Rev. Wayne Perryman, of Seattle, a recovering Democrat, has pursued lawsuits against the Democratic Party on three occasions, seeking to win an apology for centuries of oppression, murder, mayhem, and bigotry directed against blacks. And although he and most of his fellow plaintiffs, and those who filed amicus briefs, are black, the courts have consistently ruled that blacks of today were not harmed by Democratic racism and lack “standing.” That has been the fate of Reverend Perryman’s most recent effort, dismissed by the court in recent days. Nevertheless, in spite of the court’s refusal to hear the case, it is time once again to help set the record straight.
In a Wall Street Journal editorial titled Whitewash, The racist history the Democratic Party wants you to forget, conservative columnist Bruce Bartlett taught ultra liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman a lesson that most small boys learn the hard way: when approaching an active hornets’ nest, it’s best not to poke at it with a stick… which is precisely what Krugman has done in his book, The Conscience of a Liberal.
As if borrowing shamelessly from Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative, were not enough, Krugman proceeded to turn what was clearly intended to be a serious book into a comic piece by tagging it with a blatant oxymoron. As Bartlett explains, Krugman attempted to make the case that “the political success of the Republican Party and the conservative movement over the past 40 years has resulted largely from their co-optation of Southern racists that were the base of the Democratic Party until its embrace of civil rights in the 1960s.”
Apparently Krugman has not ventured far from his ivory tower at the New York Times. If he had, he would know a bit more about the remnants of the Democrat Party south of the Mason-Dixon Line. He would understand that, during the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, southern Democrats with an ounce of gray matter, an ounce of human compassion, and more than an ounce of courage, switched to the Republican Party. Those who remained in the party occasionally wash and iron their white sheets and hoods and burn small crosses in their back yards… just to stay in practice.
Bartlett tells us that a key piece of evidence for Krugman’s mistaken notion is that, in Ronald Reagan’s first speech after accepting the 1980 Republican nomination, he expressed his support for “states’ rights.” To Krugman, and other liberals, this can only be code for a secret sympathy for southern racism.
“However,” Bartlett asks, “if a single mention of states’ rights 27 years ago is sufficient to damn the Republican Party for racism ever afterwards, what about the 200-year record of prominent Democrats who didn’t bother with code words? They were openly and explicitly pro-slavery before the Civil War, supported lynching and Jim Crow laws after the war, and regularly defended segregation and white supremacy throughout most of the 20th century.”
Bartlett then proceeds to offer some direct quotes from prominent Democrats:
“I hold that a Negro is not and never ought to be a citizen of the United States. I hold that this government was made on the white basis; made by the white men, for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and should be administered by white men and none others.” – Sen. Stephen A. Douglas (D., Ill.), 1858; Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, 1860.
“I am opposed to the practice of having colored policemen in the District (of Columbia). It is a source of danger by constantly engendering racial friction, and is offensive to thousands of Southern white people who make their homes here.”– Sen. Hoke Smith (D., Ga.), 1912; Appointed Secretary of the Interior by Grover Cleveland, 1893.
“Republicanism means Negro equality, while the Democratic Party means that the white man is supreme. That is why we Southerners are all Democrats.” – Sen. Ben Tillman (D., S.C.), 1906; Chairman, Naval Affairs Committee, 1913-19.
“The Negro as a race, in all the ages of the world, has never shown sustained power of self-development. He is not endowed with the creative faculty… He has never created for himself any civilization… He has never had any civilization except that which has been inculcated by a superior race. And it is a lamentable fact that his civilization lasts only so long as he is in the hands of the white man who inculcates it. When left to himself he has universally gone back to the barbarism of the jungle.” – Sen. James Vardaman (D., Miss.), 1914; Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources, 1913-19.
“I do not feel that it would be out of place to state to you here on this occasion that I know that without the support of the members of this organization I would not have been called, even by my enemies, the ‘Junior Senator from Alabama.’ ” – Hugo Black, accepting a life membership in the Ku Klux Klan upon his election to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from Alabama, 1926; Appointed to the United States Supreme Court by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937.
“I have never seen very many white people who felt they were being imposed upon or being subjected to any second-class citizenship if they were directed to a waiting room or to any other public facility to wait or to eat with other white people. Only the Negroes, of all the races which are in this land, publicly proclaim they are being mistreated, imposed upon, and declared second-class citizens because they must go to public facilities with members of their own race.” – Sen. Richard B. Russell Jr. (D., Ga.), 1961.
“I did not lie awake at night worrying about the problems of Negroes.” – Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, 1961.
“These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don’t move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there’ll be no way of stopping them, we’ll lose the filibuster and there’ll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It’ll be Reconstruction all over again.” – Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson (D., Texas), 1957; President of the United States, 1963-69.
“There is no warrant for the curious notion that Christianity favors the involuntary commingling of the races in social institutions. Although He knew both Jews and Samaritans and the relations existing between them, Christ did not advocate that courts or legislative bodies should compel them to mix socially against their will.” – Sen. Sam Ervin (D., N.C.), 1955; Chairman, Senate Watergate Committee, 1973-74; Chairman, Committee on Government Operations, 1971-75.
“I’m not going to use the federal government’s authority deliberately to circumvent the natural inclination of people to live in ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods… I have nothing against a community that’s made up of people who are Polish or Czechoslovakian or French-Canadian or blacks who are trying to maintain the ethnic purity of their neighborhoods.” – Gov. Jimmy Carter (D-GA), 1976; President of the United States, 1977-81.
“Everybody likes to go to Geneva. I used to do it for the Law of the Sea conferences and you’d find these potentates from down in Africa, you know, rather than eating each other, they’d just come up and get a good square meal in Geneva.” – Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC), 1993; Chairman, Senate Commerce Committee, 1987-95 and 2001-03; Candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, 1984.
“I am a former Kleagle [recruiter] of the Ku Klux Klan in Raleigh County… The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia. It is necessary that the order be promoted immediately and in every state in the union.” – Sen. Robert C. Byrd, 1946; Democratic Senator from West Virginia, 1959-2010; Senate Majority Leader, 1977-80 and 1987-88; Senate President Pro Tempore, 1989-95, 2001-03, 2007-2010.
Bonus quote: “It has of late become the custom of the men of the South to speak with entire candor of the settled and deliberate policy of suppressing the Negro vote. They have been forced to choose between a policy of manifest injustice toward the blacks and the horrors of Negro rule. They chose to disfranchise the Negroes. That was manifestly the lesser of two evils… The Republican Party committed a great public crime when it gave the right of suffrage to the blacks… So long as the Fifteenth Amendment stands, the menace of the rule of the blacks will impend, and the safeguards against it must be maintained.” – Editorial, “The Political Future of the South,” New York Times, May 10, 1900.
Has Mr. Krugman’s employer changed its editorial policy since 1900? As the citadel of bias and hypocrisy in journalism, the Times has been unerringly consistent in its refusal to condemn the blatant racism of Democrats, whether in the 19th, 20th, or 21st century. That being the case, before attempting to ascribe improper and unprovable motivations to southern Republicans, Mr. Krugman might want to spend a few hours in the basement of the Times, searching through the dusty archives to find a rare example of the Times’ condemnation of Democratic racism.