Oppression, big government, history

Source: Wikipedia

I had a couple of experiences over the weekend that got me thinking about the fundamental narrative shaping modern conservatism, namely the idea that big government is, by its very nature, an entity that gravitates toward oppression.

Thinkers on the right have teased out a real vein of thinking among the Founding Fathers, who warned of an over-powering government bureaucracy eroding individual liberties.

Many of the modern causes that unite conservatives — opposition to taxation, gun ownership, state’s rights and deregulation — take up this “small government” banner.

The first experience that got me thinking about what amounts to a modern resistance movement was a power point presentation distributed by the popular right-wing blog site RedState.com.

The slide show lays out an argument for conservative activists which centers around the notion that free America is at the brink of existential defeat.

A tipping point lies very near where the forces of socialism and statism — big government, in other words — will have extinguished any real hope of maintaining individual liberty.

The premise is that Democrats, led by Barack Obama, have set forth to “remake American politics” and conservatives must quickly “unite or perish.”

The illustration for the blog post shows the Spartan warriors banded together at the battle of Thermopylae.

The second experience that resonated with this essay and blog post was an ecumenical church service I attended in Saranac Lake, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I was reminded during the course of the service that in actual American history — not the theoretical, cautionary history advanced by the right — big government has moved at least twice to remove the shackles of oppression.

The first instance, of course, was during the Civil War, when the Union army laid siege to the brutal regime of the Confederacy, which was keeping hundreds of thousands of men and women in abject slavery.

The second instance came during the Civil Rights movement, when the United States government mobilized military forces and the FBI to help end the Jim Crow laws and the terrorist campaign of lynchings and church bombings that had spread across the South.

At both these junctures in our actual, lived history, local and state governments were using unbridled power to oppress the citizens under their sway.

And it was the larger government — the massive Federal bureaucracy — that moved to end the oppression, returning the rights of political freedom and self-determination to millions of people.

I don’t have a tidy way to resolve the tension that these two narratives create in my mind.  There are, to be sure, cases where government chips away or sweeps aside the freedoms of the governed.

We see it today from the communist regime in Beijing to the religious tyrants in Tehran.

And here in the U.S., there are legitimate debates over government monitoring of citizens, the massive size of our standing military, and the regulation of firearms.

But it’s also clear — from our lived experience — that there are times and places where a powerful government has the power to liberate and empower individuals.

These points of history also provide important context for the debate over the Democratic Party’s modern agenda.

To be sure, the White House is advocating for a stronger, more robust central government than many on the right would desire.

But we’ve seen much larger waxings and wanings of Federal power during the long journey of our republic, without the permanent loss of freedom.

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86 Responses to “Oppression, big government, history”

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  1. Two Cents says:

    How many pre-1964 southern racist Democrat bigots did NOT join the Republican party after 1964?

    Orval Fabus
    Benjamin Travis Laney
    John Stennis
    James Eastland
    Allen Ellender
    Russell Long
    John Sparkman
    John McClellan
    Richard Russell
    Herman Talmadge
    George Wallace
    Lester Maddox
    John Rarick
    Robert Byrd
    Al Gore, Sr.
    Bull Connor

    In fact, it seems that MOST of the Dixiecrats did NOT join the Republican party, even though many of them lived long past 1964.

    Only a very FEW of them switched to the GOP, such as Strom Thurmond and Mills Godwin.

    And as we all know by now, the LAST admitted former KKK member in Congress was DemoKKKrat Robert Byrd, a former KKK Kleagle, a recruiter who persuaded people to join the KKK. He fillibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Vote totals

    Totals are in “Yea–Nay” format:
    The original House version: 290–130 (69–31%).
    Cloture in the Senate: 71–29 (71–29%).
    The Senate version: 73–27 (73–27%).
    The Senate version, as voted on by the House: 289–126 (70–30%).

    [edit] By party

    The original House version:[16]
    Democratic Party: 152–96 (61–39%)
    Republican Party: 138–34 (80–20%)

    Cloture in the Senate:[17]
    Democratic Party: 44–23 (66–34%)
    Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)

    The Senate version:[16]
    Democratic Party: 46–21 (69–31%)
    Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)

    The Senate version, voted on by the House:[16]
    Democratic Party: 153–91 (63–37%)
    Republican Party: 136–35 (80–20%)

    [edit] By party and region

    Note: “Southern”, as used in this section, refers to members of Congress from the eleven states that made up the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. “Northern” refers to members from the other 39 states, regardless of the geographic location of those states.

