Bill Minor Rips Sid Salter, The Chipper, et al

Columnist Bill Minor rips the Ledge's Sid Salter a well-deserved new one over his playing into the partisan Mississippi-vs.-Louisiana rhetoric. This has been one of the toughest political games to watch since Katrina: one victim state pitted against another one. And it started immediately. (We also like the way Mr. Minor rips "the Chipper" for his FEMA flip-flop. Preach, brother.)

We are now told by a Mississippi journalist that if Louisiana gets the short end of the stick on federal relief funds compared to Mississippi, the Bayou State brought it upon itself by its choices at the ballot box. "Self-inflicted" at the ballot box is what Clarion-Ledger Perspective Editor Sid Salter tells us ("Report on Katrina's aftermath illuminates," Feb. 19 column). Somehow I get the idea that Sid doesn't think Louisiana is Republican enough. Cynical?

Perhaps I was naive to think when the most devastating natural disaster in history struck our two states that a Republican president and GOP-run Congress would even think about playing political favoritism in dispensing relief funds. Or that Louisiana could be short-changed because it had a Democratic governor and no senior U.S. senator.

Evidently Sid does.

Previous Comments

ID
134703
Comment

From Minor's article: Louisiana had five times more homes destroyed or ruined than Mississippi. That is a great statistic for me to trot out when my relatives (including my parents) on the Coast start the LA-vs-MS crap. Thanks for posting this link to an excellent article. Best, Tim

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-03-09T15:56:33-06:00
ID
134704
Comment

No problem, Tim. Mr. Minor is saying something that needs to be said. There is no reason -- other than naked Republilcan politics -- that Mississippi and Louisiana should be against each other here. I also point you to Brian Johnson's recent JFP column on this issue. He nailed it, too.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T15:59:00-06:00
ID
134705
Comment

I went to a FEMA meeting in Lincoln County where the moderator said that Mississippi lost 69,000 homesall along the coast. Does this mean LA. lost 345,000 homes, or is the 69,000 wrong. Where is a factual link to all this? The presentation we saw presented a much different picture than the hubbub going on now. Does anyone know where the link would be?

Author
Ben Allen
Date
2006-03-09T16:29:48-06:00
ID
134706
Comment

Mr. Allen, it sounds like you don't believe Louisiana lost 345,000 homes. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if that figure were accurate. Probably 100,000-150,000 in Orleans Parish alone, plus the surrounding parishes that were hit, including Jefferson. Best, Tim

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-03-09T17:36:44-06:00
ID
134707
Comment

Tim this has nothing to do with "believing" or not. I read a Red Cross report and am trying to get the *facts* as well. Sorry for the "real world", but we compete every day for money....Federal Style. Somehow, the outstanding job our Delegation is/has done , is bogged down by comments from the same Louisiana (Bozo) Governor and troupe and somehow, we are the "bad guys". I just want the *facts* and do not want to pass judgement on the sorry job LA. apparently did until I have them.

Author
Ben Allen
Date
2006-03-09T17:49:10-06:00
ID
134708
Comment

Ben, while I would also be interested in a link that shows exactly how many homes were lost in each state for confirmation of Minor's statement, your argumentative tone belies your attempt to come across as balanced on this issue. If you'd said, "I...do not want to pass judgement on the job LA did until I have [the facts]," I'd have accepted that as sincere. But the word "sorry" knocks the props right out from under the attempt at sincerity. Referring to the governor of Louisiana as a "Bozo" doesn't really help either.

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-03-09T18:35:55-06:00
ID
134709
Comment

Tim you are correct...I was a little "hair-trigger" on this one. It just seems that no matter the issue , we Republicans are wrong. We get $, we "cheated"...we don't, we "didn't do our jobs". Hell, seems to me we should as a State celebrate our efforts and not fall into the trap of denegrating the efforts as illuminated by such a "balanced" reporter, my friend [actually] Bill Minor. Bottom line , though...I should have taken a deep breath before I fired it up, but I DO WANT the facts, not the politics.

