Sam Tanenhaus’s Fevered Historical Imagination About the Racist GOP
Where to begin with the screed in The New Republic, “Original Sin: Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people,” mislabeled “an historical investigation”?
In his claim that racism is the original and irredeemable sin of Republicans, Tanenhaus sets up the contrast to “the civil rights pageantry of the [Obama second] inauguration—Abraham Lincoln’s Bible and Martin Luther King’s, Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s swearing in of Joe Biden, Beyoncé’s slinky glamor [sic], the verses read by the gay Cuban poet Richard Blanco.”
In his enthusiasm, Tanenhaus missed the irony of using the word “pageantry,” which the dictionary defines as “mere show” or “an ostentatious display,” even as he indicts the GOP for its “history of long-standing indifference, at times outright hostility, to the nation’s diverse constituencies—blacks, women, Latinos, Asians, gays.”
Perhaps it was the lilting lines of Blanco’s inaugural poem, “All of us as vital as the one light we move through / the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day: equations to solve. . . .” that to Tanenaus conveyed “an assertion of Democratic solidarity.”
Like many other white liberals, he lectures the blacks, women, Latinos, Asians, and gays who vote Republican by presumably giving them a history lesson on John C. Calhoun, vice president under Andrew Jackson.
To Calhoun’s ideas of nullification (code for the right to own slaves) Tanenhaus links today’s “resisters—most glaringly Tea Partiers.” Today’s “most recent immigrants,” according to Tanenhaus, sense the “’hidden hand’ of Calhoun’s style of dissent, the extended lineage of rearguard politics, with its aggrieved call, heard so often today, ‘to take back America.’” This is all part of the lingering infatuation with the ‘lost cause.” Even “a new cast of GOP leaders—Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio” have become “tethered to movement ideology.” Cruz, especially because he urged a “partial government shutdown” at the recent National Review Institute conference, cannot understand how his participation harkens back to the segregationist policies of Calhoun, George Wallace, and Barry Goldwater, who resisted the inevitable ushering in of the “egalitarian” one-party system of big government and majority rule.
Were he not so obsessed with proving “a politics of frustration and rage . . . most evident within the GOP’s dwindling base—its insurgents and anti-government crusaders, its ‘middle-aged white guys,’” Tanenhaus might have had time to do some historical checking, like reading one short speech by Senator Barry Goldwater. It would have helped to recall the 1964 smear campaign by segregationist Democrats who understood which way the political winds blew. They had shifted toward integration, often in sacrifice of the Constitution. Lyndon Johnson, former segregationist, is reported to have promised “to have these n*****s voting Democratic for the next two hundred years.”
Barry Goldwater understood this and noted it in his speech explaining why he voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, an action Tanenhaus misrepresents. (The speech is reproduced in The Story of the Draft Goldwater Movement and other books about the 1964 presidential campaign.)
Goldwater, contrary to Tanenhaus’s casting, begins his speech:
“There have been few, if any, occasions when the searching of my conscience and the re-examination of my views of our constitutional system have played a greater part in the determination of my vote than they have on this occasion.
“I am unalterably opposed to discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color or creed, or on any other basis; not only my words, but more importantly my actions through the years have repeatedly demonstrated the sincerity of my feeling in this regard.”
Goldwater mentioned his twelve years as a member of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee when he “repeatedly offered amendments to bills pertaining to labor that would end discrimination in unions” (a Democratic-stronghold with entrenched segregationists repeatedly criticized by Goldwater supporter, journalist George Schuyler).
Goldwater reminded Congress that “repeatedly those amendments have been turned down by the very members of both parties who now so vociferously support the present approach.” Those presuming to do “historical investigations” should read histories that reveal Goldwater’s lifelong support for civil rights.
