Herbert Must Reading Today

Bob Herbert provides must reading today, especially for Brad DeLong, Andrew Sullivan, Kevin Drum, Matt Yglesias, Brendan Nyhan, and of course, David Brooks.

Herbert writes:

Andrew would not survive very long. On June 21, one day after his arrival, he and fellow activists Michael Schwerner and James Chaney disappeared. Their bodies wouldn’t be found until August. All had been murdered, shot to death by whites enraged at the very idea of people trying to secure the rights of African-Americans.

The murders were among the most notorious in American history. They constituted Neshoba County’s primary claim to fame when Reagan won the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 1980. The case was still a festering sore at that time. Some of the conspirators were still being protected by the local community. And white supremacy was still the order of the day.

That was the atmosphere and that was the place that Reagan chose as the first stop in his general election campaign. The campaign debuted at the Neshoba County Fair in front of a white and, at times, raucous crowd of perhaps 10,000, chanting: “We want Reagan! We want Reagan!”

Reagan was the first presidential candidate ever to appear at the fair, and he knew exactly what he was doing when he told that crowd, “I believe in states’ rights.”

. . . Reagan may have been blessed with a Hollywood smile and an avuncular delivery, but he was elbow deep in the same old race-baiting Southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon.

Everybody watching the 1980 campaign knew what Reagan was signaling at the fair. Whites and blacks, Democrats and Republicans — they all knew. The news media knew. The race haters and the people appalled by racial hatred knew. And Reagan knew.

And while I expect nothing better from Brooks, Nyhan and Sullivan, I do expect better from people like Drum and Yglesias. And maybe now DeLong sees some value in Herbert's work.


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    • Turkana on November 13, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    will give rudy a pass, when he starts race-baiting. brooks, nyhan, and sullivan, obviously, but the others? does rudy’s halo twinkle quite as brightly as does ronnie’s?

    • pfiore8 on November 13, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    watching that smiling, incoherent man be hailed as a great American president back in the day…

    this man factionalized America. we live in his legacy this very moment. it is a sick irony that his widow fights for stem cell research.

    the painful thing IS that so many still think he was a great American president.

  1. would even want to gently explain away the Neshoba County Fair incident.  Perhaps I wouldn’t be so appalled if I had never lived in the deep South but I do right now and racism is as fresh as some can keep it here and I know exactly what the hell they are talking about when they talk about state’s rights down here.  I hated living here at first but as time goes on I am who I am and not liking something doesn’t mean I don’t have to deal with it and acknowledge the problem and its ugly truths.  Blacks in the South though are not who they used to be and I think the Jena incident proved that.  If racists in the South want to get stupid again they may get a whole lot they never fucking bargained for and what they their in grandiosity plan to be a simple oppression could lead to real bloodshed and some of that blood may be shed by pale skinned corpses.  Time to wake everyone!  If the Republicans keep beating the hate drum they may drum up some hate.

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