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Trent Lott

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One reason the White House, the Republican leadership and most neo-conservatives were upset with Trent Lott is that they thought his remarks about 1948 Dixiecrats would jeopardize the party’s alternatives to liberal civil rights policies and President Bush’s efforts to “reach out” to black voters.

The problem is that finding Republican “alternatives” to what liberals want to do on civil rights issues is rather difficult — though by no means as difficult as finding any substantive black support for the GOP.

In the 2000 election, despite almost superhuman efforts to “reach out to blacks,” Mr. Bush won a whopping 9 percent of their vote — the lowest since Barry Goldwater, who had voted against civil rights legislation.

It would make sense for the Democrats, long held hostage to blacks and other minorities to rid themselves of leaders their pet constituencies don’t like. It makes no sense whatsoever for the Republicans to get rid of a leader just because voters who never support them don’t like him. But then that’s why they call it the Stupid Party.

The virtually non-existent black Republicans are even scarcer than Hispanic Republicans, but ever since the November elections, the party’s leadership has managed to convince itself that the reason it did so well was that it’s finally winning the Hispanic vote. In 2000, Mr. Bush did about as well with Hispanics as Republicans ever do, winning a third of their vote, but losing to Al Gore’s huge 67 percent landslide among Hispanics. This November the Republicans barely made gains, if any, among Hispanics, really did even more poorly, despite what its propagandists have been claiming, and a recent vote analysis from United Press International pretty clearly proves it. ["GOP vote orthodoxy shy on facts," by Steve Sailer. See also GOP Wins With Sailer Strategy, a VDARE.COM exclusive.]

Usually, experts can tell how certain demographic groups voted by exit polls conducted by the Voter News Service. But in 2002 the VNS computers broke down on Election Day, so there are no reliable conclusions from their polls. Instead, the UPI report looks at exit polls conducted in various states by local media or polling services.

There were exit polls by Fox News and the Los Angeles Times in 11 states, according to the UPI report:

“In these 11 states, the average white share increased by 2 points over the 2000 Voter News Service exit poll findings. Growth was seen in states such as Florida (+9 points), Colorado (+5), Missouri (+4), and California (+3). The most important white decline was in Texas and that was just 2 points.”

Republicans may actually have won a bit more of the white vote this year than they did in 2000. The Gallup poll before the election predicted they’d win 58 percent of the white vote; the Greenberg poll afterwards reported the GOP had won 55 percent.

The increase in the white share of the GOP vote thus contradicts what the party’s pollsters claimed in 2000, that the party just couldn’t gain any more white support than the 54 percent Mr. Bush received then.

There was a time, of course, when Republican presidents could win 59 percent or more of the white vote. That was back when the party leadership didn’t denounce the white South and jabber about amnesty for illegal aliens.

As for the Hispanic vote, the UPI reports,

“Compared to 2000 when George W. Bush won about 35 percent of the Hispanic vote nationally, Republican candidates appeared to be down somewhat in Texas and New Jersey, roughly unchanged in California and Colorado, up somewhat in Florida, and up a lot in New York.”

Republicans might well have gained a few Hispanic votes since their total popular vote share was larger than two years ago, but “whatever the trend was, though, it does not appear to have been all that significant.”

In New York, it’s alleged that Republican Gov. George Pataki won with more than 50 percent of the state’s Hispanics. Neo-conservative Tamar Jacoby, writing in the Weekly Standard, hooted and hollered over this victory. But the UPI report also points out that Jacoby neglected to mention that “Pataki had moved so far to the left that he had earned the endorsement of the liberal New York Times.”

If the Republicans want Hispanic votes, that’s how they can get them: By out-lefting the Democrats.

The UPI report doesn’t look at (or for) the GOP black vote. Most experts agree that one of the main reasons for the Democrats’ loss this year was that blacks didn’t turn out for them.

But that doesn’t mean blacks voted Republican either. What it means is that, when the Republicans can turn out their white voting base, as Mr. Bush was able to do this year, they win. Their response: Dumping Mr. Lott and further pandering to anti-Republican and left-wing minority blocs.

The Republicans still need to learn the 2002 election’s lesson.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Republicans, Trent Lott 
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One obvious purpose of the attack on Trent Lott has been to advance the ambition of his critics and rivals within his own party to push him out and put themselves in his place. That’s ordinary politics.

