The Mason-Confusion Line

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.


TheRadicalModerate said...

You sure this wasn't just a typo/braino and she meant to say "Democrats?"

Rocker 419 said...

I'm glad someone out there is keeping track of the NYT because I'm not (not anymore anyway) and I by the likes of it, not too many others are either.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Ms. Goodwin said, “she was absolutely right.” Johnson’s great mastery was to get the support of Southern Republicans...."

Whoever that's quoting, whether NYT or Hillary herself, I think it's 100% accurate. It fits Democratic Party mendacity to a tee, and it counts on an audience so historically unconscious that only a small fraction of listeners would know that it was indeed Democratic Senators who were prepared to fight the 1964 Civil Rights bill to their last stolen vote.

What's not to like - demonizing Republicans for Democratic racism? Hillary is probably collecting drinks in every bar in New York City over that one.

Diane Wilson said...

Definitely not a typo, or a braino. LBJ's anguish over the civil rights bill was that it would lose the South for the Democratic Party for at least a generation.

As it turns out, LBJ underestimated.

wesley said...

to be fair, not all democrats back then were racist but most of the southern one were. also, many blacks from that era identified with the republicans but the switch to the dem party happened under johnson. the south switched partys when the blacks joined the dems and we are where we are today.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

People reconfigure memory to fit their narrative all the time. If not confronted, reuse will reinforce it. This is because our current memories are not made from the original events, but from the last time we remembered it. Over time, blue becomes green becomes yellow.

Unknown said...

Interesting take on this. I looked further at the House, hoping that the NYT might have just simply misnoted the makeup. No such luck. of the 176 Republicans in the House during the 88th congress only 8 of them were from the South.

Too bad the Times never lets the facts get in the way of a good story allowing the Hillster to open her yap and once again display her lack of knowledge.

Should we hold our breaths waiting for a retraction?

Mike Ballburn said...

Let's not forget the Exalted Cyclops, Robert Byrd (D-KKK, WV), who filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act for more than 14 hours.

WV would definitely be included in the south.

Fen said...

This is why, when the NYTs calls to get me to subscribe, I politely respond: sure, but you'll have to pay me $100 a month to read it.

Is it blowback when The Ignorant that the NYTs et al have created come to work for them? Would explain Mary Mapes.

D. B. Light said...

The South did not go consistently Republican until the Reagan era. As late as 1976 s Democrat, Jimmy Carter, carried every southern state except Virginia. The idea that the South switched because of Nixon's racist "southern strategy" is contradicted by the facts, but has become an enduring myth because so many people on the left find it useful.

Unknown said...

The South is generally defined as 'south of the Mason-Dixon' (hence the article title), so Maryland is included. Doesn't help the accuracy of the NYT though. According to Wikipedia, both MD senators for 1963/64 were Dems.

Allen Cogbill said...

Having grown up in Tennessee during the 50's and 60's, I can assure you that at least in that state the very concept of Republican was foreign. There was, in essence, no Republican Party in the state at that time. For Federal seats (i.e., U. S. Senate or House of Representatives) there were no Republicans who even ran for office! The only real "election" was the Democratic primary.

theAmericanist said...

When you're attacking someone for mendacity and historical ignorance, it helps not to exhibit so much, yourselves. She obviously conflated the Southern Democrats (who became Republicans) with the Goldwater Republicans, because they both opposed the civil rights laws; then she flipped it over to write about the NORTHERN, moderate Republicans, like Everett Dirksen, who did support LBJ -- and would have been run out of the party today.

True, there were no Southern Republicans (except for Tower) in the mid-1960s, so her statement was flat out wrong. Then again, it helps to count Arizona as a "southern" stage -- because then you get to the truth of it: Goldwater was there in 1964 (but not '65) and he voted against the Civil Rights Act -- and CAMPAIGNED against it, too.

So it is NOT true that saying "Johnson’s great mastery was to get the support of Southern Republicans...." reveals anything but a bad bit of writing -- while the attacks on it here reveal something considerably worse: you're DOING what you claim to oppose, re-writing history to suit yourselves.

There were only two Congressional sources of opposition to the civil rights reforms in 1964 and 1965: Southern Democrats and Goldwater Republicans.

That's IT.

So Goodwin either blew it by getting it wrong -- or she meant to say something else, which was true.

Honest critics would ask about the latter. Y'all aren't honest.

LBJ did not pass the civil rights laws with the support of Southern Republicans (cuz there weren't any to speak of -- less than a dozen in the house, and all against it), but of Northern Republican moderates -- the very people Goldwater made a career out of attacking within the party.

The Southern Democrats who opposed civil rights, and who worked hand in hand with Goldwater to sustain white supremacy in the South: they became Republicans -- e.g., Trent Lott, who worked for the last of 'em AS a Democrat, before he completed the process by running on his own as a Republican.

