Race is the base, the rich are the hitch: Obama and the Party of the Klan go Latino.
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Theodore Bilbo was a progressive Democrat, a lawyer and educator. He served successively as a state senator, lieutenant governor, governor (twice) and finally United States Senator from Mississippi (1935-1947). Like Barack Obama’s belief in the use of taxpayer money to prime the economy, Bilbo as governor won his nickname of “Bilbo the Builder” for what was in effect a state “stimulus” program. Tax dollars were poured into a state highway program, a lime crushing plant, a tuberculosis hospital, an “Old Soldiers” home and more.
As a U.S. senator Bilbo was not only an enthusiastic supporter of FDR’s New Deal. Like Obama, Bilbo was a master at playing the class warfare game, wasting no time in making himself the scourge of the wealthy. Where Obama whips up a frenzy today opposing “tax cuts for the rich” and “millionaires and billionaires” who aren’t paying their “fair share,” Bilbo would take to the Senate floor to rail against “poor-folks haters” “rich enemies of our public schools” “unemployment makers” and “private bankers ‘who ought to come out in the open and let folks see what they’re doing.”
But there was a catch to all of Bilbo’s spending and class warfare politics. Not coincidentally, it was exactly the same catch evident with Barack Obama and his modern-day allies in the media and politics. Class warfare alone wasn’t going to get Bilbo elected. Combined with the race card, however, Bilbo was unbeatable. Without identity politics and the seething resentments they cultivate, neither man would have had a political career of any success.
Challenging an incumbent governor in 1927, Bilbo scorched his opponent for calling out the National Guard to prevent a lynching. Why? Because in his quest for white votes Bilbo proclaimed no black person was worthy of being protected by the (all white) National Guard. The voters of Mississippi agreed — and Bilbo was once again back in the governor’s mansion.
A proud member of the Ku Klux Klan (like fellow progressive Democrat Senator Hugo Black from Alabama — whom FDR appointed to the Supreme Court), Bilbo was a master at polishing the messages of class warfare and race into a seamless sparkling jewel of rhetoric and policy that made the two indistinguishable one from another. Remembering always that race is the base, the rich are the hitch.
Why bother with retrieving the long-gone ghost of Bilbo the Builder, who died in 1947?
Because while Bilbo was symbolic of the approach, he was far from alone in using it. The Left’s tried-and-true political formula of identity politics has been captured repeatedly on video, not to mention in print. It is alive and well in the Obama administration, where the message of class warfare and racial politics is being used as a hammer not only by the administration but, as mentioned, by its media and political allies as well.
Make no mistake, all of this furor over immigration is, in the hands of the Left, 100% all about race. So too is the response from Attorney General Eric Holder’s supporters to his imminent contempt citation all about race.
Take a look at these two videos. One is from the other week — in 2012. One is from 49 years ago, in 1963.
First is this one, which shows President Obama in the White House Rose Garden announcing he is issuing an executive order that allows millions of illegal immigrants — read: Hispanics — to remain in this country regardless of their illegal status.
The second? This is a clip of a more modern Theodore Bilbo (and one for whom video is available). That would be Alabama Governor George Wallace, a Democrat, giving his inaugural address on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol in which, just as President Obama was doing in the Rose Garden, Wallace makes a defiant stand in favor of racial politics. After running a winning campaign for governor built around a Bilbo-style appeal to the little guy, pledges to spend money on building schools — and making sure, in Wallace’s own words, that he was never “out-segged” — meaning losing because he wasn’t sufficiently appealing to the white segregationist vote.
In other words, the first clip with Obama is all about a smooth racial pitch to Latinos.
The second, from Wallace, a bit more unsophisticated if still exactly on target, is all about a racial pitch to whites.
You might call the first video the Party of the Klan goes Latino. Which is to say there is zero difference in the Left when it comes to the politics of race. As a matter of fact, to illustrate the point more vividly, here are some of Theodore Bilbo’s progressive peers making their racial statement in the Washington, DC of 1928. And here are progressive Latinos in Arizona reacting to Governor Jan Brewer’s signing of the immigration bill that was the subject of this week’s Supreme Court ruling. Like those white progressive Klan members in 1928, these progressive Latinos were making their statement on race.
Not to be left out, of course, is Al Sharpton.