Wallace not Goldwater

Jonathan Rauch has a truly superlative piece on how George Wallace is the true god-father of contemporary Republicanism. The side-by-side comparison of Palin quotes with Wallace quotes is striking, but you need to read them all to see just how striking it is, so instead I’ll excerpt Rauch’s thesis and summarization:

Wallace’s national appeal came neither from the racial backlash he exploited nor from his program, such as it was. “It was a deep sense of grievance,” Carter says — a feeling that elites “are not only screwing you over but at the same time they’re laughing at you, they’re looking down their noses at you.”

[…..]

First, with the important exception of race, not one of Wallace’s central themes, from his bristling nationalism and his court-bashing to his anti-intellectualism and his aggressive provincialism, would seem out of place at any major Republican gathering today.

Second, and again leaving race aside, any Republican politician who publicly renounced the Wallace playbook would be finished as a national leader.

Third, by becoming George Wallace’s party, the GOP is abandoning rather than embracing conservatism, and it is thereby mortgaging both its integrity and its political future. Wallaceism was not sufficiently mainstream or coherent to sustain a national party in 1968, and the same is true today.

I disagree about the importance of race, I believe, to paraphrase Lee Atwater, that the rhetoric on the issue has simply become more abstract. But other than that, this is right on target.

102 replies
  1. 1
    El Cid says:

    I don’t think that the Republicans mortgaging their integrity would have any more basis than derivatives made from fictional CDO’s based on imaginary tranches of mortgages created from properties those banks don’t own.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Rhoda says:

    OT, but I just saw this and wanted to pass it around. Apparently Bunning didn’t just screw folks on unemployment or COBRA but 4000 federal employees will be furloughed b/c of his filibuster.

    Democrats should have stayed all night long and forced the Republicans to own this clusterfuck.

    http://www.bobcesca.com/blog-a.....l#comments

  4. 4
    someguy says:

    Rauch is just another Brookings centrist liberal pussy when it comes to dealing with Republicans.

    Wallace, not Goldwater? What a crock.

    More like Forest, not Wallace.

  5. 5

    Everything you need to know about George Wallace and the modern GOP can be learned from this quote:

    When a supporter asked why he started using racist messages, Wallace replied, “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.”

  6. 6
    robertdsc says:

    I just can’t see Palin lasting very long at the head of any kind of movement. Even if she parallels Wallace, he led in his own way. She can’t lead anything. It’s embarrassing.

  7. 7
    CalD says:

    I still have a couple of Wallace/LeMay buttons floating around. Wonder if they’re worth anything. I really think the true father of modern “conservativism” might be Robert Welch though — or perhaps his erstwhile cohort, Fred Koch.

    OMG, check out this Youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZU0c8DAIU4

    Scary. I grew up on this stuff.

    He left out Fluoridation of Water though.

  8. 8
    WereBear says:

    Look how Wallace ended up. Look how Lee Atwater ended up.

    Just like the woman in the other thread, the one who was sure nothing bad would happen to her; this is how they decide their soul is worth more when it is bartered away.

  9. 9
    Dennis G. says:

    I just finished reading this and thought “this should be posted over at Balloon Juice” and what do you know.

    It is a very insightful article. Wallace was actually a progressive in his early years until he was beat in his first attempt to become Governor in 1958 because he was deemed “soft” on the race question. He was tolerant on the “race question” in that first run and was even endorsed by the NAACP. His opponent was endorsed by the KKK. His opponent won through his embrace of hate and fear and George decided to never let that happen again.

    A few years ago, PBS ran a great documentary about George Wallace called “Setting the Woods on Fire” (a transcript of the show can be found here and here). An interview with Dan Carter, an aide to George Wallace, captured the moment when Wallace sold his soul for power:

    And so, the night that he lost that race, he sat outside the hotel — his headquarters hotel in Montgomery — with some of his friends, and they went over “why did we lose?” — these different factors. And he said, “Boys, we can talk about this all we want to; we know why I lost. I lost because John Patterson took a tough line on this race business.” “John Patterson,” he said, “outniggered me, and I’m never going to be outniggered again.”

    Wallace kept that promise and became the archetypal face of racism in America. At one point in the PBS documentary an aging George Wallace lies in a hospital bed, dying. He looks into the camera and through a haze of cigar smoke apologizes and admits that he was wrong. It was years after his embrace of the dark side and the terror of what he unleashed was still in his eyes.

    It is this moral compromise that now animates the Republican Party and the tragic modern conservative movement.

    The great Southern Rock Band, The Drive By Truckers capture the essence and the costs of this kind of political pandering in their great Southern Rock Opera (emphasis added):

    Scene: set in Hell, September 1998. Told from the Devil’s point of view

    Throw another log on the fire, boys, George Wallace is coming to stay

    When he met St. Peter at the pearly gates, I’d like to think that a black man stood in the way.

    I know “All should be forgiven”, but he did what he done so well

    So throw another log on the fire boys,

    George Wallace is a coming…

    Now, he said he was the best friend a black man from Alabama ever had,

    And I have to admit, compared to Fob James, George Wallace don’t seem that bad

    And if it’s true that he wasn’t a racist and he just did all them things for the votes

    I guess Hell’s just the place for “kiss ass politicians” who pander to assholes. (snip)

    Now the Devil’s got a Wallace sticker on the back of his car.

