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Clinton and the Democrats selective memory about civil rights legislation
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Says Hillary Clinton:
“Over this past week, there has been a lot of discussion, much of which I know does not reflect what is in our hearts. And at this moment, I believe we must seek common ground.

“Our party has been on the front line of every civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, workers’ rights movement and other movements for justice in America.”
Well not exactly. You see, it was "your" party which gutted the fist attempt at civil rights legislation brought by a Republican administration:
The first major problem confronting the Eisenhower civil rights bill was the Senate Judiciary Committee and its strongly segregationist chairman, James O. Eastland of Mississippi. Eastland had used his powers as committee chairman to kill every civil rights bill that came to the committee during the 1950s. Eastland and his Judiciary Committee thus were famous as the "burial ground" in the Senate for civil rights bills.

The strategy devised in 1957 for bypassing the Senate Judiciary Committee was used repeatedly with civil rights bills during the 1960s. The House-passed civil rights bill was intercepted at the moment a clerk carried it over to the Senate from the House of Representatives. Before the bill could be routed to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate leadership took the bill and put it directly on the Senate calendar for debate at a future time.

The vote to bypass the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1957 received only lukewarm support from Democratic senators. Only ten of them voted to bring the bill directly to the Senate floor for debate. The Republicans in the Senate were virtually unanimous in their support for the 1957 bypass motion, however, and that support is what enabled it to be narrowly adopted. Senate Republicans probably supported the bypass motion so strongly because it was a Republican president's civil rights bill.

This technique for bypassing the Senate Judiciary Committee, pioneered in the Eisenhower years, was quite well established by 1964. When the bill that became the Civil Rights Act of 1964 reached the Senate from the House, the southerners decided to filibuster the motion to bypass the Judiciary Committee. Incredibly to civil rights supporters, this southern filibuster of the motion to bypass the committee lasted for almost three weeks. Then the filibuster of the civil rights bill itself began.
Those identified as 'southerners' were Democrats. And of course, Democrats like to pretend they really weren't "Democrats" because some later became Republicans. But when the Eisenhower civil rights bill was in Congress, it was Democrats who were doing the filibustering.

And what they accomplished was removing the most important section of the bill, Section III, which allowed the attorney general to file suits in civil rights cases. Democrat Richard B. Russell of Georgia said:
"The bill is cunningly designed to vest in the attorney general unprecedented power to bring to bear the whole might of the federal government, including the armed forces if necessary, to force a commingling of white and Negro children in the state supported schools of the South."
Couldn't have that, now, could we? And after successfully having Section III removed Russell called the removal of that section, "the sweetest victory in my twenty-five years as a senator."

But was the Eisenhower Civil Rights bill of 1957 a failure. Not at all:
President Eisenhower's 1957 Civil Rights Act should not be regarded as a failure, however. The new law established a Civil Rights Commission to study racial problems in the United States and, based on the results of the study, make recommendations to Congress. In 1961 the Commission issued a major report to Congress thoroughly documenting the effects of racial segregation and oppression in the South. The Commission's findings served as the basis for the Kennedy administration civil rights bill that eventually became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Equally important in the 1957 Civil Rights Act was the creation of the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice. Under both President Kennedy and President Johnson, the Civil Rights Division worked to further the civil rights of blacks in the American South and sought to reduce the conflict and violence produced by civil rights demonstrations. Under the leadership of Assistant Attorney General Burke Marshall, a Kennedy appointee, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department accomplished many important civil rights tasks in the early 1960s.
And lest we forget:
In both 1964 and 1965, pro-civil rights forces adopted the strategy that a meaningful civil rights bill would have to undergo a determined southern filibuster in the Senate and that filibuster would have to be ended by a successful cloture vote (2/3 of senators present and voting).
Those filibusters were led by Democrats.

Then there's the 1960 civil rights bill (introduced by the Eisenhower administration) which met the same fate as the 1957 civil rights bill.

Defeated by Democrats.