Author
Ben Allen
Date
2006-03-09T18:51:00-06:00
ID
134710
Comment

Hey Ben, I've posted a "hair-trigger" comment or two in my time as well (fortunately, with Iron Ladd at the moderating helm, not too many here...but elsewhere). :-) I don't think Minor is denigrating Mississippi's efforts to get help for Mississippians who've been hurt by Katrina. I think his point is that the pitting of one state against another after a disaster like this is cheap and nasty and unworthy of politicians (yes, even politicians ;-)) who say they want to help their constituents, and of journalists who should be trying to illuminate, rather than fuel an irrelevant dispute. After all, Minor gives explicit credit to a Republican Mississippi politician in this paragraph: The $29 billion wouldn't have even passed (remember Bush proposed only $11 billion) if Mississippi's U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran as Senate Appropriations chairman had not attached it to the defense appropriation which was a must-pass bill. Best, Tim

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-03-09T19:00:19-06:00
ID
134711
Comment

I don't have the numbers handy, but the central fact that was conveyed to me in my reading of this stuff is that Mississippi had more cities destroyed and more acres of land affected, but that the affected area was not nearly as densely populated as the regions in New Orleans affected by Katrina. Subsequently, it's accurate to say that the storm hit Mississippi harder than Louisiana, and it's also accurate to say that more human being in Louisiana were affected than in Mississippi. I, too, am concerned with the way the opposition party handled the Katrina fiasco. I do believe that most of the short-term problems occurred at the federal level, and in fact we now have videotaped evidence that Bush had been informed that the levees could break (and then lied a week later and said he hadn't been)--videotaped evidence that also conclusively demonstrates, by the way, that Michael Brown, bless his heart, did try to do his job--but then what happened? Were bills put forth to explain how FEMA could be reorganized, or other measures taken to prevent this from happening again? No. Folks capitalized on it politically and then left it hanging. They didn't even address the root issues of poverty directly--just hammered home that it was typical of this fatcat administration to leave thousands of low-income blacks stranded in a flood, and left it at that. They played it for votes, then went to bed happy. I'm very disappointed about that. And this was so definitely a bipartisan screwup when it comes to long-term stuff, because members of both parties dropped the ball in not preparing Louisiana for a hurricane, despite decades of apocalyptic warnings from civil engineers and others who knew that the levees would not hold and knew how to fix them so that they probably would. Nobody listened, and now we see where that got us. Re Mississippi versus Louisiana: We were complaining about how Louisiana got all the news coverage in the few days after Katrina. I think that was justified. But the human cost in Louisiana was greater, and we probably need to acknowledge that. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-09T19:02:13-06:00
ID
134712
Comment

I just want the *facts* and do not want to pass judgement on the sorry job LA. apparently did until I have them. That sounds mightily like you've passed judgement on Louisiana already! Otherwise, I know Mr. Minor's researcher well. I'll ask about the source.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T19:03:50-06:00
ID
134713
Comment

BTW- All that aside, I think Minor is spot on in his criticisms of Salter, whose disgusting comments about this tragedy belong on a TV news politics show, not in the mainstream press. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-09T19:04:25-06:00
ID
134714
Comment

It just seems that no matter the issue , we Republicans are wrong. Please, Ben. Now you know how any non-Republican (not even Democrat) feels. To hear the leaders (and strategists) of your party tell it, we're all a bunch of nutball commies who kill babies for fun and have no moral center and hate anything to with family life. And "values"? Despise em! The point here, of course, is that your party has, indeed, played Mississippi against Louisiana. Your governor has made it sound like we were so great, and "they" were so -- what is your word? -- "sorry." The truth is that Mississippi was not prepared, either. Had we had the Democratic governor, we would be the Rovian whipping state. The point folks are making here is that we are. all. Americans. And we're all southerners, and we should not be playing silly, partisan politial games over these issues. You have to really stretch it -- which Mr. Salter angrily does on his blog -- to say that Mr. Minor is only playing partisan politics here. What he is doing is calling out partisan politics. And that isn't, by definition, partisan. As for Mr. Salter, he has written so many columns excusing Mr. Barbour's words and actions that he long ago lost credibility for me on political issues. He is nothing if not partisan. That said, I like his education columns -- one of the few places where he puts aside his partisanship -- and I suspect that's the influence of his wonderful mother, a public teacher who happened to help change my life for the better. But I digress.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T19:20:04-06:00
ID
134715
Comment

Paragraph 2... OUR Governor.