    I guess now the Devil has a GOP 2010 sticker over his Wallace sticker. So it goes.

    Cheers

  10. 10
    Nellcote says:

    Why on earth would you leave race aside? With black-abortion-billboards sprouting up, if not now, when?

  11. 11
    p.a. says:

    That article is almost like reverse concern trolling with its continuing declarations of except for race… otherwise, an interesting new way to view things. The reverse side of the coin for ‘conservative’ anger and resentment is fear. The people I know are scared of everything. They’re scared of the modern world. Massive jingoists, but their conception of the US is as a fragile flower, at the mercy of every little breeze.

  12. 12
    Shalimar says:

    Wallace’s talent was saying whatever his audience wanted to hear and convincing them that he meant it. He had no underlying philosophy other than that he was the right person to be in charge. Which I guess isn’t that far from the bullshit the current Republican party spews to cover up their core agenda of coddling the ultra-rich.

  13. 13
    WereBear says:

    Yes, it was an interesting article, but the constant I’m not saying Wallace is racist, is, at the very least, ingenuous.

  14. 14
    KCinDC says:

    This bit may be true of some Republicans, but not many of the ones who are energized and full of anger: “In fact, if there is anything Republicans like about President Obama, it is the racial breakthrough that his election represents.”

  15. 15
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    That never stopped him from attacking Big Government, at least on the federal level. He called for “freedom from unwarranted, unwise, and unwanted intrusion and oppression by the federal government” and said, “I think that what they ought to do is cut down on federal spending.”

    Because the federal government was spending money to enforce civil rights laws in the South.

    Rausch “doth protest too much” Wallace’s (and the modern GOP’s) racism.

  16. 16
    Kobie says:

    @KCinDC: Exactly. To them, racism died the day Obama was elected, which gives them free reign to rail on about minorities scot-free.

    EDIT: Also, did a few comments on this thread vanish into the ether recently?

  17. 17
    TheWatcher says:

    I just don’t unner stan why eyes cant have me a big scoop of n@gger hate with my anti-big gubmint tireaids..gets so u caint enjoy bein white anymore…..

  18. 18
    DougJ says:

    I think Rauch botched the race angle, but I still think he’s on to something overall.

    I haven’t considered this angle before.

  19. 19
    scav says:

    I keep reading this title as Wallace not Gromit and it’s just creeping me out. Do Not Let This Association of Images Persist.

  20. 20
    Blurkee says:

    The modern Republican Party begins with Brown v. Education.

  21. 21
    Cerberus says:

    @CalD:

    You’re righter than you think.

    The biggest problem in the right-wing right now is the pervasive power of the religious right. The religious right are mostly defined by their belief in a literal Rapture which demands certain neoconservative foreign policies, is wholly resistant to any and all attempts to create large scale beneficial programs for fear of the One World Government headed by a “man who claims peace”, and cheers world-destroying domestic policies because that’ll bring the Rapture quicker.

    The man whose book defined the modern Rapture movement and is the current gospel for all these Christians is a man named Tim LaHaye.

    Tim LaHaye was for a very long time a big member in the John Birch Society, even running seminars for their diseased conspiracy theories and he was a true-believer in all of them. As such, his work is pretty heavily influenced by the John Birch Society’s conspiracies and the shape of the main villains, just with christian mythology layered over it.

    So yeah, the modern conservative movement is almost wholly birthed by the John Birch Society philosophically and George Wallace rhetorically.

    Fortunately for them, unfortunately for us, the campaigns of terror by men like McCarthy successfully destroyed our domestic communist movements and out speakers thus beginning a long descent on the left away from radicalism and standing up for basic principles. A strong communist or rather soc.ial.ist movement is critical for fighting back against both insane right-wingers and capitalist excess. There’s a reason that Scandanavia is currently kicking our ass culturally and it’s not the lutefisk, it’s the fact that the countries pretty much shut down on May 1st because of the marchers flooding the cities.

  22. 22
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @mr. whipple #2 (cold doves)

    “The north wind doth blow
    And we shall have snow,
    And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
    He’ll sit in the barn
    To keep himself warm,
    And tuck his head under his wing, poor thing”

  23. 23
    Mike E says:

    @mr. whipple:
    I like the random black bearded sparrow hanging out with the crowd–they ain’t cold, just chillin’.

    The other pic–wow. Just, wow.

  24. 24
    Admiral_Komack says:

    “OK, footnotes are required. The most important is that racism, a central factor in Wallace’s career, is marginal in today’s Republican Party.”

    -Uh…ok, if you say so. (snark).

    Bullshit.

  25. 25
    Pangloss says:

    Awesome. I’m sure there’s some Willie Stark quotes that are relevant as well.

  26. 26
    mr. whipple says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    very nice!

    @Mike E:

    It is kind of funny having the oddball sparrow apart from the group, mateless.

    And yes, Punk is rather portly.

  27. 27
    eemom says:

    Half on topic, I have a question for the older folks and/or historians here: what is the truth about Goldwater? It seems he has this aura of being The Last Good Republican after Eisenhower, or am I not understanding that right?

