Republican House member (from North Carolina) Virginia Foxx, it is pretty safe to say, has never met a fact she could not challenge.  This morning, Rep. Foxx launched an attack on what she calls “revisionist history” about which political party should get the credit for passing historic  civil rights legislation in the 1960s….. by engaging in her own revisionist history — which was immediately challenged by an outraged Dennis Cardoza (D-CA):

YouTube Preview Image

Rep. Foxx is only the most recent Republican to push what is at best a distortion of the truth about which political party is responsible for getting civil rights laws like the Voting Rights Act of 1965 through Congress. TP’s Matt Corley, author of this piece, debunks the myth once again:

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.”

The first of those two links in the above paragraph goes to a 2003 post by John Fonte at National Review Online. Here are the money grafs (emphasis is mine):

The civil-rights bill of 1964 was enacted with strong bipartisan and bi-ideological (conservative and liberal) support. But, the credit for the civil-rights victory has gone almost exclusively to liberals and Democrats, particularly to Senator Hubert Humphrey (D, Minn.) in Congress, and to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. However, much of the hard work of advancing the legislation was done by congressional Republicans — conservative stalwarts including Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois, Charles Halleck of Indiana, William McCulloch of Ohio, Robert Griffin of Michigan, Robert Taft Jr. of Ohio, Clarence Brown of Ohio, Roman Hruska of Nebraska, and moderates such as Thomas Kuchel of California, Kenneth Keating of New York, and Clark MacGregor of Minnesota. All of these Republicans served as major leaders of the pro-civil-rights coalition either as floor managers or captains for different sections of the bill.

Although the Democrats controlled both houses of the Congress at the time, a much-higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats supported the civil-rights bill. For example, in the House, Republicans voted for civil rights by a margin of 79 percent to 21 percent, 136-35. The Democrats’ margin was 153-91 or 63 percent to 37 percent.

Anything jump out at you about the states these lawmakers come from?

Yeah. That’s right. They are all Northern states.

Now let’s jump over to the second link in that paragraph I quoted from Think Progress. That link goes to a June 1999 piece, originally published in the Washington Times, called “Voting and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” (Emphasis is mine.)

… 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.

The marriage within the Democratic Party of the northern liberals and the southern Dixiecrats had always been a strange one based more upon a common enemy (the Republican Party) than upon common ideals. In fact, when the 1948 Democratic platform came out strongly in favor of civil rights, delegates from 13 southern states held their own convention shortly after the adjournment of the Democratic National Convention and nominated Strom Thurmond to run for president on their own “States Rights Democrats” ticket.

While Mr. Davis is clearly correct in his assertion that Southern Democrats were staunch foes of civil rights in the 1960s, Southern Republicans, though fewer in number, were equally adamant in their opposition to civil rights legislation.

The modern Democratic Party owes its current character far more to the Northern liberals than to the Dixiecrats. If the old Southern Democrats are to be labeled as racist, then Al Gore and Bill Clinton are Southern Democrats in name only as their defense of civil rights places them solidly among the Northern Democrats and not with the Dixiecrats of old.

In the two decades following the 1960s, the now-notorious “Southern Strategy” begun by Richard Nixon and continued by Ronald Reagan led to an exodus of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party. Those were the Democrats who voted against the emancipating legislation of the civil rights era: the racist, white supremacist Dixiecrat Democrats — not the ones who form the Democratic Party today.

Kathy Kattenburg
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
Sort by:   newest | oldest
Andy
Guest

Partisan bickering about today’s issues is bad enough, but partisan bickering about a vote that happened 44 years ago is a waste of time, especially since the bickering is about meaningless small-percentage differences on a bill that had wide and deep bipartisan support. I would think our representatives in Congress would have more important things to do.

StockBoySF
Guest

This brings to mind a line from a Janet Jackson song, “What have you done for me lately?”

So…. what has the GOP done for civil rights lately?

JeffersonDavis
Guest

You have to remember…. Southern democrats were against civil rights legislation. They then became republicans shortly thereafter. Before that time….. The GOP was the less “racist” of both parties. Even Martin Luther King Jr. was Republican.

In my own time, however, I’ve noticed one thing about race and civil rights progression during my life.

Republicans don’t care what color your skin is, as long as they can get some corporate work out of you.
Democrats care very much what color your skin is when they can get you to vote a certain way.

Of course, that’s not true for everyone (as I’m sure someone would say that I’m implying that).

But civil rights legislation history has bullet points within both parties. It started under a republican congress leading up to 1962 (the GOP held both houses from 1954 to 1962). It was signed into law under a democratic President. It was actually enforced under LBJ and Nixon.

No single party can claim responsibility. That is an absolute FACT.

roseyrey
Member

“So…. what has the GOP done for civil rights lately?”

Does Michael Steele count?
:)

JSpencer
Member

I’m old enough to find it viscerally disturbing when I witness: A. outright distortions of history (whether due to ignorance or lying) and B. when people act as though history is unimportant, which in effect is a pitch for further ignorance. What A and B have in common is a disdain for meaningful standards.

PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor
Editor

First off I agree that battling over 40 plus year old votes is silly.

But if you are going to blame the GOP for Congresswoman Fox (from the South) then how can you excuse the Democrats for their Southern members ?