Author
Ben Allen
Date
2006-03-09T19:25:48-06:00
ID
134716
Comment

No, Ben, I cannot call Mr. Barbour "my" governor. Maybe if he would just once act like he isn't bought and paid for by the tobacco industry and other corporations, or just once publicly reject the racist innuendo of the "southern strategy," I might be able to consider him "my" governor. But, no, when he wouldn't ask the Council of Conservative Citizens to take down his photo from that racist Web site, he ensured that I would never call him my governor (unless he apologizes for such disgusting behavior).

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T19:28:30-06:00
ID
134717
Comment

After doing a small amount of research, this is what I've found so far to answer Ben's factual inquiry. Louisiana did lost lost at leat three times as many homes as Mississippi -- at least 217,000 compared to our 70,000, both tragic numbers -- although I haven't found number sto confirm five times as many, as Mr. Minor stated. However, these numbers solidly support Mr. Minor's point, although not quite as dramatically. Here are some other interesting points: Damage to Gulf Coast from Katrina and Rita dwarfed those of other US disasters $37B in estimated FEMA cost in Louisiana alone -- $8,244 per capita (19x per capita cost of 9/11 World Trade Center disaster) $40B in insured losses for Katrina ($5B for Rita) – Katrina 7X greater than average for top 10 hurricanes 275,000 homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina alone, ten times those destroyed by next most destructive US Hurricane (Andrew) Among gulf coast states, Louisiana suffered a disproportionate share of the destruction People: 650,000 people displaced from their homes by Katrina alone (6x more than any other state impacted by Katrina) Increase of 240k unemployed people (5x that experienced in Mississippi) At least 1,071 killed (5x any other state) not including pending deaths from more than 6,000 missing Facilities: Homes: +217k destroyed (3x any other state) Schools: 875 damaged by Katrina alone (3x any other state); 40 destroyed (2.5 any other state) Hospitals: 2,600 hospital beds remaining offline (33x any other state); 10 hospitals closed (vs. 2 mobile health centers destroyed in MS) Businesses: 18,750 destroyed (10x any other state) Estimated damages: $25B in insured losses (3x any other state) $39B in flood and storm surge damage (9x any other state)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-10T00:06:10-06:00
ID
134718
Comment

Now, re-read the last section of Mr. Minor's column, replacing the "five times" with "three times" if you wish to be "conservative": In the $29 billion Katrina package squeezed through Congress at Christmas in the first round of recovery money, Louisiana got only $5.3 billion in critical home rebuilding funds as compared to Mississippi's $4.2 billion, even though Louisiana had five times more homes destroyed or ruined than Mississippi. The home money would only be allotted in block grants, and there was nothing in the bill to rebuild the federally built levees that gave way and put 80 percent of New Orleans under water. The $29 billion wouldn't have even passed (remember Bush proposed only $11 billion) if Mississippi's U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran as Senate Appropriations chairman had not attached it to the defense appropriation which was a must-pass bill. Fast forward to what happened later to the Baker bill, the broad recovery measure backed by the entire Louisiana delegation sponsored by Rep. Richard Baker, a Baton Rouge Republican with a 90 percent pro-Bush voting record. It would create a federal corporation funded by bonds to buy back and demolish entire low-income devastated neighborhoods such as New Orleans' Ninth Ward to encourage its 100,000 scattered former residents to return and rebuild. But the Bush administration pulled the plug on the Baker bill and dashed much of Louisiana's hopes. Suddenly, a week ago, Bush came up with $4.2 billion more in aid for Louisiana to rebuild homes. Even then, as Louisiana's Vitter said, what has come down so far from Washington to restore our Katrina-shattered region is but a "down payment." Certainly we don't need to fuel a political rivalry between the two states. Indeed. It is unconscionable to turn this disaster in a political rivalry between Mississippi and Louisiana.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-10T00:08:56-06:00
ID
134719
Comment

The Republicans must have had a pretty poor "southern strategy" in 1968, since George Wallace carried five Southern states, and the Democrat Humphrey carried Texas. Richard Nixon finished a distant third in Mississippi, with 13.5%. The last three Democratic presidents have been Southerners, so the Democrats must have a fantastic "southern strategy."