For example, Lee Edwards’s well-known biography:
As a member of the Phoenix City Council [elected in 1949], Goldwater had voted to desegregate the restaurant at Sky Harbor Airport. As chief of state for the Arizona Air National Guard, he had pushed for desegregation of the guard. As a businessman, he had opened his doors to everyone. As senator, he had desegregated the Senate cafeteria in 1953, insisting that his black legislative assistant, Katherine Maxwell, be served along with every other Senate employee. As an individual citizen, he had donated generously to the Arizona NAACP, including a $200 check in 1952 to its legal defense fund to speed integration of the public schools.
Goldwater was a member of the Phoenix and Tucson chapters of the NAACP, until that organization, infiltrated by radicals, started attacking him politically. He was also a strong supporter of the Phoenix Urban League and in 1991 received their Humanitarian Award “’for fifty years of loyal service.’”
But Goldwater—unlike progressives—did not brag.
In his speech he only reminded Congress of his support for the 1957 and 1960 civil rights bills, opposed by many of the same Democrats clamoring for the 1964 bill.
Goldwater stated, “My public utterances during the debates on those measures and since reveal clearly the areas in which I feel that federal responsibility lies and federal legislation on this subject can be both effective and appropriate.”
Goldwater felt the 1964 bill was “effective and appropriate” except for Titles II and VII regarding public accommodations and employment. “I find no constitutional basis for the exercise of federal regulatory authority in either of these areas,” he went on. “The attempted usurpation of such power,” he said, was a “grave threat to the very essence of our basic system of government” and to the “freedoms of the very persons whose feelings and whose liberties are the major subject of this legislation.”
Goldwater would not compromise his oath to uphold the Constitution, an act that was supported wholeheartedly by the great journalist and black civil rights advocate George Schuyler. His amendments were not accepted, so with a reluctant heart and knowing that his vote would be “misconstrued” Goldwater voted against the act.
His vote was not only “misconstrued,” but used in a smear campaign against him, started by fellow Republicans like William Scranton. At the 1964 Republican Convention in San Francisco, 40,000 civil rights demonstrators picked up the ball and denounced Goldwater as Hitler. CBS reporter Daniel Schorr then spread a false report that Goldwater was to meet with Nazi holdovers on an upcoming trip to Germany. Schorr would go on to pontificate regularly at taxpayer-funded NPR—until his death in 2010—the same station that gave Tanenhaus a platform to expand on his lies.
Goldwater’s vote against the 1964 bill was misrepresented by his opponents, and by historians and textbook writers ever since.
The civil rights movement had been hijacked by the New Leftists (“communists with a small ‘c’”). The majority of blacks and old-line civil rights leaders rejected these (white) radicals’ demands for redistribution of property and loose sexual mores (“smashing monogamy”) under the cover of civil rights.
Nevertheless, Tanenhaus claims that any objections to excesses are mere excuses. Shamefully, Tanenhaus writes that Goldwater “joined the Dixie contingent . . . when he opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” He quotes Richard Rovere, Depression-era communist and writer for the New Masses, and then writer for the Nation and the New Yorker:
“for Goldwater the opportunity had been all but foreclosed by Brent Bozell—or some other hand guided by the ‘guiding hand’—in The Conscience of a Conservative. In that book, Goldwater allowed himself to be committed to a states’-rights position that Jefferson Davis could hardly have found acceptable.”
Ah, yes, the magical ‘guiding hand’ of Brent Bozell!
Tannenhaus brings readers to the present, to the ominous Calhounists of the Tea Party and the “Tea Party-inflected House of Representatives,” who “speak in the bitter tones of denial, as modernization and egalitarianism go forward.” “Nullification” is a threat and a code from those who challenge “’Obamacare.’”
“We see it as well,” continues Tanenhaus, “in Senator Rand Paul’s promise to ‘nullify anything the president does’ to impose new gun controls.”
For Tanenhaus upholding the Constitution is synonymous with racism. For him, disagreements over healthcare and gun control are not a “practical attempt to find a better answer,” but a ‘Constitutional’ demand for restoration of the nation to its hallowed prior self. It is not a coincidence that the resurgence of nullification is happening while our first African American president is in office.”