Guest
Guest

The southern states become Republican after Democratic President Lyndon Johnson convinced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The South has never forgiven Democrats for supporting the African-American Civil Rights Movement and that’s the dirty history of Republicans and racism.

vey9
Guest

“The southern states become Republican after Democratic President Lyndon Johnson convinced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

There was an intermediate step: The Independent Party, which ran Alabama Governor George Wallace for President in ’68 and did much better than Ross Perot.

Polimom
Guest

Then we should by all means be talking about the parties in power during the Civil War (and its lead up), as well.

JSpencer
Member

Clearly it’s time to fire up the wayback machine. Maybe if we start in the early 15th century? Seriously though, people like Virginia Foxx appear to be in need of remedial history lessons. It wouldn’t matter quite as much if she wasn’t a member of congress.

DLS
Guest

“Americans as a people are not real good at understanding or accepting history. We’re much better at forgetting”

And at simply believing or doing what they’re told, in the case many of you, but many of us Americans are not.

DLS
Guest

“but partisan bickering about a vote that happened 44 years ago is a waste of time”

Well, there is nothing good being achieved and many setbacks for lefties currently, so they have to find something else to comment about instead, it seems. Hence the elevation not only of things like this but of obscession with and attacks on, for example, Sarah Palin in importance to them. (I’m not the first to have spotted and remarked about the number of Palin threads recently on this lefty Web site.)

Kim Ritter
Member

Its easier to understand the history of the civil rights movement by looking at regionalism- not partisanship. Whoever came to power in the South had to curry favor from the racist white majority- it didn’t much matter whether they were Democrats or Republicans. The reason the South was heavily Democrat was because the Republicans were the party of Lincoln and the party of reconstructionism- both bitterly hated by southerners. They saw integration as the last straw and any politician worth his salt had to stand against it to the bitter end.
IMO, it just highlights the courage of LBJ. Kennedy may have mouthed the words of racial equality, but Johnson took on the bigots in his own party- men that he had served in the Senate with and had drinks with. He severed those ties in order to do the right thing by minorities, knowing that he would be vastly unpopular in his own area of the country. Johnson may have made terrible mistakes in Vietnam, but he has my undying respect for going to bat for African-Americans.

BTW,it was a lot easier for Republicans to back civil rights because most of them held office in the North and West, where integration was not a hot button issue. Having said that, more Democrats in the Senate still voted for LBJ’s landmark civil rights legislation than Republicans. When they saw their opening the Republicans capitalized on Johnson’s isolation from his fellow southerners and moved into the region. This hasn’t changed in 45 years.

tidbits
Guest

Oh, Lord. here we go again with the infantile whining about how TMV with its slightly right of center overall bent is a “lefty Web site”. The only conclusion that can be objectively drawn is that those who consider TMV to be left wing wouldn’t know a real lefty if they got bit in the neck by one.

roseyrey
Member

Mmm…lefty neck biters…I’m gettin’ all hot and bothered by that thought! :)

roseyrey
Member

“But if you are going to blame the GOP for Congresswoman Fox (from the South) then how can you excuse the Democrats for their Southern members ?”

“Then we should by all means be talking about the parties in power during the Civil War (and its lead up), as well.” **

The problem with these statements is the assumption that because Republicans (at least Foxx — but I’ve seen it many times) are trying to paint themselves as the now and forever torch-bearers of civil rights that Democrats are trying to do the same. Criticizing the statement made by Foxx in no way implies anything about what Democrats have been historically. At least those of us who know enough history to rebutt Foxx also know that having a D in front of your name has, at many times in American history, meant fighting *against* civil rights.

It would certainly, however, be fair to say that *today’s* Democratic Party is much more focused on upholding civil rights than the *today’s* Republican Party.

**Polimom — Perhaps I’m misinterpreting your statement; if so, my apologies.

Kim Ritter
Member

Roro- this is only true of southern Democrats– and nationally neither party had a good civil rights record prior to 1964.

roseyrey
Member

Fair enough, kritt; my statement was too strong — being a Democrat never guaranteed either way whether a person was for civil rights or against, but at many times it was the Democrats who were most furvently fighting against them. I guess it’s also fair to say that being a Democrat today doesn’t necessarily mean that one is interested in civil rights. It’s just a much better indicator today than being a Republican.

Leonidas
Guest

No worse than the democrats referring to themselves as the party of Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson would puke at what the democratic party has become.

Kim Ritter
Member

I actually believe that it was MLK’s father that was a Republican. MLK actually tried to work with whichever party he thought would advance the movement at the moment he needed them to. He had too much at stake to be rigidly ideological.
Both prominent Democrats and Republicans avoided committing themselves to him, until the 1960’s when they could no longer pretend that they couldn’t see the ugliness in the every day life of African-Americans. The reason that he and his followers (who used Gandhi as their inspiration) kept getting arrested during protests was to keep a high profile, so that the D’s and R’s would have to take a stand of some sort. This was especially true of JFK, who avoided doing anything politically risky until advised to by his brother Bobby in the early 60’s.

JeffersonDavis
Guest

“I actually believe that it was MLK’s father that was a Republican.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a registered Republican.
This is important because Kathy, with her rant against Republican Virginia Foxx, supports that the Democratic Party is the primary player in the history of civil rights.

The only Republicans who stood against civil rights (for the most part) were the democrats that switched to the GOP after the democrats announced support. Prior to that moment, both parties supported civil rights. Abraham Lincoln (another “worthless” Republican) is another example of an early Republican civil rights leader.

wpDiscuz