Not So Southern Fried - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Not So Southern Fried

Reasonoid and occasional TAS contributor Dave Weigel has a fine post about the possible transition Ron Paul supporters might make to Bob Barr if the latter jumps into the race for the Libertarian Party nomination. I should just link to it and shut up. But being me, I will instead quibble with this passage: “George Wallace’s 1968 campaign spurred the GOP to take the Southern position on civil and states’ rights.”

Certainly, Richard Nixon carried the Wallace vote in 1972 and incorporated most of the Alabama governor’s support into the Republican base. He also took some positions, like opposing forced busing and nominating Southerners to the Supreme Court, that addressed Southern civil and states’ rights concerns. But if we define the “Southern position” as being George Wallace’s circa 1968, that was certainly not the position Nixon ever took.

In fact, Nixon played a large role in the desegregation of Southern schools, presided over the nationalization of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, implemented the Philadelphia Plan, expanded affirmative action, and gave aid to historically black colleges at a time of dire need. It’s undeniable that Nixon did all of these things with more sensitivity to the concerns of white Southerners and Northeastern white ethnics than most liberals would have preferred. But this wasn’t the Wallace ’68 platform.

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