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New black republican group lies, distorts history

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A relatively new Republican group called the National Black Republican Association is going around claiming that Democrats started and built the Klan, Republicans are civil rights champions, and Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican.

Like the large majority of Republicans, leaders of this group are little more than paid hacks, con artists, and liars. I wouldn't doubt that Rove and the Swift Boaters had something to do with this group, at least in helping to fund it.

Richard Mathis recently more than adequately details how distorted and misguided the propaganda of the National Black Republican Association is in an Oped News column here.

I will add that while the first KKK that began in the 1860s was largely filled with Democrats, a resurrected Klan that started a few decades later was to a greater degree Republican. Leaders included Indiana Gov. Edward Jackson, elected as a Republican in 1924.

In more modern times, many of the racists in the Democratic Party switched to the Republicans after the former became too open to blacks for them. In fact, the Republican Party actually launched a strategy during the late 1960s to capture the southern racist vote by opposing affirmative action, supporting the rights of states like South Carolina to fly the Confederate flag in front of public buildings, and similar positions.

The Republicans have long had ties to racists, including David Duke, a Klan leader in the 1970s who was elected to the Louisiana State House of Representatives in 1989 as a Republican. Many Republicans are associated with the openly-racist Council for Conservative Citizens, including Trent Lott, the former Republican Senate Majority Leader who embraced the racist Strom Thurmond, former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, who has spoken before the segregationist group, and Republican National Committee leader Buddy Witherspoon, who has resisted calls that he resign his CCC membership.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, a Republican, launched his career as a GOP operative in 1964 by harassing black voters. Former Republican Attorney General John Ashcroft opposed racial integration and the appointment of African Americans to offices as Missouri governor and attorney general and has uttered pro-Confederate views.

Dubya Bush himself spoke before the segregationist Bob Jones University in South Carolina, genuflected before the Confederate flag, and helped implement the racist Willie Horton ad during the 1988 presidential campaign of Bush Sr., who approved the racist ad after lobbying by his son. Both Bush's have appointed many racists - both subtle and overt - to high offices, who now work to further erode civil rights.

White House strategist Karl Rove also aided with the racist Horton ad and oversaw the racist 2000 South Carolina smear campaign against Sen. John McCain, which alluded to McCain's "black child," who actually is an adopted daughter from Bangladesh. While in Congress from 1979 until 1989, Dick Cheney opposed measures strengthening laws against housing discrimination and collecting hate-crime data. Cheney supported apartheid in the racist South African regime, even as it crumbled. Republican politicians in Georgia and South Carolina, such as Sonny Perdue, Republican governor of Georgia, were elected in 2002 on platforms that included "restoring pride" in the Confederate flag.

Who can forget the Florida 2000 recount battle, when white supremacists rallied for Republicans who embraced their support? What about Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush's and former Bush-state-campaign-co-chair-Secretary-of-State-turned-Congresswoman Katherine Harris' openly racist system of purges before the 2000 election that took the names of mostly African-American voters off the rolls? What about the police roadblocks near black precincts on election days? And how about the Republican warnings in communities across the country about impending black voter fraud that usually occur a few days before an election, not to mention misleading fliers circulated by Republican operatives in African-American neighborhoods telling them of different days to vote or wrongly warning that their criminal backgrounds and parking tickets will be checked to try to intimidate them against voting?

Then there is Jefferson Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama. Sessions has called a black assistant U.S. attorney "boy" and a white civil rights attorney a "disgrace to his race." As a prosecutor, Sessions pursued civil rights workers on phony voter fraud charges. As Alabama attorney general, he again pursued allegations of voter fraud in African-American communities, looked the other way in Anglo communities, and refused to aggressively investigate burnings and bombings of black churches. He also said he thought KKK members were "OK" until he heard some might have smoked marijuana and charged the NAACP with being "un-American" and "Communist-inspired." Despite such a past, Bush and other Republicans have campaigned for Sessions.

Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia, as governor of that state, issued a proclamation recognizing "Confederate History and Heritage Month." Allen, the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, also displays a Confederate flag in his living room and recently slurred a man from India, calling him a racist term for monkey.

Moving over to the U.S. House, there is Cass Ballenger. The white Republican from North Carolina told the Charlotte Observer that he had "segregationist" feelings and called former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, an African-American Democrat from Georgia, a "b*tch."

In Rochester, N.Y., Monroe County Executive Jack Doyle, a white Republican, recently derided Mayor William Johnson Jr., a black Democrat. "If there was a mayor that looked like me, it would be a whole different landscape," Doyle told a local reporter.

An article by USA Today cited several other examples of recent insensitive remarks made by Republican public officials and none by Democratic officials because reporters could not find any -- believe me, they would have included some by Democrats if they found them. Democratic Senators Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Fritz Hollings of South Carolina have made some racist remarks in the past, but not recently enough to run in that article.

For every Sen. Byrd Republicans such as NBRA leaders bring up, I can counter with five Sen. Allens and Sen. Lotts and Sen. Sessions and Rep. Ballengers and Dubya Bush's.

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Jackson Thoreau is the pen name of a Washington, D.C.-area journalist/writer. Books include Not Our President: The Movement for Democracy and Against GOP Fascism [updated in 2022], The King of the Internet [2019], and Born to (more...)

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