Big business to GOP: ‘No fools on our ticket’

Looks like the political world is about to have a civil war. But it’s being narrowed to one party (from the Wall Street Journal):

Republican leaders and their corporate allies have launched an array of efforts aimed at diminishing the clout of the party’s most conservative activists and promoting legislation instead of confrontation next year.

GOP House leaders are taking steps to impose discipline on wavering committee chairmen and tea-party factions. Meanwhile, major donors and advocacy groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads, are preparing an aggressive effort to groom and support more centrist Republican candidates for Congress in 2014’s midterm elections. …

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce early next year plans to roll out an aggressive effort—expected to cost at least $50 million—to support establishment, business-friendly candidates in primaries and the general election, with an aim of trying to win a Republican Senate majority.

“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said the business group’s top political strategist, Scott Reed. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”

Any idea how this is going to work? You can’t stop fools from running. And you can’t stop fools from voting for them.

Meanwhile (via the Arizona Evening Star):

PHOENIX — Republican gubernatorial hopeful Al Melvin is using quotes from Abe Lincoln in his running fight with President Obama and his policies.

The problem: The 16th president never said the things about class warfare Melvin is quoting.

For example, in postings last week on Twitter, the state senator from Tucson wrote, “You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.” That quote, Melvin said, came from Lincoln.

Ditto for a quote of, “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich,” and “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.”

None of these came from Lincoln, Brooks Simpson, a professor of history at Arizona State University, said when asked about the quotes by Capitol Media Services.

“I can tell you that these quotes are spurious,” Simpson said. “They do not appear in Lincoln’s writings or in his recollected words.”

Seems the “no fools” strategy is off to a rocky start.


Rand Paul visits a school full of colored people

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY).

Sen. Rand Paul  (R-Ky.). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past week, Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky, went to Howard University in Washington to talk to students at the predominantly black university about civil rights.

Hilarity ensued.

Here’s one of the things the sopping teabagger did to endear himself to the students, according to ABC News:

He asked the group if they knew that the founders of the NAACP were Republicans. The crowd seemed taken aback with one student even yelling, “We know our history.”

Of course students at a predominantly black university would know that when the NAACP was founded at the beginning of the 20th century, the leaders would be black Republicans. The Civil War had just ended just a few decades earlier and the Republican Party under Abraham Lincoln ended slavery. Democrats didn’t even welcome blacks into the party until the 1920s, according to Black people supported the Republican Party up until the FDR’s New Deal, but even then, the GOP was getting at least 30% of the black vote well into the 1950s. When Richard Nixon ran against John Kennedy in 1960, he got 32% of the African American vote.

But to go back more than 100 years to a time when the GOP was a completely different entity and pretend that nothing has changed either shows a total disconnect with reality, or a cynical attempt at distorting the present with a completely different past.

Paul, who spoke against the Civil Rights act during his 2010 Senate campaign, asked:

“How did the party that elected the first black U.S. senator, the party that elected the first 20 African American congressmen become a party that now loses 95 percent of the black vote?” Paul asked the Howard students. “How did the Republican Party, the party of the Great Emancipator, lose the trust and faith of an entire race? From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, for a century, most black Americans voted Republican. How did we lose that vote?”

Oh, I don’t know. Maybe by doing things like this, and like this, and like this, and this and this? And that’s just things Republicans have done in the past six months.

Not to mention stuff like this and this and this during the past presidential campaign.

So why does Rand Paul even end up at Howard?

The absurdist cynic in me thinks he got on the Metro’s Green Line and missed his stop.

The realist cynic in me knows he’s running for president and has to tick off the “speak to hostile black people in their environment” box to bolster his right-wing-bravery cred before primary season kicks in.

Bruce Bartlett on black voters

I just posted an item on Bruce Bartlett‘s essay on his exile from the Republican party. But there’s one section of his piece in the American Conservative that at best is naive and at worse is disingenuous.

Among the ideas he emphasizes to save the GOP from its lemming-like march over the cliff (not just the fiscal one): Have today’s Republicans appeal to the black community.

The best way to get Republicans to read a book about reaching out for the black vote, I thought, was to detail the Democratic Party’s long history of maltreatment of blacks. After all, the party was based in the South for 100 years after the war, and all of the ugly racism we associate with that region was enacted and enforced by Democratic politicians. …

I thought knowing the Democratic Party’s pre-1964 history of racism, which is indisputable, would give Republicans a story to tell when they went before black groups to solicit votes. I thought it would also make Republicans more sympathetic to the problems of the black community, many of which are historical in their origins.

How do I break this to him?

Yes, the pre-1964 Democratic Party was full of racists. Republicans were far more tolerant. Democratic congressmen from the South were the among the vilest bigots on the planet, and Republicans were hated in that region because of Abraham Lincoln’s Northern War of Aggression (Yeah, that’s what they call it down there, and they still hold a grudge).

But in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat and a Texan, got the Civil Rights Act through Congress. It passed because of Republican votes; southern Democrats were against it. No senator from the South voted for it. Tennessee Sen. Al Gore Sr., father of you-know-who, voted against it.

“According to Congressional Quarterly, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed the House 290-130, and Republican support for the bill was much stronger than Democratic: 61 percent (152-96) of the Democrats supported the legislation while 80 percent (138-34) of the Republicans backed it. These numbers were similar in the Senate — 69 percent of Democrats (46-21), backed the bill along with 82 percent of Republicans (27-6).”

Then in 1965, Johnson pushed through the Voting Rights Act, and he gave this speech before Congress:

He also said:

But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life.

Their cause must be our cause too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.

“We shall overcome,” the rallying cry of the civil-rights movement. That made southern Democrats apoplectic.

But here’s the important part. In 1968, southern Democrats swarmed like locusts to Richard Nixon. Then they gradually changed parties and became Republicans. It’s all documented in Rick Pearlstein‘s book “Nixonland.”

Don’t believe it? Quick: Name a white southern Democrat currently in Congress? (No, John Yarmuth in Louisville doesn’t count, because as much as the state’s residents hate to admit it, Kentucky was with the Union during the Civil War.)

There’s only one from the Deep South. John Barrow in Georgia. And he voted against Obamacare.

As we all saw at the 2012 GOP convention, at the Romney campaign party on election night and on the blog White People Mourning Romney, the GOP isn’t exactly a party of inclusion. In fact, its Southern strategy since the days of Nixon was based on racial antagonism. Here’s a link back to the Lee Atwater interview posted a few days ago.

I have to think Bartlett knows all this. I can’t figure out if he’s being naive or intentionally deceptive on the idea of the GOP appealing to blacks. And then, there’s this quote in his article:

I thought that blacks and Latinos were natural political and economic competitors, and I saw in poll data that blacks were receptive to a hardline position on illegal immigration.

That’s pretty dickish, right? Make the party stronger by playing on racial animosity.

Look, I remember when older black people were Republicans, because that was the party that ended slavery. Eisenhower got something like 40 percent of the black vote when he was re-elected president in 1956.

But that was almost 60 years ago. The evil southern Democrats of that era are all dead, and when they were alive, black people saw they were eagerly joining the Republican Party. And in 1980, when Ronald Reagan campaigned in Philadelphia, Mississippi (the place were three civil-rights activists were brutally murdered in June 1964) and talked about “states’ rights” (the term used in Southern states to justify every racial abuse they committed), the bigot baton was officially handed off to the Republicans from the southern Democrats.

Anyone who makes the argument that today’s Republicans aren’t the progeny of that era’s Democrats … well, I have to use a quote that appeared in the comment section of the Bartlett article:

“I don’t mind that you lie to me half as much as I mind that you apparently think I’m stupid.”