But another purpose has been to exploit the transparent cowardice and incoherence of the Republican Party on racial issues to push the whole party further to the left and make impossible any serious opposition to the anti-white agenda of far-left Democrats and their black constituencies.

The man whose mission it became to unbosom this purpose was the guy who used to be Bill Clinton.

This week the ex-president opened up not just on the Majority Leader, whose tactics in his Senate impeachment trial may have allowed Mr. Clinton to remain in the White House and out of prison, but on the entire Republican Party.

Mr. Clinton pronounced that he was hardly surprised that the Republicans have not already hanged, drawn, and quartered Mr. Lott for his positive remarks about Strom Thurmond’s 1948 presidential bid because the Republicans privately agree with what Lott said.

“How can they jump on him when they’re out there repressing, trying to run black voters away from the polls and running under the Confederate flag in Georgia and South Carolina?” Mr. Clinton spurted this week. “I mean, look at their whole record. He just embarrassed them by saying in Washington what they do on the backloads every day.”

In a word, Mr. Clinton is stating about as clearly and explicitly as can be stated that the Republican Party itself is inherently “racist.”

If there was any doubt that that was what he meant, he said much the same thing again.

“I think that the way the Republicans have treated Senator Lott is pretty hypocritical, since right now their policy is, in my view, inimical to everything this country stands for.”

“They’ve tried to suppress black voting, they’ve ran [sic]on the Confederate flag in Georgia and South Carolina. And from top to bottom, the Republicans supported it. So I don’t see what they’re jumping on Trent Lott about.”

The Republican Party is not only inherently “racist,” but un-American as well—“inimical to everything this country stands for.”

The reason Mr. Clinton unleashed this attack is that he knew very well the Republicans did not have a clue as to how to respond to it. The Republicans didn’t know how to respond to it because they believe absolutely nothing about race, civil rights, segregation, the South, or any of the other matters Mr. Clinton brought up, and the only response they can imagine making to his accusations is a political one—to estimate what response would do the least damage or gain the most advantage for them.

The actual response from Mark Racicot, President Bush’s handpicked buddy who heads the Republican National Committee, was to mumble the rhetorical equivalent of a fishpaw handshake:

“This is another tired example of Bill Clinton misrepresenting the facts and misleading the American people to gain political advantage.”

That’s what you say when the Democrats propose spending too much money on federal highway construction. It’s not what you say when you’re accused by a former president of “repressing” blacks and harboring essentially treasonable beliefs.

But what else could Mr. Racicot say? He can’t acknowledge that some Republicans have indeed successfully campaigned on the Confederate flag issue because acknowledging that would be to embrace positions and principles now denounced as “segregationist” or at least “insensitive” and an embarrassment to the party.

Nor can he take the “color-blind society” approach favored by some neo-conservatives because that too can be denounced as “insensitive” and leading to the rejection of affirmative action and other anti-white policies that grant state-enforced privileges to non-whites.

That, after all, as his voting record shows, was more or less the actual position that Sen. Lott has taken on most race-related issues up until his disastrous self-disembowelment on Black Entertainment Television last week. But that position has now been delegitimized as much as outright segregationism.

The only substantive position the Republicans can now take, the only one recognized as “legitimate,” is the one embraced by the Democrats and Mr. Clinton, and therefore when the Democrats denounce them as “racists” and un-American, the Republicans can say nothing sensible in reply.

Hence, because of the Trent Lott episode, whatever its outcome, because of the skillful way in which Democratic demagogues like Mr. Clinton have played it, because of the timidity of the Republican response to their accusations, and because of the embrace by neo-conservative eggheads and the Bush White House of what have traditionally been left-wing positions on race and civil rights, the Republicans will find themselves incapable of principled resistance to whatever further radicalism the anti-white and anti-American racists of the Democratic Party demand.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Republicans, Trent Lott 
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Nickles Seeks Lott’s Ouster,” blared the Washington Post’s lead headline Monday morning. “GOP Agenda at Risk, Senator Says.”

The good news is not that Senate Republicans have decided that their Majority Leader must go – but that there is a GOP agenda at all. From the way in which the Republicans and their neo-conservative allies have responded to the “crisis” created by Sen. Trent Lott’s positive remarks about Strom Thurmond’s 1948 segregationist presidential campaign, you would not necessarily know there was.

