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View Diary: Arguing from the future: President Obama's legacy considerations (402 comments)

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  •  The article linked to "Calhounism" is worth a (7+ / 0-)

    close look for anyone interested in how we got to where we are right now with a bitter rearguard insurgency against where political history seems to be heading. The article, "Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people" describes something I lived through and experienced as well as what we are all experiencing now with a TP/GOP rump in the House based on careful slicing of the population pie so as to not risk rule by majority vote. Why "Calhounism" is so appropriate, from the article with my emphasis:

    Calhoun's innovation was to develop a radical theory of minority-interest democracy based on his mastery of the Constitution's quirky arithmetic, which often subordinated the will of the many to the settled prejudices of the few. At the time of the constitutional convention, the total population of the Union, as reported by the most recent census, was just under 3.5 million; yet, Calhoun pointed out, the four smallest states, "with a population of only 241,490, something more than the fourteenth part of the whole, could have defeated the ratification." In other words, "numerical" or "absolute majorities" were severely limited in the actions they could take—or impose on others—especially on questions that put sectional interests at odds with the "General Government."
    I lived through this, smelled the tear gas when young, and remember the 101st in Little Rock on small black and white screens:
    A Republican president [Eisenhower] and his party now stood at the forefront of civil rights in America. Yet within a few years, this advantage would be lost and the party would be defined thereafter by its resistance to civil rights. Why did this happen? The reason was a historical coincidence: Just as the civil rights movement became a national concern, movement conservatism was being born.
    When JFK and Nixon were the candidates in 1960 some of us "liberal" Southern youth, tired of the racist heritage, began looking at Nixon with favor. I remember some of us discussing that in a little joint where old codgers overheard and began lecturing us on the evil of voting for that part of the "Bluebellies" and Lincoln and those "Nigger loving Republicans," yeah, then and there that word was heard many times a day as only not quite "polite," with hostility and venom pouring out with tobacco juice. "You Southern boys vote Democrat if you know what is good for you!" was most definite. I did not—and so I have to forever say in my first presidential election I voted for Tricky Dick. The result:
    Wallace captured five Southern states in 1968, and 13.5 percent of the popular vote, meaning Kevin Phillips's majority was an election away. Yet he presciently saw where it would come from: defecting Democrats. Whites "will desert their party in droves the minute it becomes a black party," he predicted. "Wallace is helping, too—in the long run." The axis of the realignment, based on the politics of nullification, was settling into place. "[W]atch us in [nineteen] seventy-two. Our tabulations and techniques will be perfected by then; we'll have four years to work on them, and all the resources of the federal government. I'd hate to be the opponent in that race." It was George McGovern, who absorbed one of the worst drubbings in history.
    And in my probably last visits and connections with the deep South years ago the few Democrats with white skins I knew were used to hearing "You're white and a Democrat?" with hints of the same "traitor" of 1960s talk of voting Republican.

    And so, those race attitudes there and elsewhere combined with a Calhounist theory of steadfast reactionary stands against tides of history and national civil rights—in all areas—growth is alive an well in the House and the TP/GOP that is willing to ignore a strong electoral statement last November.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 09:04:35 AM PDT

    •  I have a post (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joedemocrat, andgarden

      half written on the subject.

      •  On this site I see a lot by people too young to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando

        have a real perspective of how we got to this point. The linked article for your "Calhounism" is one of the best I've seen covering a number of the bases of how we got from young guys in a segregated highway joint being castigated by tobacco drooling, walking stick thumping codgers for even thinking of voting for a Republican to an old man hearing white Southerners getting shocked responses for voting for Democrats.

        That combined with the history of Calhoun's arguments against a United States and for nullification "became "the philosophic darling of students of American political thought" on both left and right just in time to fertilize simmering anti-New Deal segments for Regan's "transformation" of politics.

        And thus we see the CPAC idiocies, House members representing carefully selected reactionary geographies and populations screaming "NO!" to the last election's trends.

        Personally, I've always wished Ole Hickory had sent those troops to South Carolina to hang those bastards shouting nullification. We might have avoided the worst loss of life in our history starting 28 years later.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 09:34:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Remarkable comment. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, pelagicray

      You won't mind if I set this aside in my 'special folder' I hope?

      •  No, but see my comment to Armando above. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, Laconic Lib

        I'm a proponent of the need for a fair understanding of how one got into a mess to help find a way out. The mess we are in right now, one I think could be more serious than we dream, needs clarity on what the opposition really is and that diversion to other "causes" won't help us much.

        Call it what you will, and "Calhounism" is pretty damned accurate, most of our problem is directly associated with that Confederate shouting "Hell NO!" regardless of the region.

        Banks too big to fail? I think we'd have a solution if that factor weren't propping up those special interest's defenders in politics.

        The 1% getting even more imbalanced against the rest of us taking us to almost banana republic status of inequality? Why was there "Calhounism" and the C.S.A. in the first place? A plantation society, the elites living in Tara all genteel while labor of even "poor white trash" was devalued by slavery. "Calhounism," spread through the nation among a segment of Tara dwellers and suckered relatively poor whites and clingers to devaluation of people of color is keeping the defenders and accomplices of the greediest of the 1% in a position of enough power to block all other efforts.

        The keystone to most of the problems we see is those attitudes and it is those that must be exterminated as a political force if we are to progress and perhaps survive as a modern nation.

        Want a midnight terror? In the face or real economic problems, but not fatal ones, that infernal coalition of the 1% and "Calhounist" are putting us into political paralysis akin to Greece. China, the Gulf States and other holders of vast dollar reserves begin to think of the dollar, valuable at it high parity only due to our nation's status, as politically risky as a Greek Euro—without the support of Germany and the rest. Sequestration and all the rest are then a forest fire compared to thermonuclear blast.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 09:53:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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