Author
Steve Rankin
Date
2006-03-22T19:53:57-06:00
ID
134720
Comment

I think you're missing the point of how the "southern strategy" works, Steve. And it was in its early stages in the 1960s -- there were still too many Dixiecrats in place for the Republicans to take over the racist vote in 1968. Yet.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-22T20:05:11-06:00
ID
134721
Comment

The Republicans must have had a pretty poor "southern strategy" in 1968, since George Wallace (a Dixiecrat who, today, would unquestionably be a Republican) carried five Southern states, and the Democrat Humphrey carried Texas. Richard Nixon finished a distant third in Mississippi, with 13.5%. The Republican "Southern strategy" dates from the Reagan years. The last three Democratic presidents have been Southerners, so the Democrats must have a fantastic "southern strategy." We haven't had a truly Democratic (as opposed to Democratic-in-name-only) president since January of 1981, which basically marks the start of the Republican "Southern strategy." Looks to me like that strategy is working. Best, Tim

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-03-22T20:08:51-06:00
ID
134722
Comment

The Republican "Southern strategy" dates from the Reagan years. Actually, it came about during Nixon, but didn't really take hold, for obvious reasons. But you are right that it hits his stride during the Reagan years. Reagan, with Barbour and Atwater's help, took it to a whole new level. And by then, it was a bit harder to be an open racist Democrat to get the racist vote, so you needed to do something. Otherwise, everything you said, Tim. Also, Steve, I am always amazed when people act naive and try to pretend this strategy, and with this name, hasn't been a staple of the modern GOP ever since the parties switched. This is simply political fact.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-22T20:16:45-06:00
ID
134723
Comment

Yeah, I really should have said that it didn't make an impact at the national level until the Ronnie Raygun presidency. Thanks for keeping me in line with the facts, Donna! :-) Best, Tim

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-03-22T20:18:59-06:00
ID
134724
Comment

That's OK, Tim. This is a topic close to my heart, of a fashion. There is a little I hate more than the political willingness to court the worst instincts of my people for cheap votes. It MUST stop. We've been through enough on this front and are still struggling to get past our racist pat. But it won't stop if we don't call it out for what it is: unconscionable.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-22T20:22:56-06:00
ID
134725
Comment

Tim: So you're saying Jimmy Carter was the last "truly Democratic" president. Carter, of course, was elected to his only term as governor in 1970 by, in part, appealing to George Wallace's supporters in Georgia. And Bill Clinton's Arkansas mentor was Sen. J. William Fulbright, a rabid segregationist who fought all civil rights bills, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act. During the Kennedy-Nixon presidential campaign of 1960, Richard Nixon stood on the front lawn of the Mississippi governor's mansion and stated that he favored racial integration. (Guess that was a little early for the "southern strategy.") This led Jimmy Ward, editor of the Jackson Daily News (an afternoon paper!) to attack Nixon for advocating "race mixing." And, of course, the Nixon administration implemented large-scale busing to integrate public schools.

Author
Steve Rankin
Date
2006-03-22T20:42:40-06:00
ID
134726
Comment

This led Jimmy Ward, editor of the Jackson Daily News (an afternoon paper!) to attack Nixon for advocating "race mixing." Of course it did, Steve. Nixon was still a "Republican" (meaning pre-embracing Dixiecrats, or the Party of Lincoln) until little southern birdies we all know started whispering in his ear (the ones turning it into the Party of Strom). It sounds a bit like you're trying to confuse this issue a bit, perhaps to obscure the truth about the disgusting deal with the racist devil the current Republican Party has struck (and to un-strike and fast). Of course, part of the "southern strategy" has always been, wink, wink, deny that it exists. That doesn't chance a thing, though. You're barking up the wrong tree on this one.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-22T20:48:25-06:00
ID
134727
Comment

Also, Steve, no one is arguing that Nixon, Reagan et al were racist "in their hearts." That's what's so disgusting about this strategy -- it's used by people who, er, have best friends or employees who are black. I can about respect a straight-up white supremacist more than weasels who will stoop to this low just to get votes for, usually, corporate and oil interests. It's truly disgusting, and I believe a strategy that will not continue to work for much longer as people start to catch on more. Already, right here in Mississippi, we see elected officials jumping from the flames as it's revealed what they've done, and who they've catered to, in the past to get votes. Of course, the final nail won't have come in this state until political candidates of whatever party feel they have to boycott the Blackhawk rally because everyone will think they're racist. And that time will come.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-22T20:53:07-06:00
ID
134728
Comment

Tim: So you're saying Jimmy Carter was the last "truly Democratic" president. Carter, of course, was elected to his only term as governor in 1970 by, in part, appealing to George Wallace's supporters in Georgia. And Bill Clinton's Arkansas mentor was Sen. J. William Fulbright, a rabid segregationist who fought all civil rights bills, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I referred strictly to their performance as president. I also don't think people should be judged by their mentors, but by what they do themselves. It sounds a bit like you're trying to confuse this issue a bit, It sounds to me a lot like he's trying to confuse this issue a lot.

