He "opposed civil rights"? Uh, no. He opposed a particular vision of them.Yes, Helms opposed the 'particular vision' of civil rights that rejected white supremacy. White supremacist civil rights he was okay with. More...
Digging around some more, I found a whole lot of extravagant praise for the guy. At The Corner, there wasn't a single disparaging word about him. The Heritage Foundation called him "a truly great American and champion of freedom". Ben Domenech hailed him as "a warrior and a patriot". To Robert Bluey, he was a "great man and true conservative champion".
Helms had one or two things to say himself, of course. Back in the '60s, for example, he said this:
No intelligent Negro citizen should be insulted by a reference to this very plain fact of life. It is time to face honestly and sincerely the purely scientific statistical evidence of natural racial distinction in group intellect. ... There is no bigotry either implicit or intended in such a realistic confrontation with the facts of life. ... Those who would undertake to solve the problem by merely spending more money, and by massive forced integration, may be doing the greatest injustice of all to the Negro.And then of course there's our own Flightsuit Boy, pre-eulogizing Helms back in 2005:
Throughout his long public career, Senator Helms has been a tireless advocate for the people of North Carolina; a stalwart defender of conservative values of limited government and individual liberty; an unwavering champion of those struggling for freedom; and a fearless defender of a culture of life.Or, in the corrected version:
Throughout his long public career, Senator Helms has been a tireless advocate for the white people of North Carolina; a stalwart defender of conservative values of limitedWhat else can they say? Helms helped to make the Republican party what it is today. To anathematize him would be to reject everything they stand for.
governmentregulation of business and individual liberty for white people; an unwavering championopponent of those struggling for freedom; and a fearless defender of a culture of lifefemale subjugation.
The Republicans are now running against a popular and charismatic candidate who stands a better than even chance of becoming the first African-American president. You think they wish they had someone just like Jesse Helms on their side today?
You bet your ass they do.