In a post in The Corner earlier today, Jonah Goldberg asked the question "LBJ Did What Now?" in response to a NYT article about political charisma in presidential politics.
In specific, he was vexed by this quote: "When Mrs. Clinton talked about how it took Johnson as well as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to achieve the rights legislation, Ms. Goodwin said, “she was absolutely right.” Johnson’s great mastery was to get the support of Southern Republicans...."
Jonah said: "LBJ Did What Now? ... Someone correct me if I'm wrong (as if I need to say that!), but I could have sworn there were no southern Republicans in the Senate in 1964, except for John Tower of Texas. "
Fortunately there is no reason to correct our favorite-fomenter-of-feel-good-fascists. He is entirely correct.
However one can understand the confusion that must be felt at the NYT. I am sure that anything not north of Manhattan is considered "Southern" on the Upper East Side. How quaint.
Now either this crack NYT reporter forgot to fire up her internet-contraption-thingy to do some fact checking, or she firmly believes that the only ones who opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act were those nasty Republicans, who we all know have infested the south since they started the Civil War... See, it slides off the tongue so easily, it almost sounds true!
Now, for some quick facts. One can reasonably define "The South" as VA, NC, SC, GA, FLA, MS, AL, TN, LA, & AR. If you look at the make up of the Senate for the 88th Congress, you can see that each and every one of the Senate seats for these states was 100%, tried and true Democrat.
If you want to be generous and throw in TX and OK, you come up with a grand total of 1 Republican (John Tower, as mentioned by Jonah). Add in Delaware, you can figure in two more. Heck, throw in Hawaii, with *is* the southern-most state, and you can get a fourth!
The bottom line is that the NYT has proven once again that is should do some hiring outside of its echo chamber. Simple research would prove the statement "Johnson’s great mastery was to get the support of Southern Republicans" to be bunk. Not only were there no Southern Republicans to speak of in those 10 aforementioned states, but the one from Texas joined his 20 Democratic colleagues from those states in opposing the final bill.
So much for that vaunted "great mastery" that the story tells us that Johnson had over the south.
UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers!
I did want to add one piece of info before somebody decides to use it against me, and under the aegis that I had intended to include it in my original post.... One of those 20 "Southern" Democratic Senators was indeed Strom Thurmond, who would become a Republican later in that same year.