    (Lest anyone take offense, I’m old too…….just not old enough to remember Goldwater because I was just a little ‘un in 1964. I do remember Wallace though.)

  28. 28
    Fred Wertham Jr says:

    Aside from the genocide, Adolph Hitler wasn’t all that different from Alexander the Great and Napoleon, after all. Just wanted to take over the world.

  29. 29
    tyrese says:

    That article is almost like reverse concern trolling

    Your comment is like reverse intelligent.

  30. 30
    Kobie says:

    @eemom: From what I’ve read, he was at odds with the religious right after it became the Republicans’ public-relations arm. A great quote from him (source: Wikipedia):

    In response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell’s opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, “Every good Christian should be concerned”, Goldwater retorted: “Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”

    Not saying that absolves him of the horseshit race-baiting political games that he played in the 1960s, but at least it’s good to know that in his later years he wasn’t as much of a prick. I’m not really old enough to remember him as a politician (I think I was 10 or 11 when he left the Senate).

  31. 31
    Delia says:

    Well, there’s one thing Rauch leaves out and that’s how all this Republican faux populism is a front for corporatism these days. Whatever else Wallace was I don’t associate him with the banksters and insurance firms.

  32. 32
    justcorbly says:

    As someone who was around during Wallace’s heyday, and when Nixon copied his tactics, I’ll say that Rauch is 100 percent spot on, and ask why this hasn’t been obvious to everyone all along. It has been to me and a lot of other people.

  33. 33
    Mike G says:

    He called for “freedom from unwarranted, unwise, and unwanted intrusion and oppression by the federal government”

    …because it interfered with his freedom to impose unwarranted, unwise, and unwanted intrusion and oppression at the state level.

    This, or substituting ‘corporate’ for ‘state’, is the essence of today’s Repigs.

  34. 34
    Mark S. says:

    @Delia:

    Yeah, that’s the problem I have with this entire piece. I’m no expert on Wallace, but from what I’ve read he was sure as hell not an economic conservative. Actually, the only thing today’s Republicans have inherited from Wallace is the racism, though in a much more subdued form.

    Second, and again leaving race aside, any Republican politician who publicly renounced the Wallace playbook would be finished as a national leader.

    Bullshit. Nobody thinks of McCain, Romney, the Bushes, etc. as populists. The GOP is not being taken over by the teabaggers, at least not yet (and I don’t see that happening in the future).

  35. 35
    valdivia says:

    This is slightly OT but I think this fantastic essay by Damon Linker (I know TNR, what can you do) is one of the best take downs of the idiocy of the conservative vision of the country and our foreign relations I have seen in a while. Very much worth a read, especially because he mops the floor with Lowry.

  36. 36
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Yeah, segments like this

    First, with the important exception of race, not one of Wallace’s central themes, from his bristling nationalism and his court-bashing to his anti-intellectualism and his aggressive provincialism, would seem out of place at any major Republican gathering today.

    Are simply wrong.

    The GOP convention was a major Republican gathering, and Sarah Palin’s long diatribe (punctuated with smiles and winks) was basically a concerto for dog whistle and orchestra. “Community organizer” was only the most blatant theme.

    I know older women who are not even Republicans but who were amazingly openly racist about the idea of Obama being elected, and one of their complaints was that he was being foisted on us by some shadowy back room deal by elites who run the party. “I mean, couldn’t they find one white man just as qualified?” one of them said to me.

    I explained that in my opinion, it was actually Hillary, if anyone, who had been chosen that way by the establishment and Obama was the people selecting who they wanted for a change.

    In any case “elites” making decisions that oppress the little guy, don’t kid yourself, the Republicans knew exactly why that really resonated among a lot of their rank and file. It’s the age-old fear of a bunch of egg heads giving your stuff away to brown people.

  37. 37
    birthmarker says:

    Delia at # 30. Right. It’s a corporate agenda. The Tea
    Party agenda is a corporate agenda. Low taxes, small government, few regulations–who benefits?

    Also, relating to the article we are discussing-Wallace never had his own TV station, radio show or newspapers. Media consolidation is the killer of democrats.

  38. 38
    Steeplejack says:

    @mr. whipple:

    My god, what was that cat looking at when it died?! The frozen rictus of terror . . . it’s too horrible to contemplate.

  39. 39
    mr. whipple says:

    @Steeplejack:

    LOL. I told him I was out of treats.

  40. 40
    Steeplejack says:

    @mr. whipple:

    The horror, the horror . . .

  41. 41
    birthmarker says:

    #35 Valdivia-I read the Linker article and skimmed the Lowry piece. The Lowry article is just the usual attempt to place that patina of intellectualism over the same corporatist policy that pereates everything the conservatives do.

    BTW-anyone notice the new thing is to discredit the word progressive?? The liberal sneer/smear is getting long in the tooth, I guess.

  42. 42
    Uloborus says:

    People keep coming back to the obviously absurd attempt to claim that the current GOP isn’t racist. I think that’s a deliberate lie in the article. He’s trying to actually get some Republicans to realize what’s going on, and knows that the moment he calls anybody a racist they’ll get their backs up and stop reading.

    That’s how it reads to me, anyway!

