The GOP's Newest Fake Controversy

Via Melinda Warner

This morning on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid commented that the current efforts to derail health care reform are similar to the type of obstructionism used to stop slavery over a century ago. The simple, historical analogy - that did not place blame on anyone - struck a nerve.

Unsurprisingly, prominent members of the GOP as well as conservatives from the blogosphere have jumped all over the comparison in the most blatant publicity grab we've seen from them in, well, hours.

Sen. Reid's comments were offensive to Sen. Coburn, felt irresponsible to Sen. Thune, and struck Sen. Chambliss as desperate. RNC Chairman Michael Steele said:

"Having made this disgraceful statement on the floor of the United States Senate, Mr. Reid should immediately apologize on the Senate floor to his colleagues, to his constituents, and to the American people...If he is going to stand by these statements, the Democrats must immediately reconsider his fitness to lead them."

Where was all this outrage with Rep. Michele Bachmann likened health care reform to slavery?

Right-wing blogger and Republican talking point machine Michelle Malkin tweeted:

Where to begin?

The various ideologies of the two major American political parties have changed greatly over the years. While the "Republican" party was, in fact, the party of Lincoln, it has since lost the mission of Lincoln. For it has been the Republican Party who has fought against ensuring basic rights for the LGBT community - to the extent of disgracing the memory of a murdered teen in front of his mother - the party who has continually attempted to prevent women from taking control of what happens to their bodies, the party who tries to defund programs that help Americans get back on their feet, and the party who can't see individuals behind one's ethnicity and religion.

The Republican Party has also, very recently, been guilty of using a false slavery smear tactic to attack President Obama.

It isn't the Democrats who are being desperate here - it's the Republicans.

As Steve Benen pointed out: "Republicans may not like being on the wrong side of history -- though, at this point, you'd think they'd be used to it..." Apparently not.

To support the claim that Republicans were actually the architects of civil rights, conservatives often point out that a “higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats supported the civil-rights bill.” But this ignores the “distinct split between Northern and Southern politicians” on the issue. When this is taken into account, the facts show that “in both the North and the South, Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act at a higher rate than the Republicans.”
(June 1, 1999) in the Washington Times, R.D. Davis, a member of the black leadership network Project 21 and a writer and radio talk show host in Huntsville, Ala., commented that, "History tends to unilaterally and falsely depict Republicans as racists when Southern Democrats truly deserved this title." In defense of his argument he cites the voting record of Democrats and Republicans on the 1964 Civil Rights Act. On this monumental piece of legislation, Republicans supported the bill 27-6 in the Senate (82%) and 138-34 in the House (80%) while Democrats supported the bill 46-21 in the Senate (69%) and 152-96 in the House (61%). On the surface it would indeed appear that the Republicans, and not the Democrats as commonly assumed, were the champions of civil rights in the 1960s.

However, a slightly more careful analysis of the Civil Rights Act voting record shows a distinct split between Northern and Southern politicians. Among the southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia), Senate Democrats voted 1-21 against the bill (5%) while Republicans voted 0-1 (0%). In the House, southern Democrats voted 7-87 (7%) while southern Republicans voted 0-10 (0%). Among the remaining states, Democrats voted 145-9 in favor of the bill (94%) while Republicans voted 138-24 for the bill (85%). In both the North and the South, Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act at a higher rate than the Republicans.


Matthew Coburn said... / Dec 7, 2009, 8:45:00 PM  

Awesome points! When I get into arguments with cons they always throw around the idiotic claim about the race card, how they're so tired of reverse-racism, tired of being called racists, blah blah blah... And then they pull out the old argument how the Democratic party was the party of repression and prejudice and pretend that it's still true! It's as if, to them, that the GOP had never come up with its southern strategy in the 60's.

J said... / Dec 8, 2009, 5:26:00 AM  

Nice North/South spin to get a number where Dems supported the bill at a higher rate...ignoring the fact that Everett Dirksen, a Republican, wrote and introduced the bill in the Senate.

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