Haley Barbor’s real crime: “We paid more attention to the girls than to King”

Posted: December 21, 2010 in elections
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Ah 2011 is only 10 days or so away, so tis the season to hit one of the most qualified republicans in the likely field as racist:

The Citizens’ Councils were, right in the state of Mississippi where Barbour is from, the respectable face of white supremacist political activism.

Hmmm now what did Barbor say about the Citizen’s councils back then when he was 16 in that interview:

Both Mr. Mott and Mr. Kelly had told me that Yazoo City was perhaps the only municipality in Mississippi that managed to integrate the schools without violence. I asked Haley Barbour why he thought that was so.

“Because the business community wouldn’t stand for it,” he said. “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”Emphasis Mine

So in other words, if you were Klan in Barbour’s town you lost her job, unlike the democratic party (who with apologies to Dave Weigel who considers this sentence “standard republican deflection”) give their ex Klan Members the job of President Pro Tempre of the Senate until death as late as 2010.

I’m not a southerner, and anyone who thinks the citizens councils of the Jim Crow south believed in racial equality is deluding themselves, but that not what the question was. The questions were “why there was no violence” and “what he remembered as a 16 year old kid” who ( as we will see later) had other priorities. So lets see if the statement in question is supported:

Tom McGuire examines the case:

I don’t think Barbour claimed the Councils were led by integrationist progressives on the right side of history; I think he claimed they helped keep the peace. Two sources say they did, against which we have to weigh Matt’s shock and awe.

He quotes noted segregationists David Halberstam Neil McMillen (and yes I’m being sarcastic).

Meanwhile as we also seen in the interview Barbour attended MLK’s rally in his town …

“I remember Martin Luther King came to town, in ’62. He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white.”

Did you go? I asked.

“Sure, I was there with some of my friends.”

I asked him why he went out.

“We wanted to hear him speak.”

but had (ahem) other priorities:

I asked what King had said that day.

“I don’t really remember. The truth is, we couldn’t hear very well. We were sort of out there on the periphery. We just sat on our cars, watching the girls, talking, doing what boys do. We paid more attention to the girls than to King.”

As you might guess on the left this is all over this (Journolist redux) over at Ace’s spot some good points are made:

First, both Barbour and Yglesias can be right. Based on the profile it’s clear that many people in Barbour’s home town (including his brother Jeppie, the then Mayor) held beliefs that simply were reprehensible about blacks but none the less managed to take a relatively benign course of action in integrating the community.

That’s very true, again; that is the question that was asked.  Meanwhile shades of a double standard:

Obama skated by on Bill Ayers by saying he was a child when Ayers was bombing buildings and killing people. Of course Ayers past wasn’t the issue, it was his unapologetic defense of it and the wisdom of a presidential candidate associating himself with such a man in the present.

Barbour was 8 years old when the 1955 campaign to intimidate supporters of school integration Yglesias cites was conducted. What’s the relevance of that to Barbour or his memories of integration efforts in the 60’s?

If Barbour were associating with men who still believed in segregation or defended their role in opposing it back in the day (as Ayers does about his terrorist past and continued belief in violence as a political tool), I’d be the first to say he has a disqualifying problem. But that’s not the charge, is it?

Oh and if supporting segregation is disqualifying (and again no one is claiming Barbour did any such thing, then or now), then I’d like liberals to explain their on going love affair with Jimmy Carter.

Drew M also points out that if you are from the North you have a particular view of the south drummed into you. When it came to Southerners I was rather bigoted and self righteous at one time and it took some years to get over it. Meanwhile Stacy McCain who is a Southerner provides some education about the “solid” south:

I don’t care how many times liberals invoke “The Southern Strategy,” that still doesn’t make it true. The Democratic Party remained a viable and even dominant political force in the South for three decades after the end of segregation.

Southern Democrat Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976 and Southern Democrat Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992. The Democratic Party maintained control of the Georgia state legislature until 2003 and it was not until this year — let me check my calendar, yeah, it’s 2010 — that Republicans gained a majority in the Alabama state legislature.

As much as it may flatter the vanity of liberals to think that the Democratic “Solid South” ended in 1964 — and that the success of the GOP in the Sunbelt is therefore somehow attributable to redneck bigotry — it simply is not true.

And I’m sick and tired of pious lectures from arrogant fools whose moral horizons can be summarized in two words: “Vote Democrat.”

Even today’s uninformed “students” of history can use the net to find that out, but of course our scholarly friends of the left who think that C. S. Lewis is a mere children’s author may not know this.

So lets review the facts briefly:

  • The Citizen’s councils in Yazoo City kept out the Klan and kept violence out of the city.
  • The members of the citizen’s councils of the south in the 60’s were (like Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln and Margaret Sanger) not believers in the equality of races.
  • If you were 8 years old in 1955 and lived in the south odds are your parents, grandparents and neighbors were all people whose views on race were likely not the same as our views today.
  • Given the choice between caring about race or girls, 16 years olds, even those who will grow up to be pols like Haley Barbour, will choose girls over Martin Luther King every time. (Does he read rule 5 Sunday?)

And the final rule as told by Hotair

If he’s the nominee, Democrats will spend six solid months shrieking about racism in order to deflect attention from Obama’s record.

Mitigating factor: That’s actually their game plan no matter who the nominee is.

That’s pretty much it.

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