  43. 43
    hamletta says:

    I don’t think the piece is that far off at all. It’s true that racism is a factor in the GOP playbook, but it’s all dog whistles now, and I think that’s why the author left it off the list. Not because it’s not there, but because it’s handled differently now. In other words, Wallace could be upfront about it, but Palin cannot.

    I had a friend years ago who said anybody who tried to bridge the gap and show poor white and black people that they were all getting screwed by the fat cats got himself killed, that keeping them angry at each other was a way to distract them.

    And Pawlenty’s an idiot. Chablis and brie? Really? What is this, 1980? Even Ladies’ Home Journal thinks brie is passé.

  44. 44
    Mike in NC says:

    I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.

    Despite all the horseshit we hear to the contrary, little has really changed in this freakin’ country in 40 odd years. We live in a quasi-retirement community and I’m continuously appalled by the over 65 crowd of clueless, selfish, racist idiots we run into. One old fart was talking about how his SmartTag for the tollbooths in NY and NJ suddenly wasn’t working and he blurted out, “It’s the blacks!”. His wife countered with, “It might be the Puerto Ricans!”. And at the same time they sneer at us as “Obama Lovers”. Un-fucking-believable.

  45. 45
    Batocchio says:

    That is a very good piece, apart from him being delusionally wrong on race.

  46. 46
    themann1086 says:

    @birthmarker: Actually, I think it’s because most of the liberal groups fled from the word “liberal” and claimed “progressive” (see, “progressive netroots”, etc). So they’re just changing targets as we move them.

  47. 47
    wilfred says:

    Fortunately for them, unfortunately for us, the campaigns of terror by men like McCarthy successfully destroyed our domestic communist movements and out speakers thus beginning a long descent on the left away from radicalism and standing up for basic principles. A strong communist or rather soc.ial.ist movement is critical for fighting back against both insane right-wingers and capitalist excess.

    Thank you – the best, most historical comment I’ve read in ages; the story of the systematic dismantling of the American Left is a book waiting to be written. Most distressing is the ahistorical cheapening of the term by association with anything in the current Democratic Party.

    See another Wallace, Henry to be precise, for a better historical understanding of what could have been and once was.

  48. 48
    Quiddity says:

    @Dennis G.

    John Patterson is still alive!

    I wonder if he likes the teabagger movement,

  49. 49
    M. Bouffant says:

    elites are not only screwing you over but at the same time they’re laughing at you, they’re looking down their noses at you

    This is it, the politics of resentment. Wallace often referred to “pointy-headed Intellectuals.”

    They’ve been resentful of anything that violates their “common sense” for a long time, & now that a black guy is doing it, it’s just plain condescension.

    Mrs. Clarence Thomas’s newest wing-nut welfare venture inflicted this on us:

    Their Key ‘gripes’ are: (1) aloof politicians, (2) biased media and (3) leftist agenda.
    •64% think politicians listen more to lobbyists than ordinary citizens.
    •58% find it frustrating that politicians seem not to be listening to citizens.
    •44% think laws are being written in technical, legal jargon.
    •59% think the mainstream media is showing favoritism.
    •53% think the media ignores views of people like them, or treats those with their views unfairly.

    Nothing but whiny-ass children. “Mommy, mommy, the mean old media are ignoring my conspiracy theories!”

  50. 50
    Jess says:

    It’s also interesting to compare where we are with Austria at the turn of the 20th century: a disintegrating empire, political gridlock with various parties competing for the “most obstructionist” title, virulent nationalism, growing anti-Semitism, the rise of Christian soc.ial.ism among the peasant and lower-middle classes, a backlash against liberal politics, especially against the urban intelligentsia. And we all know who came out of that lovely mix…not to Godwin the thread, but you know–forget history/doomed to repeat, and all that jazz.

  51. 51
    Yutsano says:

    Cue next right wing freakout in 3…2…1…

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH.....tml?hpt=P1

  52. 52
    matt says:

    TPM has a link to a Newsweek article called The Unlikely Liberal Case for Gun Rights, that contains this:

    For decades, liberals have opposed gun rights on the grounds that the Second Amendment is limited to the establishment of state militias.

    I literally don’t think I’ve met anyone in my entire life, regardless of their politics, that believed only people in state established militias should own guns. Is there anyone in the United States who believes this?

  53. 53
    matt says:

    I don’t know, on second thought, I think they’re talking about scholarly, advocacy group types. Is this what got the left in trouble with gun owners, did people actually used to argue about this shit?

  54. 54
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @matt: “Is there anyone in the United States who believes this?”

    Yes. Republicans. They believe that Democrats believe this. You have to be a member of their parallel dimension to understand how this works but the short description is that if a Republican says it then it has to be true.

    I think it’s one of their Commandments.

  55. 55
    Loneoak says:

    It wasn’t until I saw that Pawlenty quote about smashing in the windshield of Big Gubmint in the context of this article about GOP populism that I realized how fucking ridiculous it is. Yeah, show those snobby elitists what’s what … by damaging their cars with your golf clubs.

  56. 56

    @wilfred:

    Wow, this is some high quality ahistorical wingnut nonsense, normally you have to go over to RedState to get high quality bullshit like this, but Cerberus and Wilfred bought some to us here. Yeah, McCarthy just completely dismantled the left, which is why Kennedy won in 1960 and Lyndon Johnson was able to enact the Great Society and pass the Civil Rights act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act. Oh, and of course the left was completely wiped out by 1954, which is why there were no campus protests in the 1960s.

