Posted by: JanF | August 31, 2013

Republican Outrageousness: Mona-maniacal Rantings

Ordinarily, my advice for progressives is to not react to every outrageous thing that Republicans say because, really, there is too much of it and we Democrats have better things to do (eg, laser-like focus on 2014). You may have also noticed that right-wing pundits are increasingly writing for each other (sentient human beings having pretty much tuned them out) so there is both little new and little of value.

But every once in a while, I read something that is so flabbergastingly outré that it rises above “someone is wrong on the Internet” to “what the HECK is wrong with that person???”.

A bizarre column by Mona Charen deserves more than to simply be laughed at: it needs to be debunked.

The title alone, March on Republicans, tells you that your brain will soon be assaulted by fact-free drivel.

And sure enough, it starts out by bemoaning who was NOT invited to the Let Freedom Ring Rally, the gathering to commemorate the “I Have A Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. … a speech which called for economic justice and giving all people a chance at the American dream.

From Charen’s keyboard:

The speakers roster featured the usual suspects: Benjamin Jealous, Sidney Poitier, Julian Bond, Randi Weingarten, Caroline Kennedy, Al Sharpton, Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and President Obama.

The organizers didn’t see fit to invite Justice Clarence Thomas or Sen. Tim Scott (a Republican).

The outrage! How dare those Democrats (“those people“?) choose to honor a man whose life long goal ran counter to everything that the modern Republican party stands for?? And they did not invite Supreme Court Justice Clarence “I hate black people” Thomas or US Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)!! Oh, except that they did invite Tim Scott. He declined to attend. Facts, schmacts!! We don’t need no stinkin’ facts … we’re Republicans!!

She blathers on continues:

But while many Democrats have spent the last 50 years dining out on the glories of 1965 and attempting to throw figurative white sheets over the heads of Republicans, Republicans have been searching for solutions to the post-civil rights era problems plaguing black America. Who has been in the forefront of what many have called “the civil rights issue of our time” — the schools? Republican governors like Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Mary Fallin and Bob McDonnell have championed some form of school choice program for low-income students.

She also sings her praises of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (sponsors of the writings of Charles Murray and “The Bell Curve”, one of the worse racist screeds in a half-century), and John Walton (“My Walmart workers don’t need a living wage! Let them collect food stamps and Medicaid!!”). But, really? Lionizing Governors Jindal, Bush, Daniels, Walker, Christie, Kasich, Fallin, and McDonnell? That sounds like a rogues gallery of the Teaparty Neglectocracy: those giving full-throated support for neglecting those who are hungry, homeless, in need of medical care … or who just want to find a job in these harsh economic times. That brand of “buy yourselves a bootstrap and pull yourself up, you lazy things!” conservatism might work to motivate your base to vote for more and meaner Republicans. But it is not going to get you an invitation to the celebration of a speech calling for economic justice. And school vouchers shoveling tax money into private religious and for-profit schools as the cure-all for what ails black America? Well, of course they are! And Health Savings Accounts are the answer to not having enough money to take your kid to a doctor. Insert eyeroll and an extra heaping of scorn here.

But I digress.

Why do Democrats harken back to 1965? Because that era is when the laws of the land finally started catching up to the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation.

To Charen’s claim that “more Republicans voted for the civil rights laws than Democrats”, I call bulldung.

In 1964 and 1965, most of the “Republicans” who voted for the civil rights laws were Northern Republicans, now all but gone (:::waves to Susan Collins:::). Many of the “Democrats” who voted against were Southern Democrats, the group which became the basis for the modern Republican party.

You want to know what happened? Those Southern Democrats were so enraged that Lyndon Johnson and Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that they left the Democratic party and embraced Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Richard Nixon in 1968 and Ronald Reagan in 1980. A history lesson:

Barry Goldwater, 1964 , the darling of the John Birch Society, running as a racist: From Chapter 23 of MLK’s autobiography “The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism. All people of goodwill viewed with alarm and concern the frenzied wedding at the Cow Palace of the KKK with the radical right. The “best man” at this ceremony was a senator whose voting record, philosophy, and program were anathema to all the hard-won achievements of the past decade. It was both unfortunate and disastrous that the Republican Party nominated Barry Goldwater as its candidate for President of the United States.”

Richard Nixon, 1968, who ran on the Southern Strategy: “… the Republican Party’s strategy of gaining political support or winning elections in the Southern United States by appealing to racism against African Americans.”

Ronald Reagan, 1980, who kicked off his campaign in Philadelphia Mississippi by dog whistling “states rights”: “During the heyday of the African-American civil rights movement, the term “states’ rights” was used as a code word by defenders of segregation. In 1948 it was the official name of the “Dixiecrat” party led by white supremacist presidential candidate Strom Thurmond.”.

THAT is the legacy of Charen’s “Democrats” who voted against the civil rights laws. And, you, modern Republicans, destroyed the Republican party of Margaret Chase Smith and Dwight Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller and threw those white sheets over yourselves.

Let me repeat that: you threw those white sheets over yourselves.

Just like those who screamed when Republican union-bashers were not invited to Labor Day parades, your outrage about Republicans being disrespected by not being invited to honor Dr. King is simply outrageous.

You can cherry-pick history all you want but you can’t rewrite it. And you can’t demand a place at the podium … it has to be earned.