M.J. Rosenberg, a progressive, was speaking about why Americans support Israel. His contention is that America supports Israel because Americans hate Muslims. For context and to point out how stupid and hateful Americans (ie, conservatives) are, Rosenberg dropped this little gem concerning the electorate during the 1980's:
"The whole south shifts to the Republican Party over one issue, they don’t like black people…so you have the racism thing,.."
That is a lie. An outright lie. A known lie. A stupid lie.
How do I know? I worked the southern region when it went for Reagan, Republicans and conservatives at the federal level. As a researcher for the NRCC I had studied the issues, plus the whole votes and quotes thing and worked with candidates throughout the south in 1984 and it was not racism that shifted the south to the Republican Party.
The South had remained a solid Democrat stronghold following not just the War of Northern Aggression and their defeat, but especially following the humiliation of "Reconstruction" which purposely heaped scorn and shame on southerners at all levels. Their pride besmirched, the South reacted with a hatred of Republicans, Northerners and those they felt destroyed their lives. As Michelle Obama, they felt no pride in the country they were forced to be part of.
Enter Ronald Reagan and his "Let's Make America Great Again" message. In 1980 Reagan not only beat Jimmy Carter, he embarrassed Carter and those that thought like Carter. In what was supposed to be an election "too close to call" Reagan had a landslide. Carter was thought to be a quintessential southerner and his every action and manner had become an embarrassment to a large segment of the nation as well as in the south. This was when the South, as a voting bloc, started moving away from the Democrat Party.
By 1984, many waves of new thoughts were occurring which were personified by Reagan's "Morning in America" theme. President Ronald Reagan had tapped into the deep patriotism of the nation which deeply wanted a renewal of not just the American ideal, but also a renewal of faith in America by Americans. People had begun to believe again that America was an exception. That America was special.
The South still searching for a patriotism they could embrace started feeling the pull of Reagan's unabashed love for the United States of America. Ronal Reagan's America included the whole of the United States, not just a selected few nor did Reagan exclude people or regions of the country. This resonated with southerners who felt they had been ignored or ridiculed for generations and they did something they had not done in the past. They listened carefully to a Republican. What they heard, they liked which then allowed southerners to start listening to other Republicans running as state legislators, governors and federal offices such as Congress. They liked what they heard.
At the same time, the NRCC established a field staff broken out by regions of the country with regional strategies and tactics. The southern region, which I was a part of, was led by Jim Weber and he put in place a theory of campaigning that included southern voters in ways they had not been part of before. Republican candidates left their historically safe enclaves and actually spoke in democrat strongholds and asked for their votes. New campaign techniques traditionally not used in the south were employed and most importantly rank and file southerners were asked to become part of the process in political, financial and emotional terms. In short, they became engaged voters.
Did race play a part? Absolutely, because Democrats pushed back with messages of racism in an attempt to solidify their base which they felt included all southerners, especially confederate (battle) flag waving, truck driving whites. They had no idea that a storm of change was occurring in terms of political thought, economics, national identity and the long awaited resolution of southern historical identity.
The South went Republican. As Reagan before them, southerners began to say, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the party left me." Reagan spoke to the rising southern middle class with his message of fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget and cutting taxes. Many politicos say that white southerners rebelled against the Democrat embracement of the Civil Rights movement, when in fact it was Democrats that filibustered and voted against civil rights legislation which was supported by Republicans. To say that southerners rebelled against LBJ's cynical civil rights programs may be correct, but to say they rebelled against civil rights by supporting the party that passed civil rights is a tad shallow. LBJ's 1964 Civil Rights Act would have been defeated if not for Republicans such as Evertt Dirkson who broke the filibuster to get it passed. While Dirksen stated, “When it comes to the rights of others, I don’t play politics. It is the right thing to do.”, LBJ was privately saying, according to Ron Kessler's book "Inside the Whitehouse", "I'll have them niggers voting Democrat for two hundred years."
The south did not switch to Republican because of racism. It is still a useful lie for Democrats to say so, but it is still a lie.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s announcement came as a surprise to those of us familiar with the bill, which added to Subtitle D of the Internal Revenue Code a new Chapter 48, whose first section (Section 5000A) is titled, “REQUIREMENT TO MAINTAIN MINIMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE” (see p. 126; all-caps in original). Subparagraph (b)(3) even provides for “PAYMENT OF PENALTY” if you don’t comply with the “REQUIREMENT.”