July 01, 2003


It wasnít just the American ABC network that ignored a certain dead segregationistís political ties, as Mark Steyn reports:

Lester Maddox, Georgia's last segregationist governor and a white restaurateur who closed his business rather than be forced to serve blacks, died last week, and neither ABC, CBS nor NBC could bring themselves to tell viewers that this man was (gasp!) a Democrat. Imagine that: a racist Democrat.

The same column has this killer take on Maureen Dowd:

Pronouncing Clarence Thomas ''barking mad,'' she declared, ''He knew that he could not make a powerful legal argument against racial preferences, given the fact that he got into Yale Law School and got picked for the Supreme Court thanks to his race.''

The cult of diversity stigmatizes all blacks: No matter how high they soar, the assumption of white liberals like Miss Dowd is that it's because of white liberals making allowances for them. How dare that uppity nigra be so ungrateful to Massa Sulzberger and all the fine ladies up at the big house who got him into the nice Liberal Guilt Academy for the Exotically Disadvantaged! ''It's poignant, really,'' sighs Maureen. ''It makes him crazy that people think he is where he is because of his race, but he is where he is because of his race.''

Here's a game we can all play: It's poignant, really. Maureen knew that she couldn't make a powerful argument if her life depended on it, given the fact that she got into the New York Times thanks to her gender. It makes her crazy that people think she's where she is because the buttoned-down white guys running the Times needed a fluffy-chick quota hire but ...

Speaking of Steyn: buy the book.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 1, 2003 12:53 AM

Does anyone know what Thomas's qualifications were when he applied to law school? The assumption seems to be that because he's black he was admitted under affirmative action.

This assumption says a lot about the assumers. He may have been admitted under a preference--but he may well have qualified on his own merits. I wish someone could get the information.

Posted by: Alex Bensky at July 1, 2003 at 04:53 AM

I don't know, but he went to law school around 1968-70, so it was before affirmative action.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at July 1, 2003 at 07:20 AM

Tim, I did a write up on your site with this post as a highlight. Hope you don't mind.



Posted by: Sophorist at July 1, 2003 at 09:03 AM

Dude - I'm guessing that most Americans know their own history better than you seem to. It's well known that from Lincoln through FDR, in the South at least, the Republicans were the party of the emancipated blacks (and, by and large, North Eastern liberals)and the Democrats were the party of those with, shall we say, less enlightened views on matters of race.

There was a period of flux from FDR through about Kennedy: FDR's economic policies made him a hero among the poor (where blacks, of course, were over-represented), while Truman integrated the armed forces over republican oppostion. Finally, at the time of Kennedy and Johnson and the civil rights movement, the realignment solidified: once defeated in their own party, many southern democrats disengaged, and many switched sides. Starting with Goldwater, and then refined by Nixon, the GOP explicitly pursued a "southern strategy" designed to bring democrats disaffected by the liberal dominance of their party into the GOP fold.

Which is all to say that (a) pointing out that Maddox was a Democrat is unnecessary to anyone familiar with his policies and his period, and (b) that you'd have to be stupid or deliberately mischevious to suggest that the fact is a reflection on the modern Democratic party.

It's about as relevant as telling white southerners today that they shouldn't vote GOP because it was the party of Lincoln, who expanded the federal gub'mint and freed the slaves.

Posted by: Mork at July 1, 2003 at 10:15 AM

The latest Democrat put up by the US media as an oracle because of his anti-Bush rhetoric, Robert Byrd, was in the Klan. Dennis Miller said of him "He sure looks tired- he must be burning the cross at both ends".

Posted by: paul bickford at July 1, 2003 at 11:28 AM

I agree with Mork. The sorts of people that Tim et al would condemn as 'liberals' today used to be in the Republican party but no more - today they are likely to be found in the Democratic party while all the neo-confederate trash have migrated to the Republican Party - it is simple as that.

Posted by: Jason Soon at July 1, 2003 at 01:24 PM

The point here wasn't that Democrats are bad -- it was that the media declined to mention Maddox's party.

Posted by: tim at July 1, 2003 at 02:47 PM

But, Tim, isn't your implication that they CHOSE not to because they think that it's embarrassing to the Dems . . . and that you agree?