    As far as Henry Wallace goes what a fucking joke. Henry Wallace was a great secretary of agriculture and a joke of a vice president. He bought into the myth that the Soviet Union was some sort of nascent social democracy, you know the Soviet Union, the country that signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler, starved a few million Ukrainians during the Holodomor and killed a few million of its citizens during the Stalinist terrors of the late 1930s.

    Henry Wallace was the Dennis Kucinich of his time, up to and including the flaky religious beliefs, and as far as any liberalism on his part goes, well he endorsed Eisenhower in 1956 and Nixon in 1960. Yeah, that’s really liberal. Compare and contrast Wallace to Harry S. Truman, who actually got some things done while in office and who said about Nixon:

    Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he’d lie just to keep his hand in.

    Needless to say Truman did not endorse Nixon in 1960. But Wallace did because after he was rejected by the Democrats and got his ass kicked in the 1948 elections he became an embittered prick, just like Joe Lieberman, and spent most of the rest of his life sucking up to conservatives and stabbing Democrats in the back.

  57. 57

    @M. Bouffant:

    Their Key ‘gripes’ are: (1) aloof politicians, (2) biased media and (3) leftist agenda.

    You know, with the exception of the whole “leftist agenda” thing I have a lot in common with these people. Seriously.

    •64% think politicians listen more to lobbyists than ordinary citizens.
    •58% find it frustrating that politicians seem not to be listening to citizens.

    I agree, which is why we should shoot everyone on K street, introduce term limits and publicly financed elections, prohibit corporations from engaging in political activity, implement the Wyoming Rule to increase the size of the House of Representatives and reduce the effects of gerrymandering, prohibit any member of Congress or the executive branch from working as a lobbyist for six years after they leave office and hang Phil Gramm, Billy Tauzin and Dick Armey from meat hooks with piano wires.

    •44% think laws are being written in technical, legal jargon.

    Yes, I think that laws should be easier to understand. As an example in the health care reform bill there was all of this hard to understand technical and legal about prohibiting rescission. Instead of all of the technical and legal jargon the sections dealing with rescission should read something like this:

    Section IV: Any insurance company that uses rescission to fuck over their policy holders will be financially penalized to the tune of 10 million dollars per incident, adjusted annually for inflation, and the CEO, CFO and their deputies will be impaled on sharp metal stakes shoved up their asses and their slow and agonizing deaths will be televised in full on CSPAN 3 to set an example.

    •59% think the mainstream media is showing favoritism.

    They sure are, I mean really, how many times does a bitter, whiny loser like John S. McCain or an incompetent, cowardly, drunken hack like Dick Cheney or his cowardly, ignorant slut of a daughter deserve to be on television?

    •53% think the media ignores views of people like them, or treats those with their views unfairly.

    I totally agree, when was the last time you saw Rick Perlstein or Naomi Klein being interviewed on Press the Meat about American foreign policy or domestic policy? Nope, you don’t get Chomsky, you just get John “I’m a bitter old loser” McCain or his catamite Joe “Feel the Joementia” Lieberman. (As an aside do you ever wonder if David Gregory gets tired of being a total man-whore and fellating McCain and is tempted to get an honest job, like say jizz-mopper in a porno theatre?)

    Who knew that I had so much in common with these people. I can totally understand now why Jane Hamsher hopped into the sack with Grover Norquist. It wasn’t an act of pique by an embittered, attention seeking whore, no, it was a beautiful and seriously principled act of political love.

  58. 58
    mcc says:

    Conservatism is wary of extremism and rage and anti-intellectualism

    I always find it kinda funny how whenever they try to tell us what “real” conservatism is, they wind up describing something totally unlike conservatism as it’s ever been practiced, ever that I know of, anywhere in America.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    freelancer says:

    @mcc:

    See also the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

  61. 61
    wilfred says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    What are you talking about? Kennedy was a Leftist?! – he ran to the right of Nixon, for heaven’s sake.

    This is what I meant by ahistorical, specifically the invention of some Democratic Party=American Left mythology that is as far removed from reality as the Conservative usurpation of the foundation myth of America itself.

    Johnson? It was his trade-off of Vietnam for the Great Society that defines the current continuum of Liberalism – Conservatism that defines what passes for politics today. All we get is new things to think about, never a new way to think. For example, the leftist position on health care is universal health care for all without cost. Anything else is within the ConLib continuum.

    Heny Wallace was as close to a man of the left that this country ever had in high office. He deserves to be remembered at this best.

    Political evolution happens when there is tension between extremes – dialectics, if you will. There isn’t any today.

  62. 62
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @freelancer: Exactly.

    Also a relative to the right wing argument that runs:

    “But the US wouldn’t torture anyone. Even if we did torture, we wouldn’t“.

  63. 63
    freelancer says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    Well, your point has a better corollary in Nixon and his Frost interviews:

    If the US does it, it’s NOT torture.

  64. 64
    mcc says:

    @freelancer: I am well familiar; I myself am not a true scotsman.

    (Although there seems to be some disagreement on the subject “McClure” is actually as I understand it an Irish name, some sort of degradation of “MacLeod”.)

