Monday, March 22, 2010

Now You Know

Newt Gingrich apparently thinks that the Civil Rights Act was a bad idea for Democrats and the country as a whole:

Washington Post:
But former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich said Obama and the Democrats will regret their decision to push for comprehensive reform. Calling the bill "the most radical social experiment . . . in modern times," Gingrich said: "They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years" with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s. 
"Shattered the Democratic Party"? The Democrats lost the South, true, but also they became identified as the party of compassion, inclusion, and liberalism--all good things, in my estimation. Yes, Democrats lost the presidency (to Richard Nixon), and eventually, control of Congress too, nineteen years later; but we also got rid of the last of the Dixiecrats.

More curiously, what is Newt really saying with this comparison? Is he advising that Democrats should always do the expedient thing, rather than the right thing? Kos had something to say about that:
[...]this is certainly a bizarre comparison. Apparently, for Gingrich, Democrats should regret their decision to push for civil rights legislation, because such legislation cost Democrats electorally (and it did, thanks to Nixon, the GOP, and their Southern Strategy). The merits of the legislation (in this case, desegregation) take a back seat to the political implications.

In other words, Gingrich believes that political pandering and cowardice is always preferred, even when dealing with unambiguous evils like segregation.
Newt obviously thinks that ending segregation should have taken a back seat to retaining political power. An interesting perspective for a man who's considered a potential presidential candidate, and a leader of the Republican party. Profiles in cowardice, indeed.

H/T, as always, to DailyKos.

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