And the Goldwater Republicans took over the GOP.

To act like the Reagan Republicans was the heir of the Republican Party of 1964 that voted for civil rights is a bit much. LBJ gave the racist Democrats to the GOP -- which was glad to go Goldwater and welcome 'em.

THAT's a lot more important than Goodwin's garbling.

Birkel said...

And theamericanist comes in with the received wisdom that Democrats have told themselves lo these many years to assuage their guilt about their party.

"See, they're all Republicans now so it's not our fault that they were Democrats back then" is an irrefutable assertion because there simply are no facts upon which to base the statement. It is opinion.

What is not opinion are the votes. Those happened. They were counted. They were recorded. And Democrats were on the wrong side of history.

Mark Tapscott said...

Be "generous and throw in Texas and Oklahoma?" Please. Hood's Texas Brigade were Lee's favorite troops and the last Confederate General to surrender was Stand Watie of the Indian Territory that became Oklahoma. The old Southern Democrats definitely remained in control of Oklahoma politics in 1964 and all but retained control of Texas politics as well. I know because my family was fighting them in both states in those days.

Red A said...

I am convinced that the Left and their media allies have so brainwashed people, that if you took a poll of young people, they would tell you that OF COURSE the Republicans opposed civil rights, while the Democrats supported it.

Unknown said...

> The Southern Democrats who opposed civil rights, and who worked hand in hand with Goldwater to sustain white supremacy in the South: they became Republicans

Actually, with very few exceptions, they didn't. They died while still Democrats in good standing. (Or in Robert "sheets" Byrd's case, are still Dems in good standing.) Fulbright, Clinton's mentor, is a good example.

Even during the 90s we were still hearing of the "1st repub since reconstruction" to win some election in the South.

Bart said...

Talk about mendacity. From wiki:

'Goldwater supported the Arizona NAACP and was involved in desegregating the Arizona National Guard. Nationally, he supported the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 and the constitutional amendment banning the poll tax. However, he opposed the much more comprehensive Civil Rights Act of 1964. While he did indeed support the civil rights cause in general, he believed that this act unconstitutionally extended the federal government's commerce power to private citizens in its drive to "legislate morality" and restrict the rights of employers. Since Dixiecrats were the main opponents to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and previous civil rights legislation, Goldwater's opposition to the 1964 Act, in which he was joined by only four other non-Southern Republican senators, strongly boosted Goldwater's standing among white Southerners who opposed such federal legislation.'

Bart said...

To clarify, trying to tar Goldwater as a racist is a low, dirty blow.

dick said...

What do you expect from the LLL dems. They will tar anyone they can. Goldwater was one of the most principled senators we have had in my lifetime. He actually read what he was voting on in detail and when he opposed something he told you exactly why he opposed it. That is why the LLL dems are trying to tar him with being a racist. They don't dare let the truth about him come out.

Rich Rostrom said...

Let's have a little accurate history. None of the "old-bull" Dixiecrats who fought against the Civil Rights Act became Republicans except Strom Thurmond. Some of their subordinates crossed over later, but not them. They all died in Democrat harness.

For Kearns to make that statement is amazing: denial of a major historical fact. It's like a reference to the King of Switzerland, or the Chinese alphabet.

Another point: Tennessee was Democrat-dominated before the 1960s, but there was a real Republican party there. Republicans contested every gubernatorial election, and even won four times (1880, 1910, 1912, 1920). There was always one, and often two Republican Representatives from east Tennessee, and other districts were contested. (Unlike Mississippi or Georgia, which were 99% Democrat.)

I don't whether Johnson feared "losing the South"; in any case it didn't happen. In 1962, the South elected 91 Democrat Representatives and 11 Republicans. In 1972, it was 72 to 32; in 1982, 80 to 32. The effect was not to throw the South to Republicans, but to end the unnatural near-100% control by Democrats. That was already crumbling in Florida, Texas, and Tennessee.

Texpat said...

Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas was the ONLY southern Senator, and Democrat, to vote for both the 1964Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. His support for these Acts cost him the 1970 primary against Lloyd Bentsen, a man never above using racial fears and rumors to further his own career. Bentsen did the same thing to George HW Bush in the general election.

I'm surprised Mark Tapscott didn't catch this since he is a Texan.

Jovan-Marya Weismiller, T.O.Carm. said...

And while Barry was supporting civil rights, Lyndon was making statements like, "I am not now, never have been and never will be in favor of a civil rights bill," and, "A civil rights bill is an attempt to force a police state on the American people." He was also selling land under restrictive covenants that forbade any non-white from living on it, "except in the capacity of a servant."

That's why I was a Teen for Goldwater in '64!

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