Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Race, Revisionism, and the GOP

Bob Herbert calls out the GOP for 40 years of using racism as an electoral strategy.

Gateway Pundit, in what he must have thought was a devastating takedown, posts a timeline (originally from National Review) of all the good and beneficent things Republicans have done for The Negro...and it pretty much ends in 1964.

I say 'pretty much' ends, because there are a handful of post-1964 events--just not many of them. The two substantive entries:

June 29, 1982: President Ronald Reagan signed a 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965....

November 2, 1983: President Reagan established Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday, the first such honor for a black American.
Reagan, of course, opposed the King holiday, and signed the bill only after it passed by veto-proof majorities. I can't find a vote count for the VRA extension, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the Republicans pushing hardest for it...and there was definitely opposition within the Reagan administration. So apart from a few prominent minority hires (Powell and Rice, of course), there's really nothing after 1964.

That would be 43 years ago.

Boy, Gateway Pundit sure showed that Bob Herbert, didn't he?

Look, all the Reconstruction-era anecdotes and all the gibes at Senator Byrd's regrettable past are never going to change the perception that the GOP is hostile to African-Americans, for the simple reason that the GOP is hostile to African-Americans. (Maybe it's a racist thing, and maybe it's opportunism; I don't think it pays to make that distinction.) That's been their electoral strategy for 40 years, and (let's face it) it's mostly worked for them. Whining about being called on it is just fucking pathetic.