Racism and the Right

Ezra Klein is right about this...

Like Matt, I'm a bit surprised to see conservatives heaping praise on Jesse Helms. Helms was an awful bigot with a secondary interest in destroying international institutions and increasing tobacco subsidies.  ... 

When leading exemplars of your political tradition were trying to preserve segregation less than four decades ago, it's a bit hard to argue that your party, which is now electorally based in the American South, is really rooted in a cautious empiricism and an acute concern for the deadweight losses associated with taxation.

That project would really benefit, however, if more of them would step forward and say that Helms marred the history of their movement and left decent people ashamed to call themselves conservative.

As Max Boot writes at Commentary, Jesse Helms may have done some good things, but "we should not gloss over the repugnant aspects of his record. Helms began his career as a segregationist, and he never really repented.

Many allegations of racism are just exaggerations and political pot-stirring.  Not all of them, though.   When news came out of Ron Paul's dalliances with racist newsletters, many libertarians rejected him.  William F. Buckley famously renounced the hysterical John Birch Society and, indeed, even some of his own past work.

Why many people who I genuinely do not believe to be racist have been unwilling to do the same to Jesse Helms, I'm not sure.  It is troubling, though.

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Helms and Cuba

Another problem with Helms was his bill that tightened the screws on Cuba. How has Helm-Burton helped free the prison island? This was a case of anti-communism trumping practicality and empiricism.

I never really paid a ton of attention on Helms. There were serious flaws with the man. There's no reason to pass over them.

Spare me.

The neo-liberals opionion of conservatives does not really interest me.

When news came out of Ron Paul's dalliances with racist newsletters, many libertarians rejected him. 

 

TNR is not "libertarian". Neither is Reason magazine. But I am amused to see that you will take moral instruction on the issue of racism from the sort of people who see no problem with Sharpton, Jackson, Obama, or Byrd.

 

Reason isn't libertarian?

Someone better tell them. They use the label to get me to subscribe to their magazine.

You know what they say

about one being born every minute.

 

Who says?

 


Somebody who hangs out at Reason should have a pretty good idea what a Libertarian is.
It’s Conservatives who’re having an identity problem. We have a President and a recent Republican Congress that set records for lack of fiscal responsibility. We have a split between Conservatives as to how the increased federal power and authoritarian presidential power granted by FISA fits in with conservative principles. We have questions about the neo-conservative’s foreign policy ideas and how that fits in with conservatism. And what is the place of religion in conservatism?

These are the questions this site needs to be addressing: What is The New Right?

 

Maybe

Why many people who I genuinely do not believe to be racist have been unwilling to do the same to Jesse Helms, I'm not sure.  It is troubling, though.

 

It's a sign that you don't know what you are talking about, and that you need to stop letting the Erza Kleins of the world wrap you around their fingers.

Helms R.I.P.

Evidently, you didn't grow up in the South.  Helms was a product of his times and his culture.  Does that excuse some of his behavior?  Absolutely not!  However, Helms did a great deal of good for this country, his state and the conservative movement.  If not for Helms, Ronald Reagan's 1976 campaign would have died with the North Carolina primary and he probably would not have carried the day in 1980.  I realize that most of you are too young to remember those days, but Reagan was not the front runner in the early part of the 1980 nomination race.

We should praise Helms for the good he did AND make sure that we reject the darker side of his nature.

What Is Going On Here?

Buckley praised Helms because of his uncompromising defense of the United States Constitution. He did not drum him out of the conservative movement like he did Rand, Birchers, and Sobran. Why? Because Helms did not deserve to be drummed out.

Is it racist to oppose government imposed minority quotas?  If you did, and Helms did, the New York Times, the Ezra Kliens of the world dubbed you a racist.

Since when is standing up to international institutions superceding our nation's jurisdiction over our counry anti-conservative? He deserves a badge of honor because his successful campaigns in defense of American soverignty made the State Department his arch-enemy.

Helms led the charge in favor of NATO expansion and this action has helped make the Eastern Europeans our strongest allies.

Max Boot sounds pretentious with his he never "really" repented.