    The original House version:
    Southern Democrats: 7–87 (7–93%)
    Southern Republicans: 0–10 (0–100%)
    Northern Democrats: 145–9 (94–6%)
    Northern Republicans: 138–24 (85–15%)

    The Senate version:
    Southern Democrats: 1–20 (5–95%)
    Southern Republicans: 0–1 (0–100%)
    Northern Democrats: 45–1 (98–2%)
    Northern Republicans: 27–5 (84–16%)

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  2. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Well Will, you seem to be a professional at being difficult, insulting,etc.. Please provide proof showing that the Republican Party in the 80′s on up in the south have pushed for or made a cause of denying civil rights to minorities or that they have in anyway tried to bring back the days of Jim Crow, etc. You won’t be able to do it. In fact the Republicans established their “Big Tent” policies during that time and attempted to become “more inclusive”, whatever that means. Are their individuals that are racist sob’? Sure, but they are both Dem and Repub, black and white, northern and southern. What you present is a strawman argument.

    Wakeup, Okay, Strom Thurmond, who else?

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  3. Paul says:

    This discussion went into the ditch pretty quickly.

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  4. Will Doolittle says:

    Sure Rancid, and then I’ll waste my time presenting proof of global warming and that Pres. Obama was born in Hawaii.

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  5. hermit thrush says:

    holy cow. i think our friends on the right should take a look at the wikipedia article on the southern strategy, and try to get a grip on what’s been going on in the republican party.

    here for example is what nixon political strategist kevin phillips had to say in 1970:

    From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.

    here for example is what lee atwater had to say in 1981:

    You start out in 1954 by saying, “N****, n*****, n*****.” By 1968 you can’t say “n*****” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N*****, n*****.”

    lee atwater was as tried and true a republican as you could get.

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  6. Mervel says:

    I know Paul.

    Civil rights is very interesting though through the lens of government power. On one hand you need the forces of government to provide protections for individual rights, including our civil rights, on the other hand it is government that has traditionally been the tool of those who wish to deny individual rights.

    One thing that is interesting from above, Kevin Phillips was wrong, 10-20% of the African American vote would be a huge advance for the modern GOP party not a concession, I think they are sitting at less than 5% now.

    So regardless of the intent, I don’t consider myself a racist and I often vote Republican for example, however the GOP indeed has a huge problem with how they are perceived by the African American population and now the Hispanic population. Fair or not the perception is not good.

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  7. Walker says:

    “If you look at Wikipedia they define the Black Panthers ‘political position’ as ‘far left’. Sounds pretty liberal to me.”

    Wikipedia defines Liberalism as “a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property.”

    That’s as opposed to “['left-wing' in politics] describes an outlook or specific position that accepts or supports social equality, often in opposition to social hierarchy and social inequality. It usually involves a concern for those in society who are disadvantaged relative to others and an assumption that there are unjustified inequalities (which right-wing politics views as natural or traditional) that need to be reduced or abolished.”

    Granted, I’m cheating here. The article on Liberalism is referring to liberalism as understood world-wide, there are separate articles on Liberalism in the United States and even Modern liberalism in the United States; that last one comes closer to tying Liberalism to the Black Panthers.

    But I don’t think either of us wants to be tarred by association with every fringe group on our particular end of the political spectrum.

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  8. Mervel says:

    I have always thought of the left right continuum as a big circle, you go around far enough and the far left and the far right meet in total agreement.

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  9. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Thrush, how about outing the whole thing in context? It appears to me Atwater was pointing out that the old southern strategy you wanted to post was over with, that Reagans core issues rose beyond the need for that garbage.

    Atwater on the Southern Strategy

    As a member of the Reagan administration in 1981, Atwater gave an anonymous interview to political scientist Alexander P. Lamis. Part of the interview was printed in Lamis’s book The Two-Party South, then reprinted in Southern Politics in the 1990s with Atwater’s name revealed. Bob Herbert reported on the interview in the October 6, 2005, edition of The New York Times. On November 13, 2012, The Nation magazine released the audio of the full interview.[7] James Carter IV, grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, had asked and been granted access to these tapes by the widow of the recently deceased interviewer, Mr. Lamis. Atwater talked about the Republican Southern Strategy and Ronald Reagan’s version of it:

    Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan doesn't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

    Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

    You start out in 1954 by saying, "N****, n*****, n*****." By 1968 you can't say "n*****" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N*****, n*****.”

