New Republic Admits: Liberal Racism Caused Baltimore Riots - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
New Republic Admits: Liberal Racism Caused Baltimore Riots

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Over at the New Republic — which backs itself up with a link to the Atlantic — liberals are finally admitting that their addiction to racism was responsible for the Baltimore riots.

The one caveat? They didn’t even recognize what they were saying. Here’s the story, with a hat tip to NewsBusters’ Tom Johnson who found it.

The episode was launched with this editorial from the Wall Street Journal titled: “The Blue-City Model Baltimore shows how progressivism has failed urban America.”

New Republic writer Rebecca Leber’s story was headlined: “Liberal Policies Didn’t Fail Baltimore. Here’s What Did.”

Leber was critical both of the editorial and the fact that Rush Limbaugh had picked up the theme, which she correctly summarized as “because Democrats run Baltimore, the city’s unrest must be the fault of liberal policies.” Leber went on: 

The solution WSJ envisions is inner cities “built on the ideas of private economic development, personal responsibility, ‘broken windows’ policing, and education choice.”

Conservatives base this logic—that the city somehow proves government investment and social programs are bad policy—on a selective history of Baltimore, noting for instance that its residents have elected only one non-Democratic mayor since the 1940s. But Baltimore’s problems stretch further back, to institutionalized racial discrimination in the early 20th century. Federal and local policymakers of the time redlined areas with “undesirable racial concentrations” to omit them from mortgage insurance programs. 

Follow Leber’s link and you get to this Atlantic article from May of 2014 titled“The Racist Housing Policy That Made Your Neighborhood.” The Atlantic article begins by citing a piece by the magazine’s Ta-Nehisi’s Coates on reparations (which I discussed here) and then says:

One of the most heinous of these (racial discrimination) policies was introduced by the creation of the Federal Housing Administration in 1934, and lasted until 1968. Otherwise celebrated for making homeownership accessible to white people by guaranteeing their loans, the FHA explicitly refused to back loans to black people or even other people who lived near black people. As TNC puts it, “Redlining destroyed the possibility of investment wherever black people lived.”

Well. Isn’t this interesting?

Both magazines are laying “the most heinous” of racist housing policies to the “creation of the Federal Housing Administration in 1934.” The FHA was created by the National Housing Act of 1934. The FHA published a history of the federal role in housing in 1959. Titled “The FHA Story in Summary,” it specifically says of the legislation that became the National Housing Act of 1934:

The bills that resulted in the National Housing Act were introduced on May 14, 1934, by Senator Duncan U. Fletcher of Florida and Representative Henry B. Steagall of Alabama (chairmen of the Banking and Currency Committees), passed by both houses, and signed by the President on June 27, 1934.

Who were Duncan Fletcher and Henry Steagall? The co-authors of the bill that is being described as establishing “institutionalized racial discrimination” (the New Republic) and “heinous” and “making homeownership accessible to white people” (the Atlantic)

Fletcher and Steagall were, but of course, progressive Democrats — and staunch segregationists. Steagall, in fact, was also the co-author of that liberal favorite now-repealed banking law, the Glass-Steagall Act. The latter something the far left’s favorite Senator Elizabeth Warren blames for the so-called “Great Recession” of 2008 and wants restored. The “Glass” mentioned — Virginia Senator Carter Glass — like Steagall was a hardcore Southern racist and progressive. 

Which is to say, the racist policies that are being cited by the New Republic and the Atlantic as really responsible for the failed housing policies of Baltimore? Yes, in fact, they were created by two progressive segregationists — liberal Democrats both. This is no accident, even though the Atlantic’s much cited Mr. Coates manages to write that extensive piece on reparations without ever getting around to murmuring that the Democratic Party should pay those reparations as it is the party that was — and remains — the heart and soul of the racism/progressive tie.

Why does this matter now? Because as has been discussed in this space many times, the tie between racism and progressivism has never disappeared. Mr. Coates does at least mention that “The marks of that collaboration are all over the New Deal.” Well — yes. Exactly. But what neither The Atlantic or the New Republic will admit post-Baltimore is that nothing has changed for progressives. What lies at the root of Al Sharpton’s world — race card playing and progressivism — is exactly the formula that created those racist housing policies of the New Deal. 

And right there in Baltimore this last week was a classic scene of the latest progressive Democrat — Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — literally being led by Sharpton to an appearance in front of Sharpton’s race card-playing National Action Network. There is State Attorney Marilyn Mosby tying Sharpton’s race card-playing motto “no justice, no peace” — to the indictment of six police officers, three of them black. 

Shades of Duncan Fletcher and Henry Steagall. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even if the New Republic and the Atlantic are loath to admit it? Actually, they just did.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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