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Zell Miller: Segregationist

I see that out around the web some people are accusing me of anti-southern prejudice for suggesting in a knee-jerk way that Zell Miller is a racist. In fact, I was referring to his two bids for office on a segregationist platform and his years of work on behalf of a segregationist governor. Some suggest that Miller's not "really" a racist, just someone willing to sacrifice the interests of African-Americans in order to advance his political career. That, I think, just is racism.

And, yes, I didn't hear Democrats complaining about this when they thought Zell would be a reasonable loyal party man either. It is telling, however, that changes in partisan allegiance among segregationists all seem to go in the same direction.

September 2, 2004 | Permalink

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» Double Standard from fredschoeneman.com
Matthew Yglesias writes: I see that out around the web some people are accusing me of anti-southern prejudice for suggesting in a knee-jerk way that Zell Miller is a racist. In fact, I was referring to his two bids for... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 2, 2004 2:10:28 PM

» Segregation from Kalblog
Matthew Yglesias: It is telling, however, that changes in partisan allegiance among segregationists all seem to go in the same direction. That's interesting. Members of which party are in favor of blacks-only houses on college campuses? On race, the Re... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 2, 2004 11:42:55 PM

» You Ask, We Answer II from Rational Explications
Matthew Yglesias, slinging mud at Georgia Senator Zell Miller with the sophistication of a Harvard man, wants his readers to make ominous inferences about the Republican Party based on his observation that changes in partisan allegiance among segregati... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 3, 2004 1:00:09 PM

» Is the Baby Gonna Cry? from damnum absque injuria
Matthew Yglesias sure can dish it out, but apparently, he can't take it (h/t: Brock Sides). Is anyone surprised by this? At all? [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 4, 2004 6:48:21 PM

Comments

A racial opportunist, perhaps?

Posted by: C Schuyler | Sep 2, 2004 2:00:09 PM

And, fairly, Miller worked hard to get racism _off_ of the Goergia flag, which alone puts him head and shoulders above the Southern Democratic representation in the Senate.

Posted by: Sanjay Krishnaswamy | Sep 2, 2004 2:00:41 PM

I dunno, MY. Robert Byrd was KKK as a young man. He had a change of heart which many of us believe is genuine. He didn't switch parties or AFAIK serve as keynote speaker for any Repub convention.

Posted by: Joel | Sep 2, 2004 2:08:32 PM

I assume you apply the same standards for your racist label to other Democratic senators such as Byrd, Hollings, etc.

Posted by: Reg | Sep 2, 2004 2:09:07 PM

I assume you apply the same standards for your racist label to other Democratic senators such as Byrd, Hollings, etc.


You assumption would be incorrect. The only standards being applied by the left-wing are: Republican = evil, Democrat = good.

Accordingly, when Zell Miller was Democrat in 1992 when he keynoted the Democrat National Convention, he was good. But now that Zell is keynoting the Republican National Convention, he is evil. Never mind that "his two bids for office on a segregationist platform and his years of work on behalf of a segregationist governor" are no less true now now than they were in 1992.

See, these left-wingers are really quite simple to figure out.

Posted by: Al | Sep 2, 2004 2:22:40 PM

And, fairly, Miller worked hard to get racism _off_ of the Goergia flag, which alone puts him head and shoulders above the Southern Democratic representation in the Senate.


Ssssshhhhh. Don't confuse them with facts.

Posted by: Al | Sep 2, 2004 2:23:00 PM

Excellent point re Dems not getting on Miller's case earlier about his racist past. This is my problem with Dems today who tolerate homophobes in the party, tolerate supposedly pro-gay Dems who support the constitutional amendment, etc. Is it any surprise that some day in the future these bigots bite the rest of the party in the ass too?

Posted by: John at AMERICAblog | Sep 2, 2004 2:23:36 PM

That Homeland Security bill was why Zell got so mad at you guys. Why Daschle forced that to so many votes and why Max kept voting for it, I will never figure out.

Zell carried the Dem's water for a lot of years, but that was the straw. That's one Marine that you don't won't to have turn on you.