  65. 65
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @freelancer: That too. But there are those who argue it differently from Nixon.

    With some it’s not the “therefore it wasn’t torture” argument of Cheney, and it’s even beyond the “therefore he must not be an American” denial of the Scotsman argument, and straight into unexplained pure denial of “Well, we wouldn’t, so we couldn’t have, even if we did.”

    By the way the other comparison that’s hard to avoid is those who insist to this day that genuine Communism has never been given a chance.

  66. 66
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @mcc: Hmm, I may remember that name from such films as….

  67. 67
    Joey Maloney says:

    “The fact that modern Republicans hardly ever say ‘nigger’ in public any more* proves that the party is not racist.”

    Uh-huh.

    *Give or take a George Allen or two.

  68. 68
    Xboxershorts says:

    I Agree, Palin and Wallace mirror each other closely, but, I disagree on a significant point he makes…

    The hottest ticket in the GoP is not Sarah Palin, it is actually Ron Paul. The GoP just don’t know it yet….and they’ll likely, again, pretend it isn’t, with help from the media, of course.

  69. 69
    Mark S. says:

    @BDeevDad:

    Hmmm . . . the teabaggers are making some of these races interesting.

    This got me curious about how Walnuts is doing. This was kind of funny:

    Hayworth, meanwhile, held a press conference Thursday at McCain’s Phoenix campaign headquarters to publicly challenge his opponent to 10 debates.

    10 debates? That’s crazy. Where did that come from?

    McCain made a similar proposal to President Obama during the 2008 campaign, which wasn’t accepted.

    Oh. To tell the truth, McCain made so many Hail Mary desperation plays during the campaign that I completely forgot about that one.

  70. 70
    mcc says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Yup, and that’s exactly why I chopped the last four letters off my nick in 1996…

  71. 71
    Comrade Kevin says:

    Er, 8.8 Earthquake in Chile tonight.

  72. 72
    Shalimar says:

    @Delia: It wasn’t bankers and insurance executives who benefited for the most part, but Wallace ran Alabama in the same banana-republic way George W. Bush ran the country: his biggest supporters and friends had preference for rigged government contracts (mainly through highway funds and the placement of state liquor stores*) through which they got extremely rich. So, even though Wallace did have populist leanings, he still governed for the benefit of a select few.

    *If you ever drove around Alabama and wondered “why did they put an ABC store there, in the middle of a lousy shopping area?”, it’s most likely because one of Wallace’s cronies owned the land and got an extremely favorable lease that still hasn’t expired decades later.

  73. 73
    Ian says:

    From the article

    Nothing in this article implies that the GOP is a racist party

    Fail

  74. 74
    Ian says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    those who insist to this day that genuine Communism has never been given a chance.

    It hasn’t.

  75. 75
    Joey Maloney says:

    Sure it has. About two thousand years ago by this wild-eyed Jewish guy with a dozen of his buds and some whore that got a huge crush on him. Now, it worked pretty well for them, and then nineteen hundred years later some Canadian utopians managed to get a village to run for awhile that way. So it works fairly well for groups of that size, as long as you can stomach the endless (and I mean endless) rounds of discussion and argument, plus the really heavy dose of God-tranks you need to keep everyone placid and feeling the love.

    But it doesn’t scale well.

  76. 76
    former_friend says:

    Third, by becoming George Wallace’s party, the GOP is abandoning rather than embracing conservatism

    Aww, the soft-scented lie. Already seeding the rhetoric whereby “conservatism” can yet again rise as the untried ideology-in-waiting that truly does stand up for patriotism, honest government, true values, and apple pie. You betcha!

  77. 77
    Dennis G. says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    Well played, except I think you may owe Kucinich an apology for the comparison.

    Cheers

  78. 78
    Shalimar says:

    @Joey Maloney: There was also Fairhope, a small town in Alabama initially set up in the 19th century on a single tax structure. More anti-capitalist than true communist though.

  79. 79
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    TEST TEST. Is it just me or is something weid going on with B-J interface this morning?

  80. 80
    celticdragonchick says:

    @matt:

    I literally don’t think I’ve met anyone in my entire life, regardless of their politics, that believed only people in state established militias should own guns. Is there anyone in the United States who believes this?

    The belief was pretty fashionable in the 70’s and 80’s in certain circles. Senator Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio was one of the “ban all guns and tax ammunition into oblivion” advocates.

    Being an enthusiastic gun owner, I am not sorry to see that part of the Democratic Party get left behind.

  81. 81
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Ian:

    Nothing in this article implies that the GOP is a racist party

    Fail

    That was a deliberate stratagem to get his piece read in the first place. We all know that the GOP playbook says to scream “The racists are calling us racists! ZOMG!!!”

    If he made the race connection with Wallace any more explicit, it would be used to attack and discredit the rest of what he wrote. He is depending on us being smart enough to make the connection ourselves.

    Think of Marc Antony’s speech to the Roman people in Julius Caesar…nudge nudge wink wink

  82. 82
    birthmarker says:

    #78 Shalimar–Fairhope is the Awesome!!

  83. 83
    Shalimar says:

    @birthmarker: Fairhope still has it’s charms (the artist’s retreat aspect remains so it’s a great place for things like writing workshops), and the town structure is still in place, but the last few decades it has basically developed into a highbrow shopping area to balance Foley’s outlet mall.

