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#22: Is That So, Al? Hmmm ...
On pages 253-254 (pp. 262-263 of the paperback) of Lies, Franken writes,
Ö When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he is said to have turned to an aide and remarked, 'We have just lost the South for a generation.' The Republican Party became the home to Southern bigots and still is today.
While the Democratic Party lost the South that year, they did gain my dad. A lifelong Republican who voted for Herbert Hoover and every GOP candidate through Nixon, Dad switched parties in 1964 because the Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater, voted against the Civil Rights Act ... He never voted Republican again.
The supposed strident switch by Frankenís dad is somewhat curious considering the fact that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed largely due to the support of Republicans. According to Congressional Quarterly, in the Senate, 82% of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act, while only 69% of Democrats did. Twenty out of twenty-one southern Democratic senators voted against the Act. In the House, 80% of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act versus 61% of Democrats. Ninety-two of the 103 southern Democrats voted against it.1
Upon signing the Civil Rights Act, President Johnson cited Republicans for their "overwhelming support" of the Act.2
Why would Frankenís father switch parties on account of this issue?
Yes, Senator Goldwater voted against the 1964 Act, but to brand him as racist, or to imply anything similar, is simply ignorant and unknowing of Goldwaterís career.
The truth is that Goldwater had a rich history of championing civil rights, including his success in desegregating the Arizona National Guard before President Truman had even done so with the U.S. Armed Forces.3
Before he was a public official, Barry Goldwater integrated his family business. When he was a city councilman in Phoenix, he became a founding member of the Arizona NAACP, and he remained a proud member until his death.4
In the Senate, he strongly supported both the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Acts.5 Although he eventually regretted his vote, his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was based strictly on political ideological grounds. As a strong conservative, he believed that two of its sections, Title II and Title VII, unlawfully overextended the role of the federal government.6
If Frankenís father wanted to steer clear of racists, he may have wanted to shy away from the direction of Democratic Senators Al Gore Sr. (the former VPís dad) and former KKK member Robert Byrd, who participated in an unsuccessful 74-day filibuster in an attempt to stop the Civil Rights Act.7
File under: Hmmm ...
1 Congressional Quarterly, June 26, 1964, p. 1323. Also, John Fonte, "Conservatives Can Be Proud of Their Civil Rights Record," National Review, January 9, 2003. Retrieved from http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=5436.
2 President Johnson's remarks are at http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/speeches.hom/640702.asp.
3 Jack Kelly, "Time to tell the truth: The great movement of blacks to the Democratic Party took place for economic reasons, not for civil rights," December 20, 2002. Retrieved from http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1202/jkelly122002.asp. (Note: This is NOT the same Jack Kelley (see the spelling difference) who resigned from USA Today after he was discovered to have fabricated stories).
4 M.D. Currington, "Barry Goldwater: Uncovering Another Left-Wing Liberal Lie," September 16, 2003. Retrieved from http://mdcurrington.tripod.com/mdc/barry_goldwater.html. [See also Edwin McDowell, "Goldwater: A Portrait in Words and Pictures," Human Events, Vol. 22, Jan. 25, 1964 and Gilbert A. Harrison, "Way Out West: An Interim Report on Barry Goldwater," New Republic, Nov. 23, 1963.]
5 Barry Goldwater, Where I Stand (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964).
7 R.D. Davis, "Bill Bradley Fouls the Civil Rights Act," published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, December 1999. Retrieved from http://www.nationalcenter.org/NVDavisBradley1299.html.