would have been.
    – Bill Frist was a better Senate Majority leader than Harry Reid.
    – Newt Gingrich was a better speaker of the house than Nancy Pelosi.
    – The people of Mississippi have been better served by Haley Barber than the people of Louisiana under Kathleen Blanco. And, Bobby Jindal has the potential to be a great Governor and is a credit to the Republican party (see Bobby Jindal Saves Louisiana for an example.)
    – Maryland would have been better served by Bob Ehrlich than we are being served by Martin O’Malley.
    – I feel honored every time I hear Micheal Steele speak that we belong to the same party.

    Yes, I am proud of the Republican Party.

  3. Freemarket said

    Ed C.- you say that you lean Libertarian in many respects, and if you support those “core Republican beliefs” that is probably true. I am an independent, but like you, I also lean very heavily Libertarian. Each one of those “core beliefs” (except the last, obviously) applies MUCH more readily to Libertarians than Republicans. I think many Republicans have actually gotten away from those “core beliefs”.

  4. Ed C said

    #3 Freemarket – While the Republican’s may have stayed from the “true path” 😉 I still think we are far and away the better party than the “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” mindset of the Democrats. We currently have a two-party system (for better or worse.) About the only thing that third-party candidates have succeeding in giving us is an elected offical at the other end of what their supporters belived in.

    Ralph Nadar most likely cost Gore the 2000 election. Who do you think the average Nadar-ite would have rather won, George Bush or Al Gore?

    Ross Perot gave us Bill Clinton elected with 43% of the popular vote. (Although I’m really ready to admit that I could be projecting here. I’d need some real solid – unbiased references to convince me otherwise) Some analysis of the Clinton/Bush/Perot vote says that Perot voters would have split evenly between Bush and Clinton. At the end of the day I believe that those moderate and conservative Perot voters would have rather had a second Bush or even a Dole/Kemp in 1996 term than eight years of Clinton.

  5. GinnyD said

    Ed C. I agree with you 100%. When people take the time to look at what the Republicans have accomplished they will reach the same conclusions.

  6. cynthia vaillancourt said

    Ed,
    I appreciate your willingness to acknowledge lapses in the execution of the “core Republican beliefs”.

    The disconnect between what I have always understood these “core beliefs” to be —- essentially what you have outlined —- and the practice of the last 25 years or so are astonishing to me.

    I wonder if you would continue your openness and candor to help me understand a couple of things.

    While I agree that the “can’t shoot straight” democratic party is an unsatisfying alternative to the “lapsed” republicans …. and agree that when it comes to the actual ballot box, supporting “third party” candidates often has the practical impact of electing the “worse”? of two evils…. and I can even understand an argument that says “I’d rather stay within the party and fight for it’s soul than simply abandon it”….

    what I find hard to understand is giving one’s tacit endorsement to the “lapses” by continuing to proclaim pride in the current group.

    How does a person who believes in limited government and honoring individual dignity, freedom, responsibility etc. square that with the ever reaching encroachments of a specific brand of religion’s tenets into the lives of individual Americans?

    Cindy V

  7. What a great conversation. I can’t articulate my position any better then Ed. I am in full agreement. FM. It doesn’t matter to me whether Republican’s and Libertarians share some core beliefs. The Libertarians go quite a bit further right than the GOP platform. Drug laws, tear gas, the FCC come to mind but I digress.

    I am proud to be a Republican and I wish we had more republicans in the republican part especially in leadership positions.

    The problem with republicans is not the rank and file – after all we helped put the democrats in control of congress. Please don’t translate our pride into blind support for the republican leadership.

    Alan Greenspan is a part of our club.

  8. Freemarket said

    Reading those “core values” I would think that Republicans would support civil unions (while letting the church regulate marriage) and let each couple make their own decisions on abortion. However, the Republican Party as a whole takes the opposite view.

    That is basically my problem with these “core values” flaunted by Republicans.

  9. cynthia vaillancourt said

    I agree with David that the “problem” is not generally with the rank and file – at least not most of the rank and file I know — I am very concerned, however, that the “rank and file” around here – (or those I know) are in many cases do not fully appreciate the damage being done with their “tacit” approval and in their name —- too bad voters don’t get a line item veto for their “own party’s agenda”.

    unfortunately – as soon as you pull that lever (for either party) the “leadership” takes that vote as a vote for their positions.

    a little revolution is in order, imho.

    cv

  10. John B. said

    Ed,

    I’m curious: are those “I believe” statements ones that you generated, or is it language that’s regularly used by the party? They’re great (and eye-opening), but they don’t reflect what I see on the national stage.

    If those are an agreed-upon explanation of the party’s identity, I’d love to see them repeated more often. I think that they could really help keep folks from simplifying things down to “red and blue.”

    If they’re NOT part of an agreed-upon statement, I think that you should start promoting the heck out of them 🙂

    John B.

  11. Freemarket said

    John B- I believe that Ed C. cut and pasted those right from the Howard County GOP website.

    http://www.hocogop.org/whatwebelieve.html

  12. Ed C said

    I should have included the link: Howard County Republican Party when I wrote the post. Not only are they on our Howard County Republican Party web site, many other Republican websites have the same message – try google 😉

  13. timactual said

    “If they’re NOT part of an agreed-upon statement, I think that you should start promoting the heck out of them”

    It might help if they started promoting them to the Republican candidates and office holders. I have been following such things for some years, and it seems these beliefs have been, as the saying goes, ‘more honored in the breach than the observance’.
    I, too, believe some things.
    I believe that I should support political candidates who share the beliefs listed above with time and money. I shall honor this belief when they honor their professed beliefs in the observance, rather than the breach.

  14. General Zod said

    This past weeks debate at Morgan State would of helped to mend the relationship between minorities and the Republican party but the leading candidates skipped out. Granted MD plays a small role if any during the primaries but skipping the debate made national headlines.

    Did anyone watch 60 Minutes this evening with Justice Thomas. It gave me a new appretiation for the guy.

    Zod

  15. cynthia vaillancourt said

    I wonder if 60 minutes will be giving equal time to Anita Hill.
    Cindy V

  16. General Zod said

    She will be on Good Morning America tomorrow morning.

    Zod

  17. cynthia vaillancourt said

    not quite prime time on 60 minutes – but then journalism just isn’t what it used to be.

    cindy v

  18. General Zod said

    Nothing was ever proven anyway. Why hash up old news? Journalists should have their hands occupied with the war and current issues not Anita Hill.

  19. cynthia vaillancourt said

    Seems to me Clarence Thomas is the one hashing up old news by addressing the matter in quite disparaging terms in his new book – then using the “assumed respect” of his office to go on national television and make statements that “good taste” or “decorum” — or previous agreement — keep the so-called journalists from questioning.

    If Thomas wants to finance an infomercial to sell his book that is one thing — but to use the access his office buys him to grind his personal ax in this way is offensive to me.

    I hope Anita Hill sues him for slander.

    Cindy V

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