-By Michael Zak
After my article last week, Michael Steele and the Southern Strategy, now is time for some truth-telling about the Democratic Party. The Democrats’ own southern strategy was far, far worse than even worst accusations aimed at the Republicans.
In his recent speech criticizing the GOP’s so-called southern strategy, RNC Chairman Michael Steele scored big points… for the other team. Instead of criticizing his own party, he would do well to focus the public’s attention on the appalling heritage of the Democratic Party – the party of slavery and big government, socialism and the Ku Klux Klan.
“The Republican Party, on the contrary [to the Democrats], holds that this government was instituted to secure the blessings of freedom, and that slavery is an unqualified evil. [Republicans] will oppose in all its length and breadth the modern Democratic idea that slavery is as good as freedom.”
In this classic speech, Abraham Lincoln condemned the pro-slavery policies of the Democratic Party. The founders of our Grand Old Party knew to call Democrats ‘slave-ocrats.’ And another Republican, Robert Ingersoll, observed: “Every man that loved slavery more than liberty was a Democrat.” One of Lincoln’s friends, Rep. Owen Lovejoy (R-IL), had this to say:
“The principle of enslaving human beings because they are inferior, is this: If a man is a cripple, trip him up; if he is old and weak, and bowed with the weight of years, strike him, for he cannot strike back; if idiotic, take advantage of him; and if a child, deceive him. This, sir, this is the doctrine of Democrats and the doctrine of devils as well, and there is no place in the universe outside the five points of hell and the Democratic Party where the practice and prevalence of such doctrines would not be a disgrace.”
Very definitely, slavery was a southern strategy of the Democratic Party.
Operating as the terrorist wing of the Democratic Party, the KKK eradicated the GOP in much of the South after the Civil War, lynching and assassinating thousands of southern Republicans, both African-American and white. Klansmen murdered an Arkansas Republican congressman as he campaigned for re-election.
Indeed, murder was a southern strategy of the Democratic Party.
Senator Oliver Morton, whose statue stands in the U.S. Capitol, had this to say about the Democrats’ southern strategy: “Everyone who shoots down negroes in the streets, burns negro school-houses and meeting-houses, and murders women and children by the light of their own flaming dwellings, calls himself a Democrat. In short, the Democratic Party may be described as a common sewer and loathsome receptacle into which is emptied every element of treason, North and South, every element of inhumanity and barbarism which has dishonored the age.”
So influential was the Klan’s grip on the Democratic Party in the 20th century that the 1924 Democratic National Convention was known as ‘the Klanbake.’ Gov. George Wallace, who stood in the schoolhouse door to keep out African-Americans, was a Democrat. Gov. Orval Faubus, who tried to prevent court-ordered desegregation of Little Rock public schools, was a Democrat. Bull Connor, whose police attacked African-Americans schoolchildren with dogs and high-pressure hoses, was the Democratic Party’s National Committeeman for Alabama.
In 1956, nineteen Democrat U.S. Senators and seventy-five Democrat U.S. Representatives (and, alas, two Republicans) signed the Southern Manifesto, criticizing the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision that struck down racial segregation in public schools.
Absolutely, segregation was a southern strategy of the Democratic Party.
When will DNC Chairman Tim Kaine apologize for his party’s southern strategy? A true apology includes accepting culpability, not just expressing sorrow or regret. To be meaningful, this apology should be from Democrats only, as it wasn’t Republicans who owned slaves and lynched African-Americans and assassinated a congressman and imposed segregation. Those crimes were all committed by Democrats. Even now, thanks to Senate Democrats, third in the presidential order of succession, after Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, is a former recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan, Robert Byrd.
Michael Zak is a popular speaker to Republican organizations around the nation, showing office-holders and candidates and activists how they would benefit tremendously from appreciating the heritage of our Grand Old Party. Back to Basics for the Republican Party is his acclaimed history of the GOP, cited by Clarence Thomas in a Supreme Court decision. His Grand Old Partisan blog celebrates more than fifteen decades of Republican heroes and heroics. See www.RepublicanBasics.com for more information.
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