And the 1964 Civil Rights Act? The one Hillary Clinton is bragging about being the work of LBJ? Well not exactly. Against staunch Democratic opposition, it became the law of the land for one reason and one reason only:
The Senate filibuster was overcome through the floor leadership of Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, the considerable support of President Lyndon Johnson, and the efforts of Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois, who convinced Republicans to support the bill.
Republican support put the bill over the top and made it the law of the land, breaking the back of Democratic segregationists. No Republican support, no 1964 Civil Right's Act. But Democrats don't like to remind voters of that if they can help it - especially black voters.

If Clinton is going to use history to bolster her campaign rhetoric, it would be nice if she'd use it accurately.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
And then there’s one of my favorites, The wonderful Alabama Gov. who used troops to "keep out them darkies".
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
There was also an Arkansas Governor who did the much the same.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Quote from article:
When the bill that became the Civil Rights Act of 1964 reached the Senate from the House, the southerners decided to filibuster the motion to bypass the Judiciary Committee.

To which McQ replies:
Those identified as ’southerners’ were Democrats. And of course, Democrats like to pretend they really weren’t "Democrats" because some later became Republicans.
emp added

Not even some, to my knowledge. Just one, Strom Thurmond.
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
"
If Clinton is going to use history to bolster her campaign rhetoric, it would be nice if she’d use it accurately. "

You used Clinton and the word accurately in the same sentence. Come now. You must know that those two words dont go together.

For the Clintons accuracy is whatever they want it to mean at the time. Of course the same "fact" that was accurate when they say it means one thing one day and something totally different the next when they need it to mean something else.

 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
You used Clinton and the word accurately in the same sentence. Come now. You must know that those two words dont go together.
He’s got you there, McQ...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Details, schmeeetails... who wants to take the time to accurately remember history?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
And wasn’t LBJ fairly high in the Senate during the Eisenhower years? /sarcasm
 
Written By: Crusader
URL: http://www.coalitionoftheswilling.net
Not only did Dems block Republican sponsored civil rights bills in 1957 and 1960 (having earlier blocked Republican sponsored anti-lynching legislation), Republicans voted in higher percentages than Dems for the 1964 civil rights act and subsequent 1965 voters rights act. Goldwater’s opposition to the ’64 act created grist for the Democrat lie that Republicans are the enemies of civil rights, when the facts are the complete opposite.

Some southern Dems may have moved to the Republican party as the Dems became more radicalized with the anti-war movement, but most southern Dems of that era stayed "yellow dog" Democrat.
 
Written By: Darrell
URL: http://
And the Republican party maintained it’s (admirable) dedication to civil rights, right? Or, as happened in the real world, did both parties undergo a transformation where the southern Dems found their way to the Republican party and the northeastern liberal Republicans found their way to the Democratic party. And the Republican party began to pander to the most horrible racial elements, discussing welfare queens and embracing the southern strategy.

What is consistent is that it was the liberals pushing the most for racial equity and the conservatives the strongest against it. It’s just odd from today’s perspective that many of the liberals were Republicans and the conservatives were Democrats.

Sen. Clinton was not accurate at all, but let’s not pretend that the reason why black voters overwhelmingly vote Democratic doesn’t have something to do with the two parties and their posture towards race in the last 30 years. It’s no coincidence that the black Republican "running" for president is Alan Keyes while the black person on the Democratic side is Barack Obama. One is a smidge more legit than the other. And by smidge I mean a billion times more.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Or, as happened in the real world, did both parties undergo a transformation where the southern Dems found their way to the Republican party and the northeastern liberal Republicans found their way to the Democratic party
I don’t disagree with the transformation, but your wrong on why. Most racist Dems stayed yellow-dog Dem. The south didn’t consistently vote Republican on the presidency until Reagan 15 years later, and they kept the statehouses mostly Democrat through the 90’s.

You dismiss without argument the revulsion of Southerners and other Americans (particularly in the midwest and west) toward the Democrats’ lurch toward anti-war, anti 2nd amendment, and pro welfare policies which you dishonestly attribute all to racism. When you run George McGovern as your party’s President, you’re going to do permanent damage to your support. You blame it all on racism Oliver, because you’re a vile race baiter yourself.
 
