Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Sunday | December 22, 2002

GOP hammered on race

This is good news. Lest the GOP try to whitewash it's record on race now that Lott has stepped down, a coalition of civil rights groups are still working to expose the GOP's record on race.

When Sen. Trent Lott crumpled to the canvas after taking a beating over his remarks, civil rights leaders and black politicians who fought to knock the Mississippi Republican down did not celebrate but looked to broaden their attack to the rest of his party.

Acting almost as one, the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and other groups sent a flurry of telephone calls, faxes and e-mail announcements saying that Lott's resignation from the Senate leadership might have changed the party's face, but not its soul.

I'm willing to buy the argument that not all conservatives are racists, just the "paleo-conservatives" -- the old guard. Problem is, it's the "paleos" that are in charge. And all conservatives reap the rewards of a party that owes its current dominance to race-based southern strategies -- be it "state rights", or the Confederate flag, or statements such as this one:
... "in some areas of the South, in Charlotte and everywhere else, there are people who get rubbed the wrong way and think, 'We've got to bend over backwards; we've got to integrate' and things like that." [-- NC Rep. Cass Ballenger]
If the GOP wants to honestly rid itself of its racist element, then it should do so clearly and unequivocally.

GOP candidates should clearly repudiate the racist vote. In the South, they should clearly disavow the Confederate flag and the evils it stands for. Heck -- if Republicans want to discuss patriotism, what is more anti-American than the flag of the rebels who sought to destroy the US? If Republicans want to talk about "state rights", then they should fully embrace the concept, including Oregon's Right-to-Die law and California's pot clinics.

And, while there may be many southerners who bitch about "integrating", GOP candidates should look those people in the eyes and say straight up, "I don't want your vote."

Lott stepping down, by itself, is just a first step.

Posted December 22, 2002 09:34 PM | Comments (27)


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