Posted by: Chad | Sep 2, 2004 2:25:25 PM

Zell carried the Dem's water for a lot of years, but that was the straw

Nah, just a micro-stroke.

Posted by: abb1 | Sep 2, 2004 2:26:49 PM

I'll admit it.

I think John Kerry is doomed. With the excpetion of that moment when Kerry picked Edwards (over Gephardt), I have always thought Kerry was doomed.

I also think that America is losing its mind.

Zell Miller was in fact the perfect stand in for the right-wing body politic and where they really are now, not just politically, but psychologically.

And last night he - a sitting United States Senator - challenged Chris Matthews to a duel.

The problem with the left, evidenced by the overall relatively peaceful protests at the RNC, is that they're not yet crazy enough.

But they will be though, and soon.

They still believe that John Kerry can win this election as a liberal internationalist. They're wrong. They've always been wrong.

Both as grand strategy in the "war on terror" and political strategy in an age of terror liberal internationalism loses.

Does that mean that Bush's grand strategy wins?

It doesn't look promising does it.

But as a matter of politics it's not enough for John Kerry to be a war hero - he is - but he needs, or needed, to come at Bush from the right for his failure to bring security *and* democracy to Iraq, for his failure to promote democracy elsewhere in the Arab and Muslim world.

Liberals stil don't get it, and when Bush wins they'll blame his "dirty tricks," the Swift Boat Vets, maybe crazy Zell himself.

But hey, at least after Bush wins liberals will finally be absolved of any of their remaining sanity, and perhaps we can all finally rest easier as it becomes clear that both sides intend to do nothing less than destroy each other, taking America down with them.

Posted by: Robert | Sep 2, 2004 2:28:16 PM

Al: "You assumption would be incorrect. The only standards being applied by the left-wing are: Republican = evil, Democrat = good."

Huh, the mirror image of the standard applied by the right wing. How 'bout that!

Posted by: Jon | Sep 2, 2004 2:33:00 PM

You're not familiar with the gubernatorial campaign of one James Earl Carter, I take it. To say nothing of Robert Byrd.

Come now, Matthew. Claiming that the ex-segregationists are all now Republicans is indefensible.

Posted by: Tacitus | Sep 2, 2004 2:33:05 PM

Byrd and Hollings aren't the only counter-examples. There's also George Wallace, the segregationist di tutti segregationists, who came back to the Democratic party after his third-party presidential bid.

You can, I'm sure, find plenty of Southern Democrats who served in the 70s, 80s, 90s who were there before 1970, and nearly all of them had been segregationists of one stripe or another, or worked for or with segregationists. You can't find guys who left the GOP after being segregationists because there were nearly no Republicans in the South in those days; while I'm sure plenty of northern/western Republicans had or expressed racist/segregationist views between 1865 and the late 1960s, the ranks of strident segregationists was always dominated by Democrats, so naturally few ex-segregationists would feel the need to join the Democratic Party. They were already there.

Gotta brush up on your history before you toss around those racism smears. Oh, but I know, it's just so much fun.

Posted by: Crank | Sep 2, 2004 2:34:45 PM

God Damnit Al,

It's the fucking DemocratIC National Convention. There is a fucking IC at the end of it. If you are going to criticize one of the major political parties, at least have the decency to USE IT'S PROPER NAME. Christ.

Posted by: drjimcooper | Sep 2, 2004 2:34:52 PM

"Al: "You assumption would be incorrect. The only standards being applied by the left-wing are: Republican = evil, Democrat = good."

Huh, the mirror image of the standard applied by the right wing. How 'bout that!"

But Matt's the one that's argument that policy should matter and who's right should matter and that standards should matter. If it's all just who you identify with then the proud elitist, Jewish kid with a funny name is in trouble.

Posted by: Chad | Sep 2, 2004 2:35:25 PM

I think this is right on. Kerry must connect the dots between Bush's rhetoric and the actual results in Iraq if he's going to win.

Posted by: dave | Sep 2, 2004 2:36:23 PM

"changes in partisan allegiance among segregationists all seem to go in the same direction."

The segregationists in the Democratic Party's leadership still outnumber the Republicans.

