Grand Wizards of the Democratic Party

On the occasion of the remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr., a man who preached racial healing, Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, stood before a group of African-Americans and denounced the current president of the United States as “the grand wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Asked by CNN if this went too far, Jeffries’s colleague, Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, would not say so, joining a long line of fellow Democrats who will not denounce Jeffries’s smear — as they prattle on about the need for civility in public discourse. Jeffries “has his opinion,” affirmed Congressman Thompson.

The irony of this nasty charge being slung by a Democrat is that until very recently the grand old man of the Democratic Party, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the longest-serving Senate member ever, was widely known for his ties to the KKK. Byrd was an official Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops in the KKK.

And yet, Byrd was hailed by fellow Democrats as another lion of the Senate. His later apologies (or explanations) for his Klan period was easily accepted without objection. Byrd was eulogized at his funeral by Bill Clinton, who devised a convenient way to excuse Byrd’s klansmanship:

I’ll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollers of West Virginia, he was trying to get elected. And maybe he did something he shouldn’t have done, and he spent the rest of his life making it up. And that’s what a good person does. There are no perfect people.

The gathering of strikingly merciful Democrats all nodded and applauded Clinton’s act of charity. All sins are forgiven at the altar of liberalism.

If you want to play the game of calling out presidents for, shall we say, rather retrograde views on race, you’d start with Democrat presidents such as the progressive’s progressive, Woodrow Wilson, and Great Society architect, LBJ.

But let’s stick to the KKK. The Democratic Party from the outset had deep ties to the KKK and segregationist, racist politicians. Of this there is no question. And progressives who remain heroes to Democrats still to this today had ties to the KKK.

Maybe the most offensive example, because she is a sheer icon to liberalism, is Margaret Sanger.

Sanger actually spoke at a Ku Klux Klan rally in Silver Lake, New Jersey in May 1926. We know about the incident because she candidly wrote about it in her 1938 autobiography. She was eager to speak to the group, which had kept her waiting for nearly three hours once she arrived. She was “summoned at last and entered a bright corridor filled with wraps. As someone came out of the hall I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses…. It was warmer and I did not mind so much. Eventually the lights were switched on, the audience seated itself, and I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak.”

Sanger shared little of what she said to the klanswomen, though apparently she was extremely successful. “I believed I had accomplished my purpose,” she wrote with satisfaction. “A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered. The conversation went on and on.”

The Planned Parenthood founder’s KKK talk was a smash. Not only did it go very late, so much so that she missed all trains back to New York and had to find a local hotel, but no less than “a dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.”

(Incidentally, this raises questions: Did Sanger follow up on any of those invitations? Did she speak to other KKK or KKK-related groups? Do her hagiographers know? Have they told us? I’d encourage researchers to do some digging.)

Obviously, Congressmen Jeffries and Thompson will not be denouncing Margaret Sanger for speaking to the KKK in 1926, but are they willing to criticize the big-time liberals who today are proud recipients of Planned Parenthood’s Sanger Award, its highest honor? Guess who that includes? It includes a long line of liberal luminaries, recently none other than Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.

When Hillary accepted her Sanger Award, she glowed that she was in “awe”of the woman who spoke to the KKK, participated in a “Negro Project,” preached a gospel of “race improvement,” and favored mass sterilization of America’s “race of degenerates.”

Liberals have never denounced Hillary for that. She has not been asked to return her prized Sanger Award or apologize for it. Quite the contrary, as a liberal Democrat in good standing, she is even entitled to racial slurs. When just a few weeks ago she joked of two prominent black politicians (Cory Booker and Eric Holder), “I know, they all look alike,” her liberal audience not only didn’t gasp but chuckled.

Can you imagine if Donald Trump had made a crack like that? And alas, Trump, you see, is hoisted upon a liberal petard: grand wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

How ironic that all of this went down this week. Monday marked the annual memorial of Martin Luther King Jr. Tuesday marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which has permitted the legal termination of over 60 million unborn children since January 22, 1973, a Supreme Court decision levied by a bunch of white guys in black robes. In fact, the old white dude who authored Roe, Harry Blackmun, was also a recipient of the Sanger Award.

It is tragically ironic that Roe follows King. Roe v. Wade, after all, has annihilated black America. African-American babies have been aborted at a rate far disproportionate to the overall population. The largest group of victims of abortion have been black. And yet, no other right is as sacred to modern Democrat politicians. When asked about late-term abortions and Kermit Gosnell’s “house of horrors” (where most victims were black), Nancy Pelosi called legalized abortion “sacred ground to me.”

On Jan. 21, liberals celebrated King. On Jan. 22, liberals celebrated Roe. They acknowledge Roe with no apparent regret, or at least public acknowledgment, of what it has done to black America.

Oh, and get this: The first recipient of Planned Parenthood’s Sanger Award was no less than Martin Luther King Jr. Was that supposed to be some kind of cruel joke by the gals at Planned Parenthood?

And so, liberals, go ahead and continue to cast aspersions at the opposing political party. You called Ronald Reagan a racist. You called George H. W. Bush a racist. And so many other decent human beings. Clean up your own clan.

Paul Kengor
Paul Kengor
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Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., and senior academic fellow at the Center for Vision & Values. Dr. Kengor is author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
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