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-03-22T20:54:13-06:00
ID
134729
Comment

You mentioned Lee Atwater, the late Republican national chairman. Atwater raved with excitement when Charles Evers joined the Repubican Party. That must have been part of the "southern strategy," too.

Author
Steve Rankin
Date
2006-03-22T21:07:10-06:00
ID
134730
Comment

You know, Steve, if you get near a point, make it. What ARE you trying to say? It sounds like obfuscation is all you have in your bag o' tricks.

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-03-22T21:12:48-06:00
ID
134731
Comment

That must have been part of the "southern strategy," too. Of course it was. You're missing the point, purposefully or not. My friend Mr. Evers will be the first one to tell you that he doesn't approve of the bigotry used for politics. And he will also be the first one to tell you that not all Republicans are alike. There are plenty of good Republicans out there, and not all are conniving southern strategiests. However, and follow this part closely, the "southern strategy" is a political tool that has beem employed by many in the higher (and not so high) echelons of the Republican Party, with party members looking the other direction because, well, it gets votes. Some of those enabling GOP members are black. Now, if you truly don't understand this, I'm glad we're having the discussion. But, as Tim suspects, you're planning a game of obfuscation to keep people from knowing what the "southern strategy" is, don't bother. There's enough political education lurking on this blog to keep that game from progressing very far.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-22T21:19:48-06:00
ID
134732
Comment

Can you say "national strategy," which resulted in the Republicans' carrying 44 states in the presidential election of 1980, 49 states in 1984, and 40 states in 1988. Not to mention Nixon's carrying 49 states in 1972. The "southern strategy" is a convenient excuse for losing elections.

Author
Steve Rankin
Date
2006-03-22T21:29:04-06:00
ID
134733
Comment

LOL, Steve. I'm telling you: This won't work here. The "southern strategy" is why Bush spoke to the racist Bob Jones University, and why Willie Horton gained notoriety, and why Haley Barbour didn't ask the CofCC to take down his nice little photograph, and why he talked about piano benches in whorehouses, and why Reagan spread outright lies about "welfare mothers," and ... this list goes on and on. And you. know. it. Don't insult me by trying to bullsh!t is on this one. You're wasting your time here on this one. You need to find folks with a little less education and bit more naive gullibility. BTW, no one (except you) is trying to argue that the "southern strategy" is the only reason Republicans have won elections. And you're just doing it to try to set up a straw man that you can beat the hell out of. Nope. A lot of Americans actually believed Ronald Reagan's talk of a "balanced budget," and all sorts of other little promises that haven't been fulfilled. And you sure won't get me to defend the doofus Demcrats on every front. (Another straw man I'm sure you'd like to prop up.) So don't try to bait and switch us as your argument melts. No, the issue here is the southern strategy itself and the people low enough to stoop to use it, not to mention those folks who turn their heads or try to pretend it away, such as you're doing. Reminds me of all the folks in Neshoba County turning their heads during my childhood. Enabling is enabling. Stay focused.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-22T21:41:15-06:00
ID
134734
Comment

Your friend Charles Evers, who was not then a Republican, endorsed Ronald Reagan for president in 1980, as did civil rights leaders Hosea Williams and Joseph Lowery. That must have been part of the "southern strategy."

Author
Steve Rankin
Date
2006-03-23T10:24:41-06:00
ID
134735
Comment

Steve, I think you're being intentionally dense. I know that black men can be Republicans. That's not the point, as I've already explained. You're either dense, or being intentionally dense, on this issue, so I'm going to let it go. You're wasting my time.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-23T11:29:21-06:00
ID
134736
Comment

Ah... more condescension! Now that you've told us "dense" people all about the "southern strategy," please tell us another fairy tale. You'll surely have a comeback, since you ALWAYS have to have the last word.

