Sunday, June 05, 2005

CORRECTION for this Sunday's cartoon!

In panel three of this Sunday'sCandorville, I mention "Republican Senator Strom Thurmond from 1957." The point of the cartoon, and the reason I bring up Thurmond, is in response to Republican claims that the filibuster of many of Bush's judicial nominees is rooted in anti-Christian bigotry. This cartoon points out that the Republican Party is no stranger to bigotry itself. The only problem is, Strom Thurmond was a Democrat in 1957, not a Republican.

I realized that when I wrote the cartoon, and while I thought I'd made that clear, the amount of mail I've received this morning tells me that apparently it wasn't as clear as I thought. I meant to say that this is Republican Senator Strom Thurmond who switched TO the Republican Party because of the civil rights act, as he was back in 1957. I thought the following panel (where he says "Democrats are bigots, pure and simple, and I should know...) made it clear he was a Democrat at the time. But to head off confusion, I should have written "Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond from 1957, who later switched to the Republican Party.")

However, Thurmond's party affiliation in 1957 isn't the issue, because the Democratic Party is not the same party it was prior to the 1960s. The bigots in the party fled to the Republican Party (and now the power base that supported those Democratic bigots is the same one that supports modern-day Republicans) as a result of Nixon's "Southern Strategy." Strom Thurmond was instrumental in persuading segregationist Southerners to vote for Nixon rather than for George Wallace in 1968, and that's what gave Nixon his victory. The same Southern coalition that gave Democrats so much success beginning with Andrew Jackson, and going all the way down to Lyndon Johnson, has given Republicans equal success ever since Johnson left office (which is one reason why the only two Democrats to be elected president since 1968 have been Southerners who, before taking office, were considered to be conservative Democrats). The South, because it is the only segment of the Union to vote cohesively most of the time, is the power broker in this country.

Today's Republican Party is yesterday's Democratic Party. The parties switched in response to the tumultuous civil rights era. Jefferson Davis and Ben Tillman would be Republicans today, and Lincoln and Eisenhower -- if they were alive today -- would either have switched to the Democratic Party or they would be powerless moderates, in the vein of Olympia Snow, Lincoln Chafee or Christopher Cox.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your candor is lacking. In the June 12th strip, you once again fail to identify Strom Thurmond as a Democrat, which is relevant as you identify Republicians in other instances? In the strip on Fortas, you fail to mention that the filibuster was bipartisian, that Fortas had ethical issues (for which he later resigned),and did not enjoy clear majority support.

Darrin Bell said...

"Your candor is lacking."

In other words, you disagree. In any case, your objection is specious, because although I didn't say he was a Democrat, neither did I say he was a Republican -- and no it's not necessary just because I identified Republicans in other instances. I also didn't identify the party affiliation of Senators in the first panel, and I notice you don't seem to care about that. In the Fortas case, his ethical issues didn't come to light until later. They were not the reason the filibuster began. And the filibuster was led by Republicans, so that is indeed accurate.

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