The initial reaction to the Mississippi senator’s words from his counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, seemed almost sympathetic. Mr. Daschle noted that Mr. Lott had explained himself to him, and “I accept that.”

Mr. Daschle, no fool, understands that when the Majority Leader feels the need to explain himself to the Minority Leader, it’s pretty clear who really calls the shots in the Senate.

And as the Senate goes, so went what remains of the “conservative movement,” as defined by the neo-conservatives who have come to dominate and speak for it. Almost to a man, their spokesmen damned Mr. Lott’s remarks—”disgraceful” (David Frum), “indefensible” (Jonah Goldberg), “ludicrous” (William Kristol), “appalling” (Charles Krauthammer), “shameful” (a public statement issued by four Republican appointees to the Civil Rights Commission), etc.

Neo-conservative ex-football star Jack Kemp ranted that “until [Mr. Lott] totally repudiates segregation and every aspect of its evil manifestation,” the Republicans would continue to suffer damage from his remarks. He demanded that Mr. Lott, as the Post reported,“go before a civil rights group and make a major speech about race and racial reconciliation in the New South to help clear the air.”

What is remarkable about this reaction from the “right” is that it is entirely indistinguishable from the reaction from the left—except perhaps that the left was a bit less outraged.

What the reaction of the “right” reveals is that the neo-conservatives who today have come to define the American “right” share precisely the same views as the left. And what that means is that the “right” does absolutely nothing to challenge the left. The left can “up the ante”— escalate its political demands—as far to the left as it wishes, and the “right” will tag along behind (or perhaps even run in front).

This is why there is and can be no Republican “agenda” – despite what the wannabe Majority Leaders try to claim.

There can be no Republican agenda because as long as the left defines the boundaries of American politics, any agenda the Republicans or the “right” comes up with will merely reflect what the left allows it to support. Any dissent from what the left allows will be denounced—as “racist” or some other sort of “extremism.” And you can bet your armband it will probably be the neo-conservatives who will do the denouncing.

By the middle of last week, with the neo-con pack in full bay at Mr. Lott’s heels, the left “upped the ante” a bit more. It soon became clear that the real target was not what in the most extreme interpretation was a bland and certainly unintentional endorsement of segregationism but rather the real conservative position on race and civil rights. Both the Post and the New York Times dug up Mr. Lott’s voting record and brayed the news that he had voted against the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 1982, against the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in 1983, against the Civil Rights Act in 1990.

Not one of these or other votes Mr. Lott has cast means he supports segregation, and he was hardly alone in casting them. What they tell us is that he has consistently embraced an authentic conservative position on these issues. Among Mr. Lott’s many sins that the Postdiscovered: In 1998 he praised Confederate President Jefferson Davis in helping dedicate a library in his honor in Mississippi and said that Davis “rightly understood [the U.S. Constitution] was created to restrain government, not constrain the people.” [text of speech.]

Having conceded the “evil manifestation” of segregation, the “right” opened the door for the left to denounce any expression of authentic conservatism—and not only by Mr. Lott.

The dominance of the American “right” by neo-conservatives—ex-liberals who continue to exude liberal premises and values but who for some reason insist on calling themselves conservatives—means that ideological hegemony is ceded to the left, that the “right” must always explain itself to and seek sanction from the left, that the “right” can and will do nothing whatsoever to challenge the left’s monopoly of politics, culture, and discussion.

What good therefore is accomplished if a Republican president sits in the White House, a Republican majority sits in Congress – and neo-conservative commentators dominate the public dialogue on television and newspapers?

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Republicans, Trent Lott 
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For one brief shining moment, it was beginning to look like Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was taking hormone shots. First he endorsed sending troops to the border to resist invasion by illegal aliens. Then, last week, at a birthday party for 100-year-old Sen.Strom Thurmond, he virtually endorsed the South Carolina senator’s presidential campaign 54 years ago—as a segregationist.

Mr. Lott has now apologized at least twice and cringed and groveled appropriately for saying something that deviates from egalitarian dogmas, but whether Mr. Thurmond’s distinguished colleague from Mississippi was trying to utter some serious thoughts or had just swallowed too much eggnog at the birthday bash seems an open question.