  84. 84
    Ogami Itto says:

    @Yutsano: So my suspicions have been confirmed: Godless, monogamous liberal men and women are the next step up the evolutionary ladder; and conservatives are knuckle-dragging, bible-thumping deadenders dragging our species down.

    The interesting thing about that study is that the two researchers are a conservative and a libertarian.

  85. 85
    RichJ says:

    You posting that article as a serious reflection was a joke, right? The author twists himself into pretzels dodging the reality that George Wallace’s Republicanism was racism, and anything else was tangential. If George Wallace had never said “Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever,” no one would know who the fuck he was. And to divorce the Republican Party today from racism is embarrassingly disingenuous.

  86. 86

    Wallaceism was not sufficiently mainstream or coherent to sustain a national party in 1968, and the same is true today.

    Being a national party doesn’t seem to be a requirement for totally fucking up everything you touch.

    However, should Palin decide to run for national office, I’ll chip in $25 just for the chance to watch the epic fail highlight reel at the end.

  87. 87

    And to divorce the Republican Party today from racism is embarrassingly disingenuous.

    I think @celticdragonchick got it, and I saw it the same way – that was a feint intended to get the reader through the rest of the article. It’s too easy to read “eh, GOP racist” and then go back to surfing the internet.

  88. 88
    tomvox1 says:

    Might as well say: Buchanan not Perot. No shit.

  89. 89
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    For those interested in George Wallace and his legacy, here’s a link to a wonderful article on CNN.com that appeared right after Obama’s election.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITI.....index.html

    It is quite unbelievable and we should all be proud of his daughter, Peggy!

  90. 90
    Blaine says:

    Not a bad article. I agree with him that Wallace tapped into some very real grievances, and that not all of these were race related. However, he does seem to downplay the extent to which Wallace exploited the race issue to gain exposure, something Wallace himself wasn’t exactly shy about admitting.

    That said, I have a hard time reading any article that tries to boil down these types of tactics and ideologies to just one person. Wallace was certainly influential, but he was merely using tactics and rhetoric that had existed for decades already.

  91. 91
    Honus says:

    If you want to learn about Fairhope, this is the book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Coming-A.....038;sr=1-1

  92. 92
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    Yeah, McCarthy just completely dismantled the left, which is why Kennedy won in 1960 and Lyndon Johnson was able to enact the Great Society and pass the Civil Rights act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act. Oh, and of course the left was completely wiped out by 1954, which is why there were no campus protests in the 1960s.

    I think the larger historical point which wilfred is correct in bringing up is that prior to the 1970s liberalism was the third way centrist position located in the middle between genuine left wing movements and the right. Liberals were some of the leading anti-communists back in the Kennedy era, because liberalism and actual left wing movements were genuinely opponents and rivals. But we no longer have an actual left in the US – they have been destroyed, (albeit on a longer time frame than what wilfred claims), so by default liberalism has become “the left” in the eyes of people who don’t know the history of the term, what it means, or where it fits into US politics, or how right wing the US is by global standards. Which is to say nearly everybody in this country.

    And the destruction of a true left wing movement in this country was advanced by great leaps and bounds during the early Cold War. McCarthyism was a major part of that project.

    ETA: and the larger point is important – it is very much to the advantage of the right that we no longer have an authentic left in the US, because it allows them to scapegoat liberalism as a left wing boogeyman movement which it bears no resemblence to in actual fact, far more effectively than would be the case if we had a true left to showcase how middle of the road liberal ideas actually are.

  93. 93
    Liberty60 says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:
    This.
    People conveniently forget how truly leftist American society was, during the Depression and WWII. It was JUST geopolitics that caused Soviet Union to be our ally.

    Communism- not the Rahm Emanual version painted by Glenn Beck, but the real thing- was actually popular across much of America.

    The group that the Communists hated more than any other was liberals, and FDR was despised the most, for offering a middle ground and taking the wind out of the sails of the Left.

    The Right has pushed the framework so far that a health care program that Richard Nixon might have liked, is considered Stalinesque, according to the Village.

  94. 94
    very reverend crimson fire of compassion says:

    @mr. whipple: Beautiful work. Thanks for putting it up here.

  95. 95
    matoko_chan says:

    Raunch is wrong, Wallace wasn’t actually a racist. If I could point back to two fine pieces by TNC from around Palin’s Weimar Rally period……

    A black lawyer recalls, “Judge George Wallace was the most liberal judge that I had ever practiced law in front of. He was the first judge in Alabama to call me ‘Mister’ in a courtroom.”[2] Later, when a supporter asked why he started using racist messages, Wallace replied, “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.”

    He was defeated by John Patterson in Alabama’s Democratic gubernatorial primary election in 1958, which at the time was the decisive election, the general election still almost always being a mere formality. This was a political crossroads for Wallace. Patterson ran with the support of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization Wallace had spoken against, while Wallace was endorsed by the NAACP.[2]

    After the election, aide Seymore Trammell recalled Wallace saying, “Seymore, you know why I lost that governor’s race?… I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again.”[2][4] In the wake of his defeat, Wallace adopted hard-line segregationism, and used this stand to court the white vote in the next gubernatorial election.