When the big government crowd controlled both national political parties Helms gave voice to the economic, constitutional, and foreign policy concerns of a majority of Americans. That is why he became more than a Senator from North Carolina. He became a national champion for conservative values.

Did Helms make mistakes? Of course, but he contributed a lot more than he did wrong.

Go over to the symposium at The Corner and learn a bit more about this conservative champion that we should not be trashing.

 

The "Next Right"

sure looks more and more like the current left. Henke could have picked from glowing praise for Helms from people as varied as Ronald Reagan and George W Bush.

Instead we are treated to the deep thoughts of the "The American Prospect", who (shock!) express their deep sorrow at the racism they spy in their bothers eye.

 

Judging The Past

The problem I have with bashing Helm's segregationist past is that  it was, unfortunately, the predominant view of his generation in that part of the country, at that point in time.  It's sort of like saying our Founding Fathers are not worth honoring because they owned slaves, a practice that, unfortunately at that time was common.  Social norms change all the time, and it isn't fair to completely dismiss an individual on the basis that they held mainstream views for their time that are now considered anathema.  I'm fine "bashing" segregationist views, but not segregationist individuals from several generations ago.

Jesse Helms did recant his segregationist views several decades ago.  What bothers liberals about Jesse Helms was how effective he was at exposing to Americans the Liberal agenda.  Helms was right up their with Goldwater in terms of his contribution to the establishment of the conservative movement in the United States. 

Ah, Goldwater.

I await the Next Right post bashing Goldwater for his intense opposition to the the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Or the American Prospect article on the same topic.

Not to mention Bill Buckley's postion on race in the fifties and sixties, which was a good deal more segregationist than anything Helms ever came out with.

 

What liberal agenda? ..

You do know that Helms started out as a Democrat .. right?.. And he switched for the same reason a lot of the Dixie-crats did ..  they were racists .... Do you guys ever wonder why you can never get more than 8% of the African American vote(If that)?  I also presume you know that a number of the Founding Fathers were uncomfortable with the keeping of slaves ... so they knew it was wrong ... And as far as Helms being a racist ... I could draw up many examples .. but it would take all day .. and you guys should learn how to use "Teh Google"  .. so you can teach McCain 

Frantic lying

 he switched for the same reason a lot of the Dixie-crats did ..  they were racists .

 

I can see that all you little spam-bots have this drummed into you, but that does not make it true. The vast majority of Dixie-crats stayed in the Democratic Party. Among them were James Eastland, Sam Ervin, Al Gore, Robert Byrd, Fritz Hollings, J William Fulbright, and Richard Russell, all Democratic senators. None of them switched. All were given a welcome home in your party.

Al Gore was your VP's father. Bill Clinton went to college on a Fulbright scholarship. Hollings only finally lost his seat in 2005. For a party "purging" all ties to those Dixiecrats, you people did a lousy job.

Interesting

Jon said:

I await the Next Right post bashing Goldwater for his intense opposition to the the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Or the American Prospect article on the same topic.

 

No doubt that will be next, Jon Sandor. 

Whatever this site may be, it's definitely not conservative. If it was it wouldn't be throwing the racism label around so freely. 

Was it just too hard to wait until Helms was cold in his grave, Henke?

Btw, sometimes the quote function doesn't work correctly.

 

Throwing around label?

Whatever this site may be, it's definitely not conservative. If it was it wouldn't be throwing the racism label around so freely.

That's not the case. To my knowledge Helms has been the only one labeled as a racist here.

So it's now a rule that to be conservative one must never point out how someone at one time supported racial segregation? Sounds like political correctness to me.

Speaking of labels

Ok, maybe you're right...

That's not the case. To my knowledge Helms has been the only one labeled as a racist here.

If so, one would wonder why the first person honored is the recently deceased Jesse Helms, not Jesse Jackson, not Al Sharpton, not Robert Byrd, not Jeremiah Wright, not any of the racists we've seen on the Left so much.

I have no problem acknowledging that Helms was wrong on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I believe he knew it too later in life. His support for aids funding in Africa would indicate it. If Jon wants to label him shouldn't he consider this too?

