Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took his GOP-blasting rhetoric to a new level Monday, comparing Republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago.That's fine for these Republican senators to state how outraged they are, but doesn't go far enough. If any staff member from Sens. Hatch, McCain, Chambliss or Coburn's office reads this post, I'd suggest they use the following historic information on Dr. Evil, that the real opposition to ending slavery and segregation came from his own party: Democrats.
The Nevada Democrat, in a sweeping set of accusations on the Senate floor, also compared health care foes to those who opposed women's suffrage and the civil rights movement...
But Republicans said they were genuinely appalled. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Reid's remarks were over the top.
"That is extremely offensive," he told Fox News. "It's language that should never be used, never be used. ... Those days are not here now."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who on the Senate floor read from this FoxNews.com article and asked that it be placed in the record, called on Reid to return to the floor and, if not apologize, at least explain what he meant.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., suggested Reid was starting to "crack" under the pressure of the health care reform debate.
"I think it's beneath the dignity of the majority leader," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said. "I personally am insulted."
The first is from the Ashbrook Center.
Then there the history of the only segregationist who filibustered the Civil Rights Act still in the Senate today, Sen. Robert "Sheets" Byrd (D-KKK), former Grand Kleagle and Exaulted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, during the years when men his age were going off to fight World War II.
...(John C.) Calhoun’s fundamental enterprise was to defend the institution of slavery. To do so, he first had to overturn the principles of the American Founding. He started with the Declaration of Independence, arguing that "[the proposition ’all men are created equal’] as now understood, has become the most false and dangerous of all political errors....We now begin to experience the danger of admitting so great an error to have a place in the declaration of independence." Thus Calhoun transformed the Democratic Party of Jefferson into the Party of Slavery.
The most liberal position among ante-bellum Democrats regarding slavery was that slavery was an issue that should be decided by popular vote. For example, Stephen Douglas, Lincoln’s opponent in the 1858 Illinois senate race and the 1860 presidential campaign, advocated "popular sovereignty." He defended the right of the people in the territories to outlaw slavery, but also defended the right of Southerners to own slaves and transport them to the new territories.
The Democratic Party’s war against African-Americans continued after the Civil War (which many Democrats in fact opposed, often working actively to undercut the Union war effort). Democrats, both north and south fought the attempt to implement the equality for African-Americans gained at such a high cost. This opposition was often violent. Indeed, the Ku Klux Klan operated as the de facto terrorist arm of the national Democratic Party during Reconstruction.
Democrats defeated Reconstruction in the end and on its ruins created Jim Crow. Democratic liberalism did not extend to issue of race. Woodrow Wilson was the quintessential "liberal racist," a species of Democrat that later included the likes of William Fulbright of Arkansas, Sam Ervin of North Carolina (of Watergate fame), and Albert Gore, father of Al, of Tennessee.
In the 1920s, the Republican Party platform routinely called for anti-lynching legislation. The Democrats rejected such calls in their own platforms. When FDR forged the New Deal, he was able to pry Blacks away from their traditional attachment to the Party of Lincoln. But they remained in their dependent status, Democrats by virtue of political expediency, not principle.
More history from NoDNC:
The Democrat Party and the Ku Klux Klan: Aside from the multiple Klan members who have served in elected capacity within the high ranks of the Democrat Party, the political party itself has a lengthy but often overlooked history of involvement with the Ku Klux Klan. Though it has been all but forgotten by the media, the Democrat National Convention of 1924 was host to one of the largest Klan gatherings in American history. Dubbed the "Klanbake convention" at the time, the 1924 Democrat National Convention in New York was dominated by a platform dispute surrounding the Ku Klux Klan. A minority of the delegates to the convention attempted to condemn the hate group in the party's platform, but found their proposal shot down by Klan supporters within the party. As delegates inside the convention voted in the Klan's favor, the Klan itself mobilized a celebratory rally outside. On July 4, 1924 one of the largest Klan gatherings ever occurred outside the convention on a field in nearby New Jersey. The event was marked by speakers spewing racial hatred, celebrations of their platform victory in the Democrat Convention, and ended in a cross burning.
II. Democrat opposition to the Civil Rights Movement: A little known fact of history involves the heavy opposition to the civil rights movement by several prominent Democrats. Similar historical neglect is given to the important role Republicans played in supporting the civil rights movement. A calculation of 26 major civil rights votes from 1933 through the 1960's civil rights era shows that Republicans favored civil rights in approximately 96% of the votes, whereas the Democrats opposed them in 80% of the votes! These facts are often intentionally overlooked by the left wing Democrats for obvious reasons. In some cases, the Democrats have told flat out lies about their shameful record during the civil rights movement.
Democrat Senators organized the record Senate filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Included among the organizers were several prominent and well known liberal Democrat standard bearers including:
- Robert Byrd, current senator from West Virginia
- J. William Fulbright, Arkansas senator and political mentor of Bill Clinton
- Albert Gore Sr., Tennessee senator, father and political mentor of Al Gore. Gore Jr. has been known to lie about his father's opposition to the Civil Rights Act.
- Sam Ervin, North Carolina senator of Watergate hearings fame
- Richard Russell, famed Georgia senator and later President Pro Tempore
The complete list of the 21 Democrats who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes Senators:
- Hill and Sparkman of Alabama - Fulbright and McClellan of Arkansas
- Holland and Smathers of Florida - Russell and Talmadge of Georgia
- Ellender and Long of Louisiana - Eastland and Stennis of Mississippi
- Ervin and Jordan of North Carolina - Johnston and Thurmond of South Carolina
- Gore Sr. and Walters of Tennessee - H. Byrd and Robertson of Virginia
- R. Byrd of West Virginia
Democrat opposition to the Civil Rights Act was substantial enough to literally split the party in two. A whopping 40% of the House Democrats VOTED AGAINST the Civil Rights Act, while 80% of Republicans SUPPORTED it. Republican support in the Senate was even higher. Similar trends occurred with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was supported by 82% of House Republicans and 94% of Senate Republicans. The same Democrat standard bearers took their normal racists stances, this time with Senator Fulbright leading the opposition effort.
...Outside of Congress, the three most notorious opponents of school integration were all Democrats:
- Orval Faubus, Democrat Governor of Arkansas and one of Bill Clinton's political heroes
- George Wallace, Democrat Governor of Alabama
- Lester Maddox, Democrat Governor of Georgia
In March 2001, Byrd used the word "white nigger" twice in a Fox News interview with the late Tony Snow.
Read it and weep, Harry!