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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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Southern Strategy and the Civil Rights Act of 1990 veto

An interesting way station [1] on the path to the desolidification of the South.

The Civil Rights Act of 1990 - S 2104 - sponsored by Lion of the Left (a tad mangy by then) Ted Kennedy - was apparently designed to nullify various then recent court decisions limiting the scope of certain employment rights [1].

George Bush I vetoed the bill on October 22 1990 (veto message and October 20 statement) on the ground that it was a quota bill; he sent over a bill of his own.

Naturally, there was a vote to override the veto: it failed 66-34.

But who supplied the killer nays?

Almost 26 years after Barry Goldwater kicked off the Republican revival, nearly 30 since John Tower won Lyndon Johnson's old Senate seat [3], the Confederacy is still in largely in the hands of Johnny Reb: only seven of the 34 votes came from the land of treason:

Mack (R-FL)
Cochran (R-MS)
Lott (R-MS)
Helms (R-NC)
Thurmond (R-SC)
Gramm (R-TX)
Warner (R-VA)

In fact, every single Dem (John Kerry included) voted for the override! George Mitchell could herd cats, apparently. While 11 GOP moggies escaped Bob Dole's crook, not all of them RINOs, so far as I'm aware.

The Dem senators from the Confederacy in the 109th are:

Lincoln (D-AR)
Pryor (D-AR)
Nelson (D-FL)
Landrieu (D-LA)

Bill Nelson, up for re-election in 2006, has the GOP pack after him. (Lincoln has just sailed back; Pryor and Landrieu are up in 2008.)

  1. Fortunately, it squeaks into the full-service THOMAS archive (the 101st Congress is the earliest that does).

  2. Guess which senator was missing from the vote on passage? Surf must have been up off Nantucket...

  3. First GOP senator from the Confederacy since Jeter Pritchard of Tennessee. Who? Appointed in 1894 to serve out the term of Zebulon B Vance, elected to a term in 1896, and not re-elected. (I'm not clear whether he sought re-election.)


Work abruptly ceased on the piece when I came across the 2002 The Rise of Southern Republicans by Merle and Earl Black [1], a 450 page book available - mercy me! - in full online (a 4MB PDF). (The pages have Exam Copy in 48 point turquoise over, but not obscuring, the text - but, be thankful for the things they got...)

The first 80 pages are distinctly promising: the quantitative analysis is kept in check (no multiple regression yet!) and the anecdotage quota just right.

  1. It seems that the pair are brothers.


The Black book identifies (p120) an interesting tie-in with the Kennedy Civil Rights Act: in the 1990 contest between Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt, an attack ad of Helms' on the subject in the last few days of the campaign apparently swung it for the old rogue.

The ad is described thus:
The Helms job quotas commercial shows a white man's hands crumpling what clearly is a job rejection letter. 'You needed that job and you were the best qualified, 'the announcer says. 'But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota. Is that really fair? Harvey Gantt says it is,' the message continues. 'Gantt supports Ted Kennedy's racial quota law that makes the color of your skin more important than your qualifications.'

Helms, who had been behind in the polls before the ad ran, came through to win 53-47.

Of course, Massachusetts grandstanding - this time, the Supreme Court and their Drutherland excursion on homo-marriage - is credited by some with putting Bush over the top in November...

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