Thursday, August 20, 2015

How Did The Party Of Lincoln Turn Into The Bastion Of Ugly Racism It Is Today?


It's not that Republicans overlook Ronald Reagan's racism; it's part of why they adore him. My friend Guillaume watched the Fox debate with me. He's from Nîmes, but he follows American politics ardently. "They all want to be Ronald Reagan," he said. "Nothing else? Ceci est tout simplement fou!"

When Hannity interviewed Trump (above), one of the softballs he tossed him was who his favorite president was. Trump hasn't lost enough of his marbles yet to say anything but Reagan.
Well, I really like and knew a little bit Ronald Reagan, and I really liked him. You know, not only his policies, smart guy and so much smarter, you know, I always sort of have to laugh to myself when people try and criticize that level of intelligence. And I loved his style. I loved what he represented… I thought he represented something very special for this county.
That's especially interesting because in the book that Trump claims is the second best after the Bible, the self-penned Art of the Deal, Trump points out that Reagan was just a con man. Reagan, he wrote 7 years into his presidency, "is so smooth and so effective a performer that he completely won over the American people. Only now, nearly seven years later, are people beginning to question whether there's anything beneath that smile." To Trump-- and other Democrats-- Reagan could "con people" but couldn't "deliver the goods." Sounds familiar.

The far right propaganda website the Weekly Standard is mortified when dumbed-down conservatives-- and, of course, Trump himself-- compare the two con men, though.

Reagan's relationships, professional and personal, were without reproach. I don't remember Ronald Reagan ever insulting anyone, foreign or domestic, friend or enemy. He was a consummate gentleman.

...Reagan was a skilled negotiator-- skilled enough to know when he was winning and willing to pull back a bit to get 80 percent of what he wanted, rather than push for 100 percent and thereby jeopardize the whole deal. At the same time, he would walk away from a bad deal, as he did, with Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev at the 1986 summit meeting in Reykjavik. Is this a contradiction? No, it is watching a master negotiator wading through what could be a dangerous swamp. And in the end, winning.

As I am writing this, with TV running in the background, I hear a Trump staffer proclaiming, "No one can make a better deal than Donald Trump." I can't judge Donald Trump's business or personal history. But anyone can judge the record of Ronald Reagan. So I say to Donald Trump: Mr. Trump, I knew Ronald Reagan. Mr. Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan.
Just over a decade ago, it was pointed out, though, that Reagan, the "consummate gentleman," was no fan of the black man.
Soon after entering public office, Reagan made clear his views toward blacks. He put into effect a number of policies that had strong negative impacts on the lives and aspirations of many African-Americans.

He delivered his first major campaign speech for the presidency in 1980 in Philadelphia, Miss., the town where Klansmen murdered three civil-rights workers in 1964 during "Freedom Summer." By delivering a speech in a town that was once a hotbed of racial hatred, he upset African-Americans and emboldened old-guard segregationists.

Second, he opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. When he was running for governor of California in 1966, Reagan assailed the Fair Housing Act, saying, "If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, it is his right to do so."

Third, early in his presidential tenure, Reagan granted tax-exempt status to schools that segregate. For 12 years since President Nixon's term, government tax policy had moved in a direction that took a hard line on schools that discriminate. Reagan tried to reverse that trend but his efforts fortunately failed.

Fourth, while Nixon appointed William Rehnquist, an ardent foe of desegregation efforts, to the Supreme Court, Reagan elevated him to chief justice in 1986.

...Reagan adopted the Republican Party's Southern Strategy of winning over the votes of Southern whites who opposed civil rights. Time magazine writer Jack White wrote in November 2002 that Ronald Reagan "set a standard for exploiting white anger and resentment" over the years. Reagan did not hesitate to perpetuate an ugly myth about single black mothers receiving government assistance with the phrase "welfare queens." Nor did he shy away from using the word "quota" to fight moves toward affirmative action that help people of color and women obtain fairness in education and in the workforce.

Reagan's policies-- not nostalgic sentiments-- should determine the late president's legacy. For African-Americans, those policies were destructive.
Yes, the Republicans created the mess their party is in now, so they deserve Trump and they deserve the colossal ass-kicking they're going to get in November 2016-- not just for the White House but for the Senate and perhaps even the House (with the DCCC in the dysfunctional state its in, there's a chance that even with Trump at the top of the ticket, the Democrats won't take back the majority).

Narcissistic personality disorder-- severe

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At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lincoln was a racist, so, not much has changed.


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