Folks on the right might want to listen to Ross on this issue:
But a specific ad is one thing; Helms himself is another. He simply was an awful bigot, and worse he was an awful bigot who never expressed a shred of remorse, so far as I know, for his toxic approach to issues ranging from civil rights to HIV to foreign affairs. Far from being the sort of politicians who conservatives ought to defend, out of a sense of issue-by-issue solidarity, he’s the sort of politician conservatives ought to carefully distance themselves from, because his political style brought (and continues to bring) intellectual disrepute to almost every cause with which he was associated. Inherent to conservatism is the responsibility to stand up and say to bien-pensant opinion: Just because a bigot opposes something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. But the necessity (and difficulty) of making that case, whether the issue is affirmative action or “comprehensive” immigration reform or the NEA and Piss Christ, is all the more reason for conservatives to keep their distance from actual bigots, even (or especially) when they’re representing the great state of North Carolina in the U.S. Senate. Jonathan Rauch had it right in 2002: If Ronald Reagan and Helms had similar positions on countless issues, that doesn’t prove that Helms was good for conservatism; it only suggests that conservatives should look for more Reagans, and fewer Jesse Helms. I’m happy to defend Helms’ views on a variety of issues, but the man himself has no business in the right-wing pantheon, and the conservatives who have used his death as an occasion to argue that he does are doing their movement a grave disservice.
Is the era of Helms-like bigotry finally nearing an end?