    Note the name Harry Dent Sr. who worked for Democrat Strom Thurmond in the 50′s during his segregationist days, long before his switch in parties. Was Harry Dent Sr. a racist? Well, it looks like it to me. So there’s one. He was also a pretty slimy example of a political hack.

    I think you should also include some of the other pertinent parts of the Wiki article you link to-

    “From 1948 to 1984 the Southern states, traditionally a stronghold for the Democrats, became key swing states, providing the popular vote margins in the 1960, 1968 and 1976 elections. During this era, several Republican candidates expressed support for states’ rights, which some critics claim was a “codeword” of opposition to federal enforcement of civil rights for blacks and intervention on their behalf, including passage of legislation to protect the franchise.[4]

    Political scientists Richard Johnston (University of Pennsylvania) and Byron Shafer (University of Wisconsin) have argued that this phenomenon had more to do with the economics than it had to do with race. In The End of Southern Exceptionalism, Johnston and Shafer wrote that the Republicans’ gains in the South corresponded to the growth of the upper middle class in that region. They suggested that such individuals believed their economic interests were better served by the Republicans than the Democrats. According to Johnston and Shafer, working-class white voters in the South continued to vote for Democrats for national office until the 1990s. In summary, Shafer told The New York Times, “[whites] voted by their economic preferences, not racial preferences”.[10]”

    I love this quote- “In 1976, Jimmy Carter won most of the Southern states without offending northern Democrats, explaining, “I have no trouble pitching for Wallace votes and black votes at the same time.”[17]” Yup, Wallace votes…pure racisim there, but it’s okay as long as you win.

    “In 1968, Nixon lost a majority of southern electoral votes to George Wallace while capturing 36 percent of the black vote. His 1972 victory, both Reagan victories, and the victory of George H. W. Bush in 1988 could have been won without their carrying any Southern state. ” Wow, that old Southern Strategy just didn’t add up compared to the new one, did it?

    I don’t care if people think all Republicans, or conservatives in my case, are racists. It’s not true and it’s a strawman argument. What is important is that the whole thing be taken in context. The allegation was that all the Dixiecrats became Repubs, which has been shown to be a falsehood. Another allegation was that “… blocking Civil Rights in various incarnations — became the cause of the Republicans of the ’80s-2000s in the South…”. The author of that falsehood refuses to even try and substantiate his claims, which is pretty much par for the course from what I’ve seen of him.

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  10. Mervel says:

    The thing is Rancid it does not matter what we think; what do African Americans and Hispanics think?

    Judging by how they vote they don’t think much of the GOP.

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  11. Mervel says:

    I don’t think you are a racist and I don’t believe conservatism truly practiced is racist in any way. However so what? For all practical purposes people who have suffered from racism in the US want nothing to do with the GOP, so why is that? There are reasons, instead of saying we are are not racist we should probably listen to the reasons we can only get 3% of African Americans or 25% of Hispanics to vote GOP.

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  12. The Original Larry says:

    “Rancid, It’s the politicians — the white Democratic southern politicians of the ’50s and ’60s did become the white Republican politicians of the ’80s and ’90s.”

    That’s a direct quote and it perpetuates a nasty myth that is untrue. There’s always a big gap between what is said and what is “meant”, especially when what was said is called out as false. We need to be careful of our facts, so don’t get all outraged when people react to what you said. If you don’t mean what you say, be quiet.

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  13. mervel says:

    Well wait; where did they go?

    Look at the voting patterns in the Confederacy states. In 1960 solid Democrat, in 2000 solid Republican, something happened.

    Everyone basically acknowledges that it would be good for the Republicans to flip the old Southern Democratic Machine to Republican, one way to do that is to pick up the Wallace votes, it was a great strategy, but one with costs that we as conservatives are paying today.

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  14. mervel says:

    It does not mean we are racist today we don’t need to be defensive about the basic conservative message. It does mean that you have to lose the idiots, the people obsessed with immigration if someone is brown but not if they are Irish, people who think the confederate flag is OK, the Republican Party needs to support the voting rights act, right now they really don’t, the list goes on.