Author
Steve Rankin
Date
2006-03-26T14:28:20-06:00
ID
134737
Comment

Just out of curosity. . . Having read "A Minor Error" in the latest Planet, does anybody know whether "Buck Shaeffer" is a real person or just a pen name for Gary Hilton? It's evident that Hilton has some personal vendetta against attorney Paul Minor so now it seems he's intent on beating up Minor's 85-year-old father, Bill. Way to go, tough guy. For anyone who manages to read this meandering ramble, it seems the biggest "crime" the Planet seems to be able to lay on Bill is that he's a Democrat who is not afraid to talk about racism. Geez, how much investigative journalism did it take to figure that one out? The Planet piece fails to add that Bill, unlike Gary or "Buck," was actually there in 1964 when Fannie Lou Hamer led the Freedom Democrat Party delegation to the national convention. He holds a journalism degree from Tulane Unibversity and will go down in history as having honorably covered Mississippi's most important movers and shakers for more than six decades. By comparison, Gary, who appears to have gotten his journalism degree out of a gumball machine, will go down in history as little more than a third-rate graphic artist who has ruined not one, but two perfectly good weekly papers in Jackson. As a former news editor of Planet Weekly, it truly saddens me to see what a pathetic waste today's Planet has become. Ed

Author
ed inman
Date
2006-03-26T14:56:58-06:00
ID
134738
Comment

Ooooo, bad little ole me ... slap, slap (I'm slapping my own hands) ... imagine disagreeing folks who don't like to be disagreed with ... and on my own Web site at that ... slap, slap ... and about well-known facts ... bad little girl ... Get over it, Steve. Be a big boy, and take your whining elsewhere. No one cares here.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-26T14:58:09-06:00
ID
134739
Comment

Ed, I haven't pondered anything in the Planet enough to care who anybody is. It's a piece of crap as you well state. The one time I read that Buck thing about the Constitution, it was so error-laden that I haven't read it since. It makes as much sense as trying to argue that the "southern strategy" doesn't exist. Hey, maybe Buck is Steve Rankin. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-26T15:02:06-06:00
ID
134740
Comment

Ah... still more condescension! Surely the "southern strategy" isn't the only fairy tale you know. Don't you know the one about the briar patch? Best of luck to you and your brown-nosers.

Author
Steve Rankin
Date
2006-03-26T15:20:10-06:00
ID
134741
Comment

Oooo. You told us, didn't ya? I am really sorry that you meandered into a site where people dare to question you. You know where the door is. Please, please don't put yourself through this any longer. And don't troll my site for a fight again. Because, uh, we talk back. 8-D

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-26T15:30:28-06:00
ID
134742
Comment

Re the "fairy tale" southern strategy, btw, here's a bit from The Washington Post: RNC Chief to Say It Was 'Wrong' to Exploit Racial Conflict for Votes By Mike Allen Thursday, July 14, 2005; Page A04 It was called "the southern strategy," started under Richard M. Nixon in 1968, and described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue -- on matters such as desegregation and busing -- to appeal to white southern voters. Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, this morning will tell the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee that it was "wrong." "By the '70s and into the '80s and '90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out," Mehlman says in his prepared text. "Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong." Mehlman, a Baltimore native who managed President Bush's reelection campaign, goes on to discuss current overtures to minorities, calling it "not healthy for the country for our political parties to be so racially polarized." The party lists century-old outreach efforts in a new feature on its Web site, GOP.com, which was relaunched yesterday with new interactive features and a history section called "Lincoln's Legacy."

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-26T16:52:40-06:00
ID
134743
Comment

It's good to hear that at least some Repubs are willing to admit this shameful strategy and try to get past it. I hope they send the "New-New GOP" memo to Haley and the rest of the Mississippi delegation. It wouldn't hurt to distribute copies at the state Legislature, either, especially in the Senate -- although we've seen signs of it crumbling even there. Not enough signs, though.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-26T16:55:57-06:00
ID
134744
Comment

