This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Kenneth Blackwell was published June 19, 2015 by The Daily Caller.
It’s like the movie “Groundhog Day.” We are condemned to be forever repeating the same old things, but with slight variations and plot twists. Endlessly. That’s what it’s like watching that Golden Oldie, Hillary Clinton.
Now, she’s beating the drum about voter suppression. She’s trying to convince black voters that the mean old Republicans are trying to prevent them from exercising their hard-won franchise.
To do this, she has to erase a lot of history. That shouldn’t be too hard. Just put a hundred and fifty years of documented evidence in the same place she put her hard drive. If only Nixon had thought of this one.
Hillary seems to forget that every vote cast against the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution was cast by a Democrat. Even Hollywood managed to get that much right. The movie “Lincoln” shows opposition to Amendment XIII that ended slavery being led by New York Congressman Fernando Wood — Democrat. (Of course, the movie also shows President Lincoln tussling with moderate Republicans over the Thirteenth. Really? Name just one.)
Civil Rights laws? The nation desperately needed them in the 1860s after the Civil War. Democrats led the opposition to Civil Rights laws in both Houses of Congress.
From the 1860s to the 1960s, opposition to Civil Rights laws was led by the Democrats. Only Democrats. That’s a lot of history Hillary has to erase. Maybe she can get old pal Sidney Blumenthal to help her do the shredding of documents. Or perhaps she can persuade Sandy Berger to run over the National Archives and stuff the inconvenient truths into his trousers.
Let’s take anti-lynching legislation for starters. Beginning in 1922, House Republicans led the effort to make lynching a federal crime. They passed a bill to that effect, but it ran into a filibuster in the Senate — led by (you guessed it) Democrats. So strong was the opposition of certain Democrats to anti-lynch laws that it took thirty years and the Emmett Till tragedy to overcome their opposition.
In the 1960s, the picture gets slightly muddied. In 1964, Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) was one of only six Senate GOPers to vote against the great Civil Rights Act of that year. Sen. Goldwater’s principled opposition deserved respect, and there was no hint of racism in his past, but he nonetheless lined up against civil rights as far as millions of black and white Americans were concerned. And Barry was the Republican nominee for President that year.
Also in 1964, South Carolina’s old Segregation warhorse, Sen. Strom Thurmond, left the Democrats and became a Republican. True, he left his Jim Crow baggage behind him in the Democratic cloak room as he sought to secure his seat in the world’s greatest deliberative body.
But the symbolism for the Republicans was nonetheless terrible. By welcoming the 1948 “Dixiecrat” candidate for president to their ranks, Senate Republicans opened themselves up to criticism for being insensitive to the concerns of black Americans.
Still, and this should not be forgotten, the Democratic ranks of the U.S. Senate at that very moment included nearly two dozen staunch Segregationists. Al Gore’s dad, Sen. Albert Gore, Sr. (D-Tenn,) and Bill Clinton’s mentor, Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-Ark.) were just two of the Segregationist mainstays who gave Democrats their majorities in the Upper Chamber in those days.
Well, that was then, you might say, and Hillary is talking about now! OK. Let’s talk about now. Hillary is a champion Voter Suppressor today. She boasts of her 18 million votes in 2008. Those voters who backed her for President in the Democratic primaries and caucuses that year are “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling,” she claims.
But she wants to suppress 50 million votes. She wants to overturn the results of votes in 32 states for marriage. She wants to suppress the 75 percent of Arkansas voters who came out to support marriage in 2004. Seventy-five percent! The only way you amass such numbers in a Southern state is if tens of thousands of black voters join tens of thousands of whites to achieve a genuinely inclusive victory.
Ask Hillary which way she voted in the New York State referendum on marriage. Just a few years ago, she was saying she favored letting the states decide on marriage. That’s when she was New York’s junior U.S. Senator.
Except she didn’t want New York voters to decide. New York never held a referendum on marriage. Hillary’s liberal friends in the Empire State made sure that vote got suppressed.
As the U.S. Supreme Court ponders what further damage it might do, it will be interesting to see how Hillary responds. She wants churches and synagogues that don’t applaud same-sex couplings to be brought to heel.
If the Court doesn’t go all-out for overturning marriage, will Hillary pledge to appoint justices who will take the plunge? If the Court does abolish true marriage, will she say that the position she held until a short time ago is now hateful and bigoted?
Famed liberal Adlai Stevenson once said of Richard Nixon, he’s the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood and then mount the stump to give a speech on conservation.
Hillary is the kind of politician who would occupy Wall Street for a $10,000-a-plate fundraiser and then give a speech on income inequality.