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  15. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Mervel, blacks were solidly Republican, the Party of Lincoln, until the New Deal. Without meaning to sound racist, bigoted or judgmental in any way, it’s pretty obvious they switched to the guy who was handing them money. LBJs not so Great Society furthered this move. If the GOP really wanted an easy way to get the black vote they’d run on a platform demanding reparations for slavery, free Obamaphones, etc. and if they wanted the Hispanic vote they’d run on plaltform supporting open borders, La Raza and reparations to those of Mexican descent for winning the war down there.

    Follow the money. It always leads you to the root cause.

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  16. Mervel says:

    I don’t believe that Rancid. So in your analysis, more white people vote GOP because they are getting payoffs from them? I guess that would follow the Liberal line that the GOP just wants to give tax cuts to the rich and subsidize corporations, or is it only Hispanics and blacks that respond to bribes?

    You simply show your ignorance of the Hispanic and African American vote and people. Hispanic people in the US are not big open border supporters, the vast majority of Hispanics are citizens they don’t want people coming here illegally. In Texas most Hispanic families have lived in the US longer than most Anglo families for example. However what they do look for is a knowledge of the history and culture of Hispanics in the US and yes an understanding of our screwed up immigration policies which need to be changed. For example GOP support for stop and ask for papers laws has to end. Those laws are unconstitutional and target Hispanics. They are certainly NOT a conservative response and go against individual liberty, they are a big government push. George Bush got 50% of the Hispanic vote, so the idea that they are waiting for some sort of payoff from the Democrats does not wash and frankly is a racist idea, it is that sort of thinking that drives Hispanics and blacks away.

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  17. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    “Without meaning to sound racist, bigoted or judgmental in any way, it’s pretty obvious they switched to the guy who was handing them money.”

    Hey, let’s call up Mitt Romney to see if the American people agreed with him on that sort of statement.

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  18. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Sigh, no Mervel, white people are not getting payoffs from the GOP. But it’s pretty apparent to anyone that looks that there was a dramatic shift in black voting about the time of the New Deal and it hasn’t slowed since then. Democrats have a solid lock on the black vote and they pander to blacks (and Hispanics and unions and gays and lesbians and any other group they can find) by funneling money to them or at least saying they will. Why does the Democrat party have a good solid lock on the Hispanic vote when as a general rule Hispanics are, as you say, fairly conservative? The vast majority of Hispanic citizens may not support illegal immigration, although I wonder about that, but they don’t support legislation and politicians that are anti-illegal immigration. How does that figure if you’re even close to right. For that matter, why in the world would blacks in the 30′s-50′s have ever voted for a Democrat when it was the Democrat party working against civil rights back then? That makes zero sense.

    I think you are looking at things through rose colored glasses. It is the height of folly to think people don’t vote for the party that does the best for them economically. Yes, we vote in a large part for Santa Claus. To say otherwise may be very PC, but it’s also “factually incorrect” as evidenced by 75 years of Democrat vote buying.

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  19. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Okay Knuckle, call me what you want. I haven’t got a racist bone in my body, but I can see how things work and am not afraid of stating the obvious.

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  20. Mervel says:

    Would you consider that African Americans felt that the Democratic party might simply care more about issues which impact African Americans more than Republicans? Why is it only African Americans respond to hand outs? I think that is the problem with your analysis. Either everyone votes simply for what they can get economically, (and that is not a crazy idea), or not. You can’t say well African Americans vote for people who will give them money but white voters do not vote for people who will give them money.

    Some people do believe that is what politics really is at its core, simply one group taking money from another group, basically a system of patronage moving money around. So businesses are at the government trough, public unions are there, minorities are there, old people are there, oil companies are there, defense contractors are there, government workers themselves are there, and so forth and the whole system is just a game of who can take what. I don’t think it is, I think patronage does exist however and it exists for a variety of groups but I don’t think it is the driving force of how people vote or our political system.

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  21. mervel says:

    Also the Democratic party does not have a lock on the Hispanic vote, as I said a mere 12 years ago Bush got 50% of the Hispanic vote. But when a crowd of 95% white non-hispanic people at a GOP primary debate boooo Rick Perry for saying that you have no heart if you don’t support the Dream Act, well that kind of thing is remembered, for a long time.

    We need to lose the idiots if we are ever going to win another national election.

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  22. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    RC, I didnt call you anything. It just seemed a lot like the Romney statement and I think that most people thought Romney was simply wrong.