Of course, there are no “coincidences” for those like Tanenhaus. It must be the ghosts of Brent Bozell and John C. Calhoun that guide the racist hearts of those who disagree with the pure-hearted, perfectly egalitarian guardian of “blacks, women, Latinos, Asians, gays,” Sam Tanenhaus.
That good ol' double standard
Liberals are apoplectic over remarks by Dr. Ben Carson at the National Prayer Breakfast. Carson, a prominent pediatric surgeon from Johns Hopkins University, dared to weigh in on healthcare—something he knows something about. In the liberal mind, Carson committed a grave transgression; he disagreed with President Obama on healthcare at a faith venue, and in Obama’s presence.
In discussing Carson’s moral effrontery, Candy Crowley, host of CNN’s “State of the Union,” asked panelists if they were offended by Carson’s comments. “He [Carson] was talking about the idea of, you know, weaving the Bible into some objections he appears to have with the president’s approach,” said Crowley. Count Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky among the offended. She told Crowley: “I think it’s … not really an appropriate place to make this kind of political speech and to invoke God as his [Carson’s] support for that kind of point of view.”
In truth, what the likes of Crowley and Schakowsky object to is the mere fact that Carson publicly disagreed with Obama on healthcare, especially in the context of faith. For liberal Democrats, conservative Republicans should never use their faith to disagree; only liberal Democrats enjoy such freedoms. I could give a thousand examples illustrating the point; I’ve written entire books doing so. For now, however, here are some particularly salient examples involving Obama, liberals, and healthcare reform:
From the first year of Obama’s presidency, the religious left (Obama included) incessantly claimed God’s support for their vision of healthcare reform.
In August 2009, Obama addressed a “virtual gathering” of 140,000 religious left individuals—a huge conference call to liberal Christians, Jews, and other people of faith. Obama told them he was “going to need your help” in passing healthcare. Obama penitently invoked a period of “40 days,” a trial of deliverance from conservative evildoers. He lifted up the brethren, assuring them, “We are God’s partner in matters of life and death.”
Like a great commissioning, in the 40 days that followed the religious left was filled with the spirit. A group called the Religious Institute—led by Rev. Debra Hafner and representing 4,800 clergy—went wild stumping for Obamacare. Other religious left faithful joined the crusade.
A group of 59 leftist nuns sent Congress a letter urging passage of Obamacare. This was in direct defiance of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which insisted the bill “must be opposed” because of its refusal to explicitly ban abortion funding. The liberal media cheered on the nuns, gleefully exaggerating their influence. In a breathtaking display, the Los Angeles Times beamed, “Nuns’ support for health-care bill shows [Catholic] Church split.” Amazingly, the Times reported that the nuns’ letter represented not 59 nuns—but 59,000! Like Jesus with the loaves, the Times (normally militantly secular) had demonstrated miraculous powers of multiplication.
The nuns’ brazenness was matched by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Roman Catholic, who, in March 2010, invoked the Solemnity of the Feast of St. Joseph on behalf of Obamacare. She urged American Catholics to “pray to St. Joseph” for Obamacare.
That was prelude to what happened March 21, 2010, A.D., a rare vote not merely on a Sunday—God’s day—but the final Sunday in Lent, the week before Palm Sunday that initiates the Lord’s Passion. Obama’s healthcare bill was passed by his Democratic Congress. To Obama, Pelosi, and the religious left faithful, Jesus had gotten his healthcare package, and they had been his loyal handmaidens.
If all of that seems hypocritical enough from liberals, in light of their castigation of Dr. Ben Carson, consider this glaring double standard:
At the National Prayer Breakfast two years ago, February 3, 2011, Obama stated: “Sometimes what I can do to try to improve the economy or to curb foreclosures or to help deal with the healthcare system—sometimes it seems so distant and so remote, so profoundly inadequate to the enormity of the need. And it is my faith, then, that biblical injunction to serve the least of these, that keeps me going and that keeps me from being overwhelmed.”
Yes, Barack Obama, at the National Prayer Breakfast, invoked his faith and the Bible on behalf of healthcare reform—much like he has done on behalf of gay marriage and other liberal agenda items.