Posted by: j.scott barnard | Sep 2, 2004 2:43:37 PM

Tacitus,
Am I mistaken that Jimmy Carter and Robert Byrd were never Republicans?

Posted by: theCoach | Sep 2, 2004 2:51:20 PM

Dear Matt:
Grow up, kid.


RW

Posted by: RW | Sep 2, 2004 2:53:28 PM

theCoach: see my point above. The fact that none of the aforementioned segregationists were Republicans when they were segregationists can not possibly be spun as a good thing for the Democrats vis a vis the Republicans.

Posted by: Crank | Sep 2, 2004 2:54:16 PM

Now it's "Zell Miller is a racist."

Just when I think Matthew reaches a new level of "lameness" he plays the race card.

Anybody else agree that the Demo Playbook needs updating?

Lame stuff like this will guarantee a huge loss for the Dems this November.

Posted by: Kevin Gregory | Sep 2, 2004 2:54:38 PM

The whole issue is complex. The endlessly repeated "A higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats supported the Civil Rights Act" talking point is a little silly, because the parties have changed so much since then, but the "Republicans = Dixiecrats" talking point won't quite work either. Yes, Strom Thurmond became a Republican, as we all know, and so did Jesse Helms, but people like Sam Ervin, John Sparkman, Herman Tallmadge, Russell Long, and John Stennis remained Democrats in good standing, and important figures in the Democratic hierarchy, well into the eighties. Robert Byrd and Fritz Hollings, of course, remain important Democratic figures to this day. Since Miller risked political suicide with his anti-Confederate flag campaign of a decade or so ago, I think that he made more of genuine effort to repudiate his past than KKK Byrd or "Look out for the cannibals" Hollings ever did.
On the other hand, that speech WAS scary. I have no argument with Mr. Yglesias there.

Posted by: James Kabala | Sep 2, 2004 2:56:20 PM

Come now, Matthew. Claiming that the ex-segregationists are all now Republicans is indefensible.

Well, Tacitus, most ex-segregationists are now ex-alive (well, Strom's still breathing, but he looks pretty dead), so I am not sure to which party they hold allegiance; maybe Pat Robertson can ask God to ask them for us to clarify this point.

But let's not be disingenuous here--and we KNOW you don't like to be that, Tacitus: a vast majority of former Democrats from the South from the 50's, 60's, and 70's who supported segregation migrated long ago to the Republican party. And so have their progeny. As have religious fundamentalists from the South (many of whom were also segregationists), who left the party in droves around the time James Earl Carter was elected President.

And you know what, Tacitus? The Republican Party can have them. They can have Zell too; he's our gift to you.

Posted by: mat | Sep 2, 2004 2:57:08 PM

"Elsewhere in many posts I've seen and won't dignify with links, conservative bloggers identify lunatic protestors, assert that they are the Democratic base, and that therefore you shouldn't vote for John Kerry."

Tacitus apparently missed this, and perhaps still comsider's himself Matt's friend, or a respected adversary. I certainly fucking hope that is not the case. I am not Matt's friend, and demonstrate this by judging him in part on who he considers tolerable in dialogue.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Sep 2, 2004 3:14:25 PM

Ex-segregationists are often Democrats. It's the segregationists that never renounced their racism who are Republicans.

Not all Republicans are racists, but 90% of American racists are Republicans. The evidence in support of this obvious fact is overwhelming. Anyone who denies it is simply a liar.

The surest sign that you're dealing with a dishonest right-wing blog commenter is that he will bring up Robert Byrd's name anytime racial issues are broached. People like that simply don't have the balls to engage the issue head-on. Instead, they insist on distracting attention away from it through misdirection, by citing obviously exceptional cases that don't even support their point on closer inspection. (Byrd renounced his past. Strom Thurmond never did. Haley Barbour, John Ashcroft, Trent Lott, Jeff Sessions, and innumerable other mainstream Republican figures continue to give tacit support to racist and segregationist views to this day.) Those people are scumbags - that means you, Scott Barnard and Al. And while I'm not talking about Tacitus, I would have expected better from him than his last comment.

Posted by: JP | Sep 2, 2004 3:16:03 PM

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