Jesse Helms To Tackle AIDS

 

Learning

Because this site's mission is to shape a new, better conservative movement. Self-reflection and learning from our mistakes is key.

"Sheets" Byrd

Many of us on the right, often led by people like Rush Limbaugh, seem to revel in pointing out Sen. Robert Byrd's past membership in the KKK (Sheets is Limbaugh's nickname for Byrd). Why should we be horribly offended when the left takes a final potshot at the late Sen. Helms?

 

Re: Sheets Byrd

Meaning....

Why should we be horribly offended when the left takes a final potshot at the late Sen. Helms?

Henke is the left?

Yup

Henke is the left?
Lynn,
It sure seems like it

Byrd has at least apologized ..

and endorsed Senator Obama ... Helms never apologized ... Hell .. George Wallace even apologized eventually

No comparision

I know that to a lot of the knuckle-dragging idiots in New England, all those southern white guys look and sound alike. But the truth is that there is no comparison to be drawn between Byrd and Helms. Helms was never a KKK man. Not even close.

 

So Jon how long have you been

So Jon how long have you been a member of MoveOn.org

Have to disagree here

Conservatives have an obligation to speak out when any segregationist sentiment is brought to the surface in our own house. I think Trent Lott is a perfect example of this.

But it's a mistake to buy into the left's talking points that Reaganism / conservatism in the South was the natural successor to segregationism, or that the Republican Party is permanently tainted by membership in its ranks of any Southern politician of a certain era. If we are going to go down that road, you could point to anyone with a (D) after their name who ever advanced segregationism (there were a lot more of them than there were (R)s...), or even the millions of modern day Democrats who voted for Clinton over Obama because of race.

Nothing in Helms' Senate record implies that he was a segregationist. And no, opposing affirmative action doesn't count.

Millions? ..

Do you have any evidence of this?  You don't ... plenty of people voted for Hillary because of her name .. not because they were racist .. were there some? .. sure ..  but not many .. besides ..  the argument could be made that those voters are the ones in WV and KY .. are ones that vote Democratic on a local level .. and Republican to national office .. besides .. if you remember your history .. a lot of Dixie-crats left the Democratic party .. over things like Civil Rights ..  the Democrats purged the likes of Strom Thurmomond and Jesse Helms from their ranks

IIRC

Upwards of 18-20% of Dems cited race as the deciding factor in their votes in PA, WY, and KY. Over 80% of them voted for Clinton.

purged?

the Democrats purged the likes of Strom Thurmomond and Jesse Helms from their ranks

 

They did not "purge" Helms because he ran for office as a Republican. They did not "purge" Thurmond, he left on his own. They did not "purge" any of the other Dixiecrats, including people like Al Gore Sr. They all stayed in the Democratic party until they died/retired. Except for Byrd, who is still there. So no, the Democrats did not "purge" anyone from their ranks, regardless of what nonsense they pumped into your head at the excuse for a school you attended.

"the Democrats purged the

"the Democrats purged the likes of Strom Thurmomond and Jesse Helms from their ranks"

And yet they have a former KKK member who continues to use the N-word in a top Senate leadership position to this day.

***

Let's remember our history. The Democratic Party supported slavery, the Republican Party opposed it. Jim Crow laws were brought into effect by the southern division of a wing of the Democratic Party. Orval Faubus, a Democrat, was the governor who stood in the way of desegregation of Little Rock public schools. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, sent in federal troops to desegregate the schools by force. The man who wrote the opinion in B vs. BOE was Earl Warren, a Republican.

***

Pointing out a few coals in the diamond legacy of Helms isn't attacking him or bashing him. Overall he was a great conservative, but he didn't have a shimmering record on civil rights.

"darker side of his nature?"

What are you talking about?  You people should be ashamed of yourself.  Helms was called a racist for running the "black hands" ad which supported his position against Affirmative Action.  His opponent, Harvey Gantt was black and, of course, was a big supporter of it.  I don't support Affirmative Action either as I don't believe that jobs, placements or contracts should be given on the color of one's skin!

