The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Howard They Call Me Dr Dean's lesson in political history

He should have quit while he was behind.

In trying to mend fences over the Confederate flag nonsense, Howard Dean has allowed his mouth off the reins again.

According to a piece today in the Des Moines Register,
During a mid-day meeting with Johnston High School students, [Dean] was asked about a recent comment that he wants to be the candidate "for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks."

In a desperate search for credibility, he resorted to name-dropping:
"What Franklin Roosevelt did was to get the Southern white working class to vote with the Southern African-American working class," said Dean, about the former Democratic president.

Truly a sentence to savour. Reference to the invaluable article (PDF) by Michael Klarman on the 1944 Smith v Allwright (white primaries) case discovers (p15a) that in 1940, the number of eligible Southern Negroes registered to vote rose to the level of 3%! At most polling places, I suspect that if Southern white working class voters waited for their Negro brethren to march, shoulder to shoulder, together inside to mark their ballots, they'd have waited until the ballots were closed.

In reality, in most places in the South during FDR's period in the White House, had any Negroes of any class turned up to vote, those Southern white working class would have encouraged them to put such nonsense out of their heads [1].

What planet is Dean on? What damage could he be doing to impressionable young minds with his fantasies? How can he think he's mentally fit for the office of President of the United States? (I'm prepared to take that last question under advisement!)

But don't forget the kicker - all the paper's own work:
about the former Democratic president.

I'd like to think it was sarcastic editorialising by the journo on Dean's pathetic attempt at seeking protection by associating himself with the great Democratic icon - telling him he's wasting his time, because no one's heard of the fossil in question.

But I'd bet a shiny nickel that it was the guy's editor, anxious to forestall tedious correspondence from readers complaining about being high-hatted by know-it-all hacks.

Once again, pols and hacks come together to fashion a joint and several insult to the intelligence of the rest of us.

And folks are surprised that young people are turned off politics?

  1. There were some places in the South where Negroes did vote - Boss Crump's Memphis, for one. But a 97% non-registration didn't leave much room for exceptions like Memphis.

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