    The modern GOP just uses racism the same way they use anti-intellectualism and abortion issues…..as whips to lather up the rubes “low information” voters.

  96. 96

    @wilfred:

    Well if by “man of the left” you mean, “total chump who thought that the USSR was a social democracy and that the folks in the gulags were all volunteers” or “total chump who had weird and messianic religious beliefs” then yeah, I guess that Henry Wallace was a man of the left, but is being a Soviet tool something to brag about?

    Oh, and you conveniently ignore the fact that Wallace repudiated most of his earlier beliefs about the Soviet Union in 1950 after the invasion of South Korea, supported Eisenhower in 1956 and Nixon in 1960 because he was pissed off by the fact that the Democrats had rejected him in the 1940s. So I don’t know if Wallace was the Dennis Kucinich of his times or just the Joe Lieberman. But hey, you just keep telling yourself that he was a genuine “man of the left” (whatever that means). But your portrayal of Wallace is bullshit and you’re no better and no less dishonest than the conservatards who keep telling us how what a great conservative hero Reagan was while ignoring the fact that as governor of California he liberalized abortion and massively increased taxes and the fact that as president he not only increased taxes but also deficits.

  97. 97

    @matoko_chan:

    Wallace was a racist. So he treated a few individual black people decently. Big fucking deal. Wallace figured that he could make more headway if he demonized people because of the color of their skin. I really don’t give a shit if someone is doing that because they think it’s a great political tactic or because they’ve got a head full of shit and believe that they have a right to fuck people over because of the color of their skin. If you’re getting lynched does it really matter if the guy putting the rope around your neck is doing so because he’s a cynical opportunist or a true believer.?

  98. 98
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    Sure it has. About two thousand years ago by this wild-eyed Jewish guy with a dozen of his buds and some whore that got a huge crush on him. Now, it worked pretty well for them, and then nineteen hundred years later some Canadian utopians managed to get a village to run for awhile that way. So it works fairly well for groups of that size, as long as you can stomach the endless (and I mean endless) rounds of discussion and argument, plus the really heavy dose of God-tranks you need to keep everyone placid and feeling the love.
    But it doesn’t scale well.

    That would be, as Marx termed it, “Utopian Socialism“. That is not Communism, or as he termed it, “Scientific Socialism“.

  99. 99
    Scott de B. says:

    I literally don’t think I’ve met anyone in my entire life, regardless of their politics, that believed only people in state established militias should own guns. Is there anyone in the United States who believes this?

    Well, I do, sort of. I believe that the fundamental right expressed in the 2nd amendment is the principle that all citizens have a right to serve in the military, and vice versa, that the military ought to be drawn from a cross-section of all citizens. The founders were well aware that the Roman Republic fell in large part because the Roman soldiers became estranged from the body politic and looked to their own interests rather than the Republic; in other societies certain groups were banned from serving in the military, or holding commissions, as a way of politically marginalizing them. Thus, an exclusive or segregated military acts as a destabilizing influence. The Founders sought to counter this tendency by establishing a citizen militia as the sole military force for the nation. Growing professionalism in military affairs means that such is impractical nowadays, but we can maintain the underlying principle.

  100. 100
    Steeplejack says:

    @Honus:

    Thanks. I lived in Mobile in the ’70s and spent a lot of time in Fairhope. Still have some friends who are from there who would probably like this book.

  101. 101
    Steeplejack says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Well said. Agree 100 percent.

  102. 102
    easyliving1 says:

    “First, with the important exception of race, not one of Wallace’s central themes, from his bristling nationalism and his court-bashing to his anti-intellectualism and his aggressive provincialism, would seem out of place at any major Republican gathering today.”

    From On The Firing Line: The Public Life of Our Public Figures we learn on Page 161 that Buckely considered Wallace a “New Deal populist.” Hmmm. That doesn’t sound like it would describe Sarah Palin today does it? Any other prominent Republicans?

    Buckley goes on to write: A week or so earlier, the right-wing weekly journal Human Events had published the results of a poll of “two hundred prominent conservatives.” The poll unearthed a “surprising hostility toward George Wallace.” Why? I asked him.

    Wallace: Well, Mr. Buckley, you said that two hundred “prominent conservatives”-that’s typical of those who write to magazines. Who are these prominent conservatives?

    WFB: Suppose, Governor Wallace, that you name one prominent conservative outside the South who’s in favor of you.

    Wallace: Mr. Buckley, I run my politics like I do in Alabama. I never went to county courthouses to see the country governing bodies. I just went to see the people. I go out to the masses of people with the message that I have, and I don’t [even] know any prominent conservatives.

    Again, this doesn’t sound like someone who would feel “in-place” at every Republican gathering in the country today.

    Later on in the interview, Buckely is asked what he (a conservative) could find to criticize about Wallace, almost foreshadowing Rauch’s lame attempt at equating Wallace populism with Republican populism. Here’s the exchange with Buckley’s commentary following:

    Wallace: Name one thing in Alabama that I have supported on the governmental level that you are against.

    WFB: You want the state to take care of hospitalization, you want the state to take care of old people, you want the state to take care of the poor….

    Wallace: Are you against caring for the poor and old?

    Wallace knew my quarrel was with the statist remedies to social problems.

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