He was also against the Martin Luther holiday.  Big deal.  So were a lot of others.

Jesse's "darker side" was that he didn't kiss liberals asses like the current crop of Republicans.  He believed what he believed and didn't waver to line his pocket.  He was a true gentleman.  Even James Meredith, the first black admitted to the University of Mississippi worked for him.

Leave Uncle Jesse alone!

 

Jeff Lebowski

www.angrywhitedude.com

As an aide to the 1950 Senate

As an aide to the 1950 Senate campaign of North Carolina Republican candidate Willis Smith, Helms reportedly helped create attack ads against Smith's opponent, including one which read: "White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races." Another ad featured photographs Helms himself had doctored to illustrate the allegation that Graham's wife had danced with a black man. (The News and Observer, 8/26/01; The New Republic, 6/19/95; The Observer, 5/5/96; Hard Right: The Rise of Jesse Helms, by Ernest B. Furgurson, Norton, 1986)

 

I don't think anyone can argue that he was a bigot. Did he change his views? It's likely he did. He later on admitted to not doing enough when it came to AIDS, and supported more support fighting AIDS in Africa. I'm pretty on the fence with the guy. I'm sure he's done alot of good. But he's way too easy an example for the left to demogogue.

I can see Henke's point in this, but I can also see the points of those who disagree with you Henke. I guess when it comes down to it, it depends on what part of his legacy you focus on.

Racism and The Right....

 The Birch Society was not racist per se.  It was extreme, highly conspiratorial in outlook, and a bit kooky---but not racist per se as was Liberty Lobby and some of the other "wing-groups" of that era.

Re: Focus

Jesse Helms will be memorialized and buried today.

I can see Henke's point in this, but I can also see the points of those who disagree with you Henke. I guess when it comes down to it, it depends on what part of his legacy you focus on.

It would be fair to review all of Helm's actions but that's not what happened in the post that began this thread. It was way too tempting to take the cheap shot and make the liberal buddies feel good.

S'ok. It really pointed up that TheNextRight doesn't lean right, at all. 

 

 

Give me a break

Yes, I've read nothing but left-wing bromides in the short life of this site's existence.

Quote from Jonah Goldberg

Now, a word about the South. I'm no expert, but the story of the South's sloughing off of racism and its movement into the GOP fold, is one of the most egregiously under-told and distorted tales of modern political history. (John O'Sullivan points to one aspect of it here.) The bigotry aimed at the South never ceases to amaze me. Indeed, it is astounding to me how the left tells us we need to understand the nuance of, say,  the Jihadi mind in all of its shades of gray, but when it comes to the voting habits of law-abiding white North Carolinians all you need to know is that if  a white hand pulls a lever for a Republican politician, that hand must be attached to a racist, and that racism guided the hand to vote for a Republican. The South is a complicated place. Racism was certainly its central shortcoming, but it was hardly its only feature. That so many people can only see the racism, even as its half-life accelerates, says more about their myopia than it does about the region it casts its gaze on.

As a person who has traced two lines of his family tree from Texas back across the water (in 1876 and 1882, respectively), I find this universal Yankee animus against the south to be counterproductive. I don't care if you are in Virginia Jon, you're playing the same filthy stereotype card that lefties love to play. So what's the difference between you and Ezra Klein? You aren't showing much difference for me to be able to tell. That's really sad. And no, Ezra isn't right. No amount of apologies on the part of Helms would have ever satisfed Ezra.

In the meantime, new right is cozying up to the left like a bunch of RINOs.

Sad

I'm surprised that "racism is bad and we should do more to denounce it" is such a controversial thing to say.   I'm disappointed that some people here think "a Republican had a pretty despicable record on racism and bigotry" is enough to mark me as a Lefty.  

As a person who has traced two lines of his family tree from Texas back across the water (in 1876 and 1882, respectively), I find this universal Yankee animus against the south to be counterproductive. I don't care if you are in Virginia Jon, you're playing the same filthy stereotype card that lefties love to play.

Let's not play the Southerner card.  I'm from Georgia.   I lived for a year in Alabama, too, before I moved to Virginia in 2000.