Question for Ms. Crowley and Rep. Schakowsky and liberals everywhere: Was this appropriate? Are you offended?
But now, here comes one Ben Carson, pediatric surgeon with more than 50 honorary doctorates, named one of America’s 20 foremost physicians by CNN and TIME, and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian honor. He disagreed with Obama and the liberal faithful. His price: political excommunication. In Alinsky fashion, he will now be isolated and demonized. How dare he bring up healthcare at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Conspiracy of silence on value of marriage: Politicians frightened to admit fathers are vital, says top British family lawyer
Marriage is as important to the future of the nation as climate change and poverty, a senior family lawyer said yesterday.
Baroness Deech said the growing numbers of families without fathers was doing more harm to the next generation than other factors such as smoking, alcohol, poor diet and lack of exercise.
And she warned that a conspiracy of silence surrounded the issue because political leaders were afraid to say married families were better for children than cohabiting families or single parent families.
Lady Deech, who is head of the Bar Standards Board, made her remarks at a conference organised by the Marriage Foundation, a pressure group led by High Court family judge Sir Paul Coleridge. She said marriage was based on a public promise and evidence showed married parents were twice as likely to stay together through a child’s early years as cohabiting parents.
Children of single mothers have greater problems than those of cohabitee parents, and children of cohabitees have greater problems than those of married parents.
‘Since this is so incontrovertible, why is it so brave, as Sir Humphrey would put it, to tackle the desirability of marriage over cohabitation, both for adults and children?’ Lady Deech asked.
‘The topic has become a no-go area.
‘We live in a world where we are encouraged to take care of our own and our children’s health: we are constantly admonished to take exercise, eat healthily, wear a cycle helmet, study the side of the package, stop smoking, recycle, combat global warming, brush our teeth, control our drinking habits and have health checks.
But when it comes to the one issue that does more harm to the next generation than any of these – the absence of a father in the family – there is a conspiracy of silence.
‘Politicians fear to address it. It is time to place marriage issues up there along with climate change, poverty and peace as a topic pre-eminently relevant to the present and future happiness and health of all people.’
Lady Deech said those who favoured cohabitation often said marriage was ‘only a piece of paper’, adding: ‘It is clearly a very important piece of paper, nonetheless, of the utmost significance to life, equal love and happiness, say the gay community, when gay marriage is on the agenda.’
Other kinds of relationship are seen as lesser than marriage, she added.
‘Children deserve natural parents who are prepared to make the act of commitment and aspiration found only in marriage, in order to demonstrate to those children that they intend to be there for them, without question, as they grow up.
‘The wedding ceremony highlights the fact that marriage is the strongest bond ever invented to link together two people and two families, for now and posterity – intimately, legally, politically, religiously, civilly and publicly.’
Lady Deech added that same-sex couples who have entered civil partnerships are pressing to have marriage, which is seen as a ‘better alternative’.
Same-sex fertility: Depriving a child of mother and father is 'abuse', say British pro-life campaigners
Access to NHS funded fertility treatment is to be extended under new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence despite experts warning that the health service is facing its biggest ever financial crisis.
The NHS is having to find £20bn of efficiency savings over four years to cope with increasing demand at a time of flat rate increases in budgets.
However Nice does not have to consider budgets when setting guidelines and is updating its 2004 fertility advice to take into account medical advances and changes in society.
The guidance due out on Wednesday will recommend that same sex couples be offered artificial insemination on the NHS for six cycles before moving on to IVF if that fails.
Anthony Ozimic, communications manager for pro-life organisation Society for the Protection of Unborn Children was critical of the new guidance.
"The decision ignores biology in the name of politically correct social engineering," he said. "Children are being abused by being deliberately deprived of either a father or a mother."
However, James Taylor, health officer for gay rights campaign group Stonewall, rebutted such claims as he welcomed the move.
He said: "There is no research that shows being brought up by two dads or two mums puts you in any worse position than being brought up by a mum and a dad."
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.