Written By: Darrell
URL: http://
You blame it all on racism Oliver, because you’re a vile race baiter yourself.
...and you’re shouting at the wind. Don’t blame Oliver. He cut and pasted that excerpt from one of his heroes. It’s what he’d paid to do. Don’t attack the parrot.
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
All the history lectures you want to give are not going to counter the fact that "George Bush doesn’t care about black people."
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
"George Bush doesn’t care about black people."
Wonderful, when he’s up for re-election as President let me know, umkay?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
You won’t see that much. Somebody out-stupided Filet-O-Fish in the same thread.

Nice going, Retief. I wasn’t sure that could be done but I see it can.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
Wow. Retief sounds like Joe. That is, Joe when the inner lefty kook is in charge.

Bush fired the black general but kept the black woman. Maybe Retief or Joe or whomever can wrap this up with some reference to slavery and sexual domination.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://

Oliver says: "It’s no coincidence that the black Republican "running" for president is Alan Keyes while the black person on the Democratic side is Barack Obama. One is a smidge more legit than the other. And by smidge I mean a billion times more."


Said as if Al Sharpton has never graced the national stage as presidential ’hopeful’. Or is it ’legit’ to smear feces on a teen, then try and frame an innocent man for the crime?
 
Written By: doubled
URL: http://
Don, in that instance, I’m pretty sure Retief was being sarcastic...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Interesting, up to a point, but not particularly relevant in 2007. Might also note in passing that Barry Goldwater, Republican presidential nominee of 1964, was against the amendment.

African-American voters can and have decided for themselves which party of the two is more committed to racial equality, these days. When they change their mind, I’ll reconsider the issue..
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Willis:
It’s no coincidence that the black Republican "running" for president is Alan Keyes while the black person on the Democratic side is Barack Obama. One is a smidge more legit than the other. And by smidge I mean a billion times more.
I give up. Which one?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Northeast liberals, to their credit, broke the hold of the Southern Democrats on the Party. The Civil Rights Act, as McQ points out, passed because Everett Dirksen had the Senate Republicans largely on board with Northern Democrats.

As a result, in 1968, George Wallace, a segregationist Democratic, won most of the deep South. Hubert Humphrey won Texas. As Pat Buchanan, who worked with Nixon on that campaign, which ended with a narrow popular vote victory for Nixon, Wallace’s vote came largely at Humphrey’s expense.

Most of the Southern segregationist Democratic Senators who tried to kill the Civil Rights Act died as Democrats. They include Bill Clinton’s mentor William Fullbright, Watergate "hero" Sam Ervin, Richard Russell (after whom the Democrats named the Senate office building), Herman Talmadge, and so on.

Nixon, to his credit, aggressively pursued the desegregation of Southern schools during his first term, the first president to do so and the one who had the most impact. It didn’t hurt him in the South in ’72. He won the South, and the rest of the country on his way to a 49-state landslide.

I say that as no great fan of Nixon. But I think his efforts at desegregation were admirable.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Interesting, up to a point, but not particularly relevant in 2007. Might also note in passing that Barry Goldwater, Republican presidential nominee of 1964, was against the amendment.
Yes, but from a libertarian perspective the act (not amendment) has some fundamental failings. There are sufficient reasons to oppose it that don’t require racism.
African-American voters can and have decided for themselves which party of the two is more committed to racial equality, these days. When they change their mind, I’ll reconsider the issue..


The problem is that they decided that in ’64, and it isn’t clear that they have seriously reconsidered since. Hence this whole point does have relevence in 2008 (or 2007, if you are a bit behind).
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Might also note in passing that Barry Goldwater, Republican presidential nominee of 1964, was against the amendment.
Actually, that "passing note" had already been stated by me earlier this afternoon upthread. Ironic that Goldwater opposed the 1964 act, as his civil rights cred was impeccable. He had supported earlier civil rights acts, and more noteworthy, he had ordered desegregation of the AZ national guard before the US army desegregated. Not that any of this matters to lying race baiters on the left trying to rewrite history.

Excellent comments from M. McPhillips.
 
Written By: Darrell
URL: http://
"Ironic that Goldwater opposed the 1964 act, as his civil rights cred was impeccable"

If I recall correctly, his opposition was based on what he considered to be the unconstitutional expansion of federal power at the expense of the states.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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