You know, I never liked Mehlman until I read that. Now I think he might be okay after all. The immigration package has serious problems, though--the Good Samaritan clause, in particular, endangers a huge percentage of the legal Hispanic immigrant population simply because so much charity happens _within_ Hispanic communities, especially extended families. And the "they need to learn English" bit from Bush was a very old slur. On the other other hand, this is not just a Republican problem, as you well know. The MFIRE foolishness was, regrettably, quite bipartisan. So it seems to me that Mehlman's comments are an excellent first step. God bless him if he's serious. And rather than gloating, I think that Dean needs to an issue a similar apology on behalf of the Dixiecrats--many of whom are still singing the same old song today, sometimes anti-black, sometimes with different target groups. Both parties have a lot to own up to, and a lot of progress to make, on race. If Mehlman's comments are indicative of more candor from the Republican Party about its own past complicity in institutional racism, and the problem that presents, then I may have to reassess some of my judgments of the party. Certainly I have a lot of respect for a lot of conservatives and a lot of conservative traditions. And I would much rather see the Republican Party make a serious effort to exorcise the demons of racism, sexism, and heterosexism--even if it remains anti-affirmative action, anti-abortion, and anti-gay marriage--simply so that exclusion becomes marginalized in both parties, and debates about policy actually become about policy. I'd like that a lot. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-26T18:01:47-06:00
ID
134745
Comment

Hey, isn't admission of one's problem the first step to recovery? I was happy to read that Mr. Mehlman actually went before the *NAACP* and admitted this. Now, it also doesn't mean that real change is happening, yet, on this front, but hell we see some signs of it here in Mississippi. The Democrats should take note. While they fiddle in fear at being called "liberal," Repubs could step up, express remorse for past disgusting ways, and make real progress among black voters. Of course, I said they could. It's not like Mr. Barbour is leading the way.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-27T12:22:58-06:00
ID
134746
Comment

Donna, you did a splendid job arguing your points, and not being blinded or fooled by the bs of the republicans or Democrats. I don't like to say it, or admit it, but I'm not crazy about either party either. Both are full of @#**. I vote for the person I like, but that obvious racism in one party runs me the hell away 99.9% of the time.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-04-03T16:38:34-06:00
ID
134747
Comment

Thanks, Ray. What can I say? I'm an independent kinda gal. ;-) Otherwise, just a shout-out to say that I'm really buried in a big project that will interest you all mightily, so I'm not blogging much. But keep an eye out. It'll all make sense in a couple days. Cheers.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-03T18:48:47-06:00
ID
134748
Comment

Minor: "First to mind is Republican 3rd District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering. The young Chipper for weeks after Katrina hit had been quick to hew to the Bush administration's party line on FEMA, even when Bush's response to Katrina was universally seen to have been woefully inept. For weeks, it was fine with the Chipster despite the hapless Katrina performance of FEMA that the emergency agency should stay tucked away in the monstrous bureaucracy of the Department of Homeland Security. That's because George W. Bush, his boss in the White House, had put it there and wanted it to stay there. A week ago, appearing before The Clarion-Ledger Editorial Board, Pickering suddenly was singing a different tune without missing a beat: FEMA should be restored as a free-standing agency, as it was before the Bushies in the post-9-11 panic legislative flurry stuck it into the sprawling new Homeland Security agency. Significantly, Chip's FEMA switch came a few days after U.S. Sen. Trent Lott introduced a bill to take FEMA out of DHS and make it a separate cabinet agency again....Chipper saw that a new party line on FEMA had formed and he wasn't going to be left standing at the train station." I remember reading this when it first came out. Certainly, no one would ever ask BILL MINOR to do fact checking. Chipper was one of the loudest and earliest Republican voices outraged by FEMA. I heard him on the radio and television and in articles the very first week of the storm criticizing, rebuking and complaining about FEMA. His wife even started a nonprofit because FEMA was failing and people needed help. There was a lot of consternation from my Republican friends on how he could be attacking FEMA and the Bush Administration while Governor Barbour was supporting FEMA. Maybe Bill Minor wishes Pickering had flip-flopped, but it ain't so. Maybe Bill Minor wishes Pickering followed the President and only changed after Lott because that matches what Minor thinks about Pickering, but it ain't so. Chipper was consistently a critic of FEMA from the begining. I called Pickering's office about this and their spokesperson told me that in all his time there, Bill Minor had never called them about one of his pieces. Minor can write opinion pieces I guess that aren't bound by the rules of journalism. But he looks foolish when he gets the facts this wrong.

