Sunday, March 24, 2013


In 1948 the Democratic and Republican Parties swapped places. At the Democratic convention of 1948 Johnson proposed integration be part of the Democratic platform and the deep-south, racist Democrats walked out of the convention and formed the Dixiecrat Party with the platform of segregation forever. After a failed run for president by the Dixiecrats there was a fairly rapid assimilation of the Dixiecrats into the Republican Party.

The Democratic Party, once the strong party of the south, became moderate and progressive while the Republican Party, now consumed of white southern religious racist, moved to social conservatism.

There had always been a strong southern representation in the Senate and Congress, and the new Republican Party, now represented by colorful southern statesmen, moved to a more exclusive party – a party of powerful white men with a covert racist agenda.

The position of Senator or Congressman is the closest thing our Nation has to royalty, and the goal of all legislators has always been to keep their jobs. Republicans legislators found that by paying lip service to southern moral and social values they could count on this uninformed and easily led base to vote for them in elections; and by enacting legislations to benefit the powerful and wealthy and the big corporations they could guarantee financial support.

The final term of the George W. Bush presidency had become a disaster for the Republicans. Then something happened in 2008: A black man was running for President on the Democratic ticket.

The old south covert racist and religious fundamentalists were called on by Republican pundits to organize – to become incensed and angry – and to coalesce and demonstrate. This gave the opportunity for some of the most ignorant and outrageous of the Republican legislators to join the crazies and assume a leadership.

Without realizing it, the Republicans were awakening the sleeping tiger of their party. Suddenly the Tea Party inmates were no longer satisfied with legislative rhetoric aimed to placate them – now the tiger wanted a place at the table.

So here we are: a Republican party divided between two distinct factions: the establishment of old rich white men who have traditionally run the party, and an outrageous coalition made up of the ignorant and uninformed with no idea how to govern.

the Ol'Buzzard


  1. Last year we visited LBJ's ranch in Tejas and learned one of the reasons LBJ was pro civil rights was when he learned that a black couple that worked for him at times had to sleep in the car when driving between D.C. and Tejas because they couldn't find lodging that would accept them.

  2. I'd put the transition a little farther down the road. The Dixiecrats were a blip; the big switch happened in the 1960s after LBJ pushed the Civil Rights Act through in 1964. Remember, the Republicans weren't looking good in the South in the 1950s -- Eisenhower sent troops into Little Rock to desegregate Central High School in 1957 -- and moderate Republicans were pushing harder than the Democrats in the Congress to get civil rights legislation passed. JFK worked really hard at convincing southern Democrats that he was as segregationist as they were. I'm reading Parting the Waters now and the contortions JFK went through to avoid giving any help to any of the civil rights groups (NAACP, SCLC, CORE, SNCC, etc) were unreal. He spent a lot of time on the phone reassuring Southern governors and mayors that no way was the US government going to do anything to help troublemakers and uppity Negro rabble rousers overturn segregation laws. A lot of bloodshed and grief in the South might have been avoided if JFK had had some actual principles and a spine instead of just worrying about what was going to happen in the next election. In any case, up until LBJ became President, most of the racists in the South still saw the Democrats as being their party.

    1. Funny how all of us thought at the time he was a saint.

  3. Interesting take on the current situation. I don't see how any of it can come to a good end.

    1. I just remembered Timothy Leary's answer when someone asked him what he thought of a new life form that didn't appear to do anything but excrete. 'It looks like they found Republicans', he quipped.

  4. I don't care what party it is, none of the parties are really interesting in governing, they are only interested in their own interests. America was just an experiment.


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."