Posted by: Mork at July 1, 2003 at 02:55 PM

Had he been a Republican, it would have been noted. See all coverage of Strom Thurmond for an example. That is Tim's point. Being a rascist in the past is embarrassing, and in general, the media does not point out Democratic rascists when they often point out Republican ones. Why are you arguing this?

Posted by: Courtney at July 1, 2003 at 03:47 PM

Courtney - the difference between Thurmond and Maddox is obvious: Thurmond was a GOP senator six months ago. Maddox was a Democratic governor almost 40 years ago - at a time when the Democratic party was a completely different party than it is today (at least in Georgia)

Posted by: Mork at July 1, 2003 at 04:12 PM

So Mork, you as a opinionated person are welcome to make that distinction. Tim's point remains: had he been a Republican then or now, the (supposedly objective) media would have noted it.

BTW, there are still plenty of racist Democrats left. You should meet my great uncle Jake.

Posted by: Courtney at July 1, 2003 at 05:53 PM

Opinionated? Me? I don't think so!

As for the first part of your assertion, if a representative of the GOP is racist NOW, then it is newsworthy, because (unless repudiated) they speak for the party today.

As for the other part of your charge, I'm trying to think of a comparable example to Maddox with the parties reversed . . . I can't think of one. Can you?

Posted by: Mork at July 1, 2003 at 06:20 PM

I linked to this post with further comments, my final one in this comments section being:

You still don't explain why media reports would leave out a politician's affiliated party. That would be like leaving out an Olympic gold medalist's home country, because it was Nazi Germany circa 1936. And Germany was a completely different country then.

Posted by: Courtney at July 1, 2003 at 06:22 PM

I guess because they were concerned that making a point of it would be construed as containing an implication that they would have had to contextualize to present a politically-neutral piece.

But the AP obit, which seems to be the one everyone's complaining about, makes it clear that he was Jimmy Carter's running mate for Lieutenant-Governor in 1970. Doesn't everyone know what party Carter belonged to?

Posted by: Mork at July 1, 2003 at 06:47 PM

Lester Maddox was a politician in the United States. It is absolutely foolish to believe that the press leaving out that he was a democrat to his dying day was not a conscious partisan decision on their part. It is central to his politcal career and an indispenasble part of Lester Maddox's life. The press does not ignore a politician's party affiliation in an obituary, ever. To dimiss it is to be disingenuous.

And republicans pushed the civil rights act through congress in 1964 with some liberal democrats and President Johnson who took a beating from southern democrats. And since that time democrats have attempted to keep African-Americans on the democrat plantation by making them dependent on government, destroying the black nuclear family by making male income earners irrelevant, destroying urban schools with horrendous education policies where the teachers' union became more important than educating children, and convincing blacks that they are and always will be victims so they need to vote white liberals in power to take care of them. The welfare state in a representative democracy is nothing more than legalized vote buying.

Posted by: D2D at July 1, 2003 at 08:23 PM

Mork, Jason et alia,
When you read the Steyn column, there was strong emphasis of the words used to describe these problematic areas, and how those words are manipulated in the writings of the Maureens and Sandra's and Thomases and -by default- the Steyns and Blairs of the world.

Manipulated. Moved around, consciously or less-than-consciously... to produce some sort of pre-determined response in the reader's mind.

This is THE PURPOSE of writing: to elicit in the reader's mind SOME SORT OF IDEATION, depending on what the words are.

Hence, when Steyn noted that ole boy Lester Mad-Dog Maddox, white-racist-bigot DIED, and the big media reporters found themselves to utter his name in connection with the Democratic party, it was as much a strong condemnation of the MEDIA as it was a telling criticism of the Democratic party (then AND now), most effectively because it was an examination of discussions of race, and how those discussions, conversations and decisions about permitted descriptions and disallowed descriptions ALTER real-world events; i.e., Clarence Thomas (and other worthies) being widely perceived as having been 'affirmatively' GIVEN their hard-earned positions...

Get the distinction now, Jason Soon? Mork?

Posted by: Sharpshooter at July 1, 2003 at 09:47 PM

Yo, Sharpshoot... din't you mean the media 'found themselves UNABLE to utter Maddox's name in connection with the Democrat party'?

Yes. I thimk so...

Posted by: Straight_Talk at July 1, 2003 at 10:16 PM