GOP: Racist Party Still

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One of our conservative visitors is fond of referencing Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd as a former KKK member in the Senate. Sen. Byrd reformed himself half a lifetime ago and today is the most knowledgeable historian of the Senate and a champion of equal rights and racial equality. In other words, Byrd's history of being a KKK member is ancient history and has not been true of the Senate Historian for many decades. But this article is not about Senator Byrd. It is about the Grand Old Party and racism.

The Republican Party, many of whose supporters love to kick the aging Sen. Byrd's past around like a political football, today are running a self-declared and unabashed racist for election in 2004. The Republican Party of Tennessee has put forth James L. Hart who just won the primary for a congressional seat. Woody Baird of the Associated Press states:

Hart, 60, vows if elected to work toward keeping "less favored races" from reproducing or immigrating to the United States. In campaign literature, Hart contends that "poverty genes" threaten to turn the United States into "one big Detroit."
Now, it can hardly be an indictment against a political party if kooks create a candidacy under the party name. But, when the party supports kooks to the extent that they win, the party can and should be responsible for the kooks it supports. Sadly, Hart just won the primary and will race against a Democratic incumbent on November's ballot. If the GOP is sincere about its attempts to become a compassionate party, it will get out the vote for Democrats in opposition to their own party candidate. The Republican Party has been home to racists, who as conservatives, seek to conserve apartheid of the old South, and who defected from the Democratic Party when it championed civil rights. But, not all Republicans are racist. Or are they if they continue to support the GOP in light of such events as Hart's primary win? If Republicans don't support the Democrat incumbent for this seat, it will speak volumes at least about the GOP's committment to power at any cost.

And let's make no mistake. Some conservatives will argue that the national party has little control over a state's congressional race. That is simply not true. The GOP can and should threaten to halt funding now and in the future to the local GOP in Tennessee, and reject in public ads, Hart's bid to run as a Republican. The GOP can end Hart's bid before it gets off the ground and can demonstrate its unwillingness to umbrella such a candidate under their tent. Sadly, this will likely not occur. The GOP's grip on power is slipping in this country, and such actions would run contrary to the GOP's primary goal, power, not what is good for America. Hart's run for Congress will demonstrate that fact in all likelihood.

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Addendum:

After posting this article at WatchBlog a very civil discussion took place. One of the very conservative Republican writers at WatchBlog, Eric Simonson, actually contacted the GOP office in Tennessee and registered his complaint and asked that Hart's campaign receive no support from the GOP. The reply he got can be read in the comments to the WatchBlog article, and were encouraging. The GOP office indicated this man was not going to receive any support from the Republican Party in Tennessee.

I have been associated with Eric Simonson for about 6 months or more, and I can attest that he is an honest nemesis of mine. This lends credence to the concept that there are those in the Republican Party who truly oppose any kind of overt racism being condoned by their party.

But what is one to make of the GOP's stance against affirmative action? Their stance on "right to work" laws which while not sanctioning racist hiring and firing, do offer some measure of opportunity for racist employment practices to take place in relative safety.

And what of the GOP's stance on trial lawyers? Trial lawyers are the agents for those women and ethinic groups discriminated against by corporations. And what of the GOP's position on limiting or capping jury awards in civil suits, which would allow institutionalized racist employment practices to take place by minimizing the awards to a level of "cost of doing business" by large corporations.

I don't mean to say that the leaders of the GOP are racist. However, their policy positions seem to acknowledge that a significant portion of their membership and supporters at the polls are racist and accomodate them through policies to their liking.

Why else did the racist south jump the Democratic ship in the 60's and 70's after it backed Civil Rights legislation, to join the Republican Party, culminating in massive new voting rolls for the Republican Party during Reagan's run for office and tenure?

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on August 7, 2004 6:29 PM.

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