    Did you ever think that many people might support policies not because they would personally benefit from them but they knew that the policies would be good for everyone?

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  23. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Mervel, who do poor whites vote for? The guys that hand out the money. Who do rich whites vote for? The guys that pass the laws so they can keep their money. Who do conservative Americans vote for? The guys that preach fiscal responsibility. Who do people in the arts vote for? The guys that promise funding for the arts. Who do environmentalists vote for? The guys that promise to fund environmental projects, fight big oil, save the whales. Who do union workers vote for? The guy that promises to support their wants and needs. Who do hunters vote for? The guys that promise to support hunting. Who do smokers vote for? The guys that aren’t talking about taxing their habit and outlawing smoking in more places. Who do druggies vote for? The guys that promise to legalize drugs. Who do welfare recipients vote for? The guy promising to keep the money flowing. Who so small business owners vote for? The guys that promise to make their lives easier. Etc, etc,.

    Yes, it’s more accurate to use qualifiers like “often tend to vote for” but the result is the same. Run for office and get up on your stump in front of a bunch of seniors and tell them that because of circumstances we need to cut SS benefits to ensure future generations will have some SS for when they retire. Now get up in front of another group and tel them we need to increase benefits with no further reason given. Which group will you get the majority of votes from?

    That’s the only logical explanation for why an entire group of people switched parties almost overnight. I tried to find historical records on the black vote but didn’t find exactly what I was seeking. Here’s one link thats close- http://www.factcheck.org/2008/04/blacks-and-the-democratic-party/

    Heres more what I was looking for. It put what I was thinking in more eloquent terms. http://www.umbc.edu/che/tahlessons/lessondisplay.php?lesson=32

    “The Good Neighbor League attracted well-known African Americans and sponsored a huge rally to celebrate the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at Madison Square Garden. The culminating event of the rally was the display of three figures: Jesus, Lincoln, and Roosevelt, the so-called “three emancipators of the black race” (Spencer, 311).

    When the election results were tallied, Roosevelt and the Democrats had won about three-fourths of the African American vote (Schlesinger, 2848). In Chicago, the figure was 49%, an increase of over 100% since the Election of 1932. Why did African Americans vote so heavily Democratic? One reason was the New Deal and its economic policies. The average African American citizen of the time had low expectations for the passage of substantial civil rights legislation, and most people based their decisions on their economic situation (Weiss, 209-210). New Deal programs, although often discriminatory, did help African Americans gain employment and provided visible, tangible relief. African Americans, then, did not see themselves as voting for the traditional, racist Southern Democratic Party. They were voting for the party of the New Deal and the man who had created its programs.”

    They put it in much more PC terms than I can- “…and most people based their decisions on their economic situation (Weiss, 209-210). New Deal programs, although often discriminatory, did help African Americans gain employment and provided visible, tangible relief.” Follow that up with Democrat policies and programs in the 50′s and 60′s and the Dems have a solid lock on the black vote. It doesn’t help the Republicans when the Democrat VP candidate can get away with saying to a black audience that the Republicans “”They gawn’ put y’all back in chains.” For a more detailed discussion of that debacle search- “Hard Truths for Hispanic and African-American Voters By Keith Edwards” int he American Thinker. Reading that article it’s pretty hard to see why any black or hispanic would vote for the Demcrats.

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  24. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Knuckle, what Romney said about the 47% is accurate. They aren’t going to vote for him or anyone else currently on the right side. And you aren’t going to get anyone on the right to vote for Hillary. They may not vote for the alternative and stay home like they did last election, but there’s no earthly reason for Hillary to court that vote, is there?

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  25. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    You’re wrong on that one too. Huge numbers of the “47%” are among the people of the NorthCountry who voted for Romney.

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  26. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Get real Knuckle! Do you seriously believe huge numbers of minimum wage/low income workers voted for Romney? The numbers tell a different story- http://www.statisticbrain.com/2012-presidential-voter-support-by-demographic/

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/14/1161334/-Elections-have-consequences-as-do-demographics-issues-and-income-REALIGNMENT

    From The Koz- “That takes us to the other related demographic category as to how votes went, according to income. The Middle classes are defined by household income, generally accepted to be between $30,000 and $199,000, in three groups. Most single women, African-American, and Hispanic households all fall in one of the two groups; lower income (under $30,000 and not middle class) or the lower Middle Class (AKA working class) as in $30,000 to $49,999. Not coincidentally these two financial demographic groups voted for Obama in overwhelming numbers, 63% and 57% respectively.”