No sooner had his words escaped the senatorial lips than he was denounced by Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the Washington Posteditorial page, and—the world’s greatest expert on What Should Have Been—Al Gore. Alerted by the baying of the leftist pack from which they take their cues, neo-conservatives like the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and the failed and forgotten Jack Kemp soon chimed in.

Mr. Jackson demanded that Mr. Lott resign as Majority Leader, while Mr. Sharpton denounced his remarks as “blatant racism” and vowed to wage a national campaign against him. Mr. Gore, in his ponderous way, held that what Mr. Lott said was “fundamentally racist,” “divisive,” and “divisive along racial lines.”

But of course, Mr. Lott said nothing whatever about race, and never even mentioned race at all. What exactly he did say was:

“I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years.”

What exactly Mr. Lott meant by his remarks remains unclear, but several different interpretations of them are possible, and Mr. Lott and his defenders have invoked all of them. Nevertheless, what Mr. Thurmond’s States Rights Party mainly stood for was racial segregation, and Mr. Lott knows that. The party was set up in protest of the Truman administration’s endorsement of legislation against segregation, and those who supported the Thurmond candidacy—nearly 1.2 million voters—almost certainly did so because they supported segregation.

So, was Mr. Lott right? If the rest of the country had voted for Strom Thurmond in 1948, would we “have had all these problems over all these years”? Well, you never know, of course, but probably not.

In the first place, had Strom Thurmond been elected president in 1948, such paragons of legal reasoning as Earl Warren and William Brennan would never have seen the inside of the Supreme Court. Not only Brown v. Board but also the Miranda, Escobedo, and several other major decisions that revolutionized American government and tossed much of the Constitution in the office shredder would never have soiled the law books. Judicial precedents that consolidated the Court’s immense power today would never have been established.

Mr. Lott should ask his critics if it would be OK to say he wishes Barry Goldwater had been elected president in 1964. Mr. Goldwater, though not a segregationist, voted against civil rights legislation for precisely the same reasons Mr. Thurmond gave—it violated states rights.

Would racial segregation have survived? De jure segregation was eroding in the southern states anyway. De facto, most sociologists will tell you the nation’s schools today are at least as segregated as they were in the 1950s. So are housing patterns. So what? People of the same race tend to prefer each other’s company.

But what we almost certainly would not have enjoyed had Mr. Thurmond become president are the fruits of forced racial integration as it was imposed in later decades: the tidal wave of black crime against whites that is now commonplace; black race riots from Detroit and Watts to Los Angeles in 1992; the virtual destruction of American cities as a black underclass, protected by the federal government,pushed out whites terrified for their own lives and those of their families; the destruction of American education and the transformation of the schools into day-time prison camps for hoodlums. No forced busing; no affirmative action; no “hate crime” hypocrisy; no “Afrocentric” or “multiculturalist” garbage poured into our children’s heads. Probably no mass immigration. No self-hate for whites. No guilt. No fear.

In fact, had the conservatism of a younger Strom Thurmond prevailed, there’s little reason to doubt the United States and much of the rest of the world would be better off than they are today under the reign of terror and chaos that prevails as the chief legacy of liberalism.

Instead of denouncing Mr. Lott, Americans—liberal and conservative, black and white—ought to think hard about the important and unsettling truth he accidentally uttered.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Republicans, Trent Lott 
Sam Francis
About Sam Francis

Dr. Samuel T. Francis (1947-2005) was a leading paleoconservative columnist and intellectual theorist, serving as an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Patrick Buchanan and as an editorial writer, columnist, and editor at The Washington Times. He received the Distinguished Writing Award for Editorial Writing of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in both 1989 and 1990, while being a finalist for the National Journalism Award (Walker Stone Prize) for Editorial Writing of the Scripps Howard Foundation those same years. His undergraduate education was at Johns Hopkins and he later earned his Ph.D. in modern history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His books include The Soviet Strategy of Terror(1981, rev.1985), Power and History: The Political Thought of James Burnham (1984); Beautiful Losers: Essays on the Failure of American Conservatism (1993); Revolution from the Middle: Essays and Articles from Chronicles, 1989–1996 (1997); and Thinkers of Our Time: James Burnham (1999). His published articles or reviews appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, National Review, The Spectator (London), The New American, The Occidental Quarterly, and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, of which he was political editor and for which he wrote a monthly column, “Principalities and Powers.”