Noted for May 17, 2013
L'Esprit de l'Escalier: May 17, 2013

John Holbo Reads National Review for the Kevin Williamson Humor Centerfold...

John Holbo on Kevin Williamson:

Minority Outreach Report: It’s the comments that get me, and make me sorry for all the times I’ve said, ‘A-ha! so there are two Confusatrons!’ rather than saving that line for a more special occasion…. The inability of conservatives to keep their alternative reality stories straight is inducing a kind of minority outreach-as-Crisis On Infinite Earths continuity collapse. There’s our world – call it Earth-1… in which Dems got better on civil rights in the 60’s, and Republicans got worse. The Southern Strategy. Then there’s Williamson’s World – sort of like Earth-3, a reverse earth… [where] the parties reverse realigned. LBJ and the Democrats fought against civil rights, right through the 60’s, but Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Lee Atwater teamed up to stop them. But there’s also… Earth-1 Bizarro World, where everything is like it is in our world, only civil rights bad, so the Republicans are the heroes and the Dems the villains on civil rights in the 60’s. Last but not least, you have Earth-3 Bizarro World, where… Republicans have championed civil rights all along – but that’s wrong, not right! It shows how Republicans have betrayed their base!

In comments, near as I can score it, Williamson is fighting a three-front war, trying to stop an incursion of Democrats/historians from Earth-1 into Earth-3, while also trying to keep Bizarros from both Bizarro Worlds at bay. Plus I’m convinced that at least a quarter of the contributors to the thread are false-flag trolls….

[I am] grateful we’ve got Williamson.

And Belle Waring adds:

Everyone click through to skim the bullshit and read the comments, in which the author is, indeed, fighting a hilarious two-front war against a) people with a firmer grip on reality who note that the Republican Party has not been a beacon to the world in its support for civil rights since…er… OK, say, 1945 and b) Republicans saying, “we sure as hell weren’t the party of civil rights in the past, and we’re not now either. I, personally, hate black people. F#@$ a bunch of black people. Seriously, I just clicked over here from Steve Sailer’s site and I’m outraged that the escutcheon of the GOP should be besmirched by your association of Barry Goldwater with Negroes.”

Kevin Williamson's comments on his own post:

  • Sixty and seventy years ago? The Democrats kept a Klansman in the Senate until 2010.
  • Interesting thing about Thurmond: He did switch to the GOP -- and he was the only one of the segregationist Democrats who had tried to strangle the civil-rights bills in the Senate to do so. The rest of them felt quite at home, still, in the Democratic party. Interesting, no?
  • Somebody should dispute that, because it is not true. Republicans began losing black voters in the 1930s as a consequence of the New Deal, not in the 1960s as a consequence of CRA1964.
  • Assertion is not documentation. Black voting trends in that direction already were well under way before 1964.
  • Yes, I understand: Of what possible use could the truth be?
  • Truman won 77 percent of the black vote, and the majority of black voters were Democrats by the 1940s.
  • How is it possible to define "mainstream" in a way that excludes a city councilman, longtime senator, and presidential nominee [Goldwater] of a major political party?
  • That's a silly standard. Applied to the presidential election of 1984, it would suggest that former vice president Walter Mondale and his party were somehow "outside the mainstream," which they weren't, and that the mainstream was 90-percent is Reagan's camp, which it isn't and wasn't. Presidential elections are a choice between A and B, competing currents in the mainstream.
  • Goldwater suffered a much smaller defeat than did Mondale. Is Mondale four times as far outside the mainstream?
  • ACORN most certainly still exists. It has only changed its name.
  • "You think you're going to win today's campaigns by re-litigating yesterday's battles?" The truth is the truth, regardless of whether it is of any use to a campaign consultant in 2016.
  • Thurmond's famous filibuster was against the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Goldwater voted for that bill, which was passed.
  • If you're so hardworking, how come you need a political party to "support you"? Ask not what your country can do for you . . .
  • "So how does the story of school desegregation end?" Nobody knows yet. We still have segregated schools.
  • "But do minorities actually inhabit those "celestial" environs in numbers there?" Yes, you clown. Walk down a sidewalk, for Pete's sake.
  • No, you're talking about the eighth-most-exclusive part of New York, after Soho, Tribeca, Flatiron, Manhattan Beach, the West Village, Battery Park City, and Midtown. You, sir, are a boob.
  • Well, how many choices do you reckon there are?
  • Horsepucky. God knows I have my complaints about Newt Gingrich, but joining the GOP to promote segregation? No. You might almost have a point about Thurmond -- and I do wish the GOP had never welcomed him. But he left the party that had worked endlessly to block civil-rights legislation to join the party that had worked to pass it--Republicans supported the 1964 act to a significantly greater extent than Democrats had. If opposition to civil rights was really his motivation for switching parties, it was an odd strategy: Going from the more anti-black party to the more pro-black party.
  • "The reality is that the entire resurgence of the GOP that started with Nixon was motivated by whites who didn't want to be around blacks, not just in the South, but everywhere. At the time, everyone knew it. You can't spin that away." This is demonstrably untrue. There has been a good deal of scholarly attention paid to the period, and the fact is that the white southerners who began voting Republican were disproportionately middle-class and suburban, i.e. the voters with the least identification with racist politics. Poor whites in cities and rural areas, who tended to harbor the most racist political attitudes, continued to vote Democratic for a generation. As you would expect them to.
  • "The fact that working class Southerners were slower to shift to the GOP only shows the importance of economic issues for these voters, it does not prove that middle class newly minted GOP voters were not largely motivated by race." Translation: "The facts do not support but claim, but that's okay: I can read minds!"
  • Warren was wrong about a lot of things, but he was right about some important things. Conservatives in the 1950s were wrong about a lot of things, but they were right about some important things. Great men such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi were right about some important things but had absolutely crazy ideas about lots of other things (economics, for example). Bill Buckley was wrong about segregation in the 1950s, and he came to realize that. But he was right about a great many very important things. Can we really, honestly say as much of Lyndon Baines Johnson, Teddy Kennedy, or John Kenneth Galbraith? Or the large body of American liberals who favored Stalin and his epigones? Casual anti-Semites like Jesse Jackson? I do not think so.
  • "One of the many weird things about your continuing line of argument here is your insistence on defending certain former segregationists, like Buckley, by pointing to a later change of heart - while at the same time you keep hating on those former segregationists who happened to be Democrats." The difference is, WFB changed his mind. LBJ did not. Byrd did not. Gore did not. Fulbright did not. The institutional base of the party in Congress did not--not until the GOP took it apart in 1994.
  • "(a) you don't actually develop any historical evidence to back up your own key claims (like the one about LBJ supposedly backing Great Society legislation as an expression of his persistent racism) and" I wrote a little book about the subject, which you should read. "you avoid dealing with obvious counterarguments - such as: why would almost all black voters somehow fail or refuse to recognize what you claim to have recognized, about Democrats still being racists, and Republicans being their true friends?" Which would be a sensible criticism if not for the fact--as I keep reiterating--black voters abandoned the GOP in presidential campaigns in the 1920s, and by the 1940s a majority of blacks were Democrats. The proximate cause of blacks' change in party affiliation was not civil rights; it was the New Deal. But while I do not think that this is the case in this instance, it is far from impossible, in my view, for large slices of the electorate to be bamboozled into voting for crooks, half-wits, and thieves. Consider the voting records of Wall Street professionals in 2008, or the entire city of New York, Connecticut, Louisiana most of the time. Hell, I give you the District of Columbia. Voters are fools.
  • Yeah, all those Arabs in the Israeli parliament should have an exchange program with all the Jews in the Jordanian parliament. Oh, wait . . . In all seriousness, if anybody believes a word of the horsepucky the clown above is trying to spread here, start with the Wikipedia article on the status of Arabs in Israel, and then go to the cited sources. A reasonably evenhanded treatment of a much-lied-about subject. Now, get off my web site, troll.
  • What? Making is singular, and it is singular.
  • "when the only feats of your party that merit praise in the area of race include nobody who was around AFTER 6 DECADES ago - you KNOW you have a problem." And what exactly have the Democrats done for African-Americans, before or after 1964?