    True enough, Obama trounced Romeny, but the numbers do not show the lower income demographic (the 47%) voting for Romney, certainly not in “huge numbers”! I’m sure some clear headed members of the 47% class saw that Obamas policies weren’t what was needed, but it appears most voted Dem.

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  27. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    RC, you do live in the NC dont you? Yes huge numbers as a percentage of the NC population.

    The town I live in has an average per capita income of about $16,000 and over 10% are below the poverty rate, median family income is $40,000. This is a town of 47% ers. Romney was the winner in our town in the presidential election by more than 10 points.

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  28. Rancid Crabtree says:

    The numbers don’t support your claim Knuckle. Not across the nation, not at all.

    I don’t know of a single person in my town that admits to voting for Obama, yet he carried my town of some 250 votes by a good margin. Makes me wonder about the voting machines.

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  29. Mervel says:

    Certainly people vote for who they feel will be the best person and that usually means the best person for them and their family. I would think self interest always plays a role in our voting.

    But that still does not change the fact that the GOP has a major problem attracting a broad range of people in the US and in particular African Americans and now Hispanics. To me this has to do with a perception within these groups that the GOP has written them off and does not care about their unique issues and circumstances. The GOP has to point blank say that the confederate flag is never acceptable, up here we don’t think about that very much, but go to a GOP rally in the South, there will often be confederate flags. The confederate flag is part of several Southern state flags, does the GOP stand up now and say this is racist? No they don’t. Things like targeting Hispanics for stop and frisk, does the GOP say this is never acceptable? No they don’t. The fact is by playing to the idiots and the racists in our midst we are losing the war, we may win some local battles, but the southern strategy does not work anymore we need to dump those guys and go back to being the party of opportunity and free enterprise.

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  30. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    It all depends on who your friends are Crabtree. Or maybe all your friends voted for Obama and they’re not telling you.

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  31. Rancid Crabtree says:

    Mervel, so the thing to do is create a false image to try and attract a new demographic? There is nothing wrong with southerners honoring the memory of their ancestors with the Stars and Bars. Maybe what we should do instead of demanding the southerners ignore their history and get with the times is demand the blacks ignore THEIR history and get with the times! No one alive today owned a slave and no one alive to day was a slave. It happened, we’re sorry, we learned, now move on. But that wouldn’t keep guys like Jesse Jackson and Chris Mathews making their millions, would it?

    I know that’s not really OT, but the Republican party is dead meat. Let them die and an honest party emerge from the ashes. The modern Republican does not represent my interests at all. Democrat-lite a friend calls it. If that means the Dems rule for a few years, so be it. Maybe we’ll actually get more than 2 viable parties.

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  32. Rancid Crabtree says:

    knuckleheadedliberal says:
    February 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    “It all depends on who your friends are Crabtree. Or maybe all your friends voted for Obama and they’re not telling you.”

    Dude, I’m Mr. Moderate compared to most people I know!

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  33. mervel says:

    So Rancid you find the modern GOP to moderate?

    The confederate flag is racist it is racist to wave it, it belongs in a museum along with the swastika. It is the exact same for a southerner to wave a confederate flag as it is for a German to wave the Nazi flag. Sure some things were great about the South and are great about it; just like some things were great about Germany.

    But if you want to honor your heritage by picking out the confederate battle flag used to fight for and to protect slavery AND used to support Jim Crow in the 1950′s, you are indeed being racist. The confederate flag has been prominent at every KKK rally. So how hard would it be for the Republican Party to call this out as racist.

    It is not about getting over the past or not it is about being a big tent party that listens. We don’t have to change many of the basic tenants of conservatism to do that.

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  34. mervel says:

    As far as Jesse Jackson goes, well no we will never get Jesse Jackson, but he is not an elected official he does not speak for the African American in the US, even if he thinks he does. We don’t need 55% of any of these groups, we need 25% and we are back in business.

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  35. Paul says:

    There was a This American Life recently that had a story from the mid nineties. It was amazing to see how much racism there still is and this was not way down south. We have a long way to go. We have made huge strides for sure.

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  36. Paul says:

    “save the whales”?

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