Author
avens
Date
2006-04-06T09:30:12-06:00
ID
134749
Comment

Something conveniently forgotten in the above discussion is that Mississippi and Louisiana have been political rivals in many ways for years. There have been numerous times when Mississippi, for example, wanted additional funds from the Corps of Engineers, and Louisiana also requested those funds. Louisiana often won out – the fact that we have bigger political guns now in our state than our neighbor is something I am, quite frankly, glad to see – and when Cochran or Lott or Wicker or Chip or Gene retire, someone else will have more pull than we do. It’s simply the nature of the business. Also, it is more than party politics or a state rivalry at play when Louisiana’s huge initial request is mentioned. There were certainly a fair amount of goggled eyes at their request for $250 billion – without really specifying what it would be for… Requests for Louisiana assistance should be honored as needed, just as requests for Mississippi should – but asking for a huge sum of monies without giving any details regarding how it would be spent just doesn’t fly – no matter what party you belong to.

Author
Fielding
Date
2006-04-18T09:26:37-06:00
ID
134750
Comment

Something conveniently forgotten in the above discussion is that Mississippi and Louisiana have been political rivals in many ways for years. I would think that if there is ever a time to put aside political rivalries, it would be a time of great disaster that struck both states. Instead, our GOP leaders were driving wedges between Mississippi and Louisiana. Go figger.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-18T09:52:30-06:00
ID
134751
Comment

Granted, Donna, that we are in the same boat in trying to get disaster assistance - but where are your comments on the Dems criticism of Bush's efforts to help Mississippi and Louisiana both. Granted there were problems initially in getting help to the Coast and southern Louisiana; but, the amount of assistance is unprecedented for disaster relief in this country. I am no apologist for FEMA - they have been less helpful than they could have been, but at the same time it boggles the imagination that you can believe this is just the GOP "driving wedges" between the states.

Author
Fielding
Date
2006-04-18T10:08:08-06:00
ID
134752
Comment

Uh, I've made plenty of comments about the Bush administration's abysmal response response to Katrina. You've been gone too long. ;-) It boggles my mind, Fielding, that you can't see the wedges. Or, maybe as a partisan, you simply won't admit them. With due respect.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-18T10:15:43-06:00
ID
134753
Comment

I never said they're weren't wedges - I just said it isn't surprising - there are other reasons than partisan politics for the state v state rivalry. As I am back in school working on a graduate degree as well as family responsibilities, hurricane repair at home and the working thing keep me busy, I am unable to visit ya'll too often. And a merry howdy - hope you have a pleasant Easter to you as well... heh

Author
Fielding
Date
2006-04-18T10:23:21-06:00
ID
134754
Comment

I don't think is has anything to do with Democrat or Republican. I think it revolves around COMPETENCY. Think about it--Governor Barbour, Senator Cochran, Senator Lott, and our Republican Representatives where magnificant in their calm, competent response to this disaster. They just "got on with it" and tried to solve overwhelming problems. I don't remember seeing any of them on TV crying, wailing, complaining or name-calling like their Louisiana counterparts. If you were doling out the money, who would you have listened to? HDMatthias, MD

Author
HDMatthias, MD
Date
2006-04-18T12:56:28-06:00
ID
134755
Comment

Think about it--Governor Barbour, Senator Cochran, Senator Lott, and our Republican Representatives where magnificant in their calm, competent response to this disaster. That's a fallacious argument without understanding or admitting that the Democrats in Louisiana were under constant fire from Republicans nationally, regionally and in the state -- which was not true in Mississippi, allowing our elected officials to appear very "calm" and "competent," when in fact that was not always the case. The PR machine worked here much better than it worked there.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-18T12:59:37-06:00
ID
134756
Comment

Actually, Barbour sent plenty of whiny condescension toward Louisiana. If you're a Repub doling out the money, you'd probably listen to your Repub counterparts. Next question?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-18T13:01:04-06:00
ID
134757
Comment

And in all fairness, in Louisiana it was clear that something had gone wrong--in terms of FEMA's slow response, in terms of not evacuating the city, in terms of the levees not being built up, etc.--which meant somebody had to be to blame, and it would have to be either Democratic state officials or the Bush administration. In Mississippi, there wasn't much of a sense of failure. I mean, even I would say that our state officials, Republican though they are, did a fine job. The federal government screwed the pooch, but that's more evident in New Orleans than it is here, simply because we didn't have a major below-sea-level Southern city supported by levees that could have been built to withstand a hurricane, but weren't. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-18T13:11:31-06:00

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